Survival Skills and Nature Connection
What does connection with nature have to do with survival skills? Often survival skills are portrayed as man against nature. The portrayal is often that nature is trying to actively kill you at every moment. In actuality, if mankind looks at themselves as part of the environment rather than against it odds of survival are higher. Knowing the plants, animals, and landscape allows for connection with the environment the person is a part of. In this day and age no one is going to hand you that knowledge. We no longer sit around fires every night and teach each other about the plants and animals in the environment. Being a dedicated naturalist will make you a better survivalist. The order for survival skills is as follows: shelter, water, fire food. Though it does vary situationally. Use common sense.
Think about these priorities:
You can live 3 hours without shelter.
3 days without water.
3 weeks without food.
Shelters keep us dry and protect us from the elements. Knowing where to build your shelter is an important aspect of where to build one. Knowing what materials to use to insulate is equally important. Setting up a shelter under a widow maker or in a floodplain is a bad idea.
Shelter becomes an immediate priority in cold conditions. Humans do not have feathers or fur to insulate us. Humans do however have the ability to think logically and build shelters.
Some things to think about when building your shelter:
-Which way is the wind coming from?
-Will rain come into the entrance of the shelter?
-How to insulate the ground, and have your body up off the earth.
-Are their natural threats at the shelter site? (insect nests, widow makers, flood plain, drainage, rock cliffs, avalanche?)
-Where is the shelter in relation to food and water?
Depending on where you are water can be easy to locate. Rivers, streams, lakes and creeks are obvious sources of water. Sometimes in a desert it can be tough to find. Finding water involves studying and understanding the landscape. Water can flow underground, dew collects on leaves in the mornings, and is within plants. Green plants are indicators that water is nearby. Animal movement can also provide information on where water is. Gravity forces water to move downhill and can collect in depressions. Finding water is only the first step in solving water problems. Knowing how to purify it is key. Fire is the most obvious way to purify water from bacteria, viruses, and cysts.
Fire can keep you warm, purify water, signal for rescue, create light, tools, cook food and more. Knowing what plants grow in your environment is key. How would you make a fire without matches, lighter or flint and steel? Fire has created connection to the natural world for 1.7 to 2 million years. Man’s ability to control fire was a critical turning point for human evolution. How can fire be made using what is in the environment? Some primitive fire making techniques include but are not limited to hand drill, bow drill, pump drill, fire plow, fire saw, fire thong, and flint and steel.
Fire does not just happen. Proper planning sets you up for success. It is smart to be familiar with a variety of fire starting methods. Making a fire has a lot to do with choosing the correct materials. That way when you light it it actually ignites. Gathering tinder and piles of progressively dry larger sticks is the first step. Separating pencil lead thick sticks, pencil sticks, finger sticks, half wrist sticks and full wrist sticks into piles helps with building a fire. Position the sticks from small to large so each layer of the fire ignites the next. There are many different fire structure techniques that will be covered in a later post. It’s best to practice making fire often so if fire is really need it, you know how to make one.
In the modern world it is easy to go to a drive thru or buy food at a grocery store. If you do not know the plants and animals that make up your environment it can be challenge to find food in the woods. Journaling plants and animals in your area or areas you are traveling to helps most people remember their patterns. After a few days without food our decision making abilities can be downright dangerous. Hunting, fishing, gathering, and scavenging are the ways to obtain food in the natural world. Each method requires practice. Look for our future posts on each!
To do list:
Learn and practice at least three methods of shelter, water, fire and food to be competent in each category and build on them.