Know Your Knots Infographic

Know your knots 1

Making Effective Knots Made Simple

Feel like you are all thumbs when it comes to doing knots?  You are definitely not alone!

As outdoor enthusiasts, we all know that we need to do knots with our ropes for everything from camping to fishing and survival.  It is obviously important when out in the wilderness to ‘know your knots’.

Know your knots 2First of all we all wish we knew more about doing effective knots.  Often knowing which knot to use for each situation can be a challenge.  Which knot is best for which situation?

The other difficulty is knowing HOW to do these knots correctly.  Even following someone else can sometimes be confusing as not everyone can explain things well.

So wouldn’t it be good to have something you could refer to and follow easily?  Kinda ‘Know your Knots 101’.

Knots are something we come across in everyday life, from tying your laces to putting on a tie, but what are some of the simplest, easiest to learn knots that can help you out while out camping, hiking, fishing or even sailing! Here you can check out a very cool infographic on some of the top knots for each situation, how to tie them and what you’re likely to use them for!

Sarah Brown from has shared this very useful resource below:

Know Your Knots Infographic

Know your knots:

To conclude, the key to know your knots is to practice the ones you think you will need most.  The knots you choose will naturally depend on the type of outdoor activity you are doing.  Therefore practice, practice, practice…

Most of all keep this knowledge with you when you are out in the great outdoors because you never know when you might need it the most!

Know your knots 3

Camping for Women sincerely thanks Sarah Brown and for sharing this fabulous resource.

What you must have in your First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit 1

By Oceana Setaysha

A first aid kit is a must-carry for any hiker or camper who understands and respects the wild environment they are exploring. Regardless of the length of your trip, how far you will be traveling, or whether you’ll be going alone or with companions, you should have a personal first aid kit at the very least.

Why Build Your Own First Aid Kit

While you can certainly buy first aid kits in most pharmacies, outdoor equipment stores and online, there are a number of benefits associated with putting your own first aid kit together. The most obvious benefit is that you can tailor it to suit your specific needs, where you’re traveling to, what you’re concerned about and so on. However the second benefit is that you’re familiar with every part of the kit, having put it together yourself. You’ll know exactly what you have, and you’ll be prepared to use it if the opportunity presents itself.

There are some ‘basics’ that we like to include in our hiking and camping field kits, which we feel should be present in most well-stocked kits.  Purchasing a well stocked kit to begin with is always a good idea.  It is more economical that starting from scratch.  You can then build specific items from there to match your intended location.

Of course there will always be compromises; not everything can be carried. You may also choose to include additional items depending on your specific trip.

Here is a list of some of the essentials that should be in your own first aid kit:


Packing gloves in your first aid kit, in a bag of their own so they don’t get tangled in any zips, is always a good idea if you think you might be treating someone else. However if you’re packing a kit just for yourself, they’re probably not required.


If you take any kind of medication on a regular basis, carrying a backup in your first aid kit is a smart idea. Also present, at a bare minimum, should be painkillers, anti-inflammatories and anti-histamines.

Antiseptic Wipes + Betadine

You should always have some kind of antiseptic in your kit. Personally we choose to have both wipes, for cleaning up, wiping blood off tools etc.  We also have Betadine, which is an iodine solution to prevent infections.

Blisters And Minor Wound Kit

While we do carry other plasters and dressings, a specific blister and minor wound ‘baggie’ within your kit is handy.  It is something you can reach for easily. In ours we have wound closure strips for large lacerations, sterile gauze swabs, various sized plasters, padded gel plasters (for blisters).

Bandages and Dressings

In terms of the dressings and bandages we have, it will ultimately depend on how much you want to carry. If you have space we’d suggest an absorbent field dressing (military grade is best), a crepe bandage, a pressure bandage (for immobilizing or snake bites), and a small bandage that can be cut up. A sticky medical tape like leucoplast is also a smart idea.

Syringe + Blunt Needle

You won’t be giving anyone any shots, but a syringe is a useful tool for cleaning up a wound with water. While you can probably get away with just the syringe, the blunt needle increases the pressure to clean the wound out.


For removing splinters and thorns as well as for dealing with infected ingrown hairs on rub areas when you hike a pair of sharp tweezers are definitely worth taking.

