A Guide on Wilderness Survival

Rency Thomas

Rency Thomas

Rency likes to call himself an outdoor leader, survival instructor and an adventurer. He is a Himalayan admirer and an avid trekker, who likes to hike mountains and take part in thrilling activities in his free time.
Rency Thomas

“You don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.”― Edwin Louis Cole

When we venture out into the wilderness for our biggest adventures, we should also keep in mind that it involves a certain amount of risk. Some serious risk which can even put you in crazy emergencies. But that is what an adventure is all about, right? These emergencies can be handled, if we are well prepared for such uncertainties both mentally, physically and with good knowledge.

Here in this article, I am going to share a few basics which you have to be aware of in case you get into any kind of emergency. In recent times, adventure and venturing into the outdoors have become a lifestyle for many in this part of the world. In every way getting closer to nature and loving adventure is one of the best and nurturing habits one can develop. At the same time, there is much news of lots of accidents and incidents which could have easily been avoided with better preparedness.

Must Read: 7 Principles to Follow for Environment-friendly Adventure



So let’s dive into some tips to handle emergencies!

In case you get into a tricky situation while you were exploring the great outdoors, the first thing you got to do is S.T.O.P

S Stop wherever you are or whatever you are doing. If safe enough best is to Sit and take a deep breath

T Think, what actually happened, where you came from, what you were doing, where or which direction you were destined to go and any important instruction given by the guide which can come useful here in this situation. Having a healthy mind and positive thought process is the most important trait for a successful survivor.

O Observe your surroundings, check for any imminent danger if any, look out for anything favourable or for anything that can be of any help. Observe carefully if you are injured and anything or everything you have with you that can help.

P Plan an efficient strategy for survival in case help doesn’t come immediately. The strategy should be simple and effective, it should be planned in a way that will not have to overexert yourself more than what you can.

After S.T.O.P., Time To Execute The Plan

A normal human in an outdoor setting can generally survive for

03 Minutes without Air

03 Hours without Shelter

03 Days without Water

30 Days without Food

That means, soon after the STOP you need to start action keeping the above points in priority. considering you can breathe easily and plenty of air is available, let’s focus on the next immediate requirements. It is a good practice to leave some kind of traces on the way of your movement, this will help the search and rescue to find you faster and efficiently.

Must Read: Lessons of Survival from a Storm on Mount Everest



In simple language, shelter is to protect you from the harsh elements of nature or imminent dangers which may include but not limited to, sun, heat, cold, rain, snow, wild animals, insects, etc. Strong direct sun with high temperatures can give heat strokes and severe dehydration, the same way very low temperature mixed with wind rain or snow can lead to severe hypothermia in no time.  

The first part of the shelter is your clothing or what you are wearing, do you have a good hat to protect you from direct sunlight? Are you wearing enough layers of clothing to protect from cold and wind? Good shoes to protect your feet from uneven terrain. Once sure about the clothing, it’s time to find a good place to camp or spend the night. If it’s too sunny and you are in an open place then you need to find shade immediately. A good campsite would have easy accessibility to water, it would be a safe place from dangers like a landslide, flash floods, avalanche, or even wildlife. It should also be in such a place that search and rescue can easily identify and reach. It may not be practically easy or possible to find the ideal campsite in a survival scenario, but finding the best possible improves your chances of survival multi-folds.

Fire-Fire has many uses, it can act as a shelter, protection from wildlife and it can also help you in cooking food or purifying water by boiling it. It also gives you warmth in cold conditions and helps you in drying your wet clothing or shoes. Fire is an integral part of survival, the smoke from the fire can also be used to signal the search and rescue. You can make fire using the fire pack in your emergency kit.



Now, water is a tricky part, you have to continuously drink water at regular intervals to keep dehydration at bay. Water must be treated well before consumption, waterborne infections can be fatal in survival conditions. Water can be treated using the chlorine and iodine water purification tablets in your emergency kit or filter it with a clean cloth and boil it. There is no better way than boiling water to purify. It kills all three microbes like bacteria, viruses, and protozoa, which usually causes diseases. If you are at an altitude above 2000 meter then water needs to boil for a minimum of 3 minutes and 1 minute for lower altitudes.



There are many edible plants, fruits, and roots which can be eaten in the wilderness, you should always read and understand about those plants in the particular area, before venturing into an adventure. Hunt down your food using traps or other hunting methods if you feel it’s achievable. You can even make a makeshift fishing hook using the safety pins from the emergency kit and try your luck. The easiest way to have food in the initial days of your survival until the help arrives or you find an alternate method of getting food, is to utilize the emergency food reserve brought with you.  Whatever, the method you are using to find food, the important thing to keep in mind is always eating judiciously and keeping in mind, that the particular food should not make you sick.


Keep in mind that survival conditions are very much demanding both mentally and physically. It is always the mental strength that keeps you going even when your body gives up. Being optimistic and thinking about the happy moments you are going to have soon after surviving this condition, is what can keep you running. Once the above things are in place and you know you are safe, start finding ways to reach out for help. Very soon you will be in safety and back to civilization.

About Author

Rency Thomas
Rency likes to call himself an outdoor leader, survival instructor and an adventurer. He is a Himalayan admirer and an avid trekker, who likes to hike mountains and take part in thrilling activities in his free time.