10 Tips to Survive when Lost in The Forest for BackPacker
Alone in the Wilderness
Wouldn’t it be great to spend a few days in the woods, walking around and exploring nature? Of course, it would, but what if you lose your way? Simply getting from A to B isn’t as easy as it sounds. Especially not in the wilderness! Luckily for all of us, there are some excellent tips to survive when lost in the forest that can help you.
Moreover, before you have a heart attack from panic, keep in mind that it’s not just you. There are plenty of others who faced a similar situation of losing their way from time to time.
It might seem challenging to survive when lost in the forest. However, there are many things you can do to increase your chances of survival.
Getting 10 tips to survive when lost in the forest:
1. STOP Method
When you’ve finally realized that you are on your own, you can’t rush around like a chicken without its head.
First of all, stop what you’re doing. You need to calm your mind and think carefully about the situation that you’re in. Then, start observing your surroundings (i.e., take out your map and compass, point them toward the sun, etc.). Finally, plan how to reach safety before darkness falls or other dangers present themselves.
The first letters of the STOP method “stop,” “think,” “observe,” and “plan” – offer backpackers guidance on what to do after they realize losing their way.
2. Pinpoint Your Current Location
When you’re lost in the woods, it’s best to pinpoint your exact location before trying anything else. Rather than panicking and thinking about ways to get yourself out of there, consider where you are right now.
If your cell phone has reception but it dies soon after, try taking photos with its built-in camera rather than using up all of your battery life. If there’s no cell service available at all, don’t be afraid to admit that you’ve “gone off course.” Instead, put on a backpack or tie long branches or vines around your waist so that search parties will know if they’re close to finding you!
3. Stay Calm
Panic is often what leads people to lose their way in the forest. If you don’t stay calm, you won’t be able to think clearly and make good decisions.
If you become too stressed out when lost in the forest, you might even start hallucinating or blacking out. Remember if your heart is racing and your blood pressure has skyrocketed, it will be much harder for you to survive when lost in the forest.
4. Build Shelter and Start a Fire
When most people get lose their way without a map and compass, they want to search for their campsite right away. However, this can be very dangerous because most of us don’t know what lies ahead on our trip through the woods. In fact, some regions are so remote that there aren’t any trails at all.
Therefore, your first order of business when you lost your way in the forest is to build a shelter and start a fire. This will help keep you warm and safe throughout the night. By morning, everything might look better. Plus, if you have survived until daybreak, there’s an excellent chance that search parties looking for you know where to find you.
5. Stay Put
If it’s getting dark out or if any dangerous animals are around, don’t start wandering aimlessly through the forest. Instead, stay put in one place! The more visible you are to rescuers trying to spot you from above, the greater your chances of finding your way safely.
Even though it might feel like moving around could lead to finding civilization faster. Always remember that you’re unfamiliar with the land. Moreover, you could get seriously hurt. Plus, it’s common for hikers who veer off course to draw attention within just a few feet of their original location.
6. Stay Positive
Backpackers are usually very adventurous types. So remember that you’re out in the forest for a reason, whether it’s to experience new things, build memories with friends & family, or simply relax and enjoy life. Whatever your reasons are for being there even if they’re silly hold onto them!
Remembering what brought you to the forest in the first place will help keep your mind positive. This very fact will support as one of the tips to survive when lost in the forest. If you feel good, chances are much higher that you’ll make it back alive.
7. Follow Waterways Out of the Forest
It might seem counterintuitive to head toward dangerous rivers or rapids when you’re lost in the woods. However, water is your best friend you’ve gotten yourself stranded. If you cannot find your way in the forest without a map and compass, your best bet is to follow water downstream. Travel down and follow waterways until you start seeing familiar scenery or signs of civilization.
8. Leave Something Behind to Mark Your Passing
If there’s a particularly clear landmark near a water source to mark your passage through the forest, use it! As long as it isn’t dangerous to do so (e.g., the ground is too wet to leave behind footprints). Moreover, you can always leave something like a pile of rocks or your broken backpack that will help search parties (and yourself) backtrack to where you entered the woods.
9. Be Patient
It’s not easy to be patient and wait for help when you lose your way in the forest. However, it’s much safer than wandering around aimlessly. If you don’t want to get hurt by animals or pass out from fatigue, it’s best not to make rash decisions. Further, you can take matters into your own hands. Survival takes time! So try staying positive, building shelter, gathering water & firewood, and marking your passing with clear signs.
10. Travel Downhill
If you need to survive when lost in the forest and to get out of the forest ASAP, it’s best to travel downhill. Not only will this help you find a water source faster, but gravity will make your journey easier. For example, if there are dangerous rapids in your way down or ropes that have been dangling from cliffs or trees for years, they might seem impossible to pass when going uphill! But going downhill is a lot simpler plus, the terrain is usually less challenging in a steep descent.
Now that you are aware of these 10 tips to survive when lost in the forest, you can get back home safely!