Carter Lowe Creator, entrepreneur, and self-care advocate
Reading time: 14 min

Basics of survival in the forest

How to survive in any unforeseen situations close to extreme.

Imagine such a situation. You are in your apartment or in your house, but you don’t remember at all how to open a water tap, what a refrigerator and a toilet are. What danger can a TV or computer cable connected to electricity pose and how to open the door to the street? If you continue the reasoning, then in such a situation you can easily die of thirst and hunger, although there is a refrigerator full of food nearby, and there is so much water that you just need to open the water tap, so you can flood all the neighbors.

The situation is not so ridiculous, despite the seeming simplicity of household items and household appliances surrounding modern man, we must remember that each of us has been learning to use these appliances and items for many years. And how many burns, bruises, cuts and other injuries were once received, and training should continue throughout life. For a clear example, remember what kind of bedlam “untrained” relatives who arrived from a nearby outback can cause in your apartment, and what will happen if you yourself do something against the rules.

Being somewhere in new “slightly” unusual conditions, for example, on a desert island, lost in the taiga or jungle, an unprepared person finds himself in a similar situation. New, previously completely unknown problems are emerging, and these are not only dangerous animals and uncomfortable climatic conditions. Certain knowledge of the rules of life in the new conditions is necessary. How to provide yourself with the most necessary things in the shortest possible time, how to eat right and how to starve right, how to overcome loneliness and incompatibility, what are visual and auditory hallucinations, and so on? A bunch of new emerging problems does not go unnoticed and is dangerous for health with its possible consequences.

Today, our contemporaries still have a chance, for some reason, to find themselves in a deserted and wild area, without food, appropriate equipment and without the slightest hope of someone's help in saving. Starting with victims of accidents such as shipwrecks, emergency landings of aircraft and spacecraft, and up to those who, by duty, occupation or for some other reason, are obliged to live, endure hardships, abide by the conventions of laws and work as a "Robinson Volunteer" in hundreds of kilometers from the nearest settlements.

In the snows of the Arctic, on distant islands, in the taiga, in the mountains, in the desert, these volunteers in most cases create conditions for accident-free flights, safe navigation, uninterrupted work of plants and factories, look for minerals, warn about impending natural disasters. They make their labor contribution to the common cause of their country, and sometimes the whole planet. Only in Russia there are many thousands of such people, these are observers of hydro, meteorological, seismic, magnetic and other posts and stations, caretakers of lighthouses, power lines and pipelines, builders, foresters, etc. You can also remember a whole army of seasonal travelers and amateurs: these are members of various expeditions, winterers, hunters, fishermen, extreme tourists.

You cannot foresee and foresee everything in advance, therefore, these people have adventures and emergency situations much more often than they themselves would like.

The distant ancestors of modern people in prehistoric times adapted to living conditions in all climatic zones almost all over the planet and were not afraid to find themselves in wild and deserted places without appropriate equipment, food and water supplies.

One can recall many very real stories when pioneer travelers dying of hunger, thirst, heat, cold or other unbearable living conditions were saved by natives - local, indigenous people. The concept of those who did not have how it is possible to experience something like that in their native places. The aborigines knew where everything they needed for their lives could be found or how to make it with their own hands.

So that ordinary adventures do not sometimes turn into tragedy, modern Robinsons need to have the appropriate skills and knowledge, but with useful additions at the modern level, and then you can not survive, but live fully in almost any conditions. Below, recommendations will be given on solving some of the most important problems for life in the forest (taiga) zone of our planet in conditions close to extreme.


A person who finds himself in a completely unfamiliar situation, as a rule, experiences psychological shock. His behavior at this time can be from complete prostration (not mobile, does not respond to external stimuli) to panic disorder. Good examples can be well-known cases when people who could not swim, for some reason, ended up in a deep reservoir. Some went to the bottom like a stone, others try to swim out, heading in the opposite direction from the nearest shore. There are many different variants of such tragedies, the main thing is to pay attention to the fact when quite normal people in a state of shock completely lose control over their actions.

