Measure Distance Using Compass

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Your compass is a measuring tool that can be adapted to a variety of needs. As shown here, it can be used to measure more than just direction.

You can use your magnetic compass to determine the width of a stream or small body of water without having to get wet. This quick and easy method of determining distance using a compass may just come in handy. In any case, it is always a good trick you can use to amaze your fellow survivors.

Here is how it is done.

1. Standing at the edge of the water, sight an object directly across from you on the far bank. Take a compass reading on this object and mark the spot where you are standing.

2. Walk along the stream until the compass reading to the same object across the stream changes by 45-degrees and mark this spot also.

3. Now measure the distance between the two marks you set. This will be equal to the distance between the first mark and the object you sighted across the stream.

For example:

Say you are standing next to a stream and directly across from you on the opposite bank is a large tree. Take out your compass and sight the tree. 

Let’s pretend the compass reads 300-degrees (Azimuth type compass) or S30W (Quadrant type compass). Mark this spot and then walk either downstream or upstream until the compass sighting on the same tree reads 45-degrees in either direction from your first reading (either 255-degrees or 345-degrees on an azimuth type compass, S15E or N15W on a quadrant type compass). 

Mark this position also. The width of the stream is equal to the distance between your two marks on the ground. If you have practiced pacing (and every survivor should) you can count the number of paces between the two marks and calculate the width of the stream.

The best survivalists are skilled in using whatever materials at hand in novel ways that give him an edge over his environment. “Thinking out of the box” is a trademark of the true survivor.

~Urban Man~

8 Life Hacks for Being Prepared

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8 Life Hacks for Being Prepared You will never be prepared for every situation life can throw your way, and that is a fact. However, if you want to be able to find your way out of the majority of prickly situations, that can be managed. Investing time and energy to learn and hone certain … Continue reading 8 Life Hacks for Being Prepared

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Basic Wilderness Navigation Skills for City Folk

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Written by Steve If you live in an apartment in the city you’ll have limited supplies and resources will be scarce in the event of a natural disaster or civil unrest. You can do your best efforts in prepping but if you live in an apartment you’ve only got so much space that you can use. In the event that you run out of resources or things just get too dangerous in the city, you’ll most likely want to bug […]

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Navigation, Family Practices for Security, Experience, and Fun

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Navigation, Family Practices for Security, Experience, and Fun

What if you had that one essential prepper/survival related item with you at all times that not only gave you security and peace of mind but was also family friendly, educational, entertaining, and fun? We all practice self-reliance in one form or another to some extent in various degrees. For many of us it can become mundane and the important reasons that got us started forgotten about. We become complaisant and lose interest more often than not because it does not include others, or we simply get bored.

 Outdoor activities are something I enjoy more than anything, especially with family. However, getting the family on board with an idea I may have can be akin to pulling teeth. The wife is usually fine, ready for a break from the house but not always excited. The kids generally want to run off with their friends or play video games. Now that I’ve found something that sparks their interest it’s all about what we will be doing next weekend? Where will we be going or can Jason and his brother come with us?

Besides my own interest in being outdoors it actually took three items to get everyone else’s attention in the family and make me pretty popular, a map, a compass, and a book. The latter I bought for myself but soon realized I had a little gold mine to share with the family. The book is titled “Prepper’s Survival Navigation” and can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indie Bound, Books-a-Million by searching the title and author, Walter Glen Martin. The book may even be in your local book store.

You can’t have one without the other. You’re going to find that after you get the book you are going to want a compass and topographical map. Both the compass and the maps can generally found at a sporting goods store. The maps are also available in most book stores, forest service or State offices, or google on line through several places. A good compass will generally cost around $20.00.

Now it’s not just about learning to read a compass and a map, which I thought I already knew. The book goes into great detail about declination, shadows and stars, distance, landmarks, pace count, dead reckoning, traveling in low visibility with a navigator and point person. The book also covers survival when the unexpected may happen. Medical emergency, fire craft, emergency signaling, winter/cold survival, and building shelters.

Once you have the tools the fun will begin. The kids are eager to learn navigation and have a lot of fun while doing it. It’s a great confidence builder. We get to go to different places we may have avoided before because we were not familiar with the area and for the fear of getting lost. For me, I find peace of mind knowing that in this day and age with so much uncertainty going on around us that in time of disaster or when my kids are out by themselves they have the skills to survive and find their way home.

Find Preppers Survival Navigation on Amazon HERE! 

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Backpacking: Why Preppers Should All Do It

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Backpacking is often thought of as this out of reach, extreme sport that only people in top physical condition undertake.  That’s just not the case.  Backpacking is as much a skill builder as it is an activity for the adventurous.  And the best part is that anyone can do it.  It can be as simple

Bushcraft Gear – 7 Of The Best Bushcraft Tools For Survival

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bushcraft gear - survival knife cutting

Bushcraft Gear For The Serious Survivalist

The ability to invent, create and use tools are one of the major ways humans differ from animals. Bushcraft gear is the group of tools we first invented as a species. The gear we first crafted from sticks, stones, and bones found in nature. In order to make knives, arrows, spears, fire, shelters, etc.

The best bushcraft gear is the tools that give the ability to make a large array of other tools. For example, having a bushcraft knife opens up a world of possibilities to build hundreds of other useful tools and items.

Before humans became advanced engineers and scientists, we played by the rules of nature. If you go back far enough in history, survival was an everyday endeavor; it was the only lifestyle we knew.

There was no comfortable couch waiting for us at home, or steamy hot shower either. There were no grocery stores and no prepackaged food to meet our hunger pains.

And worse yet, no indoor plumbing so when “nature called”, we were already there because the wild was our home.

Living in those circumstances required a very particular set of tools and skills. What we today call bushcraft.

So What Is Bushcraft?

Over the years we’ve refined and perfected our instruments of survival. And bushcraft became an art form, much like martial arts or rock climbing.

For centuries the tools have remained unchanged while our computers and iPhones seem to evolve every few weeks. However, bushcraft gear and tools are timeless.

Today living in a remote off-grid wilderness is much the same as it was for our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Our bodies need the same securities: fire, shelter, food, and water. And the tools used to secure those needs are impressive in their simplicity and functionality.

Now, in today’s society, we typically don’t get to choose when and where and under what circumstances we end up stranded in the wilderness. So a collection of bushcraft tools does you no good stored in your garage.

For example, if you go down in a plane over the high country, you’re not going to have many bushcraft tools with you. (And if somehow you do, kudos, that’s impressive).

So I’ve compiled a list of the best, most essential bushcraft gear. I’ll describe their purpose, where you can buy them and a brief explanation of how to improvise each. But first, let’s get one important definition out of the way:

Bushcraft is the art of surviving in the woods. The official definition is:

“The skill gained by or necessary for living in bush country.”

But I’m going to applying the term more generally in this article. I am not limiting it to surviving “in the woods or forest” but to in the wilderness at large.

Surviving in the mountains, lost in the woods, stranded on an island, or traversing a desert. Bushcraft is the art of survival anywhere. And bushcraft gear is useful in any survival situation.

Bushcraft Gear – The 7 Essential Tools You Must Own and How To Make Them In Nature

1 – Survival Hatchet

If you haven’t read Gary Paulsen’s book, Hatchet, you need to do yourself a favor and get it now. The book follows a young man, stranded in the wilderness with nothing but his trusty hatchet.

He then uses this hatchet to survive through a winter in the wild alone. It’s an incredible example of how versatile and useful bushcraft gear can be.

With a quality survival hatchet, you can cut wood for fire, shape branches for arrows/bows to hunt for food or build a shelter. The possibilities are endless! Which is exactly why I bring a hatchet with me on every excursion I go on.

For the most part, using a hatchet is relatively straightforward: just hack away. And, if the hatchet’s edge is sharp enough you can also use it to shave and score wood.

There are tons of places to buy a hatchet. Any outdoor store or hardware worth visiting will carry an assortment of hatchets.

And if you search online, you’ll find a selection of brands, shapes, weights, and styles to choose from. You’ll be able to find the right hatchet for you regardless of your style, need, or budgetary restrictions.

Don’t worry there’s a hatchet out there for you.

Wetterlings is my favorite company for hatchets and axes. These hatchets are high-quality but they are not the lightest (nor the cheapest).

If weight is your primary concern, then go with this Friskers 14-inch hatchet. This hatchet one only weights 1.4 lbs due to its light (yet still strong) Nyglass (nylon/fiberglass composite) handle construction.

Improvising a Hatchet

The most important part of any hatchet is the head. It needs to be thick and sharp. However, it doesn’t need to win a beauty content.

There are a lot of things that you can use to achieve this. Scrap metal and sharpened stones are usually the best improvisation options.

Once you have a hatchet head selected, lash it securely to a handle using cordage. When you are sure the head will not come flying like a lethal projectile, it should be good to go.

Here’s a video showing a stone hatchet without using cordage.

2 – The Fixed-Blade/Folding Survival Knives

Few tools in a bushman’s pack are as versatile as a survival knife.

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There is a reason the knife has been one of the most prominent survival tools throughout history. Knives are extremely functional.

They serve a lot of different purposes:

• Cutting
• Digging
• Self Defense
• Poking Holes
• Splitting or Batoning
• Perforating
• Shaving
• Using As A Utensil For Eating
• Skinning
• Flathead Screwdriver

In generally, if you think you can use a knife to do it, you most likely can.

Knives come in all shapes and sizes. Some fold, some are fixed, some are double edged, and others only single edged.

Some come attached to multi-tools, while others are as basic as possible. Some are expensive while others are cheap. Some are sleek, and some are just badass looking.

It all depends on what you’re looking for from your bushcraft knife, to decides which one to invest in.

If you want a big “screw-off” hunting knife, check out Kabars (the official knife of the US Marines).

If you want a super lightweight, reliable, folding pocket knife, you can’t go wrong with a Benchmade Knife.

For a fixed blade knife I like Helle knives and blades. They are traditional Norwegian made and reliable.

Improvising a Knife

Improvising a fixed blade cutting tool is far more efficient than wasting time, energy, and resources trying to make a folding knife.

Sure, you can do it. But if you’re in a survival situation and need to make something functional, go with a fixed blade knife. Fix blade knives are easier to make, and they get the job done.

The concept behind improvising a survival knife is similar to making a hatchet: you need a handle and a blade.

Blades are relatively easy to come by, just think like a jailbird and shive up. Use sharpened scraps of metal, sharpened stones, even glass can work.

Handles can be either fastened to the blade with cord/tape or made entirely by wrapping tape around the end until you have something to grip. (A note on using glass: not all shards of glass will work well as a knife blade – but some forms of glass, like obsidian, are better than even the sharpest metals).

