OUTDOOR HACKS: Staying Sane During Survival

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

We’ve gone over all sorts of different techniques and basics for staying alive in a survival situation. Everything from getting a fire going in the cold, to finding food in the wild, to purifying water in a pinch, to making a makeshift shelter to get you through the night. But what if you’ve already been practicing these things? What if you’ve got the basics covered and you’ve spent the time in the dirt? Well I’ve got some hacks for you that will make you’re life much better out in the woods, whether it’s in a survival scenario or just out honing your skills.

1. Spices in tiny containers

You’ve got your survival matches and Bic lighters, you’ve got your Lifestraw and space blanket. You’ve got all the basics, but what about some of the other things that you’d like to bring with you from civilization? Personally, just a pinch of salt, pepper, and chili powder when I’m cold and wet out in the wild can make all the difference in my mood and motivation. Anything from an old 35mm film canister, to your grandparent’s weekly pill containers can be used to store spices that will make your meals 100% more enjoyable. Sure you can store away heavily seasoned freeze-dried food, but that stuff’s expensive. It’s much better to store dried beans and rice and sock some spices in your pack. Besides, who knows when you’ll need to sprinkle some salt on a squirrel.

2. Can I get that powdered?

In the same vein as the first hack, there’s little amenities that you can afford yourself without that much effort. All it takes is knowing that they exist. For example, I love having a cup of coffee every morning. In a survival setting that would seem impossible. However, these small human moments can mean the difference between having the state of mind to keep pushing forward or succumbing to despair. Instant coffee can be bought by the case, and milk powder can be bought at most supermarkets. Add a little bit of sugar into one of the small plastic containers above and you’ve got a small, compact, lightweight solution to making your mornings feel somewhat normal.

3. Survival Sprite?

Whether you’re lost in the middle of nowhere or you’re having to trek your way into the backwoods to escape civilization, you’re going to need to put out some serious physical exertion. The more you exert the more you sweat, and with every drop you’re going to be losing salt. That may not seem like a lot when you’re in the gym, but when you don’t have 3 square meals a day coming your way you need to replace that salt for your body to stay happy. My favorite solution to that is carrying electrolyte tablets with me to put into my water bottle when hydrating. Most of these have fruity flavors and also lightly carbonate your water when dropped in. It’s almost like cracking open a cold soda back in the city, only it tastes a million times better because your body actually needs the hydration and sweetness.

4. Grill it!

Don’t want to carry the extra weight of a backpacking stove? What about all those little canisters of fuel that you need? Even worse, what if you run out of fuel but still have food that needs cooking? I always carry a small titanium grill with me in my outdoor backpack. It weighs almost nothing and gives me a super quick and easy way to cook all kinds of food in inclement situations with almost no other tools on hand. All you need to do is be able to start a fire and you’ll be able to get some food cooked and ready to eat.

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