Safety Pin

Safety pins are also handy for removing splinters, and offer a way to keep a sharp point in your kit without too big a chance it will stick you. These can also be used to make a sling tidy, and many other things on the trail.

Shears/Scissors/Swiss Army Knife

A pair of shears (with a blunt edge for quickly removing clothing) or a pair of scissors, are a necessity in a first aid kit. Of course if you’re trying to cut down on what you’re bringing a Swiss Army Knife or similar multi-tool will probably be suitable.


If you’re injured and cannot seek help, yelling out for hours is exhausting, dehydrating, and not always loud enough to attract the attention of rescuers. A whistle on the other hand can be blown with minimal effort and create a far-reaching sound.


A spare lighter is good to have in a kit for disinfecting tweezers or pins when removing splinters and thorns. Also, if you’re treating someone a fire should be your next priority after taking care of their immediate injuries. On a less serious note, some heat applied to a plaster can help it stick better.

CPR Mask

If you’re travelling alone, this is unlikely to be necessary.  Although if you’re travelling in a group a CPR mask allows you to administer CPR on another individual safely.  That is, without worrying about blood, vomit or saliva getting on or in you.

Head Torch

You might carry a torch or head torch with you in your gear.  However if you’ve had an accident and you’re not able to reach that torch having one in your first aid kit is a really good idea. Make sure it’s stocked with batteries!

First Aid Training

While the equipment that you have is pretty important, you should also consider undertaking a first aid course. Most of the time these courses are done over a single weekend, and are relatively affordable.  They provide an individual with all the skills they need to treat a variety of injuries as a first responder. As a hiker and camper you are often quite a distance away from mainstream medical care.  Therefore knowing these first aid skills might save your life or the life of someone with you.


And finally…

A First Aid Guide

Camping First Aid GuideAmanda Parent has put together a first aid guide for dealing with all common first aid situations.

This inexpensive and potentially life-saving resource is available electronically from the Camping for Women website.

Whatever you plan to do in the great outdoors, always play it safe by having all the essential first aid equipment, resources and knowledge with you.  You never know when you will really need it.


Survival Preparation Tips for Wilderness Camping

Wilderness Camping 1

By Stephanie McHugh

Wilderness camping is the ultimate unplugged-in-nature experience. There is physical challenge involved because all of your needs are carried on your back. Being imbedded in nature is best enjoyed when you have essentials for survival. Many of the tips and tricks of a successful wilderness camping trip are learned by experience.

Preparation for wilderness camping

In addition to packing the right things for a wilderness camping hike, some steps in preparation are a bit more involved. The number one tip is to break in new hiking boots before you hit the trail; a minimum of 50 miles of walking beforehand provides good insurance against blisters. Other prep tips follow:

  • Wilderness Camping 2If you have a new tent, set it up a time or two before your trip, to avoid possibly having to struggle during setup in inclement weather.
  • Do some research on the types of dangerous wildlife you might encounter on your camping trip, and be prepared. For areas with a lot of bears, for example, wear bells on your backpack, to avoid surprising a mother with bear cubs. Also, be sure to carry some sort of campsite locker or bear bag so that at night you can lock up food and everything else that emits any type of scent, such as moisturizer, bug spray, and toothpaste.
  • There may not be access to GPS or any other electronics in the wilderness. Learn how to use a compass, and pack one for the journey, along with a map of the area.
  • A hydration system is another chief consideration, when wilderness hiking and camping. If there are plenty of water sources where you’ll be camping, you can depend on a purification system of some kind. A CamelBak system that helps you carry a few days’ worth of water may be needed, if you aren’t sure of encountering natural water supplies.

Essentials to pack for backcountry camping

The excitement of braving the wilderness can quickly lose its charm for a wide variety of reasons. Backpack space and weight is limited. Thanks to skilled campers, you can be sure of various items that are worth their weight. In addition to more obvious necessities, such as a sharp knife, you’ll want to find room in your pack for the following items:

  • Wilderness Camping 3A ground mat is very lightweight and serves a great purpose. You and your gear can usually avoid being soaked, even if the ground becomes wet as you sleep at night.
  • Pack extra plastic trash bags, which have many great uses. A trash bag can be used as a backpack cover, an emergency poncho, and a catchment system for rainwater.
  • Include some binder clips on your backpack, to make it easy to hang clothing to dry at night or during the day, when you’re hiking.
  • Wilderness Camping 4Bring a lighter and some dryer lint, for getting fires started. Lint is virtually weightless and yet serves as a great fire starter.
  • Duct tape can serve many helpful purposes, such as patching holes and removing objects from your socks, such as cheat grass spines. Bungee cords also have many uses on wilderness camping trips.
  • Bring along a whistle, which can be of help in many different circumstances. The noise can scare bears and help you find camping partners, if separated in the backcountry.

