Basic Needs in the Wild

Basic Needs in the Wild

Hank Bangert, Writer

The first and most important thing you need to have to survive in the wild is a good attitude. Having this will help you accomplish what you need to do, without hurting yourself in the process. Now than we know that, let’s go over the four survival necessities in the wild. There is shelter, water, fire, and food, specifically in that order. Some find it surprising that food is the least important, but you can probably survive without food for a good 3 weeks. The reason that fire isn’t a high ranked one either is because it isn’t completely necessary for the first night. That is unless you are camping in late fall-winter. If you are camping in those times then a fire will be hard to get up in the first place and once you do it won’t provide a big amount of warmth unless built in a well made makeshift “fireplace”. Water is important because you can go about 3-7 days without water, about a third less than the time you can go without food. Finally, shelter is the most important on the list because it will provide you with security and protection from weather and wild animals. If made insulated it will provide warmth as well.

Because shelter is the most important and most difficult part of this, I will go over it first. Before you start building you will need to find a good location. You need to find a location that is away from wind, snow, rain, and glaring sun. It also needs to be on the opposite side of incoming weather systems. Normally beside a cliff facing east. You want to watch out for hazards like potential avalanche slopes, dead trees that could fall, or unstable rocks slopes. Next, keep your shelter away from wet areas like valleys, washes, troughs, or depressions. You don’t need to build it on a hilltop, and it should be about 50-75 yards away from your water source. Don’t place your shelter in heavily wooded areas, although you may be tempted. These places don’t have much sunlight and it will take a long time to dry after a rain. Choose an edge of a small clearing so you have plenty of sunlight and warmth. You want your door facing east so that it catches the first morning rays. Try to avoid places with animal trails (padded down areas that animals walk through) and potential large animal and dangerous plants (like poison ivy) encounters. Just remember that you don’t need a big shelter, small is good and doesn’t take resources away from mother Earth.