Raw Survival – Surviving in the Wilderness With Just a Knife

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The chances of ever getting lost in the woods with just a knife are slim – especially if you don’t go out in the woods that much,  but this is a subject I enjoy, so I thought I’d throw a few tips out there on how to survive the wilderness with just a knife.

Most people think you need a ton of gear to survive in the wilderness.  Actually, this isn’t true at all. Gear will make your stay outside much more enjoyable, but you don’t really need it to survive.  What you do need is knowledge and experience.  Even a knife isn’t 100% necessary, but if I were only allowed to have one piece of gear it would be a good survival blade.

Going back to our Survival Rule of Three’s – you can survive 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food.  This rule gives you a rough list to work down.  If you’re in no danger of drowning or suffocation you can move on to the next item in the rule, which is shelter.


Let’s say that you got lost and need to build a shelter for an unexpected night out.  There are a many types of shelters you can make.  The best thing to do is take advantage of any natural shelter that might be out there:  a cave or a fallen tree might offer decent shelter with a minimum of effort in setting it up.  The idea is to save as many calories in a survival situation as possible.  Having said that, if you have to build a shelter one of the most basic kind is called the debris shelter.  Check out this video from my Maine homeboys at the Primitive Skills school about how to make a debris shelter.  It’s well worth your time to watch both parts of this video from beginning to end when you have time.  The beautiful thing about this shelter is that it does not require fire to stay warm or a knife to make it, although it does take a minimum of three hours, and often more, to build.

Just think of the freedom that knowing how to build this type of shelter would give you if you got stuck.  There’s no need to panic.  Simply grab some sticks and leaves and get going!

In the next post we’ll talk about building a fire with just a knife and what you have on your body.

A fire isn’t critical to surviving, but it goes a long way towards making things bearable.

– Jarhead Survivor