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The Elements of Survival

Most of us will never be in a survival situation. In addition to being largely unpredictable, life-and-death events are in part so dire because they are inherently rare. However, as outdoorsmen we’re more likely than most to have to get ourselves out of a scary situation by relying not just on instincts, but also on a skill set that not everyone takes the time to learn.

Here, we’ve broken down wilderness survival into five essential elements. The skills you will learn can help save your life in the event that you find yourself in a survival situation one day.

Roll over the circle for a quick overview, then to find out more information, click on the circle and it will give you much more.

[ If you cannot see the image above, click here to download the Adobe Flash Player ]

Got a good survival, hunting or fishing tip of your own? E-mail a detailed explanation of the tip, along with your name and address, to OLLetters@bonniercorp.com. Be sure to put "Reader Tip" in the subject line. The best ones will make it into an upcoming issue of the magazine.

Comments (9)

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from josephmorris90 10/4/2010 at 03:10pm

I love the graphic you have and rolling over for what items are mandatory for survival.
Jake, #2 is very important - letting people know where you are... there have been many stores that the person didn't tell their family or friends and then they got lost and can't get help!
One item I would add alternatively to the gun is Bear Spray.

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from jake 3/30/2010 at 08:08am

Two main things with survival. 1)Don't wait till you're in a survival situation to find out if you can survive. By that I mean go out and practice all the basic survival skills(start out with minimum risk survival situtions first and progress up to training under more difficult circumstances). Always though, when doing this make sure someone is aware of where you are at. That follows right into my number two with survival. 2)ALWAYS let somebody know where you will be at, at all times when possible.
The number two survival sitution applies for everyday situations and not just the woods.
Don't just go in your backyard for an hour or so and practice these things and think you are survival savy. You're not! You need to actually make a trek into the woods for a few days and practice. You don't have to put yourself in extreme hazard situations to learn these things but trust me, real life survival situations will be nothing compared to what you practice. However, if you are practiced, your chances of surviving are greatly enhanced than someone who isn't. If you know someone who is survival savy, get them to help you out but don't depend on them being there for you when you are in a tight spot. By that I mean don't just listen and watch, be hands on in learning.
The first thing that's going to happen to you if you are in a survival situation is mild to possibly extreme panic. Expect this. However, once this rush is over you will come to your senses and if you are survival savy, you will be surprised to find how clear your mind will become and your training will kick in.
Practice, practice, practice!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bo 3/12/2010 at 11:44am

Like Kody, I too am a paraphernalia freak. I keep at least five ways to start a fire in my fanny pack. I have several essentially homemade flint and steel devices, and the Gerber Strike Force, now produced by Ultimate Survival, a Swedish Fire steel (OF Course, I have this one, I am a Swede)and a Sparkie. They all work and I practice with them all the time. Practice is the key.
I do have a problem with using fire to sterilize your knife for backwoods surgery. Unless you are trained, DON'T. I have seen many people who thought they were doing good and either caused a loss of limb or severe disfigurement in their victim.
As far as the knife, putting it in the fire can destroy the temper of the blade and the usefulness of the knife. IF you need to sterilize the blade, pit it in boiling water for five minutes. You will not mess up the temper of the blade and that will be as close to sterile as you are going to get in the field.
But as the Captain pointed out, You have to have tried out the gear you take into the field. If you are using gear for the first time in an emergency, the odds are you will use it wrong. The worst time in the world to find out you don't know how to do something is when you are in a crunch. Often times you will fail and become a statistic. Practice with the stuff you carry into the field and be well versed in all of its uses.

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from Kody 3/11/2010 at 10:05pm

Just a reminder to those who use the forum and wish to support Outdoor Life Magazine. SUBSCRIBE TO THE MAGAZINE. While the Outdoor Life people may appreciate our good wishes it takes money to run the operation. The forum is great fun but the magazine provides more in depth stories and reviews. I look forward to receiving my copy every month.
This has been an unpaid commercial presentation.
Your truly.
Kody

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sledgehammer 3/11/2010 at 08:28pm

It may not always be what you have with you, but the knowledge of what you are to do if you find yourself in that situation. Keeping your head may be what keeps you from becoming a statistic or going home to your loved ones.

