Best Skills to Have for a Career in the Outdoors



If you have a career in the outdoors, learning how to utilize your elemental resources can be life-saving. Here are some highly useful skills that can help you navigate, keep you safe and equip you to be ready to face anything.


One of the most basic and useful skills to have for an outdoor career is swimming. According to the Canadian Red Cross, 60 percent of drownings occur between May and August. Swimming lessons reduce the risk of drowning by 88 percent and are available at many community centers around the country.

Hunting and fishing without tools

Reliance on tools for hunting or fishing can limit your survival skills. Gigging, or hunting with a spear, is an easy way to catch fish or small critters. Find a tree sapling, about an inch in diameter, and carve a four-pronged spear with your knife on the thickest end. The multiple prongs increase the efficiency of your spear.

Boating Skills

Knowing how to drive a watercraft will contribute greatly to your versatility as an outdoorsman. While it may seem easy enough, professional boating instruction and licensing is highly necessary, as over 6,000 boating accidents happen every year. Accidents are preventable if you’re equipped with the knowledge to evaluate the capabilities and limits of your watercraft. Obtaining a boater’s license is easy and available to do online at

Building a fire without matches

There is the traditional method of starting a fire with a flint, when you find yourself without matches or a lighter. Magnesium flints are easy to transport and can be purchased at outdoor recreation stores. Iron pyrite is a natural element that can be found and used to spark a fire, by striking two pieces against each other. Cloth, dry moss or leaf debris can serve as initial tinder before adding smaller twigs and, eventually, larger pieces of wood. A fire can also be achieved using a battery: short circuit the battery by connecting the positive and negative ends with a metallic material (e.g. gum wrapper, staple) it will create a spark.

Building a shelter

In colder weather, reduce the risk of catching hypothermia by constructing a shelter. Find a tree with low sweeping branches as your base. Gather, stack and weave additional branches and fill the gaps with insulating moss and leaves. To keep yourself from raw exposure to the cold ground, create a six inch layer of moss and leaf insulation to lie on.

Finding/Collecting Clean Water

One of the most valuable skills you can have is knowing how to identify clean sources of water and judge whether or not purification is possible. Boiling is the best option to purify any ground water– puddles or streams– you might come across. Though, when boiling is not an options, it is important to know which sources of water are safest for consumption. The most reliable sources of water are rain, snow and dew.

Navigation by day and night

A point of reference for nighttime navigation is the well-known North Star, also referred to as Polaris. You can locate Polaris in the night sky, at the end of The Little Dipper’s handle. If you’re facing Polaris, you are facing true North. Daytime navigation is also simple, as you can use the position of the Sun to get your bearings. Both the Sun and the Moon rise in the east and set in the west.