Survival Lessons: Outdoor Survival Skills Every Guy (and Girl) Needs to Know Part Two

In the second part of our two-part post on survival skills every guy and girl needs to know, we'll help you learn the last 6 skills so you are on your way to feeling confident in surviving should you get stranded.

Survival Skill #6
Collecting Water With a Transpiration Bag

Did you know that just like us humans, plants “sweat” throughout the day. It sounds weird but it’s a process called transpiration.

You can take advantage of this clean and really pure source of water pretty easily. Just put a clear plastic bag over a leafy branch and tie it tightly closed for a few hours.

Then when you return later in the day, water will have condensed on the inside of the bag, ready to drink. Pretty cool right?

Survival Skill #7
Identifying Edible Plants

Most people think that they need to go after big game in a survival situation. But the truth is that you’ll waste energy and only exhaust and dehydrate yourself in a fruitless attempt to bring them down a huge meal.

That means eating edible plants and small forrest critters like fish, frogs, and lizards.

But you need to separate the plants you can eat from those that could or will kill you can only be done as a matter of memorization.

They make small books to familiarize yourself with plants in different environments.  A few common edible plants that you find in many places include cattail, lambsquarter (wild spinach), and dandelions. Find these and eat then up!

Survival Skill #8
Using a Split-tip Gig to Catch Critters

Gigging is a term that means hunting with a multi-pronged spear and it is the simplest way to catch anything from snakes to fish.

Just cut down a little sapling of about an inch in diameter, and then split the fattest end with a knife or sharp rock into about four equal sections. You need to go about ten inches down.

Then push a stick between the tines to spread them apart farther.  Then you need to sit an sharpen the points. Now you’ve got an easy-to-use four-pronged spear.

This is much easier for catching small critters than a single sharp pointed spear. You just need to find one and stab it quickly. 

Survival Skill #9
Understand How to Navigate By Day

Chances are if you ever find yourself without a GPS tool or a basic map and compass you can still use the sky to find your way.

Of course the most obvious method to get a general bearing by day is to look at the sun. The sun, which rises approximately in the east and sets approximately in the west anywhere in the world is your marker.

You can also use an analog watch to find the north-south line in a pinch. Just hold the watch horizontally and point the hour hand at the sun.

Then imagine a line running exactly midway between the hour hand and 12 o’clock on the dial. This is the north-south line. If you are on daylight savings time then just draw the line between the hour hand and one o’clock.

Survival Skill #10
Navigating By Night

Find the North Star, which is the end of the Little Dipper’s handle if you are navigating by night.

If you can find the Big Dipper, you can draw a line between the two stars at the outer edge of the constellation’s dipper portion and extend this line toward the Little Dipper, and it will line up with the North Star.

Face the North Star, and you’re facing true north. If there is a crescent moon in the sky that night, you can connect the horns of the crescent with an imaginary line. Then extend this line to the horizon to indicate a southerly bearing.

Once you determine your direction, you need to pick a landmark nearby or in the distance to follow by daylight.

Survival Skill #11
Tying a Bowline

Knots can come in handy for a slew of survival scenarios. Just a few of them are tying snares, securing shelters, lowering equipment or yourself down a cliff face.

Ideally, you should know a number of knots, from hitches to bends to loops, in your skill set. If you only have then make sure it is a bowline. You can use this from multiple things like hunting.

Survival Skill #12
Sending Up a Survival Signal

If you've fallen or have a debilitating injury your only hope for getting saved is to max out your visibility so rescuers can find you.

You can use two methods to do this: 

The first is a signal fire and the first rule is to put it out in the open for visibility. We are talking really open areas like hilltops or clearings in a forest where nothing such as a cliff face or even trees, will disperse the smoke. You want smoke to go up so it can be seen from far away.

One thing you need to do is create a platform to raise the base of the fire off the ground so that moisture doesn’t saturate the wood on the bottom. You want to save your  best combustible material for your signal fire to guarantee a quick light should you hear a rescue plane coming.

Once the fire is lit, you will want to pile on green branches, like pine boughs in winter, to produce thick smoke. You are not worrying about warmth you want thick smoke that looks like a cloud coming up from the ground.

The second is a mirror signal you need a signal mirror. even at night you can use moonlight. You know that this can be seen for miles. In fact you can see this much farther than any flashlight in most weather conditions. 

You don’t need a store-bought signal mirror either to be effective. You can improvise with any reflective surface you’ve got. You can even use a rearview mirror or headlights or even a cell phone screen.

Aiming the reflection is the key to having it seen. Hold out a peace sign and place your target--be it plane or boat--between your fingers. Then flash the reflection back and forth across your fingers. That will produce the flash of light you want.

Do you have any other survival tips that you would like to share with us? Send us a message on Facebook


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