If you have ever gotten lost in a forest, then you are familiar with the panic that creeps in as dusk approaches. Often, people worry about their safety and are unable to keep a clear mind on how to face the situation best. Being lost in the woods is a scary experience when you are at a loss on how to survive.
Luckily, survival in the forest is not a hard task, and all you need to make it out in one piece is to use some common sense. You also need to be patient and to utilize the resources available to you. Check out the essential survival techniques.
The chief thing to do before embarking on any undertaking in the forest, be it hiking or a stroll, is to prepare yourself accordingly. How do you equip yourself to venture into the woods?
Get to know what kind of environment you will be in before heading in. The most efficient way to research a given forest is to get hold of a map which will show you locations of water bodies, open spaces as well as areas to avoid. Map out which areas you will visit and which ones you should avoid.
On the day of the trek, be sure to carry the map as well as a compass to assist you to find your way around the woods. Also, take some classes on flora and fauna of the forest and find out which plants are safe to eat. As you do this, get to know what kind of animals exist in the area and whether they are dangerous.
There are many online resources which you can exploit to help you gather adequate knowledge on plants and animals.
Before venturing into the forest, ensure that you eat an adequate amount of food as well as hydrate. This food can come in handy in a situation where you end up spending more time in the woods than initially intended. Inform someone of where you are heading and the time you expect to return. Make it clear to them that if you do not come back within a given timeframe that they should alert the relevant authorities.
This information will enable the police to know where to begin their search and how much time you have been missing. Many people overlook the value of such information, and the results are often disastrous.
Survival gear is a must.
Do not wander into the forest without adequately arming yourself with gear that will come in handy as you trudge through the woods which are unpredictable. There are necessary survival tools which you must pack, and they include a knife for self protection, matches in a waterproof vessel, fire steel, water purifying tablets, a cord, a whistle, a compass, a signaling mirror and a space blanket. These items are essential if you hope to make it out alive.
A compass is crucial as it helps guide you through the forest as well as out of it. Do not enter the woods without a compass. Some people think that they do not need these essentials on a one day hike, but they are wrong. You could get lost even on a stroll, and you can end up in a very challenging situation.
Having equipment is not useful if you do not know how to operate it. Before your trip, make sure that you practice how to use each item in your bag while in a safe environment. Ensure that you know how to use a compass and how to read a map.
A first aid kit is another must-have item, and it should include tweezers, band-aids and antiseptic. You never know what could happen to you when you are out there. You should also carry your medications and any injections that you need while on the trip. Even if you feel that you will not need the medicine for the time you plan to be away, carry it just in case you end up spending more time in the forest.
When buying a space blanket, be sure to get one that is large and durable to ensure that it can serve the intended purpose. This blanket comes in handy when blocking wind and water to prevent hypothermia and you can use it to reflect heat from a fire onto your back. However, if you choose a small blanket, you will not be in a position to enjoy the benefits as mentioned earlier.
Get a mobile phone with an extra battery or a portable CB radio which you can use to call for assistance where necessary. Forests often have issues when it comes to signals, but you can get one on a hill or a tree from where you can call for help in cases where you are lost or injured.
You can consider getting a personal locater such as SPOT which you can use to call for help or check in with family and friends.
What if you get lost in the woods?
Most people go wrong in these situations by panicking which only makes the situation worse. To better help you cope with such instances, remember to STOP. In this case, s stands for sit down, t stands for think, o stands for observing what is around you and p stands for preparation. The thing with panic is that it hinders you from accessing your mind and puts you in a situation where you are helpless.
When you take the time to breathe, take in the situation and come up with a plan, you can then set out to gather materials that will help you survive in the woods. At this stage, the research done before venturing into the woods will come in handy regarding what to eat, how to light fires and all other activities essential to your survival.
The point at which you are becomes your point zero which you will use as a guide. Mark it with something visible such as a piece of clothing. Where you do not have a compass, you can use the sun as a guide. Do not move around much as you wait for help. Not only will staying at one place increase your chances of being found but you will also preserve your energy for when you need it. If you are in a group, do not go your separate ways as that will affect your chances of survival.
Use your knowledge to build a fire and to find water which you can treat to make safe for drinking. Remember to stay calm and only eat foods which are safe for human consumption. All the best!