16 Obscure Survival Facts That Could Save Your Life

We all want to believe that we could survive if we were shoved into a survival situation, but the truth is, most of us are coddled sissies who wouldn’t have much of a clue how to find clean water, hunt food, find our way back to civilization (assuming it still exists), or stay warm/cool enough outdoors.

And those are just the basics!

These are 16 facts many people haven’t considered, but knowing them could save you life.

16. Floating will save your life.

If you somehow are in a situation where you feel like you could drown and have no energy to go on turn on your back and do the backstroke!! Saved my life while at the beach last week after getting sucked out by rip current.

15. Learn how to help yourself in the moment.

This is a tip for surviving with mental health issues. I often ignore my own advice, but when I remember to do it, it usually helps.

When you’re feeling super depressed ask yourself these questions : Am I thirsty? Am I hungry? Am I tired and in need of sleep? Have I showered today? Have I gotten up and walked around in awhile? Have I gotten out of bed and dressed?

I find that a surprising number of times something(s) on that list needs attending to. And once done, I often feel better. There’s no cure for depression. There’s just learning to manage and live with it. Hope that helps someone.

14. Never get complacent.

Short hikes are, in my experience, the most dangerous. This is because we tend to not take them as seriously. A person going on a two-hour hike will likely not pack much, may not take a map or even really consult a map, may not tell anyone where they’re going, etc. They may think that a litre of water and their cell phone is basically all that they need.

All it takes for disaster to strike is getting off the trail and getting turned around and/or for an ankle or leg to get broken. Throw in dampness and a miserable night of shivering- hypothermia can strike at temps well above freezing, especially if you’re wet – and suddenly that person is substantially weakened, less than 24 hours after setting out.

Here in the PNW, it happens all of the time: somebody will venture off of a well-established day-hiking trail, not respecting the fact that it’s a rugged semi-wilderness all around them, and they’ll get turned around and suddenly find that their phone lost coverage in all of those mountains. They’ll start wandering. They’ll do something stupid like “follow the river to civilization” (which in the mountains is generally horrible advice). And…cue the rescue team.

I’d consider myself a veteran hiker/backpacker, but I once got turned around on a crazy simple day hike. Ended up not getting back to my car until well after dark. After that experience, I made a simple survival kit in a Nalgene bottle – essentially, the bare minimum that I’d need to reliably survive a few days on my own – and I always throw it in my backpack on even the shortest trails.

13. I never knew.

Elevator stuff: The STAR symbol on the elevator panel indicates the floor that is the most direct route to outside.

12. Warmer isn’t always better.

During the winter, it is WAY better to be slightly cold than it is to sweat. If you start to sweat, you can go hypothermic way faster.

11. It’s good for you, too!

Every part of a dandelion, from the flower to the stem to the root, is edible.

10. Put them in your survival kit today.

When wild camping and hiking in Scotland, some Dutch Outdoor guy told us to always keep Tampons to start a fire. He was so right – in a wet environment where all the leaves and branches are moist and the wind blows like crazy, we sometimes needed 1,5 hours to start a fire and we needed the fire to at least have a warm meal in the night.

They’re the best fire starter: they’re lightweight and tiny (easy to carry), you can pull them apart and there’s a lot of easily burning material that you can use as a fire starter.

9. First rule of the water: don’t panic.

If you ever fall off a ship/ferry at sea and were lucky enough to be spotted – don’t try to swim your way to safety. The more you try to swim, the lesser the chances of survival. Just try to keep afloat and conserve energy (and body heat) while rescue team do what they’re supposed to.

Unless you are in hypothermic waters, the best bet always is to stay afloat without trying to swim to somewhere. This information about falling overboard, hypothermia and conditions, survival at sea etc are based on my own experience of 12 years sailing on merchant ships.

8. I never would have tried this!

If you are stuck with canned food but no can opener flip the can upside down and rub it back and forth on asphalt or concrete.

While a can opener cuts through the lid, the retaining ring holding the lid on is actually quite thin and can be abraded in 30 seconds or less. Don’t starve to death next to a flat of Alphagetti in your bunker.

7. And run the opposite direction.

If you are ever involved in gunfire or a shooting of any sort, a sharp cracking sound means the gunfire is aimed at you, a deep thumping noise means the gunfire is aimed away from you

6. It doesn’t have to be freezing.

You can get hypothermia in any water that’s below your body temperature, which is pretty much any body of water.

5. My heart just sped up reading this.

Anything standing it’s ground and being loud just wants you to leave. If you don’t they will attack. When they are relatively quiet they have already decided to attack.

This goes for humans too.

4. Try to stay calm.

If you’re walking and suspect someone is following you, pretend like you’re calling someone on the phone asking them their whereabouts, then face a direction your follower can’t see (Like the corner of a building ) and raise your hand and start waving it saying “Yes I see you, I’m over here”.

Your follower will think you’re meeting someone who’s around the corner and will go the other way.

3. A good rule of thumb.

Cut four times the firewood you think you’ll need.

2. Also why you should clean your lint trap regularly.

Dryer lint is super effective for starting fires.

1. On your forearms? Okay!

If you’re about to pass out from being exposed to heat, pour cold water on your forearms. Ice works even better.

This is an old farmer trick. You will feel the effects immediately. You will stop being dizzy and feel better almost immediately.

I’m feeling more prepared already!

Not for the zombies, perhaps, but for everything else.