Do you love spending time outdoors with your friends? Do you enjoy the thrill of the wilderness and the challenge of survival? If so, then survival challenges might be just the thing for you.
Survival challenges are activities that simulate real-world survival situations, where you must use your wits, skills, and resources to stay alive. Engaging in these challenges with your friends not only provides a thrilling and exciting experience, but also an opportunity to develop and hone your survival skills.
In this blog post, we will explore 10 different survival challenges that you can do with your friends in nature. These challenges range from building a shelter to escaping and evading in survival situations. Each challenge will be discussed in detail, providing you with tips, techniques, and safety precautions to help you successfully complete them.
So, grab your friends and your survival gear, and let’s dive into the world of survival challenges.
1. Identify Animal Tracks
One of the most exciting aspects of being in the great outdoors is the chance to encounter wildlife. Learning how to identify animal tracks can help you determine what kinds of animals are around you and how recent their presence was. Here are some tips for identifying animal tracks with your friends:
- Look for signs: Keep an eye out for signs of animals such as scat, fur, and scratch marks. These can help you narrow down what animals to look for.
- Examine the track: Look closely at the track itself. Take note of the size, shape, and number of toes. This can help you identify the type of animal that made the track.
- Consider the environment: Take note of the environment where you found the track. Different animals prefer different habitats, so this can help you further narrow down what kind of animal you might be dealing with.
- Use a guide: Bring along a field guide to animal tracks to help you identify the tracks you find. You can also use a smartphone app or website to help identify tracks.
- Be respectful: Remember to be respectful of the wildlife and their habitats. Don’t approach animals or disturb their homes.
By learning how to identify animal tracks, you and your friends can have a more meaningful and educational outdoor experience. Just remember to always be respectful of the wildlife and their environment.
2. Find and Purify Water
Water is essential to survival, and it’s important to know how to find and purify it when you’re out in the wilderness. Here are some tips for locating and making safe drinking water with your friends:
- Look for signs of water – such as animal tracks, green vegetation, or rocky outcroppings – as these may indicate a water source nearby.
- Listen for the sound of running water, as this can be a sign of a nearby stream or river.
- Follow game trails, as they often lead to water sources.
- Dig a hole in the ground, and wait for water to seep in.
- If you’re near the ocean, collect saltwater and then use the sun to evaporate the salt, leaving behind fresh water.
- Boiling: One of the most effective methods of purifying water is by boiling it for at least one minute. This will kill any harmful bacteria, viruses, or parasites that may be present.
- Chemicals: Another method is to use water purification tablets or drops, which are available at outdoor and camping stores. Follow the instructions carefully, as different brands may have varying doses.
- Filtering: Use a water filter or purifier, which removes bacteria and viruses from the water, making it safe to drink. Portable water filters can easily be carried on a camping trip.
- Solar: If you have access to sunlight, fill a clear plastic or glass bottle with water and let it sit in direct sunlight for six hours. The sun’s UV rays will kill any harmful organisms present.
Remember that it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to water purification. Drinking contaminated water can lead to serious health problems, such as dehydration, diarrhea, and even death.
3. Forage for Food
Finding food in the wilderness can be challenging, but it’s a crucial skill for outdoor enthusiasts to learn. Here are some tips for foraging for food with your friends:
- Know what’s safe to eat
Before you set out to forage for food, it’s important to research and know what plants and berries are safe to eat. You should also know how to identify poisonous plants, so you can avoid them.
- Look for edible plants and berries
Keep an eye out for wild berries, fruits, and nuts such as blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, hazelnuts, and chestnuts. Many wild greens such as dandelion leaves, wild onions, and clovers can also be eaten.
- Know where to look
Certain plants thrive in specific environments, so it’s important to know what types of plants grow in your area. For example, wild berries and nuts can often be found near the edge of a forest or in open fields.
- Avoid contamination
Be careful not to eat plants that have been contaminated by pesticides or other chemicals. Also, avoid foraging near roadsides, where plants may have absorbed pollutants from passing cars.
- Cook your food
Make sure to cook any food you forage thoroughly to kill off any harmful bacteria or parasites that may be present. This can be done by roasting, boiling, or frying.
- Fish and hunt
If you have the skills and necessary permits, fishing and hunting can also provide a source of food. Make sure to follow all fishing and hunting regulations in your area.