In social animals, such as, for example, bees, wasps, ants, an individual cannot live long apart from his family. Having lost contact with their relatives, such individuals, despite the most favorable living conditions, soon die. A person is also a social being, spends his whole life in a team of his own kind and always, on a subconscious level, counts on support or help from other people.

Symptoms of shock from loneliness in mentally healthy people may appear with some delay, up to a month or more. For people “not ready” for such tests, the first signs begin after a few hours and even minutes. Often there are symptoms of some diseases such as indigestion, nervous breakdowns and lethargy, fever, etc. In the end, these diseases can become real and lead to chronic, including mental illness, and even lead to death.

Treatment of loneliness shock for otherwise healthy people at the first sign of symptoms is fairly simple. Firstly, you now already know that in such a situation some problems will certainly appear, and secondly, in order to avoid these impending problems, you must remember that you are a reasonable person and try to forget about ailments and loneliness. In advance, start distracting yourself from bad thoughts with some kind of work, sports. As a last resort, if there is no opportunity to do physical labor, then try to solve some “insoluble and global” theoretical problem, such as determining the squaring of a circle, the true meaning of life, or try to invent a perpetual motion machine, etc. In a week or two, everything will pass by itself, normal sleep will be restored, appetite and a taste for life will appear. The main thing is not to hang your nose and not lose heart in any situation.


A person living alone for a long time or in a small group of 2-3 people far from populated areas may also encounter such a phenomenon as hallucinations. Many days of silence, the monotony of the surrounding landscape and an unusual way of life also causes a nervous shock (shock). Future cosmonauts are mandatory checked in the so-called sound chambers, where the test subject spends several days (and that's all?). Nevertheless, this test is considered one of the most serious, many do not withstand even a few hours. Prolonged silence, the absence of bright or particularly prominent visual landmarks in the environment, as well as monotonous sounds, “flashing” lighting, and especially in combination with thirst and hunger, heat, cold and loneliness, have a depressing effect on the nervous system. In the tiny space of the isolation chamber and the chronic lack of external stimuli, the so-called speculation effect quickly begins and is very clearly manifested. A person begins to fill in the gaps in the perception of external information on a subconscious level. Mentally sings melodies, begins to talk aloud without being noticed, in any sound he can hear something familiar or desirable, and in the play of light and shadow he can see some images.

The human brain from tiny hints of information, visual, auditory and others, can make up a whole picture and not notice or discard at the same time quite real information as insignificant, and this is normal. If there is more information than the brain can remember and analyze, the excess is discarded as unnecessary. If there is less information than necessary, then the brain will draw the missing one. Everything is explainable. Our distant ancestors, still at the level of monkeys, learned this. It was enough for them to see in the immediate vicinity any part of the body (fragment) of a dangerous predator hiding in the bushes to raise the alarm and climb the trees to escape.

Each person, one way or another, controls his perception of information about the outside world. In other words, it separates reality from fiction. In stressful situations, a chronic lack of external stimuli can also present original surprises, when a fictional one can seem very real. This feeling or sensation of the fictional as something real is called hallucinations. These hallucinations have nothing to do with the visions of the mentally ill, although they cannot do without nerves. For a person who is not ready for such tests, these hallucinations or glitches can cause a nervous breakdown.

Hallucinations can be visual, auditory, smell and other senses. All or almost all apparent hallucinations are due to some real reasons, albeit unknown at the moment. For example, all kinds of barely audible, monotonous sounds such as hum, ringing, rustling can be the result of a congenital or forgotten violation of the integrity of the eardrum. Terrain folds and optical phenomena of the atmosphere (mirages) can "help" hear or see what is from the observer for several tens or even hundreds of kilometers. There are cases when, for some reason, it is impossible to determine even the approximate distance to the object, then a flying speck of dust may seem like an alien spaceship or the rustling of an insect under the ear is perceived as a mountain collapse. A person does not hear sounds above or below a certain level, does not see images lasting less than a tenth of a second, and yet all information is somehow fixed by the brain. There is still a lot of unknown and mysterious. Sounds and images can be perceived or felt in some other way. The noiseless running of a large animal, for example, a person can feel like a shaking of the soil from the tread of a heavy beast and even determine the approximate direction and distance to the source of the "sound". Out of the corner of your eye, you can accidentally notice some kind of animal, but if the time of "considering" was less than a tenth of a second, and the animal is dangerous, then an "unreasonable" feeling of fear may arise.

