How to make Snares and Traps

There are many methods of catching your wild food in the wilderness, but knowing how to make Snares and Traps, is one of the most essential survival skills you will need to learn before venturing out into the wild.

While it is more than possible for you to survive for several weeks without any food, it is not generally recommended you go out and try.

So, by knowing exactly how to go about catching your food, using the various trapping methods available, will ensure you always have a good supply of fresh food when you need it.

There are other methods of obtaining food – fishing, for example, can prove very good, and doesn’t need to be a time-consuming exercise either – see my article:  how to catch fish easily..

Snaring and Trapping is designed to kill an animal by either choking, crushing, hanging or entangle the animal until dead, thus making it safe for you to approach the animal.

As with all things survival – the most effective traps are usually the simplest – the key to good trapping is not so much using the latest, super high tec, trap. But knowing and understanding an animals habits in order to position your traps in the very best places where you have a higher chance of actually catching the animal.

Without doubt, good trapping comes down to location, location, location….

Firstly,  take a look at the basics::

Most snares and traps use a combination of the three basic methods shown below –


The Simple Snare

Dead Fall Traps

The spring Snare

survival skills showing deadfall trap

You can make any of these without any equipment at all, however, having a few essential survival tools will make the job so much easier.

To make life easier I always have the following survival equipment with me whenever going out into the wild:

  • Survival knife – an essential bit of equipment – see article: Choosing the Best Survival Knife
  • Wire Snares –  A set of Wire Snares – reasonable thickness, 3/32″ for small game
  • Paracord – everyone needs to carry  550lb. strain Paracord – apart from snares, paracord has many uses
  • Survival Axe – an essential bit of equipment – see article: Best survival Axe Guide


Starting a Fire in the Wild

Basic Survival – Starting a Fire in the Wild

 Basic Survival – Starting a Fire in the Wild

There are many different methods of Starting a Fire in the wild – all are possible if you have enough time and the materials, but you must have the basic survival knowledge and learn these skills before going out in the wilderness.

However, if you do ever find yourself in a situation where you are miles from home and need a fire urgently, your fire starting material must be readily available and your methods uncomplicated.

There have been cases where hikers, hunters, and others have been stranded out in the cold because the matches they had with them in their pockets were useless and would not light.

If you carry matches in pockets next to your body, they will absorb any moisture and perspiration, making them damp.

Any matches that are left in your backpack and exposed to humidity will also be useless as well.



As with everything, survival – preparation is the key to success – and starting a fire in the wild definitely needs preparation.

There are lots of ‘modern’ ways to fire starting, and, if you apply survival rule number two, you will never have any problems. That is, Keep It Simple.


It is essential that your basic survival skills include knowing how to start a fire in the wild by ensuring you actually carry a means to create a high-temperature spark, and have the tinder available to turn that spark into a good, workable flame.

There are many excellent survival knives that have a built-in fire starter, like the Survivor HK Fixed Blade with fire starter, that is perfect and work really well –  (shown here on the right)



But, as with all survival, always carry a spare. A simple Ferro Rod Fire Starter will slip into any small space and be a perfect emergency backup.

In fact, you can also get yourself some very nice outdoor fire starting kits like the Spark-Lite Military Edition Fire Starter kit – shown here on the left –

These kits have a Ferro rod and combustible tinder in a waterproof container.

Perfect as a backup fire starter.



But,  starting a fire without an ignition source is a whole different ballgame –

You will always be able to find Fire starting materials – they are everywhere – lint in your pocket, thread from your clothing and of course dry tinder made from wood.

However, you will still need to have an ignition source: 


The Bow Drill Method

A bow and drill is a method that has been used to produce a hot ash ember for hundreds, if not thousands of years.

It is simply based on friction to to create a fire.

This method of starting a fire can uses various designs and raw materials but the overall basic concept is always the same –

create enough friction that will cause heat and produce an ember.

You can use a shoelace, rope discarded by others or, if you wear a Paracord Bracelet, then that is ideal (hover over link – this one even has a fire starter built in.!)



