With an endless and ever-growing supply of preparedness items and gadgets for TEOTWAWKI, it is easy to forget where we all came from. Each and every one of us alive on this planet today is in large part due to the sheer will, strength, and survival ability of our ancestors. We are all, literally, direct descendants of the toughest and smartest humans the world has ever seen. Our ancestors were the ones who survived plagues and diseases of all types, hunted the largest of beasts, survived harsher conditions than most of us can imagine, always procured food, and still managed to procreate, eventually passing on that genetic material to each and every one of us. In each one of us, is them, and we contain hundreds if not thousands of generations of genetics that survived. We are the culmination of all those who have endured before us. Sure, luck and the grace of God has much to do with this and I do not discount that fact. Frankly, I thank God everyday for my life and the lives of those I love. The reason I decided to write this article is because I feel that too little emphasis is placed on these necessary skills by both survivalists and preppers alike. Don’t get me wrong, I am 100% in favor of being fully stocked with everything necessary for any “what if” type scenario. I fully believe in the necessity of being well prepared whether stationary at a retreat location, mobile in a vehicle, or loaded like a beast of burden on foot. But I don’t like to be dependent upon store bought items. For me, preparedness is a mindset and a lifestyle. So, my point is, what happens when we lose those items, they break, are stolen, or our supplies run out? Don’t think it can’t happen to you. We’re all preparing because it provides a sort of insurance against the countless what ifs. Think of primitive survival skills as your reinsurance or back up to your back up plan. The purpose of this article is to provoke thought and discussion to the subject of primitive survival and to serve as a brief introduction on “how to.” When I say bare bones survival I mean just that. No knives, saws, axes, cordage, rope, water filters, bottles, bladders, portable shelters, lighters, flints, matches, stoves, fuel, or food. I think you get the point. The one exception is the clothing on your back since practicing primitive skills nude in the woods would probably be a one way ticket to the insane asylum.
Most primitive survival situations, pre or post TEOTWAWKI, will require shelter. It’s probable that this will also be your most pressing need, one to be fulfilled first. Shelter keeps you warm, dry, and concealed. It gives you the ability to escape the elements as you plan your next step. Six of our seven continents are inhabited and have been for millennia. What this translates into is that almost anywhere on earth the natural materials already exist to provide you with a sufficient shelter. From igloos to adobe settlements, all these materials are free for the taking if you know how to use them. These are just examples, so I’m not suggesting you build an igloo or sun bake bricks because of the time and energy required to do so. What I am suggesting is that you familiarize yourself with the natural materials present in your neck of the woods in order to build an efficient and expedient shelter. Be it sand, snow, dirt, grass, rocks, sticks, moss or leaves, they all can keep you relatively warm, dry and alive. After that, you must practice repeatedly. Otherwise you’re simply an armchair survivalist, and we all know what happens to them.
I live in an area with plenty of deciduous forest and mild winters (mid-Atlantic state), which is probably one of the easiest places to construct a survival shelter. The shelter I build most is often referred to as a debris hut and I do so because it’s simple, efficient, and the materials required for doing so are abundant in my area. I typically make a pile of leaves two feet deep and two feet longer than I am tall against the trunk of a fallen tree. I then lay sticks perpendicular to the trunk over the entire length of the pile angled from the ground to the top of the trunk and tight enough together to not let leaves fall through. A few more feet of leaves are piled on top of what should by now resemble one half of a ribcage with the trunk being the spine and the angled sticks being the ribs. A few feet of leaves will shed absolute downpours leaving the interior dry. I leave a small opening so that I can enter feet first and keep another pile of leaves at the entrance to plug it when I’m in. For colder temperatures it’s necessary to keep the interior barely larger than yourself to minimize heat loss. In windy conditions you may need some sticks on top of the shelter to keep the leaves in place. Before constructing, be sure to look up and around you for any dead or dying trees or branches that could be brought down on top of you during a storm. If possible face your shelter opening to the east to take advantage of the rising suns warmth. If you cannot tell direction without a compass, learn to do so.
There are countless primitive shelters one could build, and they all have advantages and disadvantages based upon where one resides. This article is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all those shelters and how to build them, but rather an attempt to get you thinking along the lines of what you would do without a permanent or portable roof over your head. Most of these structures can be constructed within a few hours and really do not require hand tools or supplies of any kind. Do your research and see which type of primitive shelter best fits your locale.
