Backpack Camping and Woodland Survival/Skills/Cooking

Various types of equipment are used in a kitchen. One of the Wikibooks Cookbook's goals is to have an article on each, including uses, alternative equipment if you don't have the exact item, and a buying guide. The various equipment modules can be reached from the following organization pages. Pots and pans hold food, generally for cooking on a firepit. Dark gummy burned-on oil can be removed with acetone, widely available from hardware stores and in diluted form as nail polish remover.

Food is not urgently needed in survival situations, since a human can survive for several weeks without it. However, much like dehydration, hunger can bring about many consequences long before it causes death, such as:

  • Irritability and low morale
  • Weakness
  • Loss of mental clarity, such as confusion, disorientation, or poor judgment
  • Weakened immune system
  • Difficulty maintaining body temperature (see heat exhaustion and hypothermia)

It is actually rather easy to find food in most wild environments, provided one knows where to look. A basic knowledge of animal trapping, hunting, and fishing will provide meat. Equally important is a knowledge of edible plants, fungi, and lichens. One cannot always rely on the most abundant or most easily accessible type of food. To survive for long periods of time, one must maintain a balanced diet. In order to do this, one must consume a balanced variety of foods.

Finding food in the wild depends on your environment (i.e. vegetation, animals, and water sources). Many survival books promote the "Universal Edibility Test": allegedly, one can distinguish edible foods from toxic ones by a series of progressive exposures to skin and mouth prior to ingestion with waiting periods and checks for symptoms. However, many other experts including Ray Mears and John Kallas reject this method, in main part because a very small amount of some "potential foods" can cause anything from gastric distress to illness or death. An additional step called the "scratch test" is sometimes included. In this step (before mouth contact of the proposed food) one makes an abrasion on the surface of an area of skin (such as with fingernails) and then lightly rubs some of the food product on the abrasion. Foods that cause surface inflammation, discomfort, itching or eruption should be avoided.