Prince Avalanche


Written by Don't Panic
18 Friday 18th October 2013

With that in mind we have teamed up with a 'Wildnerness Expert' who has given us some top tips on how to survive in the wild!

How do you build a fire?

Assuming you have a lighter or matches with you, first you need to prepare the layers needed to build a fire: peel thin layers of bark off some surrounding trees, collect some small twigs and sticks, and finally larger sticks and branches. Light the pile of bark and carefully layer the twigs and sticks on top of the flames. Once these have caught fire, begin placing the gradually larger pieces of wood on top without smothering the flames.

TOP TIP: Pick dry or dead wood for easier lighting

If a tent is not available, how can you ensure that you spend a sheltered night outdoors? 

Find a tree with a good amount of leaves or a big enough hollow to sit under. If the elements are still getting through though, find several large branches, ideally with smaller branches coming out, and prop these against the tree to make a den - if you can find branches with leaves on, all the better! Keep adding branches, sticks and leaves to the outside until you feel adequately sheltered.

TOP TIP: As long as you are toasty in the clothes you are wearing, use excess items to hang above you as extra protection, or as a blanket or pillow

What is sensible outdoor-wear?

A good layering system that can be added to or removed with ease, depending on environmental conditions and activity level, is as sensible as you can get. Perhaps most importantly, always wear a good sturdy set of boots as they will keep your feet warm, dry and well supported.

TOP TIP: An obvious one but… keep your head, hands and feet covered when it’s cold

Is there a way to tell what vegetation is edible?

If you are peckish, NEVER try to eat the vegetation around you as many UK species are toxic! Instead drink some water to keep the hunger at bay and find your nearest roadside café or pub.

TOP TIP: Do not attempt to catch your food either, animals are quicker than you and you’ll end up wasting energy before ultimately realising that you don’t know how to kill and cook it anyway

What woodland items can you use as makeshift tools?

A sharp brain and a sharp knife should see you through most scenarios that you are likely to face in the woods. Also, once mastering how to build a fire, consider that your most useful tool as it can be used to cook, keep warm, signal for help and boil water for safe drinking! 

TOP TIP: If you wear glasses or have happened to bring some form of reflective item with you, these too can be used to signal and also make fire if you find yourself in the woods on a sunny day without matches

What are the best ways to keep warm/cool?

In hot climates the only thing you can do is keep hydrated and sit out/sleep through the hottest part of the day, becoming essentially nocturnal, as your body copes with the cold much better than it does with heat. If you are in a cold or wet environment then make a fire, build a shelter and keep your body moving

TOP TIP: Take clothes with you that are waterproof and breathable as these will help regulate your bodywarmth

Are there ways to predict the weather?

Clouds are a very good indicator of upcoming weather and the direction it is travelling. In general, clouds that are white and high indicate good weather, but clouds that are dark and low usually mean rain or storms are on the way.

TOP TIP: Remember the rhyme “Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight. Red sky in the morning, shepherd’s take warning” as another relatively reliable sign of weather to come.

What everyday items should I pack for a stay in the woods? 

Your choice of clothes and shoes will ultimately determine whether you have a good or bad time in the wilderness. Study shoes, warm socks and waterproof, breathable clothing is vital, as are matches and a good knife. 

TOP TIP: Take a couple of bin bags to keep wet items in your bag separate from dry ones …and toilet roll, for obvious reasons.

Prince Avalanche is in cinemas 18th October

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