Brush Up Your Survival Skills

If you don't have the right survival skills to put it into practise, then none the survival preparation and supplies stocking you've been doing will amount to much.

While most of the survival gear you can purchase can replace some of the basic survival skills, you may be faced with a situation where you don't have any gear and you must rely on your own knowledge.

Here are a few of the survival skills you should know:

With these basic survival skills, you'll be able to navigate through a survival situation without the comforts and luxuries of modern life.

A true survival situation will put your mind, body, and spirit through the ultimate test, but you and your family have a much better chance of making through if everyone has a grasp on the core survival skills.

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How to Start a Fire

In the event that you don't have matches, a lighter, or some kind of fire starter, you'll have to rely on one of the old primitive methods to start a fire. These methods can be very tedious and require a lot of patience.

At first, it may seem impossible to actually get a fire from rubbing sticks together, but with the right amount of time (and friction), you'll eventually get a result.

Fire Plow Method

The fire plow method requires two pieces of wood: a plow stick and a fireboard. Look for very hard and dry pieces of wood. To test how hard the wood is, attempt to make a scratch in it with your fingernail. If it doesn't scratch easily, it's hard.

The fireboard should be about 5 inches or more wide and 1.5 feet long. The plow stick should be about 1 foot long. You'll also need tinder (dried grass, paper, cotton, etc.) and kindle (small sticks).


  1. Gather your tinder and kindling.
  2. Arrange your kindling in a pyramid so you can quickly transfer the embers you create to the main fire area.
  3. Cut a groove (long ways) in your fireboard going from one end to the end.
  4. Create a 45ー angle on the end of the plow stick to help ease the movement.
  5. Place some of your tinder at the far end of the fireboard.
  6. Angle the plow stick at about 45 degrees on the fireboard, and begin moving the fire plow stick back and forth in the groove, but without going all the way to the end of the groove.
    a.The reason for this is that you can extinguish an ember by crushing it if you reach the end of the groove. By stopping just short of the end each time, you allow the fine charred particles that you are plowing to build up and form into a glowing ember that will be used to start the fire.
  7. Build up speed and pressure until you begin to see smoke coming from the fireboard. Once you see smoke, continue to build up more speed. As you build up speed, a considerable amount of smoke should build up from the action. Once you see a considerable amount of smoke coming from the action, you may stop and see if you have a glowing ember at the end of the groove that is farthest away from you.
    a.If there is not a glowing ember, repeat the process again a time or two to try to get an ember to form.
  8. Add tinder to your ember and once that flame is strong, transfer to the main fire pyramid.
    a.You may need to continue adding tinder to keep the flame going.

Finding Water

Building a fire can be done almost anywhere. Finding water isn't always so "simple", and you won't live long without it.

Finding and purifying water is a survival skill everyone should have.

To find natural water, look for:

  • Valleys and low areas - places where water naturally drains
  • Rock crevices - Rainwater may have been collected
  • Muddy or damp ground
  • Patches of green vegetation indicate water of some sort
  • Places where animal tracks converge
  • Insects - often stay close to water
  • Birds - often circle a watering hole

Once you find water, you'll have to purify it. If possible, gather water from the area where it moves the most / fastest as less debris and bacteria can gather here.

Of course, you can boil the water, build a sand filter, or purify by sunlight. Vital survival skills.

How to Build a Sand Water Filter

Items Needed:

  • Container (plastic is best)
  • Knife / Scissors
  • Sand
  • Gravel
  • Fabric (if available)
  • Charcoal from your fire (if available)


  1. Cut the container in half as evenly as possible. Poke several small holes in one of the halves, arranged in a circle.
  2. Layer a piece of fabric, or a few centimeters of gravel or charcoal (from burnt wood) over the holes to prevent sand from getting into your filtered water. These items will also act as another filter and you can combine them to make a better water purification system. Pack these items in as tight as possible to create a better filter.
    a.If using charcoal, break and crush into very small pieces.
    b.If you don't have any of these items, you could also use grass.
  3. Add at least 6 inches of sand on top of whatever items you're using.
  4. Place the unused half of the container under the holes you made and then pour the water into the “filter”. Let the water pass through the filtration system you made (the slower the better).
    a.You'll have to do this several times until the water is clear.

If you don't have access to the materials needed to build a sand filter, you can purify by sunlight:

Fill a clear container with water the clearest water possible. Place the container on a piece of metal (if available) in the full sun, for at least 6 hours.

If you can wait, a full day of direct sunlight is best. UV radiation will kill bacteria and microorganisms.

Combining the sunlight method and a sand filter is your best survival skill when times are tough.

Finding Food

After getting a water source, you'll need food. Finding food on your own is a valuable survival skill, and luckily, if surviving out in the wild, you could potentially have a large number of options.


If you don't have any experience hunting animals without a gun or bow, chances are, you'll have a pretty hard time doing it with sticks and stones. Sure, you can attempt to hit a small animal with a rock, but any child will tell you that this isn't easy. Instead, you should consider trapping small animals.

To begin setting up a trap, look for tracks, droppings, chewed or rubbed vegetation, nesting or roosting sites, feeding and watering areas. You'll want to place your trap on a well-established path at the most narrow part. Make sure you cover your trap with mud and decomposing vegetation to mask your human scent.

