How To Survive In The Wilderness

An understanding of the basic concepts of how to survive in the wilderness is important if you ever find yourself in an emergency situation in the wilderness.

The will to survive

State of mind is an important factor in survival. Maintain a strong will to survive! From time to time, we can hear or read about remarkable wilderness survival stories. A common denominator for most of the survivors in these stories is a strong will to survive.

Basic needs

In a wilderness survival situation you will be confronted with many problems that you need to overcome. There are four basic needs for survival in the wilderness.


Maintaining an ideal body temperature is crucial. Your body operates within a narrow temperature range. In most survival situations, the challenge is to keep you warm, especially at nights.


Since the human body is 75 per cent water, you need a constant supply of water to function. The average person can survive for three days without water, but it is best not to wait until you run out of water before you look for more.


As humans we need a certain amount of sleep to remain rational. Without sleep, your mind may hallucinate, making you unable to make conscious decisions to better your situation.


An average adult can survive for weeks without food; therefore, food is rarely a first priority. However, in many survival situations your body burns more calories than normal, requiring you to need extra energy. In addition, food is important for your mental state.

Basic rules

Sometimes, when faced with a survival situation, stress can impact the mind and affect decision making. Survival depends on your ability to withstand stress and to take appropriate actions.

1. Stop.

Sit down and stay put until the fear, anger, and or frustration has gone from the system.

2. Think through your situation.

What do you have that can help you in this situation? Your mind is your greatest survival tool!

3. Observe your surroundings.

Where should you stay? If you told someone where you were going, people may be searching for you. Is there an open area where the searchers would have a better chance of seeing you?

4. Plan your action.

In most cases, the priority should be:

– Find or make a shelter against the weather.

– Build a fire for heat.

– Signal to attract attention.

– Find water.

Wilderness Survival Stories

I always find it interesting to read a true wilderness survival story. One of the most remarkable wilderness survival stories I have ever read is described in the book “Between a Rock and a Hard Place”. This astonishing story shows that the force of life can beat unbelievable odds against the force of death.

Outdoor adventurer

“Between a Rock and a Hard Place” is an amazing book by a devoted outdoor adventurer, Aron Ralston. Writing in engaging candor, Aron tells about the consequences of his many life choices, his love of outdoor adventure and what was started as a simple hike April 2003 in the wilderness of Utah.

Dramatic fight for life

The hike ended in six days of hell for Aron. He was trapped by a large boulder 100 feet down in the bottom of Blue John Canyon – one of the most remote spots in USA. With little food and water and the painful knowledge that he didn’t inform someone where he was headed. Aron then committed the most extreme act imaginable to save himself…( I will not reveal the ending of the book.

The will to survive is essential

When you read the story of Aron Ralston you will probably doubt some of his decisions. Well, he is an outdoor adventurer. I guess the definition of an adventurer could be a person that sometimes makes decision that put himself in danger?

However, the story really pinpoints why the will to survive is so crucial in an emergency situation. “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” will surely take its place among the classical mountain climbing survival stories.

Wilderness Survival Training Around The World

The information provided at is not a substitute for a wilderness survival training course. I highly recommend you to participate in a training program in an outdoor or wilderness survival school.

A wilderness survival course will provide you with the practical experience necessary to handle many kinds of problems that could arise in the wilderness. A training course will increase your skills and knowledge and make your next wilderness adventure safer and more enjoyable.

The following list of wilderness survival schools is for information purposes only. It is up to you to check the credentials of the survival schools and to find a program that is compatible with your needs.

Wilderness Survival Schools

United States

Apologia Outdoors
Location: Alabama

Sigma III Survival School & Outdoors Club
Location: Arkansas

Reevis Mountain School
Location: Arizona (Roosevelt)

Aboriginal Living Skills School
Location: Arizona (Prescott)

Bush Mechanics Survival Training
Location: California (San Diego)

Headwaters Outdoor School
Location: California

Lifesong Wilderness Adventures
Location: California , Oregon

Survival Training School of California
Location: California

The Tracker School
Location: California , Florida , New Jersey

California Survival School
Location: California

WilderSkills is a youth outdoor education school
Location: California, San Francisco Bay Area

Wilderness Survival Institute
Location: Colorado (Loveland)

