Survivalist Tips Campers and Hikers Should Know

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What would you do if you found yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere? You may not need the full survalist skillset for a weekend of camping or hiking, but knowing what to do if things go wrong will prepare you for almost any situation.

How to Start a Fire with a Magnifying Glass

Carry a small magnifying glass with you at all times, preferably in a case to protect it from cracking. To start a fire, make a nest (think small and dry) that can catch fire easily. Look for bark, twigs, woodchips and leaves. When you're ready, shine light through the glass onto the nest and you should begin seeing smoke quickly.

More: 5 Simple Steps to Campfire Safety

Always Have Paracord

Nylon cord is cheap, easy to find and may already be around your house. So why purchase the more expensive paracord?

"Paracord gives you many more options for improvising in a survival situation," says David Polyczynski of

In strength alone it's valuable, as paracord has a breaking strength of 550 pounds. Its outer shell has seven internal yarn strings, which allow it to be effective even when frayed. With paracord, you can tie your tarp to a tree for shelter, make a fishing net, make a sling, pull someone up from the side of a hill, and more.

How to Signal for Help

If you're lost, or hurt and alone, signaling is a valuable skill to have. While it sounds simple enough, there are a few ways you can be most effective. Use a mirror to bounce light into the distance, put on clothing with bright fabric, or even use a camera flash to get the attention of other hikers or campers.

More: 9 Survival Guides for the Outdoors