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awake

From getting lost to getting found

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Years back i taught backpacking to kids. Most of them had never backpacked and had very little time in the woods. I also had to deal with their parents that were concerned for their kids. The following information was gleamed from multiple sources. They are not my original ideas. These are generally accepted points that may increase your chances of being found when you become lost. If you have zero time in the wilderness or years of experience here are some basics to consider....................

 

 

We all have different levels of comfort in a wilderness situation. If you are a nature lover, hiker, backpacker, hunter or parent you should learn how to be found after being lost. Even if you have been in the wilderness for most your life it is easy to get turned around. Hunters tend to focus on the pursuit of the game and find themselves in unfamiliar surroundings. Hikers and backpackers are more trail orientated. They get lost due to navigation errors or not noticing they have left a trail. Anyone that has spent a good deal of time in the wilderness has been at least for a moment disorientated. Don’t lull yourself into a false sense of security. These skills and habits can cross over into your over all prepping and bail out plans. So let’s talk about getting lost and increasing your chances of being found.

First thing is rule number one. It won’t prevent your getting lost but it will be the best thing you can do to ensure you are found. Tell someone exactly where you intend to go. Supply this person with when you are leaving, precisely where you are going and when you expect to be home. Stick to your plan. Leave a note on the front seat of your car with time/date and direction of your travel. For security reasons make sure the note can only be read by SAR (search and rescue). Instruct your contact person what to do if you miss your time to arrive home.

Here are some other steps to take:

• Get a GPS unit and learn to use it before going into the woods.

• Before setting off, set a waypoint for your vehicle.

• Take a fully charged Cell phone. You never know where you get service.

• Learn to use a compass. GPS units and cell phones don't always work.

• Take an orienteering class.

• Pack a reliable map of the area. Learn to interpret topographic contours and symbols and know what landmarks to look for.

• Check weather forecasts and wear appropriate clothing for season and conditions. Be prepared for changing conditions.

• Learn basic first aid.

• Travel with a companion.

• Practice fire making skills

• Ask a search and rescue group to give a presentation to your sporting club, school or civic group.

• Make a survival kit. Keep it in your vehicle's glove box.

• Take a whistle with you. 3 blasts on a whistle is an international distress signal. It will last longer than your voice.

So what do you do if you get lost? First stop and take a deep breath. Panic will try to set in and it will compromise your situation. Use the acronym for STOP.

• STAY PUT! Moving around wastes precious time and energy increases your anxiety and makes you even harder to find. Sit down and stay calm.

• THINK! Take inventory of what you have with you, what you can find and use around you, and what you need to do to make yourself safe and comfortable. Remember the rule of three: you can live three minutes without air, three hours without warmth, three days without water and three weeks without food.

• OBSERVE! Use your compass and map and try to determine your location and heading. Look for landmarks that you can identify on the map. This may help you re-orient and get headed in the right direction. If not, check how much daylight is left and what the weather is doing.

• PREPARE! Plan what you need for an overnight stay to keep warm and dry. Based on the rule of three, decide whether you need to build a fire or shelter. Gather tinder, kindling and fuel. If you followed the basic rule of the outdoors and told someone your plans before leaving, you can plan to be found within a day or two and food may not be your top priority

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Excelent advice and if your new to preping please copy and save.

This is the best advice,IMJHO

"• OBSERVE! Use your compass and map and try to determine your location and heading. Look for landmarks that you can identify on the map. This may help you re-orient and get headed in the right direction. If not, check how much daylight is left and what the weather is doing"

What do you mean you went into the woods with out a map?????check forum on free down load of topical maps. :}....You would not leave home with out a road map when you drive to another state would you ..lol

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thanks 101matt

 

You would not believe the number of people i have met that never take a map and compass with them in the woods. Even more have very little orienteering skills. Personally i would like to work more on my night time orienteering skills.

 

People please learn the value of this skill. Learn now.(there are clubs and classes available everywhere). If shtf it will make the difference.

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I agree never go into the woods or mountains without a map and compass...it could turn out to be bad for your health.....being a Cavarly Scout in the Army for a bunch of years I have seen soldiers and civilians alike get really bad lost on a land nav course and when you start asking questions most of them didn't know east from west....the thing about land nav is you have to learn and retain the basic map reading skills or you will get lost or just go in circles. Have to hand to Fort Campbell I took my Primary Leadership course there back in the late 90's and they have the best land nav course in the army.

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Ruger92,

The Army taught me surveying and fire direction. I thought I knew about maps from the Scouts and flying but you haven't lived until you've navigated a few hundred miles at 120 kts using a 1 to 1 scale map! (OK, tactical maps were 1 to 50,000) One and a quarter inches was about a mile. The real fun was when you had a 1:25,000 scale. You could even see individual houses in a village.

 

FM 3-25.26 was actually a pretty decent manual. For the city dweller, the maps may be useless if a big storm wipes out all your standard references. Can you find your house with no street signs and most of the houses gone?

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Thanks awake, I feel a bit embarrassed to admit this but I seldom if ever carry a map with me anymore, and I need to start again, kinda gave me a reminder about the fundamentals.

