Wood Skills
Do you have what you need?

By John Elden

A group of us were talking about survival. The topic took a turn for the worse when Rob scoffed at the notion of survival skill. “All that stuff is great but within a few hours you will end up on a road, in this area,” He was right.

The problem, as I pointed out to my learned friend, is that some people tend to walk in circles. How many times have you been near a road and not realized it because you were lower then the road and the vegetation on both sides camouflaged it. In that case, you need the skill to travel in a strait line. I had him. Rob is tough

He just shrugged it off. “So you use your compass or the sun’, he said. “That is my point, skill”, I said. The fact is knowing which way to go doesn’t mean you are taking the best route or shortest direction. What if it gets dark? What if you get snow? What if you get hurt?

The Challenge

The challenge is simple. Spend a night in the woods alone: using only a knife, metal match, and water bottle with purifier, Cup, Poncho, map and compass. Dress in layers for the weather. Only try this if you are medically fit! If you need a bee sting kit, or some other medication bring it. Start in the summer. As your skill grows try earlier and later seasons.

Always Act Safe – Set up a tent and have a sleeping bag with you. In short, every thing you would use for camping. This is your backup, when needed. My guess is you won’t need them.

You should take one of these trips every so often. Each time use one less Item on the list

Always be sure that you are providing

1) Potable Water

2) Fire

3) Shelter

4) Food

5) Direction (know North, South, East, West)

 Relation to home.

Alone doesn’t require you to travel alone, just camp alone. Stay several hundred yards away from another person. But always Act Safe.

Do you have these Skills?
Can you:

Use a Map and Compass

Travel from one point to another

(Several miles)


Pick the best rout by map

Find Cardinal directions without a compass

      (Both night and day)

Make a fire:

 With metal match

 With wet wood (using matches, or metal match)

 With friction

 Cook with a campfire

 Build a long fire

 Build a reflector fire

Build a Shelter, Bed and Insulation : Use only natural materials.

Make water potable using no chemicals.

Cook food and boil water using only natural materials.

Positively identify [ know what parts to use and how to prepare] three to five wild plants in your area. Do this for all four seasons.

Know basic camping skills, with gear.

Basic first aid, CPR, and Swimming


by Euell Gibbons:

Stalking The Wild Asparagus
Stalking The Healthful Herbs

Stalking The Blue-Eyed Scallop

Beachcombers Handbook

Outdoor Survival Skills by Larry Dean Olsen

The Boy Scout Handbook and Field book