Under normal survival circumstances, such as being lost or caught in an unexpected storm, one would usually choose a shelter site with plenty of natural material nearby as to minimize having to carry debris any distance and thereby conserving energy. Ordinary survival situations also assume that someone wants to be found. In TEOTWAWKI type scenarios we probably do not want to be found, therefore minimizing our “sign” left behind as we construct our shelter is paramount. Leaving bare spots on the forest floor as we rake up every last leaf to use as insulation may be noticed by others and further investigated by them. The point is to do your best at leaving as few clues behind as possible. Using the existing landscape to your advantage will help in this regard. Caves, crevices, overhangs, thickets, hollow logs, boulders, etc may provide the basis for an adequate shelter with minimal caloric expenditure as well as provide added insulation, wind proofing, and concealment. By taking advantage of natural structures, your shelter will blend in to your environment much better than otherwise. When you’re finished you should be able to step back from your shelter, looking from different angles, and not even recognize it as such. If possible, construct shelter near a water source, just be sure you’re above the high water mark, which should be obvious. Locating shelter near a water source isn’t always possible, just try to if feasible. But don’t force it, shelter is typically priority number one unless you’re already approaching dehydration, starvation, are being pursued, or it’s warm and dry enough to forego it. If you’re not familiar with basic primitive shelters I suggest that you research it. You may even want to construct one near your retreat or on the way to it as added insurance. Once you have established a sufficient shelter that will keep you warm, dry, and well concealed, you can move on to priority number two, which is hydration.
Where I reside, water is abundant and very easy to find. I have no experience in more arid regions of the US so I’ll leave that to others to discuss. First, let’s dispel some myths regarding water. Clear, fast moving water is not always safe to drink. Springs are not always safe. Dogs do drink disease laden water. And the liquid in some plants can kill you, or at minimum make you ill. Frankly, I treat all water as potentially disease causing until I’ve purified it in some manner. Notice I said purify, not filter. All too often I see people touting their homemade water filter consisting of leaves, moss, sand, charred wood, etc as a viable means to filter pathogens from water. Simply put, this is incorrect and should only be used for filtering sediment from water and not pathogens. Charred wood is not the activated charcoal commonly used in water filtration.
Just a side note, activated wood charcoal is vastly inferior to activated coconut carbon in terms of the porosity needed for high level water filtration. We’re talking about macropores vs micropores so keep your coconut hulls or stock up (they’re inexpensive, in bulk) if you make your own activated carbon for these purposes. When searching for water keep a few things in mind. First, water flows downhill which means that you’re generally more likely to find it at lower elevations than at higher ones. There are exceptions to this, but I’m speaking in general terms. Specific vegetation is an excellent indicator of water or at least wet ground. Certain trees, shrubs, vines, and herbaceous plants will only grow in or very close to water or damp earth. At higher elevations, look for threads of more dense or more varied vegetation tracking downhill. The same principle applies to lowland areas as the vegetation will usually change and be denser near water or damp soil. Learn the plants in your geographic locale that need wet earth and memorize them. Learn to recognize them year round. Knowing your trees in the dead of winter without leaves present is a critical skill to have. The same thing applies to the dead dry stalks of certain herbaceous plants. Also, having the ability to recognize these plant species from a distance can save you time and energy on your search. Once you’ve located damp earth, try to figure out the drainage in that particular area and start your dig in low points located along the drain path. If enough water is present it will seep into your hole. If you don’t want to wait, somehow mark or remember this spot so you can return as you seek other sources. Once again, minimize your signs left behind. I like to thoroughly scatter any dirt I excavate and fill the hole lightly with leaves to conceal my efforts. Where you decide to dig is critical. I’ve dug two feet down in a dry streambed and did not get any water but moving ten feet in another direction with the same size hole yielded a quart every hour. For dry stream beds, usually stick to the outsides of any curves. Only practice and experience can make you better at this. You can use a broken stick, rocks, and your bare hands to excavate.
