The 8 Rules of Wilderness Survival

The 8 Rules of Wilderness Survival

by Pat McHugh

Wilderness Survival TipsWilderness survival isn't predictable enough for there to be “Do XYZ and you'll live”-type rules. But there are hard, fast rules for outdoor survival that should prevent you from winding up worse off.

1. Send Your Itinerary to Someone Else

Always leave a detailed itinerary of where you are going and when you plan to return with someone you trust. If you change your schedule for any reason, please be sure that tell someone of that change.

2. Unless You're With Someone Else, Don't Go

Never go into a wilderness area by yourself. Unavoidable accidents can and do happen.

3. Remember that Weather Can Change

Make sure that you take with you and wear the proper clothing. Remember the weather can and will most likely change.

4. Vacate your location? Never

If you do get lost or stranded, stay in one location. Rescuers will find you if you have followed rule No. 1.

5. Information is a Good Thing

Learn how to use a compass or a GPS, take a map of the area and orient yourself to the area before you trek off into any wilderness.

6. Very Important: Survival Kit

Always carry a personal survival kit with you at all times in the outdoors.  A survival kit in the hands of someone who does not know ahead of time what is in it, or if it is not with you on your person, or how to use the contents when and where needed can do more harm than good.  So take the preparation time at home to make and pack your own personal kit.  Also invest the time beforehand to understand the life saving use of every item in your personal survival kit.

7. Always Keep Your Cool

The greatest and most important of all survival tools is your brain.  If you should become lost, stranded or separated from others, keep your cool. The most important wilderness survival element is to not panic. You will survive.

8. Let Yourself Have Time to Plan

The time to think about survival isn't in a tight spot. Give yourself plenty of time to plan, prepare and pack for the worst. You're reading this article right now, and that's a good start.

Put these rules together and what do they spell? S-U-R-V-I-V-A-L

More Wilderness Survival Tips

Outdoors survival bookThese outdoors survival rules give a bird's eye view of survival. If you're ready to dig deep, check out Stay Alive! Survival Skills You Need by John D. McCann. Using full-color photos and thorough instructions for the  best shot at wilderness survival.

Click here to order Stay Alive! Survival Skills You Need for 40% off retail.

Previous article Video: Review of CUMA Tak-Ri 2.0 Survival Knife
Next article CCW Profiling? Maybe! But think about how you act.
<h2>About Gun Digest Editors</h2> <p>Gun Digest is the foremost firearms publisher in the world. Since 1944 we have made keeping shooters, firearms collectors, and plain old gun aficionados informed the target of our books, magazines, and websites. We build shooters’ firearms knowledge base, inspiring them to pursue and expand their shooting interests—from the range to the field and in competition. Gun Digest is part of the Caribou Media Group.<p> <h2>Editorial Standards</h2> <p>At Gun Digest, we uphold our commitment is to our audience and precedes all other considerations, including revenue. Editorial independence is at the core of our operations, forming the bedrock of trust with our readers. Consequently, editorial decisions are made autonomously by our team of editors, writers, video producers, freelance writers and social media managers, without any external interference. Our content has and will continue to remain free from influence from individuals outside of editorial and content management.<p> <h2>Staff</h2> <p><ul><li><b>Publisher:</b> Jim Schlender</li> <li><b>Editor-In-Chief:</b> Luke Hartle</li> <li><b>Managing Editor:</b> Laura Peltakain</li> <li><b>Digital Editor:</b> <a href="/author/elwood-shelton">Elwood Shelton</a></li> <li><b>Online Editor:</b> <a href="/author/adamborisenko">Adam Borisenko</a></li> <li><b>Senior Art Director:</b> Gene Coo</li> <li><b>Art Director:</b> Katia Sverdlova</li></ul> <p> <h2>Contributors</h2> <p><ul> <li><a href="/author/richard-a-mann">Richard Mann</a></li> <li><a href="/author/philip-massaro">Phil Massaro</a></li> <li><a href="/author/contributor-dave-workman">David Workman</a></li> <li><a href="/author/davidhart">David Hart</a></li> <li><a href="/author/dickjones">Dick Jones</a></li> <li><a href="/author/jon-r-sundra">Jon Sundra</a></li> <li><a href="/author/l-p-brezny">L.P. Brezny</a></li> <li><a href="/author/robert-sadowski">Robert Sadowski</a></li> <li><a href="/author/scott-wagner">Scott Wagner</a></li> <li><a href="/author/wayne-van-zwoll">Wayne Van Zwoll </a></li> <li>Patrick Sweeney</li> <li>Massad Ayoob</li> <li>Marty Hays </li> <li>Brad Fitzpatrick </li> <li>Walt Hampton</li> <li>Jerry Lee</li> <li>Josh Wayner</li> <li>Sam Hoober</li> <li>Tiger McKee</li> </ul>


  1. “2. Unless You’re With Someone Else, Don’t Go

    Never go into a wilderness area by yourself. Unavoidable accidents can and do happen.”

    Pish Posh… If you want to get a SPOT to make it easier to find your corpse.. Well… Ok no need for others to be needlessly endangered or their days wasted looking for us because of our choices.. I agree to that.. but that’s as far as I go.

    I have spent no small portion of my life making forays alone in the wild for periods brief and extended.

    Could something unforeseen befall me?.. Yes…

    More likely to die from a slip and fall after taking a shower.. More likely to die from Congestive Heart Failure.. More likely to die from some drunk driver.. More likely to die from any of a million myriad of other mundane and boring things..

    Actually there is only one constant.. We are all going to die.. More likely to have died as a GI..

    Most recently more likely to die from massive bilateral pulmonary emboli caused by some Moron Construction Crew who did not put signs out after putting fresh tar on a road causing an old dumb-ass to crash his Motorcycle..

    My suggestion is to live like a Tiger.. and die like one.. Alone .. unafraid..

    Then at your next duty station… after you complete in-processing.. Take a walk past that copse of trees just off to the side of Main Gate.. Just on the other side you will see Tents, a bunch of fellas.. and a few women.. with their Dogs, Rifles and Rucks. Depending upon the time of day.. they may just be sitting around a campfire.. either coming back from or about to head back out to do what they love best.. Some in groups to be sure but certainly a few to wander alone and free in the woods and fields of Heaven just as they did here on earth.




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.