There are a lot of ‘ifs’ to this. If you find yourself stranded in the wilderness with nothing, following a few simple rules can mean the difference between life and death.
Rescue should be on the way if you planned ahead and told someone where, and for how long, you were going. All you have to do is survive until it gets there.
Think and do
Assess the situation and adapt. What are all the possible options? What dangers are near? Is leaving the area safer than staying where you are? Decide what the best course of action is and take it while you still have your strength.
If you are on exposed land, find sheltered terrain.
Keep your body temperature as normal as possible. Overheating or hyperthermia is deadly. Likewise hypothermia, being too cold, can strike at night when the temperature reduces.
Find water, you can only survive for three days without water, and your judgment, temperature regulation and physical ability will be increasingly impaired much sooner than that.
Find shelter or build it.
Rocky crags, downed trees and thick forests will give you some protection.
You can build a shelter by layering branches against a log or tree trunk. Use as many branches as possible for stability and protection against the elements. The smaller your shelter is, the better it will insulate you.
If you are on soft, wet ground, use branches laid in a crisscross pattern to create a dry, solid foundation for a bed or lean-to. Raise your shelter above ground level as much as possible.
If you are in a desert, try to dig an underground shelter to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun.
Build a fire.
Rubbing a stick up and down the grain of a larger piece of wood can create glowing embers. Put small, dry leaves and moss on the embers and blow gently on the pile to ignite it. Add kindling sticks to build the fire up.
It typically takes five to seven minutes of vigorous rubbing to create embers.
Gather all the dry wood you can and make it last.
Above all, use your time wisely and think coherently.
Make cautious but rational decisions, and divide your time evenly between the tasks you must complete during daylight to make your night as warm, comfortable, and safe as possible. Sit tight and wait for rescue.