10 Surprising Wilderness Survival Tips You Need To Know

It’s easy to think of wilderness survival as a one-size-fits-all experience. After all, we’re all human, right? But as I’ve learned more about the subject, I’ve realized that every single person who ventures into a wilderness situation has their own unique strengths and weaknesses. 

Some people might be better at finding food or water than others; some might be able to sleep when it’s cold outside; some might be better at building fires in adverse conditions. 

So while there is only so much information you can cram into one article on survival tips before running out of space and patience with both myself and you dear reader (which is why this piece will not go beyond 10)

Here are 10 surprising things that helped me survive just long enough in the wild before rescuers found me:

10 Wilderness Survival Tips in 10 Minutes
Understand the importance of wilderness survival skills.
Prepare for potential dangers by bringing essential gear.
Learn to navigate, find food and water, and build shelter.
Stay aware of your surroundings and wildlife.
Be prepared for emergencies and know how to signal for help.

Roll Before You Run

When you’re running, roll on the ground before you get up. Roll in a way that will protect your body from any possible injuries. 

If you can’t roll, then just wait for a few seconds until the pain goes away. If this doesn’t help, then take a rest for some time and try again later.

This tip is useful especially when running downhill because it helps protect your knees from getting hurt by bruises or sprains due to running on uneven surfaces such as grassy fields or rocky terrains (which are common in wilderness survival situations).

Need to learn wilderness survival tips? Our wilderness survival tips for beginners guide is a must-read for anyone who wants to stay safe and thrive in the great outdoors.

Don’t Play Dead

Don’t play dead. Your mother’s favorite advice is good for a lot of things in life, but it’s not the right choice when you’re lost in the wilderness.

Don’t give up hope and don’t give up on yourself. No matter how bad things get or how hopeless it may seem, don’t take your own life! You can make it out alive if you keep going and never lose sight of your goal of getting back home again!

Don’t be a victim—you are responsible for your own actions and decisions in the wilderness, so don’t blame others for what happened to you or let others control how you feel about yourself after being lost for days on end without food or water (or both!).

Don’t Play Dead – Survival Techniques when facing wildlife

WildlifeSurvival Techniques
Bears> Make noise and let them know you’re there to avoid surprising them
> Keep a safe distance and avoid eye contact
> If attacked, use bear spray or other deterrents
> If you’re knocked down, get back up and continue fighting back
Snakes> Stay alert and watch where you step
> Give snakes plenty of space
> If bitten, stay calm and immobilize the affected area
> Seek medical attention as soon as possible
Cougars> Make noise to alert them of your presence
> Keep a safe distance and avoid running or turning your back
> If attacked, fight back with anything you can, including rocks or sticks
Alligators> Keep a safe distance and do not feed them
> Avoid swimming in areas known for alligator sightings
> If attacked, aim for the eyes or snout and try to get away
> Seek medical attention immediately
Bees/Wasps> Move away from the area as quickly as possible
> Cover your face and run through the swarm if necessary
> Remove stingers and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling
> Seek medical attention if allergic or experiencing severe symptoms

Use The Buddy System

You should always travel with a buddy. This is especially true if you are inexperienced, injured, or unprepared. If you go alone and something goes wrong, who will help?

If you are traveling by foot in a wilderness area that has no cell phone service and cannot be reached by landline phone either (commonly referred to as “the middle of nowhere”), consider carrying an emergency radio beacon or GPS locator device that can summon help from search-and-rescue teams if needed.

Real-life strategies and tactics are essential for wilderness survival. Check out our Surviving in the Wilderness guide to learn from experts and their first-hand experiences to help prepare for any situation.

Stay Away From Water

In a survival situation, water is your best friend. It keeps you alive and gives you something to drink when food is scarce. But it’s also one of the most dangerous things in the wilderness because it can be contaminated with bacteria that can make you sick or even kill you.

The first step to staying safe around water is knowing how to purify it before drinking it or using it for cooking. 

