Survivalist, Kenneth Kramm, explains some basic keys to survival after becoming lost in the woods.

  1. Always be prepared. Make sure someone knows where you are and how long you plan to be gone. Let three people know before heading into the woods.
  2. Always carry a basic survival kit. Include items such as a knife, string, lighter, matches, compass, whistle, small light, plastic bag and water.
  3. Bring a cell phone. While it may not work, you might find a location where it does work and this makes getting found much easier.
  4. Take a GPS unit. This might not always work though, so don’t be overly dependent on GPS. Be sure to mark your starting location before leaving your vehicle.
  5. Mark the trail you leave behind you. Put up flagging, break twigs or mark the ground. Native Americans always marked trails by bending tree limbs.
  6. Don’t panic if you feel that there’s a good chance you’re lost. Remember the acronym STOP – Sit and relax to reduce adrenaline. Think about the situation and what can help you best. Observe your surroundings and determine how they are different than before. Plan what you need to do next and what is going to best help you.
  7. Find or create shelter. Rock cliffs, caves and large trees can provide natural shelter. A plastic bag from your survival kit can greatly help you stay warm in the case of rain.
  8. Start a fire if darkness or severe cold is approaching. Include cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly in your survival kit, as these can easily get a fire going, even in wet conditions.
  9. Find a good source of water. Springs and streams provide a great source of water. Boil the water for just a few minutes before drinking it.
  10. Signal rescuers. Use a whistle or mirror from your survival kit to alert others where you are. A fire also serves as a great way to give away your location.

While Kramm emphasizes that these are simply the basics of survival, following these rules could mean the difference in life and death when lost in the woods.