When we set out on our hiking or camping trips, we all head out in a happy frame of mind, totally expecting to have an awesome time in nature. We never know just when some type of unexpected emergency or disaster will strike. While it is definitely not anything we want to go through, we need to have some camping and hiking survival tips and gear already prepared, for those “it can’t or won’t happen to me” moments.
“MAN CAN LIVE ABOUT 40 DAYS WITHOUT FOOD, ABOUT 3 DAYS WITHOUT WATER, ABOUT 8 MINUTES WITHOUT AIR, BUT FOR ONLY 1 SECOND WITHOUT HOPE.” – Author Unknown
If something DOES go wrong during your hiking or camping expedition, such as being caught in an unexpected weather condition, or being injured, the key to getting out on your own, or being rescued, is to take as much responsibility for your own welfare as possible. Try your best to remain calm so you will be able to think clearly, and above all, keep a positive attitude.
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While riding out the storm or waiting to be rescued, there are certain needs that must be attended to. These needs include shelter, fire, water and food.
The first priority is to make camp, or find an alternative shelter. If you don’t have camping supplies, pull out your emergency survival blanket and/or shelter, which should ALWAYS be in your backpack. Look for rock overhangs and caves, which make excellent shelters.
Once your shelter has been found and established, it is time to get warm. Get out of any wet clothing and replace with dry layered clothing. For additional warmth, get a fire going and get into your blanket or sleeping bag. This would be an excellent time to prepare some hot coffee or soup!
Now that you have a shelter and have warmed up, it is time to take a good look around your surroundings, fully assess the situation you are in, and decide on a survival or evacuation plan. Try to stay clear-headed and think positive – YOU are in total control of your situation at the moment, and you got this, right??
First of all, identify your location as best as you possibly can. Use your map, compass, or GPS. If you are not sure of your exact location, remember the last location you are certain of, then estimate how far you have hiked since that time. Try to think of any landmarks or points of interest you have passed.
Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated and ration your food intake. Remember, you can survive without food for weeks if you absolutely have to, but only for a few days without water. For tips on how to obtain safe drinking water, check out my post on HOW TO HAVE CLEAN, SAFE DRINKING WATER IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS.
Before you set out on your expedition, pack foods high in calories, protein, and carbohydrates to keep up your energy levels. Some great examples of these foods would be beef jerky, tuna, peanut butter, trail mix, nuts, and cheese. MRE’s are also a great option – just add hot water and you have a delicious, hot meal in minutes.
If you are not able to get to safety on your own due to an injury or weather conditions, you need to come up with a plan to be rescued. Your chances of being located and rescued as soon as possible are greatly increased if you are able to signal for help. Building a fire is a great way to send out a signal, as well as to keep you warm. Once you have a strong-burning fire, continue adding green wood as this wood will increase the amount of smoke that your fire puts out.
If at all possible, make your way to an open area or to the highest point around you. Wear brightly colored clothing, or use your emergency blanket as a beacon to attract attention. You could also use something that will reflect sunlight to give a general idea of your location. Reynolds wrap, a knife blade, and a mirror all all great ideas to use as reflectors.
Make as much noise as you can. I recommend using a whistle over shouting, as a whistle will use a lot less energy from you and the sound will be heard much further away.
This multi-function survival shovel is a great addition to add to your camping and hiking expeditions. It offers many tools that will come in extremely handy for any outdoor survival emergency you may find yourself involved in, as well as everyday use on your property. I definitely plan on adding this to my backpack for all of my hiking and camping adventures.
Once you have followed all of these camping and hiking survival tips, you have done everything you possibly can in order to be located and rescued. Sitting there and waiting for help to arrive will probably be the hardest part of your whole rescue attempt. As hard as it may be, do your very best to stay level-headed and keep a positive frame of mind. Praying and singing inspirational songs will keep your spirits up. Hopefully, you will never need to use this article at all, but you just never know when something could happen, and it is much better knowing how to prepare for an emergency or disaster situation before one strikes. My new motto has become “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.” I sincerely hope that the tips and guidelines in this post will get you rescued and back to safety in record time, if you ever find yourself in this situation. Happy camping and hiking, and please stay safe – and prepared!