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Surviving the Great Outdoors

You plan a hiking trip to the mountains with all your friends. As a group comprised of five, you feel safe and assured that the day is going to be something to remember. However, what you didn't factor in was the possibility of a disturbance or unpredicted weather hindering your ability to see clearly just 5 feet in front of you. Now, your vision of a spectacular day turns into a disaster where you start to question your chances of survival. The good news is that this doesn't have to happen to you if you prepare ahead and take precautions along the way.

Pack More Than You Need

When heading out to unfamiliar territory, even for just a day of hiking, it's always a good idea to pack more than what you need. According to the Boy Scouts of America, there are 10 things necessary for your survival. While it may seem old school with high-tech items dominating most of today's markets, a map and a compass are still 100 percent reliable. You should also have your phone charged at 100 percent before heading out and have a sizable first aid kit which contains gauze, antiseptic ointment, bug spray, sunscreen, and ibuprofen. Additionally, even if the weather is warm carry a sweatshirt, rain gear, and a change of clothing in the event you get wet. You should also have at least a 2 day's supply of water and trail mix or energy bars, a knife or preferably a pocket knife with attachments, a lighter, fire starter, a flashlight, a garbage bag, blanket, rope or cord, and duct tape.

Of course, in order to carry all these essentials, you'll need a bag to hold it. Thankfully companies such as Lander.com have a wide range of styles, sizes, and capacities, to suit your needs.

Stay Together

You may think this is silly since you all plan on hanging together on the trail. However, if someone decides to gather wood or look for a water source, it's easy to get lost, especially in uncharted territory. A way to avoid this is to use the buddy system where no one goes off on their own. You can also use your colored duct tape to wrap around the trees you pass to leave a trail for the way back to safety. Wandering off is never a good idea. However, if you should get lost, try not to panic and remain calm. Light a fire with wood to send a signal and stay put until help arrives.

Bunkering Down

If you end up lost, take advantage of the sun's bright light and start to prepare the area for nightfall. The good news is that Mother Nature provides the basics to establish a shelter regardless of the time of year. Use the tree limbs, rocks and the terrain to your advantage. If there's an overhang, use that as the roof and then place logs, tree limbs or rocks around to create a barrier against animals and the elements. And, use leaves or your extra clothing and blanket to add warmth beneath you. It's also important not to wear yourself out so that you stay alert. If it's winter and there's a substantial amount of snow on the ground, create a type of igloo.

Help Is On the Way

You may find that you can't gather your thoughts and start to fear that you will never go home. Instead, keep your thoughts positive. People know you are missing and help is on the way. You have a food source, plenty of water and clothing and other essential supplies on hand to get you through the next day to two if needed.

Don't let a fun time with good friends turn into a tragedy. Before heading out on any outdoor adventure make sure that you create a comprehensive list of survival tools and supplies. 

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