Survival Dictionary

# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
There are 99 names in this directory beginning with the letter R.
Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Are” received as transmitted (origin of “Roger”), or decimal point (depending on context)

Rabbit Fever
Infectious disease of wild rabbits caused by a bacteria carrying ticks. Also called Tularemia.

Racing Spoon
Spoon for eating rations quickly whilst in the field.

Developed before and during World War II, the term RADAR was an acronym for RAdio Detection And Ranging. It is a detection system using radio waves to determine the range, angle or velocity of objects to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, missiles, vehicles, weather formations, etc.

Radar Beacon
Also called Racon is defined as a transmitter-receiver associated with a fixed navigational mark which, when triggered by a radar, automatically returns a distinctive signal which can appear on the display of the triggering radar, providing range, bearing and identification information. Each station (transmitter-receiver, radar) shall be classified by the service in which it operates permanently or temporarily.

In a survival context, radiation is transmission of body heat into space. Standing below a roof makes it feel warmer than standing in the open. The roof traps the radiated heat making the immediate environment a little warmer.

Radio Check
A proword in radio communications signifying “What is my signal strength and readability; how do you hear me?”

Radio Direction Finder (RDF)
Device for finding direction or bearing to a radio source by using two or more measurements from different locations. RDF is widely used for radio navigation with boats and aircraft.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
Identification tag that can be read from a distance.

Distinct radioactive particles coming from both natural sources and human activities. Can be very long lasting as soil or water pollutants.

Battery-powered telemetry instrument package carried into the atmosphere usually by a weather balloon to measure atmospheric parameters and transmit them by radio to a ground receiver. They measure altitude, pressure, temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, wind direction, cosmic ray readings at high altitude and Latitude/Longitude.

A colorless, odourless, naturally occurring radioactive gas formed by the breakdown or decay of radium or uranium in soil or rocks like granite. Radon is fairly soluble in water, so well water may contain radon.

Simplest of boat design and is a usually a flat bottomed structure made from wood or barrels that offer buoyancy to stay afloat. Modern rafts are made of inflatable tubes.

Rain Gauge
An instrument used to measure rainfall.

Rain Locker

A form of motorsport that uses public or private roads and not within a circuit. Participants and their co-drivers drive between set control points. They can be a race of pure speed or won by driving at predetermined times within the stages.

Small glazed ceramic or glass bowl used for cooking and serving.

Ranger Beads
String of pace count beads used during orienteering.

Ranger Blanket
A lightweight thermal blanket.

Part of a river where the current moves swiftly over rocks due to constriction of the channel or obstructions in the natural flow. Rapids are graded from I (easy and safe) to VI (difficult and dangerous). The grading can change depending on the volume and depth of water at particular times.

The process by which a climber can descend a fixed rope. Also known as abseiling.

Rappel Rack
Consists of a U-shaped frame attached to the harness, into which snap multiple bars that pivot from the other side of the frame. The rope is woven through as many of the bars as required to provide sufficient friction, thus allowing for variations in rope diameter and condition, as well as controlled rate of descent.

A coarse file used for shaping wood or other material, it consists of a generally tapered rectangular, round, or half-round sectioned bar of steel with distinct, individually cut teeth and a narrow, pointed tang at one end, to which a handle may be fitted.

Rationing Sweat
When water is at a premium and dehydration a distinct possibility, it is better to cut down on work and physical exhaustion to limit the amount of loss of body fluid through sweat. It is always advisable to ration sweat instead of rationing water.

Small rope forming a rung of a rope ladder.

A group of venomous snakes native to the Americas, hunting small animals such as birds and rodents. The loud shaking of the rattle at the end of their tails deters many predators. But, they fall prey to hawks, weasels, king snakes, etc. They rarely bite unless provoked or threatened and if treated promptly, the bites are seldom fatal.

Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Receiver”

Rapid Damage Assessment.

Read Back
A proword in radio communications signifying “Please repeat my entire transmission back to me.

Rear Wheel Drive
Rear-wheel drive typically places the engine in the front of the vehicle and the driven wheels are located at the rear, though front mid-engine, rear mid-engine and rear engine layouts are also used.

Reconnaissance. A preliminary survey of the terrain prior to committing oneself.

Recharge Area
The land area through or over which rainwater and other surface water soaks through the earth to replenish an aquifer, lake, stream, river, or marsh. Also called a watershed.

Recovery Position
An unconscious person may not be able to maintain an open airway to breathe. Also, the tongue might fold back closing the airway. Turning the person on his side, resting his head on one palm and crooking the other elbow and one leg to prevent rolling over allows the victim to continue breathing and allows any fluids to drain out of the mouth rather than be pulled back into the body.

Rectal Cranial Inversion
To have one’s head up one’s ass.

Recurve Bow
Bow that curves back against its natural bend, giving it great power when an arrow is released.

Recycling is the process of converting and/or reusing waste material to reduce pollution and usage of new material. This is particularly useful for items that have a long degradation time, like plastics.

Red Alert
A warning that there is great danger. A state of alert brought on by impending danger.

