How Do You Survive Outdoors With Nothing?

How Do You Survive Outdoors With Nothing?

You know that the first thing you need in survival is to be prepared. But what if something terrible happens, you’re caught without supplies, left alone and lost with nothing at hand? With no knife and no other equipment, it will surely be a harder feat, and you would have to use what was at hand—your skills and available resources.

Remember that the most basic necessities for survival are shelter, water, food, and fire. Secure them, and you can survive outdoors even you have nothing at hand.

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This article tackles the basic necessities for survival, how you could secure them. Read on for more survival tips and ideas.

Basic Necessities For Survival


A good shelter can shield you from weather elements and extreme temperatures (high or low). It can also help guard you against wild animals. As much as possible, make a shelter before it gets dark.

Gather available resources such as a fallen tree, branches, and leaves. You could also break small delicate branches with your hands by moving them back and forth.

You can do several designs in building a shelter. A simple way is to rest a sturdy branch securely against a standing tree. Stack sticks together on sides to make walls and use smaller sticks to fill the gaps.

Cover the sides and ground with bark, leaves, or any available fabric (the thicker, the better). If you have shoelaces or a paracord bracelet, you could disassemble them and use them to tie parts securely.


Although water and food are both important, finding water is more “urgent” as you could only survive three days without it.

Look for flowing water like streams and springs (it is less likely to contain pathogens). Stagnant bodies of water could be your last choice. If you have a hard time finding an existing water source, stop and listen for the sound of running water.

If no luck, try to look for animal tracks and follow them or go downhill as water naturally flows that way.

Collect rainwater by setting out any containers or plastic. You can also take your shirt off and press it onto plants and ground to collect dew or tie a plastic bag around a leafy branch and let water collect over time.

Try digging the ground in places like dried-up streams or near green vegetation. For desperate times, melt snow.

After you’ve collected water, purify it before drinking. Boil it for few minutes or expose it to direct sunlight over a day or so. For desperate times, use your shirt to strain the water.


For short-term survival, food is less important. But if you want to survive for more weeks, you need to find food sources. After all, food offers you the energy that you need and helps keep your body warm.

There are lots of food sources in the woods: wild animals, plants, fish, and bugs. Catch small animals or fishes if you could. Bugs are also edible and nutritious even if they seem gross.

You can also climb up trees and look for bird nests to find eggs. If you can’t catch any, eat wild plants as long as they are edible and non-poisonous.

Stick to common edible plants if in doubt or use the universal edibility test if in desperate situations. Also, watch birds. If they’re eating a plant, it’s probably fine for you.


Consider fire as a basic necessity in the woods. It can be useful in boiling water, cooking, and warmth.

Gather tinder (materials that burn easily like wood shavings and grass) and larger pieces of wood. Arrange your materials in a teepee or crisscross shape. You can use a larger piece of wood to block the wind on one side.

If you have eyeglasses or magnifying glass, angle the lens toward the sun, focusing onto a pile of tinder. If not possible, resort to the manliest and most challenging way to start a fire.

Cut a small notch on a flat piece of wood and rapidly roll a stick between the palms of your hand until the tip glows. You can also strike some rocks together until they spark. Use the tinder pile to catch sparks and start a fire.

Afterward, place it under the assembled firewood and spread the flame using long, steady breaths. Add wood progressively to sustain a fire.

Secondary Survival Tips

Protect Yourself From Wild Animals

To prevent snake bites, avoid tall grasses, holes, narrow rocks, and areas where they probably live. If you come across a bear, don’t run, scream, or make eye contact. It may perceive these as threats.

If attacked, always protect your neck and head. You can also play dead. It will probably leave you alone once you’re no longer a threat.

Signal For Help

Create a signal fire by layering live vegetation on top of the normal fire to create thick, black smoke. If possible, lay out three fires in a triangle. You can also stack three large piles of rocks or branches in a triangle.

Find Your Way Out

When no help is coming, find your way out. Go to the top of a hill and try to spot any landmarks. If not possible, remember that the sun rises from the east and sets to the west.

Finally, following a stream or river downstream or downhill will usually lead to civilization eventually. Make sure to mark your path so you can at least find your way back if your attempt is unsuccessful.

Related Questions

1. What to do if bitten by a snake?

Wash the wound immediately (use soap, if available). Loosely tie a bandage a few inches above the bite and keep the bitten part below the heart. Do not suck the venom with your mouth. The mucus membranes of the mouth are very porous. Do not cut out the flesh around the wound as open wounds are exposed to infection.

2. How to stay warm in the woods?

Build a shelter and make fire. Laying directly on the ground can lower your body temperature, so add some materials on the ground as thick as possible. Add more materials, if possible, on walls to further the insulation. You can also bury yourself in dirt and fallen leaves.


Outdoor survival is no easy feat. But if you are equipped with useful knowledge, necessary skills, good techniques, and a proper attitude, you can survive in the wilderness.

Thus, preparedness does not only talk about getting your materials ready but making yourself ready even if you have nothing at hand.