Being lost in the wilderness can be a terrifying experience. It can quickly become a life or death situation if you’re not prepared.
Knowing how to survive if you’re lost in the wilderness is a crucial skill that could save your life. So, what are the first three priorities if you become lost?
1. Stay Calm
Staying calm when lost is an important part of being safe. It is easy to panic when you don’t know where you are, but it is important to avoid doing so in order to stay safe and find your way back. When you stay calm, you are more likely to think more clearly and make better decisions in a survival situation.
The first step to staying calm when lost is to take a few deep breaths. Taking slow, deep breaths helps to slow your heart rate and reduce your stress levels. This will help you to think more clearly and come up with a plan of action.
The second step is to assess the situation. Try to determine how you got lost and what your surroundings are like. Are there any landmarks you can recognize? Are there any roads you can follow? Are there any people around you who might be able to help?
Finally, try to remain positive. It can be easy to become overwhelmed and scared when you are lost, but it is important to remain positive and upbeat. Remind yourself that you will be found and everything will be okay.
If you’re a hiker, then our article on what to do if you get lost hiking may be a better choice for you.
2. Make a Plan for Survival
Now, someone may be searching for you, and it may take a while for this to happen. You should stay put, especially if it’s in the evening or at night.
While staying put, you’ll need to survive. People can typically survive 3 hours without shelter (in more extreme cases), three days without water, and three weeks without food. So, your first survival priority should be to build a shelter.
Once you’ve calmed down, the next step is to find shelter. Finding shelter is essential because it will protect you from the elements and will provide some much-needed rest and security.
Look for natural shelters like caves, hollow logs, or overhangs. If you’re unable to find a natural shelter, you can build a makeshift shelter out of branches and leaves.
Look for food like berries, nuts, and small animals. Collect and filter water from streams or rivers. Make sure to also look for tools like rocks and sticks to help you build a shelter or make a fire.
Additionally, look for items that can be used as clothing or bedding, such as leaves, grass, and animal skins. It’s also important to look for potential weapons like stones and sticks that can be used to protect yourself.
Build a Fire
Building a fire is an essential skill if you’re lost in the wilderness. A fire will provide warmth and light, can be used to signal for help, and can be used to cook food. Gather tinder, kindling, and logs for the fire.
Make sure the fire is built on a flat, open area away from flammable materials. To start the fire, you can use a lighter or matches, or you can use a bow drill or fire-plow technique. Once the fire is started, maintain it by adding wood and adjusting the flame as needed.
Survival skills are essential in a wilderness survival situation, so work on those in advance if you can.
3. Make a Plan for Rescue or Navigation Back
Rescuers often have to put in some work to get rescued. This means you make yourself easy to see. But, if you haven’t yet been rescued after a couple of days, you should try to make a plan to navigate back.
First and foremost, you should make yourself easy to see. This means creating a signal fire or smoke signal or using a signal mirror or flashlight to attract attention. If you’re in an area with a lot of people or animals, making a loud noise can also attract attention. It’s also a good idea to make a shelter or refuge that can be seen from the air.
If you’re lost at sea, the plan is slightly different. You should make sure that you’re visible to rescuers and that your boat or vessel is in good shape and seaworthy. If you’re in a boat, you should make sure to conserve your fuel and other resources in case you’re out for a while. You should also make sure to keep an eye out for any ships, planes, or helicopters that can help you.
Now, if you haven’t been rescued yet, you should start finding ways back. Before you set out, you should make sure you have a map and a compass to help you figure out where you are and where you’re going. It’s also a good idea to bring a GPS device or mobile phone with you, as these can be used to pinpoint your location and help you find your way back.
If you’re lost and don’t know how to get back, it’s important to think about the environment around you and any landmarks you can use to orient yourself.
As you move, leave behind some markings, like an X on trees or a crushed berry on the ground, for example. You should look for any signs of civilization, such as roads, buildings, or power lines which can help you figure out where you are and how to get back.
Getting lost can be a scary experience, but with the right approach, you can get back on track and on your way. Staying calm and maintaining good mental health, planning survival, and planning navigation are all essential steps in making sure you get back to where you need to be.
If you have any questions or concerns, please leave them in the comments below and I’ll be sure to reply.