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What to Do if you Get Lost

You’ve made all the necessary preparations, planned your hiking route well, and learned how to use a compass and map. But for whatever reason, you find yourself lost in wilderness. What should you do?

Whether you are alone or you have other people with you when you get lost in the middle of nowhere, there is still a chance that you will be found, especially if a friend, a family member or someone at the trailhead or campsite knows your hiking plan. However, not instantly, as some search operations may last for more than a few hours or even days, depending on factors like the size of the forest, how far off the trail you are, and given the weather conditions.

Since you have no way of knowing how long before help comes, there are some important guidelines that you should follow to increase your chances of being rescued alive.

Stop, Think, Observe, Plan (S.T.O.P.)

  •  Stop walking

When you realize that you are lost, the first thing you have to do is to stop walking and keep yourself and your group calm. If where you are is unsafe, find a safer place and stay there. If you don’t know your exact location, walking further in the woods gives you a greater chance that you are going in the wrong direction. Moreover, if you keep on moving around, the search party would have a harder time finding you. So, just stay put and try to relax while you do the next step.

  • Think about your situation

While sitting down, try to remember how you got there. Think about possible landmarks that you may have passed by along the way, and what general direction you were going before realizing you were lost. Also, it is important to think positive. There is no doubt that you will be able to get home safe, one way or another.

 

  • Observe your surroundings

Take a look around you. Are you or anyone in the group hurt? If so, perform basic first aid. After making sure that the injury, if there’s any, is under control, try to figure out where you are. If you have a compass, use that to know the directions from where you are standing. Check your map and try to identify your general location using landmarks that you should be able to see around you. Observe the weather if it’s getting worse or better. Estimate how long it will take before sundown. What do you have with you and how long would your supplies last? What objects are available in the area that could be of use? All of these observations would be necessary in planning your next steps.

  • Plan of action

Based on your overall assessment of your situation, conjure up some plans and act on the best one. Remember to prioritize the group’s needs when deciding on what to do. If you are confident of your location and where you should go, the weather is good, everyone in the group is in good condition, and you have enough time before dark, then proceed carefully while marking your trail with rocks, sticks, or strips of cloth.  If you are not entirely sure about the route, then just stay where you are, call or signal for help, and try to survive until the search party comes.

If you decide to wait, then the first thing you should do is to build a shelter and fire, as they would protect you from weather elements and wild animals. Try to look for water and food source to make sure that you won’t run out of supplies. Remember to keep yourself dry and warm at all times. And again, keep thinking positive.

Keeping your wits about you and carefully planning your next steps when you get lost in the wild could save your life. Also, it is very important that before starting your hike, you should inform someone, ideally a person in the trailhead, about your hiking plan and your estimated time of return. This would help authorities to have an idea if something went wrong and make it easier for them to find you.

A Survivalist’s Guide for Filtering Water during Emergencies

Everyone needs water to survive. If we are not able to consume the proper amount of water that our body requires, we are at risk for dehydration. Symptoms include headache, fatigue, and dizziness. However, drinking water that did not undergo any method of purification can induce greater water loss. You will need to battle diseases such as dysentery and cholera. As a result, knowledge on basic filtering water techniques is important, especially during emergency situations.

  1. First things first: Where do you get water during emergencies?

When disaster strikes and you have not prepared any water for emergencies, then you should know where to get water that is not contaminated by chemicals or microorganisms. When Hurricane Katrina attacked, the water supply was contaminated with bacteria and chemicals. One available source is rain water which is generally the safest, most readily available way to avoid being harmed by water contamination.

  1. Systems for filtering water that you can use

Improvised method

There are many ways in which you can improvise an instrument for filtering water. Here is one method that you can try using the following materials:

  • Charcoal
  • Peat Moss
  • Green Moss
  • Stones
  • Soda Bottle, preferably 2 Liters in size

To make your own system for filtering water, start by cutting the bottom of the soda bottle and invert it. Put the green moss at the bottom layer nearest to the mouth of the bottle. The second layer will be the peat moss, followed by a mixture of charcoal and peat moss. The uppermost layer will be the stones. The materials were set up in such a way that contaminants such as sediments, parasites and bacteria are eliminated when the water runs through it.

Manufactured system for filtering water

There are several companies that have been producing these at a hefty price. The products available vary depending on the pore size of the filter utilized. The good thing about them is that they can be reused again and again for a long periods of time. Ceramic filters are also available which utilize small pores to decrease the amount of sediments and eliminate bacteria and protozoa. Carbon filter can also be used but its effectiveness widely varies depending on the type of carbon used. Carbon blocks are expected to perform better than granulated carbon.

Portable filters

Portable filter pitchers are available in the supermarket. However, they are not very effective against filtering out pathogens and other contaminants since the rate of filtration is very fast and the barriers used are not sufficient. They can only help improve the quality of water in terms of taste and appearance.  This could be a good approach for secondary filtering after more aggressive filtration is employed.