Red Star Cluster
A distress call that literally refers to the hand-launched red pyrotechnic signal flare.

Duplication of critical gear and equipment as back-up to increase safety.

A ridge of rock or sand at or near the surface of the water.

To pass a rope through a ring.

Reflex Bradycardia
A decrease in heart rate in response to the body’s homeostatic mechanisms for preventing abnormal increases in blood pressure.

Natural or intentional restocking of existing forests that have been depleted to improve the quality of life by soaking up pollution and dust from the air, rebuilding natural habitats and ecosystems, mitigating global warming, and harvesting for resources, particularly timber.

Rear Echelon Mother Fucker.

Renewable Energy
Energy collected from sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves and geothermal heat, to provide alternative electricity sources to fossil fuels.

Cold-blooded vertebrate animals that include snakes, lizards, crocodiles, turtles and tortoises. They are distinguished by having a dry scaly skin, and typically laying soft-shelled eggs on land.

Saving someone from a potentially dangerous situation is termed rescue. For survivalists, often rescue has to be attained by oneself.

Rescue Buoy
A lifesaving equipment used in water rescue. This flotation device can support the victim’s and rescuer’s weight. Also called a Torpedo Buoy, a Burnside Buoy or can. Usually made of vinyl and usually coloured red.

Rescue Eight
A variation of a figure eight, with ears or wings which prevent the rope from locking up. Frequently made of steel, rather than aluminium.

Rescue Quoit
Originating from the game of quoits where a metal, rope or rubber ring is thrown to encircle a standing peg, a rescue quoit is attached to a rope to rescue a person who has gone overboard.

A lake where water is collected and stored for future use.

Restless race of the heart before a journey. Anxiety and anticipation are coupled with excitement and fear floods the mind, creating a mixture of emotions that can lead to anxiousness or physically illness.

A proprietary brand of tool primarily for extricating oneself from a trapped car by cutting seat belts and breaking side windows.

Reverse Azimuth
The degree of compass bearing from a distant landmark to the current position. To calculate reverse azimuth, add 180° to the azimuth if it is 180° or less; subtract 180° to the azimuth if it is 180° or more.

Reverse Bungee
The secured jumper starts on the ground and the bungee cord is stretched, then released, shooting the jumper up into the air.

Reverse Osmosis
The separation process using pressure to force a solvent through a semi-permeable membrane that retains the solute on one side, allowing pure solvent to pass to the other side, by applying a pressure in excess of the osmotic pressure.

Typically refers to a handgun with a revolving cylinder containing multiple chambers and a single barrel.

Return to a more natural state, it is about finding a path back to the way our ancestors lived, worked and played. It is about living off-the-grid, regenerative agriculture, living the primitive way, using age-old skills and techniques, without dependence on the ‘modern’ world. Rewilding deepens understanding of Nature, interdependence with the Earth, relationships with other species, both plant and animal.

Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Radio-frequency interference”

Goddess of fertility, motherhood and the mountain wilds in Greek mythology.

Ricky Ray-Gun
Cheap, disposable flashlight.

Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Radio apparatus”

Reversing a capsized floating vessel.

Rip Current
Strong, localised and narrow current of water found near beaches, strongest near the surface, moving directly away from shore, cutting through lines of breaking waves. Occur where there are breaking waves, on oceans, seas and large lakes, forming when breaking waves push water towards land and finds a place to flow back to sea in a tight current called the neck of the rip, where the flow is most rapid and dissipates in what is known as the head of the rip. Rips are the leading cause of rescues by lifeguards at beaches.

Rip Tide
Formed when water flows back offshore, after the waves have piled so much water next to the sand. It is often incorrectly applied to rip currents, which are not tidal flows.

Woven fabrics using a reinforcing technique to make them tear resistant. During weaving, reinforcement threads are interwoven at regular intervals in a crosshatch pattern. Fibres used to make ripstop include cotton, silk, polyester and polypropylene, with nylon content limited to the crosshatched threads that make it tear-resistant.

River Bed
Bottom of a river, stream, pond or any body of water.

River crossing
The process of crossing a river. Depending on the depth of the river and the speed of the current, crossing a river can be a task potentially fraught with danger with little chance of recovery.

Relating to, similar to, or formed by a river.

A permanent mechanical fastener. Before being installed, a rivet consists of a smooth cylindrical shaft with a head on one end. The end opposite to the head is called the tail. On installation, the rivet is placed in a punched or drilled hole, and the tail is upset, or bucked ie deformed, so that it expands to about 1.5 times the original shaft diameter, holding the rivet in place. In other words, pounding creates a new “head” on the other end by smashing the “tail” material flatter, resulting in a rivet that is roughly a dumbbell shape. To distinguish between the two ends of the rivet, the original head is called the factory head and the deformed end is called the shop head or buck-tail. Because there is effectively a head on each end of an installed rivet, it can support tension loads (loads parallel to the axis of the shaft); however, it is much more capable of supporting shear loads (loads perpendicular to the axis of the shaft). Bolts and screws are better suited for tension applications.

