S.T.O.P. This is the technique that pros like Mark Jenkins use when getting lost in the wilderness without a GPS or a phone available. It stands for stop, think, observe, and plan. Avoiding injury, getting clean water, and finding a way back to civilization are all priorities that could take longer than expected.
We’ve compiled a few practical tips that could come in handy in case you’re lost out in the wilderness.
1. Wrap a plastic bag around branches to harvest water.
Finding a source of fresh water to drink is a priority when lost in the wilderness. The time humans can survive without water depends on the conditions. For reference, an athlete exercising hard in hot weather can dehydrate, overheat, and die over a period of a few hours. Fortunately, using condensation to obtain fresh water is fairly easy. By wrapping a Ziploc (or any other plastic bag) around a leafy branch that is exposed to the sun, you can have an unlimited supply of fresh water.
2. Wrap your body with bubble wrap and/or leaves to keep warm.
This may seem like an impractical tip, but packing bubble paper is extremely important when camping in cold weather. Since bubble wrap keeps a layer of air as a buffer, it acts as a great insulator. It’s even used to insulate windows during the winter. If you forgot to do that, you can always use dry leaves as a substitute. Research has shown that dry apple tree leaves, for example, improve thermal insulation.
3. Collect morning dew with ankle grass-bracelets.
This technique is commonly used by Australian aboriginal people who would walk long distances without carrying water. They would form a ball of dried grass or even wrap it around their ankles while walking before sunrise to collect dew water.