Animals, including birds, can also tell you where to look. Many animals, but not all, must drink water to survive. Therefore, following animal trails, especially when these trails converge and widen more and more, can be a reliable indicator. Birds, with the exception of flesh eaters, are fairly reliable indicators of the presence of water. The overall flight pattern of birds in a particular area at dusk and dawn is a great clue. Also, bugs and insects can be telltale signs. Bees, small black ants, flies, mosquitoes, and others are rarely too far from water. Although in the case of some of these insects it could only be a few ounces of water in the crotch or rotted section of a tree. Another great and often overlooked source of water is dew or condensation. Given that you do have clothes on your back, use some article of clothing to “mop” it up. From dusk to dawn is the best time for dew formation and gathering. Sometimes in shaded areas you can still gather dew hours after the sun has risen. If you’ve experienced a rainfall recently, keep in mind that rotted wood and moss will hold water long after everything else has dried. Simply squeeze the water out. The last source of water I would like to mention is tree sap. It’s my favorite since it doesn’t require boiling. I’ve consumed box elder, red, black, and sugar maple, black birch, black and white walnut, shagbark and shellbark hickory, and sycamore sap as my sole source of liquid for days. I’ve also drank large quantities of sap from many other tree species.
Some refer to the sugar content as a possible source of dehydration. I haven’t experienced this to be true but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t. As an added benefit, most tree sap has an abundance of vitamins and minerals. Not all tree sap is potable. Check out the Plants For A Future Database and look under the heading “plant uses” and scroll down to “sap” to see which trees grow in your area. Just a side note, many of the trees with potable sap also have edible inner bark, which was extensively used by Native Americans. Once you have positively 100 percent identified that species, sample a small amount first. Then progress to larger amounts of consumption. You should do the same with anything your body has never consumed before. We all may potentially have food allergies were not yet aware of. The downside to using sap for hydration is that it doesn’t flow year round and not all trees flow at the same time or for the same length of time. Maple sap, for instance, will flow best when nights are below freezing and days are above freezing and it’s sunny or partly sunny (high pressure). With maples in my location, sap flow begins after the trees have gone dormant in the fall. This usually occurs after a few hard frosts and will continue through winter and into spring as long as the tree isn’t frozen and the aforementioned criteria are met. These principles do not apply to all tree species.
An example is birch, which averages 3-5 weeks of sap flow in early to mid spring depending on the weather. Once the leaves have emerged the sap of most tree species loses its clarity and palatability as the chemical components change. Shortly thereafter, sap flow will cease and does not begin again until the weather warms after a sufficient dormancy period. Given that all trees do not leaf out all at once in the spring but rather in a slow progression this can be a source of water for many months if you have the knowledge. In my area, by utilizing all tree species with potable sap, I can drink for nearly six months out of the year as long as the trees are not frozen. Maples are among the first to leaf out in the spring therefore they flow first. In my area, this is followed by birches, walnuts, hickories, etc. Tree sap is highly perishable and must be used quickly. One of my favorite methods for preserving it in early spring is to pile the melting snow around and onto the container to keep it cold. Be sure to cover the container opening with wood or a rock to keep the snow out. Using this method sap will keep for days.
Harvesting tree sap without tools is more difficult but not impossible given that it were Native Americans who taught Europeans how to do this and did so without steel implements. Maple and birch syrup producers rely on drills, buckets, taps, tubing, etc to procure their liquid. Primitive survival does not afford these luxuries. Gouge a v shape incision into the tree on a side that faces the sun using a sharp rock (research flint knapping to provide you with an adequate knife). Then insert a thin twig into the base of this v and slope it downward so that the sap can drip down it. Better yet, break the end off of a lower branch that is pointing in a downward direction or hang deadfall on it to make it point downward. You can also bore a small hole into the trunk with a rock and insert a hollow stem of a non poisonous plant to act as a tap. Just match the diameter of your tap very closely to the diameter of your bored hole creating as tight of a fit as possible. You can speed up the flow by sucking as through a straw. While testing certain trees pre-SHTF to see if they are flowing I suggest breaking off the very tip of a twig instead of gouging a hole into the trunk unnecessarily. This is just a good conservation practice in my opinion.
Grape vines are also a good source of liquid during certain times of the year. When grape vines are flowing I like to break one off low to the ground, wrap it up, and bring it with me. When I’m ready to use it, I’ll cut or break this vine into many equal sections and bundle them together allowing the liquid to drip into a container. As with trees, grape vines have a prime flow period which closely coincides with trees. Other times of the year sap doesn’t flow or isn’t palatable. Although these are just a few of the plants I like to use for water, there are many others available as well. As a general rule for herbaceous plants, if the entire plant is edible so to is the liquid within it. By now you should be asking, “okay, well I found water, but what do I put it in and how do I purify it?” The answer is found in fire.