The overall concept is to try and spin the main drill, using the bow, fast enough and long enough to create an ember in the fireboard. To make a hot ember good enough to start a fire will take a lot of effort AND practice.

Make sure you have dry tinder available close to the fireboard – once you have an ember you only have to move the fireboard a bit closer to combine the tinder and ember.

Some experts will tell you to catch the hot ember under the notch in the fireboard and, using a leaf or piece of bark, move it across to the tinder.

However, moving the ember can cause it to extinguish, you can drop it or the wind could blow it away.

Move the board away and bring the tinder to the ember.



The wood file.

A much less complicated method than the bow and drill above –  but will require more effort and both pieces of wood must be very dry for this procedure to work.

However, this method has been field tested thousands of times and the wood file will definitely produce a hot ember, but you must practice patience and attention to detail.



Easy, additional source of ignition.  steel flint  and striker fire starter

When your in the wild, you tend to carry lots of odd things – alcohol wipes or hand sanitizers in particular. These will all contain some alcohol which, in itself, is ideal when used as an emergency fire starter.

Squeeze an alcohol wipe over some dry tinder or squeeze a drop of sanitizer on the tinder.

Use the steel and strike it against flint – this will create a spark, which in turn will ignite the alcohol and you have a flame to start your fire.

Just about any knife blade and a flint or even a hard stone and steel can be used together to create a spark.  Natural forming flint is the best material to use with steel.


Even more alternative fire starter ignition methods

fire starter using glassesTake a piece of broken glass or you can even use a pair of glasses to magnify and focus a sunspot at some dry tinder – after a short while the tinder will ignite.

For the very best results, the sun should be directly overhead, but this method will generally work anytime the sun is shining, you simply have to position yourself correctly.



Another way to improvise is by using a soda can bottom as the reflective material –  simply magnify and direct the sunlight to create a fire in dry tinder. You will have to polish the soda can bottom to give a highly reflective finish.

Use any piece of soft cloth to buff the metal to a high shine.

Next, position your dry tinder on the ground and move the can about until sunlight is reflecting off the can onto the tinder.

This method will take a lot of patience and a steady hand but will definitely work.


battery starting fire with steel wool


Another very quick and efficient way to start a fire in the wild is using a torch battery.

If the positive and negative terminals of the battery are ‘shorted out’ they will produce a spark good enough to ignite your tinder into a flame.

If you have any steel wool – this makes the perfect conductor and will flame up instantly.

All these methods of starting a fire will work – some better than others and some quicker, with a lot less effort than others, but the overall principle is to not over complicate things – use the simplest and easiest methods where ever possible.

I’m sure if our ancestors had ferro rods and survival knives with fire starters they would have used them too..!

How to Build a Survival Shelter

How to Build a Survival Shelter

How to Build a Survival or Emergency Shelter and Set Up Camp 


A good survival or emergency shelter is the absolute number one priority for survival in the wilderness – whether you are out in the wilderness for fun or been forced there by natural disasters.

If you find yourself lost or you’re stranded or even if you simply realize you don’t have enough time to get back home before dark, it then becomes very important to build a shelter

In any survival situation you can apply the survival rule of three to ensure success.

You will need to build a shelter within three hours, this may even be accelerated in cold conditions, especially if someone is suffering from hypothermia.snow shelter



However, you may well be lost in a cold climate, and if this is the case you must build a shelter almost immediately to prevent any hypothermia.

A shelter is your ‘home’ and defends against the elements, from potential predators, and even insects bite and stings.

It provides you with comfort and will physiologically boost your moral. Being able to ‘get away’ from the outside is essential for your well-being.

A survival shelter can be simply shelter constructed without using tools

A live tree is first used as the main center support. This can be a fork in the tree trunk or even cut down tree stump.

Find or cut a good solid branch that’s straight and place that firmly


into the ground and rest the other end into the fork in the main tree.

Use smaller branches to form the sides of the shelter – as many as you can get and as close together as possible.

