How to Survive in the Woods


Why would I need to know how to survive in the woods? That’s an understandable question, it’s a normal mental attitude that “It can’t happen to me.” But it can happen to anyone, yes including you. A wrong turn, a freak late spring snow storm erupts, the truck breaks down and we’re forced to walk miles in unfamiliar environment. There’s a multitude of reasons we could find ourselves suddenly lost, and terrified whether we want to admit it or not.

Now the question is … What to do now?

Most anyone can survive a night or two in the woods, unless the weather turns crazy, below freezing temperatures and feet of heavy snow, but surviving for an extended period of time takes a whole lot of thinking and skills.

This first rule is “Don’t Panic.” It’s more important than ever to keep your wits about you, think about the situation and develop a plan to deal with it. Any rash or hasty action could make a bad situation … worse, much worse. Remember, panic is an enemy. Take several deep breaths, sit with your head down, eyes closed if need be, until the surge of panic subsides and you return to logical thinking.

This is where we back up in time to before the incident happened. We’ll call this segment, preparing to survive. Survival, and the degree of discomfort you may endure, begins before you ever go into the woods. You watch television shows where people are dropped into hostile territory with nothing, sometimes not even clothes, and they survive reasonably well. For starters, these situations are fabricated and under close scrutiny of medical professionals. Additionally, most of these people are professional survivalist, experts in the art of subsistence living. We do not fall into that category. At least I don’t.

The first thing everyone needs to do is put together a simple survival kit and store it in trunk of the car or under your truck seat. This is a very easy and relatively inexpensive item to put together and if you think about it, it’s plain stupid to not have one in every vehicle. Whether you’re stuck in the woods or stuck in a ditch a few miles from home, I’d rather be over-prepared than under-prepared. Not to be morbid, but there are more than a few stories of people freezing to death a mere few hundred yards from their home unable to continue.


Sample Emergency Road Aid Kit

The kit, or bag, is simple. It’ll include such items as a fire-starter (much more reliable than matches or a lighter) water purifiers, an emergency blanket, a few hand tools, knife, perhaps a few energy bars and a bottle of water or two. Starting on any trip without a kit is asking for trouble, especially as easy and inexpensive as it is.

The next issue to address for how to survive in the woods is tell someone where you are going and when you’ll be back. Will this prevent you from getting lost? No. However, it could make the ordeal must less dangerous and absolutely shorter. Most people won’t think of this and others refuse to do it because they are adults and answer to no one. That’s dumb. Letting someone know your where bouts doesn’t mean you’re not an adult … just the opposite. Then if you fail to return, the concerned person can let the proper authorities know of your intended actions and approximate location. Think that’s silly? Which is better … searching a 1,000 acre National Forest for you or not knowing what state to start looking or even if you’re missing. Law enforcement is hesitate to look for missing teens because most are run away(s) .. do you think they’ll seriously start looking for a twenty something aged person immediately? You may spend several days lost before anyone starts looking for you.

By the way, don’t count on your cell phone to locate you. Most rugged areas have no cell reception, batteries go dead and phones fall into water or down 100 foot cliffs.

Let’s get serious now:

The next thing to do in how to survive in the woods is, after accepting the fact you are indeed lost, is to completely stop all activity and think. Ever forgot where you laid your keys? Everyone has and it’s not because we’re stupid or getting senile, we are so preoccupied with everything going on in our lives we often act without thinking. You may amaze yourself at what you can figure out if you just stop and think. If nothing else it will stop you from hastily running off and taking action, which is usually wrong, but seems right at the time, wasting valuable energy which you very well may need to survive. Take inventory by asking yourself these questions:

Where do I think I am? Have I been in this area before, maybe only once, or not at all. Has the area recently been logged? This will totally change the looks of the environment, you may not be lost, only confused by the drastic new view.

What do I have with me? Hopefully a survival kit. If not take stock. Can of soda, light coat, bag of potato chips, mints, pack of matches.

What’s available around me? Are there lots of dead tree branches laying around that I can use for fire or making a shelter. Is there an available water source?

What’s the weather like? It’s going to snow, gotta find shelter as hypothermia is the most deadly killer of exposure.

How long until they realize I’m lost? Told them I’d be gone for 4 days … I must survive at least 5 days, probably 6 or 7.

What kind of condition am I in? Injured … not injured.

In some areas in America you can travel for days and never see any sign of civilization.



The last thing you want to do is make your situation worse. If you aren’t sure where you are and absolutely sure of which direction civilization is located, stay put. Any additional travel could take you deeper into the woods or worse.

