Survive a Night in the Woods

 Wilderness survival expert Joe Whittington met with Lydia Nguyen to talk about how you should always be prepared when leaving for a day hike.

Most important thing: make sure someone knows where you are going and when to expect you back


Be familiar with where you are going before you leave:

Check weather forecast

Understand the route from map or guidebook

Quick Internet check for route and road conditions


Carrying a few critical items will greatly improve your ability to survive a night out


Carrying a cell phone, or a personal location communicator where there is no cell coverage, will simplify finding you.


Most people are found within a day or two, especially if they stay put once they realize they are lost.  


Critical to understand priorities:

Can only survive three minutes without air

Can survive up to three days without water

Can survive up to three weeks without food

But - can die in two to three hours from hypothermia or heat stroke


So need to first deal with immediate threats to life:

Airway, Breathing, Circulation

Next need to have shelter

Then water and lastly food


Most people die of exposure, not thirst or starvation


Here are the things to always carry when in the backcountry:


Ten Essentials:

Navigation (map and compass)

Sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen)

Insulation (extra clothing)

Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)

First-aid supplies

Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candles)

Repair kit and tools

Nutrition (extra food)

Hydration (extra water)

Emergency shelter


Non-cotton clothing layers:


Tarp for protection from wind and rain


Ensolite pad for insulation from the ground


Bivy bag to keep you warm


Communication tools:

Cell Phone

“SPOT” Connect





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