Written By Daniel W. Shrigley
The priorities of survival NEVER change. Only the order will be affected by elements of weather, need or availability. Naturally, we need to keep a moderate body temperature. Staying warm when it's cold, cool when it's hot. Fire and shelter, combined with clothing or insulation will provide protection from hot or cold conditions.
The above all affect the body and if you do not counter the effects you will suffer injury, sickness or death. Dehydration, wind chill, wind burn, sun exposure, insect stings, bug bites, sand and dust storms to name a few examples.
Fire is a tool, first and foremost. Each person has a responsibility to use fire safely to avoid injury, destruction, and death. Fire is used for cooking, boiling to treat water to kill parasites. Fire is additionally used to harden wood, and metal. You can use fire to sterilize metal, cut and carve wood, melt, shape, and form plastics. Fire is also used to signal and communicate to others. Two things that bring happiness when lost and/or stranded is fire and water.
In modern times, we carry lighters, fire strikers, matches, and other fire starting devices.
What do you do when you have no fire starting devices?
It's suggested by survival experts, that you learn alternative methods to build a fire. Primitive methods vary, fire plow, fire thong, hand drill, bow drill, and fire piston.
Solar radiation energy is another fire producing source if you can harness the Sun's rays. You can harness solar energy in two ways, reflecting and magnification. Using either formed glass, magnifying lens, polished metal surfaces, and formed ice and/or water.
Solar energy still falls into the fire category, people cook with solar ovens and use solar energy to treat drinking water.
Being hydrated is essential to the human body. Water is the most important survival component. Without water you will die. No different than without oxygen you will die. Water is used to not only drink, but to cool and regulate body temperature, health and hygiene. Frozen water (ice) is commonly known to preserve stored foods. Water is a sustainment element for life. You may use bodies of water for food sources, travel and escape to civilization.
One of the most important things about shelter is it shields you from cold, wind, rain, sun and critters. Two common types of shelter are hasty (natural-unimproved) and man made (improved).
Typically people use cabins, shacks, houses, tents etc..
But in a survival situation you may not have man made materials to rely upon. You will need to use natural raw materials to make shelter in place.
Soldiers on the battlefield would build foxholes and trenches, improved with fortifications. However these simple holes in the ground would shield the Soldiers and protect not only from enemy attack, also the natural elements.
Shelter is basically something that counters exposure. The most basic shelter in our modern times would be a water resistant sleeping bag that is suitable for the current outdoor temperatures.
There are various types of shelter you can use to protect yourself. A-frame or Lean-2, are the most common. When making a shelter for your survival smaller is better. Unless you are in a warm climate. You want the shelter to capture your body temperature and the be insulated. Rain proofing the shelter, and insulating it will add comfort. Nobody likes getting wet in a downpour of rain. (Chinese water torture for example)
A drippy leak will drive anyone crazy and nobody likes being cold and wet.
Believe it or not, food is the very last thing you should be concerned about in a survival situation. In mother nature food is always abundant, if you know where to look.
* Small game
* Large game
Above are a few categories for food sources. Knowing what's safe to eat versus what's poisonous takes training. Never eat anything unless you are 100% certain and can positively identify what you put in your mouth. As a general rule we don't typically eat airborne insects. However in this instance of a grasshopper you can eat even though the grasshopper can fly short distances. You basically want to avoid certain types of beetles because they carry a parasite that can give you tapeworm. However you can eat cockroaches, waterbugs, scorpions, grub worms, maggots, earthworms, and the list goes on. There are over 1,900 known edible insects.
Trapping food using, a snare, spring snare and deadfall traps helps you to capture small game animals with bait. You can set several of these traps along animal runs. Animal runs are little trails, with recurring traffic typically in the direction of food sources or water.
Animal signs are a great tool to use to help you locate small game, bird nests, and dens.
Birds are very valuable to track because they tend to have three locations that will lead you to resources. Birds will either nest, congregate near food and/or water.
The priorities of survival are all the components you need to self sustain. Defeating elements, staying hydrated, finding food, health and hygiene. These are only the basics. There is so much more to learn to truly be effective at surviving in nature. Always think safety first, never take unnecessary risk. Remember fear kills. The hardest part about surviving while lost or stranded is the psychology, remain calm, calculated, collected in thought and in your actions.