Save your Life While Fighting the Wilderness
Whether you are fascinated by putting yourself in danger, or you just love adventures and wish to know what to do in case things don’t go as planned, this zipped survival guide will help you protect your life from the elements and keep safe until you get to civilisation again – or until civilisation finds you first!
In Case You Get Lost
Do Not Let Panic Paralyse You
- Stop Roaming and Think
Just by keep moving you will probably make things worse. Collect your mind and make the most of it – now, it is your best ally.
- Use a Whistle Instead of Shouting your Lungs Out
Shouting will drain your energy and make you unable to speak when you really need it! So, prefer using a whistle in case you have one.
- Observe your Surroundings
In case you have a map, check for discernible features (e.g. a lake) that cannot be mistaken for something else, and use them for orientation. Bear in mind that streams are rivers are different things – and never use the first as a reference point.
- Think of a Plan
Moving based on a specific plan will help you get creative, be realistic and clear your mind from useless desperate thoughts. If possible, try to figure out your cardinal points (north, south, east and west). During the night this is quite easy: spot the Big Dipper and locate the two outermost stars in its bowl. Draw a direct mental line, and the first star you get is Polaris, which is always north. The rest is easy.
2. Discover the Last Spot You Knew Your Whereabouts
Roaming around is the least possible way to find your tent and friends – or get found by them. Instead, try to trace the last spot point you feel you knew your whereabouts with certainty. Check for recognisable landmarks or just walk back the trail you are on.
3. If These Don’t Work…
- Save your strength.
- Monitor time, since the last thing you need is stumbling in the dark in entirely unknown areas! Better prepare to spend the night in a certain spot.
- Never part with your rucksack – just keep it on you at all times, no matter how exhausted you feel.
- Make for some source of water and if you find one, follow its bank or route. Civilisation won’t be far away.
- Leave characteristic signs on the places you have already been.
- Keep mental pictures of your path – both ways.
- Search for higher ground. From the top of a hill or a rock formation, you will get a much clearer picture of the areas.
- Track power lines or even water pipes and follow them.
- In case you light a fire, make it as smoky as possible, thus helping out search crews.
4. Mind What You Drink!
Keep in mind these valuable tips:
- If you have a bottle, use it to collect water instead of drinking directly from the source. This way, you will be able to check it visually before drinking it. Never fill it up facing upstream, since particles or parasites will get inside easier that way. Turn it downstream.
- If you don’t have a bottle, opt for fast moving water over rock formations.
- In case you spot dew on vegetation in the early morning, collect it using wrapped towels or absorbent clothing around your feet. Walk through the dew and when you feel the cloth well saturated, wring it into your bottle a container. Don’t just quench your thirst! Repeat the same process again and again, until you’ve collected as much water as possible.
- If you have purifying tablets, use them reasonably. If you can boil water, prefer this way to filter your water. Do not over boil it – you will only lose more water through evaporation. 99.9% of its possible pathogens will have been killed as soon as it starts boiling.
5. Keep your Body as Hydrated as Possible
You can do this not just by drinking water, but also by reducing the amount your body needs, by merely excreting less. This is how:
- Remain in the shade for as much as possible.
- Avoid the wind, since it evaporates moisture through the skin and causes excessive sweating.
- Eat the least possible amount of food to be in shape. Digestion requires water.
- Keep your mouth closed and inhale through the nose.
- Move your body only when needed.
- Use water you cannot drink to hydrate your skin and wet your clothes. Thus you cool down your body and minimise sweating.
- Urinate less!
6. In Case of a Blow Out
Being lost in your car in a desolated area can be equally frightening. Having a blow out under such circumstances can terrify you. So, here is what you can do:
- Don’t slam on the brakes.
- Most cars now have a front puncture, which will carry the weight of the vehicle to the damaged wheel, leading to dangerous swerving or even flipping the car upside down.
- In cars with a rear puncture, using the brakes will raise the drag and cause the car to fishtail, spinning you around.
- Grab the steering wheel as firmly as possible with both hands, correcting your course.
- Avoid hard turns in any direction – this will only get you flipped over.
- Keep your foot on the accelerator, since it is the only way to regain control if you feel you are losing it.
- Activate the hazard warning lights.
- Gently release the accelerator to slow down.
- Move down one gear – if you can in your car.
- Activate your indicator when you have slowed down enough to control the car out of the main road.