How to survive when lost in the wilderness

Author: Mick Chan

One of the most enjoyable things that you can do with friends or family is to go out into the wilderness. Many people enjoy going into the woods, and experiencing nature firsthand. There is nothing quite like looking at towering trees, beautiful rivers, and lakes that extend for many miles. If you live in the city, you will notice how the air is so clear, not only in regard to breathing clean air, but giving you the ability to see all the way to the horizon.

Unfortunately, people that are inexperienced at hiking or travelling in wooded areas may get lost. Perhaps they are unable to make a cellular connection, rendering their GPS devices useless. If you do get lost in the wilderness, there are four things that you should do in order to find your way back to safety.

1. Stay Warm

The first thing you need to take into consideration is the fact that you may be stuck in the wilderness all night long. If you did not bring supplies necessary for an overnight experience, staying warm is something that you need to plan for. Hypothermia can be a very dangerous situation, especially if you are all alone.

If you do happen to have family members or friends with you, they can help you gather wood for a fire, or perhaps get all of your clothing together preparing for a long and potentially cold night. If you happen to be traveling in the fall or winter months, this can be exceptionally dangerous. Your goal is to last throughout the night so that you can get back to civilization in the morning.

2. Build A Shelter

In order to stay warm, the second thing you need to do is build a shelter. If you can’t find the material necessary to build one, then finding shelter is your next best bet. This could be anything from staying under rocks, large trees, or in an area that has a natural outcropping. The goal is to not be out in the open. Depending upon the region of the wilderness that you are in, there might be wild animals that roam at night. A good idea would be to climb into a tree, perching yourself on a branch during the evening hours, away from the potential harm that the animals might bring.

Building a survival shelter. Image from James Allan of the Geograph ProjectSheltering yourself from the elements can help you survive.

3. Build A Fire

Although staying in a tree might be helpful, it is even better to build a fire. This will help you in a couple different ways. First of all, it will allow you to stay warm. Second, it may deter animals from approaching that would be afraid of the fire. Finally, it provides a type of signal that can lead people to your location. If this is done in the daylight hours, the smoke can lead people to you. In the evening, and throughout the night, it will help keep you warm until you can get to safety the following day. Of course, it helps to bring matches and fuel for the fire. If you are able to build one, this is your best bet when it comes to surviving in colder more remote locations.

4. Stay In One Area Where You Can Be Found

Finally, if you did tell people where you were hiking, it helps to stay in one area so that you can be found. Once you have gathered all of your clothing, built a fire, and created some form of shelter, you will be prepared to last the night, and await your rescue. As long as people have a general idea of where you were hiking in the wilderness, a search party will more than likely be able to find you, especially if you have a fire that can alert them to your location.

Build a fireBuilding a fire will help keep you warm and make it easier for rescuers to see you.

Hopefully these tips on what to do if you are lost in the wilderness will help you at some point in the future. Hiking can be a fun filled experience, but if you do happen to get lost, by using the tips that we have provided, you will certainly survive the night, and people will be able to find you with no problems at all.