In a person who is in unfamiliar and unusual conditions, all feelings are usually exacerbated, often the sense organs replace each other, and all suddenly appeared dual sensations or doubts must be perceived as quite real information and in any case worthy of mandatory verification. At the same time, don't let your fantasy run wild.

I recall a comic incident that happened to one hunter and fisherman.

He came with his dog already dark to one of his hunting huts, for the first time this year and saw that someone had lived in this hut for quite a long time. The "tenants" were literate and respected the laws of the taiga. They didn’t touch the supplies, before leaving, as expected, they cleaned up, put things in order, chopped firewood for the next tenant.

The hunter cooked the stew, ate and fell asleep. After some time, I woke up from extraneous sounds, it seems like music is playing somewhere and someone is singing. The dog sleeps calmly on the floor and does not lead with his ear, which means that the hunter thought he heard glitches. During the day I ran through the forest, got cold, tired, it happens. I tried to fall asleep again, but here are the songs to my liking and hear for the first time. When I heard the voice of the announcer with the news, I got really scared and decided that as soon as it dawned, I had to urgently run to the nearest settlement and surrender to the madhouse. But when he heard the announcer's promise of the premiere of "A Million Scarlet Roses", Pugacheva, after thinking, decided that even his sick imagination would not be enough for such glitches and crawled under the bunk to look for the source of the sounds. As he later said: "I had nothing to lose." And for sure, under the bunks lies a transistor receiver, warmed up and quietly singing. "Thank you tenants, made a gift."


Getting into the same conditions of complete isolation from the outside world in a small company (or group), you can experience for yourself what psychological incompatibility with each other is. This phenomenon usually occurs in small groups of two to five or six people. It is not a disease, but fatal outcomes are not uncommon. Best friends suddenly become enemies. In the group, quarrels over trifles, a showdown, a struggle for leadership, etc., begin, and all these feuds end at best with fights every other day.

To study this phenomenon, it is not necessary to travel to the ends of the earth or survive a plane crash, it is often enough to look at your neighbors or at yourself personally and draw your own appropriate conclusions. Why can't two housewives get along in the same kitchen?

Why does every second registered marriage end in divorce?

Whether these conclusions of yours will be correct is not known, but you will gain some experience.

Causes of incompatibility is a topic that is quite relevant and still poorly understood. The crews of spacecraft, for example, are selected by special research institutes for their compatibility. And usually no one specially selects personnel for work in a tiny team at some facility far from settlements. They hire random people, not particularly interested in their past and possible consequences in the future.

You personally can only be advised to choose a company with an eye to the future. If the company was chosen for you without you, then live like the rest. The team is friendly and you are friends, if you ran up and hid in the corners, and you find your corner. In any case, sooner or later, quarrels and enmity will surely begin, try to move this moment away. Remember: a bad peace is better than a good fight.

The fears of loneliness and incompatibility are very well described in many stories by Jack London.

Rules for nutrition and hunger strikes.

Any person should know the capabilities of his body and in particular how to eat right and starve. For example, sometimes in order to quickly get to the nearest settlement, it is more profitable to starve a little than to waste time and health in search of food.

The body of any living being, including humans, is arranged in such a way that the cells of the body absorb only a complete set of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, microelements, etc. Food qualitatively corresponding to the desired set and entering our body in sufficient or a little more nourishes every cell of our body, new cells are being completed and the excess is processed into fat.

It's no secret that our diet is not always perfect, sometimes a lot of fats, sometimes carbohydrates and vitamins, but if in general, let's say for a week, the body received the right set, then everything is fine for a full life of the body. When a food set is not ideal for a longer time and some substances are missing, then the person will try to make up for the missing by eating more other foods. If overeating does not help, most of the body's cells still get the right set and the missing one will be taken from some destroyed body cells. In this case, fat reserves are consumed, and although fat contains a complete and balanced set of everything necessary for the body, there are no extra ingredients.