Obsidian blades were commonly used by the Maya people, and are SO sharp they cut on a molecular level. Obsidian can still be found naturally today, so keep your eyes open.

3 – Survival Saws

When you are dealing in the wilderness, efficiently cutting wood is a lifesaving skill. And even armed with a hatchet and a pocket knife, you are not going to be removing felled trees from across trials. You won’t be able to cut precise lengths of wood for home building.

For that, you need a saw.

Saws are an ultimate bushcraft tool. Even if, in your day to day life you never need a saw, when bush crafting you’re undoubtedly going to use it. And use it often. That saw is going to be essential, I guarantee it.

There are so many types of specialty saws:

• Coping Saws
• Veneer Saws
• Hacksaws
• Crosscut Saws
• Keyhole Saw
• Fret Saw
• Table Saw
• Rip Saws
• Bow Saws
• Band Saws
• Meat Saws
• etc.

But no one is realistically going to lug their table saw with them in a “shit hits the fan” scenario. So here is a short list of my favorite survival saws.

Forester Survival Pocket Handsaw – This saw fits in your pocket, it’s lightweight and effective at cutting branches. Yes, it would be tough to bring down a tree with this one, but hopefully, you won’t have to.

Gerber Saw Folding Gator – Comes with a fancy little pack making for easy packing. The saw is a lightweight bow saw, with easily replaceable teeth.

Gerber Vital Pack Saw – This is a small, super packable backpacking saw. It will easily fit into some unused nook or cranny of your pack.

Ultimate Survival Technologies Saber Cut Saw – Yeah, the name is a mouthful, but the saw is minimalistic. It looks more like a loop of wire than anything that could detach tree limbs but don’t get fooled. This survival tool is adept at doing exactly that.

How to Improvise a Saw

Improvising a saw in nature is a bit tricky. Saw blades are both precise and unnatural as far as bushcraft gear goes. So you won’t find them lying around in nature.

The closest thing to making an improvised saw is to make a wire saw.

To do this, you will need two key rings, and a length of coarse wire (electrical fencing wire, stripped electrical wires, etc.). Measure out roughly 3 feet of wire and slip the first key-ring halfway along the wire.

Start twisting the wire around itself from the middle (so that you can use the key-ring as a handle). Continue twisting until you get to the end, and incorporate the other key-ring.

The twisted coarse wire should function as a wire saw. But remember this improvised version is nowhere near as effective as the real deal. But it’s better than nothing in a pinch.

4 – Flint and Striker

Fire is the granddaddy of a survival essential. I never leave the house without a lighter on me. I keep packs of matches in every backpack I own and bring a flint and striker on most trips.

I don’t usually use the flint/striker because I don’t usually need to. But the age-old spark making duo has saved countless lives over the years.

The best part about a striker and flint is that they even work if they get wet. So if you want to keep an emergency fire starter on your boat, you should use one of these. If you plan on backpacking through a coastal region, use a flint and striker instead of matches.

Lots of outdoor manufacturers and survival companies make flint and striker setups. Some are cheap and lightweight; others are a little more expensive and flashier. But they all serve the same purpose, and they are all reliable.

All-Weather Emergency 2-IN-1 Fire Starter & Magnesium Fuel Bar

Basic, simple, lightweight, reliable, cheap, easy to use, makes fire. What more could you ask for in a survival tool?

Traditional Hand Forged High-Quality Carbon Steel Fire Striker

Fancy, a little heavier, but very elegant. This handcrafted artisan flint and striker set up is for those who do not mind spending a little extra.

Survival Magnesium Fire Flint Steel Fire Starter Ferro Rod with Wood Handle

At only $8.99 (at the time of this post) this is by far one of the more economical ways to go. Buy a bunch of these and store one in your car, one in your bug out bag, and one in your backpacking pack.

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Improvising a Flint and Striker

The best part about this piece of bushcraft gear is the fact that it does exist in nature.

Unlike a saw or a knife, you can find the materials for a flint and striker laying around. Find two rocks that spark when banging them together. And then get banging.

Or, use a piece of metal to strike against a stone at an angle to generate some sparks.

Not all stone will work, so you may have to try a few different types. But sparks are possible to make in nature without any man made supplies.


5 – Compasses

With luck, you will never get lost in the woods without a compass. They are essential not only to bushcraft but all outdoor activities.

Whether you are hunting, hiking, fishing, kayaking or camping having a true sense of direction is key.

It makes it easier to explore the unknown and find your way back safely. There is nothing worse than getting lost; compasses help you avoid that.

However, investing in a compass relies heavily on how much you want to spend and how you’re planning to use it.

I keep a simple Suunto compass in my hiking backpack and transfer it into my other bags if I need to.

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But when I was mapping out geologic formations in Boulder we used a very high-tech, multi-purpose compasses. Specifically, one known as a Brunton Pocket Transit Geo Compasses.

Now obviously, these are not made for survival, but it illustrates the variety available.

Find one that serves your needs and fits your budget.

Improvising a Compass

Despite being a clever article of technology, the compass is simple to recreate in nature. And it requires only a few basic supplies.

Find a quiet pool of water – preferably a bowl, but in a pinch, a still puddle will work too. Get your hands on a metal needle. A sewing needle works but small lengths of wire also works so long as the metal is magnetic (i.e. contains iron, cobalt or nickel).

Next, place the needle on something that floats (a leaf or a small chunk of cork or on a small piece of wood) and gently set it into the center of the still water.

Make sure there is no breeze or wind.

The needle should align according to Earth’s magnetic field. This alignment indicates North and South. Magnetic needles are a tried and tested method, but requires a bit of patience and very stable conditions (i.e. still water and air).

6 – Whetstones

Equally important to any bladed bushcraft gear, are the tools which sharpen them. Whetstones have been around for as long as bladed tools have, and are vital to maintaining a sharp blade.

Here is a good video to learn the techniques of sharpening knives.

Get the stone wet, and run the blade backward along the rock’s surface at a consistent 20-degree angle. Repeat this until the edge begins to sharpen.

Whetstones are available at most hardware stores and outdoor stores. Wusthof, Accusharp and Culinary Obsession whetstones are a few common brand names available.

Make sure you get a whetstone with a coarse grit side and a fine grit side. These are by far the best for honing your blade edges.

Here are a few more unique ways to sharpen a blade.

Improvising a Whetstone

Almost all whetstones you find on the market are made from artificial stone. Plus, the material particles are all the same size and grit found in nature.

Finding sharpening stones in the wilderness is difficult. You need something very flat, smooth, and dense.

I have heard of people using cinder blocks to hone a rough edge, or flat river stones high in quartz. But finding a random rock that will work well to sharpen your blades is going to be a difficult undertaking.

7 – Fishing Line and Hooks

These two items are so light, cheap, and packable that every survivalist should carry them.

Hooks and line fit into small zip locks and weight close to nothing. And fishing is an essential bushcraft survival skill.

You don’tt have to have a full fishing rig to catch something; you just need a line, a hook, and some bait.

Fishing line and hooks are available nearly everywhere:

• sporting stores
• outdoor stores
• hardware store
• everything store
• dollar stores
• reuse stores
• military surplus stores
• even many grocery stores

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Improvising Fishing Lines and Hooks

As far as bushcraft gear goes, it doesn’t get much simpler than this. So you need to get your hands on some thin line, and a few aluminum can tops.

The can tops can be cut or broken/bent into a near-perfect improvised fish hook. Find some bait, and you are ready to cast your line.

The Final Word

Of any life skill, I would argue that Bushcraft is one of the most important. Kids who grow up never learning how to use a hatchet or to widdle things with pocket knives are not missing out.

They also are not being adequately prepared to handle themselves in the real ‘real’ world. There is always time to learn, though. It is never too late to get out into the wild and start practicing bushcraft. Who knows, you may even master the art.

Of course, no bushman was ever successful without their trusty bushcraft gear. The gear essential to the trade. And without them, you will struggle to survive in the wilderness.

The bottom line is owning key bushcraft gear is an essential preparation. But knowing how to improvise any one of these bushcraft tools is equally important. Because you never know when you might get stranded in the remote wilderness.

-Will Brendza
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34 Best Survival Hacks You Should Learn Right Now

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survival hacksSurvival hacks are solutions that break the rules. The best survivalists don’t just blindly follow rulebooks, so we hack when necessary. Sure, there are hundreds of survival guides we learn from but you’re at a huge disadvantage when you rely too heavily on any one resource.

Real survival is a creative endeavor that requires fast thinking and an open mind. Sometimes you have to improvise, adapt, and make it up as you go along. You have to make split-second decisions. You have to work with what you have got.

You have to think like McGyver by survival hacking your way to safety.

Some of the following survival hacks are my own personal tricks, others I have learned from different survivalists, but together they are very useful and applicable in most any survival scenario.

But remember: you can always “make up” a new survival hack on the fly. All you need is a goal and a handful of random materials. There’s always more than one way to solve any problem.

The following list of survival hacks is not comprehensive. In fact, these 34 survival hacks are just a small drop in a much larger bucket. But this list will inspire you in a creative survival sort of way.

The Survival Hacks (We’ll Start Simple)

1 – Dorito Fire Starters

If you need to get a fire started ASAP, but don’t have paper or lighter fluid, use Doritos (any corn chip will work well). These chips are flammable and will ignite quickly. They are a perfect makeshift tinder to get a small quick flame. Time to survival hack your way into building a much larger fire.

They are a perfect makeshift tinder to get a small quick flame. Use Doritos to survival hack your way to build a much larger fire.

2 – Alcohol Swabs as Fire Starters

Similarly to Doritos, alcohol swabs are incendiary. The alcohol makes them flammable enough to catch quickly and the cotton holds a flame long enough to establish a lasting fire.

3 – Battery as Fire Starter

Another great survival hack to generate flame is to use a battery and a couple small pieces of tin foil (or wire). By placing one tin foil strip on each end of the battery, you can get the foil to heat up and burst into flame.

Any battery will do, and the flame generated should be big enough to set fire to paper, thin bark, alcohol swabs or even Dorito chips.

4 – Pencil + Jumper Cables + Battery = Fire

Simply attach the cables to your car battery like you are giving someone a jump. But connect the other ends to a pencil.

The graphite core of the writing utensil will conduct electricity, heating up and causing the pencil to burst into flames.

5 – Crisco Candles

Often times, in survival situations, people lose electricity to power their lights. But fear not! As in times of old, you can use candles to generate light. But what can you do if you are fresh out of wax candles?

Crisco makes a good candle “wax” substitute. Just run a makeshift wick through a big glop of it and you’ll be good to go.

