Unlocked: Traditional Norwegian Free Huts

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In Norway hiking is a big part of the everyday life.

The traditional huts are often the destination goal for hikers in Norway.

From ancient times, simple households and traditional huts located in rural Norway was kept unlocked, so people could seek shelter in case of bad weather. Statskog wants to keep this tradition alive.

Provides over 100 huts
If you are happy with sleeping on a “brisk” – a wooden bench, going to the toilet outdoors and drinking water from the creek, this is perfect for you. Statskog provides over 100 arches and “koier” – tiny, traditional huts around the Northern-European country.

“They can be a destination goal for a break or act as a shelter for wind and weather. There are also a few wooden benches if you want to rest or stay overnight,” Nils Aal, head of outdoor activities in Statskog says.

Simplicity is key
The cabins have an oven, but not water and electricity. It is not a matter of luxury, but four walls and roof over your head over a few square meters. Most of the huts was used as shelters for loggers and people working with timber floats in earlier days. Others were built as hunting and fishing booths or are set up in recent years as tourist destinations.

Many of Statskog´s huts are old and contains a lot of history about Norwegian forestry and farming. Everyone is welcome to use the households for a short stay, but it is expected that you will make an effort to leave it in the same condition as you found it. A good rule is to bring in dry wood and take the trash with you when you leave.

Open for everyone
No booking is possible and no membership is required, but you should have a Plan B (like a tent) in case the huts are full. You also need to bring your own sleeping bag, and of course food.

Another way off staying off grid for free is in a camper van.

The post Unlocked: Traditional Norwegian Free Huts appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Building a Natural Emergency Shelter With No Tools

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ominous_forest_coldHave you ever tried to build a shelter from natural materials in the woods?  Have you ever tried to do it with no tools?  Have you ever tried to do it with no tools in the winter in a foot of snow? Well I did, and here’s what happened. I went out snowshoeing with my yellow lab (Phyllis) and thought it might be cool to pretend that I was lost and needed to set up a shelter for the night.  It was about noon in mid-February, which meant I had roughly four and a half hours to build a shelter and get a fire going.

By Jarhead Survivor, a Contributing Author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

Since I never go into the woods without minimal equipment I can’t say that I had zero gear, but I didn’t use any of it when I built it.  Here’s a little video of just how easy it is to build a shelter from natural materials in the snow with no tools.  What could go wrong?

Time Line:

  1.  Fall on my ass:  5 seconds
  2. Swear:  17 seconds
  3. Gather wood:  1:20
  4. Breaking wood:  2:51
  5. Constructing the shelter:  4:54
  6. Tipping:  6:08
  7. Covering the shelter:  6:53
  8. Digging the firepit:  7:19
  9. Lighting the fire:  8:24
  10. Chillin’ in the shelter:  9:03

Don’t Lose Heat!

Before we actually build the shelter let’s take a look at some of the objectives.  First and foremost, don’t lose heat!  You lose heat through the following processes:

  • Convection – think blowing wind here
  • Conduction – like sleeping on the cold ground or sitting on a cold rock or log
  • Radiation – heat leaving your body like heat waves coming off  a woodstove
  • Evaporation – sweat

Building a shelter from what you have around you with no tools and keeping these rules in mind is a bit of a tradeoff.  Do the best you can with what you have.

Resources and Construction

In my case, I decided to build a lean-to style shelter from what was lying around in the forest.  In the section of forest I was in, there were a lot of standing dead fir trees about three to four inches at the base.  I looked all over and found a good supply of what I’d need, then went back to where I’d decided to set up my camp.

Read Also: Emergency Storage of Wild Plant Foods

It was in the forest near water, although this wasn’t absolutely necessary since there was so much snow on the ground.  However, it’s easier to gather water or ice then melt snow, so you exploit whatever edge you can, which is what I did in my mock survival situation.  It was also close to my supply of wood and a decent amount of fir trees, which I’d need for the fir boughs.

Next I laid a small log between two trees supported by small logs I’d broken and put underneath to hold it up.  This “cross beam” was about three feet off the ground.  Then, I laid a couple of ribs along it to get an idea of how long they’d need to be so I could break bunch to the right length.

survival_shelter_fallen_treeAfter this, I went and gathered what I hoped was enough wood to put the ribs on the shelter.  (If you haven’t seen the video, you should check out the first minute or two.  I completely fall on my back, while breaking some trees off).  Hey – nobody said it was going to be easy. Next I had to break the tree length sticks to the right size.  To do this, I found two trees close together.   Then I stuck the wood I wanted to break between the two and pulled on it until it broke where I wanted it to.  This isn’t pretty, but it gets the job done.  (Again, see the video for a demonstration).

I tried to build the shelter with it’s back to the wind so as to cut down on convection.  When you have a wind blowing it lowers the temperature considerably and with my shelter set up with it’s back to the wind and the fire throwing heat in, I was in pretty good shape.

Covering It Up

winter_shelter_survival_fireOnce I had the ribs on it was time to cover it up.  There are plenty of fir trees in that area, so I resorted to a technique called “tipping”, which means to break the tips off some fir branches in order to get what I need.  This doesn’t particularly hurt the tree as long as you don’t snap off every branch.  I gathered five or ten armloads and put some on the outside of the shelter and a few armloads inside as well to avoid losing heat through conduction.

Related: Ten Facts About Fire

Special note:  if I were going to build this for real, I’d put a lot more pine boughs over the top and on the ground to really help with the insulation.  Since this was a demo and I was getting tired I decided to go light on the insulation.

Next I broke some wood up for the fire and grabbed some small dead branches off fir and pine trees.  I piled the wood up and put the tinder on top then lit it with a lighter I happened to have in my pocket.  (I could have used a firesteel, but the lighter was quicker and easier).

