Essential Survival Advice
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We all know that the world is a dangerous place, but it’s easy to forget about this when we’re living in our safe and comfortable homes.
It’s not until something bad happens that we realize how unprepared for emergencies we are.
The best way to prepare for any emergency is by following outdoor survival advice. This includes knowing what plants can be eaten or used as medicine, understanding how to build shelter from natural materials, and learning basic first aid skills like CPR and wound care. These skills will help you survive anything nature throws at you!
Among my camping friends, I am known as “Mr. Survival”.
I prefer a traditional campout but I spent over a decade in Boy Scouts (achieving Eagle) and thanks to my mom who grew up in rural Ohio, I learned the necessity of being prepared.
The most important acronym to remember in an outdoor survival situation is STOP.
This acronym means:
Stop - Think - Observe - Plan
This is the first step in survival and will help you to remain calm. Whatever you do, don’t panic!
Only when you’ve stopped everything should you start trying to figure out what you should do.
If you are lost, most often, you can backtrack your steps until you reach a point where you recognize where you are.
If you cannot, it’s best to wait for help.
Always Bring 10 Essentials
In the outdoor survival industry, we refer to the 10 C’s of survival. REI refers to the same pieces of gear as 10 essentials of hiking.
Regardless of how you refer to them, make sure to bring them with you when you go on any outing!
If something bad happens, your life may depend on them.
We cover the items in this article about survival backpacks.
Let Someone Know Before You Go
The key to being found if you get lost or stuck because you’re hurt is to let someone know before you go.
Make sure to use the buddy system and tell at least one other person where you’re going, how long you’ll be gone, and how they can get in touch with you if something goes wrong (like a cell phone number or GPS location).
After this, it’s important to have the right gear for the job.
Take A Hiking Buddy
While solo adventures are fun and give you the freedom to do whatever you want, they also can be very dangerous.
We all hear stories of people being lost or hurt on a solo hike or campout.
It’s best to always take at least one other person with you when you go hiking or camping in case something bad happens.
Don’t forget to bring a satellite tracking device to let your friends or family know where you are!
Be Prepared For Rain and Cold Weather
We all like to pretend that we’re invincible, but Mother Nature is actually stronger than most of us.
She can throw anything at any time and it’s always smart to be prepared for the worst-case scenario.
You probably already have rain gear and a backpack for camping, but you should have an emergency kit with everything you’d need if you got stuck in the cold or wet outside.
This includes extra food, cooking supplies, first aid kits, water purifiers, warm clothes, and more!
If you do get stuck or lost, the first step after you STOP is to drink some water.
Drinking water will calm you down and keep you from getting dehydrated.
Drink a little water at a time, about 1 cup at a time should be enough if your situation isn’t severe and you’re able to stay warm.
Bring along electrolytes like LMNT or Gatorade packets to add to your water. Not only will they improve the flavor, but they will also help you feel better.
And if you have it with you, eat a snack.
If the weather is chilly, it’s getting dark, or you need to make water safe to drink, start building a fire! The fire will keep you warm and prevent hypothermia.
If possible, find dry wood to burn so it won’t take too long to start a fire.
The best thing about starting a fire is that you can actually heat up water for drinking, prepare food if necessary, and signal your position in the sky if you have a signal mirror.
If possible, build a fire ring with large rocks to contain the fire so it doesn’t spread and become dangerous or burn down an entire forest.
In the case that you are lost, you need a way to signal your position so that rescue crews can find you.
If you have a signal then use your phone to ask for help. When you send your location send GPS coordinates of where you’re at and not a photo of the location.
In 2021 a person got lost but had enough signal to message a friend. But instead of seeing GPS coordinates, they sent a photo. Thankfully someone online recognized the location and they were able to find the lost hiker.
You can also purchase an SOS device that will request a SAR team to come to find you. Many of these devices also allow you to send a message to friends or family to let them know that you’re OK along the way.
While you feel the natural tendency to yell, use a whistle instead. A whistle will travel farther, stand out more, and use less physical energy.
One final way is a signaling mirror.
If you have one, shine it in the direction of where you last saw another person or vehicle as they drive by and flash it quickly so they don’t miss it.
If you were going to stay in a location for several days, then we would have covered shelter earlier.
However, most lost hikers will be found within 24 hours so shelter isn’t as important as the other steps.
But you should learn how to make a quick shelter from a tarp or poncho so that you can stay dry from the rain while waiting on rescue.
Avoid getting lost in the first place by taking an online map-reading or wilderness navigation course.
If you are going on a long trip then bring along a compass and learn how to use it.
Thus, even if your phone dies (phones can be used for GPS navigation even without a cellphone signal) you will be able to get home without your phone.
You’re tired of being lost in the wilderness and always trying to find your way back home.
When you learn how to survive in the wild, then you’ll never have to worry about getting lost again!
Learn survival skills so that you can stay safe wherever you are.
This content has a lot of great information to help you when you’re lost in the wilderness.
The first step is to stop, drink water, and drink electrolytes. Fire is also important if it’s chilly or if you need to make water safe to drink.
Signaling your position is also important to use your phone to send your location if you can get service or an SOS device and leave a note with where you’re going.
The shelter isn’t as important as the other steps but make sure that you know how to make a quick shelter from a poncho or tarp.
Lastly, learn some survival skills (such as with our essential outdoor skills course) so that you can stay safe wherever you are!