Rescue teams search areas for lost people in a plotted search diagram. They divide the area map into quadrants, search one area fully, mark that area off, and move onto the next area. If you are stumbling around lost you could end up going from the next quadrant to search to the area they just deemed clear. Rescuers do not back track into finished areas without a specific reason. You could have just killed yourself.

Next, minimize your most likely danger. Hypothermia. “But it’s 85 degrees!” Ironically several people die of hypothermia every summer in the Colorado Rockies. They’re normally fishing or hiking, fall into a stream late in the day and aren’t able to make it back to their car before the sun sets. Temperatures can easily drop to the 40’s in higher elevations and that is low enough, combined with wet clothing, to kill you.

Shelter and fire first. You know, for all practical purposes, you’ll be stranded for at least 5 days, therefore shelter from the elements is the first requirement. If you have a vehicle, say you broke down in the middle of no where, Stay with that vehicle. It provides excellent shelter, plus is a beacon to anyone in the air searching for you.

No vehicle. You’ll have to find or build a shelter. When searching the area for shelter be sure to clearly mark your path by piling rocks, breaking branches, something easily identified in order to return to the original spot. You don’t want to get lost from the point you were lost. (Makes sense?)

A cave is an ideal shelter. However, caves in the wilderness are seldom vacant. Bears, mountain lions and other creatures tend to enjoy the protection of a cave as much as humans do. Be very careful entering a cave and scour the area for any sign of recent activity. Fresh waste, pieces of fresh meals, vegetation such as berries are all signs to vacate the premises while you can. Even in smaller caves or cliff overhangs be particularly vigilant of snakes.


No caves. Maybe a good thing. Now you must build a shelter. However, that’s an area for another post. In the meantime, look for a large pine tree. The limbs of the tree will extend to the ground helping ward off rain and wind. Once you navigate your way through the thicket of limbs the area next to the tree trunk will be open and even provide a bed of needles to sleep on.


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Starting a fire is the next step, which solves 2 major issues. It will keep you warm. Conserving energy is of the utmost importance in prolonging survival and the energy the body uses shivering to keep warm is wasted energy if it’s not necessary. The warmth of the fire eliminates this waste. Secondly, a fire will deter a wild animal from becoming too nosy. Animals by nature are usually repelled by the scent of humans, but there’s always that exception to the rule possibility. You don’t need any further complications in your otherwise awful day. Additionally, a fire becomes a companion, as there’s nothing worse than spending the night alone in a pitch black forest.

Use common sense when choosing the area to start a fire. Yes it’d be nice to have it close to your bedding, but that might be impossible. Clear the area of any flammable material, dried pine needles, leaves, etc. Pile rocks around the perimeter of the fire pit in order to contain the sparks and prevent logs from rolling out of the pit. Look up. Is there low lying tree limbs above the fire pit that could easily catch fire from floating embers? You want a fire for warmth and protection, not for burning the woods down.



Shelter and fire obtained the next issue is water. If you have a vehicle for shelter and a case of bottled water in the back seat … you’re ready to go. If not, look for water.

Water will always adhere to gravity and will travel downhill. Walk down hill in a slightly meandering method, being sure to leave a trail to find your way back. Watch for animal trails, they’ll likely lead to water, as observing the flight patterns of birds, and lastly use your ears. You may hear the sound of trickling water and not be able to see it.

Getting Rescued:

The key to getting rescued, beyond surviving, is being found. You want to make yourself as visible to the world as possible. Searchers are experts in spotting things in the environment that don’t belong. You don’t belong and don’t want to belong, so make yourself visible.

If you have a vehicle .. stay at it. It’s a big target and definitely does not belong in that gully.



Start a smokey fire. Once smoke rises about the forest canopy it can be seen for miles. For general knowledge, three (3) fires set in a line is an international signal of distress.

Mirrors or anything reflective can be used to signal a plane or helicopter flying overhead. No, it’s not like the movies where you shine the light directly into the pilot’s eyes, blinding him from checking out the stewardess. Again, Pilots are trained to spot anything out of the ordinary and a flashing light emitting from the ground is not ordinary.

There will be people on the ground searching for you. Visibility in the woods is restricted. Ask any avid hunter if a deer ever walked right past them within 10 yards and you’ll get a “Yep,” for an answer. Sound on the other hand travels farther in the woods than sight. If you have a whistle, blow it every 5 minutes or so. Sound in the woods is strange. The rescuers may hear your whistle, but you won’t be able to hear their calls back. So don’t give up.


