To be a proficient survivalist, you must have a plethora of knowledge on not only the environment but the tools and skills it takes to survive in the wild. If you are an amateur survivalist, it can be difficult to decide what survival gear to start with. Do you pick up a bow and arrow? Do you try to start a fire with two sticks? Do you ask your friend to blindfold you and drop you off in the forest, so you can try to find your way home?
No need to wander the forest aimlessly. We have put together a list of the must-know/must-be-skilled-with survival gear. Additionally, we have provided information on how to hone your skills with that gear. Learning how to effectively use these 4 tools will have you on your way to being a proficient survivalist.
Unfortunately, it can take a while to become an expert with a survival knife. But becoming familiar and comfortable with wielding a knife can improve your survival skills dramatically. Knives are one of the most versatile pieces of survival gear that can help you hunt, build shelter, start a fire and so much more. Before you enter a forest, at the very least, make sure you have a knife and are comfortable using it.
To get comfortable using a knife before heading out to camp, try your hand at whittling wood. This is something that can easily be done at home and the ability to whittle wood could come in handy in a survival situation, to either create a defensive/hunting weapon or to create tinder.
Right under a survival knife on the list of most important survival gear to know how to use, is a combustion device. The ability to be able to start a fire in a survival situation is the most important aspect of staying alive. If you couldn’t start a fire with a knife, a fire starter would be first on this list. Since there are so many fire-starting survival gear options (such as flint and steel, ferro rods, matches, knives, magnifying glasses, etc.) pick one or two to be 100% proficient with and practice until your fingers are numb. Not really, but practice until you are absolutely certain you could start a fire the first time you try.
Starting a fire is something you can also practice at home, depending on your living situation. If you own your home and don’t have a fire pit already, you can create a fire pit in the backyard. Try your hand at various survival gear combustion devices and see what methods feel most natural to you. Then practice as frequently as possible.
Another one of the most important skills to attain to be a proficient survivalist, is the ability to navigate. If you don’t have a map, the best way to navigate through an unknown environment is with a compass. These are one of the easiest pieces of survival gear to learn how to use but one of the most critical while venturing into new territories. If you ever lose your map, find yourself off the path or even separated from your group, a compass will take you back home.
To learn how to proficiently use a compass, try finding an exact location by first referencing a map and then following your compass. A safe way to do this to identify landmarks that lay before you on your map to make sure you are headed the right way as you orient yourself. An even safer route is to use a compass in an area you are already familiar with.
Tarp and Cordage
If you are smart, your survival gear includes shelter. Even if you do not plan on an extended stay in the forest, you should at least be carrying a tarp, some cordage and stakes. Not only can these materials be used as a shelter, but they can come in handy for other survival situations as well. Cordage is especially versatile in its uses.
Luckily this skill is one of the most fun and convenient to learn, as you can try to build a shelter from these materials practically anywhere (including your living room). It would be beneficial to try and build a shelter in a new location each time to proficiently hone your craft with this survival gear.
If you really want to see the benefits of all this survival gear practice, you need to begin measuring. Maintaining a log is the best way to do this. Take a small journal and write about your trials.
Get yourself a nice waterproof pad and detail what survival gear skills you have trained. Be honest! Write about the things that you need to improve upon and the things you are doing well with. Measure your skills and be very critical. From here you will be able to spend more time on the things that need your attention.
Once you feel totally comfortable with these critical pieces of survival gear, you will be one step closer to becoming a proficient survivalist.