Twin Eagles Wilderness School
Location: Idaho (Sandpoint)

Green Earth Survival School
Location: South Florida

Byron Kerns Survival
Location: Florida

Real World Survival Training School
Location: Florida

Urban Survivalcraft
Location: Florida (Miami)

Blackthorn-USA Outdoor Adventure School
Location: Kansas (Riley county/Flint Hills)

Maine Primitive Skills School
Location: Maine (Augusta)

Location: Maryland (northern Frederick County)

Future Necessities Wilderness Living Skills and Primitive Technology
Location: Minnesota (Forest Lake)

First Earth Wilderness School’s
Location: Missouri (Missouri Ozarks)

Wolf’s system of Survival
Location: New York (Schuyler Falls)

The Wilderness Learning Center
Location: New York State (350 miles North of New York City)

Survival Resources
Loation: New York State (Hudson Valley)

NORTH CAMP Outdoor Survival Skills
Location: New York State (North Central Catskill Mountains)

Practical Primitive
Location: Great Meadows, New Jersey, Clifton, Texas, Waterloo, Ontario (Canada)

Earth School
Location: North Carolina (Tryon)

Midwest Native Skills Institute
Location: Ohio (Windsor)

ReWild Eugene
Location: Oregon (Eugene)

Oregon Peak Adventures
Location: Oregon (Portland)

Location: Oregon (Portland)

Location: Oregon (Portland) + California (Bay Area)

EarthSkills, LLC
Location: South Carolina

Trail Blazer Survival School and Adventures
Location: South Carolina (Simpsonville)

The Human Path (THP)
Location: Texas (Austin and San Antonio)

True Nature Farm – Sustainable Living & Wilderness School
Location: Utah (Boulder)

Roots School
Location: Vermon (East Calais)

Peak Survival
Location: Vermont (Pittsfield)

Mountain Shepherd Wilderness Survival School
Location: Virginia + Oregon

Alderleaf Wilderness College
Location: Washington (Monroe)

Earthwalk Northwest
Location: Washington (Issaquah)

Wilderness Awareness Schools
Location: Washington (Duvall)

Wolf College
Location: Western Washington

ReWild University
Location: Wisconsin (Menomonie)

Teaching Drum Outdoor School
Location: Wisconsin (Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest)

Central America

Costa Rica Survival Adventures
Location: Costa Rica


Remote Areas Emergency Medicine and Survival
Location: Alberta (Calgary)

Wisdom of the Earth
Location: British Columbia (Salt Spring Island)

International Canadian School of Survival (ICSOS)
Location: Manitoba

Arctic Response
Location: Northwest Territories (Yellowknife)

Trackers Edge
Location: Ontario (Whitby – outside of Toronto)

Beyond the Fire School of Survival
Winter survival training
Location: Ontario (Petawawa)

Survival in the Bush, Inc
Location: Ontario

WSC Survival School, Inc.
Location: Ontario

Nunavik Arctic Survival Training Center
Location: Quebec (Nunavik, Puvirnituq)


Survival Expeditions Camp
Location: Greece – Thessaly, mount Olympus and mount Kissavos

Bear Grylls Survival Academy
Location: UK

Woodsmoke – Bushcraft & Wilderness Survival
Location: UK – Lake District.

Woodland Ways – Bushcraft & Survival Courses
Location: UK – Oxfordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, and Lincolnshire

The Coastal Survival School
Location: UK

Wild Man Wild Food
Foraging courses – how to identify, gather and cook wild plants.
Location: UK – Canterbury, Kent.

Woodlore – School of Wilderness Bushcraft
Location: UK – East Sussex

Wildwood Bushcraft
Location: UK – Sussex

Forest Knights
Location: UK – Sussex

Bushcraft Expeditions
Location: UK – Beaminster, Dorset

Hands on Bushcraft
Location: UK – Wiltshire

Location: Ireland & U.K

EXTRA – Bushcraft & Survival
Location: Netherland – Bushcraft, Survival and Backpacking
Location: Netherland, Belgium, Norway and Sweden.


OTA Survival School
Location: India

29028 Adventure world
Location: India

Location: Thailand.


Bob Cooper Outback Survival Pty Ltd
Location: Western Australia

Creative Collectives Australia
Location: North-East Victoria

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