Remember to always be respectful of the environment and not to take more than you need.
Navigating through the wilderness is an important skill for any outdoor enthusiast. Here are some tips for navigating with your friends:
- Bring a map and compass
Always bring a map and compass with you when venturing into the wilderness. Make sure to familiarize yourself with how to read a map and use a compass beforehand.
- Use natural landmarks
Look for natural landmarks such as mountains, rivers, and valleys to help orient yourself. This can be helpful when you don’t have a map or compass.
- Mark your trail
Mark your trail by using natural markers like rocks or trees so you can find your way back if you get lost. You can also use a GPS device or a smartphone app to mark your trail.
- Use the sun
The sun can be used to determine direction. In the northern hemisphere, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. If it’s morning, stand with the sun on your right, and you’ll be facing south.
- Use the stars
At night, you can use the stars to navigate. Look for the North Star (Polaris), which is located in the constellation Ursa Minor. It will always be in the same spot in the sky and can be used to determine direction.
- Stay on the trail
Stick to established trails whenever possible. This will help prevent you from getting lost and damaging the environment.
5. Knot Tying
Knowing how to tie knots is an essential skill for any outdoor enthusiast. From setting up a shelter to securing a load on a backpack, knot tying can be a real lifesaver in many situations. Here are some of the most useful knots to learn with your friends:
- Bowline knot: This is a versatile knot that can be used for securing a rope to a tree or post, creating a loop at the end of a rope, or rescuing someone from a cliff or water.
- Clove hitch: The clove hitch is a simple and reliable knot that is perfect for securing a tarp or tent to a pole or tree.
- Square knot: This knot is commonly used for joining two pieces of rope of equal diameter. It’s great for tying up a bundle of firewood or securing a rope to a carabiner.
- Figure eight knot: This knot is a good choice for creating a stopper knot, which is used to prevent a rope from slipping through a hole or ring.
- Taut-line hitch: This knot is ideal for setting up a tent or tarp and adjusting the tension as needed.
Learning these knots with your friends can be a fun and useful activity. You can practice together and see who can tie them the fastest or most accurately.
Remember to always use the appropriate knot for the task at hand and to double-check your knots before relying on them.
6. First Aid
While outdoor adventures can be exciting and invigorating, accidents can happen at any time. Knowing basic first aid skills can make a difference between life and death in an emergency. Here are some first aid skills you and your friends should learn before heading out into the wilderness:
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a technique used to restore breathing and circulation to someone who has stopped breathing or whose heart has stopped. This skill can be a lifesaver in an emergency.
- Wound care
Knowing how to clean and dress wounds can help prevent infections and promote healing. It’s important to carry a first aid kit with you that contains bandages, gauze, antiseptic wipes, and other essential items.
In the event of a broken bone, immobilizing the affected area can help reduce pain and prevent further injury. Learn how to create a splint using materials such as sticks, bandages, and cloth.
- Heat exhaustion and hypothermia
Knowing how to recognize and treat heat exhaustion and hypothermia is crucial for staying safe in extreme temperatures. Learn the signs and symptoms and how to administer first aid in these situations.
- Poison ivy and other allergens
Outdoor enthusiasts are at risk of exposure to poison ivy, poison oak, and other allergens. Learn how to identify these plants and treat skin irritation if exposure occurs.
Learning and practicing these first-aid skills with your friends can help you feel more confident and prepared for any emergency situation. It’s also important to carry a fully stocked first aid kit and to review the contents and their uses before heading out on any adventure.
7. Escape and Evasion
Escape and evasion is a crucial survival skill that can come in handy in life-threatening situations. You may find yourself in a situation where you need to escape and evade an attacker, wild animal, or a dangerous situation. This survival challenge is best done in groups of two or more.
To begin, select one person to be the “pursuer” and the others to be the “evaders.” The pursuer will give the evaders a five-minute head start and then begin to track them. The evaders must use their knowledge of the terrain, camouflage, and stealth to evade the pursuer for as long as possible.
The pursuer must use their tracking and hunting skills to follow the trail left by the evaders. The challenge ends when the pursuer catches up with the evaders or when the evaders reach a pre-determined location.
Remember, this challenge requires a basic understanding of tracking, camouflage, and stealth. It’s also important to have a basic understanding of first aid in case of any injuries that may occur during the challenge.
