Thousands of hikers and wilderness aficionados get lost every year. Some of them survived, but others succumb to illness, hypothermia, and dehydration. Here are some survival pointers in case you lose your way in your next forest expedition:
- Be prepared and leave a trip plan
Tell your family or friends about your destination and the length of time that you’ll be away. It’s best to leave a detailed description of your route, so they know where to find you when the unfortunate happens. Bring a survival kit that includes your water canteen, knife, contact whistle, mittens, and fishing line. Don’t forget to wear the wholesale paracord bracelet you bought from the store; it will save your life in several ways.
- Allow your panic to pass
While survival books will tell you to keep calm, it’s impossible not to panic when you get lost. Stop, take a deep breath, and let the time pass. When you recover, observe your surroundings, assess the things you need, and organize a plan.
- Stay warm and dry
Hypothermia is the primary cause of death in the wilderness. You might be in severe danger if you are wet and going to be out the whole night. Keep yourself warm, collecting as much wood as possible, and make a small fire that will help you make it through the cold night. Remove dry leaves and pine needles and block the blaze with stones or soil. You don’t want to be saved from freezing only to be killed by a forest fire.
- Find a natural shelter
Even the hottest summer can have the coldest nights and unexpected outpour. Seek a natural shade such as a downed tree or a pile of huge rocks. Get leafy boughs and branches and lean them against the main structure. Create a blanket by putting dry leaves on the land. The makeshift shelter will protect you from wind, rain, and cold ground.
On average, you can go on for three or five days without water, but dehydration will drain your energy and rob your consciousness. While searching for something to drink, limit activities that induce sweat as it will hasten the dehydration process. Hold yourself from munching snowballs and allow it to melt before quenching your thirst. Consuming frozen water will lower your body temperature and increase the level of your dehydration. Collect rainfall, or dew, check bamboo stalks or cactus for water deposits or go downhill to search for streams. Boil the water, so you don’t have to worry about potential illnesses.
- Stay nourished
Food gives you the valuable energy you need to do survival tasks. This shouldn’t be a problem because the wilderness is home to edible plants and animals. However, be extra careful and only eat fruits, insects, and plants if you are sure that they are edible. Avoid anything that has a pungent smell and extremely bright colors. Never eat mushrooms; you might survive the wilderness, but not its poison.
Primitive man has survived without the conveniences of modern life, so losing contact with the world will not kill you. While waiting to be rescued, continue nourishing your mind and body as it’s the only key to a successful odyssey.