Making fire with sticks is referred to as friction fire. The concept is to rub or spin two pieces of wood together producing a fine dust that will ignite into a glowing ember or coal at around eight hundred degrees Fahrenheit. This coal is then transferred into a tinder bundle and blown into flames. The flaming tinder bundle is placed underneath a pre constructed arrangement of small twigs and progressively larger pieces of wood. I like to arrange my sticks in a tepee fashion with one side open to insert the flaming tinder bundle. There are countless methods invented throughout history but the two I like the most are the bow drill and hand drill methods, with the latter being my preference. An experienced person could easily write a 50 page article on all the nuances of friction fire. Instead of giving an in depth “how to” I think it’s better that you start by watching internet videos on this subject as it’s much easier to understand when you see it. It can be rather verbose to explain. Do searches for both the “hand drill fire” and “bow drill fire” and watch many different videos to gather more information as no one video or source of information is the best.
The bow drill is the best place to start for beginners as it’s usually the easiest. This video shows the basics of the bow drill by Ray Mears. Although he does use a knife, machete, and nylon cordage, a sharp rock and natural cordage can achieve the same results with slightly more time invested. Developing an understanding of sound basics and technique on the bow drill will make the hand drill that much easier. Outside of proper technique and form, the next most important factor for success is the right selection of wood or plant material. Not all wood can be spun together to make fire and dead but not rotted wood is almost always best. If you can dent it with a finger nail with moderate pressure that is likely an appropriate hardness. Softer woods are easier to create fire with than harder woods. Avoid most oaks, most maples, hickories, walnuts, persimmon, beech, birch and any other wood than is generally considered hard and durable. This is not to say that it can’t be done with these woods, it’s just much harder than with woods such as buckeyes, basswood, elms, willows, sycamore and some members of the pine family. If you’re using the bow drill method you’ll need to make some sort of natural cordage.
My favorite sources of natural fibers are stinging nettle, milkweed, dogbane, and basswood, although there are literally hundreds of other trees and herbaceous plants that can provide adequate fibers. Do a search for making natural cordage to see this first hand and to see which of these species grow in your area. Also, pencil thick roots from some members of the pine family make excellent bow drill cordage. When you’re first learning the bow drill use paracord or an old shoe lace as you’ll quickly get frustrated when your natural cordage wears thin and breaks. My favorite tinder is cedar bark shredded and balled up like a birds nest but many other materials will work as well. For firewood, especially in wet or rainy weather, it’s imperative to gather wood that is off the ground. Dead twigs and branches still attached or hung up in the tree are an excellent choice. Fatwood, which is the heartwood of certain pine trees usually located in decaying stumps, is probably the best kindling there is. Its high resin content makes it rot resistant and will easily catch fire. Friction fire can be physically demanding and to have your tinder bundle fail to ignite wet wood is not a good thing. As far as wood selection goes, the easiest to produce fire using a bow drill in my locale are buckeye, basswood, elm, willow, and eastern white pine. There are many others that work well, but these are simply my preferences.
The hand drill consists of only a spindle, fireboard, and tinder bundle. It has the advantage of not needing cordage or as much preparation time but is less technically forgiving. Here is another clip of the same guy performing the hand drill. Although he is performing this in the desert, all the materials needed to do so are easily found anywhere south of the tundra. My favorites for this type of friction fire are basswood, buckeye, willow, elm, and yucca for the fireboard and mullein, cattail, evening primrose, and goldenrod for the spindle. After you learn the basics, it is persistence and a desire to succeed that makes all the difference in success. Because this method most often utilizes the dead stalks of herbaceous plants it’s imperative to be able to recognize them at this stage. Many people can recognize plants when they’re flowering but cannot do so when it’s a dead dry stalk in mid-winter. As with any skill truly worth learning, it takes practice and dedication over an extended period of time. I constantly read how these methods are impossible or worthless. Well, I’m here to tell you that if you’re willing to put in the effort you can start a fire with these methods at will anytime you please. I do it all the time. The last primitive method for fire starting I feel worth mentioning is flint rock.
Most of us are familiar with the flint and steel method of fire starting as well as the more modern ferro rod. But given that we’re talking about primitive skills this would predate the invention of steel. Flint rock has a decent distribution across the US and that’s why I mention it. Before steel, many native cultures simply scraped flint against an iron ore containing rock. Quite a few different rocks will work but the most commonly used was marcasite or pyrite. It produces small sparks and is tedious but can be a viable alternative to friction fire if your local geology has plenty of these rocks available. This is another good research topic specific to your locale. Here’s an excellent link showing how. And one more for a different look Once you have fire it’s now time to purify your water.