Be sure to share your secrets of enjoying wilderness camping. With the right kind of preparation, the experience can be positively – as opposed to negatively – unforgettable.

Wilderness Camping 5

Planning Your Hike while Backpacking

Planning your hike 1

By Janessa Tice Miller

Planning your hike should consider some key things before you head out on a backpacking trip.  Doing this correctly from the start will help ensure your hike goes smoothly and safely.

Planning Your Hike Route & Daily Mile Goal

Planning your hike 2Before you can do anything else on a backpacking trip, you need to plan the route that you will hike. It could take on the form of a long through-hike, a week on a trail, or just a night or two out in the wilderness. Whatever the case, you need to narrow down your route and prepare.

Once you decide where you are going, you should plan how many miles you would like to hike within each day. Be realistic! It’s important that you know your own physical limits, and realize how many miles you can or cannot hike. It’s a good idea to try out a few day hikes first, just to test out your own stamina.

You don’t have to hike the exact number of miles each day, but you will want to hit very close to your goal.

Get Familiar With Your Route Each Morning

Planning your hike 3Before you ever leave on your trip, you will want to be familiar with the layout of your full trip. But the intricacies of the day ahead must be looked at individually before you head off in the morning. Make sure you are not wasting your time by taking an ill move, and check on how far you need to walk each day, and where you aim to camp. You should always carry maps of your route with you to assist in this process.

It’s also important to be continually aware of and checking on water sources. Some days you may need to hike a bit further than normal. Or you may need to readjust your route slightly if water levels are down, for example. So always keep a larger goal in mind, but focus on the day ahead on each individual morning.

Take Consistent, Scheduled Breaks Throughout The Day

Planning your hike 5If you are planning your hike to go all day, experts say you should consistently stop to rest. With each rest stop plan to grab a protein-boosting snack, drink some water, and sit down to rest or take a quick nap.

The length of your rest will depend on your own body and the amount of miles you are hiking. Some people like to take 5-10 minute breaks every hour. Others take 15-30 minutes every two hours. Some people just sit down and grab a snack.  Others always take off their shoes and enjoy a 15 minute nap.

The point of these rest breaks is to give your body the boost it needs to stay healthy and energized. You can play with different systems to figure out what works best for your own health and hiking style.  Then ensure to be consistent in whatever you choose.

Make Sure Someone Knows Where You Are and When You Plan to Return

Before you leave, you need to make sure that someone knows where you’re going and when you should be back.  This is most important when planning your hike. It is a preventive safety measure that is always wise. If you go missing, someone will know where and when to look for you.  Camping for Women’s free P.I.N. (Planned Itinerary Notification) is something that is specifically designed for this purpose.

It is also important to make sure that you have obtained any permits or passes you might need for the area you are planning to hike. In many places, these permits are also an added safety measure.  This is because the authorities know when a person has not appeared that should have left a trail.

Planning your hike 6

Wilderness Safety and Survival

Wilderness 1

By Iris West

If you are a fan of activities that often take you to the wilderness such as camping and hiking, then it is important that you familiarize yourself with safety and survival for the wilderness. If you have little or no outdoor survival skills, then it’s best to do a little research before starting your trip.  Remember desert, forest and clear skies will be your closest friends. Also of much benefit is to have an idea of your enemies too; including bugs, some animals and some flies!

Packing for the wilderness

If it is your first time, you need to know about the essentials that you need to pack before you leave the house. First of all, travel light and anything non-essential should not accompany you on your trip. Always pack for the estimated time that you will be there. For instance, if the hike will take no more than three days and nights, then you should not pack for a fourth. You should only pack what you can carry as dragging unnecessary and/or extra weight may only endanger you and those around you. Knowing what to pack and how to pack is both a survival and safety skill, most especially if you are travelling alone. Some essentials that you need to pack include:

  • Utensils
  • Flashlight or other sustainable source of light that does not rely on electricity for recharge
  • Map and compass as well as any other navigation equipment that you can use effectively
  • Sunscreen and insect repellent
  • Shelter equipment among others that you need to read up on depending where in the world you are.