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No whistle. Try hollering, beating on something with a stick, anything you can do to draw attention. After all, what else do you have to do?

Remember … you are responsible for aiding in your rescue. Making yourself as visible or loud will only increase your chances of rescue.



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Think Food is the Most Important Thing For Survival? Wrong!


The human body requires energy to function properly and energy comes from the food we eat. Therefore, using algebra if X=Y, Y=X. Food is the most important thing to find in a survival situation in order to function.

Makes sense, but … is dead wrong. No pun intended.

Water is the one most important thing you must have in order to have a chance of survival in a crisis situation.

You can live up to 30 days without food. Not saying you won’t suffer severe damage to body organs and you’ll definitely lose a lot of weight as the body consumes itself, but you will still be alive.

On the other hand. Try going longer than 3 days without water … well, you just can’t. You will die. Obviously, if we’re going to survive we must learn how to locate, create and purify water. Let’s begin.


Basic water finding skills:

There are basic differences of locating water depending on the environment, desert is different than jungle, rural vs urban, etc. we’ll touch on many methods as we proceed.

Much of North America has a plentiful supply of water, sometimes it’s unseen and you have to search for it, but it’s normally there. Remember, water is a strict disciple of gravity and will follow the path of least resistance, therefore, in mountainous areas try to walk downhill. You’ll eventually come across water.

Watch the sky for birds. Birds need water to survive and will congregate near water, although it may only be a small pond or pool of water contained in a rocky divot, it’s water. The same applies to animal trails, deer, coyote, turkey, sheep, etc all require water and will know where to find it.

OK Davy Crockett. You used your new found skills, followed the flight of the birds, kicking up a deer as you stumbled along looking skyward instead of where you’re going, and found a small stream and pool of water.

Eureka! Go drink your fill.

Not so fast Amigo. Chances are no matter how clean the water may look there are millions of nasty parasites swimming around it.

But … the birds can drink it and be alright!” You say with a parched voice. Birds can fly … can you?

Unless you want to chance having gut wrenching vomiting or diarrhea that makes you think you just dropped your a$$hole onto the ground … you’d better purify that water before partaking.

But How?

The most common way is to boil it. Bring the water to a boil for @ 15 minutes, let cool, then gulp away.

What? You just quit smoking so you don’t have any matches or a lighter, and have no idea how to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together. Fine use purification tablets. What are those? Never mind. Let’s learn ways of making our water safe to consume.


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Using the Earth Itself to Filter Ground Water:

The ground itself makes an excellent filter, especially if it’s sandy. Starting at the pool of water, walk downhill about 50-60 feet away. The ground may look level, but very few places on earth are completely flat. Lay on your stomach, eyes to the ground and try to determine any change in contour, then decide which way to go.


Once there, start digging a hole until you hit water. (There is no normal depth to dig as it depends on the water table level beneath ground) Allow the pit to fill with water, you may want to dig it a little deeper to allow more water to collect. The water will probably start out a little murky, give it a few minutes to settle and it’ll clear up substantially. If not dig deeper or move farther down the hill and dig again.

The water traveling through the earth from the pool will be filtered by the particles in the ground, thus becoming cleaner. Make a note: This same method can work on saltwater. The further inland you go the greater your chance of hitting fresh water.

Another Method: Using Household Bleach

Nearly all laundry bleaches, whether a name brand like Clorox or a store generic brand, contain 5.5% Sodium Hypoclorite, which is a chemical capable of purifying water. Do not use try to use powdered bleach. Do not use a scented bleach, you’ll find out why. (Tip: Having a small container of bleach and an eyedropper should be an essential in any camping or survival kit.)

Get the big stuff out. Place a piece of cloth, preferably cotton, but use whatever you have, over the mouth a container and gently pour the water onto it letting the water filter through but allowing the cloth to filter the larger particles.

*** If you have no cloth, let the sediment settle by itself.

This is where the eyedropper comes in. Add 8 drops of bleach per gallon of water, 2 drops for a quart. If you were able to filter the water, shake the mixture up in order to disperse the bleach, waiting 15-20 minutes for it to purify before attempting to drink.

Don’t shake it if you couldn’t filter it, you’ll just complicate the situation, rather let it set for 30-40 minutes before attempting to drink.

That’s just great you say … but I have an empty soup can of dirty water not a gallon jug. What’s the equation for that? This is where a little logic and a whole lot of common sense comes into play. 1 drop would probably be sufficient, 2 at the very most, but not 3 or 4.

