Practicing Survival Skills While Camping

It’s going to be cold soon in many parts of the country. Which makes the next month or so the perfect time to do something very important.

If you are physically capable of this, I’d strongly encourage you to take a weekend camping trip with one or more family members or friends.

It’s a great way to unwind and bond with other people. But I have something even more important in mind for this activity.

I’d like you to use this time to practice some survival skills you may need in the future. In fact, it’s possible you’ll need them sooner than you think.

Get mistakes out of the way now

Now, I know some of you won’t be able to get away for one reason or another. But maybe you could do some of this for one night in your backyard.

Either way, the great thing about practicing survival skills during a camping excursion is that you can learn from your mistakes.

An error during a survival practice drill is not going to leave you in a life-threatening situation. You’ll have enough resources to overcome it and get back home safely.

But if you make a mistake in a real survival situation, it could be fatal. And you’ll be less likely to make that error if you’ve practiced ahead of time.

Here are a few ways you can go about practicing your survival skills during an upcoming camping excursion.

Shelter making

Once you’ve set up your tent and other camping items, try to build a shelter from what you can find in the woods.

This doesn’t have to be an elaborate shelter. Just something that will keep you covered so you’re safe from the elements.

In a real survival situation, you may get lucky and find a natural shelter, such as a cave, an overhang or very thick foliage.

If not, you’ll have to use forest debris including tree branches and leaves. Now’s the time to practice this. You can find plenty of instruction videos on the Internet.

Fire starting

Even in a real survival situation, you should have easy fire starters such as lighters, matches and magnesium sticks in your bag.

But it’s a good idea to practice starting a fire the old fashioned ways. Such as with flint and steel, and with a bow and spindle.

Yes, both of those methods will take a while. But that’s what this camping trip is all about – to prepare for a survival scenario.

Again, you can find a number of how-to videos on this subject online.

Water gathering

There’s a reason I listed fire starting before water gathering. You will need to boil the water you find before you can safely drink it.

Hopefully in an actual survival situation you will have enough clean water to last for a while. But eventually it could run out if the crisis continues.

Once you find a water source, gather some in containers and boil it to take out impurities. You should also filter it with a portable water filter.

Take a look at some boiling and filtering videos before you leave for your camping trip. They will give you a variety of ideas on how to purify the water you find.


This is an activity you want to be careful about practicing. You don’t want anyone to risk their health or life trying to save you when you don’t need saving.

One way to signal for help is by holding a mirror up to the sunlight and moving it slowly to reflect that light upward. Make sure there is no airplane in sight when you are practicing this.

Something else that can be seen from the air in a cleared area is three of just about anything large enough to be seen. Such as logs. That’s a distress signal.

Smoke from your fire could also be seen by rescuers if they are looking for you in a real emergency.

Tool making

You will hopefully have a good survival knife and a multi-tool in your bug-out bag. But if you don’t have that bag with you in an actual survival scenario, you will have to improvise.

So, it’s a good idea to know how to make a few basic tools out of forest debris. One of those would be a short, sharpened stick you could use as a knife.

Another would be a longer sharpened stick you could use as a spear. These items could help you cut twigs and branches for a shelter and to fish or hunt game.

Internet videos can help you discover different ways to find the right materials in the woods for these tasks.

Food finding

You’ll have food with you on your camping trip, and hopefully you’ll have some in your bag or vehicle if you have to bug out quickly.

But spend a little time during your camping trip looking for edible plants and berries, even if you don’t actually eat them.

Knowing which ones are safe and which are poisonous could go a long way toward keeping you healthy during a crisis.

There are plenty of online materials to help you make those decisions.

A real survival situation will be much more intense than a camping trip. But by practicing some survival skills in a comfortable atmosphere, you’ll be able to perform better when it happens for real.


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