6 – Crayon Candles

Crayons are more than just art supplies for kids. They can be stood up on end, lite on fire, and viola you have a makeshift candle. Each crayon candle will only last about 15 minutes but you can get a box of 96 crayons. That equates to 24 hours of emergency light.

7 – Terra Cotta Heaters

Here’s a survival hack for when there is no electric heat, and you need to warm up a small room. Well, without a fireplace, starting a fire in the living room is out of the question. But there is another way: terra cotta conducts heat very well and radiates the warmth that it collects.

By placing a few candles beneath an upside down terra cotta pot (which can easily be bought at any hardware or garden store) you can create a mini-heater that will pump out a surprising amount of heat.

Set up a few of these makeshift heaters and your home will be nice and toasty in no time!

8 – Coke Can Alcohol Jet Stove

Cut the top of the coke can off about 2-3 inches from the bottom of can, and turn it upside down. Drill or poke holes in the bottom of the can so that air can flow through the ‘stove’. Place a gel fuel tin (or something similar) under the upside down coke can and light it.

You may have to adjust the size of your holes and the airflow somewhat, but once you get it, you should have a working jet stove.

9 – Wild Plants For Insect Repellant

Smoke of any kind works as a general insect repellant, but a few wild plants work as well.

The video below is proof that the right wild plants will keep these dangerous pests at bay.

10 – Super Glue Stitches

Super glue is small, easy to carry, and when there is an open wound that needs closing there really isn’t anything (short of actual stitches) that is better suited for the job.

Just make sure to pinch the laceration closed until the glue dries.

11 – Makeshift Slings

Slings are one of those things you don’t need until you really need one. Luckily, they are pretty simple and really easy to improvise: bandanas, t-shirts, hoodies, blankets and tarps can all work.

If it is too big, cut it, if it is too small, tie a few together.

12 – Hunting Broad Heads From Keys

With the right kind of tools and a file, a key can be shaped into a makeshift hunting broadhead.

13 – Duct Tape Fletching

If you are making your own arrows, you will undoubtedly need a form of fletching. Fletching is the feather (or foam, or plastic) “rudder” at the end of your arrow. It stabilizes the shaft during flight and increases accuracy by a great measure.

In a pinch, when you do not have the time to craft fine fletching on each arrow, duct tape can provide the necessary stiffness to balance the flight of your projectile.

14 – Can Top Fishing Hooks

Fishing is one of the best ways to gather food in wilderness surviving. But finding the right materials is not easy. Luckily, one very common item makes for an almost perfect fishing hook: pop tops!

The fun little tags on top of your beer and soda cans are a great shape to make a fishing hook out of. All you have to do is remove one segment of the top and file it to a point. And there it is: you’ve got yourself a functional fishing hook.

15 – Gorge Fishing Hook

Gorge fishing is one of the oldest methods for fishing. Human beings have been using this technique for thousands of years to catch fish, and it is pretty simple: sharpen both ends of a small twig or stick, and carve out a notch in the center of it.

Wrap line around the carved notch and stick your bait on one sharp end. Drop the gorge hook in the water, and when a fish swallows it, pull the line hard and the twig will turn sideways inside the fish, lodging in its throat and securing your dinner for the night.

16 – Fish Trap from 2-liter Bottle

Take the cap off of the top and cut that end of the bottle right just where it reaches full thickness. Flip the smaller piece and insert it back into the bottle, in reverse. You may have to make a few cuts in the cap end so that it fits snugly inside the bottle’s body. Tie (or otherwise secure) the inverted cap end inside with wire or string.

The basic idea of this trap is the same as any commercial crabbing trap: for fish to swim inside, where they will not be able to swim back out.

Of course, don’t expect to catch any monster fish with this, but it is a good way to secure a few mouthful of minnows.

17 – Yucca Sewing Kit

This is one of my favorites, but it is also only viable in certain geographic areas of the United States.

Yucca is a sharp, agave-like plant with big fat leaves that end in sharp barbed points. Cut one of the leaves off the plant, and start shaving off the edges, until you are left with a long thin, single strip of Yucca with the barb at one end.

Now, cut that thin strip in half and twist the two strands together like a small rope. This will increase the tensile strength of the twine and leaves you with a sharp needle and a thread with which to sew your torn garments.

18 – Water Bottle Ceiling Lights

Need a ceiling light, but don’t have electricity? We got you covered. Just fill a transparent water bottle with water and cut a hole in the roof of your shelter (this probably will not fly in the house).

Jam the bottle up in the hole, and there it is! The light will travel through the water and disperse (hooray for physics), creating a source of light to brighten up your darkest days.

19 – Desk Lamp Water Jug

Gallon jugs of water can work as lamps too! Just fill them up, and wrap a headlamp around them. The light from the headlamp will turn that gallon jug into a bright desk or table lamp.

20 – Improvised Compass

This is one of the oldest and most useful survival hacks in the “book”.

Get a cup or puddle of water (it does not matter as long as it is still and not flowing), lay a leaf in the center of it and gently place a sewing needle or piece of wire on top, so it floats. The magnetic fields of the Earth will naturally orient the needle to point North/South.

This trick has saved thousands of humans over the centuries and is a hack every survivalist should know well.

21 – Rain Collection from A Tarp

All you need is a large tarp and a 5-gallon bucket to collect a significant amount of water when the skies open up. Even in a light drizzle, you can collect a decent amount of drinkable water with this simple survival hack.

22 – Signaling Whistle from Bullet Casing

Maybe might have noticed that larger spent bullet cartridges look a lot like whistles. This similarity was not lost on us, and with a few precise cuts, you can make a very loud, very shrill whistle, perfect for signaling distress.

23 – Folgers Toilet Paper Protector

What is worse than going to the bathroom only to discover you have no toilet paper? Going to the bathroom and discovering that the toilet paper you did bring is soaking wet… I only had to make this mistake once before I changed my ways forever.

Now, I use a coffee can to house my toilet paper, keeping it forever dry! Zip lock bags work well too and pack easily.

24 – Condom Canteen

Yeah, you read that right. Those trusty rubbers are good for more than just baby-prevention, they can also save you from dying of thirst.

Fill one up with water, and carry it with you if there are not any other viable options for transporting the water. Just make sure the condom is not used, or flavored, or lubed.

25 – Improvised Reflective Signals

These can be fashioned from any number of reflective materials; rear-view mirrors, CD’s, polished metal and even jewelry can work.

Of course, some are easier to work with than others. But as long as it shimmers in the sunlight, you should be good to use it as a distress signal.

26 – Tarp Shelters

Survival shelters are hard to come by in many situations. Especially a waterproof shelter. But with a

But with a large survival tarp, you can make sure that you stay dry and protected from the elements.

Tarps do not insulate very well, though, so while it is possible to just hang one up and pass out underneath it, you won’t be staying warm for long. So, the best way to remedy this it to build a small stick frame (like that of a tent) and lay the tarp over it.

Then, pile dirt and moss and leaves up against the sides of the tarp, this will act as insulation and keep your heat from dissipating too quickly.

Snow can be substituted for the dirt in winter (like an igloo).

Here’s where you can get an Aqua Defender King Camo Tarp like the one in this video.

Complex Survival Hacks

27 – Hunting Bow from a Bike Tire

There are a few slightly different methods to accomplish this, but the general idea is the same. First cut the frame of a bike wheel in half, clean out the spokes and sand down the sharp edges.

Then create a guidance system for your string with a couple of well-placed eyelets along the cut rim of the wheel.

The video below goes into much greater detail. It takes time, and it requires a number of supplies to accomplish successfully, but this is the kind of thing that could be used for hunting or self-defense in a pinch.

28 – Makeshift Raft

If I learned anything from the movie Jaws, it’s that empty plastic containers float pretty well. That simple fact applies to smaller containers too; like drinking water bottles and gallon jugs.

By fastening a bunch of empty plastic containers together – either with string or by wrapping them all together in a tarp – you can create a pretty big flotation device capable of carrying at least one person.

29 – Coffee Can Wood Burning Stove

Coffee cans are useful for a lot of purposes. But perhaps my favorite (and one I learned years ago, back in cub scouts), is the wood burning rocket stove.

Turn the metal coffee can (plastic won’t work, sorry) upside down on the ground, and punch a couple of ventilation holes in (what is now) the top of the can. You can also cut a small circle of the flat part for increased airflow.

Cut a square out of the side of the can where you can feed the fire inside. Now all you have to do is collect wood, and keep the inferno inside your coffee can burning.

These stoves work great for cooking outdoors when you don’t have a gas stove or don’t want to cook over an open fire. They also generate a lot of heat and can act like a small heater on chilly nights.

30 – Blanket Chair

Just because you don’t have access to your favorite Lazy Boy recliner, doesn’t mean you have to forsake comfort entirely.

By building a tripod A-frame out of 4 or more solid branches, and tying a blanket or a tarp to it, you can make a very comfortable, single person camp chair, perfect for keeping your bum off the cold ground.

31 – Homemade Penicillin

If you are not familiar with the revolutionary excellence of penicillin as an antibiotic, you need to get educated. This awesome little mold was one of the first ever discovered antibiotics used to fight bacterial infections.

And in the wilderness, or in a survival situation, having an antibiotic to fight an infection will absolutely save your life.

Before antibiotics were discovered, people regularly died because of small cuts that got infected. And you will too, without antibiotics. But you need to be careful, making sure to follow every step in the process as closely as possible.

And I wouldn’t wait around until you have an infection to start growing penicillin – because that is already too late. This is one that needs to be planned ahead by growing your own or with survival antibiotics

32 – Ping Pong Ball Smoke Bomb

Have you ever tried lighting a Ping-Pong ball on fire? If so, you know that they are incredibly incendiary. They light up like the 4th of July.

By wrapping tin foil around the ping pong ball, and leaving a funnel for air at one end, you can create a fairly effective smoke bomb.

Put a flame to the bottom of the tin foil wrapped ball until the plastic inside ignites. And BOOM! Smoke will start billowing out the funnel.

33 – Grass Tire Pressure

If you get a flat tire and do not have an air pump, a spare, a patching kit, cell service to call for help, or any other viable option, you can fill a burst tire with grass and other foliage to provide just enough support to drive on it.

Simply cut a few holes on the inside of the tire and start stuffing! Obviously, you will not be able to use that tire ever again – it will need to be replaced – so don’t do this unless you have no other options.

34 – Improvised Perimeter Alarms

Security is important and becomes more important in survival situations. Air horns, firecrackers, or any triggering device can be rigged with string to go off when someone trips the wire.

A well-planned perimeter alarm system can help you get a good nights sleep when you’re concerned about trespassers.

You can pick up some Sentry Alarm Mines that work with .22 rounds. When tripped, these will fire off the .22 round and make one hell of a bang.