Wilderness 2

Understand each person’s skills

If you are travelling as a group, it is important that you understand the skills and contributions of each member of the group. Those who do not have survival skills can be assigned tasks that do not require specific skills such as the collection of firewood. That is to say that they should play a supportive role. If you are alone, it is equally important that you know the extent of your skills. For instance, can you build a fire without using a lighter or matches? If not, then you will need to carry them as essentials.

Always follow the trail

Remember that you are out in the wilderness and you are no doubt bound to come across a number of wild animals. It is therefore, important that for your own safety, you follow the trails. However tempting it might be, do not wander off to create your own path unless you have a trained guide with you. Some trails are also equally dangerous so it is important that you watch your step.

Do not just eat or drink anything

Not everything that has meat on it is edible and in just the same way, not every plant is edible. If you have no idea what is edible and what is not, then do not attempt to eat anything. It is much better to carry your own food instead of eating anything out in the wilderness.

Watch your fire

Wilderness 3It might be tempting and reassuring to just keep adding wood to the fire, especially if you do not have a stove to use. That might be the beginning of a fatal fire. Always watch your fire so that the flames do not grow out of control. At the same time, account for the wind strength and speed as it might just carry embers around and start an uncontrollable fire. Always put out any unmonitored fires, especially when you go to sleep. Otherwise you will end up starting a wilderness fire.

Request to be accompanied by a guide

This applies if you (when travelling alone) or anyone in the group, has safety or survival knowledge. If there is no guide available, because not all places have guides, then align yourself/yourselves with a group that has a knowledgeable person of the area. I would however recommend that before you even plan the trip, you familiarize yourself with basic survival skills such as building a fire or fishing.

Stick to and with the group

Unless you are travelling alone in some secluded part of the wilderness, it is always important to stick with a group. Alone, you are an easy target to some wild animals and there is increased chance of getting lost. As a group however, you have the collective knowledge as well as strength in numbers. You will also enjoy the sight of animals in their habitat. When sticking together in a group, some animals might appear to be your friends. However don’t go too close to them to test this impression!

Wilderness First Aid KitHave an emergency first aid kit

Even if you do not have medical training, you should ensure you have basic first aid skills. If you don’t, then you should at least have a first aid booklet or written guide.

In any case, always carry a first aid kit for emergencies. There are so many types of first aid kits available, you are bound to find one that is perfect for your circumstances.

Familiarize yourself with safety procedures

Just because you are out in the wilderness, does not mean that there aren’t emergency safety procedures. In the event of an emergency, you need to be aware of what to do before you get additional aid or assistance. It is therefore necessary to learn the procedures relevant to your area as well as the emergency contacts.

One other the daytime safety precaution that you should never forget is ‘never walk bare foot’ (the wilderness poses lots of threats).

At night, ‘walk around the camp site and always zip your tent while you sleep’.

Do not take risks that you cannot safely get out of

The thrill of being in the wilderness might make you take unnecessary risks. If you know you cannot get out of any situation safely, then it is not worth getting into it in the first place. For instance, do not dive into the river without knowledge of its depth and speed. However, if you really want to then consider if are you an exceptional swimmer and diver. If not, then avoid it.

In short, never take your personal safety for granted.  You can never be too careful.

Wilderness 4

Common First Aid Treatments Needed by Hikers

First aid treatments 1

By Stephanie McHugh

Hiking is a robust activity that frequently results in injuries. A wide range of injuries are common among hikers. Anyone going on a lengthy hike could benefit from packing basic first aid supplies for the journey. Carry your first aid hiking equipment in a clear plastic bag, to minimize the added weight.

By keeping a handy first aid kit packed and ready to go on your hiking excursions, you don’t have to worry about forgetting something important that could lead to a painful outcome.


First aid treatmentsSunburn avoidance is an important consideration when preparing for a hike. Include sunscreen in your first-aid kit, to protect against painful sunburn. There is more to good sunburn prevention for hikers than wearing a reliable sunscreen, however.

