Do not panic. It seems to be a common theme when it comes to any how to survive situation, and that is because it is truly sage advice. When we lose our composure and panic, even the smartest, or coolest cucumber can become irrational and, quite frankly, an idiot. And, being irrational has never helped anyone in any survival situation.
Of course, when it comes to quicksand, panicking is an even worse idea, because it can help elevate a tricky situation into a dire situation rather … quick.
This means, when dealing with a scenario in which you need to get out of quicksand step one is: Do not panic. The second thing you want to do is asses your accessories. If you have anything heavy attached to your person like a backpack, unstrap that puppy immediately, even if you do not feel it pushing you down, losing the excess weight can only make your situation easier.
Here is a little bit of good news once steps one and two are achieved: As long as you do not have something attached to yourself that is heavy relative to its volume vs. the mass of the quicksand, it is nearly impossible to sink deep into quicksand. Standing still and letting the sand do as it will, the furthest down you’re likely to go is waist level, which still is not ideal, true. But, hey! As long as your head is above water, right? However, thrashing around and panicking can agitate the sand enough to allow yourself to sink deeper. Hence, do not panic. The suction effect caused by the thrashing can push you to the point of being nearly entirely submerged.
The majority of quicksand-related deaths (which are rare by the way) are usually caused by two factors: Panicking and thrashing around too much which leads to increased suction and thus sinking. Or not moving at all, in hopes that help will arrive. Waiting for help is not a bad call, as long as you’re 100% sure that the help is coming. But, you should try your best to climb out of the sand onto dryland as soon as possible, as being stranded in quicksand is an easy way to catch hypothermia.
You’re going to want to ignore all your instincts here and actually lean your upper body back into the quick sand. Your body will float on top of the sand as long as you do not make sudden movements. As you lean back, slowly bring your legs upwards, but be patient and do everything in slow motion. Moving too will cause sinking. Once you’re on your back and your legs are also floating, gently use your hands to paddle your way to solid land. Do not submerge your entire hand into the sand, and move very gently.
Once you make it to land, which could take several hours, take a firm grip on the land and hoist yourself out. You may be fighting against major suction issues and may need to use a stick to dislodge your shoes to help.
You’re going to be exhausted, and your tank will be running on fumes but you will be out of the sand and alive!!