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Survival Skills You Need To Know

Survival Skills

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Imagine if you are lost in the woods without a compass, what survival skill advice will you follow?

Don’t panic; just follow this essential survival skills advice “look where the moss grows on the trees because it always grows on the north side.”

Unfortunately, following this advice will make you lost, walking in circles.

Welcome to SurvivalSkillsNow.com  Survival Skills Now focuses on providing information to help enhance your survival skills in disaster scenarios.

In this article, ten traditional survival skills advice will be scrutinized; we will explain why they do more harm than good.  Keep reading to see which survival skills information you are familiar with and what the experts recommend.

Now back to getting you out of the woods.

 #1  Look for moss growing on the north side of trees

The thought behind this is moss commonly grows on the north side of trees because the north side gets less sunlight, as the sun moves from east to west. Looking at moss on trees is not useful advice. Trees can be shaded from any direction in the forest. As long as sunlight is lacking, moss will grow anywhere on a tree, as long as sunlight cannot reach it.

Expert Survival Skills Advice- Invest in a compass and learn how to use it.

Survival Skills, Learn to Use a Compass and Map

If you plan to go hiking and want to avoid getting lost, heed the advice of survivor experts:  purchase and learn how to use a compass, as well as read a map.

#2  Rubbing frostbitten skin will warm it up

Being exposed to frigid environments without proper equipment increases your risk of frostbite. Most people think that rubbing frostbitten skin will help warm them.

The opposite is true; rubbing frostbitten skin only makes the problem worse. The friction generated by rubbing the surface of the skin will damage the tissues.

  Expert Advice- If you get frostbitten, seek shelter from the cold.

If you become frostbitten, do the following:

  •  Find shelter from the cold as a priority.
  • Cover with warm clothing or a blanket. If possible, drink warm fluids to restore your internal body temperature, and help prevent hypothermia.
  • Do not use warm, hot water, or heat from a fireplace to warm the frostbitten; this could cause burns.
  • If numbness and pain continue, get help as soon as possible;  severe frostbitten areas can result in amputation if left untreated.

#3  Prioritize having a roof on your shelter

Movies, books, and  TV shows about surviving in the wild show individuals building shelters that have roofs. Making a refuge with roof overhead is portrayed as the number one priority.

Although it’s essential to look for shelter from the elements, whether from the scorching sun or the cold rain, is a roof over your head necessary to do that?

  Expert Survival Skills Advice – Build an elevated, insulated bed from grass, leaves, and sticks.  The surrounding trees will act as a roof and provide protection and shade.

In terms of keeping you warm, an insulated bed should be the primary issue.  Why do you need a bed when you could always lie on the ground?

You can sleep on the ground, but you risk freezing to death, especially if the ground is wet. It gets colder at night, so it’s essential to have something to keep your body from losing heat to the surroundings.

The best way to make an elevated bed outside

  • First, lay two thick branches or logs parallel to each other, relative to your height.
  • Add a third thick branch into the middle to give it more structural integrity.
  • Look for thick, long sticks and place them on top of the platform.
  • Insulate the platform using grass or leaves.  If you can,  take branches off an evergreen tree and put them on the platform.

Only after this is completed should you construct the overhead shelter, in the form of an A-frame or lean-to.

#4  It’s essential to find a food supply immediately

If you want to survive in the outdoors, food is essential. Without food, you will have no energy and eventually starve to death, so it’s quite logical to find a food source first, right?
 
An average person can live for weeks (up to three weeks) without eating food.

  Expert Advice-  Focus on finding drinking water before looking for food.

Dehydration will occur before hunger and will negatively impact your chances of survival.

Food should always be your last priority. Without shelter or water, your chances of survival decrease as time passes, so prioritize these two needs over food.

#5  Eating snow can hydrate you

Snow is frozen water and should have the same hydrating effects as water, right? Only if you melt the snow first.

Expert Advice- Do not eat snow directly; melt it first.

Eating snow will not hydrate you; it will decrease your body’s internal temperature, which, in severe cases, can lead to hypothermia.

Snow on the ground can collect microorganisms that can be harmful.  So if it is necessary when using snow as drinking water to find snow that is white and melt it until you can drink it.

 #6 Locate a water source immediately in a desert

Suppose you are stuck in a desert, with a decreasing water supply, of course, the first thing to do is locate water to prevent dehydration?

Not at, because you’d end up sweating a lot and lose body fluids in the process.

Expert Survival Skills Advice-  Find shade in the desert and wait for it to cool down at night to search for water.

If you’re feeling thirsty, drink all of your water, don’t ration it. People have been found dead from dehydration after rationing their water.

Keeping yourself hydrated allows you to keep a clear head, to focus on your survival. Once night arrives, you’re free to roam around and look for a source
of drinkable water.

Another desert survival myth is that you can drink water stored inside a cactus.

If you decide to drink the water inside a cactus will do more harm than good, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, even sometimes paralysis. Cactus water contains highly-toxic alkaloids, harmful to humans.

