What To Do If You Get Lost On A Hike?

Getting lost on a hike, it’s a hiker’s nightmare. If this happens to you, do not panic, breathe and make the right decisions. What to do if you get lost on a hike?

You are lost. Two options are available to you. Do not move and wait for someone to find you, or try to find your way on your own.

At first and in all cases stay calm. Panic can become your enemy, and it will push you to make bad decisions. Stop, drink some water and eat something before acting.

If you get lost on a hiking trip: stop and wait for help

Let’s review this first option. So you will sit down and wait until someone finds you. To increase your chances of being located and rescued you should:

#1 Call for help

If you are really lost, check that you have network and call for help. And be sure to close any applications that may be draining your battery.

#2 Wait near an easily recognizable place

The important thing is that you stay in one place, and help rescuers find you easily. Try to find a good landmark, such as a large tree or a rock formation, while waiting for help to arrive.

#3 Use your whistle

As you will have certainly read before in one of my previous articles where I explained what you should absolutely take with you in your hiking bag while going on a trekking trip, is one of the things that should be inevitably be taken with you is a whistle even when you just go to the forest to walk the dog as it could be a life saver. Whistle three times is the distress signal, wait a few minutes and start again.

#4 Make yourself noticed

Find a clearing where you can be spotted from the air. If you wear brightly colored clothes, shake them to give additional visual cues to the rescuers. You can also put small branches in a circle around your location.

Make a fire. The smoke will draw attention to your position. Place green leaves on the fire to help produce abundant smoke.

#5 Prepare for the wait

You may be waiting for rescuers for a long time, so get ready. Collect wood to make a fire and try to fill your water bottle if possible. Build a shelter to protect yourself from the weather. If you have to deal with very low temperatures, it is wise to look for a cave or similar place to shelter yourself.

If you get lost on a hike: try to find your way back

This is the second option. If you succeed, you will realize that getting out of business alone is often much faster than waiting for help on the spot.

#1 Try to retrace your steps

Do not go further on the trail. Turn around and try to determine what was the last place where you were sure of your exact position. If you can go back there, you could find your way back.

#2 Check your map

Because of course you will have taken a map with you to go hiking. The map will help you determine where you are and, more importantly, where you should be.

#3 Use your compass

You have decided to return to civilization on your own, so you must make sure you do not walk in circles. So trust your compass to keep the right course! Used in conjunction with the topographic map, the compass is the best instrument you have to find your way.

#4 Use your GPS

If you have a GPS in working order, bingo! You can suddenly find the way. Many phone GPS apps exist, and can be very useful if you go astray. Be careful however because these applications are very greedy in battery power consumption!

Another tip, mark your campsite, car or home as a landmark on your GPS. In this way, you can retrace your steps and find your way, even if no map is available.

#5 Follow the water

In some cases, you may find yourself lost without any navigation tools to help you. One of the best solutions is to follow a river or stream. Rivers usually cross settlement areas at one time or another, so you are saved!

#6 Take height

Finally last advice, climb on the heights. This way, you will have a good view and can identify the direction to take. To gain height, look for a hill or mountain that you can climb with relative ease. Do not climb a tree, it is useless, you will not get a better point of view and could fall and just hurt yourself.

So, what if you get lost on a hike? Do you have other tips that you can share with us here below? I hope at least these tips will help you!

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