Sit. Think. Observe. Plan / Signal For Help
Survive Overnight / Read Your Rescuers’ Minds
Carry a Beacon
S.T.O.P. (Sit. Think. Observe. Plan.)
Off track? Use this easy acronym to remind yourself that staying put is usually the best choice.
>> Sit. Unless your current location poses immediate danger, stop hik- ing. Rest and have a snack while you decide what to do next.
>> Think. Consider the places where you may have gone wrong. Try to recall landmarks or reference points you can use to pinpoint your location on a map. Assess your supplies, and the skills and resources of group members. Estimate the time and distance you traveled off- course and decide if you can backtrack, or if you should await rescue.
>> Observe. Use your compass to determine north, or set up a sun- tracking station (see backpacker.com/suntracking). Consider any approaching weather and other situational hazards that could worsen over time, like a limited water supply. Prepare to address them as early as possible and look for resources nearby. Scout access to hilltops (for potential cell reception or signaling opportunities) and water.
>> Plan. If you are confident that you can backtrack to a known spot, do it in the daylight and allow plenty of time to find shelter and water before dark. Check your direction of travel often, and mark your path with rocks or sticks in case you become disoriented again. If it’s too late to continue, or you’re not sure of your location, prioritize your group’s needs and stay put for the night. Tomorrow, reassess.
Signal for Help
3 ways to alert your rescuers