Updated: 12/6/2023
Survival area: Pacific Northwest Region (Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, and Northwest Canada). Basic and emergency survival skills are provided below:
Disclaimer: SOME OF THE INFORMATION COULD BE WRONG. Be extremely careful as to what you are eating and obviously don’t believe everything you hear and/or read. I am in no way, shape, or form responsible for injury and/or death. Eat at your own risk.
Plant resources website where some of the information was obtained. Some info says certain plant parts are edible, whereas some of the Falcon Guides books say they are not. Please be extremely cautious. MORE PLANTS THAN REALIZED HAVE CONFLICTING INFORMATION. CAUTION WARNED.
Some websites used to gather information:

Edible Plant List:
Dangerous Edible and Toxic Plant List:
The Universal Edibility Test can be used to test whether plants (parts of plants) are edible or not. Has drawbacks:

Psychology – Determination to live. If you are feeling suicidal, reassess the situation. YOU MATTER. YOU ARE LOVED. WE ARE ALL EQUAL. GOD LOVES YOU AND CREATED YOU FOR A REASON. STEP AT A TIME IF YOU ARE FEELING OVERWHELMED.

rule of threes with added info (generally speaking)

  1. 3 minutes without air
  2. 3 hours without shelter
  3. 3 days without water. (Water should be boiled to kill pathogens unless you are desperate. Other purification techniques are available if you cannot boil water. Also, flowing water is better than stagnant water.)
  4. 30 days without food. (If you are in doubt and you can wait, it’s probably best not to eat the food.)

Hunting Animals (in addition to plants for a well-balanced diet)

Lots of archeologists agree small game provided more meals than big game; animals such as rabbits, squirrel, etc. as opposed to large game. Be careful of rabies. (Use gloves when dressing racoons, for example, and use anti-microbacterial soap after cooking meat well-done.) Some hunting methods include snares to catch animals, box traps to examine animals, and so forth.

Put the animal out quickly so it doesn’t suffer. Be humane. Put yourself in the animal’s shoes.

What the body needs

Calories are what the body uses to operate. Carbohydrates, protein, and fat are required by your body. Water, minerals, and vitamins are also needed (however, they do not contain calories). Plants have many vitamins. Meats are high in protein and have fat. Both help to achieve a well-balanced diet. Chew food good and drink water while eating. Stress, anxiety, running on adrenaline, eating junk food, and so forth is to be avoided as much as possible. Use stress in a good way. What the enemy meant for evil, use for good.

Note: Honey and dextrose (it’s almost identical to sugar) is good for calories. If dextrose is unavailable, cocoa, sugar, or a similar soluble sugar sweetener may help.

Protecting your teeth

Pine tree bark root extract can help fillings and/or strengthen teeth.

Charcoal tooth paste can be made by grinding up charcoal into a fine powder (make sure it’s finely crushed) then adding water. You can add mint leaves as well. Note: use a NON-TOXIC tree branch, cut out bark to expose softer wood, and make bristle to replicate a tooth brush.

Activated charcoal for poisoning

1. Calcium Chloride (or zinc chloride, or lemon juice)

2. Charcoal

Top survival items generally speaking (general rule of thumb: the more you know, the less you need)

Proper Clothing – To stay warm, wear multiple or more loose layers with a waterproof outer layer. Wet cotton is not good for insulating but can be used to stay cool. Wool is one of the warmer materials (opposite of cotton), and is supposedly a water-repellant, but not water resistant.

Good shoes, boots, and socks – Blisters on feet can be extremely problematic.

Sweating will dehydrate the body. Avoid getting too warm in the winter.

Knife – Different knives are for different needs as with other survival information. A full tang design is one solid piece (folding knives can close while using them and hurt you). High carbon steel, such as 1095/01, or a steel like 5160 can be used as a striker for true flint (fire starting). Break twigs and/or use only when needed to avoid dulling the knife.

Combustion source (for fire) Stainless steel blade or coated blade will not work for a friction fire, or at least will be harder to use. Use the back of the knife (spine) to strike flint. Certain hard types of rocks can be used as flint. Ferrocerium rod works for usually 8,000 to 12,000 strikes “on average.”

Cover – Space blanket, trash bags, purchased cover, get creative, etc.

