Wilderness Survival Must-Haves

Also available in: French

Canada boasts vast tracts of wilderness and very dense woodlands where you can easily lose your way. And as they say, nothing looks more like a tree than another tree. Without distinct benchmarks, finding your way can be challenging. Whether you are a hunter, a fisherman, a hiker or just a nature lover, you could end up dealing with a survival situation in the forest.

There are several simple tools and tips that could help you avoid such a situation.

First and foremost: good communication

First of all, don’t travel alone. If you do choose to go solo, always let someone know exactly when (day and time) you plan to leave and return and mention your planned route. This will provide a starting point for potential research teams.

Secondly, always pack a means of communication. Most very remote areas do not have cellular networks, but other gadgets have saved many lives.

The “Spot” system is probably one of the most reliable and popular gadgets available. It is compact and relatively inexpensive, and it allows you to send an SOS message containing your GPS coordinates to the nearest emergency service. Other applications can be used to download various maps to a cellphone that can then track your GPS position without a cellular network.

GPS & navigation systems

What to do if you get lost

It is vital that you are familiar with the location and the environment that you plan on visiting and that you are prepared to tackle the elements by packing appropriate clothing.

However, if you do get lost, the first thing you must do is remain calm and not panic, so as not to expend energy unnecessarily.

The next step involves taking time to analyze the situation so you can make the best possible decisions. You must also stay as close as possible to the spot where you realized you were lost so you don’t stray further off course.

The greatest dangers are dehydration and hypothermia. Therefore, you must quickly locate a water source and build a shelter. Making a fire is also essential. It will keep you warm and keep predators at bay. It will also allow you to create safe drinking water by boiling it. Once you have a fire and safe drinking water, your chances of survival are greatly increased.

Essential equipment for bush survival

The 5C survival rule outlines the five elements that you should always have on hand in the forest.

  1. Containers:

Containers can be used to store food supplies and water and they allow you to efficiently transport your equipment. A good example of a high-performance container is a metal water bottle, which you can use to boil water and store it.

Containers Water containers
  1. Cutting Tool:

In the forest, a knife can be very versatile. It can be used to make traps and build a shelter and it becomes multipurpose when fishing and hunting.

Knives & multi-tools
  1. Combustion Device:

Without the right tools, making a fire can quickly become mission impossible. This is why you should always pack a combustion device.

Fire starters
  1. Cover:

There are several coverage options that protect you from the cold such as a blanket and coat, but a poncho is one of the most versatile items when it comes to survival. You can use it to cover yourself and also to create a more waterproof shelter.

Blankets & liners
  1. Cordage:

Rope can be used for many purposes such as strengthening a shelter or making tools.


It is very important that you take all expeditions seriously, even the shortest, and that you are prepared for any eventuality. Although nature is truly beautiful, it is also wild and merciless.

Author : Alexis Pageau

Also available in: French