By Molly Carter
Being prepared is important, but if you’re making these survival mistakes, it’s time to reevaluate.
If you’re a survivalist, you know how important it is to be prepared. But are you really? Or are you one of the many who makes these simple oversights which can lead to huge survival mistakes?
1. Not Practicing Your Skills
Four of the most important things in any survival situation are building a shelter, making a fire, finding food, and securing safe water to drink. And while many of us understand how these things are done, if you’ve never tried to do them youself, you’re setting yourself up for a huge survival mistake.
Knowledge is important, and it shouldn’t be underestimated, but actually having the skills and knowing physically what to do is just as important. So practice your survival skills often. Make a fire from scratch, build a pine shelter out of boughs, use a snare to catch dinner. That way, if the time ever comes and you need to utilize your skills you can do it without a second thought.
2. Gathering Supplies Instead of Skills
Sometime people focus too much on having enough supplies instead of having the skills they need to survive. While having a surplus of food, water, and medicine can save your life, what happens if you’re not at home when you find yourself in a survival situation? What happens if you have to leave your house with nothing but a backpack?
Yes, having a basement full of food is important, but knowing how to catch, kill, and cook an animal may be more important.
3. Miscalculating Risks
You never know when you may end up in a survival situation. Most happen when people are going about, doing things they do on a regular basis. That’s why so many people are underprepared when a survival emergency happens. You may just be on a hike, hunting, or ice fishing, when suddenly, you’re fighting for your life.
That’s why you always need to be prepared for the worst case scenario and always expect the unexpected. Think about what could go wrong and make a plan for each circumstance. Don’t overestimate your abilities, because you never know what can happen.
4. Not Knowing What Water is Safe
Water: it’s the life source of survival. Without water, you can suffer from dehydration within a day, but drinking water that’s not safe can be just as dangerous. Due to microbacteria and protozoa, unsafe water can cause severe diarrhea and vomiting, which in turn not only makes you dehydrated, but makes you unable to work on other areas of your survival.
Learn what water is safe to drink and know at least two ways to purify it. Because without water, you won’t survive.
5. Forgetting About Signaling
When you’re caught up in a survival situation, it can be easy to forget about signaling for help. After all, there are immediate survival needs to be met. But signaling for help can also save your life, especially if you have deviated from your initial plan, or if no one knows where you are.
It’s unrealistic to think that people are out looking for you and it’s irresponsible to just wait to be found. As soon as your immediate needs are met, set up some sort of signaling device to help people see you.
6. Not Knowing How to Navigate
If you’ve never spent a lot of time in the woods, you may not know how difficult it can be to find your way and how easy it is to get turned around. Knowing how to navigate, both with and without a compass, is essential to survival. Learning how to follow the sun and locate the North Star be more beneficial than you think. Make sure you practice using a compass and learn how to use it for navigation.
7. Clothing Choices
A survivalist always layers, no matter where he’s going. You never know when a survival situation can strike and clothing is your first defense against the elements. Always dress warm and in layers, ideally always have one more layer on than necessary so you’re not only prepared for weather changes, but you’ll have extra protection when you need it. Being cold in the wilderness can be deadly.
Being prepared is one thing, but knowing how to use your preparation and skills in the time of need is another. Having the practice and the equipment is imperative in survival situations. Don’t get caught in the wilderness making these mistakes.