Many people are avid outdoor fanatic. If you belong to this type of people then you are aware of the thrill and excitement of wilderness trekking. Whether you participate in hiking, boating, camping, fishing, hunting, or some other activity, though, you need to make sure you bring the right equipment along. Going in the wilderness without wilderness survival kit may turn out to be more of a forgettable adventure than a fun adventure.
No matter what activity you are engaged in, there are a few important tools which you should not overlook. Firstly, you should not forget to bring a quality first aid kit with you. You never know what injuries you or a companion could sustain miles away from medical assistance. So include in your baggage bandages, antiseptics, braces and other important first aid materials. Secondly, bringing a quality knife in your wilderness adventure is a priority. A knife can serve several key purposes. Among other things, it can cut firewood, remove clothing from an injury, and help clear a path through the woods.
Anyone who might someday get lost while hiking, hunting, canoeing or backpacking should know the basics of how to build a wilderness survival shelter. There are several types, ranging from snow caves to poncho tents to modified rock-ledge shelters. They all have their place, but this article will cover just one: the lean-to.
One advantage of a lean-to is that it can be built almost anywhere there are trees. Another is that it requires no tools. Finally, it can be built with a variety of materials.
The most basic design starts with a small tree or pole or stick which is lodged horizontally in the branches of two trees. This is the peak of the roof, and so should be high enough so you can be comfortable inside the finished shelter, but also low enough in cool weather so the space created can be warmed (at least in part) by your body heat. The length should allow for you to stretch out underneath.
Against this main “roof beam” you lean any sticks you can find. Interweave a few horizontally for added strength. At the sides lean other smaller sticks to further enclose the space. If you leave one side open you can have a fire in front. Otherwise you can lean sticks on the other side of the beam as well, creating a kind of “a-frame” shelter (leave a hole to crawl inside).
To keep out wind and precipitation (the primary purposes of a survival shelter), you’ll need to “shingle” your roof. This can be done using flat evergreen boughs (just break the lower ones off small trees), bundles of grass, large pieces of tree bark, or even pieces of plastic and junk, depending on your circumstances. The important point here is to start by laying the materials against the bottom, where the roof slopes to meet the ground, and then add overlapping layers higher up.
Done right, a shelter like this can be made in an hour or so and keep out most rain, snow and wind. Unless you do plan to have a fire in front for warmth, keep the shelter small. In this way the heat from your body can keep the space heated to at least several degrees warmer than the outside air.
It can help to have some way to tie sticks together, so experiment with any vines or pliable branches and strips of bark you see. Some evergreen roots work well too, and can be found in the soft soil less than an inch deep.
If you plan to have a fire, make the opening of the shelter parallel to the expected direction of the wind. This will minimize the amount of smoke you breath. Facing away from the wind will actually cause some smoke to swirl back into the shelter.
Always provide some way to keep yourself off the ground as much as possible, since it can steal a lot of body heat. Make a mattress of dry leaves or grass. You can also make a mattress using fir boughs (unlike spruce, these have flatter and softer needles). Stick the broken ends in the ground and work towards them so the branches are layered like shingles, with only the soft tips above.
If you don’t have a fire, make a “door” or covering for the opening. In this way you can close yourself in to trap your body heat.
A lean-to is one of the best wilderness survival shelters because it is so adaptable. Look for other arrangements, like starting with a downed tree you can fit under and building a lean-to using that as the roof beam. Even a partial cave or rock overhang can be enclosed with a simple lean-to.
It has been reported that there are approximately 50,000 hiking-related search and rescue missions each year. While hiking in a back country may seem like a totally simple outdoor activity, there are still some possibilities that may cause your hiking trip to go awry. Falling, twisted ankles, thunderstorms and getting lost are just some of the potential incidents that can ruin your day and worse, put you in great danger.
That’s why it is very important to take with you a wilderness survival kit when you decide to go on hiking trips in back countries. Now, most people would think that survival kits are only used by extreme backpackers and that common hikers surely would not need one. But as mentioned above, that surely is not the case.
Planning is extremely important before you go out for a hike. In deciding what to put in your survival kit, make sure to consider possible situations that may arise during your trip. The contents of your kit will depend on how long and how far out into the wilderness you will be. Also, if you have made a plan of this, make sure to stick to it and not go farther and longer than you planned, hence your kit will not be of much use.
Water.Dehydration is one of the most probable causes of death in the event of a hiking disaster. Make sure to pack enough water and also include a water filtering device in case you run out of drinkable water.
Food.It might also be a good idea to pack energy bars and other read-to-eat food so that you never run out of energy.
3. A first aid kit.Another possible thing that might kill you out in the wilderness is an injury. Make sure that its contents will be enough to treat a mild or a more serious wound.
4. Light sources.Pack in waterproof matches, flashlights or lighters. These will prove useful in case you to start a fire for heat, to see in the darkness or better yet, to catch the attention of rescuers.
5. A knife.The knife has been a tried and tested survival tool because it can be used in various ways; from catching food, starting a fire and building a shelter. It is best if you pick a multipurpose, high quality utility knife.
But even if you are well-equipped with a wilderness survival kit, it would still be pointless or of little use without knowledge in survival tactics and skills. So before engaging in different activities in the wilderness, even if you insist that it will just be an innocent family camping trip, educate yourself with survival techniques to ensure you and your companions’ safety.
While carrying a survival kit will definitely not prevent accidents from happening, it will surely aid you in surviving your ordeal. A well-equipped gear coupled with awareness about survival can surely minimize that great number of yearly search and rescue missions.