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The Rule of Three-The Foundation Of Wilderness Survival

The chances of being placed in a real-life wilderness survival situation are remote. Even so, every fisherman, hiker, hunter, prepper, and outdoorsman needs to learn basic survival skills. And, as you need to learn to crawl before you can walk, learning the theory or the birdseye view of wilderness survival is essential. Additionally, there are fundamental wilderness skills that you need to know, which will be shown later.    Finally, I will exhibit how you can use these concepts during the first 24-hours of an outdoor survival situation. 

Rule of Three

The “Rule of Three” is simple, easy to remember, and can save your life. This rule will help you set your priorities when you are in a life or death, bushcraft, survival situation.  According to the Rule of Threes, you can live:

  1. 3 minutes without air
  2. 3 hours in either harsh cold or hot weather conditions.
  3. 3 days without potable water
  4. 3 Weeks Without any food

Rule of 3 is based on the assumption that each of the preceding conditions is met. For example, suppose you do not have appropriate shelter in an arctic environment. In that case, you will not survive even if you have plenty of food and water.  

Learn Basic Bushcraft Skills

As a general rule of thumb, you should learn a wide range of outdoor survival skills so that you will be well prepared when disaster strikes. And be sure to spend extra time learning skills that are pertinent for the part of the world you live in. For example, if you live in the desert, you need to focus your time on desert survival and not winter survival.

The following are few essential buschraft skills that you need to master. 

Be Prepared

Being prepared isn’t technically a skill. If you are not appropriately prepared, you will not survive no matter how much bushcraft knowledge you have. So, Follow the timeless Boy Scout motto of being prepared. This means that you should at least carry essential buschraft gear with you when camping, hiking, hunting, etc. For example, bring your survival knife, tarp, waterproof matches, and MRE’s with you when you go into the backcountry. 

Learn How to Make a fire

 Stormproof Match Kit

Waterproof Matches

Building a fire will help you in multiple ways other than the obvious-providing warmth and cooking food. I.E., Boiling water over a campfire is a way to make tainted, natural water sources drinkable.   

Learning primitive fire-making techniques can be a significant challenge. So, it’s always a good idea to carry lighter, waterproof matches or other portable, fire-making tools when going into the backcountry. 

Learn How To Make A Wilderness Shelter

Waterproof Camping Tarp

Tarp or Tent is Essential

Learning to build an emergency wilderness shelter is challenging but fun. However, you do not want to first build your wilderness shelter when a storm is happening or will come on soon. So, practice setting up the basic wilderness shelters (I.E., Lean-To) in a safe environment.    

Find Food

You will need to learn to forage for edible food sources if you run out of food. This means taking the time to learn about wild edible plants and learning how to fish, set traps, and improvised hunting tools. 

Putting Theory and Practice Into Action

What To Do In The First 24 Hours in Outdoor Survival 

 The first 24 hours of outdoor survival often mean the difference between life or death. So, if the unspeakable has happened, and you are stuck overnight in the outdoors, you must remain calm and remember, The Rule of Threes and your training.  That is why the following list of what to do in the first 24 hrs when you are list in nature is so helpful.

Below are the general guidelines or steps to take for surviving the first 24 hours:

  1. Build Emergency Shelter-either tent, tarp, or natural materials; click here for more information.
  2. Build a Fire-ideally you should have waterproof matches or other fire-starting tools.
  3. Gather Water– Make sure the water is purified. Click Here for an overview of the best ways for purifying natural water sources found in the backcountry from lakes, rivers, and streams. 
  4. Signal For Help-if you are able, this should be your first priority. You never know when you could be found.  

Not Set In Stone-Every wilderness survival situation will be different. So, this list below is not set in stone. I.E., As you can sleep in your truck, you may not need to build a shelter if your truck breaks down when hunting or fishing.   

Combined with your common sense, the above list will give you the best chance to survive in a harsh and unforgiving wilderness.

Final Thoughts

Your chance of surviving under harsh outdoor weather conditions is primarily based on your preparedness and your mindset. Preparedness is self-explanatory. Based upon where you are going and what you are doing, you need to be prepared for the current and potential environment.  

For mindset, I am not talking about new age, rule of attraction, kind of crap. Although having a positive mindset, obviously, does not hurt. What will help you most is that you do not panic. By keeping calm, you will better remember various outdoor survival lessons that you have been taught. Subsequently, the best way to not panic is to train outdoor techniques when you are not in a potential life or death situation.