Container (for water and other uses) – Metal container is hard to replicate out in the forest (as are other items). Lots of containers cannot be boiled (will melt and/or cause other problems). Stainless steel has high melting temperature. Carved wooden bowl (non-toxic wood) with heated up rocks can be used to boil water. Mudhole filled with water and hot rocks can be used to heat up water. CAREFUL: HOT ROCKS THAT ARE WET CAN EXPLODE.

Cordage – Paracord with inner strands, such as para 550 cord, or fishing line, dental floss, branch vines, etc.

Winter Survival

Bivy sack can be a minimalist shelter.

Again, wool is warm. Wool blankets can have different ratings. Wool clothes may be suitable. Cotton is the opposite, especially when wet. Multiple or more loose layers with a waterproof outer-layer may keep you warm. Avoid sweating.

Eating snow lowers body temperature (and isn’t boiled or purified which can be dangerous). Rain water can be dangerous as well.

Avoid getting wet.

Drink water and stay a little bit overly hydrated.

Emptying your bladder helps you stay warm easier.

If eating before bed, be aware of (GERD and/or ACID REFLUX). Does it help you if low on food?

As with survival in general, is it worth the energy to do something? Are you burning more energy getting food than the energy food is providing. Kind of similar to busy work.

For heat, only make a snow cave only as big as needed in order to limit extra space.

Made a gutter around your bed so any water melting doesn’t get you wet. Have a low area for water to drain.

Have at least one hole for ventilation, especially to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

Mittens are supposedly warmer than gloves, but gloves allow for more flexibility. Pros vs. cons.

It’s a myth to breathe into your hands. Putting cayenne peppers into your gloves is also a myth. Using alcohol to keep you warm is a myth as well.

Using headwear to protect your head can keep overall body warm. Also, it’s IMPORTANT to keep neck, wrists, etc., warm.

Trench foot occurs when someone’s feet are wet for too long. Boots with waterproofing may help. Animal fat or petroleum jelly can be used for waterproofing. In order to dry boots and socks out, switch socks and use a warm rock in boots to help dry them out.

Determine which direction is north (day-time):

Note: Instructions may not be exact

4 sticks total and applies to the morning. Is afternoon just the opposite?

1. Plant big stick in ground (This is east)

2. Place smaller stick at the tip where the shadow is at (This is west)

3. Allow 10 to 15 minutes for shadow to move

4. Put another 2 sticks where the shadow is at. The three aligned sticks point towards west.

5. In summary:

East Big stick

West 1st stick

West 2nd stick

West 3rd stick

Simple diagram:

Shadow Stick Compass
Shadow Stick Compass

Never (North) -> Eat (East) -> Soggy (South) -> Wheaties (West)

Determine north at night (unless the stars start falling out of the sky – Revelation 6:13)

Two Sticks At Night Method

1) Place a stick in the ground so that it stands vertically.

2) Place a second taller stick just beyond the first stick.

3) Now bend down behind the first stick and line up your eye so that a

straight line could be drawn (in your mind) from your eye, to the top of both sticks, and then finally to a star in the night sky.

4) Be patient and watch the star for a few minutes…

If the star moves up, you are facing east; if it moves down, you are facing west; if it moves right, you are facing south; if it moves left, you are facing north.


Two sticks compass: N + S


Water (can approximately live up to 3 days without water)

1. Lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, and low-lying areas (try to avoid stagnant water)

2. Birds and bees help you find water?

3. Rain (mixed reviews on drinkability – may depend on factors)

4. Dig hole

5. Morning dew use bandana. Saturate cloth, bandana, etc. with dew from plants and/or grass

6. Sock in wet mud or dirt. Squeeze for water?

7. Solar still

8. Snow (eating raw snow can lower body temperature) and again, can be dangerous.

Purifying Water (Avoid purifying water sitting in ponds and puddles)

1. Put hot rocks (WET ROCKS MAY EXPLODE UPON HEATING) into something like a wooden bowl (non-toxic wood?)

2. Put hot rocks into a puddle.

3. Use water purification tablets, drops, or something like a water filtration system – for example, “LifeStraw.” Frozen water inside membrane ruins them?

4. Disinfect water using household bleach, if you can’t boil water.


Emergency disinfection of drinking water:

Volume of Water Amount | 6% Bleach to Add | Amount of 8.25% Bleach to Add

1 gallon | 8 drops | 6 drops

2 gallons | 16 drops (1/4 tsp) | 12 drops (1/8 teaspoon)

4 gallons | 1/3 teaspoon | 1/4 teaspoon

8 gallons | 2/3 teaspoon | 1/2 teaspoon

How can chlorine be used to purify water?