Gather up as much vegetation as you can find and layer the outsides of the frame – layering from the ground up so the layers overlap the layer below to form a drip plate. The vegetation should be at least 2′ thick to ensure against any rain getting in.

Remember, an essential survival tool that will definitely help make the whole process quicker and easier is a woodland survival axe – in fact, some survivalist rate a good axe as a far more essential tool than a good quality Survival Knife



The shelter above forms the basis of most woodland shelters – but there are variations, like this lean-to woodland shelter.

Still based on the main support – this time between two main solid trees, then the branches are stacked up against the side and, again, covered with a thick layer of whatever vegetation is available.

If you think it will rain then the vegetation must be at least 2′ thick and layered down the side to help the water runoff, and must always have a good slope as well.


The snow cave survival shelter

This too can be constructed using snow, sticks and leaves, using the snow as the main building material – if you had to leave your home due to natural disasters in the winter, it would be very tough to survive – even surviving in the winter for ‘fun’ is a huge challenge.

snow shelter

Never burrow into deep snowdrifts – the soft snow can easily collapse.

Instead, it is much better to build a standalone shelter from the snow. In that way if the structure was to collapse you can get yourself out easily, otherwise, you may suffocate.

Make sure that the snow cave is built big enough to ensure that any part of your body is not touching the sides at any point.

If your body comes in contact with the very cold surface it will literally drain the heat from your body exposing you to the risk of hypothermia.


Always rake the snow off the ground inside the shelter and then put a layer of leaves or whatever vegetation is available on to the ground. This must be done to form insulation between you and the ground.

Additionally, put a thermal blanket on the ground if no vegetation is possible – something like a  Mylar Emergency Blanket is ideal for this.

Take advantage of your surroundings. 

Yet another snow survival shelter method is to dig out the snow from under a tree, down to the bare ground and then pile up all the snow along the sides.

Then use the tree itself as shelter and place pine boughs, or a tarp or poncho over the top to give you overhead cover.

You can even build your fire inside the snow shelter, but make sure to leave room for the smoke to escape.


As well as natural materials, you can use a wet weather poncho, various camping tarps and thermal blankets as survival shelter materials.

Once you realize you are in a more dangerous situation, you must always have your survival shelter constructed before dark. It is definitely recommended that your shelter is set up as soon as possible and you begin setting up camp immediately.

  • Always stop for a few minutes and take a little time to evaluate your situation and your surroundings to ensure you are making clear, correct decisions based on your survival.


Basic Shelter Materials – be prepared before you go out in the wild.


Ideally, and thinking ahead, you would have packed an emergency shelter into your rucksack – a Mylar survival tent like the Level One Emergency Tent shown here, is a must for survival and this one is very light and very compact, sleeps two people and is an essential bit of ‘emergency’ equipment to carry in your rucksack.



As well as a survival tent you should also carry basic survival equipment and materials such as:

  • 550 Paracord
  • a good quality Survival Knife
  • woodland survival axe
  • Survival Pocket Chain Saw.

Otherwise, you can use materials found in your environment and you can take advantage of natural features.


Building a survival shelter is the most important thing to do if you are lost or stranded in the wilderness – if you were forced out into the wild because of some unforeseen natural disasters, then knowing this skill is even more essential. Your shelter can make the difference between life and death and will help you overcome extremely harsh conditions.

If you get yourself protected from the elements, no matter how primitive that protection is, you will give yourself a huge increase of surviving.

What are the Top Five Basic Skills for Survival

Top 5 Basic Survival Skills

You must learn Basic Survival Skills before going out in the wilderness.

Surviving without life’s normal luxuries will test most people – even a week without power would grind many people to a complete halt. If that were to happen to you how would you survive?basic survival skills


Would you know what to do to keep yourself and your family alive?

Natural disasters can be even worse and had the survival skills, knowledge and ability to live through these disasters needs to be learned and those skills need to be practiced way before anything actually happens.

 In any disaster situation, you can always apply the Top 5 Basic Survival Skills and know you are giving yourself a far better chance of staying alive and surviving.disaster survival tips

Without knowing these skills your survival chances are greatly reduced – you should never leave your survival to mere trial and error – especially after the event.