You’ll need to fashion a container by using coals from the fire to burn out the center of a piece of wood. You can make bowls and cups capable of holding large quantities of water with this method. Find an appropriate piece of wood and place some hot coals onto it. You can speed up the process by blowing on the coals. Every so often remove the coals and gouge out the charred material of your cup and repeat the process until you have something capable of holding your desired amount of liquid. I recommend sticking to something quart sized for mobility. If stationary, burn a large depression into a fallen tree capable of holding gallons of water. Birch bark containers, animal stomachs and hides work very well for transport. You can use pine sap to seal up any leaking areas of the bark. Once you have a container you need to heat up rocks in the fire and using two sticks in a chopstick manner transfer them into your wooden container to boil the water. Your rocks should be gathered from a very dry area that doesn’t sit in water. The reason being is that trapped moisture will cause the rocks to crack when heated and sometimes these sharp sections are flung outward. Basalt is the rock of choice as it rarely cracks and if it does it doesn’t go flying outward towards your face. Rocks gathered from stream beds or any other wet areas are poor choices as they almost always invariably crack. If you must use these types of rock, cover your eyes when placing them into the water and keep back while it’s boiling. Continue to transfer more rocks into the water until you’ve boiled it for the desired period of time. Placing a large leaf, flat piece of wood or rock over your boiling container will increase efficiency and negate any flying hot stones. Burn out multiple containers to gather tree sap and place them under your taps. Or if you live in an area with bamboo you already have a container. Check out this kid to see what I mean. Instead of cutting the bamboo into sections as he does, I like to keep the bamboo stalk intact and gouge a hole at the top of each section and lay the entire bamboo stalk into a water source to fill up. This way all the sections will fill with water and can easily be transported to the fire location. You can then keep the stalk upright and take off one section at a time for boiling. Fire is sort of a double edged sword, you may need it to keep warm, cook food, and purify water but its presence may give away your location. My favorite low profile method for fire is the Dakota fire hole. Research it. It consumes far less wood, doesn’t smoke as much, and doesn’t cast as much light. Also, to keep your fire “near smokeless,” use the driest wood possible and keep the flames going. A fire smokes the most as the flames are dying down. Now that you have shelter from the elements, water to quench your thirst, and the all important fire, it’s time to eat.
In a short term survival situation food is the least important. However, in a long term scenario food is paramount. To date, I’ve consumed and or used approximately two thousand different edible and medicinal plant species and I can recognize them at all stages of their growth. I do not use this number to boast but rather use it to illustrate what our Creator has given to us that is free for the taking. Even in the dead of winter an abundance is still available if you have the knowledge. Domestic produce pales in comparison to wild food in taste and nutrition, although certainly not all edible plants taste great. I always feel my best when consuming wild plants and animals and I try to consume something from nature daily. Many people feel that one cannot entirely survive off wild food indefinitely. They claim that too many of the Native American staples have been greatly diminished due to loss of habitat. This is true to an extent and I’m deeply concerned with loss of biodiversity. However, with this loss has come a substantial influx of Old World plants and animals to fill the fields and meadow that were once forested. Many years ago I set a goal for myself which was to see if it was possible to still “live off the land.” Honestly, I doubted that one could only consume wild food and make it. But the more I continued to learn the more I realized that I was wrong. Simply put, it is my firm conviction that one can not only survive but absolutely thrive consuming only wild species when armed with the right knowledge and skill set.
