Sunday, December 18, 2011

How to ration food and water if lost on hike

If lost and so forced to stay out overnight in the wilds, ration your food.
Photo courtesy of Summer Woods.
If you’re lost or forced to stay a night in the wilds with a child, this will be a very frightening experience for all, but especially the children. While as an adult you’re mentally tough enough to rough it for a night, a child is totally without all that he finds familiar: his bed, the warmth of the house, a bathroom, the nightly routines. Always ensure your child that everything will be all right and that a rescue team will be along shortly.

Since you're on a day hike, you probably will need to ration your food and water, which means the child likely will be hungry. By rationing, however, you can ensure that you and your child have some food in your stomach at all times, lessening the hunger and fright that comes with it.

When rationing, divide food so you can have two meals and three drinks of water for each person in the group. At dark, each person gets to eat one meal of their food ration and drink one of their water allotments. For breakfast, they can have the rest of their food ration and drink the second of their water allotments. A few hours later, they may have one more drink allotment.

Hopefully, since you’ve left information about when you would be back, the responsible party at home will report you as lost – and since they know which trail you were on, search parties will soon arrive before you must use local water and food sources.

Read more about day hiking with children in my guidebook Hikes with Tykes.