The Final Word

There is no “right way” to survive. Each individual is going to have his or her own survival style, tricks, and hacks. I highly encourage everyone to develop your own…

No website, book, or teacher will ever capture every possible survival hack. Quite simply because, there’s always new ones being developed by clever survivalists. Anyone with a handful of materials, a goal, and the will to survive, will rig together things in order to stay alive.

So share your own survival hacks with us today in the comments below!

– Will Brendza

The post 34 Best Survival Hacks You Should Learn Right Now appeared first on Skilled Survival.

Your GPS Is Awesome – Until It Gets You Lost

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featured_appalachia_navigation

china_maine_gpsThe other day my wife sent me on a mission to China to recover an important tactical item.  That would be China, Maine and the item was a coffee table she found on Craigslist.  Anyway, I jumped in my trusty pickup truck, fired up the GPS, and headed inland from the coast to grab the package.  The GPS, a literal device, took me on the shortest route. Which, as you’ve probably discovered, doesn’t always necessarily mean the fastest.  I was going up over mountains, down back roads, and twisting back and forth on an old dirt road that made me happy I have survival gear in the back of my truck.

By Jarhead Survivor, a Contributing Author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

Now, the coffee table was in South China, and when I got to an intersection where I could go left to South China or right to China it took me right.  Confused, I stopped and checked it out a little closer.  It took me north over China lake and down the other side.  Ok, I thought, maybe they consider “south” to be on the west side of the lake.  People and directions are funky and I was willing to give my GPS the benefit of the doubt.  With a few misgivings, I followed the GPS.

Related: Why I Prefer a Map and Compass Over GPS 

I should have listened to my instincts.  I got to the other side of the lake and all my warning bells were now going off like a  five-alarm fire.  I pulled over, looked, and sure enough the GPS was taking me to the wrong address.  I put in the address I wanted and it pointed to another area.  I won’t use the real address, but here’s an example of how it appeared. Address I typed into the GPS:  83 Fire Road #45, China Me.  It decided I really wanted to go to: Fire road 45, no number address.  Ok, they give addresses very oddly in China, so I tried this instead:  Fire Road 83, #45. It then decided I really wanted to go to Fire Road 11. WTF?

I poked at it for a few minutes with rising frustration then did something I haven’t had to do for awhile.  I asked for directions. There was a guy across the street playing with his dog and I pulled in and asked if he knew where Fire Road 83 was.  He rubbed his chin for a minute while his friendly black lab sniffed my leg.  I patted the dog (best part of the whole trip) while he thought about it.  He then pointed me to the other side of the lake with some head scratching, giving me low confidence in his directions.

At a store on the top of China lake, I stopped and asked directions.  Nope.  They had no idea.  I called the woman I was getting the item from and she asked where I was.  When I told her I was at the top of China Lake, she said, “What are you doing there?”  She then gave me some confusing directions on how to get to her house.  I finally asked her what she was near and she gave me the address of a bank.  When I put that in to the GPS, it worked and I followed it there. Of course, when I got there, the GPS told me I was at Fire Road 83, #45, just where I wanted to be.  Really? Thanks a lot!

Not Just Road Directions Either

gps_compass_lostA few years ago I was hiking behind my house following my GPS.  As you know, driving and hiking are two very different forms of navigation, so being the paranoid survivalist that I am I was keeping track of my location with a map and compass too.  At one point I looked down and it showed my location in a town about fifteen or twenty miles away in a completely different county!  There was a moment of “congnitive dissonance” as I looked at both map and GPS.  Finally I put the GPS away and followed the map and compass.  I knew exactly where I was even if the GPS didn’t.  I told a friend about this and he said, “Yeah, sometimes that happens.”

So, I did what any self-respecting human being would do and turned to Google.  Turns out this is a pretty common issue. Wow.  I’m no Luddite.  I love my phone and my laptop.  I use Linux.  I understand computer networks.  I get it.  But after a little study, I’ve determined that if you’re going to trust yourself to a technology that works “most of the time,” you might find your ass lost in the woods crying about your GPS.

Carry a Compass

appalachian_gps_trailI’ve written about this before and I’ll write about it again.  If you’re going to go out in the wilderness, carry a map and compass.  Carry it, know how to use it, and at the very least be able to follow a cardinal direction. A few years ago Geraldine Largay went off the Appalachian Trail and got lost.  Her body was found a couple of years later.  She had a compass but didn’t know how to use it. A compass is not an ornament.  If you put it in your pack, at least know the basics of how to use it.

In my opinion, the best way to operate in the wild is to use your GPS as primary navigator with a map and compass as backup.  This accomplishes two things.

  1.  You’ll learn map and compass reading almost as well as how to use a GPS.
  2.  If your GPS fails for whatever reason, you’ll know where you are and how to get out safely.

Use a Bailout Azimuth

I coined the term Bailout Azimuth. If you’re lost and can’t go point to point, you can at least follow your compass until you hit a road, stream, river, or landmark.  Refer to the map on Geraldine Largay. Look carefully at where her remains were found and then look where the Appalachian Trail is.  A little common sense and some very basic map reading skills could have saved this woman’s life, but she chose to walk north looking for a cell phone signal instead of following her compass south back to the trail.  I’ve been in this part of the Maine woods before and it would be quite easy to walk off the trail and get lost.  That’s why a compass is a critical piece of equipment.

Related: GizzMoVest GPS Cases 

In this case, she moved north of the trail.  The moment she discovered she was lost, she should have pulled out her map and compass.  She would have seen that she was hiking east on that particular piece of trail. With a little study, she would have found that moving south or east would bring her back to the trail.  Instead she made a fatal error and moved north.  This really breaks my heart because a small amount of time spent at a compass class could have saved her life.

There are many stories where a GPS led people off road in their vehicles and they wound up stranded in the wilderness.  Sometimes they get rescued, sometimes they don’t.  Don’t be a statistic, folks.  Learn how to read a map and compass and be a survivor.  That’s why you’re here isn’t it?  To learn how to survive?  Trust me, if there’s one skill you can learn that trumps everything else, it’s how to navigate in the wilderness with a map and compass.

Summary

Use your GPS!  Like I said, I love mine; however, I try to be critical of it when traveling because it’s not always 100% accurate.

Here’s a little challenge for you.  The next time you decide to go on a trip take out a map and plot it by hand to see if you remember how.  I’ll bet when you look at the route you selected and where your GPS wants to take you, you’ll be thinking, “Why the hell is it taking me that way?” Questions?  Comments?  Sound off below!

Photos Courtesy of:

Jarhead Survivor
Filkferengi

Interested in writing for us? Send a sample of your work and an introductory statement to joel@survivalcache.com. Please use subject line: ‘Write for SurvivalCache/SHTFBlog’. If you’re a good fit, we’ll publish your work and compensate you accordingly.

Survival Watch – It’s Time To Make You Ready

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survival watch

What Is A Survival Watch?

A survival watch can come in two basic forms:

  1. Watches that act like a mini survival tin on your wrist. This style of survival watch has similar features. They tell the time, have a fire starter, whistle, compass and use paracord as the band.
  2. Watches that act as a mini computer for your wrist. These all include features such as a compass, GPS, barometer, thermometer, altimeter, sunrise/sunset times.

In this article, I’m going focus on the survival watches that act as a computer on your wrist. So whenever I refer to a “survival watch” I mean ones that are a mini computer unless otherwise stated.

The reason I’m not going to cover the survival watches that act like a mini survival tin is because I’ve never come across a good one. Without naming names, I’ve tested a few and they’re just not good enough.

It’s sort of like buying one of those pre-made survival tins for $10. Great concept but they regularly lack quality. The fire starters on these “survival watches” are tiny, which makes them easy to break off. Which makes them hard to use, especially without decent tinder. They also tend to have cheap, unreliable 2 cent compasses.

I just wouldn’t put my life in the hands of a product like that.

As far as paracord goes, I carry it with me at all times in other ways. So I suggest you buy a decent paracord bracelet instead, add it to one wrist. Then invest in a high-quality survival watch and put it on the other wrist. That way you’ve got all your bases covered.

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our #104 Item Bug Out Bag Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

treesHow A Survival Watch Could Save Your Life

So you’ve bugged out, now what? How close to your bug out location will you be at all times, are you doing any exploring?

Perhaps you’re out hunting, wound a deer, and begin the process of tracking it’s blood trail.

Or maybe your picking berries and hear other humans approaching. You have no idea if they’re there to harm you, you don’t know how many of them there are. So you panic and high-tail it out of there.

Or what if you’re in the great outdoors enjoying an off-trail hike.

What do each these situations have in common? You are in the wild and on the move, so you can easily lose your bearings. This is when your survival watch can become a real life saver.

Technology Dependent SocietyShould You Rely On Technology?

Survival watches are high-tech and great quality these days. They do a lot more than just tell the time and are waterproof. Before I go on with discussing all the gadgets and gizmos available on survival watches, I wanted to be clear about my thoughts on technology.

I strongly believe that you shouldn’t completely rely on technology in a SHTF situation. The reason is that technology fails, pure and simple. I have nothing against technology, but I do have a love/hate relationship with it.

Technology is there because it makes our lives easier. The problem is we can’t solely rely on it because if it fails we’re in trouble. We need to have the survival skills, knowledge, and tools, otherwise, we can get in trouble.

The way I look at it is simple, would I rather cut down a tree down with a chainsaw or an axe? A chainsaw, but I’ve got a great axe on hand, just in case. I like using an axe. It’s fun; it’s good exercise, but when I want the job done as fast and efficient as possible, I use a chainsaw.

It’s the same idea with my survival watch. I use it often but I always carry a map and compass with me when I’m out in the woods. I know how to get my bearing using nature. It’s important to practice these skill sets, and I find it fun, but when I want to get things done as easy as possible, I use technology.

That’s why I wear a survival watch.

Useful Features Of A Survival Watch

The first things a good survival watch needs to do is to be able to tell the time and date, have a good battery life (or even better are solar powered), are waterproof and are tough as hell. When you go beyond these basic features, that’s where the fun starts.

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our #104 Item Bug Out Bag Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Global Positioning System (GPS)

In a SHTF situation and you’re bugging out, it’s easy to get lost. The main reason is because of your psychological state. One word – panic.

Imagine what it will be like in a SHTF situation, you’ll be on edge. You won’t be in your normal psychological state.

When you’re on edge, it will be very easy to make mistakes. A single mistake often leads to another and all of a sudden you’re scared and you panic.

You start thinking to yourself “I know it’s just past that hill” or “I know it’s just past that bunch of trees”. You’re not thinking straight. You don’t mark your trail. You get to where you think you need to get to and realize you were wrong. Then you turn around and think to yourself, which way did I come from?

