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Survival Skills for Mountain Camping: What You Need to Know

I love camping at a campground for a quick and easy weekend getaway, but my heart is in the mountains if I’m looking for a real adventure. 

However, mountain camping has risks and rewards that camping at a campground doesn’t. I love the solitude of camping in the mountains, plus the views are unbeatable. I also understand the dangers of camping away from civilization, so I keep my survival skills sharp. 

Thankfully, I have not used them in a survival situation, but I’m much more relaxed since I know I can survive in the wilderness. 

Below are several survival techniques you need to develop to survive several scenarios. 

Essential Survival Skills

As a society, we’ve forgotten how to survive. Our modern conveniences allow us to neglect basic survival skills that are essential when camping in the mountains. 

Planning & Preparation

My wife is a planner. She’s always got a plan for what we’re doing. I’m more of a “We’ll figure it out when we get there” kinda guy. And while I do manage in most situations, I must admit that things go smoother when we have a plan. 

Now, you can’t plan for every situation that might pop up while mountain camping, but there are common scenarios you might encounter. 

For instance, if you’re camping in an area known for wildfires, plan how to prevent and survive a wildfire. 

Another part of planning and preparation is knowing your limits. Survival is rarely like the TV shows portray; it’s about returning home to your family, not taking significant risks so people watch the show. 

Understanding what you are and are not capable of will help you plan your route, have an exciting adventure, and make it home safely.

But if something does happen, you should have some basic first aid skills ready.

Mountain camping

First Aid Skills

I’m not a doctor, so this is not medical advice, but if you plan to spend any time outdoors, you should have basic first aid. Know how to stop bleeding, make a splint, and clean a wound. 

Knowing how to spot heat stroke, hypothermia, and dehydration is also critical to survival. 

Water Cleaning Skills

I take a Lifestraw and a filter cup with me when camping, and they’ve saved my butt on a couple of hikes when I didn’t bring enough water. 

But what if they break or eventually get clogged? 

Boiling water for 1-3 minutes kills the bacteria in the water, making it safer to drink. There are also several ways to clean water to help remove bacteria and other contaminants.

  • Tablets
  • Drops
  • Plants
  • Sedimentation
  • Making filters with plants

Hunting & Gathering Skills

Hunting and identifying edible plants is another critical skill for survival. Hopefully, you packed some food for your camping trip, but what happens when your trip lasts longer than your food supply? 

Learning to hunt, fish, and gather edible plants is a sure way to keep you from starving. 

Sharpening your shooting skills, especially with a rifle like the 7mm PRC, can also save your life if you encounter a threatening animal or person while camping.

Shelter Building Skills

There are many ways to build a shelter, and learning to make one with the materials you can access while camping in the mountains is essential.

Yes, you might already have a tent, but what happens when it rips or gets destroyed? 

My daughter loves building shelters to play in for the day, and little does she know that she’s developing a vital survival skill. 

Winter camping

Fire Starting Skills

In college, I went on a camping trip with a group of students. When we reached our camping spot, I watched some fellow students struggle to start a fire with a lighter and lighting fluid. After observing for 20 minutes, I walked over and helped them start the fire within a couple of minutes. Even though they had the tools to start a fire, they didn’t have the skills.

We need fire to keep away dangerous animals, cook food, and keep us warm. I recommend having a lighter and waterproof matches in your first aid kit. 

Understanding that you need kindling to get the fire started, and how to add bigger logs without smothering it is a critical step in fire starting my fellow students didn’t understand. 

I think it’s also important to be able to start a fire without matches or a lighter, as you might use them all or lose them in a survival situation. 

Directional Skills

I’m pretty good with directions; I know north, south, east, and west, but put me in a new place, especially a mountainous area, and I can get a bit turned around.

At night, it’s only amplified; I remember one night, I was facing north when I would have sworn I was facing south while tracking a deer my dad had shot earlier that day through the woods one night. Thankfully, I had a compass and map on my phone to help me get back to my vehicle. 

I don’t recommend traversing through a new area at night in a survival situation, but you must learn to navigate without losing your sense of direction. 

Ensuring Safety

When it comes to hiking in the mountains, carrying a firearm can be a matter of personal safety and peace of mind. While firearms bring an added layer of security, the challenge lies in finding a convenient and secure way to carry them during your outdoor adventures. 

Holsters designed specifically for hiking provide a solution to this dilemma. These holsters are typically lightweight, durable, and designed for easy access, allowing hikers to carry their firearms comfortably and securely while navigating rugged terrain.

Whether worn on the waist, thigh, or chest, these holsters ensure that your firearm is readily available should the need arise, without hindering your mobility or comfort during long hikes in the wilderness.

By incorporating a suitable holster into your hiking gear, you can enjoy the tranquility of the mountains with the added assurance of personal protection.

Packing Up

While it’s not a bad idea to have survival skills for camping at a campground with a manicured disc golf course and paved hiking trail, developing the skills mentioned above will save your life while mountain camping.

The mountains can be unforgiving, so always be prepared for the worst, but expect the best!  

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