Recent Comments

Lost in the woods! Now what?


O.K. You’re lost. Now what?


If you don’t know where you are or which way to go, STAY PUT. People will start looking for you as soon as someone realizes you’re missing. Meanwhile, it’s time to use your No. 1 survival tool — your brain. Follow the S-T-O-P signs.

S. Stay calm: You can’t use your brain well if you’re in a panic. Breathe slowly and deeply. Drink some water, eat a little something.

T. Think: How did you get here? Get out your map and see what you can figure out.

O. Observe: Look for your footprints. What about landmarks? Find the clues and maybe you can solve the mystery of where you are.

P. Plan: If you’re pretty sure of the way back, move carefully. But what if you’re wrong? Mark your trail as you move — piles of stones, broken branches. That way you can always come back to where you were.



Help searchers find you. The universal distress call always comes in threes: Three shouts, three blasts on a whistle. Start calling. Make a smoky fire in the daytime (toss grass or green leaves on the flames) or a bright fire at night. Spread extra clothing or any bright gear in the open to catch the eye of a rescue pilot.

Make yourself comfortable. Pitch a tent if you have one, or make a shelter out of the wind. Use the gear you have to help you stay warm and dry. How long can you last? Without water, for several days. Without food, for several weeks.



On a clear day, the flash of a signal mirror can be seen up to 100 miles away. Any mirror will do. To aim it, hold the mirror with one hand and extend the other hand in front of you. Tilt the mirror until its reflected light fills your empty palm. Make a V with your illuminated fingers, then sight through the V toward an aircraft.

The lid of a tin can, a piece of foil or anything shiny can also work.

22 Comments on Lost in the woods! Now what?

  1. I tell my scouts to stop and sit and think about the situation.

  2. Coolkid6774 // March 14, 2015 at 3:58 pm // Reply

    These are some great tips!

  3. these tips will help me if i got lost in the camping trip that i am going to this summer

  4. wow

  5. Earn Wilderness Survival for more info

  6. cool

  7. that is cool im glad i read that

  8. If you recognize you are lost early enough and it is just a short hike,chances are you are only several hours or miles away from help. Make a lot of noise and someone will find you.

  9. way cool

  10. My dad taught me this one:

    When in danger, when in doubt,
    Run in circles scream and shout.

    Or in this case, blow a whistle.

  11. I’ve learned a lot of survival skills and these are very simple

  12. kool

  13. outdoor guy // August 25, 2009 at 6:08 am // Reply

    i usally have a survival pack with me

  14. good tips! but If im lost i’ll use my $150 spot sattellite messanger witch send 9-11 calls to a 9-11 center and that also gives them the exact location of you. but if i dont have that i’ll use those tips.

  15. carry a small survival kit, they really do work!

  16. These are really good Tips.

  17. alexnator450 // August 1, 2008 at 7:45 am // Reply

    I like the S-T-O-P thing. I will bring it up at the next troop meeting.

  18. philmont 09 75 // June 16, 2008 at 9:24 pm // Reply

    Great tips try to find water and stay cool or warm depending on conditions avoid extra problems great info

  19. A scout parent // October 22, 2007 at 2:03 am // Reply

    Hug a tree and stay put. All children and adults should attend the hug a tree program. You will learn alot and it could save you’r life.

  20. wutang, do u have 1 of those stater thingies.For one thing there fun to play with and they just might save your life someday.therereally cheap(like 2 dollars i think) at your local scout shop.

Leave a Reply

Please do not use your real name.