To disinfect water, add one part of the chlorine solution to each 100 parts of water you are treating. This is about the same as adding 1 pint (16 ounces) of the chlorine solution to 12.5 gallons of water.

5. Use a water bottle with open lid (MAY RELEASE PLASTIC TOXINS)? Don’t get too close to fire or plastic may obviously melt. Will melt somewhat anyways.

6. Let the sun hit a plastic bag and get to around 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fire Starting

KEEP IN MIND: Wet tinder and kindle is hard to start even with flammable liquids and/or material.

Try to keep small amount of dry tinder, or look under trees and/or dry places

  • Parts of socks, dryer lint jean pockets, insulation, etc.
  • Tampons
  • Cotton balls with Vaseline (petroleum jelly)
  • Purchased fire-starter
  • Rub 9V battery (maybe other batteries work as well) in steel wool
  • Bow-drill method using wood such dry yucca stalks, cottonwood, cedar, aspen, and basswood (hard vs. softwood helps generate friction)
  • Potassium Permanganate mixed with glycerin or anti-freeze (car radiator)
  • Purchased ferrocerium rod scrape flint onto tinder at 45 degree angle. Techniques vary including to push and pull at the same time.
  • Fire plow method (hard vs. softwood helps generate friction)
  • Magnifying glass
  • Form or sculpt an ice ball with the open end of a pipe or something similar to create magnifying glass.
  • Hit metal handle against hard rocks like flint with leaf sitting on top or any other variation that works for you.
  • Hit two rocks (hard rocks like flint) together over tinder to start a fire
  • Connect two ends of jumper cables to the ends of sharpened lead pencils or just touch ends to create sparks over tinder, wool, etc.
  • Orange contains citrus oils (Warning: flammable)
  • Reflect shiny surface of aluminum can or foil? Note: you can use chocolate, tooth paste, etc., to create a shiny surface. For example, simply rub some chocolate on the bottom of an aluminum can, then polish it with paper towel or cloth until it is shiny. Now, you can use it as a reflective tool to aim a beam of sunlight at your tinder. Soon, the tinder will catch fire.
  • Create a duct tape ball. Cut up strips of duct tape and make a ball.
  • Oil and fat in chips are flammable.
  • Use a gum wrapper and a battery by touching both sides of the gum wrapper to the ends of the battery.
  • Angle a condom filled with water over tinder.
  • Angle an urine filled bag over tinder like a magnifying glass.
  • Use a water bottle like a magnifying glass.
  • A similar concept is to fill a broken-off light-bulb with water and use like magnifying glass.
  • Use Fresnel lens on T.V. and angle over tinder like a magnifying glass.
  • Remove top of lens and take out reflective cone that a light bulb sits on. Place a bit of dried grass, tinder, etc., where bulb would sit, then place cone in the direct sunlight. The sunlight will cause the tinder to burn.
  • An empty lighter may seem useless, but you can still use one to start a fire. Slowly grind the wheel of the lighter against something like a sheet of paper. After a minute or two, you’ll accumulate a small pile of flint dust. Now put some tinder on the dust, then use the lighter to throw a spark at it.
  • Can make char cloth (helps to ignite a fire easily with a lower-burning temperature) by putting cut up pieces of cloth into a tin can (such as an Altoids can). Put a hole or multiple holes in the tin can and throw on a fire. Heat it up. Smoke should come out of holes. Flip over. Smoke should come out of the holes. If cloth is undercooked and portions are not black, cook more. If overcooked and looks black and brittle, start over as it can disintegrate. Ideal cloth is completely light black and is still somewhat soft.

Using gasoline and/or other flammable container. WARNING: Fire can travel back into gasoline or flammable container and explode.

Two commonly-made foods (Hardtack and Pemmican) that can last a long time (in addition to certain plants):

Hardtack (on average 75-100 calories all from the flour, and about 16 grams of carbohydrates)

Basically made of three things:

1. Flour
2. Water
3. Salt

Holes poked into bread.

Pemmican (on average 293 calories, little carbs, roughly 79 percent fat (26g) and 20 percent protein (15g))

Basically made of three things:

1. Dried up, grounded into powder meat

2. Melted fat

3. Berries, cranberries, currants, etc.

Sculpted or molded into a ball

Edible List:

Dangerous Edible and Toxic List:

Berries (general rule of thumb)

White, green, and yellow berries are rarely edible

90% of blue, black, and purple berries are edible

99% of drupelet fruits (raspberries, blackberries, etc.) are edible

Half of red berries are edible


Acorns (all oak trees produce acorns? Sharp pointed leaves have more tannic acid?) – Food high in protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Solid nutmeat found inside the shell. Contains tannic acid but can be washed away. Tannic acid has benefits but also too much is bad.

