If you do find yourself lost, with weather moving in, what are the things you should think about? The best description I’ve ever heard described them as “Shelter, Water, Food.” As in:
I’ve used different fonts deliberately. Those are your three priorities, and the size of the font represents their importance to your safety.
Find or make shelter. You’ll freeze to death long before you’ll die of dehydration or hunger. A simple tarp rigged over a rope between two trees is adequate. Just something to get the sun, rain or wind off of you.
Find Water. Or take a swig of the water you brought. You’ll die of dehydration long before you’ll starve to death. If you’re truly lost, don’t worry about drinking stream water. It takes a couple weeks for stomach illnesses to appear, and they’re treatable. Dying of dehydration is irreversible.
Find Food. Your lowest priority. Honestly- who among us couldn’t stand to miss a meal or two? We stress eat, and getting lost is stressful, so there will be great temptation to snack on those emergency rations in your pack. But save that potential energy for when you’ll need it. Lay up, rest in your shelter, get hydrated and if possible get some sleep.
In the cool of the next morning you might hear a road, or a helicopter making passes, or another clue to guide you in a direction. If you decide to go for it, as opposed to staying put, that’s the time to get some food on board so you’ll have energy for the trek.
Up next, we debunk some advice from Elmer Fudd. You do NOT want to be “vewwy vewwy qwiet.”
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