Survival Guide

The following information will provide many suggestions that can help you and your companions survive in many adverse situations whether simply lost, storm bound in snow, wind or rain, overdue without adequate supplies, suffering exposure, or any number of other occasions where "to survive" necessarily becomes your lone objective.

A Survival Guide

Survival is largely a matter of common sense - perhaps the most important thing you can carry with you. With it, and a little help, you can assure warmth, shelter, water, and food - the four most important aspects to survival - in that order.

Survival Psychology

Don't panic. Survival is a frame of mind. As you start to recognize the seriousness of your situation, concern for the unfamiliar and unknown can weaken your ability to think and plan. The knowledge that nature is neither for you nor against you is basic in setting aside this initial fear. Keep in mind that while you can not control your circumstances, you CAN control how you operate and live within them.

Perhaps the most important requirement for survival is to accept immediately the reality of the situation and act accordingly. Knowledge of survival information will contribute to a feeling of confidence which is important in handling fear and panic.

Factors Affecting Survival

Being aware of the following conditions or threats can aid you in recognizing them in a survival situation and in turn will allow you to determine the degree of threat, and to develop a plan to either overcome, or at least, successfully deal with the problem.

Fear - Fear is normal, but it can affect your ability to survive. You must recognize your fears and, using common sense, channel the energy that fear generates into becoming more alert, aware, and motivated.

Pain - Pain is nature's way of making you pay attention to something wrong with you. But nature also has a way of buffering pain if you are too busy to pay immediate attention to the injury. The point is to remember a special effort must and can be made, to keep hopes up, remain positive, and keep working for survival.

Cold - Cold can be an especially insidious enemy because it will reduce your ability to think and can tend to lower your will to do anything. For these reasons maintaining or getting warm is the first priority in survival situations.

Thirst - Even when thirst isn't extreme it can dull your mind. For this reason, it is important to start planning activities to forage for water even though you can survive in most situations for several days without. If water is available, don't deprive yourself of it. As with pain and hunger, you can will yourself not to thirst - but such deprivations can lead to confusion which can in turn lead to dehydration.

Hunger - Hunger is fourth on the list of priorities because in most situations you can survive several weeks without eating. However, like thirst, the more immediate danger is the effect it can have on the mind - lessening your ability for rational thought. Both thirst and hunger increase your susceptibility to the effects of cold, pain, and fear.

Fatigue - When you are tired you don't think clearly and can become careless. Over exertion is the usual cause of fatigue, but you should also recognize other factors which can contribute to fatigue such as feelings of hopelessness, dissatisfaction, lack of goal orientation, frustration, and boredom. Extreme fatigue can destroy the desire to survive. One must deal with the fatigue (rest) and the cause where one of the above factors may be involved.

Boredom and Loneliness - When nothing happens and rescue isn't imminent, feelings of boredom and loneliness can creep up on you. Your reaction can often be more of a problem to your survival than any physical factors such as pain, cold, thirst, or hunger.

Boredom and loneliness can be overcome by: avoiding panic and staying calm/patient; keeping busy - mentally and physically. Make decisions and act on them. Plan solutions to your problems.


Perhaps the number one rule of surviving in the wilderness is to stay put. Unless you are absolutely certain of your directions and have ample daylight hours, you will be far better off spending the time preparing for an overnight or extended stay where you are. And your chance of being found - faster - is much improved compared to your being on the move. Incidentally, rules number 2 and 3 are stay put and stay put!

Go on to Primary Survival Concerns - Warmth - Shelter - Water and Food