How to Build a Simple Snare

Rigging a simple snare is a useful survival skill. It consists of a noose placed over a trail or den hole and attached firmly to a tree, stump or stake.

This type of snare usually does not kill the animal, so check it every day. Wire is the best choice for a simple snare.

  1. Find the most narrow point of the path and place barriers / makeshift fence that will drive the animal towards the snare.
  2. Tie one end of a strand of wire, string, or rope around the tree, stump, or stake.
  3. Make a loop with the other end of the wire, so that you now have a large circle, almost like a wire lasso, tied to the stake.
  4. Twist the bottom of this loop to form a smaller circle, just large enough for the head of your prey to fit through.
  5. Then fold the smaller circle up so that it is positioned inside the smaller loop. Position the snare over the trail or run that the animal is expected to follow.


First and foremost – don't eat any plant that you don't know! Avoid:

  • Milky or discolored sap
  • Plants growing in water
  • Beans, bulbs, or seeds inside pods
  • Bitter or soapy taste
  • Spines, fine hairs, or thorns
  • Dill, carrot, parsnip, or parsleylike foliage
  • "Almond" scent in woody parts and leaves
  • Grain heads with pink, purplish, or black spurs
  • Three-leaved growth pattern

Stick to safe plants like blackberries, blueberries, wild carrots, cattails, dandelions, daylilies, and roses. There are hundreds of plants that are safe for eating, so get knowledgeable on these.


If you're starving, you'll eat just about anything, including insects. Avoid insects that sting or bite, are hairy or brightly colored, caterpillars, spiders, ticks, and mosquitoes.

Ants, termites, beetles, grubs, worms, and insect larvae are edible. If possible, place in boiling water before eating. Remove any wings and barbed legs also.

Building Shelter

Once you're good and full on a diet of bugs and river water, you should erect some kind of shelter. Shelter building is an essential survival skill and will help protect you from the outside elements.

Remember: the smaller the shelter, the more heat it will retain. Read more about survival shelters here.

Tarp Shelter

If you have the supplies, this is probably the easiest survival skills shelter to build. You'll need a sheet of plastic or something similar and some rope.


  1. Tie the rope between two trees that are about 6 to 10 feet apart.
  2. Drape your tarp over the rope.
  3. Anchor the tarp down with rocks.
    a.Don't puncture the tarp with stakes
Building a survival shelter is a crucial survival skill

Debris Hut

This shelter requires a little more time, but it's sturdier than a tarp shelter.


  1. Find a sturdy tree with a Y-shaped fork about three feet up the trunk.
  2. Rest one end of a long, sturdy log in the nook of the tree's Y-shaped fork. Secure it with rope if you have it. This will serve as your shelter's roof support.
  3. Lean smaller sticks against either side of the ridgepole. Start about two feet away from the tree to leave yourself an open entryway. Set the sticks as close together as possible to make a tight shelter.
  4. Add a layer of brush, twigs and thorn vines to the outside of your shelter. This will act as a net-like layer to hold the insulation in place.
  5. Insulate your shelter by adding a thick layer of dead, dry leaves, pine needles, grass or whatever other dry debris you can find.
  6. Insulate the shelter's interior by filling it with dry leaves. Place a large pile of leaves outside the entryway, then crawl inside to pack down the insulation and create a nest for yourself.
  7. Seal yourself inside the shelter by pulling in the leaves from the pile you placed outside the entryway. Seal the opening as tightly as possible to prevent drafts and exposure.


Sniper Style Concealment as taught by the best.

Photo gallery of some top notch German Sniper concealment

Survival First Aid

If something should go wrong and you or someone in your group is injured, you need to know how to take action to prevent further emergency. These survival skills are life-savers.

Stopped Breathing

If breathing has stopped, begin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Place the patient on back and follow these survival skills steps:

  1. Open the airway by lifting the patient's neck and tilting the head back.
  2. Pinch the nostrils to prevent air leakage.
  3. Place your mouth completely around the victim's mouth and blow, watching for chest expansion.
  4. After removing your mouth, listen for air leaving the patient's lungs and watch for the chest to fall. Check for an airway blockage if the chest does not rise.


To control bleeding, elevate the wounded area above the heart and apply pressure. Use pressure at the pulse point between the injured area and the heart if bleeding fails to stop.

If bleeding still persists, use a tourniquet between the injury and the heart.

After bleeding has been controlled, wash the wounded area with disinfectant and apply a dressing and bandages.


  1. Splint the joints above and below the fracture.
  2. Be sure to pad your splints.
  3. Check the splint ties frequently to be sure they do not hinder circulation.
  4. Cover all open wound with a clean dressing before splinting.

Heat Exhaustion

When water is scarce, heat exhaustion can occur, resulting in nausea, faintness, a weak, rapid pulse and/or cold and clammy skin.

Lie the patient down in the shade and give small sips of water.

Coleman survival first aid kit. Click to order from Amazon

This survival first aid kit has everything you'll need for outdoor medical emergencies. Click to order from Amazon

Survival Hunting: Slingshot skills

Here is a great video from one of the best slingshot marksmen ever.

He grew up depending on a slingshot to hunt small game because his older brother got the shotgun...

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