Some outdoor skills need to be learned and experienced. You won’t find common sense or personal experience in a book or guide. However, there are some things you can learn from the people who have gone before you, and this will help a lot when it comes to your own survival skills while hiking or backpacking. If you end up in a do-or-die situation, you need to know what to do to protect yours.
Here is what you need to survive if you come into a bad situation while backpacking and hiking:
- Know how to use your supplies correctly – Bringing along survival supplies means nothing if you don’t know how to use them. Take some time to get training, watch YouTube videos from experts, and even practice in a non-emergency situation to help you be prepared in the event you need it.
- Learn how to thaw your cold feet – Frozen feet can be a death sentence. To help thaw them out, you can sit or stand (if able) and swing your legs back and forth like a pendulum. When you do this, the movement will force blood into the tips of your toes and help warm them up and thaw them out.
- Estimate how far you have traveled – It’s essential to know how to calculate how far you’ve traveled. You can estimate your distance traveled by how many steps you take. The average person has a footstep of 30 inches, and a person who is healthy and fit can walk about 3mph on flat ground.
- Know which direction you are traveling in – You can use tools like compass, GPS, etc., to help, but it’s also essential to learn how to find your direction with the sun and the moon/stars and read landmarks and other things to assist with navigation.
- Create a natural bandage – If you get cuts and scrapes, you can make a natural bandage out of the environment. A good choice is dried moss from bogs or swamps. It’s antibacterial and absorbent like cotton.
- Protect yourself from insects – Biting insects are not only itchy and annoying, but some also carry diseases. It’s essential to know how to protect yourself while out in the elements. There are fewer biting bugs in windy areas, and you can also rub mud on exposed skin to help protect it. Birch bark is also a natural bug repellent.
- Make water from snow – If you’re backpacking in the snow, you can make water from snow to keep you hydrated. Choose the wettest snow you can find or icicles and then melt them down over a fire. If you don’t have a fire, you can fill a water bottle about 2/3 of the way with snow and then put it between layers of clothing, next to a warm part of your body (but not directly touching your skin). Your body heat will help it down so you can drink it.
- Know how to fix a broken shoelace – Travel will be slowed and become more dangerous if your shoe or boot string breaks. It’s essential to understand how to fix it in a pinch. You can undo some of the eyelets to help, or if you lose the entire shoelace, cut the other one, and then you have two halves.
- Identify dangerous snakes – You should also educate yourself on venomous snakes in your area, what they look like, and where they are likely to be found. Remember, you’re in their habitat, so try not to disturb them, and you won’t have to worry about being bitten.
- Identify dangerous plants – It’s also vital that you learn to identify hazardous plant life in your area. Avoid contact with poisonous plants for your safety.
Now that you know these survival tips for backpackers, you can be fully prepared when you go out for your next trip. And remember that as a general rule, it’s better to be overprepared than underprepared. No one wants to fill out their backpack with a bunch of junk they don’t need, making it heavier than it needs to be. However, you can be smart about the space in your pack and bring essential items that would help you in any potential survival situation.
Then you will be prepared for anything that comes your way. Your ability to adapt and endure will grow with these skills and tips found here. Have fun and be safe!