The DMG (p111-112) suggests that the party's navigator make a Survival check to avoid becoming lost:
If the Wisdom (Survival) check succeeds, the party travels in the desired direction without becoming lost. If the check fails, the party inadvertently travels in the wrong direction and becomes "lost." The party's navigator can repeat the check after the party spends 1d6 hours trying to get back on course.
(emphasis mine, to clarify to those who are confused that going "in the wrong direction" and becoming "lost" are independent of one another)
So, as this reads, three distinctive things happen if you fail the check:
- You travel in a random direction.
- You become lost.
- You can make a new Survival check every 1d6 hours to stop being lost.
I completely understand points 1 and 3, but it doesn't mean anything without understanding point 2. For example, let's say I'm using the UA Ranger. I'm not able to become lost by nonmagical means, but since there doesn't seem to be a RAW definition, that might mean any (or all) of the following:
- You don't travel in a random direction when you fail the check.
- You don't have to wait 1d6 hours to get back on track.
- You have traveled in the right direction, but you don't know where you are geographically.
- You know exactly how to get from point A to point B, even if you don't have a map and/or you've never been there.
- You can't trigger random Terrain Encounters (as in Chapter 2 of Out of the Abyss) because they suggest that you don't know where you're going.
- Thick fog, rain, darkness, and other nonmagical elements can't keep you from finding the path.
- You don't make a check at all, and you benefit from all of the above.
- Maybe something else that I haven't thought of.
Which of these options are true? Why? I will accept an answer that confirms and/or denies all of the assumptions listed above.