If you just found your love for the outdoors, it’s important to know that you need some skills out there so that no emergency is taking you totally unprepared.
From choosing wisely to building a fire with a flashlight, you need to know a lots of things and here’s a list of the most important ones.
Let’s assume that your luck has run out and you find yourself lost in the wilderness. Staying high and dry is fundamental, so you better stay away from valleys and paths where water may flow toward you. The risk for some instant flash floods is high as they may flood a low-lying area in a couple of minutes.
Therefore, play it safe and pick a campsite away from natural dangers like widow-makers (dead branches that may fall down during the night are a good example), insect nests or falling rocks.
You may want to be as close as you can to running water and dry wood. This way you may put together a shelter and build a fire easier and faster. A place with some rocky walls or other formations is also a good idea as they may protect you from the elements.
Be prepared so take with you any battery that falls into your hands. You need to connect the negative and positive terminals with a foil (gum wrapper will do too), a wire or some steel wool to make a spark. You’re going to drive it onto your tinder bundle afterwards. Of course, the best is if you keep an every day carry lighter with you at all times.
Having a fire when in the outdoors not only gives you light and keeps you warm, but also keeps at distance the predators.
There are a couple of key ingredients when it comes to fire: tinder bundle of dry materials, and wood in various sizes (toothpick, Q-tip and pencil). You need to make a base out of a forearm-sized log and also to prepare a windscreen for your tinder.
Once the tinder is lit, you may layer the smaller kindling against the large log so that the oxygen goes through and feeds the flames.
As the flame gets bigger, add larger kindling until you think your fire is big enough to take the bigger logs.
Some say that you can only survive 3 hours on a really bad weather and that’s because hypothermia may kill in a cold weather. Not only you need waterproof clothing and boots, but you also want your shelter to be well-insulated, protecting you from the elements.
Take a look around and use a downed tree resting at an angle to create a basic lean-to shelter. You may also get a large branch that you may secure a standing tree, stacking small branches close to each other on the side.
You need to layer debris (moss, leaves, everything that gives you some kind of protection), across the angle wall.
Finish up your shelter with layering yourself from the cold ground by arranging a 4 to 6 inches’ layers of debris to lie on.