How to Survive in the Forest: Finding Water vs. Finding Food

Avery Emberly

Updated Tuesday, May 7, 2024 at 12:00 AM CDT

Getting lost in the forest can be a frightening experience, but with the right knowledge and actions, you can ensure your survival. In this informative article, we will explore two different approaches to take when faced with being lost in the wilderness: finding water and finding food.

The image accompanying this article provides a side-by-side comparison of two actions that a person might consider when lost in the forest. On the left side, we see a red-haired individual wearing a red jacket, appearing worried or confused. Behind them, a lush wooded area with various shades of green trees sets the scene. However, this person is making a crucial mistake. Above the image is a red "X" symbol, indicating that the following course of action is not advisable. The text below the illustration suggests that finding a source of food should be the first priority when lost in the forest.

On the right side of the image, we find the same red-haired person, but this time they exude resourcefulness and determination. Standing with hands on hips, they are ready to take the correct action. The environment shifts to a grassy clearing leading to a small creek with stone stepping-stones. The atmosphere is slightly brighter, suggesting a more positive outcome. Above this scene, a green checkmark indicates the right course of action. The text below this illustration emphasizes that finding a source of drinkable water should be the top priority when lost in the forest.

So, which approach is the correct one? According to wilderness survival experts, the answer is clear. When lost in the forest, your first priority should be to find a source of drinkable water. Water is essential for hydration and maintaining bodily functions, and without it, your chances of survival diminish rapidly. The image on the right side provides a visual representation of this crucial step.

Once you have secured a source of water, you can then focus on finding food. While food is undoubtedly important for long-term survival, the human body can endure for weeks without it. However, it's crucial to note that foraging for food in the wilderness requires proper knowledge and training to avoid potentially harmful or poisonous plants. It is always best to err on the side of caution and seek professional guidance.

The comments provided by users in response to the image offer additional insights and tips for surviving in the wilderness. From advice on encountering bears to staying put and leaving clear markers for search parties, these comments reinforce the importance of preparedness and knowledge when faced with unexpected situations.

Getting lost in the forest can be a daunting experience, but by prioritizing the right actions, you can increase your chances of survival. Remember, finding a source of drinkable water should be your first priority, followed by seeking out food with caution. Stay calm, stay focused, and stay safe.

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View source: Imgur

Top Comments from Imgur


If you encounter a bear on the trail, throw your woman at it to save her from yourself.


#8 As Ernest taught me, "Remember kids! If you get lost, the moss always grows on the outside of the trees." And I have always remembered to not wander into the woods. Thanks Ernest!


#8 I've always wondered where this one came from. I checked just about a zillion trees as a kid, and never found it to be true; moss seems to grow pretty much wherever it feels like.


#7 Dear god, do not use "I saw it in the grocery store" as a metric for safety re: wild forage. So many plants look like other plants. If you aren't specifically trained and familiar with the area you're in, it's better to just forego forage and try to catch fish or small animals. Even then, you can go a couple weeks without food in a pinch. Your time is generally better spent figuring out ways to get noticed and rescued.


#6 Yes, sharks' eyes and gills are more sensitive, but they may also be out of reach if it is coming straight toward you. The nose is also sensitive and you should try to punch wherever you can.


#9 If it's black, fight back. If it's brown, lie down. If it's white, good night.


#1 Depends on climate. If it gets very hot or very cold, shelter is your first priority. In the cold, you have to get out of the wind. In the hot, you need to shelter away from the sun. Even in temperate areas, you need to be mindful of temperature drops at night. Water is more important in hot climates, but you'll die of heat stroke before dehydration if you aren't careful.


#6 - The eyes and gills of a shark are much closer to all the teeth that you want to avoid, and the nose makes for a safer point of contact with a shark that's lunging. However, you don't want to try punching underwater - unless you have aquatic boxing skills somehow, you won't deliver nearly the power you want to. What you want is to grab the shark so its momentum carries you away from its mouth, and either redirect its momentum, or move yourself to the side. Dodge, not fight.


Also dont waste your time looking for cactus water if you get lost in colder climates, you will waste valuable energy.


You can avoid becoming lost in the woods by never leaving the city.

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