Pretty soon I had a merry blaze going and decided to make myself some coffee.  Part of that small kit I told you about is a military canteen cup, so I poured in some water and made coffee using a coffee bag (exactly like a teabag, but with coffee instead).

After Action Report

canteen_cup_fire_shelter_survivalIt really wasn’t that difficult making a shelter using natural materials.  True, I don’t feel like I totally finished it, but it would have been easy enough if I needed.  I could have also covered it up with snow to really insulate it or added more to the front to make it less of a lean-to and more of a full shelter instead. The total time to make the shelter, even in the snow, was about two to three hours.  The thing about a shelter like this is you need a lot of wood to keep you warm through the night.  In the area I was in, it wouldn’t have been a problem because of all the dead wood laying around, but in other areas it might not have worked out so well.

Again, you’ll need to adjust the kind of shelter you have according to the materials available. Questions?  Comments? Sound off below!

 

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China’s Agenda 21 Sparks ‘Vertical Forests’ – Skyscrapers With 3,000 Trees & Shrubs

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China’s Agenda 21 Sparks ‘Vertical Forests’ – Skyscrapers With 3,000 Trees & Shrubs

NANJING, China — China’s plan to move 250 million people from the country to the city in the next decade has resulted in some strange developments, including ghost cities and now, “vertical forests.”

The first vertical forest will be built in Nanjing, a city of more than 8 million people, and include 1,100 trees and 2,500 plants and shrubs hanging off a pair of tall skyscrapers. It was designed by Stefano Boeri Architetti and promoted by the government-owned National Investment Group.

According to Stefano Boeri, the vertical forest will absorb 25 tons of carbon dioxide and produce more than 20 tons of oxygen each year. Stefano Boeri even has plans for a yet-to-be-built “Forest City” that will boast dozens of the vertical forests and house about 100,000 residents.

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China’s Agenda 21 Sparks ‘Vertical Forests’ – Skyscrapers With 3,000 Trees & Shrubs

The Nanjing vertical forest is scheduled to be completed in 2018.

The tallest tower will be more than 600 feet high and will host offices, a museum, a green architecture school and a private club on the rooftop, according to Stefano Boeri. The second tower, at 354 feet high, will include a Hyatt hotel. The facilities also will have restaurants and a grocery store.

New Pocket-Sized Solar Generator Will Jump-Start Your Car!

In 2014 China officials unveiled their National New-type Urbanization Plan (2014-2020) with the goal of moving 100 million people from the rural and farming areas to the city by 2020 and 250 million by 2026.

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China’s Agenda 21 Sparks ‘Vertical Forests’ – Skyscrapers With 3,000 Trees & Shrubs

“It’s a new world for us in the city,” 43-year-old Tian Wei, a former wheat farmer who now works in a city factory, told The New York Times. “All my life I’ve worked with my hands in the fields; do I have the educational level to keep up with the city people?”

Some have labeled it China’s Agenda 21 – a reference to a United Nations “sustainable development” plan that was adopted by China, the United States and other nations in the 1990s. Critics of Agenda 21 — and the subsequent Agenda 2030 – argue that if the plans are carried out, the U.S. and other countries eventually will force people into cities, even if it doesn’t look as dramatic as it does in China.

(Listen to Off The Grid News’ in-depth report on Agenda 21 and Agenda 2030 here.)

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China’s Agenda 21 Sparks ‘Vertical Forests’ – Skyscrapers With 3,000 Trees & Shrubs

The yet-to-be-built “Forest City.”

China’s goal is to transform the country into one that is more competitive on the world stage. Currently, around 55 percent of Chinese residents live in cities, compared to 80 percent of Americans who live in urban areas.

The concept has resulted in hundreds of “ghost cities” across China – that is, cities with streets and skyscrapers, but no people. Eventually, they will be occupied.

What is your reaction to China’s vertical forests and population plan? Do you think it could happen here? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Are You Truly Prepared For A Downed Grid? Read More Here.

Rough Beauty

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There is a kind of rough beauty out here. The kind that can kill you, or cure you, depending on how you step, how you breathe and how your heart beats.
One step can either break a leg or take your breath away with rapture.
That’s how it is out here.
The trees can whisper wisdom to you if you only stop and listen.
Of course you must stop yourself first.
Stop the mind-chatter, the ego, the judging, the “tapes” that lecture on your inadequacies….stop it all and just listen.

To the wind, the water, to the birds and to the voice of the Divine in everything around you.

If you can do that, you will leave this place a different person.

A better, less-fractured, universe-touched person.

Currant Season!

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I love the wild currants, but I gotta say the picking is quite labor intensive.

It’s THAT time of year again, when the currants begin to ripen and are ready to be picked and dried for the year.  It always manages to happen when the weather gets hot, meaning any foraging trips require plenty of water, cooling clothing, and in this Ginger’s case, plenty of sunscreen.

But the effort is worth it.

I use wild currants in a lot of my baked goods, including my homemade brioche, muffins, and pancakes.  And earlier this year Dave McCallum soaked them in whiskey for our Valentine’s Day Gluten Free Foraged Cake!

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This is my brioche, mid bake, with dried currants from a nearby park.

So I think this week I’ll be taking Hunny B. out to my favorite currant picking spot to gather and dry enough berries to get us through the year.  I don’t need many, the flavor is very strong so usually less than a gallon is enough to get us through til next season.

But I’d better do it soon.  Carolina’s parents are visiting from Chile at the end of the month and love my Wild Currant Brioche.

Just remember, whenever you forage, to use proper foraging etiquette.

Oh!  I almost forgot – speaking of Chile, we’re back with new episodes on Memorial Day!  We start with a trip to Chile, with urban foraging, a live volcano, and a hike to a glacier that gets us in a little over our heads.  Don’t miss it!