5 tips to outdoor survival

200,000 years ago, our neanderthal ancestors not only survived their harsh wilderness, but thrived. As modern-day humans, our hierarchy of needs has remained essentially the same; to survive we need water, warmth, sleep, food and a survival instinct.

Here are Nomad’s 5 top tips on how to survive the wilderness.


Number one: Build a shelter

Mother Nature has always been man’s number one survival enemy. In extreme conditions, humans can only survive three hours without shelter. Knowing how to protect yourself from the elements may just be the one thing that could save your life.

The iconic ‘lean-to’ shelter is made by leaning branches against a solid structure, such as a tree or large boulder. You’ll want several sturdy branches to act as the foundation of your shelter, before covering the foundation in smaller branches and twigs before finally covering in leaves and moss to insulate. Lay a floor of branches, dry brush and shrubby to insulate your shelter.


Number two: Make a fire

Everyone knows there is a primal link between man and fire. It can keep you warm and dry. You can use it to cook food and purify water. It can scare away dangerous animals and its smoke can keep insects away. Building a fire is one of the essential skills you will need to survive in the wild.

Choose an area which is sheltered, protected from the wind and has a an abundance of fuel nearby. Be careful not to build a fire too close to dry vegetation; a change in wind could have disastrous effects.

Take your time selecting material for tinder; the driest materials will only take a spark to ignite. Gather dry grass, leaves and bark, making sure you have plenty to hand to ensure your fire doesn’t go out. Light your the tinder, either with a match or using the flint technique (if you feel like taking it back to basics).

Dead branches and small dry twigs make the perfect kindling, establishing the fire until larger logs can be added. Top survival tip: dead trees are often the best source of dry firewood.


Number three: Find a source of water

Without water, the countdown is on. It only takes six hours for dehydration to set in and 24 hours for your circulation to slow and drastically reduce oxygen to your muscles. The human body can survive weeks without food, but only three days without water.

Look for clear flowing water; a spring or stream is always your best source. Avoid lakes and ponds as this still, stagnant water has increased levels of bacteria. A severe risk to any adventurer.

If you can’t find a water source, keep your head. Start walking downhill and look for dark patches in the landscape or a group of trees that stand on dry land. Once you find clean, fresh water, fill up your water bottle. It’s always best to plan ahead.


Number four: Have the right tools

For the purpose of hunting food and defending themselves against animals with sharp claws and long teeth, our neanderthal ancestors were experts at inventing tools that would help them survive their harsh world. They paved the way for dramatic innovations which have shaped the way we live today; tools such as clubs, picks and spears have been continually developed to meet our ever-changing needs in the modern world.

These days, our version of ‘travelling light’ isn’t quite the same as our ancestors. At the bare minimum you should pack a knife, rope, water bottle, compass, change of clothes and a basic first aid kit, all packed in a durable and practical backpack. Over at Nomad, we love the timeless bags from Trakke, perfect for any adventure to the wilderness.


Number five: Find nutritious food

With somewhere comfortable to sleep and plenty of water, a human can live many weeks without food. However, food is important for your mental state, as well as a source of energy. Without either, the outdoors becomes a much more dangerous place.

In recent years, we have begun to imitate the eating habits of our hunter-gather ancestors. The caveman diet, or paleo diet, is based on eating the same plants and meats as our Stone Age predecessors. Nutrient-rich foods such as lean meat, vegetables, fruits and nuts increases energy, burns fat and allows the modern man to get in touch with their natural instincts.

Nomad Survival Snacks are born from ancestral know-how, providing nutrition from natural, wholesome food. A blend of high-protein biltong, fruit, and nuts, each pack contains everything you need #surviveyourwilderness

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