Wilderness Survival Tips For Beginners: A Step-By-Step Guide

There are many things that can go wrong in the wilderness. You could get lost, you could get injured, you could find yourself in trouble. 

In this guide I’m going to teach you some basic skills that will help keep you safe if something goes wrong on your camping trip or hiking excursion. 

With these tips and tricks under your belt, there’s no reason why even the most inexperienced outdoor enthusiast should be afraid of getting into the wild!

10 Wilderness Survival Tips in 10 Minutes
Wilderness survival requires preparation and basic skills.
Building a fire, finding water, and building shelter are essential skills for wilderness survival.
Knowing your gear and understanding your environment can help you stay safe in the wilderness.
Staying calm and resourceful is key if you ever find yourself lost in the wilderness.
There are many resources available to help you improve your wilderness survival skills, including books, websites, and experts in the field.

1. Are You Prepared For Anything?

The most important thing to remember when you’re preparing for an outdoor adventure is that there are a million things that could go wrong, and you need to be prepared for them all.

Don’t forget the basics, like bringing along a first aid kit and extra water. But be sure to also consider the kinds of weather you might encounter, as well as what kind of wildlife might be in your area and how they interact with humans. 

Do some research on plants and animals before setting off on your journey—you never know when it might come in handy!

Wilderness survival can be unpredictable, but it’s always important to be prepared. Check out our guide to the essential equipment needed for your next outdoor adventure and stay safe in any situation.

2. Dress For Success

The first thing you should do is dress for the weather, especially if you’re going camping in a wilderness area. It’s good to have warm layers on top (like a sweater), as well as waterproof pants and boots on your lower body, so that if it rains or snows, your clothes will still keep you dry and warm. 

A hat is also a good idea because it can protect your head from sunburns and other damage caused by UV rays in direct sunlight; this is especially important if you’re going more than one day without washing your hair! 

Gloves are helpful too because they’ll protect your hands from getting chapped by cold winds or blisters when handling sharp objects like knife blades – but beware: don’t wear gloves when chopping wood because they may get stuck between two pieces of wood during an accident! Sunglasses are another essential item because they can protect eyes from harmful UV rays

Clothing and Gear Recommendations

Gear/ Clothing ItemBrand/ Type
Base LayerPatagonia Capilene Midweight Crew Top/ Bottom
Insulating LayerThe North Face ThermoBall Jacket
Outer ShellOutdoor Research Men’s Foray Jacket/ Pant
PantsArc’teryx Men’s Gamma LT Pant
BootsSalomon X Ultra Mid 3 GTX Boot
SocksSmartwool PhD Outdoor Light Crew Socks
GlovesOutdoor Research Men’s Stormtracker Sensor Gloves
HatThe North Face Jim Beanie

Dressing appropriately is crucial to ensuring your survival in the wilderness. Here are some of our recommended clothing and gear items to help you dress for success in any situation.

3. Know What To Eat And What Not To Eat

Before you eat anything, make sure you know what it is. The best way to do this is to use a guidebook or app that will let you identify the plants and animals around you. Once you’re sure the food is safe, don’t eat it! 

Don’t eat anything that isn’t “safe for human consumption,” even if someone else does. If other people are eating something poisonous and they seem fine, don’t assume it’s off-limits for you too it’s not worth risking your life on an assumption.

Surviving in the wilderness takes more than just basic skills; it requires real-life tactics and strategies. Learn more about the key principles of wilderness survival and how to put them into action.

4. Build A Fire

Fire is one of the most important things a person can have in a survival situation. It can be used for warmth, cooking food, and signaling for rescue. 

There are many ways to start a fire depending on what kind of materials are available and your skill level with starting fires. 

The simplest way is to simply strike two sticks together until there’s enough friction that you get sparks which can ignite tinder such as dry grass or shredded leaves.

If you don’t have any tinder, you can use either flint stones or magnesium sticks (which produce very bright flames) to light dry grasses or leaves using sparks from the stone/stick striking against another hard object such as steel or flint rock respectively. 

You should create a small pile of twigs around this so that they catch flame when they come in contact with the burning grasses/leaves once it’s been ignited by means of sparking rocks or flint stones onto them during your campfire-building process!

Recommended Fire-Building Gear and Materials

Gear/ MaterialBrand/ Type
FirestarterZippo Emergency Fire Kit
TinderLiveFire Gear FireCord
KindlingToaks Titanium Long Handle Spoon
FuelMSR IsoPro Fuel
ToolsGerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Pro Knife
LighterBic Classic Lighter
ContainerUCO Flatpack Portable Stainless Steel Grill and Fire Pit

Building a fire is one of the most important wilderness survival skills. Here are some of the best fire-building gear and materials we recommend to help you get the job done right.

