Everyone should have some basic outdoor skills, even those who live in the city. You just never know when you might get stranded outside, especially if you are traveling through the mountains. A breakdown or even a sudden snowstorm can leave you stranded for hours or even days with no help, especially in areas where cell phones do not work. Learning a few basic outdoor skills could save your life when help can’t get to you.
Build a Fire
Fire is useful, even during hot summers. It can provide heat, allow you to cook and keep predators away from you. If you don’t carry matches or a lighter, or if your matches get wet, you need a way to start the fire with no supplies. Practice twirling a stick in a base of dry grass or other small tinder that’s easy to light. Iron pyrite, flint and quartz will all spark when it is hit with another rock that makes sparks.
Build a Shelter
If you know that help won’t arrive for hours or even a few days, you will need a shelter. You can’t rely on your vehicle for warmth as you will eventually run out of gas. If you have a tarp, you can easily make a shelter. If you are in an area with pine boughs, you can create a frame of sturdy branches and weave pine boughs in them. You can also lash long, sturdy branches together to make a teepee. If you are stuck in heavy snow, build a snow cave.
Not many places have water that is safe to drink from a river or creek. If you build a fire and have a fireproof container, you can boil water to drink. You can also catch the rain. In a pinch, you can build a solar still.
Dig a hole about 2 feet by 2 feet and 1 foot deep. Put a container in the center of the hole. Cover the hole with a tarp. Hold the edges in place with rocks, dirt, or wooden stakes from tree branches. Seal the edges of the tarp with dirt. Put a small rock in the center, ensuring the dip lines up with your container. The moisture in the ground will condense and run down the underside of the tarp and drip into the container.
Learning several knots can help you build a shelter, make a fishing line, or even set traps. You can even make tools if you can tie knots. The correct knot for an application could mean the difference between a secure shelter or losing a fish.
When traveling through remote areas, it’s always a good idea to carry food with you. However, it won’t last forever. You can fish if you have a string and a piece of wire to make a hook. You can even learn to tickle fish out of the water, though that is more of a summertime activity. Learn which foods that grow in the wild are good to eat, such as wild blackberries, wild onions, dandelion and other plants.