A hat that provides shade for the ears, neck, and face is standard for many hikers. Sunglasses can also be important, depending on where you are hiking and the level of sun exposure on your trail. Clothing provides added protection. Clothes created just for hikers often include UV blockage. Simply wearing long pants and a long-sleeved shirt can accomplish the same goal.

In case of sunburn, pack burn ointment in your first-aid hiking kit.

Bug Bites

First aid treatments 3Dealing with pesky insects such as gnats, mosquitos, and wasps is a normal part of hiking. If stung by a bee, wasp, or hornet, remove the stinger. A cold pack, anti-itch creams, and pain relievers can help with insect bites.

In the event of a severe reaction, such as difficulty breathing, seek immediate medical attention.


First aid treatments 4Painful blisters are commonly suffered by hikers. Moleskin bandages are very effective at helping to prevent blisters and protecting blisters that have developed. Moleskin is a heavy, durable cotton fabric that provides a cushion against painful rubbing. Your first aid kit should include a pin or small knife, to prick the blister. Use an alcohol swab or flame to sterilize the point or edge.

Carefully massage the blister to drain the fluids, keeping the overlying skin cover in place. Apply antibiotic cream before putting on a moleskin bandage. Adding an additional layer of protection with athletic tape is also helpful.

Twisted Ankle

First aid treatments 5The terrain on hikes can become challenging, which is why it’s important to wear hiking boots that protect the ankles. Even with the added support, however, a wrong step can result in a twisted or sprained ankle. If there is swelling or discoloration, immediate first aid treatment is needed.

First, elevate the ankle to at least the height of the chest. Rest for as long as possible. Do not put stress or weight on the ankle. Include an ankle wrap in your first aid kit, to supply pain-relieving stability.

If walking to get medical treatment is unavoidable, create a makeshift splint that supports and protects the ankle. This can be done using the injured person’s hiking boot. Remove the laces from the boot but keep the sprained ankle inside of it. Use the laces but tie them above the boot. In case of this type of injury, it’s also good to pack Aspirin or some other type of pain reliever in your first aid kit.

Exposure to Poisonous Plants

Poisonous Plants - Stinging Nettle
Stinging Nettle

There are often poisonous plants on hiking trails, such as poison ivy and stinging nettles. Prevention is best. Become familiar with the types of poisonous plants you could encounter on your hike.

If you become exposed, wash off the affected area within 10 minutes or as soon as possible, but do not use warm or hot water for rinsing. If water isn’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or alcohol wipe. Clothing, shoes, and anything else that comes into contact with poisonous plants should be washed because it can cause further exposure.

Calamine lotion usually provides relief for the severe redness and itching that can develop. Emergen-C tablets can provide topical relief if applied to the affected area because they contain ascorbic acid.

For more information on identifying poisonous plants, check out a more in-depth article by clicking here. 

Snake Bite

First aid treatments 7If a snake bites you while on the hiking trail, do not try any of the treatments for snake bite that are widely represented on television. It has been proven, for example, that it is of no help to try to suck out poison, to apply a tourniquet, or to use a suction device. You could make things worse by applying a cold pack.

According to experts, the only effective treatment is a dose of antivenin.

First clean the wound with antiseptic wipes or soap and water and then bring the victim for medical treatment as quickly as possible. If unable to be carried out, have the victim walk slowly without the burden of a pack. Every 15 minutes, mark the edge of swollen areas with an ink pen, which will help a doctor determine the extent of envenomation.


First aid treatments 8If you suffer scrapes or other types of abrasions on the hiking trail, remove debris as soon as possible by scrubbing the affected area with soap and a gauze pad. This could be painful.

After rinsing, apply antibiotic ointment and a gauze pad held in place with medical tape.


List of First Aid Supplies

This list of first aid items isn’t very long, but bringing recommended supplies can make a huge difference on a hike.

  • Sunscreen
  • Burn ointment
  • Cold pack
  • Anti-itch creamFirst aid treatments 9
  • Pain reliever, such as aspirin
  • Moleskin bandages
  • Alcohol swabs
  • Straight pin or small knife
  • Ankle wrap
  • Calamine lotion
  • Emergen-C tablets
  • Ink pen
  • Gauze pad
  • Medical tape
  • Antibiotic Cream
  • Athletic tape

You never know when one of the common hiking injuries will require first aid treatment. Get your first-aid kit packed and ready for your future hikes. Chances are, you’ll be very glad you did.

