Getting lost in the woods is scary, but armed with these survival tips, you can stay focused and determined to get back home safely!
Lost in the Woods: How to Survive and Get Back to Safety
- Robert Moor
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster
- Edition no. 0 (07/04/2017)
Getting lost in the wilderness while camping or hiking is one of the most common reasons people learn survival skills, even if they don’t think of themselves as survivalists. And if you like to camp, hike, or hunt, wilderness survival skills are essential indeed, even if the world as we know it doesn’t end.
Preparation is a must in any survival situation or before you find yourself caught in one including when out camping in the woods. So here are some tips for you to take note and have handy if you ever get lost in the woods:
1. Notify Some People of Your Hike
Make sure you let at least three people know where you’re going, how long you plan to be away, and your expected time of return. Include a local authority or camp guide in the list of persons to notify and provide them with your contact details.
2. Bring a Basic Survival Kit
You can prepare or plan your survival kit depending on the situation and the weather, but here are some of the items in a basic survival kit:
- Butane lighter
- Metal matches
- String or cordage
- Plastic bag
You can also learn how to build your own survival kit here and stay prepared in situations like this.
Survival Kit Definition: A kit or package of all essential emergency tools and supplies to help in survival. Survival kits can vary depending on needs, activity, and possible situations to be encountered.
3. Bring Your Cellphone
While some areas may have poor signal, you can always go to higher grounds to find a better reception. Your cellphone may even prove useful not just in communication.
Besides, you’ll want to take pictures along your hike. Don’t forget to bring a power bank and make sure they are both protected, too.
4. Take a GPS Unit, Map, and Basic Know-How in Tracking
If you can bring one, a GPS unit will be fantastic so your position will be easily identified. Yet, a GPS can also fail so make sure you have a backup — one you can use even without technology.
Our ancestors identified their location and destination by looking at the position of trees, mountains, rivers, the stars, and the sun. A map, on the other hand, will also help you identify your location.
5. Mark Your Trail
As soon as you start your journey, keep in mind anybody can get lost in the woods, so go on a survival and preparedness mood at the onset. With that in mind, be conscious of your surroundings and start marking your trail.
You can break some tree branches or tie flaggings in the branches so you can find your way back using these markings. You can also use a stick to draw a line along the way.
When You Get Lost in the Woods
Even some of the best hikers may become too lenient and get lost in the woods, especially in unfamiliar areas. This is why whether you’re a frequent hiker or out on your first solo adventure, make sure you follow these survival tips before you get lost in the woods
1. Don’t Panic
Panicking when you’re lost in the woods makes you look like a chicken running around with its head chopped off. It should be the last thing you should get into given the situation.
With that in mind, the next tip should be your perfect response.
When you’re in a panic, your brain stops working, too. Thus, fear sets in and you can’t help making bad actions and judgment.
Stop what you’re doing at the moment and on that note, the acronym STOP really works well.
- Sit. Stop what you’re doing and have a drink because a refreshing drink will help calm you down.
- Think. Evaluate your situation so you can determine if you’re really lost or only feeling lost.
- Observe. Look around you and evaluate the treats in your surroundings.
- Plan. After determining your situation, you can now plan your next move or action.
After probably determining it wasn’t wise for you to go on hiking because it’s getting late, you will need to work out your shelter. There are a number of ways to make a shelter when you’re lost in the woods but for us, the simpler the better.
If you have brought a tarp along with you, then you have all you need for a shelter, indeed.
Next to your shelter is building a fire. It will help get you food and water and will keep you company in the dark, too. It will also help keep you safe from wild animals.
Your survival kit should have a fire-starting kit, but if you don’t there are a number of primitive ways to start a fire. It will be challenging, though, but then you can practice fire-starting as a survival skill.
You can survive without water for three days but at the end of the second day, you’ll feel disoriented and unable to function and think properly. There are several ways to find water out in the woods than in the desert so, learn how to find water out there here.
When all communication fails, there are still ways for you to do it the old way. Increase your odds of getting found or getting your escape by learning how to signal for help in the wilderness.
Follow the full details on how to survive and get back to safety if you get lost in the woods in this video with Kenneth Kramm:
Getting lost in the woods isn’t fun, but you can at least enjoy it with these survival tips. They’re also a great way for you to practice your survival skills and put your survival initiative into action!
Have you ever been lost in the woods or found yourself alone in the wild? Share your experience with us in the comments section below!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on September 26, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.