Once, when I was a kid, I went hiking with my family and got lost. I still remember how terrified I felt. Lucky, it took less than 10 minutes for my uncle to find me. And I guess that’s where my interest in all kinds of survival tips comes from.
1. If your wrists are bound with zip ties, rotate and move them back and forth against each other. It’s likely to loosen the cords a bit, and you’ll be able to remove the ties. Also, while you’re being tied, try to clench your fists. Itll expand the muscles in your hands, and the ties will feel looser once you relax your muscles again.
This will let you wriggle your hands out of the plastic cords.
Note: What you originally did to earn getting plastic ties on your wrists is not covered here.
2. If youre in a tough situation with nobody around to help you out, it’s all too easy to succumb to panic. In this case, you can use a psychological trick. First, visualize how to successfully get out of trouble.
Then, set several small goals and tackle them one at a time.
Itll preoccupy your mind and prevent you from overthinking the situation. For example, being lost in the wilderness, you can draw up the following plan: – Find a safe place. – Start a fire. – Build a shelter.
– Find a water source. and so on. Itll take your mind off visualizing all kinds of catastrophic outcomes.
3. If you find yourself with frostbite, take care of it as soon as you can.
Despite the popular misconception, do NOT pour hot water on the damaged skin itll make things much worse! Instead, if you can’t see a doctor immediately, remove any wet clothing and put the place with frostbite in warm water. Then, make sure that the damaged body part isn’t going to freeze again, and keep it elevated to reduce swelling. Lastly, put a bandage on the frostbitten area.
If it’s your fingers or toes, wrap a bandage around each of them, and place cotton balls in between so that they don’t touch.
Never, ever rub the damaged spot!
4. You probably know that without water, a person can survive no more than 3 days, but it may take even less time before your body stops working properly. It depends on how hot the weather is or how active you are. So if you run out of water in the wilderness, your top priority is to find a source of it.
Keep in mind that water always runs downhill. Head in that direction – it’s your best chance to find clean water and avoid dehydration.
Speaking of flowing water
5. If you get lost in the wilderness and have no idea what direction to choose, find a stream or a small creek. Follow it until it merges with a larger river, and itll take you to an inhabited area where you’ll get help.
6. You should never go on a hike without some means to make a fire. A lighter sounds good, but what if you lose it or drop it in water? To be on the safe side, put some matchsticks in a plastic bag and bring them along. Keep in mind that the bag should have a secure seal to protect the matches from liquids.
Another way to ensure that your matchsticks will work when you need them is to cover their heads in wax. It’s easy to do! Just dip the matches into hot wax and let them dry. Itll make them waterproof, and to use one, you’ll just have to scrape the wax off the match head.
7. So, let’s say, you’re wandering in the wilderness, lost and desperate, when suddenly you see a cave! Nobody will deny that it can make a perfect shelter! Theres some wood and tinder you can pick up nearby, AND you have matches! It seems all odds are in your favor! And they are if you don’t make a fatal mistake – which is building a fire inside the cave.
The main problem isn’t the smoke from the fire. The thing is, the heat coming from your fire will cause the rocks (which make up the walls and the ceiling of the cave) to expand. Eventually, theyll give in, and you may get trapped in a rockfall or a landslide. To stay warm AND safe, build a fire right outside the cave!
8. If you find yourself surrounded by snow and with no drinking water on hand, eating snow is NOT the best way to rehydrate. In fact, itll most likely lead to further dehydration! How come? Once you stuff some snow into your mouth, your body must start a process that will melt the snow and warm it up. Therefore, you’ll need to spend more energy, which will make you lose liquids faster.
But that’s not all: eating snow can give you hypothermia (when your body temperature is too low), which is twice as dangerous if you’re alone in the wilderness. Besides, chances are that snow contains harmful bacteria that will cause an infection. If you don’t have any other solution, you should melt the snow you’re going to consume in your hands first, and stay away from the stuff that doesn’t look fresh and white.
9. Imagine that you’re in water, and your hands and legs are securely tied up with a rope.
Its not your day. It may seem like an already lost battle, but it isn’t! First and foremost, do your best to suppress panic and the instinctive urge to flail. Hold your breath and wait until you get down to the bottom. As soon as you feel something solid beneath your feet, bounce off it and get back to the surface.
Once you’re there, bend your knees and curl your body into the fetal position. Then arch your back and kick yourself toward the surface until your head is above the water.
Take a breath, and repeat the whole submersing-bouncing-breathing thing, while moving toward the shore.
10. If youre restrained and lying in a puddle of mud or muddy water, arch your back.
This posture will help the air get to your lungs faster and more easily. Granted, it might not work as effectively in rough waters. In that case, you should completely rotate your body, and the moment your head is above the surface, take a deep breath. After that, keep moving forward, toward firm ground.
11. As soon as you realize you’re lost in the woods during a hike, immediately stop. It may sound counterintuitive, but the best solution isn’t to keep walking.
For one thing, when you move, you’ll get dehydrated faster. Besides, the further you travel away from wherever you got lost, the longer itll take a rescue party to find you. The best idea is to stay where you are and try to create some sort of shelter.
12. Theres an “Urban Survival Myth” that it’s safe to drink saltwater in small amounts. But in reality, such a delusion can have very dramatic consequences. Drinking any amount of saltwater leads to dehydration much faster than if you don’t drink anything at all. The best thing you can do with saltwater is to use it for cooling down your body, not drinking.
13. When you go on a hike or decide to spend several days camping, pack your bag with some extra stuff for unpredicted situations. Let’s say, a pair of spare socks, for example. If you fall into a stream or get caught in bad weather, you’ll be happy that you’ve packed them.
Also, it won’t hurt to pack more food than you’ll probably need.
Opt for products that don’t weigh a lot, like dried fruit and peanut butter or beef jerky. Believe me, this foresight may save your life in case of an emergency. At the same time, never take with you more than you can physically carry for a long time. Even better, take your backpack on a test walk to figure out if you can manage its weight. Me, I think Ill just hike on over to a nice hotel and chill by the pool.
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