If you think this is far-fetched, it’s not at all. Most people in real life who get lost do so in innocent circumstances. Day hikers, campers, backpackers, and hunters are the most likely people to become lost. People who enjoy spending lots of time in the great outdoors.

A couple of examples of what could happen is you could wander off from camp for any number of reasons;

For example, you could be out mushroom hunting, you find a nice patch, then see another patch further along. Then you notice another patch just a little further ahead. You’re enjoying yourself, but before you know it, your turned around, and you’re lost.

What if you’re tracking game and you’re so focused your not paying attention to your location. Or you could be out fishing for “just a few hours” so you don’t bother taking much survival gear with you. Plus, it’s only up the river a little ways, but then your boat motor dies.

The most embarrassing story I’ve heard was someone wandered out of camp to answer nature’s call. This guy wanted complete privacy so they ventured out of sight of camp. Not paying attention, he got a little bit lost and couldn’t retrace his steps.

He was too embarrassed to call out for help. Obviously, he didn’t want to look like a clown by getting lost so close to camp. Then when he started looking for camp, he didn’t find it straight away.

Of course, what comes next was panic, and he way off course. Panic and fear can cause a once rational person to make expound their mistakes. He was found the next day a mile from camp. He panicked and started charging in the direction he thought camp was without thinking.

The moral of the story is that it’s easy to get lost in the woods, especially if you panic. It’s even easier to get lost in the woods when you’re scared for not only your own life. And even more so for your loved one’s lives.

In a SHTF situation, it’s unlikely a rescue team is coming. So you’ll have to rely on yourself to get back to safety.

However, if you’ve got GPS on your watch and you know the coordinates of your bug out location, you’ll easily find your way back.

Barometer

Two of the most dangerous and immediate threats in a survival situation is extreme exposure and lack of clean water. But, if you have a barometer on your watch, you can tell a storm coming and you can hunker down before it arrives.

In most cases, by the time you see the rain coming, it’s too late. If you get soaked, you’re in danger of hypothermia, and then you’re in a world of hurt. So you should use the barometer on your watch to better predict oncoming rain. Helping you prepare yourself away from a risky situation.

Another way a barometer can help you survive is to prompt you to set up catchments collect oncoming rain water.

Altimeter

If you live in a mountainous region and don’t know your exact location an altimeter can help. An altimeter on your survival watch, tells you your exact altitude. So if you have a topographical map it helps to narrow down your exact location. And when you know your exact location, you can find your way back to camp or civilization.

Navigation With A CompassCompass

One of the most valuable survival tools around. There are several bushcraft methods to find direction. But for accuracy and speed, nothing beats having a high-quality compass.

Bushcraft methods include understanding that thicker branches on a tree often face towards the sun, which indicates a southern direction.

Moss grows better on the northern side of trees.

You can even put a stick into the ground and use the shadows to get your bearings.

In SHTF, and you’re panicking, having a compass on your watch could save your life. It’s easy to make mistakes when panicking, that’s why having a compass on your watch will result in fewer navigational errors.

Technology can fail, so it’s important to be able to get your bearings using bushcraft. But if the technology hasn’t failed, a compass is a great asset.

Cold Weather Hiker 1Sunrise & Sunset Times

When your focus is on something else, it’s easy to lose track of time. If you’re away from your bug out location you’ll want to get back before sunset. You likely  don’t want to be navigating in the dark because it’s dangerous and difficult. So you better know when sunset is.

What if you’re moving to another location and need to put up a survival shelter or your collecting firewood. If you get sunset wrong and are still using a survival hatchet or a machete at dusk, it’s easy to make a mistake and do some serious damage. Especially if you’re rushing to get the task done or you’re tired. If you know what time the sun is setting from your watch, you’ll be better organized and avoid mistakes.

Thermometer

I like to know what the temperature is at all times, so I admit it, and I’m a temperature geek. It probably stems from the fact that I grew up in a rural farming area. Being a weather geek could save my life in a survival situation. When working hard such as:

It’s easy to lose track of your body temperature.

When you’re working hard and sweating, you don’t realize just how cold it is out. You feel hot and it’s so easy to think to yourself “it’s not that cold, I’ll be fine.” The problem is when you stop working, and you’re still sweating, that’s where the issues can come in.

Maybe it’s cooler than you realized. Perhaps you were going to make your fire after your activities but run into issues lighting a fire. When conditions are wrong, hypothermia can happen fast.

So if you can keep an eye on the temperature, you’ll know if you’re sweating too much. And if it’s too cold and can’t dry off, you’ll have issues, and it would be a good idea to take more breaks.

In the words of Les Stroud, “if you sweat, you die.”

The same principle applies if it’s hot. If it’s hot and you’re sweating but think to yourself, “I just need to get this task done” you could end up with heat stroke. It’s easy to do, to focus so intensely on your activity that you don’t listen to your body.

Instead, use your survival watch to check the temperature often. And if it’s really hot, take lots of breaks and drink fluids to prevent a serious heat stroke.

It’s easy to think that you’ll say to yourself “I’m overheating” or “I’m starting to sweat” so I need to slow down. The problem is that in a SHTF situation you won’t be thinking as clearly as you ordinarily would. So it’s a good idea to have a backup plan, some redundancy so that you don’t succumb to the elements.

The Conclusion

I love redundancy. I’ve got an engineering background, so redundancy is everything to me. That’s why I believe a owning a survival watch is imperative.

It’s still important to learn Bush navigation skills. And nothing beats basic survival skills, compass, and a map, but a survival watch is easy to use, and technology can make life easier. That’s the whole point of technology.

If it makes survival easier, it leads to fewer mistakes.

Here’s a table showing a few of the best survival watch options available on the market today. I included several price points but as with most things in life, you get what you pay for.

Survival Watches Comparison Table

WATCH PRICE SENSORS POWER EXTRA INFO
survival-watch-1
Casio Pathfinder
High – Check Today’s Price Alt
Bar
Therm
Compass
Solar All Around Great Survival Watch
casio-watch-rangeman
Casio G Shock Rangeman
High – Check Today’s Price Alt
Bar
Therm
Compass
Solar Triple 10 – 10 Meter Fall Endurance / 10 Bar Water Resistance / 10 Year Battery Life
casio-watch-mudmaster
Casio G Shock MudMaster
High – Check Today’s Price Temp Only Battery Mud Resistant – Can Withstand Harshest Envrionments
survival-watch
Casio Solar Sport Combo
Low – Check Today’s Price None Solar Budget Friendly Solar Survival Watch

You can find out about even more recommended survival watches at my Survival Watches Guide.

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our #104 Item Bug Out Bag Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.
About The Author –

I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors and spend as much time as I can outdoors. Prepping has always been in my family, being self-reliant is in my blood. – Steve The Survivor

The post Survival Watch – It’s Time To Make You Ready appeared first on Skilled Survival.

10 Essentials for Wilderness Survival

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Your experience outdoors can always be fun depending on how prepared you are in the wilderness. Some people might complain of experiencing the worst hiking trip while it is their fault for not having the essentials for such a trip. Below you will get to learn about the essentials needed for wilderness survival.

 

  1. Water bottle and water purifier

It is not always that you might end up with clean water in the wilderness. So, you have to be prepared to keep yourself hydrated while outdoors. Carry a water bottle full of water and additional collapsible reservoir of water. You still need to have a water filter or purifier that will help purify the water for drinking once your reservoir is empty.

 

  1. Navigation tools

In the wilderness, you might not get the best cell reception to use your Google maps, this means we have to go old school. You will need a map and compass as your navigation tools in the wilderness. You can always toss in a GPS and wrist altimeter as additional navigation tools to help with moving around. Make sure that you can read the map and compass or else they would be useless out there in the wilderness. If it is a hunting trip, make sure that you actually get to use an updated map with any additional features you need to know. GPS navigation could still be useful to help get back to the starting point with the logged GPS coordinates.

 

  1. First aid kit

It is no brainer that accidents sometimes happen while in the wilderness without even really hoping for them. The worst would be when you have no first aid kit to help with the preventing bleeding or easing the pain. If you are going to carry the first aid kit, just make sure that the medicine is still viable and the bandages too still work. Some of the things to include in the first aid kit are adhesive bandages, gauze pads, disinfecting ointment, pain medication, gloves, adhesive tapes among many other important supplies.

 

  1. Illumination tools

It will get dark some point in the wilderness, so you always have to be prepared. This calls for having illumination tools to light up your way. The common source of light would be a headlamp, flashlights and packable lanterns. The headlamp is liked by many as it allows for hands free operation and also have a longer battery life. The headlamps, often come with the strobe mode, which is important in emergency situations. The flashlights on the other hand have gained popularity too. Many people would comfortably buy a flashlight knowing it will have powerful beams important for the wilderness maneuvers.

 

  1. Additional clothes

Other than your hunting gear or clothes, you still need to have a supply of clean clothes. This is for those who are looking to spend more time in the wilderness. The additional clothes can include jackets and hats that should help to keep you warm during the cold weather at night. Keep in mind only to carry the necessary clothes for the trip, carrying too many clothes might make your bag too heavy for the trip. 

 

  1. Food

Food is crucial for any survival in the wilderness. You would want to make sure that you have enough food to last you for a few days if you are going to stay for longer in the wilderness. This is great to keep you going before you can start relying on the food you get after hunting. Just make sure that the food does not need a lot of preparation since you will be still in the wilderness. Freeze-dried meals would be ideal in such situations.

 

  1. Knives and Repair multi tool

It is not always that something will end up breaking, but having a repair multi-tool sometimes should be great to repair the component to its working status. You are likely to find the repair multi tool to have components such as blades, screwdrivers, can openers, scissors, wrenches among many others. You simply need to compare between various models of multi tools to find the best for your activities in the wilderness. Never forget the duct tape as you might be surprised just how useful it can get whenever you are outdoors. The knives also fall into this category and can never be left behind. The right knives will always be important to get you surviving in the wilderness.

 

  1. Fire

The night can get chilly sometimes in the wilderness. You will need to have a fire to keep you warm at all times. This means you need to have several matches with you. Make sure that the matches are waterproof and should also be stored in a similar waterproof container. This means that should be able to handle the wet or damp conditions of the wilderness. You can still use a mechanical lighter in the wilderness, but just have the matches as your backup fire starting method. In some cases, the campers can use a Firestarter. This is simply a device that helps the camper to jump start the fire while in the wilderness.

