Whether we’re talking about being lost in the woods or recovering from a tornado that hit your neighborhood, you’ll most likely be dealing with very limited resources in those scenarios and, as a result, you need to be smart about how you use them. Conserving survival resources takes some planning and learning multiple, alternative skills.
Gear, supplies, tools, food, water, and even physical energy should all be conserved.
Let’s take a look at a wilderness survival situation as an example. Being a prepper, you (hopefully) have a small kit with you any time you hit the trail. The kit, of course, contains a variety of different ready-to-light tinders, such as WetFire Cubes or tinder tabs. The smart move, though, when you go to make your fire is to use natural sources of tinder if they can be easily found. Cattail fluff, seed pods, and dry grass should be used first, before tapping into your store-bought tinders. Using these types of tinder conserves your commercial tinder for when you might really need it. While hopefully it will only be a single night out in the field, one never knows what the future might hold.
Another resource to conserve are your tools. You’ll probably have to process firewood, but rather than use your knife to chop through long pieces, wedge the wood between two trees and break it using a levering action. Or, don’t worry about breaking it all and just feed it into the fire a little at a time as it burns down. Every time you use your knife, axe, or hatchet, you are going to dull the edge, even if just a little bit. Limit your uses of the blade to when you truly need to cut something.
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Your survival kit, or Bug Out Bag, probably contains items useful for constructing an emergency shelter, but before you haul those out, look for naturally occurring options for emergency shelter, such as a downed tree that forms a natural lean-to. The less work you need to do and the fewer supplies you use, the better off you’ll be. Obviously, common sense plays a role in survival. Don’t bed down in a cave unless you’re certain you’re the only thing in it.
Energy is resource, too, of course. When it comes to food gathering, you should never expend more energy than you will receive from the food you obtain. For example, it makes very little sense to burn calories by going on a lengthy track, stalk, and hunt if you aren’t certain to harvest the animal. A far better option is to concentrate on acquiring food through more passive means, such as fishing and trapping, as well as harvesting wild edibles.
If you’re truly lost, staying put is a much better option than rambling around for hours on end. Searchers will have more luck if you’re not a moving target, plus you won’t get tired and make stupid mistakes.
Get into the habit of conserving your resources on a regular basis. Doing so now will make it second nature to you when it truly counts.