Take a look through all of your survival things. What is your biggest, best "go to" tool you have? Could it be your knife? It can be used for many things, cutting, carving, chopping and skinning. Or could it be your fire starter whether that is a plain old lighter, flint, ferro rod or any of the commercial fire starters. Nope, neither of those are what you should be using as your "go to" tool. I know your sitting there racking your brain trying to figure out what else it could be, maybe a water purification system of some kind? No, still not it.
Ok, here it is, the single greatest survival tool you have is your mind. I know it was kind of a trick question. Seriously think about it, your greatest tool is your mind and knowing how to use it will keep you from just curling up in a ball sucking your thumb and waiting to die when faced with a survival situation. When faced with a survival situation, whether it is because you were hiking and got lost, or for any other reason, your mind is your biggest asset. Here are some things to think about to keep you safe.
Stop and calm down, you will just make mistakes when your not thinking clearly. Look around you, can you see anything that looks familiar like, landmarks, trees or roads etc. If nothing looks familiar now what? depending on the time of the day you will have different priorities.( will cover in a later post) The first thing you should decide, is what can I do to better my situation and be able to survive for a couple days if you had to. You need to find shelter or construct one. The weather will help you determine the type of shelter you should build BUT, I always say build it once and do it right so you are ready for anything. Look around you, are you in a low lying area or a water run off area, this would not be a good place for a shelter in the rain.
Fire, if you are out hiking you should have a way of making fire with you such as a lighter, flint or other means. This and a knife are the 2 things that I do not leave out on a hike or fishing trip without. Fire does many things, most of which provides warmth, sometimes even more than that, it provides you peace of mind. There have been times I have been out and didnt have a fire for one reason or another. You will hear all sorts of things all around you, some of which you can even call into question your sanity.
Water, you need to find a water source, in most places water can be found fairly easily. You have to have water (no brainer). Find it, purify it and drink, stay hydrated, stay alive. Not sure I really need to expand on why you need water.
The bottom line, is that your mind and knowledge are the greatest tools you have, without remaining calm, thinking clearly you will lessen your chances of survival.
As always, feel free to leave me a comment if you do not agree with something, I will be happy to talk about anything, we are all here to learn from each other.