 

  1. Sun protection

If you are going to stay in the wilderness for a long time, chances are that you would be exposed to the harmful sunrays. You will need protection such from UV rays, which might cause conditions such as skin cancer. You can use the sunglasses to protect your eyes from the UV rays. Using the right sunglasses model, you can block 100 percent of the UV rays. Another way for sun protection would be using sunscreen. Choose sunscreen with at least an SPF rating of 15 for better protection.

 

  1. Shelter building material and tools

Of course, you would need to have a shelter over your head at some point. This will mean you need all the necessary shelter building tools for the trip. If you are unsure of what to choose for the building materials, visit a camping shop and ask for help from the vendor. You will get to learn more about what to expect in such a shop.

 

Author Bio: Roy Ayers, Hunter and Survivalist

 

Thanks for stopping by to learn more about hunting and surviving in the wilderness. I am a dedicated and a full time survival author, editor and blog writer on hunting. Over the years, I have managed to work on various article and blog series that all talk about hunting and surviving the wilderness. I manage to do this because of personal experience outdoors. This has always helped me to having an easy time crafting the articles for my audience over the years. Keep on reading my articles and blogs to get the useful tips and guides important for outdoor survival and hunting. Come back more often to my website to update yourself on the best new hunting and survival tips.

 

The post 10 Essentials for Wilderness Survival appeared first on American Preppers Network.

Purify Water Using Chemical Treatments

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Water purification tablets are a great back up form of water treatment. They are excellent Bug Out Bags and survival kits because they are light weight and inexpensive. Water purification tablets are also great to store in your vehicle or your bug out location to disinfect water on demand.  If the water supply I am drawing from is extremely shady I combine both a filter and the tablets to ensure my safety. Also, be aware that water purification tablets have a shelf life. Check the expiration dates on your tablets and replace any that are expired.

Water purification can come in tablet or droplet form. The tablet form is better because it is a lighter weight that droplets and easy to use when in a stressful situation.

Two water born pathogens that commonly found in untreated water- Cryptosporidium and Giardia.

Cryptosporidium is a genus of apicomplexan protozoans that can cause gastrointestinal illness with diarrhea in humans. According to the CDC it is one of the most frequent causes of waterborne disease among humans in the United States. In a disaster situation where government maintained services are effected, it is highly likely that this protozoa parasite will find its way into our water supply.

Giardia attached to the wall of the small intestines. Giardia is also an infectious protozoa and it is a big deal in emergency preparedness because it can have such a dramatic effect on your health. The symptoms of Giardia, may begin to appear 2 days after infection, include violent diarrhea, excess gas, stomach or abdominal cramps, upset stomach, and nausea. 

The typical infection within an individual can be slight, resolve without treatment in about 2–6 weeks, although sometimes longer and sometimes the infection is more severe requiring immediate medical attention. 

There are three main types of water purification tablets on the market (Chlorine (NaDCC), Iodine and Chlorine Dioxide) . Not all are equal as each one has its strengths and weaknesses. Choose the purification tablet that works the best with your situation and location.



Chlorine Dioxide Tablets (Potable Aqua, Katadyn and Aquamira Brands). Even though the word “chlorine” is in the name, chlorine dioxide is neither iodine nor chlorine. It uses a highly active form of oxygen to purify water so it leaves absolutely zero taste. As a nice bonus the action of chlorine dioxide causes a lot of sediment to drop out of suspension (fall to the bottom) leaving the container of water more clear and further improving flavor. Chlorine dioxide tablets are a good choice for those allergic to iodine, with thyroid problems, or on lithium. Always follow product usage instructions.

Chlorine NaDCC Tablets (Potable Aqua, Oasis Plus, Aquatabsand Rothco’s Military “Chlor-Floc“ Brands). NaDCC, also known as sodium dichloroisocyanurate or sodium troclosene, is a form of chlorine used for disinfection. NaDCC tablets are different and improved over the older chlorine based (halazone) tablets. When added to water, NaDCC releases hydrochloric acid which reacts through oxidization with microorganisms and kills them. Many tablets advertise no chlorine after taste. Unopened NaDCC tablets have a shelf life of 3-5 years, if opened they should be discarded after 3 months. Always follow product usage instructions. 

Iodine Tablets (Potable Aqua,Coleman, and Coghlans brands). Iodine Tablets use iodine to purify contaminated water. Most iodine purification tablets tend to leave a funny taste to the water and some discoloration, however vitamin C or ascorbic acid can be added after the treatment time to improve the taste and remove the color. This often comes in the form of two bottles with two separate tablets. Iodine water treatment has been proven to be somewhat effective against Giardia and not effective against Crytosporidium.  Always follow product usage instructions. 
[Source:www.swordofsurvival.com]

6 Survival Skills You Simply Can’t Do Without (Not Knowing No. 4 Could Kill You)

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6 Survival Skills You Simply Can’t Do Without (Not Knowing No. 4 Could Kill You)

Image source: Pixabay.com

 

I know the feeling — after watching an episode of Man vs. Wild or Survivorman. You’re pumped and ready to survive anywhere.

But before you head out for an extreme, pee-drinking, slug-eating adventure, there are some survival skills you can’t do without.

No. 1. Navigation

With good navigation skills, you probably won’t find yourself lost in the middle of nowhere, to begin with. But in case your navigation skills can use some work, we will list some tips.

To find north, get a stick about waist height and dig it into the ground. Ensure the place is clear and flat so that you can see the shadow clearly. Put a marker (small stone) at the end of the shadow. Wait for 10 to 15 minutes, and then place a marker at the end of that second shadow. Stand with the first maker to your left and the second to your right. You are now facing north. The sun moves from east to west across the sky, so finding the east-west line will help you determine the north-south line.

Other navigation tips:

To avoid turning in a circle, pick an object in the distance and walk to it. Find another object in the same line and walk. Continue this until you are where you want to be.

Measure your pace. A pace is a step (left foot, right foot, then left again). Go outside and count how many paces you need to take to walk a mile. You can use this information to find how many miles you have walked in a survival situation. Knowing your pace is also a good way to estimate the length of time it will take you to walk to your desired location using a map.

Portable Device Restores Your Old Blades To A Razor’s Edge In Just Seconds!

Use the palm of your hand to measure how many daylight hours are left. Find a clear view of the sun and the horizon. Put your hand up in front of you (to see your palm) and aligning it with the horizon. Your pinky finger should be on the horizon line. Now place the other hand on top of your first hand. Remove the hand at the bottom and place it at the top of your second hand. Repeat this until your hand has arrived at the height of the sun. Each hand from horizon to the sun is estimated as an hour. Count how many palms you had up to know the number of daylight hours you have left.

No. 2. Lighting a fire

Without fire-lighting skills, a simple outing in the wild can turn into a survival situation real fast. Being able to start a fire not only provides warmth, but it’s also a way to cook food and purify water — and it is a psychological boost. In a survival situation, that boost in confidence can be what keeps you alive.

So there are the basics:

  • Tinder – a bird’s nest (preferably one without a bird in it) is an effective way to make the most of your spark.
  • Kindling – small sticks and twigs.
  • Fuel – big logs and branches. In wet conditions, split your wood to get to the dry center.

Adding a layer of wood on the ground before lighting the fire is a good practice. In wet and cold conditions, the extra wood keeps the cold ground from sucking the heat and killing the fire.

A flint stick, bow drill set (friction fire), magnifying glass, lighter or anything producing concentrated heat/spark can help start the fire. Find one method that works best for your location and practice it.

Light the tinder, and then add the kindling and then the fuel. Be patient with your ember. Allow it to smolder and flame inside the bird’s nest before putting it down and adding the rest of your wood.

3. Finding food

6 Survival Skills You Simply Can’t Do Without (Not Knowing No. 4 Could Kill You)

Image source: Pixabay.com

When lost, especially in the jungle, one of the most abundant food is greens. Knowing edible plants in your area is essential.

There are some common characteristics of poisonous plants:

  • Avoid plants with milky sap.
  • Don’t eat white berries.
  • Avoid all mushrooms, unless you’re an expert.
  • Ignore plants with thorns, spurs and hairs.
  • Stay away from plants with groups of three leaves.

If you think you found an edible plant but are unsure, then use the skin test. Crush the leaves and put it on a sensitive area (inside elbow or wrist) for about 15 minutes. If there is a reaction in the next eight hours, don’t eat; if not, proceed to the mouth test. Take a small piece of the leaf and place on your lips for three minutes. A burning or tingling sensation means you should discard the plant. If nothing happens, chew and keep in your mouth for 15 minutes. Swallow if there is no reaction. Don’t eat anything for the next eight hours.

When testing a plant’s edibility, use a plant that is in abundance. Search online for edible and poisonous plants in the area you are interested in exploring.

4. Finding and purifying water

6 Survival Skills You Simply Can’t Do Without (Not Knowing No. 4 Could Kill You)

Image source: Pixabay.com

You can survive about three days without water but 21 days without food. You’ve got to have water.

The water that runs off the mountains and hills flows down into the valleys. So if you are in a mountainous region, your chances of finding water increase as you head down to the valley or low-lying areas.

Boiling water for more than 15 minutes is a quick way to have drinkable water. But just in case you can’t get a fire started, filtering the water is also effective. Use a bottle or plastic bag and add a bottom layer of charcoal, and then a layer of sand. Repeat, and then add a layer of stone or grass to filter the bigger impurities. It also is useful to carry a portable filter, such as a Paratrooper Filter.

Ultra-Compact Water Filter Fits In Your POCKET !

There are some other methods for finding water:

  • Cutting a vine first from the top, and then to the bottom to collect drops of water.
  • Collecting dew by soaking a cloth or shirt. Then, ring it into a container.
  • Digging a hole in a dry spot near a swamp and allowing water to collect.

5. Security and self-defense

Although there may not be any dangerous predators in your area, you should always be ready to defend yourself.

Sharpening a long stick can be used as a spear and also as a walking stick. Bamboo or river cane, due to their hollow inside, make a great dart gun. Darts can be carved out of hardwood (black locust), splinters or thorns.

Setting traps is a great way to catch food and immobilize a predator. Tie the short grass around your location to trip an intruder. Dry leaves around the perimeter also can alert you of an intruder in the area.

Keeping a positive attitude and a willingness to survive has gotten many lost campers and hikers out alive.

6. First aid

Practice your first-aid skills at home on your partner or a family member.

Here are some basics:

  • Cuts – Clean the wound. Stop the bleeding by applying pressure and bandage.
  • Breaks – Immobilize limb to keep from further damage. If an arm is broken, for example, then use two straight sticks (split a big log/branch in two as straight as possible). Place them on each side of the arm and bandage them together. Use a cloth to make a sling and to keep the arm elevated.
  • Sprains – Rest and ice. If near a river or lake (water is usually cold), then soak a cloth and place it on the sprain. Repeat until skin feels numb.

