It’s always in the news, and the stories are fascinating to read about when man is stranded in the wild alone. Some of the most popular TV shows these days have to do with men and women surviving in the wild. Some are more fabricated, while others are more realistic, but they all force the viewer to analyze themselves in the situation of those they are watching. Could I survive this? How hard is it really to throw a rock at another rock and start a fire?
Regardless of how real we deem these situations to be, the danger of the outdoors is a real threat to human life. Sure, maybe you have a great chance of surviving a plane crash (~76%), or eating every mushroom you can find and hoping for success (<50%), but what about when the odds are stacked against you in the wild?
No matter where you are in the wilderness, it’s important to know what you’re up against. To prove the statistics wrong, you must have the right information. That’s why we’re supplying you with the 7 biggest threats to human survival in the wild. Take notes.
Sure, it may sound simple, but drinking water is something frequently forgotten until we feel thirsty, and at that point dehydration has already begun. Humans need at least 3-5 liters of water during the day to stay healthy. Factor in stress, heat, and exhaustion, and the more water the better. It’s important to make the effort to always have water with you, and drink frequently. If you find water in the wild, make sure it’s fresh water, preferably running, and do your best to filter it. Ever notice how your urine becomes clearer the more water you drink? Monitor the color of your urine, as it is a clear indicator of your body’s hydration levels.
For a little preparation, here are some tips on how to prevent dehydration.
- Bad Weather
Nobody likes getting caught in the rain when they’re lost in the wild. That’s because inclement weather can be a severe problem for those without shelter. Everything from blizzards or extreme heat to flash floods and lightning can kill quickly. When lost, it’s important to keep an eye on the skies, and always have a backup plan in case of an immediate emergency such as flash floods. Never put yourself in a situation that you can’t get out of quickly, and make sure you always know where high ground is and can access it.
Everybody loves food. And it’s really important. Unlike water, the human body can go at least three weeks without eating, but it won’t be happy about it. Imagine how it feels to miss a meal, and multiply that by a few days or even a week. Without food our bodies quickly become fatigued, stressed, dizzy, etc., and in the wild those symptoms can lead to big problems.
One of the greatest survival tools of the human body is its mobility. The ability to hunt, gather, find water, and escape danger are keys to survival. Injuries can be costly. Poor decisions in shoes, heavy backpacks, or poor preparation can cause ankle sprains, back problems, blisters, severe sunburn or frostbite, hypothermia, or diarrhea.
“Cats” and “dogs” are not great cuddlers in the wild, and pose a great threat to humans in their own territories. Animals are very defensive of where they live. They are far more likely to attack you if they feel threatened in any way. Although we often think of grizzly bears and wolves as the most dangerous animals, it’s usually the little critters that end up being the most lethal.
If approached by large wildlife, it’s important to not surprise them. Make your presence known. Make yourself look as big as possible and stay in groups. If approached or attacked by the animal, do not run away. Stand your ground and fight back. Odds are the animal is faster in a foot race, and your chances are much better if you give it a reason to leave you alone.
Your state of mind in the wild is very important, and has led to many deaths by those exploring the outdoors. It’s important to understand your overall location and how little you really know about the wild. A lack of humility can lead to all of the issues found above. You can get lost, eat the wrong foods, become too comfortable with wildlife, or simply not understand the gravity of the situation you’re in.
For an unprepared hiker, an hour-long day hike can turn into a 3-day horror movie. Backpacking or hiking prepared can prevent most disasters. It’s always smart to check the weather (including flash flood warnings), have a map and know where you’re going, and let people know where you are and how long you’ll be gone.
Most of these threats are preventable. It’s important to always be prepared and bring a little extra water and more food than you think you need. It’s important to know and understand which threats are prevalent in your area, and what to do when they come your way. We advise you to prepare and be smart in the wilderness; after all, nobody wants to be humiliated by nature.