Shelter: This is your top survival priority in most situations, and it’s an area where a lot of people aren’t as “practiced” as they should be. My recommendation for you is to set a time limit, and see what you can build from scratch in the backcountry. Of course, you should practice making improvised shelters with tarps and rope, too. But knowing how to build a hut from only natural materials will allow you to keep your footing in a situation where you become separated from all your gear. You should also try building a shelter in nasty weather, just for the experience. That’s when you’d need it the most.
Fire: Our lovely friend fire is a great help to all survivalists. It cooks, boils, lights and warms. To really test your mettle, try building a fire after a heavy rain with just one match in ten minutes, using only materials you find outside. Not so easy, is it? Practice fire building often and under a wide range of conditions, and you’re more likely to have fire when you really need it.
First Aid: Don’t forget to practice this one, too. Make sure you can apply a tourniquet to yourself in 15 seconds, to either arm or leg. Make sure you know what to do to build a litter to transport an injured person. Make sure you know how to improvise medical supplies, like dressings and bandages. First aid skills are a vital survival skill set, and one that you might need anywhere – not just in the wild places.
And if that’s not enough, you can:
Follow Tim on Twitter @timmacwelch
Take one of his survival classes at www.advancedsurvivaltraining.com
and check out more of MacWelch’s outdoor skills and survival articles at Outdoor Life Magazine’s survival site, The Survivalist.