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Survival Guide to Backpacking

Survival Guide to Backpacking

When a person gets stuck in a deserted island or gets lost in the wilderness, one can only live 40 days without food, about 3 days without water, 8 minutes without air, but only a second without hope and the basic skills to survive. 

Backpacking is a wonderful recreational activity that lets you broaden your horizons beyond city lights and roads. It is one of the boldest adventures people take on to fully enjoy an unforgettable experience the great outdoors has to offer. 

But taking on this wild adventure does not come easy. One must be able to master the basic skills of survival in order to get the full potential of the adventure. Preparing yourself both physically and mentally is very much essential in order to ensure your safety while heading down to the wilderness with nothing else but your gears and yourself.

So if you’re one of those people planning to head on out and go backpacking across the country, then these tips and tricks will come in handy.

Learning how to make fire

This is considered to be one of the most important skills you need to stay alive in the wilderness. Not only does fire provide the heat you need to cook your meals, but it also keeps you warm enough throughout a cold night. 

Simply gather up some things from your surroundings and categorize them into the following types:

  • Tinder: Small pinky-sized or tinier sticks, pine needles, grasses, bark, wood shavings
  • Kindling: Dried wood, twigs, and wood chips roughly as thick as your thumb
  • Fuel: Larger pieces of wood to keep the fire alive

Use rocks or walls of dirt, then create a small pile of tinder before igniting a spark from your ignition source, whether that be matches or a lighter. Once the tinder catches flame, keep adding more in order to keep the fire burning. Once the tinder is burning, add the kindling.

As with the tinder, once the kindling has a strong burn going for it, start adding fuel wood—the larger pieces. Once things are burning bright, you can further tend to the fire, making the adjustments necessary for heat and cooking.

Finding a good location for your shelter

Experienced backpackers opt for alternatives to tents such as ultralight tarps in order to lessen their baggage. These tarps can be easily set up anywhere in the wilderness. But that does not mean you can just set up your shelter anywhere. 

Finding the right spot is crucial because of the dangers of the wilderness. You must ensure that no water reaches your spot or else you’ll end up waking up soaking wet or, worse, in the middle of a streaming river.

Also, consider avoiding grounds that are filled with rocks and roots because that certainly would not be good for your back. Find spots that are near sources of firewood and water and avoid places that get too chilly at night to avoid experiencing hypothermia.

Locating edible food 

Backpacking in the wilderness is very unpredictable and you can never be prepared enough to take on this trip. No matter how much food and water you bring with you, there will always be that possibility that these will run out. This is one of the bittersweet blessings of the wilderness.

You are basically surrounded with the natural sources of food and water. But do not be fooled easily, because there are also certain plants that can be very poisonous with just one bite. So here are the general guidelines you can follow to determine whether it's safe to eat.

  1. NEVER eat unknown mushrooms.
  2. Avoid plants with shiny leaves.
  3. Never eat plants with thorns.
  4. Avoid plants with yellow or white berries.
  5. Avoid plants with a white or yellowish sap.
  6. Avoid plants that have seeds in a pod.
  7. Avoid plants that have a soapy taste.
  8. Avoid umbrella-shaped plants or plants with umbrella-shaped flowers.

The general guidelines in determining whether something is edible are not enough since there are a lot of types of plants, some undiscovered, which is why you have to be careful or better yet do extensive research on what types of plants are edible and what are not. 

Navigating the wilderness


Out of all the skills you need to master before backpacking, navigating the wilderness and your routes is your number one priority skill to master. This survival skill will help you save time and effort in finding your way through these unknown terrains and territories. 

Knowing your way is of the utmost importance to maintain safety on trails. If separated from your group or lost in the woods, navigation skills are your one-way ticket to survival. Learning how to read your map and knowing how to use a compass are a good way to start when mastering navigation skills.

But if you want it done the smarter and faster way, you can always opt to purchase outdoor smartwatches such as Garmin devices to provide you with the basic information you need to stay on track and on trail during your backpacking adventure.

The Instinct 2s solar smartwatch is an outdoor GPS smartwatch designed by Garmin that offers endless power, possibilities, and adventure. It boasts a solar-powered technology that lets you stay in the zone no matter how long it takes.



Built with a rugged style and bold design, this smartwatch gives you access to GPA, GLONASS, and Galileo satellite networks so you can keep a precise tracking of your current position. It also gives you TRACKBACK routing records to help you find your way back without lengthy detours.

The Instinct 2s is not only built for you to discover the spirit of outdoor adventures, but it is also designed to monitor your health 24/7 with its smart health-tracking features. With a smartwatch like this, you’ll never set foot on the wrong path ever again. When going on your boldest adventure, don’t forget to strap on a Garmin device because with these smartwatches, you’ll surely have the greatest outdoor experience of your life!




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