 The ones who prevail in the worst situations are those who are prepared

Once you’re done filtering the water you intend to drink, try your best to boil it first for at least 10 minutes. This is so that any microorganism that have not removed by physical means will be killed with heat. Change the material used for filtration whenever it starts to look dirty. Make sure to be prepared with all the materials that you need since disasters do not occur based on a schedule.  A good idea is to prepare and store these materials in a plastic covered bin ready for use when the need arises.  Remember we humans are made up of 50-78% water, with the higher percentages for those under one year of age, so be ready to assure that these hydration levels are consistently maintained.

Renting out your Hunting Land

Recently, more and more hunters are opting to rent out their land. This business venture is a great way to utilize the hunting land that you are currently not using. Quite a lot of people are beginning to realize that hunting land is actually a lucrative investment. You can hunt and do outdoor activities on it when you are available; then you can get a more or less profitable income whenever you are not.

Get Income from a Generally Untapped Resource

Hunting land is still basically an untapped resource. It is rarely commercialized, and it is barely known by other people outside of the hunting sport. This means that your clients will probably be hunters who have the same principles as you when it comes to the use of hunting land. Since few people know about this prospect, it is not as competitive yet. Many people testify to having their hunting land leased very quickly, giving you almost zero downtime. Starting now while it is still a bit unknown also gives you the chance to become an expert in the field and find more prime spots before others begin to try renting their own land.

Receive Numerous Benefits from Renting Out Your Land

Renting out your land doesn’t just give you the chance to be a more profitable landowner. It also has a few more positive benefits that can be enjoyed such as:

  • Added land security even while you are away, especially if you lease your land with the help of a reliable company.
  • The ability to know exactly who is using your land at the moment, and for what purpose.
  • Meeting new hunters as they rent out your land.
  • Have the area regularly used as hunting grounds, even when you are not around, so that it doesn’t just go to waste for the rest of the year.

Ease of Renting Out Your Hunting Land

Renting out your land is generally easy. You have two equally acceptable methods of leasing your hunting land. The first is by renting it out independently. This can be more tedious regarding the logistics but you can meet renting candidates first hand. This gives you the chance to be more cautious about who gets to use your property. You can also choose to rent out with the help of a company. This gives you the freedom from all of the little details you need to manage, and most companies would be able to provide some security to your land. However, you will have less of a hands-on approach regarding those who are getting the leases.

Renting out your hunting land is a surprisingly lucrative business venture. It is very easy to do; you can simply sign some papers with a company and they will take care of the rest. Renting out your land is also a great way to use your land for better purposes whenever you are not using it, all while reaping other great benefits at the same time.

How to Navigate without Technology

Navigating these days is quite convenient with GPS. Before the GPS, there were only the compass and cartography. But did you know that in the old days, before there were maps and navigational aids, nature was used to navigate? Known as natural navigation, the sun, moon, wind, stars, plants, and animals aided in conquering new territories.

 

You may think that there’s no need to learn navigation using nature. However, if you suddenly find yourself lost in the middle of nowhere and you don’t have anything to aid yourself as to where you are, you’ll definitely be grateful that you have knowledge on how to navigate using the stars.

 

Finding the North – The North Star

 

Knowing how to find the North Star is one of the first skills you should learn.

Also known as the Polaris, the North Star is visible from the earth’s surface during clear nights. It always points to the north, which means that when you are able to locate it, you’ll know where the north is.

To find the North Star, look for the Big Dipper (Ursa Major), which is a constellation made up of seven stars that look like a ladle. The Big Dipper is located just north of the celestial pole. You can also use the Little Dipper (Ursa Minor) to locate Polaris, although this constellation is smaller and more difficult to find in the night sky. Polaris is the brightest of the Little Dipper stars and can be found at the tip of its handle.

Depending on the time of the year, the Big Dipper may be tipped in different directions. First, find the two stars (Merak and Dubhe) forming the outer edge of the Big Dipper. These pointer stars in the cup of the Big Dipper are the two farthest stars from the handle. Then, draw an imaginary line straight through these two stars. The North Star will always be five times the distance between these two pointers in the direction where they point.

 

Use Cassiopeia to Find the North

 

The North Star is almost equidistant from the Big Dipper and another constellation called Cassiopeia, which is shaped like a “W.” Thus, you can also locate the North Star using the Cassiopeia. First, locate Cassiopeia’s middle star. Then, draw an imaginary line straight to the North Star.

For travelers, simply finding the North Star allows them to determine all the compass points: on your left would be the west, on the right is the east, and the back is the south.

Using stars as navigational tools is as old as antiquity. Despite modern technology, it is practical to know how to navigate using the stars. When you find yourself suddenly in an unfamiliar territory, without maps, compass, and communication equipment, looking at the clear night sky will surely tell you where you are. Safe travels!