Survival Tips if You Are Lost in the Wilderness


Jack Phiel, Editor

Getting lost in the wilderness, especially without a group of others, can be deadly. If you are unable to find civilation, and have no cell service, it is very possible you could die of thirst or starvation. Also, if you are unable to build shelter, it is possible you could die from the cold if you are unprepared. This is why it is vital to be prepared for a situation like this when you go out into the wild.

You should always bring a backpack if you are going hiking or camping, this way you can bring important items with you in case you get lost. First, you should always bring a jacket or coat, even if it is a warm day. If you get lost and have to stay the night in the wilderness, temperatures could plummet to below freezing at night, even in summer. Next, it is also extremely important to pack with you extra water and food. If you get lost, it may be days, weeks or maybe even longer until you are found, or you are able to find civilization; and if you don’t have food and water during this time, it is very possible you could die. It is also helpful to pack navigational aids such as a compass, a first aid kit, and a knife. Something else that you should pack is a satellite communicator, which is a device where you can essentially contact 911, even if you don’t have access to cell service. It communicates via satellites, so it works anywhere in the world. This is a device that could save your life, as it also notifies emergency workers of your location, so they can easily come and save you.

What if you don’t have a satellite communicator or compass? How do you make it out of the wilderness alive? Here are some tips. If you are alone and lost in the wild, it is important to stay calm. The last thing you want to do while lost is panic, so take deep breaths and stay under control.  You also have to think. Think of your route that you took to get to where you are, and if there are any towns nearby. It is important to observe which direction you are heading. You can determine this by the location of the sun: it rises in the east and it sets in the west. Next, try to identify your location. Try to notice if anything looks familar. Seek a higher vantage point so you can see far out. Additionally, listen for signs of people. In this case, finding civilization and other people is your #1 priority. Obviously listen for cars and any other signs of human life nearby. Finally, unless trying to identify your location like I mentioned earlier, you want to, if possible always go downhill. This will most likely lead you to at least a little stream, which you can use as emergency drinking water if need be (only drink this water if you have to to survive). Follow the water in the direction that it is flowing. If you are unable to determine which way the water is flowing, throw a leaf in it and see which way it goes. If you follow the creek or river, it is most likely you will eventually find a lake. A lot of towns are situated on creeks and lakes, so if you are able to find flowing water, it is likely you will be able to find civilization and survive.

If you ever are going hiking or camping, use these tips so you know what to pack if you get lost. And if you ever do get lost, remember these tips so that you are able to make it out alive.