Wilderness Survival Rules of 3

Wilderness Survival Rules of 3

The Survival Rule of 3’s in its simplest form is 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food. It is a way for people to remember how the elements of survival should be prioritized. The rule of three’s is also useful to consider when designing and packing survival kits.

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The rule of 3 is true in certain circumstances. The use of the number three is more to do with ease of remembering the rules than being 100% factual 100% of the time.

As I cover the rules in greater detail you will see that they are more of a guideline rather than a hard and fast rule.

When we stop breathing, after 3 to 4 minutes the brain starts to die, so on average, this rule is true.

There are several reasons that we would be deprived of oxygen some of which are, choking, water submersion, confined spaces, building fires, chemical or gas leaks, etc.

Whatever the reason you can not breathe, the method for survival remains the same.

It is possible to hold your breath for extended periods but this takes practice and preparation and in a true survival situation you are probably going to be taken off guard and without lungs full of air.

Being able to survive for only three hours without shelter normally applies to extreme conditions.

That being said it is possible to die of exposure in a short time if you are soaking wet even in a mild climate. The two environmental extremes that run the greatest risk of killing you in three hours are the cold and the heat. Storms can also be grouped into this rule since rain and wind, even if not cold, can suck the heat right out of you.

In extreme heat, you could be dead by sundown but on average a person can live for roughly three days without consuming water.

The problem is that for most of us, going without water for only a day will cause headaches, nausea, and fatigue. The truth is that anyone reading this would be lucky to still be standing after even two days without water.

This is why water is so critical to our survival.

Again this is an average estimate based upon how the average person’s body handles not getting enough calories. Much like with water, not eating will start to have severe negative effects well before death takes us. In a world where we rarely skip a meal going a full three weeks without consuming, any calories are something that our bodies are not up to doing.

Michael is a survivalist, traditional bowhunter, student of traditional and primitive skills, as well as a veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces. He is also a husband and father and makes his home in British Columbia, Canada. Read his full interview here. Read more of Michael’s articles.

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Wilderness Survival Rules of 3

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