October 30


Essential Bushcraft Survival Skills

IF you haven't taken our Essential Bushcraft Survival Skills Quiz yet, STOP!! Click below to take the quiz before reading further.

The first question was:  Select all the options below that are considered "Rules for Survival."

All 5 options are correct. Each one you selected was worth one point:


  • 3 min without air
  • 3 hours without shelter
  • 3 days without water
  • 3 weeks without food
  • 3 months without people

Everyone knows that you can't live without air, and very few people will make it more than 3 minutes without it.  Shelter is protection from the elements - this includes clothing, as well as traditional or makeshift shelter.  Water and food are also known - you can only make it so long without them.  Psychologically, you need social interaction, so few people can survive psychologically for more than 3 months without people or any social interaction.

The second question was:  Which is the most essential thing to ensure your survival?


Here are the points assigned to the answers:


  • Water: 3 points
  • Food: 0 points
  • First aid: 1 point
  • Navigation: 0 points
  • Mindset: 5 points
  • Fire: 1 point
  • Shelter: 4 points

Surprised?  Here is why the points are assigned that way:  Mindset has the most points assigned to it, because without the correct mindset, everything else is moot.  For more about mindset, check out our blog post about it!  

As described in the answer to question 1, shelter means protection from the elements, which includes clothing as well as traditional or makeshift shelter.  You cannot survive very long without any form of shelter.

Water is essential, as you cannot survive more than a few days without it, so this has the third most points assigned to it.  

Fire is important for warmth and cooking and first aid is important if you are hurt.  This question assumes that you are not injured, but if you were, of course first aid would move up the list in importance.  

A person can make it up to three weeks without any food and anyone with some wilderness survival skills can survive without a navigation aid, so these had the least points assigned to them.

Question three asked:  Which item is most important in a survival kit?


  • Container: 1 point
  • Fire striker: 5 point
  • Water purifier: 4 point
  • First aid supplies: 0 point
  • Tarp: 1 point
  • Knife: 3 point

A fire striker is essential for starting a fire, especially in damp conditions.  To learn how to start an emergency fire, check out our E-book! Since water is also very essential for survival after a few days, a water purifier is your second-most essential item in a survival kit.

Your knife is useful in so many ways - to make shavings for starting a fire, to make shelter, to prepare food or even make utensils on the go!

While a tarp is useful for making a shelter, it is not essential.  You can use materials found in nature to make shelter.  A container for your survival kit is also useful, but not essential.

First aid supplies are only useful in the event of an injury, and even then, they are only as useful as the knowledge of the user allows for.

The last question was this:  You realize that you have lost your bearings in the woods. Which of these should be the first thing you do?


  • Stop walking and set up camp immediately: 2 points
  • Follow nearest water source downstream: 0 points
  • Climb a hill to find a lookout: 0 points
  • Mark your position and navigate back to the last place that seemed familiar: 5 points

Marking your position and navigating back to the last place that seemed familiar is called the "home base" method of navigation.  Mark your trail as you backtrack. If you can't find a familiar place, return to home base and make a short trek in another direction. Repeat this process until you locate a spot that gives you your orientation. If you can't, or it begins to get dark, make camp at home base.

Looking to learn more?

  • How We Can Help:  Earthwork has helped thousands of people learn valuable skills over the last 20 years.
  • Onsite Workshops & Custom Programs:  If you're in the Western Massachusetts area, we hold onsite workshops and camps for adults and children.  We also can do custom programs for just your family, your team, or even one-on-one!
  • Expeditions:  Feeling adventurous?  We run expeditions to all parts of the world.  Watch our website to see when the next one is!
  • Online Learning:  We have various courses and informational resources online, too.  Watch for future announcements about our online Adventure Center!  In the meantime, check out our Wilderness Survival and Bushcraft Mini Course by clicking the button below: