Category - Survival Hacks

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Guide: Choosing The Proper Camp Site
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Foraging: 10 Bugs You Can Really Sink Your Teeth Into
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Disaster Management Survival Basics: An Introduction
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Survival Video: 5 Minute Emergency Shelter Setup
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Survival Tip: Pack Steel Wool In Your Survival Kit
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15 Bushcraft Activities For The Urban Survivalist
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Survival Guide: How To Avoid Waterborne Diseases And Illness
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14 Tips To Building A Badass Winter Survival Kit

Guide: Choosing The Proper Camp Site

What To Look For When Choosing A Campsite When Desperate

Perhaps the most important decision you will make in a survival situation is campsite selection. There are 4 main considerations when choosing a proper camp site, referred to as the Four W’s. But there are a few other important factors that will also need to be considered. For example:

making camp

  • For how long do you intend to stay in the location?
  • If staying more then 1 night, are there enough available resources to support you(and your group)?
  • Is the area large enough to accommodate your party(and gear), with ample work space?

Any camp that will be used as a longer term base camp will need to be carefully examined so as to not deplete the available resources prematurely.

The Four W’s:

  • Wood
  • Water
  • Wind
  • Widow Makers

When deciding on a spot to make camp, always ask yourself these questions:

Wood:

  • Do I have a source of wood close enough to this location to complete the tasks I plan for this camp? This could include making a debris shelter, a raised platform to sleep on, a tripod, tools, for cooking etc.?
  • Is there enough firewood to last the duration of my stay? Look for an area with plenty of dead fall to make your firewood collection easier.
  • Do I have the tools to access the wood?

To get a fire built quickly, you generally want to use a softer wood, such as Poplar, Pine or Cedar. But for a longer lasting fire and for cooking you will want a harder wood like Ash, Hickory or Oak.

Water:

  • Is there a convenient water source, that is close to camp?
  • Is the water source a stagnant or flowing? Any ground water will need to be boiled at the least, but filtering prior to boiling is preferred when possible.
  • Is the water source attractive to other game animals? Are fish present? This would provide access to a possible food source.

Wind:

When selecting a camp, you need to think about wind. In the summer months wind can be leveraged to take advantage of convective cooling. But in the colder months, this same advantage becomes a life threatening disadvantage and may cause hypothermia.

Other factors to consider are the effects of the wind on your fire. Could the wind spread hot coals into the camp, causing a dangerous forest fire? Or is the wind going to blow smoke in your face, and into your shelter all night?

Camping on a ridgeline leaves you exposed to the wind, while camping in low laying areas leaves you dealing with colder temperatures. Remember that heat rises while cold air settles at ground level. Choosing a mid to higher ground camp is the best choice where possible.

Widowmakers:

Widowmakers are standing dead trees or broken branches that have not yet fallen to the ground. These can be blown over by a gust of wind at any moment and can cause serious injury or death. Do not make camp within the fall radios of a standing dead tree.

This awesome video shows you how to build a simple but sturdy shelter if you absolutely need to stay a long period of time on your campsite.

So I Chosen My Camp Site…Now What?

Understanding how to find or make a simple refuge in a wilderness setting is still another indispensable ability that any survivalist must have.

During a disaster or crisis situation it is possible for entire families to be separated from each other; the splintered part of a household might end up in a woodland setting or any other outside place where there are few modern conveniences.

Understanding how to make a simple shelter may also help improve your odds of survival if you’re stranded in the wilderness with no way to return to the main road inside the day.

Unless you’ve got a GPS device or map with you, it’d be better to let others track you down.

How can you make a simple bed in the wilderness?

This is, in fact, a great question because with no bed, you can not rest properly and you are likely to get stiffness and back aches if you are not accustomed to resting on hard ground with no bed or sofa.

Out in the wild, it’s a frequent practice to make a bed on the floor itself. If you reside in Canada or in the U.S., then you might discover large balsam trees in your area.

Balsam trees (also known as “mountain goose” by outdoorsmen) provide excellent leaves and elastic boughs that are fantastic for producing an improvised bed. These trees are jokingly called “mountain goose” since survivalists often search for them to “pluck” them for branches and leaves.

How can you produce a balsam bed?

A balsam bed is elastic and comfortable since it’s composed not just of leaves but also youthful, supple twigs.

Longer balsam twigs will be set on the floor first and will serve as the base or “framework” for your improvised bed. The briefer boughs will be put on top of the longer ones to function as the cushioning material.

Fashion your bed until you believe the top layer has a sufficient quantity of cushioning. If you do not have any extra bedding with you, this will do. But if you’ve blanket or comforter on you, put it on top of the briefer boughs to avoid the sap from sticking to your clothes.

The sap of the balsam tree will become tacky and then hard after a couple of minutes.

Can half-caves be utilized as shelter?

Half-caves have actually been used as shelters for centuries.

These spacious depressions located in bottom of valleys and cliffs are usually stable enough to be applied as temporary shelter.

Half-caves are usually formed by rain, erosion and the action of plant and tree roots which always dig away at the bottom of natural land formations.

  1. Inspect — Research the half-cave thoroughly before using it as guardian. Be cautious of small animals, snakes and rodents! The existence of scorpions and other harmful critters is a clear indication that it may be risky to use this distance as shelter.
  2. Sterilize — When the half-cave does not have any natural occupants, clean it by removing twigs, stones and surplus dirt to flatten the floor. Cleaning a half-cave will also make certain you could maximize the space inside.
  3. Keep Out The Rain — it is possible to improvise a lean-to doorway to shield yourself from rain and sunlight, should the elements opt to become too extreme at any stage during your stay on your temporary shelter. Just make sure you point all leaves, branches and twigs down so that rain will slip to the floor and not within the cavity, where you are sleeping.

Other considerations when choosing a camp site:

  • Avoid dry wahses or depressions as these may be prone to flash flooding or water runoff in wet weather. Flash floods can occur due to a storm miles away.
  • Don’t make camp on the edge of a water source. Water attracts insects and predators. And there is always the chance of flooding.
  • Avoid areas that could be subject to rock slides.

Conclusion:

Following these guidelines for correct survival campsite selection will not only keep you safe in the wild, but will make for a much more pleasant experience.

So carry your proper gear at all times.  Keep a clear head in case of emergency.  Don’t do anything rash that could take you out unnecessarily.

A little common sense, coupled with a little knowledge will keep you safe and ready for the miles ahead.

Foraging: 10 Bugs You Can Really Sink Your Teeth Into

Top Ten Tastiest Edible Bugs You Can Eat For Survival

The idea of biting into a juicy caterpillar might induce a gag reflex, but in a survival situation it could be the difference between life and death.

Most people in North America have a deep prejudice towards bugs, especially in regards to them being a food source.

But the fact is, over a quarter of the people worldwide (that’s over 2 billion) are already eating bugs as part of their diet.

There are over 1,900 edible insect species thriving around the world. Equaling an estimated 40-tons of bugs per person! Changing our mindset about these creatures may be the answer to the coming food shortages.

Bugs are big business in places such as Mexico, Thailand and Indonesia. In fact, eating bugs is very common in many parts of the world. And for the more adventurous connoisseur, there are online retailers offering a variety of pre-packaged and ready to snack on bugs.

ants are delicious

So, if you get to the point where eating bugs may keep you from starving to death, don’t think of them as a last resort. They are packed with protein, high in fat and provide a bit of carbohydrates as well.

The following are the top ten tastiest bugs to dine on in survival situations:

  1. Ants – When foraging for a tasty meal, don’t forget about ants. Considered a delicacy by many, ants rate very high for taste. These bugs are a great source for high quality protein, but less fat than most other insects. Boiled or roasted ants provide both nutrients and flavor.
  2. Cicadas – If you are ever in need of survival food, look to the cicada. Nymphs and adults provide a tasty meal and can be prepared by roasting, frying or boiling. These big bugs are packed full of protein and vitamins, making them a staple food for survival.
  3. Grasshoppers – From late Spring to early fall, grasshoppers are readily available. Gather these from dusk till dawn and cook when in need of a quick meal. Grasshopper are relatively simple to prepare. These bugs can be boiled, sun-dried, fried, or added to soup and will provide plenty of nutrients and flavor. Beware of multi-colored species which can be toxic. For safety sake only eat solid colored grasshoppers, and remove the legs before ingesting.
  4. Crickets – Another quality source for protein are crickets. Believe it or not, 100-grams of cricket contains 12.9-grams of protein! If you’re in need of a meal, crickets are a tasty and nutritious choice. Prepare your crickets by dry roasting, frying, or simply adding to most any meal as an additional source of protein.
  5. Mealworms – Mealworms are a worldwide staple food and a premium source of nutrients. Mealworms can live in most any environment where they can find food and can be found in decaying wood, leaves or grasses. Sautéed, roasted or boiled, the mealworm can be prepared a multitude of ways and can be eaten alone or added to additional food to add nutrition.
  6. Dragonfly – Always plentiful near water, you can eat the dragonfly adults or the larvae. Fried or boiled, the dragonfly makes for a tasty dish.
  7. Locusts – Considered to be “kosher”, locusts have been eaten for thousands of years. The plump bodies of these critters provide plenty to snack on, make the locusts a prime survival food. Stir-fried, boiled or dried, locusts can be prepared in a variety of ways. Rich in protein, zinc and iron, make locust a premium source of nutrients as well.
  8. Waxworm – Waxworms offer a nutty flavor, roasted or sautéed, the waxworm can be the source to a nutritious meal. If you would rather not indulge on the waxworm, bait a hook with these as fish love them.
  9. Rolly Polly – Or Sowbugs. These small bugs make their home in rotten wood or the moist soil under rocks. The sowbug can be roasted, or eaten fresh.
  10. Termites – The high oil content of termites provide a nutty flavor and they offer a valuable source of protein, essential amino acids and fat. Roasted, baked or boiled, termites are tasty.

Conclusion:

Not everyone is comfortable with the eating insects, but bugs are a reliable source of protein and essential vitamins. In a survival situation bugs will provide the vital nutrients that could save your life.

Word of caution: If you have allergies to shellfish you should avoid eating bugs. And be careful not to gather from areas where insecticides or pesticides may have been used.


How will you know what bugs are safe to ingest? This simple rule should keep you safe in most situations, “If it’s green or brown, toss it down. Red, orange or yellow, forgo that fellow.”

Disaster Management Survival Basics: An Introduction

Survival Skills Disaster Management 101

The following article on developing your survival skills disaster management is provided by Benjamin ‘RAVEN’ Pressley:

Quick: A weather disaster just happened as you were travelling through a mountain pass. You’re skills are now about to be put to the test.  Are you ready?

If you have done what you should prior to this point you would have identified this point in time as a potentiality.

The big secret to basic survival? As much as is possible, plan ahead.

Train yourself in the skills you think you will need. Challenge yourself by testing what you know under controlled circumstances and try to see the flaws in your skills.

As much as is possible, prepare.

Don’t wait until you are thrust into a situation and then have to learn or wish you would have took the time to learn. I always caution all my students that just because they have taken a survival course or read a book on survival or watched a TV show on survival doesn’t mean they should go out like an expert and think they can survive.

Take time to master your survival skills.

I suggest you train yourself by doing things like take matches with you camping but also take a bow and drill fire set. Try to make fire without matches during your trip but if you can’t then you have your matches to fall back on.

Take your tent but build an emergency shelter and stay in it instead. Use your tent if you have to though. Maybe even set up a modern camp then strike out, set up a survival camp and use it, that way you have a backup if you need it.

Always be safe. Test your skills little by little. Allow yourself to experience survival skills. Take some classes in survival skills.

Then when you are ready you and some fellow ‘survivors’ try it on your own. Never purposely endanger yourself. Always have a back up plan and inform others where you will be and what time to expect you back. That way a search party will know where to look should things go badly.

snow covered wickiup shelter

You may be surprised how little it really takes to enjoy the outdoors. You will find you don’t need the entire outdoor store catalog on your back to enjoy yourself.

In fact, that is kind of what got me interested in survival skills.

I was part of a camping organization as a boy. They took a group of us camping and we were so loaded down with so much stuff it was unreal! I quickly learned that the more skills I had, the less stuff I needed.

You Call Yourself An Outdoorsman?

No matter how experienced an outdoorsman you may be…you too could become lost in the woods.

It could happen to anyone.  Even Daniel Boone, the famous American pioneer, even he got lost. He wouldn’t admit it directly, though. His words were, “I’ve never been lost but I was a might bewildered for several days.”

You could be out in your canoe or boat and get overturned, losing all your gear. What would you do?

It seems to be in the news almost daily, some family, individual or scout-type group strike out into the wild and get lost or injured or caught in the dark.

Most People Simply Are Not Prepared.

Families out on a day hike get off the trail and become lost with inadequate supplies. Many people have died from exposure, when something as simple as being able to build a fire without matches or constructing a simple debris shelter could have saved their lives.

Mother Nature is unforgiving. However, she is also no respecter of persons and will yield her resources to anyone who knows how to access them.

Many outdoor enthusiasts, perhaps most, are so dependent on their modern gear that they would be lost without it.

Modern outdoor conveniences make recreation in the outdoors very pleasurable, but the wise person will have a backup plan. Taking a survival skills course and a first aid course from an experienced teacher is a wise thing to do, for nothing can replace hands-on experience for learning lifesaving skills.

primitive fire

I teach survival skills courses, but I remember when I first tried to build a bow drill fire by reading a book on the subject with no success. It was not until an experienced teacher had shown me what I was doing wrong that I successfully could go into the woods and with nothing but what was around me construct a bow drill and build a lifesaving fire.

Survival Priorities and Basics Come First!

The first thing to remember, if thrust into a survival situation, is to remain calm.

Panic has lead to death in untold numbers of situations largely because the victim could not think clearly. The first tool you need is the ability to control the anxiety brought on by a stressful situation and use your logic.

In fact statistically, Panic is the number one killer in a survival situation.

Exposure is number two.

Bill Gingrass, a fine outdoor survival and primitive skills instructor, came up with a good way of reminding yourself of this, which is to remember the acronym S.T.O.P.

Stop, Think, Observe, Plan (S.T.O.P.)

STOP, do not wander around.

Sit down, calm yourself.

Do whatever you have to do to get control of the situation.

If you’ve planned ahead, informed someone of the trail or water you intended on travelling and the time you plan on returning, they will know to send someone if you don’t show up at the appointed place and time. Rely on the knowledge and skills you have. You can survive!

THINK, assess the situation for what it really is, not what your panicked mind is magnifying the situation to be.

OBSERVE, look in your pockets and look around you at what you have that would be useful.

  • Do you have a pocket knife? A pocket knife is much more practical than a large sheath knife and can accomplish most tasks.
  • Even a good-sized sapling can be brought down with a pocket knife if the sapling is bent and cut on the tension side of the bend.
  • Do you have a canteen on your belt or a survival kit?

Survival kits are good, if they are well thought out and remain on your belt where they cannot become separated from you.

Most kits on the market are sadly lacking, especially the type found in the hollow handle of so-called ‘survival knives’, made famous by Rambo.

Hollow handled knives were originally designed to contain dehydration tablets and the ‘saw’ on the back was never designed for sawing wood, but ripping out an opening in the fuselage of a downed plane.

Hollow handles also make a knife easy to break because the tang doesn’t go far enough into the handle.

PLAN to stay alive.

What are your priorities? You must plan on staying a long period of time, even if it is possible that you are rescued quickly. Set up a permanent camp, don’t try to find your way out, unless you know where you are going and it will not require more energy than you have to give. Also factor in whether you can supply yourself for such a trip.

Consider how long it is till sunset. Don’t get caught unprepared in the dark. The darkness changes everything. Temperatures can drop rapidly. You can’t see as well. Nocturnal animals that have superior night vision come out at night.

In a night-time survival situation you become just another part of the food chain.

How you use your brain and survival skills you have acquired will determine how high on the food chain you remain.

How do you determine how long it is till sunset? Hold up your hand in front of you in your line of sight placing your four fingers just under where the sun appears on the horizon. Move your hand downward to a position just under where your hand was before, counting how many hands and/or fingers down to the horizon.

Each hand is roughly an hour, and each finger is about 15 minutes. This will give you a solid estimate but will vary depending on your hand size. Test this method before you get in a survival situation to your hand size versus timing with your watch. Then you will have a more accurate idea of how accurate your measure is.

book cover

Put Out A Signal.

As soon as possible, signal in some manner. Three is the universal distress signal, whether it is three gun shots, three fires or whatever the case may be.

If you do decide to hike out clearly mark your trail so searchers may track you easily.

Why not just bring a cell phone for calling 911? Because they are not reliable. Never count on a cell phone in the wilderness where there may be no towers to even get a signal. Sometimes travelling down the road it is hard enough to get a signal much less in the wilderness.

Prioritize Now.

Your top four survival priorities, in order of importance, are as follows:

  1. SHELTER
  2. FIRE
  3. WATER
  4. FOOD

Why this order?

Hypothermia Is The Biggest Threat To Your Chances To Survive!

Most people that perish when thrust into a survival situation die of exposure, not hunger or thirst. Hypothermia, one condition of exposure, is the condition of the body when it is losing or has lost heat quicker than it can produce it. Hypothermia can occur at 50 degrees F believe it or not.

Hypothermia at 50 degrees Farhenheit usually happens when one has fallen into the water and suddenly their body loses heat unexpectedly. If you do fall into the water try to remember to ball yourself up into a ball, drawing your knees close to your chest allowing your body to adjust to the temperature of the water before you swim out.

Symptoms of hypothermia are uncontrollable shivering (early stages), redness of the skin, numbness, usually in the extremities, such as toes, fingers, hands and feet, slurring of speech and lack of concentration.

In advanced cases there is no shivering and the person is usually incoherent. You must get the victim of hypothermia warmed up as quickly as possible. If you are with someone in this condition, and you are lucky enough to still have a sleeping bag, crawl into the sleeping bag with them with bare skin to skin contact.

Even if you don’t have a sleeping bag try to shelter yourselves somehow, out of the wind and insulate yourselves in some manner, with natural debris or some other material and do the same.

Build a fire as soon as possible. In some situations, such as this, the fire may actually take a higher priority than , acquiring shelter as soon as possible.

If a person is in advanced stages of hypothermia no matter how warm a blanket or sleeping bag they have it will not help. In this state the person’s body is not producing enough heat to preserve by insulating them. You must warm the person. Warm liquids and a heat source are what is needed.

If not treated early the victim will eventually experience frostbite and will begin to have blackening of the extremities, such as toes, fingers, ears and nose followed by entire limbs and will eventually lose the use of these body parts. The body will preserve the core (heart and brain) above other body parts in an attempt to stay alive.

So What Is Hyperthermia?

Hyperthermia is the opposite of hypothermia. Hyperthermia is when the body becomes overheated. Sometimes the dangers of heat are underestimated.

In the summer of 1980, a severe heat wave hit the United States, and nearly 1,700 people lost their lives from heat-related illness. Likewise, in the summer of 2003, tens of thousands of people died of the heat in Europe.

High temperatures put people at risk. People that are particularly susceptible to heat are infants, people age 65 or older and those who are obese. People suffer heat-related illness when the body’s temperature control system is overloaded.

The body normally cools itself by sweating. But under some conditions, sweating just isn’t enough. In such cases, a person’s body temperature rises rapidly.

Very high body temperatures can damage the brain or other vital organs. It’s like having a fever.

Several factors affect the body’s ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather. When the humidity is high, sweat will not evaporate as quickly, preventing the body from releasing heat quickly.

Other factors that can cause hyperthermia are dehydration, alcohol use and certain drugs. Hydration is so important in hot or cold conditions. More about water later.

Two common problems of hyperthermia are heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion usually occurs before heat stroke. Heat exhaustion is the body’s response to an excessive loss of water and salt contained in sweat. A person suffering from heat exhaustion may be sweating profusely. The skin may even be cool and moist.

The victim’s pulse rate may be fast and weak, and breathing may be fast and shallow. If heat exhaustion is untreated, it may progress to heat stroke. Heat stroke occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature. The body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down.

Body temperature may rise to 106°F or higher within 10-15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause brain damage, permanent disability or even death if emergency treatment is not given.

Watch Out For Symptoms of Heat Stroke

Symptoms of heat stroke include high body temperature (above 104°F), reddening of the skin, no sweating, a rapid pulse, a throbbing headache, dizziness and in extreme cases nausea, confusion, seizures, unconsciousness and death.

What should you do if you or someone experiences hyperthermia?

First of all catch it as early as possible. Get the victim cool. Get them into the shade. Immerse them in water if you can. Even soaking the clothing with water will help. As the liquid evaporates it will take away heat from the body.

Fan them. Do not allow consumption of alcohol. I know certain TV shows show the survivalist drinking urine for emergency water. Urine will actually dehydrate a person further as will drinking alcohol and blood.

Soaking the clothes with alcohol or urine would be a better use. The evaporation process from the clothing can help cool the body. And of course, get medical attention as soon as possible.

Be Aware Of All Available Resources

Be resourceful. Be creative in a survival situation. Think. The life you save may be your own or someone close to you. Control your circumstances as much as is possible. Don’t let things get out of control. Think ahead.

Benjamin ‘RAVEN’  Pressley practices and teaches primitive, survival and wilderness living skills. He bases his skills on skills practiced for generations by Native Americans and aboriginal peoples all over the world. He has taught these type of classes since 1986.

Raven has taught all ages in classes. He has taught and continues to teach at schools, civic organizations, Scouts, Y-Indian Guides, Royal Rangers, YMCA, museums and historical sites. He has written and published many books on various primitive, survival and wilderness living skills.

For more information visit his website at WayoftheRaven.net

Survival Video: 5 Minute Emergency Shelter Setup

You Just Got Lost and Night Is Approaching Fast. What Do You Do?

In this video I show you a few knots that make setting up an emergency tarp shelter in under 5 minutes. It’s a simple and quick process that’s handy in the event you get injured or lost and are forced to spend the night in the woods.

Among the greatest abilities to learn for survival is the way to construct a survival shelter once you’re lost. If you end up lost, the capability to produce a shelter can truly raise your probability of successfully getting rescued as well as help you to stay safe and relatively warm.

Before you begin building your lean to you are going to want to search for a dry horizontal place, ideally facing away from the wind. It is very important to prop it into a place where you’ll have the ability to get yourself as dry and warm as possible.

Among the simplest kinds of shelter to create is a lean-to kind of construction. Due to its simplicity, it must always be among the first one you think about making as the sum of energy that you expend building it is significantly less than other kinds of shelters.

survive in the mountains

A lean-to shelter really has just a few components to it. The principal item of a lean-to is that a rope or pole which you use to then create the remaining part of the shelter.

In case you’ve got a fantastic bit of rope or para-cord you’ll be able to tie off it between 2 trees. It’s possible to create them greater but it is going to require more effort to produce the roof the greater you create your service.

If you do not have a rope it is possible to do something identical working with a rather straight branch and then wedge it in the V-shaped notch that’s made when a tree develops a new limb. You’ll have to locate a place where you have two trees which will work nicely with this method.  The rope procedure is significantly better though when trying to create a shelter when you’re lost as it is just plain easier.

Now that you have your rope or rod set up you’ll want to come across a couple sticks to earn some support to the roof construction of this lean-to. You want sticks which are not too thick but are powerful enough to offer decent support.

Search for branches having a diameter of no more than two inches. To get a 6-foot survival protector, you will most likely need 4 branches or sticks of this dimension. Lean those from the bottom up from the rope.

When deciding which side to place the sticks on you are going to need to be certain that they are around the side the wind is coming out of.  It’s more than likely you want your lean-to to obstruct the wind. If you’re in a scenario where it is really hot you may wish to look at reversing that, however in houses instances, you will need your roof to block the sun.

When you’ve got additional rope it is a great idea to tie off those into the main rope to make them more secure as you make the remaining portion of the roofing construction. This may also be beneficial if you’re in a region where there’s end to stop them from blowing off your principal rope.

Now that you have these set up you might want to collect branches which are smaller to weave throughout the aid branches. You are going to want another group to be flat and in accordance with your primary rope division. By now you ought to have a fairly good arrangement.

Pine boughs work very well with this as do several kinds of ferns. As much as you can try to angle them so any water flows out from the middle. Begin at the base of the survival shield and work your way upward.

Now that you’ve got the roof set up you ought to have a survival shield which can help keep you warm and dry whilst waiting for saving or merely resting so that you may prepare to locate your way yourself out.

Within the survival shield if possible produce a mattress of pine boughs or other gentle leafy substances that’ll keep you up off the floor and dry.

You ought to be aware of how to create a 5 minute survival shelter in case you get lost or, God-forbid, go-missing.

Survival Tip: Pack Steel Wool In Your Survival Kit

It’s Not Just For Cleaning Pots!

Believe it or not, there are many uses for steel wool in a survival situation and many of you reading this may already have this item packed in your survival kit.

For those that have not included steel wool in their kits or are not aware of its many uses, please read on.

Finest Grade Steel Wool Please!

First of all, we want to pack the finest grit steel wool in our survival kit, that is quadruple 0 or 0000 steel wool. This typically comes in a 2 inch by 4 inch, rectangular shaped pad.

With this pad we can clean our guns, axes and knives and keep them from forming rust. It is vital to keep out metal tools clean and rust free in the field.

We can also clean our cooking pots, any utensils we may have and our stainless steel canteens.

Steel Wool Fire Starter!

But perhaps the most important use for this steel wool is for starting fire. Steel wool can be ignited with a battery (preferably 9 volt batteries). It is also an excelent alternative to chared material for flint and steel or ferro rod sparks, which makes it a great addition to your fire kit.

You need 3 things to start a fire with steel wool and batteries:

  • 0000 Steel Wool
  • A 9 volt Battery, or 2 Double A (AA) or 2 Triple A (AAA) Batteries
  • And Of Course a Birds Nest

You will need to daisy chain the 2 batteries together and then touch the positive and negative end of the daisy chain with the steel wool. So hold(or duct tape) the positive end of one battery to the negative end of the second, and peel a sliver of steel wool long enough to touch each end of the chain. This will ignite the steel wool which can then be placed into the birds nest and breathed into fire. (see video blow)

Caution: The steel wool will ignite at the positive end of the battery. Keep fingers clear at this end.

That is pretty much it for this Survival Tip. There are many other uses for steel wool and if you have any to add, please leave a comment below.

15 Bushcraft Activities For The Urban Survivalist

Urban Bushcraft? Yes, It’s Possible!

The concrete jungle is not the first thing that comes to mind when talking about bushcraft, and many would say that asphalt and subdivisions are the full reversal of bushcraft. But there are some options to take advantage of.

For a city slicker who longs to escape their suburban dwelling, bushcraft may seem like a remote, distant option. But with a bit of creative thinking, bushcraft is always close at hand.

These skills can be honed in the most unlikely locations, even in your own neighborhood or city.

15 Bushcraft Activities For The Urban Survivalist

1. Camping

Camping is the best way to hone your bushcraft skills. You can get experience setting up a shelter, learning the skills of fire craft, learn to identify edible plants and how to cook over an open fire. Google search for local camp sites or simply camp out in your own back yard.

Your local Parks & Wildlife office can suggest little known or remote places for you make camp in your area.

(GTS Video) 5 Minute Emergency Shelter Setup.

2. Knife Skills

Being proficient and safe with your knife is of vital importance for a survivalist. You can practice these skills by carving and whittling around the house, in the garage or back yard.

If you are thinking about buying a survival knife, I suggest you read my article on How to Choose the Right Survival Knife first.

3. Tying Knots

Knowing how to tie a variety of knots is a valuable bushcraft skill. From shelter construction to fishing, knots are an important aspect of bushcraft.

Rope, and the ability to use it are essential skills for the survivalist. Whether making an improvised weapon to procure a meal or lashing together a raft to float to safety, tying knots is a skill that can be practiced anywhere.

4. Fishing

Fishing may not seem high on the priority list of bushcraft skills, but it is a means of outdoor survival. The subtle nuances of fishing are considered primitive skills, and understanding these skills means you know how to acquire a source of food should the need ever arise.

5. Canoeing/Kayaking

Getting out onto the water can offer the survivalist a chance to put many skills to use. From food preparation, water purification, edible plant identification to first aid, a trip down the river is a great time to improve your bushcraft skills.

6. Archery

Archery is becoming very popular these days, and with that there are plenty of indoor archery ranges to take advantage of. These ranges offer you the opportunity to become more proficient at a skill that could prove to be life saving in a survival situation, and one that you may not be able to perform in your own back yard

7. Rock Climbing Gym

A rock climbing gym is a great place to practice and learn knots and proper safety guidelines when ascending or descending a rock face. Understanding how to use ropes and harnesses safely is a valuable bushcraft and survival skill. It is also a fun way to keep you fit and active.

8. Firing Range

Time out at a shooting range helps you fine tune your hunting and self defense skills with a firearm, as well as gun safety for yourself and your family. Many ranges offer rentals on a wide range of firearms, including .50 caliber rifles and fully automatic machine guns. Fun Times!

9. Primitive Traps

Primitive trapping is an art unto itself. These skills take a lot of time to master. Do not wait until your next meal depends on a successful trap to learn these skills. This is also a great way to hone your knife skills and knife safety as well.

Survival Tip: 3 Primitive Deadfall Traps For Your Survival Toolkit

10. Primitive Fire Skills

As with primitive trapping, primitive fire skills take a long time to master and you do not want to wait until your survival depends on fire to start learning primitive fire skills.

(GTS Video) How To Build A Birds Nest Tinder Bundle

11. Flint Napping

Flint napping is an ancient and valuable skill for the survivalist. You can practice your flint napping skills just about anywhere. However, do make sure you have a tarp under your work area to catch the razor sharp pieces you will be creating.

You can use flint, chert, quarts and even glass bottle bottoms to practice your flint napping skills.

12. Weaving

Weaving is an important bushcraft skill. A solid understanding of weaving techniques allows you to create baskets, fishing traps, blankets and even a main backpack if need be.

13. CERT Course

Most cities and towns offer free CERT training (Community Emergency Response Teams) This is a great place to learn first aid and emergency preparedness skills. Once certified you will be an ongoing member of the neighborhood emergency response team, and will have continuous training provided by experts in their respective fields.

14. Hiking

A hike through a local park or around the outskirts of town is a great chance to practice identifying local edible plants. As well as learning how to properly stow the gear in your pack. An improperly packed backpack is a disaster waiting to happen.

Another skill to hone while hiking is tracking. Learning to track local wild animals is a challenging, yet rewarding and valuable bushcraft skill.

15. Bike Riding

I know, how does riding a bike fit in here you ask. Well, sometimes we just need to get outside and breath some fresh air. And riding a bike is a great way to get outside and stay active.

Conclusion:

You may think you have to spend a considerable amount of money or drive some distance, but many bushcraft skills can be enjoyed closer to home then you think.

With a little imagination, your suburban lifestyle can still provide a means to become more proficient at the ancient art of bushcraft.

I am sure there are many other skills one can practice in an urban environment. Please share your ideas and suggestions in the comment section below.

Survival Guide: How To Avoid Waterborne Diseases And Illness

Avoid The Most Common Water Borne Diseases In a Survival Situation

Perhaps the most inherently dangerous scenario for somebody in a survival situation is contracting a waterborne disease through drinking water.

Drinking enough water to stay hydrated is a critical aspect for survival, and many of your decisions in a survival situation will revolve around locating water sources. Any ground water source you may come across however, represents a potential risk of waterborne diseases.

Disease, Shmisease! I’m a Tough Survivalist!

Which kinds of diseases you ask? Oh, I don’t know, maybe you could get:

  • Diarhea
  • Cholera
  • Typhoid Fever
  • Crytosporidiosis
  • Dysentery
  • Traveller’s Diarhea
  • Giardiasis

And much more!

The last thing anyone would want to deal with in a survival situation is an intestinal illness. Beside the unpleasantness of diarrhea and vomiting, a waterborne disease can leave you weak and dehydrated.

Such a condition would be a significant inconvenience at home but it’s downright life-threatening in a survival situation.

Some woodsmen swear by the purity of their favorite remote water sources and, in all likelihood, you could drink untreated water from some fresh water sources and be unaffected.

But the possibility of waterborne illness or diseases is always present, and if you are serious about maximizing your chance of survival, you won’t take such a chance on something so simple to avoid.

boil your water dammit

THE SOURCE OF WATERBORNE DISEASES

Pathogens are the source of many waterborne diseases. These pathogens originate in the intestinal tracts of animals. Ground water can easily contain fecal material either by direct deposit or by runoff created by rainfall, which will then contaminate the source with protozoa, bacteria, and viruses. A pristine creek edge, free of scat could easily be infected by animal droppings half-mile upstream.

PATHOGENS THAT CAUSE WATERBORNE DISEASES

Perhaps the most widespread source of waterborne disease in the US is Giardia. This single-celled organism is said to be present in every body of water in the country and can withstand cold temperatures for months at a time. Giardia will produce severe intestinal discomfort, including diarrhea and vomiting, which can effect a victim for weeks. Cryptosporidium is another common protozoan with similar ailments, and is particularly dangerous to people with an immune disorder.

Other potentially threatening viruses and bacteria species in water supplies include E. coli, Cholera, Salmonella and Hepatitis.

Water can also be contaminated with toxins from industrial or agricultural runoff. And algae can leach dangerous toxins into the source, so avoid any water source with visible algal bloom.

HOW TO AVOID WATERBORNE DISEASES

You should always treat or boil water to avoid illness.

Boiling water is the only 100 percent effective method for killing off waterborne pathogens. Recommendations on boil time vary slightly; for example, the National Park Service recommends boiling for one minute at sea level and an extra minute for every 1,000 feet above. While others suggest simply allowing water to reach the boiling point is enough to eliminate most of the harmful pathogens.

Boiling is the most foolproof method to treat water, but some other methods include using a water filter or purifier, or purifying tablets such as iodine or chlorine. The average water filter is effective at removing bacteria and protozoa, but does not eliminate the viruses, which are more effectively dealt with by a water purifier.

Conclusion:

It is wise to carry more than one system for treating water with you when in the field to act as a backup in case your main system fails, or when facing a particularly unappealing water source. Whenever possible, select the clearest water supply available and avoid collecting water shortly after a downpour, as this will increase pathogen levels from the runoff.

Drinking safe, uncontaminated water is as essential to your survival as your survival knife, even more so in fact. Boil any water collect to limit the chance of being infected with a life threatening waterborne disease or illness. Never risk it unless death by dehydration is looming and you have no choice.

H/T: Boiled Water Photo

14 Tips To Building A Badass Winter Survival Kit

What To Do If You Need To Survive In The Dead Of Winter

Old man winter has finally arrived and with it the need for an adequate winter survival kit. The snow is falling, the temperatures are dropping and the great outdoors is beckoning. The surreal beauty of the winter landscape is luring many to enjoy its pleasures.

However, many make the mistake of going into this extreme environment without adequate preparation. Whether you’re skiing, sledding or just driving to some appointment, during the winter a simple activity can quickly turn into a winter survival situation.

Make no mistake about it; winter can be both a deceptive and deadly time when it comes to survival. Getting caught in a winter survival situation without proper gear or clothing can do more than ruin your fun – it could take your life!

While no one plans to get into a crisis or emergency during the winter, everyone should have a plan as to what they would do if it ever happens. Having the proper knowledge and well-practiced skills is of utmost importance.

Equally important is having a relatively lightweight winter safety kit put together and carried with you at all times. Following is how to assemble a basic kit winter survival bag and is based upon the type of kit the author has used and recommends.

1. CHOOSE A PACK.

When building a survival kit for the winter, you must have some sort of a bag or backpack in which to carry it. For this kit we chose the MOLLE shoulder sling bagWe also attached both the Molle standard canteen pouch and the Molle round canteen pouch for additional storage.

For added support we used the Last Chance Belt to the Tan Molle Shoulder bag, which then became the waist belt for our winter emergency kit. For carrying convenience you can use the single shoulder strap that comes with the Tan Molle Shoulder Bag or you can purchase an inexpensive double shoulder H-harness and attach it to the kit.

2. SELECT A KNIFE.

Any cold-weather survival kit must include a solid knife that can stand up to the rigors of a harsh environment. For this particular winter kit we included the Bushcraft Mora knife with fire steel and diamond sharpener.

This knife and fire steel combo work exceptionally well. Coupled with the mini inferno fire starters and some fatwood, it is the perfect way to get a fire going even in a winter survival situation.

Tip: For added cordage we braided a length of paracord and added a lanyard to the fire steel then wound it around the sheath.One can never have too much cordage in a winter survival situation!

3. INCLUDE A SAW.

A folding saw is necessary item for any winter survival pack. A saw allows you to buck wood to proper lengths for splitting so that you can get to the interior which on downed wood should be dry. And dry firewood is what you need for firestarting. You can’t go wrong with the Bahco Laplander. While there may be several options out there, this saw is tough and will see you through the situation. Most saws are made of thin and inferior steel and plastic and will bend and break. I highly recommend the Bahco Laplander as your go-to saw in a winter survival scenario.

4. PICK A HATCHET.

Yes, you can use the very tough Bushcraft Mora knife to baton wood. However, there is no substitute for a good hatchet. Gone are the days when you could go to the local hardware store and buy a good hatchet. All that you can find nowadays are cheaply made of inferior materials and they will not hold up when you need them the most. Gransfors Bruks or Wetterling are excellent choices for your snow survival kit. Don’t skimp on the price for a good hatchet. Buy it and it will be a lifetime investment that may just help to save your life.

