Wilderness survival is more than bug out kits and survival kits. A large component of wilderness survival is skill sets and how those skill sets can help you survive without equipment. Surviving without the ideal equipment is the goal of every wilderness survival expert but it takes many years to get there. Below is a list of survival skills, how they are useful, and how they replace heavy equipment you would typically bring with you in a backpack or a hiking pack.
- Hunting, fishing, snares, traps, catching my hand, or otherwise obtaining meat from nature is a skill that will reduce the amount of weight needed to be carried significantly. Although it’s probably unwise to high golf into the wilderness with nothing but a gun and expect to be able to eat off of a deer you shot for 30 days, being able to procure your own food while in nature is essential to reducing the number of preparations you have to bring with. Instead of carrying 30 pounds of tinned, charred, or dehydrated protein, protein can be obtained for the weight of a bow and arrow set or a very small minimalist fishing set that consists of 20 pound line, a hook, a sinker, and a bobber.
After 23 years of turkey hunting, I finally pulled the trigger on my first 23-pounder… my new personal best gobbler. I put the bead on this Tom on Friday at 6pm. pic.twitter.com/FXTRSwHiuI
— Robert J. Pye (@PYE75) May 8, 2022
- Similar to hunting, fishing, snares, and traps, being able to forage reduces the weight of the amount of food which must be carried when out in nature. It’s important that the area you intend to forage is the same area you have studied so that the plants you eat are known to you and safe. The last thing you want to do is to trudge off into the forest with a book, no experience, and have it be the wrong area for the book you have. Learning to forage should be done with a mentor when possible.
— Helen Pitel (@helenpitel) May 3, 2022
- Collecting and filtering water is a necessary skill set, as well as being able to find water. Carrying enough water for several days at a time is very difficult due to the weight. Finding a running body of water, such as a Creek or a river, and navigating near it at all times to keep a ready supply of freshwater is the best idea. In addition to this, being able to safely drink that water through filtering out solids and boiling it, significantly reduces the need to carry chemicals to purify your water.
— Karl Zimmermann (@KarlZimmerman17) May 9, 2022
- Another significantly heavy item carried by hikers and backpackers are tents, tarps, canvases, and other shelter building materials. If you are capable of constructing wilderness shelters that are capable of keeping out the wind, rain, and snow, then it is possible to reduce the weight of what you must carry further. Being able to construct a shelter that has your body up off the ground will further insulate you from the cold and wet.
Over the weekend I built my own wilderness shelter and spent the night in it. A mere 2 days with no internet was wonderful and motivating to unplug regularly. (Brought my laptop for movies but didn't actually wind up using it, read books instead) pic.twitter.com/K6GJTFLCkQ
— stealthymat (Do not comply!) (@stealthymat1) April 27, 2022
- Other essential skills would be basic bushcraft where in learning to make cordage, knots, wilderness carpentry with just a knife and hand ax, making fire to stay warm and keep the heat with rocks would also be a good one to reduce the need to constantly collect fuel.
Beautiful weather for our CCF field day. The cadets are using their knot-tying skills to good effect for our first activity of the day: raft-building. #SCHSccf @Cadets_london @SCHSgdst @GDST pic.twitter.com/QW7qiWC58N
— SCHS Co-curriculum (@SineMetuSCHS) May 9, 2022
This is by no means an extensive list of skills which any wilderness experts should aspire to attain. However, it should be achievable by anyone with a sincere desire to learn within just a short year or two and will significantly reduce the weight necessary to carry items for wilderness survival. You can watch more about carrying less here.