5. Build A Shelter And Start Food Storage Methodology

In order to prepare yourself for the possibility of being stuck in the wilderness, it is important that you build a shelter and start food storage methodologies.

It should be noted that there are several different types of shelters that can be built depending on what materials are available to you. 

If you are lucky enough to have access to wood or other building materials, then making a shelter would be fairly easy. 

However, if all you have is your clothing on your back and some basic tools such as a knife or ax (with limited functionality), then building any type of structure will be very difficult if not impossible.

In either case however, there are some basic steps which can help ensure success when trying to build a shelter:

Building a fire is one of the most important skills for wilderness survival. Our guide to survival tips for beginners covers the basics of building a fire and other essential techniques for surviving in the great outdoors.

6. Practice Finding And Collecting Safe Drinking Water

You always have to be prepared for the possibility of not being able to find a source of clean drinking water in the wilderness. You can collect water from the following sources:

Ponds and lakes – If you’re in an area where there is snow on the ground, melt it in your pot and use it as drinking water. However, this is not recommended because you won’t know whether it’s clean or contaminated with bacteria. Always boil any surface water before consumption (for at least 20 minutes).

Creeks or rivers – You can also dip shallow containers into flowing creeks or rivers to catch some fresh flowing water sources. 

However, again this isn’t really recommended because you don’t know if there are any contaminants in the stream that could make you sick once ingested into your body system after drinking from them without purifying first properly beforehand through boiling/filtration methodologies which we’ll cover later on these next pages below!

Puddles – When collecting rainwater from puddles on rocks/ground surfaces above ground level where rainfall has landed directly onto those areas during storms; make sure no animal waste products such as feces were left behind nearby by animals too close by (or even humans) because those items contain harmful bacteria which could contaminate whatever container you put them into!

Recommended Gear for Finding and Collecting Safe Drinking Water

Gear/ MaterialBrand/ Type
Water Filtration SystemSawyer Squeeze Water Filter System
Water Filter BottleLifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle
Water Purification TabletsPotable Aqua Water Purification Tablets
Water Storage ContainerReliance Products Aqua-Tainer
Portable Water Filter StrawSurvivor Filter PRO
Collapsible Water ContainerPlatypus Platy 2-Liter Ultralight Collapsible Water Bottle
Water BladderCamelbak Crux Reservoir Hydration Bladder

Finding and collecting safe drinking water is a vital part of any wilderness survival strategy. Here are some of the best gear and materials that we recommend to make the process easier and safer.

7. Learn How To Navigate Without GPS Or Map

It’s always important to know how to navigate without the help of a GPS or map. This skill can come in handy if you find yourself lost in the woods with no signal or power, which unfortunately happens more often than most people think! 

Learning how to use a compass is an important part of wilderness survival and it’s not too hard once you get the hang of it.

A compass isn’t just for navigating when hiking; it can also tell us where north is so we can orient ourselves on a map. In this video from Skills You Need, Allen introduces one way you can locate north using only your hands and some basic math:

In the wilderness, unexpected situations can arise at any time. That’s why it’s important to know some surprising survival tips that could save your life. Check out these 10 wilderness survival tips you need to know.

8. Know How To Signal For Help Properly

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to signal for help, here are some tips:

Use a mirror or whistle. If you have a mirror and your surroundings are not too bright, use it at an angle to reflect sunlight so that rescuers can see it. 

Alternatively, hold the glass parallel to the ground and make sure someone is looking in your direction; this will produce a little flash of light that could attract attention of potential rescuers. 

Whistles are also great because they make noise even when there isn’t enough air in them yet for people to hear properly and their sound travels farther than yours would if you were yelling out loud!

Use a signal fire. If there’s no other way around it other than signaling with smoke (e.g., if trees are tall enough), then go for it! 

But remember that any kind of fire needs fuel and oxygen so keep those things nearby before lighting up so as not end up having wasted energy trying desperately get rid of something which never had any chance being extinguished anyway.

And also do not forget about safety measures like proper distance from flammable materials or ways how exactly how much space should be left between two pieces together (they don’t necessarily have same length).

9. Practice Leave No Trace Principles

Once you’ve got your tent set up, it’s time to learn how to leave no trace behind. If there are any edible plants nearby, collect them and bring them home with you. 

Be sure not to disturb the wildlife or cultural sites of others by following these simple rules:

Pack out everything that you pack in. This includes food scraps (eaten or uneaten), garbage, toilet paper and used sanitary napkins/tampons/pads (if you’re menstruating). 

