Declan Birmingham is a proud Eagle Scout who loves to spend time in the great outdoors. This time of year is always extra special to Declan Birmingham because there are so many unique opportunities to go camping. Knowing that countless Americans will be heading out to campsites this summer, Declan Birmingham thought he could use his Eagle Scout background to discuss some of the wildlife skills people should try to learn to up their camping game. While Declan Birmingham understands that many camping resorts offer charming accommodations, something is rewarding about obtaining basic survival skills.
Every great camping trip involves some time around the fire. Declan Birmingham recommends anyone camping for a few nights to learn how to build a fire from scratch. Fire-making is not something that can be done by pure luck. It’s all about understanding the proper technique to gather a spark, which can lead to a flame. Before heading out on a camping excursion, Declan Birmingham recommends gathering some dry tinder from the backyard or a nearby park and watching countless tutorial videos on fire making. Preaching safety first, Declan Birmingham recommends practicing away from the house with a hose or fire extinguisher nearby. While people will typically bring multiple lighters with them on a camping excursion, Declan Birmingham believes campers can feel much more comfortable on their trip knowing they can rely on their fire-making skills, if need be.
One of the most dangerous elements of camping is getting lost in the woods. If anyone is camping in a somewhat remote location, they should not rely on their cell phones to get them back to camp. Service can be extremely spotty in the wilderness. Declan Birmingham recommends utilizing a compass whenever traveling away from the camp’s base. This will allow campers the information they need to retrace their steps and head back toward camp.
Another danger for campers is coming into contact with or consuming dangerous plants. Declan Birmingham believes at a minimum, all campers should be able to identify what poison ivy looks like. Understanding how to identify indigenous plants can be difficult, so campers should look to research the plant life they will come into contact with near a campsite. Knowing what dangerous plant life looks like can help a camper avoid issues like an itchy rash, gastrointestinal problems, and even bouts of dehydration.
Declan Birmingham notes the first thing any camper heading out into nature will do when they arrive is build their shelter. Experienced campers may try to rough it without a trailer and only have a tent at the ready. If the tent backfires, they may be forced to build a basic shelter for the night. Declan Birmingham recommends always having a tarp in addition to a tent on every camping trip. A basic shelter can be created with a tarp, leaves, pine needles, and anything else a person can find. There are so many incredible videos online that show how survivalists use their creativity and know-how to build quick shelters from scratch.
The shelter is so important because it protects a camper from wildlife and helps keep them warm. It’s always better to have too many layers than too few while camping. Temperatures can drop at a significant rate overnight. Knowing how to insulate oneself is pivotal. This becomes much more important for those looking to camp during the winter months. Likewise, when looking to build a fire for warmth, it will grow more difficult when the weather isn’t cooperating. All campers should know that the best wood to start a fire is dry and old. When the elements are far from ideal, the best firewood is often on dead lower branches of more extensive, older trees.
While the goal is to never need to utilize survival skills on a camping trip, there’s a lot of value in learning basic survival skills. It’s incredibly empowering to know that a person can keep themselves safe, along with the people they care about, if a situation goes awry. Declan Birmingham notes that the Boy Scouts instilled a desire to be prepared for anything. v, so learning basic wildlife skills can help anyone stay calm in a tricky, unexpected situation.