Keep in mind: The wilderness has everything you need to survive. Knowing what they can be used for is what differentiates the survivalist from the ordinary man. The more you know, the less you need.

What skills or advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

Learn How To ‘Live Off The Land’ With Just Your Gun. Read More Here.

Field Reload Kit With Brass Shotgun Ammo

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“Urban Man: Here is another great video from a friend of mine.”
Warning: For educational purposes only. Use these techniques at your own risk.

Tools/Equipment:

1. Brass shot shells (size for weapon system being used, 12 gauge, etc.)
2. Shot
3. Pyrodex Rifle and shotgun powder (or preferred brand)
4. 209 shotgun primers
5. Large pistol primers
6. Wadding material
7. Over shot card material
8. Lighter and glue stick
9. Primer crimp tool or “C” clamp setup with deep well socket
10. Primer removal tool
11. Powder tamper tool
12. Powder and shot measuring tool
13. Container for brass shells
14. Container to store kit
15. 15/64 inch drill bit
16. 23/64 inch drill bit
17. Wad and over shot cutter tool
18. Drill
19. Flat piece metal stock
20. Rubber hammer or similar 
21. Flat piece of wood stock

Converting brass shell to accept the 209 primer:

1. First use the 15/64 drill bit and drill out the primer hole.
2. Using a 23/64 drill bit, drill a slight recess in the primer hole deep enough to allow the primer rim to seat flush with the bottom of the shell. See photo above.
3. Seat the 209 primer like you would a regular 12 gauge shell when reloading.

Note: Shotgun firing these types of reloads need to be cleaned more often than factory loaded ammo.

5 Things You Need For Urban Navigation

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You might not think urban navigation is a very important skill, but you’ll change your mind quickly if a disaster happens while you’re away from home. Picture it: You and your best friends are packed into a shiny new car you just bought with your summer bonus, headed to the beach for your dream vacation […]

The post 5 Things You Need For Urban Navigation appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Reload 209 Shotgun Primers Using Field Expedient Methods

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Warning: For educational purposes only. Use these techniques at your own risk.
Tools used for field expedient reloading
Items needed to reload 209 primer
Removing 209 primer components
209 primer assembly

“Urban Man” My survival buddy sent me another post in a series of reloading shotgun ammo. This video shows how to reload the primer as well when you have no primer replacements.”


Suggested tools used:

1. Antique hand primer crimp tool
2. Wood dowel for powder, wad and shot compressing
3. Primer removal tool with socket base (5/8 inch socket)
4. Rubber hammer
5. Wad cutter tool (for what ever size shell you are loading)
6. Flat punch that fits inside primer cup to flatten out dimple
7. Flat piece of metal stock
8. Flat piece of wood
9. Strike anywhere matches
10. Powder and shot measuring cups
11. Wad material (paper, plastic, wool, etc)
12. Over shot card material (cardboard, playing cards, etc)
13. 5.5 mm socket (used to remove primer cup)
14. Pin or finishing nail used to pound out primer cup.
15. Lighter or similar flame source
16. Glue stick
17. Rifle and shotgun powder with container (I used Pyrodex RS)
18. Bird shot with container (I used #7 1/2 in the video) 


Note: Do not allow the ammo to get wet. Do not jar the ammo around by throwing into an ammo can or something of that nature. Protect the ammo until it is needed. It is best to shoot this ammo from a single shot or double barrel shotgun rather than a pump action. A pump action can be used if you load and fire one round at a time rather than using the pump action.

One drawback from reloading spent primers is the chance that the match head powder or what ever other ignition source was used may not ignite and you get a dude fire.

In the event the primer does not ignite, wait about 60 seconds with the end of the barrel pointed on target in the event there is a cook off. A cook off is when the powder could be smoldering but has not yet ignited. If it ignites and the end of the barrel is pointed toward someone, there may be a chance of an accidental shooting.

Always inspect the shells for damage and cracks. Do not reuse or shoot damaged ammo. Use safety glasses when loading your ammo and keep open flames away from your powder. 

Fielding Expedient Ammo Reloading

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“Urban Man~ Here is an interesting lesson from a survival buddy of mine.”

Caution: This lesson is for educational purposes only. Gun powder is dangerous. Firing damaged or incorrectly loaded ammo is dangerous as well.

There may be a time in ones life when it may become necessary to have to reload ammo in the field, especially in a wilderness survival situation or the collapse of society. 

We are comfortable in knowing that at the moment we have access to ready made store bought ammo. But, what if that luxury was some how taken away? What if there were no stores left or available to purchase our ammo?

In such as situation, ammo can still be available if one knew how to obtain what was needed to reload their own. Spent ammo shells, especially shotgun shells can be found laying around all over the desert. Primers can be reconditioned and reloaded. Black powder can be homemade. Lead shot can be made from scrape lead.

You really do not need fancy reloading equipment in order to reload ammo in an emergency or self reliant situation.

Learn now to start saving your spent ammo hulls and shells. Set them aside to be reloaded at a later date when the time is needed.

Here are the steps that were covered in the video to reload a 12 gauge shell: (if this is the first time a plastic shotgun shell is being used, cut the top crimp fingers off the shell where the crimp line meets the star crimp.)

1. Remove primer
2. Install a new primer
3. Measure powder and add to shell
4. Using dowel rod, gently compress the powder in the shell
5. Add correct amount of wading (plastic, paper, animal hair, leather, etc.)
6. Using dowel rod again, gently compress the wad into the shell
7. Add correct amount of shot. (insure that there is enough room at the opening of the shell to add the over-shot card)
8. Add over-shot card and compress gently with dowel rod
9. Add glue over top of shot card ensuring that the inside walls of the shell receive glue as well
10. Immediately add another shot card over the top of the first one and apply gentle pressure to allow glue to spread out

Note: Do not allow the ammo to get wet. Do not jar the ammo around by throwing into an ammo can or something of that nature. Protect the ammo until it is needed. It is best to shoot this ammo from a single shot or double barrel shotgun rather than a pump action. A pump action can be used if you load and fire one round at a time rather than using the pump action.

Always inspect the shells for damage and cracks. Do not reuse or shoot damaged ammo. Use safety glasses when loading your ammo and keep open flames away from your powder. 

The Ultimate Guide to Using a Compass

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The Ultimate Guide to Using a Compass At first glance, using a compass doesn’t seem that hard- just hold it flat and it will point you to the North. But little do most people know, that’s only half the battle. To successfully navigate using a compass, you not only need to know how to use …

Continue reading »

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14 Survival Uses For Your FireHawk LED Tactical Flashlight

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FireHawk LED Tactical Flashlight - 14 Real Survival Uses

So What Makes A Tactical Flashlight…Tactical?

A real tactical flashlight should be able to survive the harshest of conditions. Heat, moisture, and high impacts should be a non-issue if its truly tactical.

And also I’d argue that it should have more uses than just simple illumination. If it’s going to truly live up to its tactical nameplate; it needs to be designed to help keep you alive. To help you survive.

So what could be more tactical than a flashlight that has 14 real survival uses? So in this article, we’ll cover 14 uses for the FireHawk LED Tactical Flashlight.

[…]

The post 14 Survival Uses For Your FireHawk LED Tactical Flashlight appeared first on Skilled Survival.

6 Skills That Will Help You Thrive in a Disaster

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6 Skills That Will Help You Thrive in a Disaster

Written by Adam Torkildson

disaster_survival

Disasters happen everywhere, whether they’re hurricanes or earthquakes, or tsunamis. Warning systems to minimize loss of life are improving, but when Mother Nature strikes hard, there’s very little we can do about the situation other than be prepared.

Aside from building and stowing emergency survival kits, people who hope to survive a major disaster will need a very specific skillset to get them through. Developing some of the following skills will be your best bet for not only surviving a disaster, but thriving as it happens.

Basic Medical Knowledge

You’ll need a thorough understanding of basic first aid in order to attend to your own wounds as well as of those around you. Pack a first-aid kit that includes a book that shows you how to apply basic medical procedures. Becoming CPR-certified, learning to dress wounds, and enrolling in other medical courses can also make you better prepared for emergencies.

Food and Water Gathering

Most of the catastrophes that occur in the United States are quickly ameliorated with relief efforts that include food and water, but sometimes these efforts don’t reach everyone. Victims who live outside a metropolitan area, get trapped inside a building, or find themselves stranded in the wilderness won’t have access to the resources that rescue teams provide.

Those who are able to identify edible and poisonous plants, hunt and fish, collect fresh drinking water, purify liquids, and process collected food are more likely to survive. If you’re looking to learn more, you can enroll in courses or seek out other forms of useful information.

Navigation

Do you know how to identify which way is north? Understanding how will help you to get your bearings and recognize where you need to be. There are multiple ways to discover the direction you should be going, depending on your surroundings.

These include such items as the position of the stars, where moss grows on the trees and rocks, and the position of the sun. Learning how to orient yourself will enable you to find help when your cell phone service is down.

Fire Building

From keeping yourself warm to cooking your food, learning to build a fire is one of the most essential survival skills you’ll need. It’s not difficult to build a fire if you have dry matches or a lighter, but when a disaster strikes, you may not have those luxuries. Research the best methods for starting a fire without matches and practice often so you’re prepared when you have to be.

Basic Defense

There are two forms of defense you’ll need to consider. The first is protection against wildlife. Study the best ways to escape from a bear and to prevent a snake bite. Some basic knowledge in this area could save your life.

The second form is defense against other people. We’d like to believe that humans will unite in a crisis, but that’s not always what happens. In case you have to protect yourself or your family from a robber or other predator, learn a few basic defensive moves, including how to break your captor’s grip and how to incapacitate someone without a weapon.

These concepts are simpler than you might expect, but they require practice to perform them effectively.

Shelter Building

People who have the ability to build a shelter are ten times more likely to survive in a disaster situation than those who don’t. Shelters keep you warm and protected from the outside elements and other dangers.

By learning to find or create simple shelters in the wilderness, you increase your chance of survival over a long period of time.

Most people don’t think they’ll end up in a disaster until it happens to them. For that reason, it’s essential to be prepared. Build up your emergency preparedness kit, and brush up on these basic skills in order to thrive in any disaster.

 

 

The post 6 Skills That Will Help You Thrive in a Disaster appeared first on American Preppers Network.

Survival Navigation Using Only The Sun, Moon And Stars

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Survival Navigation Using Only The Sun, Moon And Stars

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General navigation using the sun, moon and stars is actually a pretty simple process provided that you understand some basic principles.

Such as the fact that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west and thus, if you are in the northern hemisphere, the sun is located due south at noon while, if you are in the southern hemisphere, it’s due north of you at noon.