You can also get your very own copy of Camping for Women’s Camping First Aid Guide which has more in-depth information covering many more scenarios in nature.  Check it out by clicking here or on the image below.

Camping First Aid Guide Cover



Poisonous Plants to Beware of on Hikes

Beware poisonous plants while hiking

By Stephanie McHugh

You may think that having proper hydration, broken-in hiking boots, some nature, and perhaps bug repellant is all a hiker really needs. But an encounter with one of many poisonous plants is all it may take to learn how things really are. Some knowledge about poisonous plant life is important when hiking in untamed areas. Without such information, hikers can suffer such misery as eye and skin irritation, extreme fatigue, and nausea experienced as a result of a brush against the wrong kind of plant.

Oil from poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac contains a substance that can cause blisters and rashes known as “contact dermatitis”. The oil, called urushiol oil, adheres to almost any surface it comes into contact with, including clothing, blankets, and towels. The rashes caused by an encounter with any of these plants are severe about 25 percent of the time, due to allergies. The rash can persist from two to five weeks, and a prescription of prednisone may be needed to halt skin damage, particularly in the eyes.

More about Poison Ivy

Poisonous Plants - Poison Ivy
Poison Ivy

Poison ivy is a widespread problem throughout much of North America, including Quebec and all of the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. In the mountainous areas of Mexico, hikers can also encounter this troublesome plant. Although it can grow in open fields, it is more common for poison ivy to flourish in wooded areas, especially along breaks in a tree line. Numerous rhymes are used to describe the appearance of poison ivy, to help people of all ages avoid an unfortunate encounter. The following are a few of those rhymes:

  • “Leaflets three; let it be.”
  • “Hairy vine, no friend of mine.”
  • “Longer middle stem; stay away from them.”
  • “Berries white, run in fright.”

Poisonous Plants: More about Poison Oak and Poison Sumac

Poison oak flourishes in the shady canyons of valleys and mountains of Canada and the western U.S. Poison oak also grows in leaves of three. The color of the poisonous plant varies from green to red, depending on the season.

Poisonous Plants - Poison Sumac
Poison Sumac

Poison sumac is a small tree or shrub. The leaves are two-to-four inches long. Their shapes are oval to oblong, and they taper to a sharp point. Greenish flowers about 0.2 inches across grow in loose clusters. Poison sumac is found exclusively in flooded or very wet soils, such as peat bogs and swamps in the eastern U.S. and Canada.

Giant Hogweed

Poisonous Plants - beware when hikingGiant hogweed can be encountered on a hike in Central Asia, Europe north of the Alps, the northern U.S., and Canada. These poisonous plants are native to Caucasus and Central Asia. Outwardly, giant hogweed looks like common hogweed. The difference between the two is that giant hogweed carries a phototoxic sap throughout all parts of the plant. If your skin comes into contact with the sap of giant hogweed, it will become hypersensitive to ultra-violet rays. The result of a brush with giant hogweed can be painful blisters that leave persistent scarring. If the eyes come into contact with the poisonous plant, the result can be blindness. Should you ever encounter giant hogweed on a hike, wash the sap off with soap and water as quickly as possible and avoid being in the sunlight for about 48 hours.

Poisonous plants -The Deadly Manchineel
The Deadly Manchineel


Manchineel is deadly, if ingested. It’s important that hikers in certain areas of the Caribbean and Florida become familiar with this innocent-looking toxic plant. Manchineel has one-to-two-inch pomes that resemble apples. Even brief contact with toxic parts of the plant can cause burning blisters.

Stinging Nettles

Poisonous Plants - Stinging Nettle
Stinging Nettle

If you are hiking in many areas of the U.S., Canada, Asia, Africa, Europe, or South American, you may encounter painful stinging nettles. If the stinging hairs of the plant make skin contact with a hiker, the result can be redness and severe itching.

A good tip for avoiding problems on an adventurous hike is to study about local poisonous plants before setting out. It’s probably safe to say, however, that staying on manmade hiking trails is another way to avoid an unwanted encounter with toxic plants.