If there’s no way to purify the water (like during an earthquake where everything electrical has been destroyed), then avoid contact with open bodies of water like lakes and rivers as much as possible even if just for washing yourself or cooking food!

Stay Away From Water – Safety Tips for Water Activities

Water ActivitySafety Tips
Boating> Always wear a life jacket and make sure it fits properly
> Check the weather forecast and avoid going out if rough waters are expected
> Keep a safe distance from other vessels and avoid distractions while driving
> Follow boating laws and regulations
Swimming> Only swim in designated areas with lifeguards on duty
> Never swim alone
> Check the water temperature before jumping in
> Keep an eye on the weather and get out of the water if a storm is coming
Scuba Diving> Never dive alone. Always dive with a buddy
> Check gear before entering the water
> Only dive to depths you are trained and certified for
> Keep a close eye on your air supply and surface before you run low
Waterskiing/Jet Skiing> Wear a life jacket and eye protection
> Stay away from other boats and swimmers
> Make sure there is a spotter on board to keep an eye on the skier
> Be aware of local laws and regulations regarding tow sports
Fishing> Always wear a life jacket and keep a first aid kit on hand
> Stay away from fast-moving water and be careful when wading in rivers and streams
> Respect fishing conservation and licensing laws
> Dispose of fishing line and hooks properly to prevent injury to wildlife

Don’t Wear Cotton

In the event of a survival situation, cotton is a poor choice for clothing. Cotton absorbs water and doesn’t dry quickly. It’s heavy, bulky and not very warm or durable. 

It’s also not breathable so when we’re sweating in the summer heat, or dealing with cold winter temperatures, it traps moisture against our skin instead of letting it escape through evaporation like synthetic materials do.

For example: if you’re wearing cotton pants and they get soaked in the rain or snow (or if you step into a stream), they’ll take longer than other fabrics to dry off on their own—and if they get wet enough to freeze at night while you’re sleeping outdoors? You’ll be sorry!

The wilderness can be unpredictable, and it’s essential to have the right equipment. Discover what essential gear you need with our Wilderness Survival Equipment guide.

Seek Shelter

There are a variety of ways to seek shelter in the wilderness, including making a lean-to or bivy sack. If you have a jacket, use it as a blanket and get under it with your pack or any extra clothes or blankets you have. 

You can also make a fire to keep warm if necessary. Finally, if there are trees around, try building your own makeshift structure out of branches and leaves that will provide protection from wind and rain.

Put Your Shoes On First

Your shoes are the most important thing you can have with you. Ever since homo sapiens first stood up on two legs, we’ve known that putting your shoes on first is the best way to keep it together when nature calls.

Put your socks on last. This isn’t just because they’re less important than your shoes in terms of keeping you alive; they also tend to get caught in things like laces and shoelaces as you put on pants, which can be frustrating if you need to run away quickly or if there’s a bear chasing after them (and not one who just wants some honey).

Put your jacket on before putting anything else on at all this includes other jackets! If it’s cold enough for a jacket, then it’s probably cold enough for another one too but think about how much easier life would be if those extra layers weren’t getting tangled up with each other every time one tried going through an opening at once!

Staying safe in the outdoors is crucial, and with expert tips from our wilderness survival guide , you can be better prepared for any situation.

Create A Mini Fire Kit

A mini fire kit can be a lifesaver if you’re ever without a lighter or matches. If you’re trying to build a fire, having the right tools will make it much easier. A mini kit should include:

  • A lighter
  • Matches (or waterproof matches)
  • A small fire starter (such as cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly)

The best container for this kit is something waterproof and durable, like an Altoids tin or a Ziploc bag. You can even make your own by taking an empty pill bottle or medicine tube and filling it with your supplies!