A small stream or brook.

Rock Climbing
Activity in which participants climb up, down or across natural rock formations or artificial rock walls with the intention of reaching the top or the endpoint of a usually pre-defined route without falling. Due to the length and extended endurance required and because accidents are more likely to happen on descent than ascent, rock climbers do not usually climb back down the route.

Rock Fishing
The sport of fishing from rocky outcrops into the sea. It can be dangerous and claims many lives each year. It can be done with a rod, reel and line, or just a line.

Rocket Stove
An efficient cooking stove using a small diametre combustion chamber, connected to a vertical chimney, encased in an insulated chamber to prevent heat loss. The fuel achieves complete combustion before the heat reaches the cooking surface, providing more heat with lesser fuel.

Rockwell Scale
Determines hardness of metal by measuring depth of penetration under a load compared to the penetration made by a preload.

The mass of eggs contained in the ovaries of a female fish or the ripe testes of a male fish.

Originating in Australia, it is a long distance cross country navigation sport involving navigation between checkpoints within a limited time.

Used in radio communication, it means receipt of last transmission. For longer messages (in excess of 20 seconds) the transmitter might ask for a confirmation of receipt by asking “Roger so far”.

Root Cellar
Underground area to store food, provisions, water, etc at a low temperature and steady humidity. They keep food from freezing during the winter and keep food cool during the summer months to prevent spoilage. Also used for shelter.

Group of yarns, plies, fibers or strands that are twisted or braided together into a larger and stronger form. Ropes have tensile strength and so can be used for dragging and lifting. Rope is thicker and stronger than cord, line, string, and twine. Fiber rope is made from fiber, whereas wire rope is made from wire. Common natural fibres for rope are manila hemp, hemp, feathers, linen, cotton, coir, jute, straw, and sisal. Synthetic fibres in use for rope-making include polypropylene, nylon, polyesters, polyethylene, Aramids and acrylics. Some ropes are constructed of mixtures of several fibres or use co-polymer fibres. Wire rope is made of steel or other metal alloys.

Rope Bridge
A primitive type of bridge supported entirely from anchors at either end with no towers or piers. The deck follows the arc of the load-bearing cables, with additional light ropes at a higher level used as a handrail. It is restricted in its load-carrying capacity but are considered most efficient and sustainable in developing countries, especially for river crossings.

Rope Litter
An improvised stretcher made entirely from cordage, to evacuate a non-ambulatory victim.

Also known as chapati, it is an Indian unleavened flat bread made from stoneground wholemeal flour.

Person who likes to travel in a recreational vehicle or RV.

RPM-30-2-Can Do
Pronounced “R, P, M, thirty, two, can do” it is a mnemonic device used in the START triage system to sort patients into categories at a mass casualty incident. It refers to the condition of the patient - (1) Respiration - is the rate over or under 30, (2) Perfusion - is capillary refill over or under 2 seconds, and (3) Mental status - is the patient able to follow simple commands.

Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Report”

Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Repeat or report” (depending on context)


Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Signal report format” (Readability-Signal Strength-Tone)

Return To Base.

Rubber Hooey

A backpack or similar with shoulder straps, usually waterproof, that contains gear and is carried on the back.

Rule of 3s
The Rule of 3s is an indicative guideline for adventurers advising them of the fatal dangers of being deprived of certain basic elements. The times specified in the Rule of 3s is not absolute but indicative - 3 weeks without food, 3 days without water, 3 hours without shelter, 3 minutes without air and 3 seconds without hope.

Rule of Twelfths
Rule of thumb for estimating height of the tide at any time, given only the time and height of high and low water. It assumes that the flow of a tide increases smoothly to a maximum halfway between high and low tide before smoothly decreasing to zero again and that the interval between low and high tides is approximately six hours. In the first hour after low tide the water level rises by 1/12 of the range, in the second hour 2/12, 3/12 in the third and fourth hours, 2/12 in the fifth hour and 1/12 in the sixth hour. This reverses from low tide to high tide.

Running on Empty
To continue to work and be active when there is no energy left.

Water that drains or flows from land into a river.

A hard dry biscuit made by baking bread twice.

Russell’s Viper
A venomous snake found throughout India, Southeast Asia, southern China, Taiwan and Pakistan. One of the Big Four venomous snakes in India it causes the most incidents and deaths in India.

Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Receiver, radio”

Click the thumbnail below and buy the digital edition of the Dictionary:


If there is a word or phrase or term or acronym that you want included in the SURVIVAL DICTIONARY, fill out the form below and mail it to us.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)


Your Message

Enter the following characters in the box below

  1. wilderness survival kit canada

    The term “survival kit” may also refer to the larger, transportable survival kits ready by survivalists , known as “bug-out bags” (BOBs), “Individual Emergency Relocation Kits” (PERKs) or “get out of Dodge” (Good) kits, which are packed into backpacks, or even duffel bags. These kits are developed especially to be more simply carried by the person in case alternate forms of transportation are unavailable or impossible to use.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *