Outdoor enthusiasts will go out all year long, braving harsh weather for the perfect hiking experience. Though most people tend to venture out in the spring and summer, these times of year can be equally dangerous in the colder seasons. To be out in the woods alone means that there is a risk of starvation, dehydration, illness and exposure to extreme temperatures, so it is important to be prepared.
One of the most important things to do when going on a hike is to tell people where you are going. This will help to receive a speedier rescue if lost, as it will most likely be reported quickly. In addition, search crews will be able to determine a more accurate location for the lost hiker. This is the first tip that any survival guide will explain. But what happens if someone is already lost and is trying to survive? Check out and memorize these survival tips to ensure wilderness safety.
9. Ability to Navigate
The ability to navigate is extremely important in the wilderness. This is why having navigation tools handy, such as a compass, is always a good idea. If there is no compass around though, hikers should be able to navigate using the natural world around them. For instance, keeping to trails, or knowing where they are, or following rivers can help hikers avoid becoming lost. Reading the stars is also a highly important ability to possess. And it’s not at all difficult. As naturalnavigator.com explains, “All we need do is find a star that is directly above the place we need to get to and it will point exactly the right direction for us, from quarter of the globe away.” Check out more here.
8. Stay Calm and Visible
First, it is important to remain calm. When it is apparent you are lost (especially if it is getting darker), it is extremely easy to start panicking, but this only makes a situation worse. The very instant that someone becomes lost, they should stop what they doing, sit down to conserve energy, and think about their situation. They should look at and understand their surroundings, and make a plan for survival. This could include making a shelter, gathering materials and so on.
This is also when remaining visible to potential rescuers becomes important. Making noise, such as banging around, yelling or blowing a whistle, and wearing bright clothing helps with this. Lighting a signal fire can also help with rescue.
7. Pack Plenty of Resources
Before deciding to go out in the woods, especially if alone, a list of materials to bring is important. A compass, map, pocket knife, matches, a lighter, food and water should all be on this list. A first aid kit can also come in handy. Also make sure to wear or bring clothing or different scenarios, not just the weather it currently is.
If someone is stuck outside all night, a warm sweater or rain jacket could save their life. Never discard anything brought on the trip either. Keep everything in case of a specific situation down the road. If these items are not available, look for natural items to use in place of them, such as food and water and landmarks for navigation.
6. Build A Fire
Building a large fire can help with rescue attempts, as well as keep you warm and even cook food. If it is clear that you are lost, a fire should be made. Start by finding plenty of the driest wood possible so that it can be kept going for many hours with minimal effort.
It should be started when it is not yet needed, so that it is already available when it is needed. Campers are recommended to gather three times the amount of wood they think they’ll need, to make sure there’s enough. Fires can also be useful in keeping calm and safe and even fending off wild animals.
5. Make Your Position Clear
This means that getting oriented is the top priority when lost. This may not always be entirely possible, but it is possible to find a general location. For instance, knowing directions (that the sun rises in the East and sets in the West) can be incredibly helpful. Then, it is possible to find all directions, North, South, East and West.
Once this is known, make a signal to alert potential rescuers. One important signal to use is to make a pile of three items in a triangular shape (such as rocks). This is a symbol for distress that is widely known and recognized.
5. Stay In One Place
This tip is widely known, but not always followed. When lost it is easy to start panicking and attempt to find the way back. The further one goes from the original spot though, the harder it is to be found, especially if directions are unclear and there is no path. Doing so also expends valuable energy that may be needed down the road.
Although it is hard to admit defeat and pin hopes on rescuers alone, it makes the situation easier if the lost person stays in one place. If the hiker is not alone, never separate from the other person(s). Stay put and together. If it is sunny sit in the shade, and never remove any clothing, but remember to stay visible.
3. Find Enough Food
When lost, one of the most important things to do is to ensure there is enough food. Not eating enough can lead to fatigue and even delirium, which makes a bad situation worse. Or course, if there is enough packed food, ration it out to last multiple days.
Even if this food is available though, outdoor enthusiasts should also research and know edible plants in the area. Other than plants and berries, bugs and eggs can be good sources of protein (this is not the time to find certain foods gross). This being said, make sure that the foods are edible and not poisonous in any way. If not sure, avoid it. It is better to be hungry than sick, especially since people can live for weeks without food.
2. Find Water
Even more important than food, water is the key to survival in any situation. As people can only last 3 days without water, finding a clean source should be top priority. In fact, it is important to find it on day one. Find a stream or spring; although it is hard to find one by searching, there are clues around.
For instance, birds tend to fly to these areas of fresh water, so follow them. Although streams can cause sickness, it is better than dying from dehydration. If water is desperately needed, dew can be found on leaves and clothing.
1. Make a Shelter
As shelter is absolutely necessary when lost in the woods. It is a means of protection from animals and the weather. It can protect one from heatstroke and provide some warmth. Before heading out, it is important to familiarize oneself with the resources needed for a shelter. In the woods, there are a lot of these. For instance, a fallen tree can be used to build an A-shaped shelter, either that or a leaning tree.
Gather branches with leaves on them to put around the frame. In the winter, a snow cave can be dug out to provide a large amount of insulation. In addition, a regular cave can be great for protection; just make sure there are no animals in it. While doing this however, also ensure that rescuers can still find you, and stay put!
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