Tip: Bring a sharpening stone. I like the Lansky puck for my hatchet. Keep it sharp.

5. CHOOSE A SHELTER.

For the winter survival kit, you need to choose something that is lightweight and multi-purpose. I personally like the Tent Tools Rain Tarp. Strung up between two trees in multiple combinations or worn over your head/shoulders and kit to keep you dry, this is a durable and necessary item for you to have.

Tip: Be wary of sparks, as they will put holes in the nylon of your shelter. Use duck tape or Seam Seal to repair any unwanted holes or tears.

6. TAKE A CANTEEN.

I highly recommend the Klean Kanteen. It is a durable, no-nonsense and practical way to keep yourself hydrated. Made of stainless steel, you can simply fill up the canteen, remove the cap and place it in the coals of your fire to boil water for drinking etc.

Tip: Don’t forget to take a spoon. You already have a knife and any old pointed stick will work for a fork, but a spoon is a really indispensable part of the cold weather survival bag. It should be stainless steel or titanium, as a plastic spoon will melt in a hot canteen cup, food canister or when stirring your meal over coals.

7. USE A FOOD CANISTER.

The 16 oz. stainless steel food canister is the perfect way to take and store food for a winter survival situation.

8. BRING A HEADLAMP.

Having your hands free to build shelter or to cook food etc. is a great bonus in a winter survival situation. I recommend the Princeton Tec Eos Tactical headlamp. Compact and only using three triple A batteries with a 121 hour battery life on low, a red lens for preserving night vision, a blue lens for blood tracking and green for hunter safety, waterproof to one meter and shining it’s light for up to 175 feet it’s the perfect choice for the kit.

Tip: I would recommend that you use lithium batteries in the headlamp. They are lighter, have a longer shelf life and can endure extreme temperatures much better than standard alkaline batteries.

9. ACQUIRE A WOOL BLANKET.

Wool will keep in approximately 80% of your body heat even when wet, doesn’t burn well so you can get closer to your fire (Note that sparks will smolder and burn holes in your wool blanket) and when stretched over head can also be used as a temporary rain shelter.

Tip: Roll up your emergency tarp and plastic ground sheet in the wool blanket and tie the roll using paracord or bank line.

10. HAVE A FOAM MAT.

I use a military surplus closed cell foam mattress that I cut down to approximately 17 inches wide. They are very lightweight and tough. This is a very important item to have with you. A lot of your body heat will be lost to the cold ground if you don’t have this half-inch of insulation under you. It is also useful for sitting on when around the fire.

11. SLEEP IN A BAG.

A sleeping bag keeps your body heat in and drafts out. It need not be a large sleeping bag. The super lightweight SOL Escape Bivvy is what I chose for my winter survival pack. It is breathable, fits in the palm of your hand, has it’s own stuff sack and coupled with the wool blanket will keep you fairly warm.

12. FILTER YOUR WATER.

Sometimes you don’t have time to stop and make a fire in order to purify your water. The Aquamira Frontier Pro water filter will do the job. You can drink from an open water source or it will screw onto a standard spring water bottle. It can filter up to 50 gallons of water and deserves inclusion in the winter bugout kit.

13. NEED SOME CORD.

A minimum of fifty feet of paracord or bank line is necessary for lashing or repairing gear and for putting up your winter survival shelter. It is also useful for building snares etc. A hundred feet would be better. It’s almost impossible to have too much cordage in a survival situation.

Tip: Try to keep from cutting the cordage if at all possible. Small lengths are easily lost. Long lengths are much more useful for a variety of tasks. Between six and ten feet seem to be the proper lengths in my experience.

14. DON’T FORGET THE EXTRAS:

  • A first aid kit tailored to your medical needs and those who may be with you.
  • An extra pair of wool socks. These are useful for makeshift mittens or to put over your boots for added traction in icy conditions.
  • Duct tape and sail needle. Tip: Use the inner strands from the paracord or untwist the bank line for sewing and repairing your gear.
  • Contractor garbage bag or drum liner. Useful for gathering debris to further insulate your shelter or to store firewood in to keep it dry, makeshift poncho, additional shelter wind and water proofing etc. I usually pack two of them in my winter survival kit.
  • Emergency Tarp. The Original Space brand All Weather Blanket is my choice for an arctic style survival kit. Wrapped up in this blanket for added warmth at night or gathered around one’s shoulders in front of the fire to reflect heat. This is an extremely lightweight and necessary part of my survival kit for cold extremes.
    • Tip: This could be your ground sheet. If so I would pack two.
  • Ground sheet. The emergency tarp, a piece of Tyvek home wrap, a contractor garbage bag or a fifty five gallon drum liner split lengthwise is necessary to keep ground moisture from rising up and making you wet while you sleep. Pack it and take it and you will be glad you did.
    • The entire kit weighs less than twenty pounds and is versatile enough for many situations. These items have been used and tested and the author heartily recommends their purchase.
    • Winter is a wonderful time to get out into the great outdoors and enjoy the environment the Creator made for us. There are fewer people on the trails, the air smells crisp and adventure waits around every bend.
    • With a little forethought and planning a proper winter survival kit may be put together and enjoyed. (Yes, you should use every piece of gear that you pack so that you are familiar with it and have confidence in it.) Then, go out, roam the wilderness content with the knowledge that if a dangerous situation arises, you can rise to the occasion with your winter survival bag.

H/T: By WolfmanSF, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23466412

Copyright ©2018. Created by Meks.