4 tips for woodland survival

Camping is fun and full of adventure when it's done right. Make sure you are as safe as can be and prepare ahead of time.

Recently on this blog, we talked about what you should do if you need to contact the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) in case of emergency. But what about you landlubbers who prefer camping and nature to sea life? It is always good to know what to do in case of emergency, so make sure you are prepared by checking out this list of things to do when lost or injured in the woods:

1. Before you leave: First, whether you are going for a few hours, or for the weekend, when you leave for an adventure you should always tell someone where you are going and how long you will be gone. This will ensure that, if you do go missing, someone will know to come looking for you. Secondly, you will certainly be packing a bag. Make sure to bring tons of water, a few snacks, a change of clothes, and a first aid or survival kit. Adventure Medical offers a few different kits that range from a single knife to a utility box.   

2. Call for help: In a 1946 pamphlet from the U.S. State Department of Agriculture on how to be safe in the woods, the Forest Service suggested that "A clear head will find itself." Meaning that if you take time to think, you would be able to save yourself. While the sentiment is nice, its not necessarily true. So first thing you should do is signal for help. You can do this by building a fire, spelling out an SOS or (if you have one) shooting off a flare gun.

3. Fire/Warmth: If building a fire is not part of your initial call-for-help plan, be sure that it is next on your list of things to do. No matter where you get lost, remember that any location gets chilly when the sun goes down, and you don't want to be prone to hypothermia. Building a decent fire in a safe clearing and layering on the warm clothes will help you to stay warm and dry. For this, you want to be sure that you have packed a good amount of compact, yet effective layers into your bag. When putting together camping gear, consider purchasing a dry bag for clothing, towels and blankets. Dry Pak offers some great duffel options that come in a number of sizes and colors.

4. Shelter: No matter where you get lost, finding or building a shelter should be a top priority. This could be in a nearby cave or under a natural overhang of rock. Keep in mind that if your location is prone to unpredictable weather patterns, you may want to try and camp on higher ground. This will give you a better chance of being seen from overhead and will also not allow for pooling of water wherever you sleep. While no one plans to get lost in the woods, preparing for a dry and warm place to sleep when packing your bag is a good idea. Make sure to bring a few extra garbage bags for lining the ground (or yourself) to make rain a non-factor. Also be sure to pack a lightweight sleeping bag or blanket just in case.

If you are planning a trip into the woods, and happen to get lost on your adventure, consider these tips for getting to safety. If you are interested in adding to your camping pack to ensure your safe return, contact ePal Inc. for a vast array of products, tools and gadgets. We offer a range of camping gear and also specialize in marine accessories. Contact us today! 

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