Look for places where vegetation grows, and there may be underground water; rule out drinking water from a cactus.

If you know where to look for water in the desert, you should be able to survive for days.
Look at the base of the mountains, canyons, flat terrains, and dried river beds for vegetation; these are often sources of underground water.

#7  Boiling water will make any water supply clean

You have a source of water, but you’re not sure whether it’s clean enough to drink. What do you do?

If you boil the water, it’ll be completely safe to drink, it is the usual claim, but this is not the whole story.

  Expert Advice- Before you boil the water, filter it first using a clean cloth.

Merely boiling the water will not make the water safe to drink. Boiling the water kill certain harmful microorganisms, but boiling will not remove harmful sediment.  Here is what to do

Filter water through a clean cloth into a clean container.

Boil the filtered water.

  • Pour the water through a cloth into a container. The fabric will serve as a  filter, removing sediments and other visible impurities from the water. You can use two pieces of material as well as filtering the water twice to remove more contaminants.
  • Once you have filtered the water, boil the water to kill bacteria and other microbes.  This additional step will help make the water safer to drink, lessening the risk of water-borne diseases.

#8  Suck out snakebite venom

Sucking the venom from a snake bite has been seen in several movies and TV shows.  In reality, trying to cut and suck out the snake’s venom won’t help at all; it could worsen the situation.

Trying to suck out venom may damage tissue around the bite and, unfortunately, help the venom spread faster.

Expert Advice-  Try to remember the snake’s appearance, the size, color, and shape, to match the snake to its anti-venom when you get medical help.

What do you do if a snake bites you?

The best thing to do for a snake bite is to try to avoid being bitten.  If you do get bitten, here is advice to follow.

Snake Bite First-Aid
  • Call for emergency help right away or get to an emergency room as soon as possible if a snake has bitten someone.
  • Picture what the snake looks like: the size, color, shape of head and eyes, to tell the emergency room staff. Take a picture if you have your phone.
  • Keep the bitten area still to slow down the spread of venom through your lymphatic system.
  • Do not wash the area where the snake bit you—cleaning where the snake bite, l eliminate traces of the venom. Hospital staff will have more difficulty identifying the snake.
  • Remove all jewelry and constrictive clothing, in case of swelling.
  • Don’t apply a tourniquet.

Even from the most dangerous snakes, most snake bites are not always fatal, but in some instances can be.  The best thing is to avoid encounters with snakes. Here are a few ways to do this.

  • Carry a walking stick, tap the ground as you walk. A snake will likely attack the stick, instead of you,  if it feels threatened.
  • Wear a headlight or carry a flashlight at night if you can see the snakes you and avoid an encounter.
  • Wear long pants in addition to boots to protect your leg.
  •  Remain alert.
If you live in areas of the United States that have snakes, the best way to prevent snake bites is to stop them from getting into your yard and from there, your home.

#9 Playing dead will avoid bear attacks  

Playing dead to avoid getting mauled by a bear is probably the most well-known survival tip of all.  But does it work?

Surprisingly, it does work, but “play dead” only when the bear is about to make contact.

Expert Advice- Survival experts recommend packing bear pepper spray whenever you’re traveling to areas where bears are known to frequent.

The Best Ways to Decrease Bear Encounter

Knowledge of bear behavior can help decrease the chance of bear encounters and diffuse aggressive encounters if they occur.  If you are hiking, camping, or live in an area there near bears, pay attention to the following advice.

  • Do not give bears access to human food.
    Do not leave containers or packages of water, drinks, food, even condiments unattended or unsecured.
    Giving bears access to human foods makes them come back to the new food source.
  • Be Alert. Avoid areas designated for bears and stay on hiking trails.
  • Look for signs of bears to avoid them before they see you. These can include fresh tracks, signs of digging, torn-up logs, ripped open anthills, or fresh carcasses.    Bears will defend their food.
  • Avoid hiking at dawn, dusk, or night during the summer. This time is when grizzly bears are more active.
  • Don’t hike alone.
    Travel in groups of three or more.
  • Make noise.
    Yell out when hiking.  Forewarn bears of your presence, be especially noisy on windy days or when you are near loud streams.

What to do when you encounter a bear

Knowing bear behavior and what do in the different scenarios when you encounter a bear can decrease the chances of being injured by a bear.

Charging Bears

If a bear charges at you after an unexpected encounter, do not run.  You are likely to trigger their chase response.  You should follow this advice from the experts.

  • Stay still.  Most of the time, the bear will change direction.  If the bear does not change direction, start spraying the bear with your bear spray when the bear is within 60 feet or less.
  • If you no bear spray, and the bear continues to charge and about to make contact, drop to the ground, with your backpack.  Lie on your stomach with hands clasped on the back of your neck. Use your elbows to protect the sides of your face.
  • Remain still and quiet to show the bear you are not a threat.
  • Wait several minutes after the bear leaves before you move.  Give the bear enough time to gather its cubs, which may be hiding in trees or bushes.
  • Look around and listen carefully to ensure that the bear is no longer close by before getting up and walking away from the area.

