*** 4 basic needs = Food, Water, Shelter & Weapon ***

Learning Objectives: To be able to create a basic camp site, find food, water sources and shelter construction.

Health Checks – make sure you are physically and mentally fit to explore your camping destination.

Research – the more detailed information you can gather, the better your survival chances.

  • Weather
  • Plant Life
  • Animal Life
  • Water Sources
  • Mountains
  • Ice

Group Camping

Consider each person’s abilities. Discuss and delegate responsibilities with members.

  • Medic
  • Cook
  • Mechanic
  • Driver
  • Navigator

P. L. A. N.

Protection – protection from any harm

Location – for rescuers or protection

Acquisition – food & water (ration items)

Navigation – if stranded, stay put


  • Invaluable asset in survival situations
  • Strong handle, general purpose blade
  • Sandstone, quartz and granite will sharpen tools (rough side to clean, fine side for edges)

Survival Stresses

  • Fear and anxiety 
  • Pain, illness and injury
  • Cold and/or heat
  • Thirst, hunger and fatigue
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Boredom
  • Loneliness and isolation

Keep Fluid Loss to a Minimum

  • Rest
  • Stay in shade
  • If no shade, make a shelter
  • Eat as little as needed
  • Don’t talk, breathe in/out of nose, not mouth

Finding Water

  • Bottom of valleys or where it naturally drains
  • Dig in gullies or dry stream beds
  • In mountains, water gets trapped in crevices
  • Coastal areas, dig above high water line, look for lush vegetation in faults in cliffs


  • Carbohydrates
  • Proteins
  • Minerals
  • Trace Elements
  • Vitamins

Edibility Test

  • Inspect
  • Smell
  • Lips, mouth, tongue
  • Swallow
  • Safe / Not safe

Avoid Any Plant with a Milky Sap; Unless Positively Identified

  • Red plants
  • Fruit divided into 5 segments
  • Plants with tiny barbs
  • Old & wilted leaves
  • Mature bracken (fern)

2 Types of Poisons

  • Hydrocyanic acid (prussic)
  • Oxalic acid

Tracks & Signs

  • Most big animals move during the day.
  • Most small mammals eat at night, including the predators that feed on them.
  • Trails are clearest on wet ground.
  • Determine age of track by sharpness & moisture. The clearer it is, the more recent.
  • Look for disturbances among vegetation & trees.
  • Feeding signs, bones of deceased animals or plants
  • Droppings (break open with tool to find feeding habits)
  • Rooting (digging to find roots & insects)
  • Scent & smell
  • Burrows & dens


  • Spear – 6ft is ideal, 36 inches for throwing
  • Bow & Arrow – hickory, juniper, oak, white elm, cedar, ironwood, birch, willow & hemlock
  • Arrow – birch is best


  • Teepee (taller is more rain proof, at least 4 poles)
  • Lean To (make L shape with debris & cover as needed)
  • Shelter Sheet (fence like design with wall covering)


  • Kindling & tinder
  • Adequate ventilation for fire. The more oxygen introduced, the brighter the fire.
  • Collect sufficient supplies of tinder, kindling & fuel. Prepare fire so you can control it.
  • If ground is wet, build fire on top of something.
  • Sunlight through a lens
  • Powder from ammunition
  • Flint or strike on steel for sparks
  • Fire bow
  • Hand drill

Note: Save energy, don’t chop wood; break it over rocks or another sturdy tree. Also burn the logs in half when fire is hot.

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