8. Build a Raft
Building a raft can be a fun and challenging way to test your outdoor survival skills. Not only is it a great team-building activity, but it can also be useful in emergency situations where you need to cross a body of water. Here are the steps to build a basic raft:
Step 1: Gather materials
You will need logs, ropes, and a knife to build your raft. Look for logs that are straight and have a diameter of at least 8 inches. You’ll need four long logs for the base and four shorter logs for the cross beams. Make sure to collect enough rope to lash everything together securely.
Step 2: Create the base
Start by laying the long logs parallel to each other on the ground. Make sure they are evenly spaced and the same length. Next, place the shorter logs perpendicular to the base logs, spacing them evenly along the length. Lash the cross beams to the base logs using the ropes.
Step 3: Build up the sides
Once the base is complete, you can start building up the sides. Collect smaller logs and attach them vertically to the cross beams using more rope. Make sure the logs are tightly secured so they don’t come loose when you’re on the water.
Step 4: Add a deck
If you have enough materials, you can add a deck to your raft to make it more stable. Collect small logs and lay them horizontally across the top of the raft. Lash them securely to the vertical logs using more rope.
Step 5: Test your raft
Once your raft is complete, it’s time to test it out. Push it into shallow water and make sure it floats. You can also test its stability by climbing onto the deck and moving around. If everything looks good, you’re ready to take it on the open water!
Building a raft can be a challenging but rewarding outdoor activity that tests your survival skills and teamwork. That said, remember to take safety precautions and wear life jackets when using your raft on the water.
9. Build a Shelter
In any survival situation, shelter is one of the most important aspects to consider. It protects you from the elements, provides a place to rest and sleep, and helps you conserve body heat. Building a shelter with your friends is not only a great way to bond, but it’s also an essential survival skill that you should know.
Before you begin building your shelter, you need to find a suitable location. Look for a flat, dry spot that is protected from the wind and rain. Also, be mindful of any potential hazards, such as falling rocks or trees, and avoid setting up your shelter too close to any potential danger.
Once you’ve found a suitable location, you need to choose your building materials. The type of shelter you build will depend on the materials you have available. You can use natural materials such as branches, leaves, and grass, or you can use tarps, rope, and other man-made materials.
If you’re using natural materials, start by gathering branches and leaning them against a tree or other sturdy structure to form the frame of your shelter. Then, add layers of leaves, grass, and other debris to insulate the shelter and provide warmth. If you’re using man-made materials, set up your tarp or other material to form a tent-like structure, using rocks or other heavy objects to anchor it down.
It’s important to make sure your shelter is sturdy and secure. Check for any gaps or holes that may let in cold air or rain, and patch them up with additional materials. Use rocks or logs to anchor down the edges of your shelter, and add a layer of insulation on the ground to help keep you warm.
Finally, remember to prioritize safety. Avoid building your shelter too close to any potential hazards, and always be mindful of the weather conditions. If the weather worsens, be prepared to evacuate your shelter and seek safer ground.
10. Build a Fire
A fire is one of the most essential tools for survival in the wilderness. It can provide warmth, light, a means of cooking, and can even boost morale. Building a fire with your friends is not only a fun activity, but it’s also a critical survival skill that you should know.
Before you begin building your fire, you need to find a suitable location. Look for a spot that is sheltered from the wind and rain, and away from any potential hazards such as dry brush or trees. Clear away any debris or vegetation in the area to prevent the fire from spreading.
Next, gather your materials. You’ll need three types of material: tinder, kindling, and fuel. Tinder is small, dry, and flammable material that will ignite easily, such as dry leaves, grass, or bark. Kindling is slightly larger material, such as small twigs or branches, that will catch fire from the tinder. Fuel is larger, thicker material, such as logs or large branches, that will keep the fire burning.
To start your fire, create a small pile of tinder in the center of your fire pit. Then, surround it with a teepee-shaped structure made of kindling. Light the tinder with a match or other fire-starting tool, and gently blow on it to help it catch fire. As the kindling catches fire, gradually add larger and larger pieces of fuel to keep the fire burning.
It’s important to remember to never leave your fire unattended, and to always be mindful of fire safety. Keep a supply of water nearby to extinguish the fire if needed, and be aware of any potential hazards in the area.