Also, by noting where the sun rises on your horizon and which direction it is traveling, you can determine the cardinal directions of north, south, east and west. Therefore, because the moon and the constellations also follow approximately the same path, you can use them for the same purpose when navigating at night. But, because Earth’s terrain often forces you to travel a less-than-direct path and, because our celestial bodies continue to move across the sky during the course of the day and night, using them to navigate can be a little tricky. However, there are a few techniques that can make doing so significantly easier.

For instance, when using the sun as a navigational aid to keep yourself on course, you should note the position of your shadow because if you are in the northern hemisphere traveling parallel to the sun’s path, you shadow will always be on your right if you are traveling west and, if you are traveling east, the opposite will be true. However, you should also note that the position of your shadow will change slightly as the position of the sun changes and thus, if you are traveling west, it will be in front of you in the morning and behind you in the afternoon and the opposite will be true if you are traveling east.

This Tiny Device Can Start A Fire Even In The Worst Conditions

Also, provided that you are in the northern hemisphere traveling perpendicular to the sun’s path, if you are traveling north, your shadow will always be in front of you and, if you are traveling south, it will always be behind you. In addition, if you are traveling north or south, your shadow will be longer in the morning and afternoon hours than it is at high noon because the sun’s position is higher in the sky at noon. Therefore, the length of your shadow can also be used as primitive method of keeping track of the time.

Survival Navigation Using Only The Sun, Moon And Stars

Image source: Pixabay.com

Fortunately for us, the moon also follows approximately the same path as the sun and therefore, we can also use the moonrise and moonset to determine the cardinal directions. However, most nights the moon does not reflect enough light from the sun to provide us with a distinct shadow.

But, even though we may or may not have a reliable shadow by moonlight, the moon still serves as a reliable navigational aid by first enabling us to determine in which direction lies north, south, east and west and then by providing us the same guidance as the sun by remaining on our right or left sides when traveling east or west (depending on which hemisphere you are in) and by remaining either in front of us or behind us when traveling north or south (again, depending on which hemisphere you are in).

New Water Filter Fits In Your Pocket And Removes 100 Percent Of Water-Borne Bacteria!

Last, even on nights when there is no moon visible, we can still use the constellations of the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper to find true north because the northern axis of the Earth just happens to point to one of the brightest star in our night skies which we call Polaris or, the North Star. (It’s the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor, also known as the Little Dipper.) Therefore, when you are facing the North Star, you are also facing true north.

So, in order to locate the North Star, first locate the Big Dipper in the northern sky and then locate the two stars that form the outer edge of the cup (the two stars located farthest from the handle). Next, draw an imaginary line straight through the two stars of the cup’s edge across the sky to the last star in the handle of the Little Dipper. Notice that that star is noticeably brighter than all of the other stars around it. You just successfully located the North Star. When you know that you are facing true north,

So, in order to locate the North Star, first locate the Big Dipper in the northern sky and then locate the two stars that form the outer edge of the cup (the two stars located farthest from the handle). Next, draw an imaginary line straight through the two stars of the cup’s edge across the sky to the last star in the handle of the Little Dipper. Notice that that star is noticeably brighter than all of the other stars around it. You just successfully located the North Star. When you know that you are facing true north, south will be located behind you, west will be on your left, and east will be on your right.

So, even though a far better solution is to carry a GPS device, celestial navigation is a viable method of determining a direction of travel – especially if your GPS is misplaced or its batteries drained.

What navigation tips would you add to this story? Share them in the section below:

Learn How To ‘Live Off The Land’ With Just Your Gun. Read More Here.

Survival Navigation Tools: A Compass Will Save Your Life

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Let’s assume for a moment that you’re out hiking or exploring. Or even a worst case scenario: you’ve been stranded due to an unfortunate accident or event into an unknown place, far from civilization. Even if you’re a bit familiar to the wilderness or have a clue where you are, it’s still bad; not knowing is even worse. The first reasonable thing to do is to try and locate where you are and start moving towards a safe zone. Many of you will consider the modern approach to navigation, based on a GPS system. But what if your electronic device (phone, tablet, GPS device) gets damaged or it simply runs out of battery? You should be fine as long as you remembered to pack a survival navigation tools, a map and a compass as a backup. Every serious prepper should have a compass in his private survival kit. There’s a great variety of compasses on the market, to suit the needs of even the keenest explorers. The beginners or light travelers could always get a basic compass, one that’s cheap, works great but it doesn’t have some bonus features, such as a mirror or a declination adjustment etc. For the more serious hikers and preppers, there are more advanced compasses, with many additional features (magnifier, mirror etc.) that make navigation easier and are perfect for those who wonder regularly into unknown territory. It all comes down to choosing the one that works best for you. Let’s have a look at what’s available on the market.

 

How a compass works

A compass has a tiny plastic bubble filled with liquid, a damping fluid, which is mostly oil based and treated with antifreeze so the compass can work even in low-temperature environments. Its role is not only to protect the pointer needle from outside interference, but also to prevent the needle from excessive jiggling and trembling caused by the magnetic forces of the earth. If you find yourself in a cold environment or at high altitudes, the liquid will contract creating a bubble inside the plastic casing, but this won’t affect accuracy. When you return to normal conditions, the air bubble will disappear.

The magnetized needle encased in the plastic liquid-filled transparent bubble is the one that’s responsible for telling directions. It has 2 pointy sides, one of which is strongly attuned to the earth’s strongest magnetic field, generated by the magnetic North Pole. So at any point, this needle (which is normally red) will point north. However, the magnetic north is different from the geographic north. The magnetic north is situated in a chain of islands in the Canadian Arctic. So you must compensate and calculate the differences when traveling by map and compass.

There are also electronic compasses available on the market, which are easier to read thanks to their displays. But they’re less reliable than traditional ones for the same reasons every other battery operated GPS device is: they’re fragile and are dependent on an external energy source that will run out soon or later.

Compasses to consider

The Suunto A-10 field compass is a very simple and efficient compass that works great.  It’s lightweight, made from a scratch-resistant and shock-absorbing transparent material and it has an ergonomic design which makes it easy to hold and handle or to fit in a small pocket; it also comes equipped with a detachable snap lock. It supports a two-zone reading (covering the entire north hemisphere) for an extra accurate reading, which can be done in both inches and centimeters. The needled is not flooded in liquid, but this doesn’t seem to affect the overall performance of this compass in any way.

 

The Cammenga Phosphorescent Clam Pack Lensatic Compass is a very established name in the field. It’s a very sturdy field compass that is completely waterproof and it’s has a very tough aluminum frame. You can carry it tied to your wrist, clipped securely to your belt or just have it sit in its own carrying pouch. It weighs about 8 ounces and the dial includes both degrees and miles. It has phosphorescent paint to make for easy readings at night and for those who don’t mind spending twice the money, there is also a tritium version available. This tiny navigation gadget has been approved by the DoD, so that tells us a lot about its quality and efficiency.

 

The Suunto KB-14 360R Pro Compass it’s absolutely state of the art as far as accuracy goes. It’s a professional compass, which means great investments have been made and excellent materials went in the making of this particular model. It’s extremely accurate, down to a third of a degree or 0.5 degrees when it comes to graduated intervals. The shell is made from a durable anodized light alloy, it has superior damping fluid (which stay consistent even in extreme conditions) and a nylon pouch for protection. This model is highly used by professional cartographers, surveyors and foresters. It’d be the perfect compass if it had the declination correction feature; luckily this feature is available on the improved (and more expensive) KB-14D model.

There are still plenty of models out there for you to check out and chose from. But make no mistake about it: we’re far from that technical breakthrough, when electronics can replace classical gadgets in a survival scenario. I’m not saying that the GPS systems are completely useless, far from it. But when the computer systems fail, you’ll need to revert to a simpler way if you want to survive.

 

By Alec Deacon

 

 

The post Survival Navigation Tools: A Compass Will Save Your Life appeared first on My Family Survival Plan.

Traveling with B.O.B.

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Many of us now days have a job that require us to travel out of town, for away from our home base. However, as we have seen over the last couple of months, security should always be a concern when on the road. Most of us maintain a GHB in our vehicles and even have an EDC kit with us at our jobs, but how many of us have a Traveling B.O.B?

Compass Caddy Review

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Compass Caddy Review

Here’s a clever little Kickstarter project called the Compass Caddy. It let’s you carry your baseplate compass right on your trekking pole so that it’s easily accessible and ready for navigation while you’re hiking. The Compass Caddy is the brain child of Peter Knight an avid backpacker and hiker from Hadleigh, England.

Fits all sizes

Compass Caddy Review

Peter designed the Compass Caddy to accommodate different makes and models of baseplate compasses that have varying widths as well as attaching to different diameter trekking poles. This means that you can get the perfect fit for your particular compass and trekking pole combination. The image above shows a dummy compass being used in the same Compass Caddy that my Silva Polaris fits into.

Peter very kindly made a 3D printed version of the Compass Caddy to work with my Gossamer Gear LT4 trekking poles. Despite my Silva Polaris compass not being the perfect width for this prototype it still holds very securely in place and the attachment to my pole is solid with no movement.

The Compass Caddy in use

Compass Caddy Review

Having your compass handy at all times is the obvious advantage that this clever device provides. An unexpected advantage for me was the benefit of my trekking pole in aiding navigation. Once I have a bearing set on my compass I would usually sight a point off in the distance (snap a line) and hike toward it. Doing this with my compass attached to my trekking pole is like having a sniper scope for compass navigation.

The pole adds an additional level of precision to compass sighting that helps me more quickly acquire my next navigation way point. It’s so simple I wish I had thought of it!

Compass retention

Compass Caddy Review

I consider my compass to be an extremely important piece of gear, as such I usually have a length of cord attached to it so that I can’t accidentally lose it. I was initially concerned that I might lose my compass off of my trekking pole if the Compass Caddy was not a snug fit. I tend to be heavy with my trekking poles and thought the continual impacts might dislodge my compass from the caddy – amazingly that never happened. As an added precaution I used my existing lanyard to attach it to my trekking pole.

Kickstarter campaign

I wish Peter every success with his Kickstarter campaign and hope that some of you help him fund his project. I’ve had several conversations with Peter and exchanged ideas and suggestions for future enhancements. This is just phase one of the Compass Caddy and I am confident that it will continue to get better with each iteration. There’s a bright future for this clever little device and I think users will love it once they use it.

What are you thoughts on the Compass Caddy? What would you change or do differently?

Disclosure: The author of Brian’s Backpacking Blog was provided with complimentary samples of this product for the purpose of evaluation, testing, and feedback. He was under no obligation to publish a review. His thoughts are his own.

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