Properly treated, the water will have a very slight odor of chlorine. If you can’t smell the chlorine, repeat the process and allow the water to stand another 15-20 minutes.

On the other hand, if the chlorine smell is overwhelming, either add water and let set, or better yet … pour it out and start again using less bleach.

In an event you’re faced with using murky or green water, like swamp water, you must at least double the amount of chlorine used. 16 instead of 8 drops per gallon. The procedure is the same as above.

Again, if there’s a faint smell of chlorine the water is drinkable, maybe not desirable visually, but by this time you won’t really worry about what it may look like, only that it’s wet.


By the Way … “How does Bleach purify the water?”

Wondering if you were gonna ask that.

Bleach is what they call an oxidant and will violently react with nearly every type of microscopic cellular life, including viruses, killing it. However, the bleach is consumed during the process.

Look at it this way … the Chlorine is poison and as the bad stuff eats it, they die. This is where the SMELL test comes into play. If there is not a faint chlorine smell after the elapsed time, then that means the bad guys ate all the chlorine, but the chlorine may have run out before all the bad guys could eat, thus leaving lots of microscopic critters still alive and ready to make you sick.

On the other hand … a faint chlorine odor means the chlorine killed all the bad guys and still has a bit left over. Job well done… safe water to drink.



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Who Cares About Batteries? You Should.


Simple Question: What is the impact of batteries on humankind?

That’s not an easy of an answer as one may first think. There are many variables that must be linked together to view the overall “Big Picture.” Obviously there is both a negative and positive impact of batteries on humankind. The initial and basic positive impact is that life has been easier and filled with more options for humans. There are hundreds of activities that have been made possible for us through the creation of batteries, many of which we have grown so accustomed to we rarely think about them. For example:

Car Batteries: Without the invention of car batteries we would never be able to depend on a reliable form of transportation. The use of cranks to turn the engine over would not jell very well in today’s modern version of the automobile and I believe there is little argument the introduction of automobiles has made a hugely positive impact on human kind.

Monitors: Most people think of a computer monitor when they see the word, but there are hundreds of various types of monitors that are used today. For a lot of people the most important one is the standard hospital heart monitor. These monitors are an invaluable resource which are used to help keep people alive. They also provide a clear source for medical education, research and examination, which have developed into an incredibly vital part of the medical world.


Watches: What’s wrong with winding a watch by stem like our ancestors did for 100s of years? Nothing. But what about the round black clock hanging in the workplace or the library. Without batteries we would never have portable clocks that can be used to easily tell what time it is. Although not a compulsory essential, sundials were used for a long time, watches and the ability to access time is essential in today’s modern world. Time and space are part of Einsteins “Theory of Relativity”.

Without a doubt our tech savvy children could name another dozen toys & games that are made possible because of batteries. Actually there are probably hundreds of other manufactured electronic creations that have been made possible by the introduction of batteries.

There is a caveat associated with these creations, which have formed a vital part in humankind development over the last few decades. Without the establishment of batteries, the mechanical world could not have progressed and reached the critical level that it has achieved, enabling huge scientific breakthroughs and discoveries.

The Caveat. Although batteries have been a crucial component in facilitating a large range of discoveries and activities, they also have a negative impact on mankind.

One of the most prominent negative impacts is the dependency on electronic appliances. Beginning with a very rural society we have grown into a mechanical industrial world highly dependent of technology, of which one large element included is the battery. As one of the foundation blocks of society, communities have not only become largely dependent on batteries for necessities such as transportation and work, but also for less essential activities including entertainment and leisure.

What is the impact of batteries on the environment?

Unfortunately the effects of batteries on the environment are nearly entirely negative.

As batteries are used they actually burn, vaporizing and releasing toxins into the air. If you have ever seen an industrial bank of batteries being recharged there is always an exhaust ventilation hood to capture and disperse the toxins outside the work area.

When they are dumped into the ocean they pollute our seas, killing or contaminating sea life, the very fish we consume. Heard of fish too high in mercury to safely consume? Where do you think the mercury came from?


When batteries are thrown into “dumps,” their toxic ingredients seep into the soil causing massive and devastating damage to our natural Eco-system. The toxins in these batteries that are leached into the ground can contaminate plant and animal life, and have a devastating effect to ground water for up to 50 years.