Survival Skills: How to Build a Simple Shelter

Survival Text

By Mitra Cazaubon

Waiting till building a shelter is your only option, isn’t a wise idea. If you are a camper, hiker or just an outdoor enthusiast, make shelter building one of your skills. In a survival situation time is of the essence and having to rebuild a shelter because it wasn’t done well, is not the best use of your time and energy.

In this article, you will learn the general principles of building a shelter and detailed instructions on build a sturdy A-frame debris shelter. You will need a knife or suitable cutting tool.

#1 Find a Suitable Location

Avoid low line areas as they may be prone to flooding or rising tide. Choose an elevated spot but keep in mind the higher up a mountain you go the colder it gets. It should be flat and cleared of overhanging branches and dead standing trees. Also, remove all debris to ensure there are no dangerous critters on the ground.

Consider the availability of materials you will need and other necessities, such as water. Expending all your energy to carry materials to your site will leave you too tired to build a good shelter, or the loss of sunlight may leave you without one.

#2 Collect Your Materials for Shelter

When collecting wood, avoid using any trees with white milky sap. Most are poisonous.

Find two Y branches and cut it your height. Also, get one ridge pole twice your height to use as the spine for your shelter.

If you can’t get any Y branches two straight ones can work. Ensure that these branches are straight and sturdy. Collect small sticks and branches.

For the roof you will need leaves, small twigs and debris lying around, so hold onto the off cuts.

#3 Build Shelter

Before you start building your A-frame debris shelter find the direction of the wind. Your entrance should be parallel to it.

Lift the two Y sticks and ensure the base is no more than 4ft apart. Dig two small holes where you placed them and join the Ys at the top. Now, put your ridge pole between the Ys.

Dig a small hole at the opposite end of the ridge pole to keep it in place. If you didn’t get the Y sticks use your two straight sticks and use a tripod lashing to achieve the same effect.

To see how to tie tripod lashing check out:

Foundation frame

Your survival shelter needs to be big enough for you to lying down in it and sit in the entrance. At this point, you’re A-frame shelter should look like a triangle from all sides.


Place small sticks and branches on either side of your ridge pole. Alternate the sides then add a stick the same length of the ridge pole to hold your branches in place.

Weave tiny sticks, vines or tree back (natural cordage) between the sticks to form a lattice. This is to keep debris from falling between the sticks and also to keep them in place.

Now start adding the off cuts and leaves. You can weave them between the cordage.

This layer of leaves and debris needs to be at least 1ft to 2ft thick for protection from the wind and rain.

Building the roof

Add whatever is available after you have put your small twigs and leaves.

Keep an eye out for snakes and scorpions when picking up debris.

For the floor of your A-frame shelter, you can add some big leaves for comfort and insulation. An asset would be a mylar blanket which will provide added insulation; this should be in your survival kit.

Optional – Make a door using big leaves or build a reflector wall to block the wind.

Build a simple shelter

Practice building a shelter until you can build one in under one hour. Familiarize yourself with the best wood in your area and techniques to help you improve your time.

Having a shelter is a basic need, whether in a survival situation or just enjoying an overnight camp with friends.

The best gear you can have is your skills so add shelter building to your list.

Here is a video made that shows the finished shelter:

New Camping First Aid Guide Available Now

Camping for Women has just released a brand new publication: The Camping First Aid Guide.

Camping First Aid Guide CoverThe Camping First Aid Guide is an exciting new resource that women campers in particular have stated was needed to address all the emergency and health issues that can often arise in the great outdoors.

Written by French camper Amanda Parent, the guide has been specifically designed and developed to suit all outdoor environments and activities.

These activities includes things such as camping, caravanning, hiking, trekking, campfire cooking, canyoning, rock climbing, mountaineering, kayaking, canoeing, fishing and water sports.

first aid word button on screen. medical conceptThe Camping First Aid Guide covers all aspects of health and life-saving treatments for the most common occurrences that are faced by people in the wilderness.

These situations are considered for circumstances where people are located far away from emergency responders and therefore must rely on their own knowledge and resources to survive while not making matters worse.

This indispensable companion is a must-have for anyone who is serious about ensuring the safety and health of themselves and their family and friends they camp with.

Click here to find out all about this wonderful resource.


Don’t Leave Home Without Lodging A P.I.N.

