Surviving in the wilderness requires surmounting numerous obstacles. Do you know the terrain and can you handle it? Have you done adequate planning for survival foods? Can your body withstand the physical challenge? Will you face animals, illnesses, or other forms of prey?
All of these questions are essential items to consider. And all of the obstacles they imply, while not always manageable, can certainly be controlled to some extent. You can consult maps and visuals to familiarize yourself with the terrain. You can compile a long term food storage list to insure sufficient supplies. You can also train yourself rigorously for the challenge. You can also bring medications and a good first aid kit or weapons to ward off an attack.
But perhaps the biggest obstacle posed by the wilderness is the one that humans are least capable of controlling: climate. While we can always put on more layers of clothing to fight the cold or escape uphill from a flooding river, we cannot turn a hailstorm into a drizzle or a heat wave into a cool breeze. No matter how prepared we are in every other regard, we simply can never insure a moderation of temperature, precipitation, and unforeseen weather events.
We can’t control the weather while in the wilderness but we can still take steps to do the next best thing – anticipate it. Here are a few tips to help you in this task:
1. Carry a barometer. There are several instruments you can carry to gauge weather, but none is more simple or helpful than a basic barometer. If the pressure indicator quickly changes, you’ll know without a doubt that something is happening in the air.
2. Keep your eyes up. It goes without saying that you should always scan the horizon for storm clouds and other impending weather patterns. But, while doing so, you can also look at trees, hillsides, and rivers in the distance, if possible. One of the benefits of the wilderness is its ability to provide distant vistas. These vistas can give you a look into your climactic future.
3. Watch the wildlife. As you probably know, animals are much better programmed to sense impending weather changes than are humans. This means that unusual animal activity – often most clearly displayed by flight patterns of birds in the sky – can alert you to an encroaching weather pattern.
4. Monitor your fluid intake. Sometimes the temperature (or the humidity) rises or drops slowly, making it difficult to quickly discern the change. But your body will react faster than your mind in such a situation as well as in others. For this reason, drinking whenever you’re thirsty and monitoring your consumption can go a long ways towards giving you an idea of changing factors at play.
These tips can hopefully help you better anticipate a change in weather before it hits. Doing so can give you time to prepare yourself for a dangerous situation, either by changing locations, setting up camp, or increasing your nutrient intake. Ultimately, while we can’t make bad weather go away, we are still in control of our bodies and – with some foresight – we can better manage how we respond to it.
Thanks “J “ for an excellent guest post.
Staying above the water line!