Some people may frown upon collecting plants for medicinal purposes but if this is something that’s important to you personally or for survival reasons (e.g., staving off hunger during times of extreme physical stress), consider keeping a small container in your pocket so that if necessary it can be used discreetly.

Do not build campfires unless approved by park officials beforehand; use portable stoves instead if possible! 

Campfires are prohibited throughout most parks; they also have a tendency to spread easily because they are made out of flammable materials such as twigs/branches which must then be disposed of properly as well). 

Only use existing fire rings/platforms when available—do not build new ones yourself! When cooking over open flames using portable stoves like propane campstoves make sure there is adequate ventilation between cooking surface area where smoke will condense overhead into ceiling voids before escaping outdoors through chimneys located near stove tops.

For anyone who loves the great outdoors, knowing the basics of wilderness survival can be a game-changer. Our ultimate guide to wilderness survival covers everything from shelter-building to identifying edible plants, so you’ll be better equipped for whatever the wilderness throws your way.

10. Plan Some Time Off The Grid

The last piece of advice we’ll give you is to plan some time off the grid. It’s important that you’re able to decompress and relax after a long day out in the wilderness, so make sure that you’re prepared for this.

Bring a few books or magazines with you so that when it’s time to rest up, your brain isn’t left idle – though don’t bring too many because they take up space and weight! If reading isn’t really your thing, bring a portable radio instead; it’ll help pass the time while also keeping your mind active.

You should also bring along any medications or vitamins that are essential for your health – something like ibuprofen can be especially helpful since it eases pain without affecting alertness like other painkillers do (and believe us when we say: spending all day hiking through thick brush can lead to plenty of aches). 

And finally: pack a sleeping bag! If possible try bringing one small enough so as not to increase overall weight too much but large enough so that if necessary two people could fit inside together comfortably.”

11. Know Your First Aid Skills (CPR, AED, Wound Care)

Knowing how to administer CPR and use an AED (automated external defibrillator) is a crucial skill in wilderness survival. Check out this detailed guide on how to use one, then practice it with a dummy at home.

It’s also important to know how to care for wounds caused by cuts, scrapes, burns or punctures. In addition to knowing what kind of dressing you should use and when you should change it, be prepared for the possibility of infection by cleaning the wound thoroughly and learning about any signs of infection that require medical attention.

If you have access to medical supplies like tourniquets or antibiotics (depending on your location), these items can help save lives in emergency scenarios as well as in more common situations where someone gets hurt on their own property……

12. Learn Local Laws And Regulations In Case Of Emergencies

If you’re going on a wilderness adventure, make sure to learn about the local laws and regulations. 

This will help you know what to do if an emergency situation arises. For example, what are the laws regarding dangerous animals? Dangerous weather conditions? Dangerous plant life? If you need help with any of these things, it will be much easier if you have done your research ahead of time so that you know where to go when these situations arise.


If you want to be prepared for a potential wilderness survival scenario, there are some basic things that every beginner should know. 

From knowing how to build a shelter and start a fire, to starting an emergency kit with the right equipment; these tips will give you an advantage in any situation.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to help you become a wilderness survival expert:

Survival for Beginners: A Step-by-Step Guide: This comprehensive guide covers everything from shelter-building to first aid, making it perfect for anyone looking to improve their wilderness survival skills.

Survival: How a Culture of Preparedness Can Save You and Your Family from Disasters: From natural disasters to terrorist attacks, this book covers everything you need to know to keep yourself and your loved ones safe in a crisis.

5 Basic Survival Skills: Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced survivalist, these basic skills are essential for anyone looking to thrive in the wilderness.


What is wilderness survival?

Wilderness survival is the art of staying alive and healthy in the great outdoors, often with limited supplies and resources.

What are the most important wilderness survival skills?

Some of the most important wilderness survival skills include building a fire, finding or purifying water, building a shelter, and identifying edible plants.

How do I know what gear to bring with me on a wilderness trip?

The gear you’ll need for a wilderness trip will depend on a variety of factors, including the time of year, your destination, and your level of experience. Consider consulting with a wilderness survival expert or researching gear checklists online.

How can I stay safe in the wilderness?

Staying safe in the wilderness involves taking a variety of precautions, including carrying a first aid kit, knowing your limits, and following basic safety guidelines such as avoiding wild animals and staying hydrated.

What should I do if I get lost in the wilderness?

If you get lost in the wilderness, try to remain calm and assess your surroundings. Look for signs of civilization or landmarks that you can use to navigate. If you’re unable to find your way back, consider building a shelter and signaling for help using smoke or other signals.