Any bad situation can be easily mitigated if you have survival skills to fall back on. Even if you lose your bugout bag (BOB), having the following skills may increase your chance of survival when SHTF: (h/t to Survivopedia.com)
1. Finding water
Humans can survive for weeks without food but only for a few days without water. No matter the situation, you should prioritize looking for water.
Here are a few tips for finding sources of water in the wild:
If you find yourself in hilly terrain, remember that the flow of water is always going to be downhill. Seek out streams and creeks in the crevices where hills meet.
If you can’t see the flow of water, it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Take a moment and try to listen for water, then just follow the sound.
If you can’t see or hear water, look for signs of life. Animals and insects frequent areas with water.
Digging a hole in damp soil will sometimes reveal groundwater.
Beware of standing water. It’s likely full of pathogens.
2. Purifying water
Even running water might harbor pathogens invisible to the naked eye. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so filter and purify the water you collect before drinking it.
Boil it – Bringing water to a boil is the easiest and most reliable way of purifying water. You only need to boil the water for less than a minute to make it potable. Let the water boil for a full minute if you’re in a high-altitude area where water takes longer to boil.
Use bleach – If you don’t have time to get a fire going, use bleach. Experts advise mixing eight drops of bleach and a gallon of generally clear water for best results.
Use purification tablets – As the name implies, purification tablets are designed for the sole purpose of purifying water. They are relatively affordable and easy to acquire, so consider adding them to your BOB. The main ingredients in these tablets are usually chlorine dioxide and tetraglycine hydroperiodide.
3. Building a shelter
When SHTF, shelter could mean the difference between life and death, as the dangers you may encounter can be further compounded by inclement weather if you don’t have shelter.
How you build your shelter will depend heavily on your surroundings. You can start by building a basic lean-to, one of the easiest survival structures to build. It gets its name from the fact that it’s typically made by leaning building materials against a pre-existing structure or a natural formation, like a wall, a tree or a rock face.
You can slowly hone your skills until you’re comfortable building a more complex shelter, like a tepetie. If you’re in an area with heavy winter snows, take advantage of the weather to practice digging a snow cave to hide in.
4. Finding food
Even if you have a BOB full of food, you need to know how to find food once your supplies run out. You could try catching small game or spearing fish by using a sharp, long stick. You can also make traps out of sticks, stones and rope to catch small critters. You can even forage for edible plants, berries and mushrooms.