Exploring the wilderness can be breathtaking at times, but there are also a lot of risks involved. Even the most skilled among survivalists end up stranded sometimes and have no option but to wait out the dark in one spot.
It’s important to keep in mind that anything can happen. Yes, even to you. People often times think that a disaster can’t happen to them, only to then have the surprise of their life. With that said, following this short guide to get a basic understanding of how to survive a night in the woods.
First and foremost, it’s important to take some survival lessons from authorized experts because reading about a skill is one thing, and actually practicing the technique is a whole nother story. These essential survival skills are the basic requirements of a comfortable and safe night in the wild.
Building a Shelter
A makeshift shelter will protect you from the rain, wind, snow, sun, and sometimes even from wild animals. Building a shelter is one of the first things you should do in case you’re lost in the woods or if you aren’t sure you’ll make it back into civilization before nightfall.
As previously stated, we recommend going to a workshop in order to properly learn this skill. However, we can still make a few written suggestions. First off, it’s a good idea to make your shelter as small as possible without feeling too crammed. That way, you won’t require as much heat to stay comfy. Secondly, don’t build the shelter below rocky hillsides prone to rockslides. And finally, note that building a shelter in a low flatland area can make it prone to a flood in case it rains.
Starting a Fire
The other most important task when stranded for a night in the woods is building a fire. Even during summertime, spending a night in a dense forest can feel quite cold. With that said, we recommend packing the basics for any wilderness trip, one of the most important things being a high quality pocket knife and some waterproof matches.
Be sure to cut plenty of dry twigs so you will have enough material to work with for the entire night. If you can’t find dry twigs, then you’ll have to work a little harder to get the wood to dry efficiently. For beginners, we recommend carrying some prepared tinder with you in case you find yourself in a rainstorm or somewhere where all of the natural tinder is soaked.
Deal With Wild Animals
Finally, the last main thing to worry about if you find yourself spending a single night in the woods are the animals. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to defend yourself against wild animals if you don’t have a gun for you.
However, if you follow three basic rules, you should have much higher chances of survival. Stay calm so that the animal does not interpret your panic attack as an offensive maneuver. Most animals only attack if they feel threatened.
Next, give the animal enough room to hightail away from you and it will likely choose that option unless something triggered it and made it mad at you. Finally, back away slowly. Very slowly. You don’t want to trigger its instincts. If an animal still chooses to attack instead of escaping, we recommend this guide.
You might be wondering why we didn’t include food or water in this guide? Well, because we wanted to keep it as simple as we possibly could and because you can easily survive a single night with your body’s existing nutrients. With that said, here’s hoping you’ll never have to spend an unexpected night in the woods!