Wilderness Survival Facts

Wilderness Survival

Studies show that staying alive in a survival situation is:

80% Mental

10% Skills

10% Equipment

So, what’s this 80% or mental attitude made up of? 2 things: The Will to Live and your Problem-Solving Ability! How does a person improve these 2 aspects in an emergency?

By following the S T O P acronym:

  • S – Sit
  • T – Think
  • O – Observe
  • P – Plan

We live in a modern society where we know many points of reference and can almost always find help. The problem (or blessing, depending on how you look at it) with the wilderness is that we’re usually on our own when trouble hits. As a result, whenever an individual is placed in a survival environment, our basic fears kick in (i.e. fear of death, dark, unknown, injury, animals, etc.), and we begin to panic.

In an emergency, you should always deal with the immediate life-threatening aspects first and then follow the STOP acronym. Each letter represents a step to follow; when you get to the final step (the planning stage), you can remember the 3 Phases of Survival and plan accordingly.

3 Phases of Survival

1 – Initial Response Phase [Emergency]

  • Control Panic (STOP acronym)
  • 1st Aid
  • Planning

2 – Life Support Phase [Post-Emergency]

  • Remember the Rule of 3’s
  • You have:
  • 3 minutes without AIR.
  • 3 hours without SHELTER.
  • 3 days without WATER.
  • 3 weeks without FOOD.
  • So food is last, and 1st Aid is first. It would be best if you prioritize your time and efforts around what matters most or the most important steps first. After any emergency care, shelter should be your next priority, along with rest. Next, you need to focus on water, and then last is food. Most people have many calories stored within them (i.e. undigested food and fat stores).

3 – Rescue Phase [Final Phase]

  • Signalling
  • Transport/Evacuation
  • Search and rescue research shows that most people recover within 72 hours, so if you can keep yourself alive, you’ll most likely be found. The goal in the Rescue Phase is to help out or increase your chances.

So, after you’ve taken care of the above steps and are safe and secure, think of ways to signal for help. In this area, a few points to remember are contrast, colour, and movement. As for fires – smoke during the day and flames at night. And don’t get fancy “HELP” and “SOS” are always recognized.

Finally, the more knowledge and skills you have, the less equipment you need, and your state of mind improve in an emergency. If survival is 80% mental, then this blog’s goal is to provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to improve that mental state.

2 thoughts on “Wilderness Survival Facts”

  1. My husband climbs and he says it’s all mental. Even if it looks physical, the way your mind can handle your body is unbelievable. Obviously, you can’t unfit, however, it’s sooooooo in the moment! Which is obviously the same for all wilderness and outdoor adventures!


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