Inner-layer of some trees are edible. Others toxic?

Pine nuts can be edible.

Some pine needles contain vitamin C (avoid ponderosa pine needles – toxic).

Maple sap and seeds (certain maple trees are edible, such as Rocky Mountain maple trees, whereas others can be toxic?)

Birch trees – inner-bark edible (sap needs to be diluted. Mildy toxic?)

Fir – Fir needles growing from two sides (product flat shape). Erect cones. Pine and spruce cones dangle down. Pine nuts edible? Inner-cambium layer edible? Pine needles for vitamin C?

Ginseng – Helps to overcome fatigue and provide energy among other uses.

Grapes, wine, and grapeseed extract have lots of uses.

Maple Trees (not all are edible) – Rocky mountain maple in Idaho appears edible. Both sap and seeds – little helicopters that spin their way down.

Ponderosa pine – Inner-cambium layer is edible (are pine needles toxic to EAT?).

Poplars, Balsam poplar, aspen, cottonwood – Inner bark (cambium), edible raw or cooked.

Pine nuts – Eat pine nuts? Pine needles are high in vitamin C. (However, are there toxins in the western ponderosa pine and southeastern loblolly pine?)

Spruce – Sharp, square needles. Spruce needles are in a spiral pattern. Spring shoots are edible. Steep needles for vitamin C. Inner bark dried to create flour.

Red Alder – Scrape inner bark and combine with flour.

Yew – Karok and mendocino ate ripe red fruit but seed and leaves potentially FATAL. DANGEROUS PLANT.

Poisonous Trees

Ponderosa pine (again, inner layer bark, cambium layer, is edible. Are pine needles toxic to EAT?)

Black Locust


Horse Chestnut

Poisonous sumac

Mountain Laurel




Hickory – Multichambered inner nutshell. TOXIC poisonous buckeyes have a solid nutmeat (like an almond).

Hazelnut – Edible

Walnut – Looks like green tennis balls. They become very dark brown as they lie on the ground throughout autumn.

Beech – MAY be poisonous to people. Look for small three-sided seed falling out of prickly husk.

Chestnut – Needle-covered tuple that can hold one to seven nuts. CAREFUL of the poisonous HORSECHESTNUTS.

Insects (probably always better cooked, then raw)

Ants – Edible

Beetles – Edible

Cicadas – Most, if not all cicadas, are edible

Crickets and Grasshoppers – Most edible? Remove heads and small legs

Earth worms – Edible but better cooked and probably purged

Giant water bugs – Not poisonous to humans but they appear to inject venom or poison into their prey.

June bugs – Appear edible

Larvae – Edible

Maggots – Appear edible cooked

Pill Bugs, rollie pollies, etc. – Edible

Stinkbugs – Edible

Bugs with crunchy shells are most parasitic?

You should stay away from:

  • Bright colors including red, orange, yellow, and blue.
  • Bugs that bite and/or sting.
  • Bugs that are excessively hairy.

Centipedes – Avoid

Some but not all caterpillars are edible. At least Wooly Bear Caterpillars that are brown and black or so it appears. They are high in protein and healthy fats, have vital amounts of iron and calcium, and are low in carbohydrates. Mopane caterpillar appears to be edible as well. Other’s can be dangerous.

Some DANGEROUS caterpillars:

A fluffy caterpillar is dangerous

pull caterpillar (Megalopyge opercularis) hidden toxic spines under fur

Puss caterpillar.

Spiny oak slug caterpillar.

Hickory tussock caterpillar.

Buck moth caterpillar.

Saddleback caterpillar.

Io moth caterpillar.

Slugs (not all appear edible) – In case they are full of toxic food, put the slugs in a container for a few days with some damp cornmeal or moist lettuce. (Always try to get rid of toxins before cooking.)

Snails (not all appear edible) – Put the snails in a container for a few days with some damp cornmeal or moist lettuce. (Always try to get rid of toxins before cooking.)

Termites – Open a rotten log. High in A and vitamin C. Termites have high calorie and protein count of any bug. Will go scurrying for cover anytime you damage the wood they reside in. Roast them in a pan.