 

@ Capt Bart, and Ruger92, you should see these new sattelite image maps with MGRS overlays they give us now. Weird trying to nav with them.

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Thanks awake, I feel a bit embarrassed to admit this but I seldom if ever carry a map with me anymore, and I need to start again, kinda gave me a reminder about the fundamentals.

 

@ Capt Bart, and Ruger92, you should see these new sattelite image maps with MGRS overlays they give us now. Weird trying to nav with them.

 

Just think of an event happening while you are 100 miles from where you need to go. Then think you need 4 ways to get there. Gotta have a map. With a good topo you can navigate without a compass. just takes practice. I even carry a map in my edc and i grew up in this area.

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Just think of an event happening while you are 100 miles from where you need to go. Then think you need 4 ways to get there. Gotta have a map. With a good topo you can navigate without a compass. just takes practice. I even carry a map in my edc and i grew up in this area.

 

I hear ya, I think after spending so long outdoors, having been LRS and now a Forward observer I just got cocky, and as they say "Pride goeth before the fall".

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I hear ya, I think after spending so long outdoors, having been LRS and now a Forward observer I just got cocky, and as they say "Pride goeth before the fall".

 

When I was at Ft. Sill we did what they called a "walking shoot". You're walking along a ridge line and take turns calling in directed fire. The catch was, as we went we kept "losing" equipment until finally all you had left was the radio. One of my classmates was among the few (only?) people to score 100 percent for gunnery in the school.

 

You know the FO has problems when the call starts with,"mark center sector, mark gun-target line, far round white phosphorous." That was mine, my class mate didn't even have the Fire Direction Center, he did it all in his head (we called it magic). For you non-artillery types, poor devils that you are, 1 mill of angle change equals 1 meter at 1 kilometer (or 1 yard at 1000 yards - same difference). If your round lands 100 yards to the left of the target, you need to shift right 100 mills. Since the center sector is by definition 1600 mills, if I want to go right 100 mills I order the guns to point at 1700 mills. Same general idea with elevation (called quadrant in the Artillery); if you're firing at 400 mills and I need to move the round toward the guns 200 meters I call for quadrant 200. Normally the FDC does all that a lot more accurately with the tables and such but you CAN do it in your head if you have to. You have to adjust for the range from the gun to the target, of course, but after the first adjustment you have a good feel for that. (If 100 mills gives you a 500 meter shift all subsequent changes get divided by 5 because the guns are 5 kilometers away.) Lord I loved the artillery!

 

Shot Out!

Edited by Capt Bart

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just thought this might be appropriate here

 

http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/geomag/declination.shtml

 

http://www.thecompassstore.com/sighting-compasses.html

 

I have a Suunto optical sighting compass had it for longer than I can remember

 

and if you want to learn some more rigorous outdoor skills here ya' go look at list of subjects

at bottom of page.

 

http://www.traditionalmountaineering.org/FAQ_Best_Compass.htm

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Check the REI website for a store in your area...they offer land nav classes for compass and GPS.

 

They also offer backpacking classes that will teach you the basics as well...travel, how to setup your campsite, cook...that type of thing.

 

I expect that they will be "pushing" items that they sell while they do.

Edited by vonBayern

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Daniel Boone's words, "I've never been lost; but I was bewildered once for three days.

 

I have been bewildered more than a few times a map and a compass does not make you

not able to get lost even with a topo map in the jungle or a rolling grass area where nothing is

a landmark.

 

GPS is a great tool make sure it is water proof an you have a solar panel charger

I like AA or AAA batteries for everything all these new batteries give me a headache.

 

I do not want a GPS or have one if your comfortable with tech have at it.

 

If I got there I can get back I have learned trail skills when I was a kid.

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At one point in time I had to teach land nav...I found it kind of humorus that even after the lectures people still would drift out of the path as they were navigating.

 

The number one reason? They never did a back azimuth to make sure that they were still on track.

 

There are also these guys:

 

http://www.landnavigation.org/Pages/default.aspx

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Urban wolf

 

that is true I think people need to learn tracking skills and remember trail marking as we are not

in trouble yet and these skills are never a waste of time.

 

hey the flagging tape method is great all it is a colored roll of plastic non stick just tie it to eye level limbs

and do not be a litter bug remove it as you return 1 roll will last a long time I like yellow in low light

it stands out.

 

http://www.utilitysafeguard.com/Marking-Barrier-Products/Survey-Flagging-Tape/TF1YG/

 

wreck and cave diving or spelunking a wire tie reel and string line gets you back alive.

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At one point in time I had to teach land nav...I found it kind of humorus that even after the lectures people still would drift out of the path as they were navigating.

 

The number one reason? They never did a back azimuth to make sure that they were still on track.

 

There are also these guys:

 

http://www.landnavigation.org/Pages/default.aspx

 

The other point to this is to stop and LOOK at the back trail. One, it looks differently coming back that going in. If you know how the back trail looks you are less likely to get lost when the landmarks are different.

The other reason is to see what is following you! It may be nothing, but some animals will stalk a human - we're just another delicacy of the forest to them and if we're not aware, we're just that much easier to take.

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