Survival is the strongest instinct in mankind. Our bodies will go to extremes to keep us unscathed, warm or alert in situations it perceives threatening. Learning to turn these instincts into skills to make one survive in the most arduous situations has struck an interest in many. These techniques, not only fascinating, could also prove themselves handy in cases of natural disasters or even economic catastrophes. While some may have gathered weapons and supplies to be prepared should they be faced with such unfortunate occurrences, few understand the greater practicality in knowing to survive in the most basic circumstances.
In actuality, weapons and supply in cases of famine, plague or warfare, could potentially be your downfall. Heavy to carry, attention-attracting and time-wasters when on the move, these items may impede your survival in a way primitive survival skills will not.
Understanding Primitive Survival Skills
Contrary to popular belief, you need very little to both protect and feed yourself. Obtaining food, staying warm and creating weapons have in fact the same basis – gathering the essential elements you need and knowing to make more than one use for them.
Being prepared for survival in the wild involves understanding that your body is already prepared to perform regally to protect you. You merely need a few tools and rational and systematic mind to remain safe and functional.
Primitive survival skills rely on two elements:
1. Your increased adrenaline levels
2. Your ability to stay organized and resourceful even under stress
When faced with danger, our fear to be harmed results into the release of adrenaline from our adrenal glands, which increases our blood flow to the brain and major muscle groups. Thus, we are particularly alert, in anticipation of the flight or fight that will be required from us when danger arises. This means that in the wild or when running from conflict, your body is less susceptible to hunger, exhaustion and temperature changes. The knowledge of your increased physical ability should allow you to keep a clear head and confidence in your ability to survive, even on low sustenance.
Staying rational and level-headed will then allow you to analyze circumstances, weigh your body needs against distancing yourself from threat and prepare for the night and following day. You will need to strike a balance between paying attention to your levels of hydration, what you are eating, how much you are sleeping, your exposure to strenuous temperatures and remaining calm should you be struggling in any of these aspects.
The Tasks You Will Need To Perfom:
Assembling rocks and wood
Your priority needs to be to collect elements from which you may build a weapon. This will be of use for protection in case of attack and more commonly to gather food and build a fire. You must attempt to find elements as dissimilar but complementary as possible, for instance: a rock, a stick of wood and a vine that could be attached together to make a hammer or even spear. The latter can be used both in hunting and in building your shelter. You may also look for sharp rocks to use as knives. Much more discreet, knives will be easy to carry when on the move and are more practical when skinning animals.
Creating shelter early
This will require more time and patience than you anticipate, and it is imperative you start your task hours before nightfall. It will be practically impossible to create a robust shelter using only moonlight for visibility. As you will be unsure of weather conditions you may face at night (rain, strong winds etc) you must be particularly careful when creating your shelter-like tent to attach all elements you have gathered as tightly together as you can. In certain environments, especially when among predatory species, camouflage is essential. Litter your shelter with leaves to ensure you blend in with your surroundings.
Building a fire
A fire will tick almost all survival boxes: sustenance, temperature regulation and protection. You can use the fire to cook the food you have gathered or hunted, to keep warm, and also discourage straying predators from getting near you. A fire may take up to several hours to be created, as much friction is required to create that initial spark. In order to do that, assemble small sticks, dried boughs and an old man’s beard you may find hanging from surrounding trees. You will then need to rub the small sticks together to create as much friction as you can. Soon as smoke appears, place the old man’s beard and the dried bough right underneath the kindling and start blowing, gently. The spark that will be created will easily catch on to the old man’s beard and dried boughs. Make sure you then feed the fire additional fuel, such as logs of wood and if available, chopped wood, to keep it burning as long as possible.
Collecting food and obtaining water
This may be the most crucial yet challenging part of primitive survival. Dehydration is the main cause of death under a basic survival strain. Storing water when deprived of tools may be close to impossible, so you should instead make sure you lay camp near a water supply, such as a river or stream. Carrying and storing food may be much easier, as even clothing can be used as a mock-bag to drop the food at the center of and, assembling the edges, protect through the night. Shrubs may be the most easily found item, while mushrooms, though in the plenty, are potentially dangerous as many indiscernible species are poisonous. Hunting or fishing in nearby streams will require patience and agility which, with practice, you may master using simple tools like the spear or knife you will have created earlier. Beware of infection, and make sure, even in cases of extreme hunger, the meat you consume is fully cooked before you eat it.
Though these tasks may appear challenging, mastering the primitive survival skills you will need to make it in the wild lies in practice and confidence. Wood excursions to exercise your knowledge are advised, and they will provide you with the expertise you need should you truly be stranded away from civilisation and determined to survive.