As I mentioned in my introduction, almost everywhere on earth has been inhabited by natives that did just that. The downside to this is that it takes years of learning to develop this skill and knowledge and a TEOTWAWKI type scenario will make it much more difficult to live this lifestyle. Procuring wild food by far has the longest learning curve of all primitive survival skills. It involves plant identification, harvest, and preparation. It involves hunting, fishing, tracking, trapping, stalking, snaring, processing, as well as other skills. These are things that take time to learn. I don’t say this to discourage you but rather to be realistic. Shelter, specific to your locale, can be learned in a day. You can become really proficient in finding water in a slightly longer period of time. It takes a few months to become good at fire, practicing twenty minutes a day three to four days a week. And it can be nearly mastered in a year to the point where you can do it almost anywhere anytime. But to learn food, you really have to be dedicated. It’s probably best to start learning all the poisonous plants in your location to rule out what cannot be eaten. These will be a huge minority of the overall number of species in any given area. In fact, in most geographic locales it’s extremely difficult to locate more than a handful of species that can kill you. Besides, with very few exceptions, poisonous plants taste so terrible that it would be difficult to ever consume enough quantity to kill you. We have taste buds for a reason, don’t ignore them! To really learn plants you’re going to need books and some basic botanical knowledge. You can also learn a tremendous amount on the Internet. Just like survival authors, some wild food authors are better than others. I consider only a few to be authorities, as I find mistakes in almost all wild food literature. Fortunately, these aren’t mistakes that could kill us. Many authors, I think, just copy others’ work. The authors I find to be most reliable and accurate are Samuel Thayer, Thomas Elpel, Linda Runyon, Steve Brill, and John Kallas. There are many others so do your research, read reviews and make an informed decision. Outside of books specific to edible plants you’ll need field guides for your region that cover all plants not just those that are edible. A taxonomic guide for your locale is indispensable.
Once you have positive identification, research that plant for its edibility. Basic rules for foraging are: 1) never eat anything unless you’re one hundred percent sure it’s not poisonous. 2) know at which stage of growth and what part of the plant you can consume since some are edible young but become poisonous later or may have one edible part and other poisonous parts. 3) know if any special preparations such as boiling are required for that plant species. 4) when consuming any plant for the first time, only sample a small amount to be certain you’re not allergic and then increase your consumption. 5) use at minimum three references to ensure a plants edibility. 6) use latin names including genus and species for identification purposes. Start learning plants now since it takes time to become proficient. Don’t assume you’ll be able to head to your retreat with a few field manuals and then start learning these necessary skills. I say this because plants are mainly identified by dissecting and/or counting their flower parts and the edible parts may precede or succeed flowering, which would leave you out of luck. So, just because you’ve identified an edible plant it doesn’t mean it’s at the appropriate stage for consumption. It can be, but not always. If you haven’t learned edible plants in advance then at least memorize the universal edibility test to leave you some options. Type in into a search engine to learn it. I chose not to go into detail on which plants are edible simply because it would be specific to my locale and would only be good info for some. I would rather conclude with you knowing that there are tens of thousands of edible plants within the United States and if you apply yourself you and your family will never be without food. I love to gather seeds of edible plants and scatter them near where I live, as well as my family’s garden, to add to my local abundance. I may succumb to disease, I may be shot or die in an accident, I may live to a ripe old age and simply die of natural causes, but I can assure you I will never starve to death.
I’ve chosen not to cover hunting, trapping, snaring, and fishing in a primitive manner simply because it’s illegal in most areas. Most places require steel snares and traps that conform to state laws as well as fishing with a rod and reel and hunting only with certain weapons. However, it’s certainly not illegal for you to research these topics and I strongly suggest doing just that. Snares and traps work round the clock in as many locations as you place them. They will consistently outperform a hunter for this reason as he or she can only be in one location at one time and only for a limited amount of time. I personally prefer snaring over trapping because of all the supplies needed to trap. Trapping is heavy and bulky and I can carry many more snares than I can traps. Trapping can be great when you’re stationary but if you’re on foot, I wouldn’t even consider it in my opinion.
This concludes Bare Bones Survival. I hope I’ve sparked your interest in some of the things within our past that make our present possible. God is simply magnificent, and as we all scramble to make sure we purchase everything on our “list of lists” before the SHTF, it’s easy to forget that He has already given us everything we need in nature. Slow down a little and get back to nature and you’ll find peace that doesn’t exist within the rat race of American culture. When you start learning and practicing these skills, by all means use anything that will make success more of a probability. If something doesn’t work for you, don’t assume it doesn’t work altogether. You may just need to adjust something in some way. Be persistent. Don’t run out into the wilderness without gear and expect to be able to do these things overnight. Start small and work your way up. Take a trip with a fully stocked backpack and work on these skills over an extended period of time. The first time you make shelter, bring your tent, bag, and pad as a backup. Bring your water and filter when you work on finding water. Bring your flint and knife when practicing friction fire. And bring food when working on edible plants. Learn to hunt, fish, and snare using legal methods as you will learn many things that are transferable to doing the same in a primitive manner. If you’re willing to put in the time necessary to learn these things, you’ll be rewarded by always being at home in the wilderness, never to hunger or thirst or to be left out in the cold. Good Luck and God Bless you all!