What are the Top 5 Basic Survival Skills

To completely understand basic survival skills, it is very important to know what are considered the greatest threats. These are the threats to your life and to your survival in the very first place.


Understanding and knowing about these threats are one of your biggest weapons to help you maintain a clear head in any survival situation and then being able to overcome them. The top threats to your life – those that will halt you in your tracks, especially if you’re not prepared for them are –

  • Exposure
  • Dehydration
  • Starvation

And, in order that you are able to combat these 3 main threats, you must know the 4 immediate responses to them that will ensure your survival – these are:

  • Shelter
  • Fire
  • Water
  • Food

Remember these chilling facts –

  1. Extreme weather can kill you in a matter of just 3 minutes –
  2. A lack of water can kill you in 3 days –
  3. No food will kill you in only 3 weeks –blizzard

It really is that easy to be caught out. So now it all makes sense, just how important it is to know these top 5 basic survival skills.

These are the top 5 basic survival skills you must know

1. Know how to build a shelter and set up a camp

2. Know how to start a fire using foraged materials

3. Know how to find & filter water

4. Know how to Set Snares & Traps / Fishing / Hunting skills

5. Know how to butcher and prepare an animal / prepare fish


Most people who like to venture out into the wood and the wilderness will already have a basic knowledge of these skills. In fact, you really don’t have to venture to the great outdoors to learn how to do these skills – you could just go online – but without any practice, you will never really know if it works or not.

Absolutely nothing beats getting your gear together and actually experiencing the wilderness – going out and practicing these top 5 basic survival skills, is the only way to really learn what it’s like.

Basic survival skill #1 – Building a survival sheltersurvival shelter

* A Survival Shelter is any structure that will protect you from the elements – an overhanging cliff face, a cave, a fallen tree. It doesn’t have to be a palace, it need only be something quite simple as a few logs and twigs propped up against the branch of a tree, a few more branches and then some leaves thrown on top. Throw a few more leaves on the ground and you’re good to go. This will be enough shelter for you to keep the rain or wind or snow from settling on you.

Basic survival skill #2 – Start a fire

* Learn how to Start a fire – do this as soon as possible after you have built your shelter. A fire is like the Feng Shui of survival – you can get some very good Fire Starter or ferro rod that make it very easy to start a fire. Quite a few survival knives also come with a built-in fire starter that’s ideal for helping you to get a fire started. Find as much dry wood as you can and store under your new shelter – stock your fire up and you can sterilize water for drinking, dry clothes and cook your food starting



Basic survival skill #3 – Collect water

* Set out to collect some water – if you’re prepared for disaster, you would already have a decent water filter like the LIFESAVER Water Bottle at your disposal. At the very least a LifeStraw Personal Water Filter, that way you can always get a drink straight from any water source. If not prepared, then you must learn how to distill water using the sun and the other various survival methods.water purifying straw


Basic survival skill #4 – Hunting & Trapping for food

*You must know the basic principles of setting snares and traps and how to begin a campaign of hunting for your own food – ideally, carry a few automatic fishing reels to save time when out looking for food. Learn about tracking and how to set humane kill traps – ensure you have the knowledge to ensure you can catch your own food. Learn how to use a ‘low tech’ weapon designed more for silent killing – a good hunting slingshot will always work, but you must have used one and practiced your skills beforehand.slingshot



Basic survival skill #5 – Butchering & Preparing Food

* being able to just got out, with confidence, and get yourself some nice fresh food is only half the survival story – You must learn how to prepare and butcher your potential dinner. Learning the techniques required for successful skinning and gutting as well as the necessary bushcraft skills to enable you to preserve your own food, must be learned and practiced. Especially in a long term survival situation – Surviving in the wilderness can be as easy or as difficult as you decide to make it. Of course, it always comes down to being prepared – it is essential to learn these basic survival skills. Become a good survivor by learning the basic survival skills needed to survive the wilderness, and then go out and practice those skills – you can even practice some these in your garden!knife uses