What to do if you get lost hiking
Heading out on the trail? Plan your hike like your life depends on it – because it does. Correct planning, and the right navigation aids, will help you avoid getting lost. What do you do if you can’t find your way home safely?
Here’s a few tips
- Don’t panic! This wastes energy and leads to poor decision making
- Stop, stay calm and think
- Separated from your group? Shout out then wait for a response. Don’t run blindly towards where you think they might be
- Retrace your steps a short distance and see if you can find the trail
- Check your map and try to determine where you are by the contours and your compass. You might need to gain some height for orientation
- If you have no idea where you are, STAY WHERE YOU ARE!
- If you’re in a group ALWAYS STAY TOGETHER! There is safety in numbers and rescue teams don’t need to be searching for multiple groups
- If you have mobile reception, call 000 and ask for police. The international standard emergency number is 112, if you dial this number in Australia you will be treated exactly the same as a 000 call. In areas of marginal coverage SMS can be more reliable than voice, but 000 does not accept SMS messages. If SMS is the only way you seem to be able to connect, then you will have to SMS a friend and get them to call 000 for you
- If you have a Spot, InReach or satellite communication device, active your emergency response.
- Make a cuppa to help you relax (there’s a teabag in your survival kit)
- Make your position visible to rescue teams by placing bright items (pack cover, bright clothing etc.) in an open and clearly visible area
- If you believe your life is at risk, activate your personal locator beacon (PLB)
- It can take time for rescuers to reach you, so your priority is to find or build a shelter to keep warm and dry. Remember to remain visible.
- Find a water source if it’s safe to do so and ration your food and water if necessary.