Create A Mini Fire Kit – Essential Items for Starting a Fire in the Wilderness

Essential ItemDescription
LighterA reliable lighter is a must-have for starting fires in the wilderness. Choose one that is windproof and waterproof for added reliability. Brands: Bic, Zippo
MatchesWaterproof matches are an essential backup in case your lighter fails. Make sure to store them in a waterproof container and carry a striker to ignite them. Brands: UCO, REI
TinderA good tinder source is essential for starting fires in wet or windy conditions. Choose dry, flammable materials like cotton balls, dryer lint, or birch bark. Brands: Fatwood, WetFire
FirestarterFirestarter products like magnesium blocks or chemical fire starters can help ignite wet wood and kindling. Choose options that are highly flammable and easy to ignite. Brands: Light My Fire, InstaFire
ContainerStoring your mini fire kit in a waterproof container is a must. Choose one that is small and portable, and seals tightly to prevent moisture from seeping in. Brands: Nalgene, Sea to Summit

Note: When it comes to fire safety, always follow Leave No Trace principles and local regulations regarding fire use.

Keep Your Eyes On The Top Of The Trees

When you’re out in the wilderness and you see movement, it’s important to keep your eyes on the top of the trees. 

Movement in this area could be a sign of animals or other people. It can also be an indication that a storm is approaching, which could lead to an avalanche if you’re not careful.

The ultimate guide to wilderness survival is here. Check out our comprehensive wilderness survival guide to learn everything you need to know about staying safe and thriving in the wilderness.

Be Aware Of The Weather

If you’re going to be spending time in the wilderness, it’s important that you become familiar with the weather patterns. Weather can change quickly and unexpectedly. It’s unpredictable—and even dangerous at times. But if you know how to read it, then it can also be used to your advantage.

In order to monitor the weather in any given area, a person will need an understanding of what types of clouds are present overhead as well as whether or not there are any temperature changes happening at ground level (via winds). 

The best way for someone who has never been out before would be through observing their surroundings themselves: If there are no clouds overhead but they see dust swirling around underfoot while walking then they’ll know that they’re experiencing wind gusts; if they notice raindrops falling from above onto objects then this means that rain is coming down from somewhere else nearby; etcetera!


Survival can be a scary thought, but it doesn’t have to be. By following these tips, you can stay prepared for any kind of situation that might arise and make it home safely.

The most important thing is to remember that you’re not alone – there are people all around the world who want to help you if something goes wrong!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources with valuable information on wilderness survival techniques:

MasterClass offers a helpful article with survival tips for various situations. Check out their tips for wilderness survival.

Pelican shares a helpful article with 7 wilderness survival tips that can help you stay safe and prepared while exploring the outdoors. Read more on Pelican’s website.

If you’re looking for more wilderness survival tips, The Survival University has great advice on their website. Check out their wilderness survival tips for practical advice and real-life experiences.


What is Wilderness Survival?

Wilderness survival is the knowledge and techniques needed to stay safe, healthy, and alive in the wilderness. It involves being prepared for potential dangers and having the skills and equipment needed to navigate, deal with emergencies, and thrive in outdoor environments.

Why Should I Learn Wilderness Survival?

Learning wilderness survival skills is essential for adventures in the great outdoors. Being prepared for potential threats, injuries, or getting lost can mean the difference between life and death. Knowing how to navigate, gather food and water, and build shelter can increase your chances of survival and make outdoor experiences more enjoyable.

What Are Essential Items for Wilderness Survival?

Essential items for wilderness survival include a survival kit with appropriate gear, a map and compass, a first-aid kit, fire starting tools, water filtration or purification systems, shelter building materials, and appropriate clothing and footwear.

How Can I Stay Safe in the Wilderness?

To stay safe in the wilderness, it’s crucial to be prepared and use common sense. Stay aware of your surroundings, be knowledgeable about wildlife and potential hazards, and always let someone know your plans before heading out. Remember the rule of three: you can survive for three minutes without air, three hours without shelter, three days without water, and three weeks without food.

What Are Some Common Wilderness Survival Techniques?

Some common wilderness survival techniques include building a shelter, starting a fire, finding and purifying water, foraging for food, navigating with a map and compass, and signaling for help. Being prepared with a survival kit and knowing how to use the items in it can also be essential for wilderness survival.