When the weather hits that pleasant time of the year, many of us head to the great outdoors. We plan long hikes, overnighters or extended camp outs in Mother Nature’s sweet embrace. Most of us enjoy these sojourns unscathed, but once in a while an unexpected snafu can happen. It’s best to hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst. What if you get lost? Would you know what to do? Would you know your priorities? Would you know how to survive? Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you go out to the woods today.
Here’s a transcript of the video:
You thought it’d be fun to take a few days away from the world and camp out a bit. You get up early and strike off on your own to discover the area but a sudden storm hits, you run for cover and become completely lost. The only thing that matters now is getting home alive. So, what do you do?
1. Don’t Panic
When you’re lost in unfamiliar territory it’s going to be pretty daunting. The difference between making a mistake and choosing correctly is often the difference between keeping cool and losing your head. You can get yourself out of this. Positive thinking is one of the keys to survival.
2. Ask the Questions
While you’re stopping and thinking, ask yourself: Where do I think I am? What’s available around me? How long will it be until they realize I’m lost? Take a moment to examine yourself and your surroundings and try to figure out if it’s worth plunging forward or if it’s best to simply plant and wait for the cavalry.
3. Retrace Your Steps
If you’ve been heading in the same general direction since you left camp, you might do well to try and retrace your steps. It may just be a matter of walking in the right direction until you get your bearings.
4. Consider the Plant
If you’ve been wandering for a while, consider just staying put. If someone’s expecting you back, stay where you are, because help will come for you eventually.
5. Look For Shelter
One of your top priorities should be keeping dry. You’re looking for a dry(ish) place that will keep rain from hitting you and wind from chilling you. Look for fallen trees or rock outcroppings.
6. Beware of Caves
A nice, warm cave can be the ideal sort of shelter while you await rescue. (visual: error) You’re likely not the only weary traveler who’s had the same idea! Be very cautious as you just might be moving into a animal’s lair.
7. Four-legged Encounters
If you happen to run into coyotes, wolves or cougars, do not play dead, approach or run away. Face it and back away from it slowly. If they have you cornered, make yourself seem as big as possible. If it attacks, smash the heel of your hand into its snout while blocking its mouth with your other arm.
8. Finding Water
The easiest way to find it is to head downhill. If you’re not sure which direction “downhill” is, try looking for lines of trees or clusters of vegetation as plants grow thickest near water. Be sure to listen as much as you look, too.
9. Make a Fire
It’s getting dark and chilly. You’re going to need a fire which will also be a good signal as you’re lost. (Will adjust this to follow the video tut of someone making a fire) Collect some dry leaves or grass, some twigs and logs and pile it up. Cut a small groove in the stick. Then take a sturdy stick, put one end in the groove and rub your stick in the groove you’ve cut out. Once it catches, blow on it gently to get your fire going.
10. Laze Out
When you’re lost in the woods and on limited rations you should try and do as little as possible. Expending energy expends valuable body heat and also makes you hungry and thirsty. Dehydration will be your biggest threat, so do all you can to conserve water.
Now that you’ve survived the woods, next time be sure to take a compass and a map!