There’s a cliched notion that between man and nature exists an unbreakable connection, a bond that transcends our present, technological advances—a notion based on the fact that we all are a product of that same nature.

Although a true notion, modern comfort has made us far too removed from the natural world. In our current routine we block out unwanted sounds with headphones; we adjust the heat or the air conditioner to fight natural temperatures; we pave the soil with cement because we move better on even grounds.

As if that wasn’t enough, we’ve also developed technologies that let us communicate, ‘travel’ in a way, without leaving the walls we’ve built as shelter.

As a consequence of such distance between man and nature, I wouldn’t blame anyone who finds himself clueless and helpless in the wilderness. Yet, such moments do occur and preparation and knowledge are the only things standing between survival and a sure death.

For that reason we’ve done the research and have written below a step by step overview of what to do if you find yourself suddenly having to fear for your life in the wilderness. Take a look.

1. Survival starts before the trip

In preparation for your adventure, your friends and family members should know in advance your itinerary: specific locations, who you’ll be going with, exact dates, etc.

It might go without saying, but you also need to make sure you’ve packed thoroughly for the location of your trip. Here’s a list of things to pack for a backpacking trip.

Research local weather as well as the closest landmarks, hospitals or government offices near the destination of your trip.

2. Breathe, don’t panic, and take inventory

You’ve realized you’re in an unfortunate situation. You can’t see your friends, your phone is dead, and nothing around you looks familiar. Now is the time to take a deep, calming breathe and take inventory of everything you have. Remember not to throw anything out because you don’t know what will come in handy later or how long you’ll be lost.

Another key thing to remember is not to desperately wander off searching for your crew. Instead of finding them, you’re more likely to get farther away from them, ultimately making it harder for them to find you.

3. Find and/or build shelter

Depending on the weather, the building ‘materials’ at your disposal will vary. If lost in the woods, this is how you build a shelter:

If you’re in a Cast Away type of situation, here’s how you build a shelter on an island:

4.  Be smart about food and water

Be economical with whatever food and water you have because you don’t know how long you’ll be lost.

If you’re close to a body of water, make sure you boil your water before drinking it (we’ll cover how to light a fire in a bit). If you don’t see any water around, you need to a) build a rain catcher b) go and search for some.

Click here for more in-depth ways to find water in the wilderness.

5. Light a fire

The video below will show 3 ways to light a fire without matches—pay close attention!

6. Work on getting rescued

Mere survival is not enough. Even if you’ve gotten great at finding water, lighting fires and building a shelter from scratch, eventually you will run out of the food and water you need to survive. In addition to that, every second you spend in the wilderness you’re increasing the chances of encountering wild animals so you need to work on getting rescued ASAP.

Light a fire, make a HELP or SOS sign like you’ve seen in the movies and try not to change locations too often. If your family knows the initial general area of your trip, your chances of getting rescued are high.

There you have it. Although the likelihood of finding yourself in survival mode is low, this subject is the epitome of ‘better safe than sorry’.

What else would you do to survive? Let us know in the comments below.