How to Camp Like a Survival Expert


Survival Camping Expert adviceIf this is your first time planning a minimalist camping trip you can get a leg up with these tips. I’ve contacted some of my favorite survivalists and picked their brain for their expertise. If you’ve ever watched Naked and Afraid then you’ll no doubt recognize them.

If you’ve never watched Naked and Afraid you can find it on the Discovery channel and catch up on Hulu.

The experts I interviewed have years of survival experience and training. They’ve learned to survive in the wild with little to no tools or resources. They are definitely people I’d want to be stranded with if it ever came to that.

What are the top 3 things a survivalist should have for a minimalist camping trip?

Afften DeShazer suggests having a fire starter, a pot to boil water, and a knife. She points out that, if you have never used a fire starter, Vaseline soaked cotton balls will burn for hours. Use a lighter to light them and toss them into your pile of wood to help keep the fire going.

Jason Szabo suggests having a trusty blade, means of water purification and a fire starter. He gets a little more specific suggesting a machete or bushcraft blade and either a steel pot or water purification device for drinkable water. As far as fire starters go you can choose flint and steel, magnesium, or potassium permanganate.

What type of area should you look for to set up camp?

Afften: Depending on what kind of area you’re comfortable in I would recommend wooded area near river or streams for easy catching of fish, also more resources for fire and drinking water.

Jason: Shelter , use your surroundings and build shelter above ground most places. Keeps the bugs off and water from ruining your day, if you’re on the ground creepy crawlers can get on you, don’t turn yourself into a buffet.

If you’re in the wilderness without food, what should you do first?

Afften: If your alone in any area and need food, 1 of the first things you should do is start carving a spear and making traps. Look for animal tracks and make a trap on their route. Be alert and aware of surroundings. Get out there and look for anything.

Jason: If you’re in the wilderness without food, hopefully, you know how to trap and snare, build fish traps. Know your flora and fauna for the region to survive off vegetation if you aren’t well versed in hunting game.

Let’s talk water, what do people need to know about sourcing water on a camping trip?

Afften: Any water you would come in contact with you would want to boil and let cool before drinking. Unless the water is clearly moving and flowing I would not drink it. When in doubt just boil.

Jason: Source your water from streams and rivers and be sure to boil and purify it before consumption. If you’re in a rough spot dig to the water table and get yourself a quick easy fix to end dehydration.

Any advice for a first-time minimalist/survival camper?

Afften: Best advice for first-time campers be aware of surroundings. Keep your things in a safe area so you don’t lose them in the adventure.

Jason: Advice to a minimalist survivalist or wannabe survivalist, if your head is in the right place the body will follow. Know what you need to do to Macgyver materials in whatever location you’re in. Be well versed and studied in every aspect, region or continent. Go to a new place and know what you’re in for; nature will surprise you and rain on your parade at any and all times.

Jason leaves us with some sage advice:
Respect nature though it won’t respect you. Treat animals with respect, and mainly, know what you need to know to survive in the region you’re exploring before going, that way you aren’t caught by surprise.

As a newbie to the green living world I still have a lot of learning and growing to do. I hope to inspire and help others with what I learn and my experiences.

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19 Comments on "How to Camp Like a Survival Expert"

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Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle

I LOVE Naked and Afriad, so this article was really fun for me! I think I’ve watched every Naked and Afraid in all its incarnations.

Michelle Cantu

Love all these tips. Especially the drinking water. I never thought boiling water actually worked, when in need though.

Paula Schuck

What a cool interview! I’m more of a glamper, but I’ve watched enough Naked and Afraid to know… that I could never survive. LOL 😉

Vera Sweeney

I am not sure I would ever be cut out for this kind of camping!! These are great tips I think no water would be a big fear for me.


I like camping but survivalist camping is a little out there for me. good luck to those who do it!!


Camping is one thing I have no interest in doing! These are great tips if my kids decide to take me once.

Angela Harris

I have always wanted to take my kids camping, but have yet to do it. We just need to find a place that we can also take our dogs and they have cabins.

Gwendolyn Mulholland

This is great advice for those wanting to rough it out in the wild. However,I am not one of them. Give me a hotel and room service any day!

Racquel Bregg

My family camps a lot and we’ve done anything from pretty minimal to pretty much “glamping”. These are really great tips! Thanks for sharing!

Rebecca Swenor

These are all great tips for how to camp and survive from survival experts. I love the tip about the cotton ball and Vaseline. Thanks for the tips and great interview.


Great tips! Not sure if I could do it but it does sound adventurous and fun!

Emma Spellman

Can I just go camping with these guys? I would feel a lot safer. Lol. I am scared to go camping.


Camping like a survivor requires skills and I’m afraid I fall short on that area! lol I would love to go camping though with my kids and I could totally use these tips here!

Bonnie Go

I like camping but sometimes it’s hard taking 5 kiddos. These are really great tips on how to camp like an expert.


These are all very helpful tips. I am not really a camping type but I know my husband and daughter would love to go at some point.

lori felix

I’ve watched a couple of episodes of Naked and Afraid and hope that I am never in that situation. Just in case I do ever get stranded somewhere, at least I know the top 3 things to do to survive.

Carin Kilby Clark

I love the Naked & Afraid show, and I really enjoyed the interview. These are some really great tips too.


Great tips. We just visited the Yosemite National park but too bad we skipped the camp site


I haven’t been camping my whole life and I don’t think I could survive it. I have to see Naked and Afraid.