Huge Wilderness

By Oceana Setaysha

Most people, even passionate outdoors people, believe that survival in the wild during an emergency situation is all about your wilderness skills. But did you know that one of the best things you can do to ensure your survival if something goes wrong is actually done in the preparation stage?

We call it the P.I.N. It means Planned Itinerary Notification, and it’s a document that you can fill out prior to your trip that makes it easy for people to find you if something goes wrong. We’re about to explain why you need one.

The Benefits Of The P.I.N.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that lodging a P.I.N. before you head off is a good idea. But if you’re not a generally cautious person (not a great idea if you’re a wilderness lover), the benefits may not immediately be clear. Let us lay them out for you.

A P.I.N. Lets People Know Where To Look:

rescue-helicopterIn a P.I.N. you outline all the areas that you’ll be travelling in on your trip, including the routes you’ll be taking and the areas you’ll be passing through.

Using this, rescuers can figure out your daily speed and see where you might have met difficulty. This cuts the search area down enormously if you go missing on your trip, meaning you’re likely to be found much faster.


A P.I.N. Lets People Know When To Look:

A P.I.N. will include your intended start date, intended finish date, and anywhere you’ll be touching base on the way. These dates are crucial because it cuts down on the time that people will waste wondering if you’re ok. If you don’t show up on the date you nominated, people will know something is wrong.

A P.I.N. Tells People Who To Call:

Police on missing person caseYour P.I.N. has the names and contact details of your next of kin, just in case something happens to you and you need their help. This might be because you’re in danger, can’t be found, or because you’re injured and can’t make medical decisions.

In any case, it’s smart that the people who care about you can be there to help.


A P.I.N. Tells People About You:

The P.I.N. has places for you to tell the authorities and other relevant parties about yourself. If something goes wrong they won’t just have your photograph (which is a smart idea), but also an idea of your own wilderness skills and abilities. This may give them a better idea of what you’ll do in an emergency.

Tips For Filling Out Your P.I.N

There are a few things to think about when you’re filling out your P.I.N, to make sure you get the most out of it. Here’s what we’d suggest.

Be As Specific As Possible:

Completing the Planned Itinerary NotificationA P.I.N. is of no use if it’s not specific enough. Take your time in filling it out, and make sure you give as many details as you can.

If your P.I.N. is vague the people who are trying to help you will take even longer to figure out where you might be, which is not what you want if you’re in trouble.


Have A Clear Plan And Stick To It:

When you write up your P.I.N. you’ll be asked to map out your trip plan. We get it, sometimes trips don’t go exactly to plan, but if you leave a P.I.N. with the authorities or people that you love, it’s important to stick to it. If you want more leeway, then adjust your trip schedule accordingly, but understand that you’re risking people taking longer to find you if something goes wrong.

P.I.N.s Aren’t Just For Walking:

Car and caravanA P.I.N. isn’t just useful for walkers, it’s also a great idea for people travelling in motorised vehicles, campers, bikes and on watercraft.

On the P.I.N. you’ll have the opportunity to describe the vehicles you’ll be using, which you should do in as much detail as possible.


Who To Give It To

One of the key things in making the P.I.N. work for you is to give it to the right people. Now in the case of the P.I.N. this isn’t just your family or friends who aren’t attending the trip with you, but also the local police, the park rangers in the area you’re travelling, your accommodation base if you’re not travelling with all your gear, or a local business owner in remote areas.

Choose wisely who you give your P.I.N. to, you’ll need to trust the person to get you out of trouble if something goes wrong, and not forget their responsibilities. At the same time, don’t just leave your P.I.N. with one person. The more people who are out looking for you when you’re in trouble, the better!


There are a few options for completing your Planned Notification Itinerary (P.I.N.) after downloading it.

Planned Itinerary Notification (P.I.N.)You can:

  1. Type your information straight onto the document and email it to whoever you like;
  2. Type your information straight onto the document and print it out for people who may not have email;
  3. Print out the document and hand-write the relevant information in the spaces provided and then scan & email or copy and hand printed versions to whoever you nominate.

The document has built-in email and print buttons you can use at your convenience.

Download the Planned Itinerary Notification pdf document for free by clicking below:

click here arrow iconPlanned Itinerary Notification (P.I.N.)

Play Safe…Never take your personal safety for granted!