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14 dos and donts when youre lost in the woods

14 dos and don’ts when you’re lost in the woods

Ultimate Survival Guide: 14 Essential Tips When You’re Lost in the Woods

Have you ever imagined how you’d fare if you found yourself lost in the wilderness? It’s a daunting thought, isn’t it?

In this day and age, it’s easy to rely on our modern comforts and forget that Mother Nature can be unpredictable. But fear not, my friend!

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or just want to be prepared for any situation, this comprehensive guide has got you covered. We’ll delve into the 14 crucial do’s and don’ts when you’re lost in the woods. So, buckle up, and let’s get started on your journey to becoming a wilderness survival expert.

DO – Stay Calm and Think

When you first realize you’re lost, it’s natural to panic. However, remember that fear can be your biggest enemy. Your mind is your greatest asset in a survival situation, so take a deep breath, stay calm, and assess your situation.

Remember this mantra – STOP. Which stands for Stop, Think, Observe, and Plan. Following this could significantly increase your chances of survival.

DON’T – Wander Aimlessly

If you’re unsure about your location or direction, don’t just wander aimlessly. You might end up moving further away from your intended destination or worse, risk injury.

Instead, stay put, especially if search and rescue teams are likely to be looking for you. Build a shelter, start a fire and make yourself visible from the air.

DO – Master Basic Navigation Skills

Before venturing into the wilderness, make sure you know the basics of navigation.

Learn how to read a map and use a compass. If you don’t have these tools, familiarize yourself with natural navigation methods. For instance, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. At night, find the North Star in the Northern Hemisphere for direction.

DON’T – Forget Essential Survival Gear

Never step into the wilderness without your essential survival gear. This includes a map, compass, flashlight, first aid kit, multi-tool, firestarter, and water purification method.

It might seem tedious to carry these items, but they can make the difference between life and death when lost in the woods.

DO – Find or Build a Shelter

Shelter is one of the most critical survival elements. It protects you from harsh weather conditions and wildlife. Look for natural shelters like caves, or learn to build one using materials around you, such as branches and leaves.

DON’T – Ignore the Importance of a Fire

A fire serves multiple purposes – it provides warmth, wards off predators, and can be used to signal for help. Always carry a reliable firestarter and learn different methods of starting a fire in the wild.

DO – Signal for Help

When lost, getting noticed is crucial. Use your fire, create symbols on the ground that can be seen from the air, or use a whistle if you have one. Three blasts of a whistle are an internationally recognized distress signal.

DON’T – Neglect Your Hydration

Hydration is key to survival. Always carry a water purification method, such as tablets or a filter. Learn how to collect rainwater or dew if sources are scarce.

Remember, never drink unpurified water as it may contain harmful bacteria or parasites.

DO – Find a Food Source

While humans can survive for weeks without food, having a source can boost morale and energy. Learn about edible plants, and insects, and how to set traps for small animals.

DON’T – Consume Plants You’re Uncertain About

While foraging can be a great way to find food, it can also be risky. Consuming a plant that you’re uncertain about can lead to sickness or even death.

It’s essential to familiarize yourself with common edible plants in the area you’ll be exploring.

DO – Keep Track of Time

In a survival situation, keeping track of time can help maintain your sanity and keep you on schedule. It can assist you in rationing supplies, knowing when to set up camp for the night, and keeping a routine.

You can use the sun’s movement or create a simple sundial using a stick and rocks.

DON’T – Travel at Night

Travelling at night is a big no-no when you’re lost in the woods. It’s easy to get disoriented, and the risk of injury significantly increases.

Predators are also more active during this time. Unless absolutely necessary, hunker down in your shelter and wait for daylight.

DO – Maintain Your Mental Strength

Survival is as much a mental game as it is a physical one. Staying positive and keeping your morale high can help you think clearly, make rational decisions, and increase your determination to survive. Develop a routine, stay active, and don’t lose hope.

DON’T – Forget the Importance of First Aid

Accidents can happen, and in the wilderness, even minor injuries can become severe if not treated promptly. Always have a basic first aid kit with you and learn how to use it.

Know how to clean wounds, apply bandages, and treat common ailments like dehydration and hypothermia.


Being lost in the woods can be a terrifying experience, but with the right knowledge, preparation, and mindset, you can increase your chances of survival.

Remember, the key is to stay calm, think clearly, and use what nature provides wisely.

Keep these 14 do’s and don’ts in mind as you venture into the wilderness, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a survival expert.

Always remember, our ancestors were not born with survival skills.

They learned them, honed them, and passed them down through generations. And, so can you. After all, as the saying goes, “Nature is the best teacher.”

So, equip yourself with knowledge, prepare for the unpredictable, and venture into the great outdoors with confidence.

Here’s to your next adventure, may it be safe, thrilling, and filled with learning experiences.

Stay wild, stay free, and remember – in the world of wilderness survival, knowledge is your most powerful tool. Stay prepared, and you’ll stay alive.