8. Spending a night out
WRONG: Obsess over how to get “unlost,” wander around without a plan, and ignore your core temperature. Being lost doesn’t kill you; exposure does.
RIGHT: Put on a hat and extra layers, then build a fire and a shelter. Keeping yourself warm and dry is your top priority, followed by collecting water. Don’t worry about food just yet–the vast majority of lost hikers are found within 12 hours, says Anderson.
How to improvise a sleeping bag
Use this method when you don’t have the materials or the time to construct a more elaborate shelter. Make a bed out of evergreen boughs, dry leaves, and/or pine needles. Put on all extra clothing. Poke a hole in a large garbage bag for your head and put it on like a shirt, stuffing it with dry leaves for extra insulation. Lie down and put your feet in your empty pack.
How to build a lean-to shelter
Use branches and evergreen boughs to build the wall; prop it up with sticks or lean it against a rock. Lay dry leaves or pine needles underneath for insulation from the cold ground. A tarp, emergency blanket, or garbage bag tied between two trees can also be rigged to form the wall.