How To Survive If You Get Stranded In The Woods

How To Survive If You Get Stranded In The Woods

How To Survive If You Get Stranded In The Woods

Okay so you’re walking along in the woods either on your own or with your family, be that your partner or kids, and realize you left the trail behind you and now you have no idea where you’re at or where the trail might be to get you back to civilization. What should you do?

The first thing you need to do is to stop and take breath and relax. The main thing you have to remember is to not panic. Once you have calmed down enough to think clearly you need to assess your resources. If you’re wearing a backpack empty is out and see what you have to work with.

If you happen to see a clearing in the woods, it would be a great idea to find things like rocks, branches, whatever you can find to make an SOS that can be seen from the sky.

Hopefully when you have gone through your pack you’ve found a knife and matches if not that’s okay, don’t panic I’ll explain how you can make a primitive knife.


You need to make a shelter ASAP, if you have kids this will probably be top on the agenda, just because they can get hypothermia a lot quicker than adults. The best way to do this is to find to decent length stick that is forked at one end. Take the end that isn’t forked and put it in the ground. Do this with both sticks and make sure that the sticks are perpendicular to each other. Find another stick that you can lay in each of the forked ends of the sticks. Once this is done you now need to find brush to layer around the sticks this way you can keep the wind and rain off you. The thicker the brush is the better for you. Below are a few other shelters you could build.

Primitive Lean-To Shelter

Survival Debris Shelter


Your next step is to find yourself a decent water source. Look for green plant trails this will usually indicate some type of water source. You need to remember where your shelter is, you can do this by taking your knife and putting marks in trees as you walk past them. If you come across a spring or lake then your survival chances just went up. If you come across spring then you can go ahead and drink it straight from the source. If you happen to come along or a stream or creek then you will need to make sure it’s boiled first before you drink it. This will help kill any bacterium and viruses that may be growing in the water.

Failing finding a water source you can collect water with any kind of plastic bag you may have in your pack, just find some lush green leaves and place the leaves inside the bag and tie the bag shut over them, this will make the leaves expel water in the form of condensation and provide you with drinking water. This method does not produce a lot of water.

If you have kids with you, they will need to take priority, as an adult you can last longer with out. This is my opinion, I know I would rather let my kids have a drink of water over me.


The first thing that you need to do is clear a space that is at least three feet around. Then you need to gather things that can be used to start a fire. This becomes easier the more people you have, more hands mike light work, plus it keep their minds active and keeps the worry away because they are doing tasks. You can use anything from the lint in your pocket to a shredded shirt. If you don’t have any matches or a lighter with you that’s okay you will still be able to get a fire going.

There are few methods that you can try. If you can find two pieces of flint you can strike them together to cause a spark. Or you can rub two sticks together and the friction will cause an ember to blow into flame. These two methods may take you while to do, but don’t give up all you need is one good spark and you will have a roaring fire.

Make sure when you once you have your fire going that you keep it burning 24 hours a day. You will need to make sure that you gather a lot of wood and dry brush. It takes more wood then you think to keep a fire burning continuously.

Make sure that you stay in one place, don’t wander off this will only waste energy and get you even more lost. Staying in one place will also make it easier for you to be found. Some other really good tips that you should follow are staying dry and warm, hypothermia can set in quickly. You should stay away from berries unless you are absolutely sure they are not dangerous. Almost all berries found in the wilderness are dangerous. If you have no way to boil or purify your water then make sure that you drink from the fastest moving section of water. The best thing for you to remember is to not panic. When you first become lost you need to remember the anagram S.T.O.P, which means stop, think, observe, and plan. By remembering these tips you will be able to survive out in the wilderness until a search and rescue team comes to find you.


For me food is last on my list. I say this only because I know you can go for about 3 weeks with no food. If you are in the woods you actually have an advantage. You have everything around you to make traps and snares. Here is a great article that explains how to make 15 traps and snares that will capture animals that provide us precious calories from meat and fat


In the woods you will probably see a lot of mushrooms and fungus growing. DO NOT eat anything that you are not 100% sure of. You will have to tell your kids this too. I know kids like to eat anything. Here is a great article on Wild mushrooms: What to eat, what to avoid


Berries will be abundant depending on what time of the year you get stranded. Again, DO NOT eat anything you are not 100% sure of. Here is a great article on berries.


Other things you may need to know

The first thing you will need is a rock that is approximately five inches by three inches. Once you have the right sized rock you then need to find a large rock and strike the smaller rock against the larger one until you have a clean, sharp edge. This could take you quite a bit of time to accomplish, just keep at it and you will have a nice sharp edge that you can use for many different purposes.

How to Make A Knife From A Stone

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