Whether you are a veteran outdoorsman or are just starting out, there are some things that are imperative to know. These bits of knowledge are useful for anyone, but for those going into the outdoors and surviving the elements, these tidbits are the most important for any outdoorsman to know before going on their next excursion.
1. First aid
This one seems obvious, but it’s crucial to know how to do basics. Everyone knows the basics of putting a Band-Aid on a cut, but it is also important to know how to care for a large open wound, how to treat a fracture, or how to treat an unknown spider or snake bite. There are first aid certifications offered everywhere, so it would be smart to consider taking some classes or becoming certified in first aid.
2. How to light and build a fire
Building a fire is typical fare for most outdoorsmen, but they may not know the secret to building the best fire. It’s important to gather small, dry things and make a tipi-shape from those pieces. Put a log into that tipi and start the fire from inside the structure to successfully start a fire. You may need to blow on it gently to get it going, but be sure not to blow hard enough that it blows the starter flame out.
3. How to erect a tent
Whether you have a tent frame already or need to make one from tarp and stakes, knowing where exactly to place the stakes and how to properly erect your tent is crucial or making sure you have proper housing from the elements and reducing the number of unwanted pests in your sleeping space.
4. Build a shelter
Along the same vein as knowing how to build a tent, you must also know how to build a shelter without any stakes, tarp, or store bought things. To make a shelter out in the wilderness, make a lean-to structure by using large sticks or tree limbs. From there, use moss and leaves to fill in the gaps to keep possible rain out. Lastly, make sure to keep the lean-to small because having a smaller space will make it easier for you to retain your body heat.
5. What to keep in your bag
Every outdoorsman should have a toolkit of some sort before venturing out into the world. Some of the necessary items for an outdoorsman include:
• Water bag
These are some of the most basic items and other outdoorsmen may have much larger lists or much larger bags and necessities for each trip. It’s important to pack only what you will need for each trip, but know that some items will always be necessary in your pack, such as what was listed previously.
6. How to collect water
This is a slightly more advanced bit of knowledge, but knowing how to collect water when you are outdoors and away from fresh water is imperative for those going on long treks away from civilization. The obvious trick it to leave a water bottle out to collect rainwater or use a specific device to make water safe to drink from a river. However, some use special water bags and tie them around a leafy branch of a tree and use the condensation from an overnight sleep to drink in the morning.
7. How to use a compass
Basic but also important, a compass always points north. A compass helps you orient yourself if you are lost. A compass is a basic enough tool to use, but knowing how to actually use it when you are lost is another thing entirely, especially when you don’t have GPS to help you. This takes practice, but using a compass can help you out of a really tight spot when you need it.
8. Keep large animals at bay
When out in the wilderness, it’s inevitable that at some point you will come across wildlife ranging from small to large. Some larger animals may become problematic if you come across them and you don’t know what to do. As a general rule, never turn your back on a large animal since this will target you as prey trying to flee. However, something that works against a black bear may not work against a mountain lion. Be familiar with the area you will travel in and learn what to do should you encounter the large animals of that area.
9. Cleaning up after yourself
Nature is not your trash can, you have to still pick up after yourself when you move from place to place. Not cleaning up after yourself will not only be bad for the environment you just visited, but other outdoorsmen will look down on you for your poor etiquette. In general, you will need to carry trash with you as you go along. The general rule is the leave the place you left the same as you arrived.
10. You will make mistakes
Both experts and novices know that mistakes are going to happen when you are trying your skills as an outdoorsman. You may injure yourself on a hike you, you will likely get lost at some point, and you may even drink some water that you shouldn’t have. However, all outdoorsmen will tell you that you learn from mistakes like these and get better from them. Don’t be shy when you mess up, admit it and maybe talk to other outdoorsmen to hear their stories and learn from their mistakes too.
There’s a Large World Out There
Now that you know some of the basic things every outdoorsman must know, hopefully you will take this knowledge to go and explore what a beautiful we live in. We are blessed to have a unique country in which we can see desert, ocean, plains, mountains, forests, swamps, and other biomes all in one bit of land. Go out and see what adventures you can have now that you are on your way to know how to prepare for the journey.