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What to do if you get lost outdoors

Every year, there are cases of people who get lost in the woods. And they don’t always do the right thing. Despite all your preparations, planning your route, knowing how to use a map and compass, it still happened – you’re lost! So, now what should you do?

Knowing how to survive in the mountains for a few days can make the difference between walking out and being carried out. If you get lost The Number One tool needed for survival when you are lost or injured in the wilds is a Positive Mental Attitude. You should continually tell yourself that you have to get home. When you panic or lose hope, the situation becomes fatal.

One thing you should have done before you got lost is something you should have done before ever stepping on the trail. Leave your Hiking plan and expected return time with someone, they can report you missing if you do not check in with them at your return time. Here are some tips for survival.

The most important thing is to stay calm and don’t panic. When panicked you start walking faster or even running you risk falling and getting injured. If you are in a group, you shouldn’t split up from your group ever.

If you are not hurt and can still hike, keep walking in a straight line until you reach running water. Once you find running water, you should follow the water downstream, because most of communities are based around water supplies and at some point you are going to cross a road.

Map and a compass are your best friends. Look for objects you can easily identify on a map.

If you are unable to move, or can’t find running water, it is advised you stay where you are and signal for help. If you are carrying a whistle, it is recommended blowing your whistle very often. Use rocks and branches to spell Help on a dirt, so a helicopter can spot it.

When hiking at unknown territory it is advised you are packed with a basic survival kit, which includes a compass, maps, medical kit, whistle, flashlight, mirror, food and water. Purification tablets should also go in your pack. Pack your gear for the time of the year and have an emergency blanket.


There are a many problems that tend to be the most common threats to your chances for survival. You should be aware of these:

Fear and loneliness can have high impact on your chances of survival. To combat these, you should make a list of useful tasks to do, like collecting water and firewood and setting up distress signals. Thirst and exhaustion is something you have to consider too. Dehydration is the most common ailment of lost hikers. Try to find a water source and keep your body hydrated. Whenever you feel tired, stop and get as much rest as your body needs. This will lower your chances of getting injured.

Always check the weather before you head out. If not well prepared for the conditions, you can easily get hypothermia or heat illness. Staying dry and warm are two of the most important tasks you have when lost. When you are wet, your body gets colder much faster. Preventing unnecessary sweating is a good goal to help keep you dry. When clothes do get wet, do whatever you can to dry them out as soon as possible. Using the sun or your survival fire are good options.

Final thing to worry are injuries. Even a small cut can become serious in the outdoors. You should immediately treat any wound that you might get, to prevent infection. In survival challenge every small thing matters and you don’t need any other extra challenges that can make your life even harder.

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