Curious or Predatory Bears

If you are approached by a curious or predatory bear, with ears and head up,

  • Grab your things, especially food, and move slowly, without running to a car or building.
  • If retreating is not an option, gather with other people to make noise and yell at the bear.
    Uncap your bear spray and get ready to use your bear spray.  If the bear moves slowly and not retreating, wait until it is within 20-30 feet before spraying.
  • If you do not have your bear spray and a curious or predatory bear attacks, you must fight back.
    Use anything you find as a weapon, rocks, sticks, fists, and your teeth.  Aim your blows on the bear’s face, particularly the eyes and snout.
  • Predatory attacks by bears continue until the bear is scared away,  injured, overpowered, or killed.
  • The best way to prevent being attacked by a bear is to avoid contact when possible.  If avoidance is not possible, carry and practice using your bear spray when an attack is unavoidable.

Distant Bears

If you notice a bear far away and it does not see you,  do the following:

  • Keep out of sight, travel behind and downwind of the bear avoid the bear by going around it.
  • If the bear sees you and stands up on its two back legs, it tries to get information about you.  If possible, let the bear scent you by walking upwind, walking with your face in the wind, against the wind.
  • Leave the area slowly moving away from the bear.

Surprised Bears

If you unexpectedly encounter a bear, and it slaps the ground with huffs, woofs, clacks its teeth, or sticks out its lips, that is a warning you are too close and making it nervous.

Note this warning.

DO NOT:
Run, climb a tree, make sudden movements, shout, or drop and play dead;  you do not want to startle the bear.

DO:

  • Slowly put distance between you and the bear.  Take out your bear spray from your holster, take off the safety tab, and be ready to use it if the bear charges.
  • In a surprise encounter with a bear that is acting defensively, you should not fight back.  Fighting will on prolong the attack and likely result in more severe injuries.
  • People playing dead in Yellowstone ended up with minor injuries, 75% of the time.  On the other hand,  individuals that fought back, 80% of the time, received severe injuries.  It is best to “play dead.”

#10 Punch a shark to stop an attack

Shark attacks, although rare, is still frightening. What is the best defense in this situation? It is commonly suggested that you punch the shark on the nose to dissuade it from attacking you.

It sounds easy.  Have you tried punching underwater?  Try this to in a pool to see how hard it is.

 Expert Advice- The best way to stop a shark attack is to avoid the shark by swimming calmly away from them before they notice you.

How to Survive a Shark Attack

Knowing some facts about sharks and what attracts them goes a long way to avoid an encounter with a shark.

Before You Get in the Water

Listed below are precautions to take before entering the water and tips for dealing with sharks’ encounters.

  • Take off Shiny Jewelry.
    Shiny jewelry reflects light and shimmers, which resembles the scales of fish.
  • Do not swim alone.
    Swimming yourself makes you appear more vulnerable to sharks; you will have no one to provide assistance or get help should a shark attack.
  • Avoid swimming at dawn, dusk, at night, or in murky waters.
    These are when the shark is tracking fish, and you do not want it to misidentify you as prey.
  • Do not go into water that sharks frequent if you have a cut and or bleeding.  Also, do not urinate in the water.  Blood and urine have the same effect. The shark’s sense of smell is exceptionally accurate.  Sharks can recognize a drop of blood in the water,  miles away.
  • Avoid going near fishing boats or individuals fishing.  Unwanted fish and fish parts, with blood, are discarded in the water, attracting sharks.
  • Wear a Sharkbanz.  The Sharkbanz disrupts the shark’s electroreceptors.  The shark receives an electrical signal beyond the low-level electromagnetic signal, the fish’s muscle contractions, and heartbeats.
How to Survive a Shark Attack in the Water
  • Stay calm. If a shark approaches, do not splash in the water;  this is prey behavior.  Look it in the eye and push it away if it comes closer.  Let it know you are a predator as well.
  • If a shark attacks, fight back.


Use any weapon you have, a camera, snorkels, a knife, even your fist. Attack vulnerable areas of the shark, the eyes, the gills, the underbelly.

If you are lucky, the shore will lose interest.  Swim quickly to shore.

  • If your arm gets bitten, keep it above your heart and avoid looking at your injuries; seeing your injuries may contribute to shock.
  • Seek medical help for any injury.

Conclusion

Surviving in the wild or any disaster scenario is not easy.  If you equip yourself with the right knowledge and survival skills, you can get through whatever ordeals you may face from being lost in the woods, finding food and shelter, to surviving animal attacks.

Keep reading the articles in this blog for survival skills and information to practice your survival skills now.

 

Carol McGibbon

Welcome to Survival Skills Now.
After seeing and experiencing some of the effects of global warming, increased floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fires, and other situations, I see the importance of prepping. It is my mission to present survival skills information so that we can prepare for any survival situation.

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