The affects on humans when they consume these toxic chemicals, either through eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water are extremely detrimental. Children are highly affected by this process, and are most susceptible to damage. Often the results of this ingestion are upset central nervous systems, psychological deficiency and learning disabilities. The exposure to these dangerous chemicals has a prolonged effect on the environment.

This is the very reason the EPA was created in the United States. This agency is being dismantled by the Trump administration, but that’s an issue for another time.

Bottom line is: any chemical or metal is potentially dangerous and should never be deposited in the ground.

Only through the adequate and proper disposal of batteries, can we successfully build up on a healthy ecosystem. Some experts claim that every single battery that is disposed of in an incorrect fashion will end up in leaching into the ground effecting and entire chain of being – ultimately effecting yourself.

Batteries are designed for specific purposes; therefore each battery is different in their characteristics and is suited for a certain task, making no one “best battery.”

For example, a lead-acid accumulator in a car could not be used in a torch like a nickel-cadmium or nickel-metal-hydroxide battery. Although some batteries may be more powerful in terms of current or resistance, it is only because the use of that battery requires those qualities.

In terms of environmental and human impact, it seems that all batteries are harmful if not disposed of properly and safely, although some may be more harmful than others depending on the toxicity of the metals involved in manufacturing it.

Science Be Damned

I was a jock in high school. Played football, defensive corner-back, wrestled, 133 lb. Class (ain’t seen that weight in many a year) and baseball, second baseman.

My grades were middle of the road, wasn’t too concerned about being a nerd, big mistake by the way. But as a whole I wasn’t a bad kid, mischievous at times, but nothing drastic. As long as I could comprehend class lectures and do a little homework I was fine. But … give me a class I had to buckle down and study for … it was easier to make excuses for not being in the top of the class.

Science was one of those classes, Biology to be specific. The teacher hated me, looking back I can see why, and I just couldn’t see the sense in learning what’s inside a chicken that makes it tick or whatever else nonessential information learned then forgotten for lack of use. I didn’t have the time or energy to partake in this charade.

Then something changed. I saw a Tadpole turn into a Frog. Let that one sink in for moment. You must remember when I was a kid there was no such thing as satellite or cable TV. No History, Animal or National Geographic channels which provide an infinite amount of information in a very entertaining and easily understood format.

I didn’t walk miles to school, uphill both ways, or study by candlelight, but by today’s standards it was quite elementary. Therefore, the actual witnessing and documenting the transformation of a tadpole to a frog was, for some reason, mesmerizing.

That normal, classic lab experiment, something kids born in the rural areas of course took for granted, wasn’t in any frogs in the city, rats, but no frogs, was an eye opening experience for me. It demonstrated how something could start out as one thing and morph or develop into something entirely different.

Why Tell This Story?

As I told everyone creating Ziva’s DIY Battery Restoration was a two fold project. For starters I wanted to try and supplement my social security and meager pension income by attempting, big on ATTEMPTING, to become an affiliate marketer. (Don’t believe “it’s so easy a child can do it”) Although I have nearly cried like a baby trying to figure out Facebook, Word-Press, Keywords and a hundred other things I know nothing about.

Sorry, a little pity party just erupted.

While researching a product to sell I ran across Battery Restoration, which seemed to exceed all my criteria. It offered a chance to make a few bucks, helped people who bought the program save a bunch of bucks, was a blessing to the environment and offered Home Based business opportunities for anyone interested.

I have been diagnosed a person with a compulsive personality. Now that ain’t all bad as it has at times, served me well in the past. I happily endured 100’s of hours fielding ground balls, building a back yard shed turned into a western town of several buildings and I could go on and on.

Due to this mental demeanor I dove head first into researching everything I could about batteries. I scoured the internet, researched my county library, anything to acquire the most information I could to pass along to my customers and readers.

What I Discovered

Batteries are but a segment of the overall picture of renewable energy, green energy, environmental issues, the whole big gambit of Energy. As I continued to research I realized this was a huge topic with huge issues swirling around it.

I also realized there were many ways, probably half I never heard of, to save and/or create electrical energy through various ways. Some avenues are monstrous and expensive, but many are simple and cost effective. And as I delve deeper it’s obvious I’m just scratching the surface.


The bottom line is: Ziva’s DIY Battery Restoration will transform or morph, just like the Tadpole to a Frog, into a Green Energy Resource. I will be exploring many many avenues of how to save, store, create, etc, etc energy. I will pass my findings along to you for your consideration. No high pressure sales pitch. Check it out … like it … buy it. Don’t … continue to explore and discover.