Be prepaired, both in mind and in your gear!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from patrick88 3/11/2010 at 03:05pm

hey kody your not the only one.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kody 3/11/2010 at 12:55am

I pay special attention to this reviews as they introduce so many terrific products. Yes, I am a paraphernalia freak. I tend to go into the woods with so many handy items that I would rival that poster of Charlie Chaplin goes to war. Nevertheless, I am sure I have room for more! I tell guys on job sites that I have brought every tool known to mankind- except the one I probably need! Sound familiar?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from patrick88 3/10/2010 at 11:03pm

the captain is right its not 1960 if you go in the woods unprepareed now days your just asking for trouble.any information you need is easly accessible you dont take a knife into bear country.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from The Captain 3/10/2010 at 12:39pm

This is far from in-depth, but it is a good starting point.
Experiment with your kit BEFORE you face a potentially life-threatenting situation and TEST IT ALL.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Write a Comment Your comment (200 characters or less):

from jake 3/30/2010 at 08:08am

Two main things with survival. 1)Don't wait till you're in a survival situation to find out if you can survive. By that I mean go out and practice all the basic survival skills(start out with minimum risk survival situtions first and progress up to training under more difficult circumstances). Always though, when doing this make sure someone is aware of where you are at. That follows right into my number two with survival. 2)ALWAYS let somebody know where you will be at, at all times when possible.
The number two survival sitution applies for everyday situations and not just the woods.
Don't just go in your backyard for an hour or so and practice these things and think you are survival savy. You're not! You need to actually make a trek into the woods for a few days and practice. You don't have to put yourself in extreme hazard situations to learn these things but trust me, real life survival situations will be nothing compared to what you practice. However, if you are practiced, your chances of surviving are greatly enhanced than someone who isn't. If you know someone who is survival savy, get them to help you out but don't depend on them being there for you when you are in a tight spot. By that I mean don't just listen and watch, be hands on in learning.
The first thing that's going to happen to you if you are in a survival situation is mild to possibly extreme panic. Expect this. However, once this rush is over you will come to your senses and if you are survival savy, you will be surprised to find how clear your mind will become and your training will kick in.
Practice, practice, practice!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from The Captain 3/10/2010 at 12:39pm

This is far from in-depth, but it is a good starting point.
Experiment with your kit BEFORE you face a potentially life-threatenting situation and TEST IT ALL.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from patrick88 3/10/2010 at 11:03pm

the captain is right its not 1960 if you go in the woods unprepareed now days your just asking for trouble.any information you need is easly accessible you dont take a knife into bear country.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from sledgehammer 3/11/2010 at 08:28pm

It may not always be what you have with you, but the knowledge of what you are to do if you find yourself in that situation. Keeping your head may be what keeps you from becoming a statistic or going home to your loved ones.

Be prepaired, both in mind and in your gear!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kody 3/11/2010 at 12:55am

I pay special attention to this reviews as they introduce so many terrific products. Yes, I am a paraphernalia freak. I tend to go into the woods with so many handy items that I would rival that poster of Charlie Chaplin goes to war. Nevertheless, I am sure I have room for more! I tell guys on job sites that I have brought every tool known to mankind- except the one I probably need! Sound familiar?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from patrick88 3/11/2010 at 03:05pm

hey kody your not the only one.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kody 3/11/2010 at 10:05pm

Just a reminder to those who use the forum and wish to support Outdoor Life Magazine. SUBSCRIBE TO THE MAGAZINE. While the Outdoor Life people may appreciate our good wishes it takes money to run the operation. The forum is great fun but the magazine provides more in depth stories and reviews. I look forward to receiving my copy every month.
This has been an unpaid commercial presentation.
Your truly.
Kody

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bo 3/12/2010 at 11:44am

Like Kody, I too am a paraphernalia freak. I keep at least five ways to start a fire in my fanny pack. I have several essentially homemade flint and steel devices, and the Gerber Strike Force, now produced by Ultimate Survival, a Swedish Fire steel (OF Course, I have this one, I am a Swede)and a Sparkie. They all work and I practice with them all the time. Practice is the key.
I do have a problem with using fire to sterilize your knife for backwoods surgery. Unless you are trained, DON'T. I have seen many people who thought they were doing good and either caused a loss of limb or severe disfigurement in their victim.
As far as the knife, putting it in the fire can destroy the temper of the blade and the usefulness of the knife. IF you need to sterilize the blade, pit it in boiling water for five minutes. You will not mess up the temper of the blade and that will be as close to sterile as you are going to get in the field.
But as the Captain pointed out, You have to have tried out the gear you take into the field. If you are using gear for the first time in an emergency, the odds are you will use it wrong. The worst time in the world to find out you don't know how to do something is when you are in a crunch. Often times you will fail and become a statistic. Practice with the stuff you carry into the field and be well versed in all of its uses.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from josephmorris90 10/4/2010 at 03:10pm

I love the graphic you have and rolling over for what items are mandatory for survival.
Jake, #2 is very important - letting people know where you are... there have been many stores that the person didn't tell their family or friends and then they got lost and can't get help!
One item I would add alternatively to the gun is Bear Spray.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Write a Comment Your comment (200 characters or less):

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