12 Ways To Build A Survival Tent

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When it comes to survival in an emergency situation, everything revolves around the “holy trinity”: water, food, and shelter. The rest are luxuries.

Without water, you’ll die in a matter of days, 2-3 days tops depending on the climate and your physical fitness. Without food, you’ll last for up to 2-3 weeks or maybe more, but after the first week you’ll be pretty much disabled, both physically and psychologically, i.e. it will be all spiraling downwards from there.

The importance of finding or building adequate shelter in a survival scenario is pretty much obvious to anyone. If you’re facing extreme weather conditions in a SHTF scenario, you won’t make it for 2-3 weeks so you can die of hunger, if you know what I mean.

Now, if you can secure these three items – food, water, shelter regardless of the nature of your emergency and/or your location, you’ll be able to “hang in there” indefinitely.

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Then, you can concentrate on building a fire, assessing your self-defense options, and even some basic luxuries, such as gathering leaves for a softer bed and making a cup of coffee if you’re lucky enough to have any.

Let’s talk about the basics of building a shelter via an improvised tent, as a primer of sorts.

The idea is that one the most common mistakes of wilderness survival is one’s incapability of building/finding a proper shelter.

Actually, having no shelter in a SHTF situation is a 2-fold mistake that may cost you and your family’s life: the first mistake is adventuring outdoors unprepared, i.e. not having the means to DIY a proper shelter in your survival kit (read tarp, poncho etc.). The second mistake would be one’s lack of knowledge to DIY an improvised shelter using readily available materials, i.e. nature’s tools (snow, branches, sand etc.).

When we hear news about folks dying out there in the wilderness, they usually die of exposure; this is the common reason that you’ll hear coming up time and time again.

Whether we’re talking about heat-stroke or hypothermia, the lesson to be taken home is that those guys either did not carry the means to build an improvised shelter (a sleeping bag with bivy, a tarp or a regular tent) or they lacked the skills and the knowledge to DIY a suitable shelter for shielding themselves from the elements. One of the most important rules of outdoor survival is to stay dry; remember that folks.

Getting back to our business, in order to improvise a tent, you’ll require time, effort, a good location, and, obviously, the materials needed to build it.

With regard to wilderness survival in harsh weather conditions, shelters can be improvised from readily available materials with relative ease in order to protect you from wind, sun, rain, snow, cold/hot temperatures, insects etc.

Here are a few ideas for building an improvised shelter using a piece of tarp, a poncho, or something similar (plastic sheets, parachute canopy etc.):

And speaking of materials and survival gear, always remember to pack a quality piece of tarp in your EDC survival kit in your car or your hand baggage. You never know when you’ll need it, right? And I’ve mentioned the tarp for good reason.

4 Ways to Make a Tent from a Tarp

You can improvise a pretty cool tent using a piece of tarp, preferably with reinforced corners and solid 1/2” grommets if you’re lucky enough to have the respective supplies with you (the tarp that is).

The tarp will be used in conjunction with a wooden-made frame to create a cozy shelter for the night. The frame can be improvised relatively easily. All you have to do is lean poles against a tree trunk or a lower branch in such a way that you’ll be able to fit snugly under your tarp.

Here’s how to make a tent from a tarp using readily available materials, such as wood branches and nothing more. You can configure this design in both open front and closed front by using canvas, nylon or poly tarps.

This type of improvised tent will work great with a fire in front for keeping you warm during the long winter nights.

Video first seen on Far North Bushcraft And Survival

Here’s an even simpler design using an 8×10 tarp and a bunch of sticks, which will come handy in an emergency situation.

Video first seen on Oregon Mike

A more comprehensive tutorial about tents improvised from tarp in storm conditions can be visualized in the video below. The idea is to build an improvised tent that can be used effectively in windy conditions.

Video first seen on PHARRAOH

Here’s a very easy DIY project for improvising a partial tent for a quick overnight or just to keep the snow away.

Video first seen on Jarhead Survivor

The thing is, there are many ways one can improvise a survival tent out of a piece of tarp or a plastic sheet or a poncho. However, what’s important is to know the basics, the theory so to speak.

This one can described as a life-saving skill by any metric, and the only thing to remember at all times is that the bigger the tarp, the bigger the shelter, so keep that in mind when assembling your EDC survival kit (and don’t forget the paracord).

The Poncho Survival Shelter

Besides a tarp, you can improvise a survival tent of sorts using a poncho. We’ll refer to this little project as the poncho survival shelter if you like. Here are two ideas to contemplate upon.

Video first seen on Snowalker13

Here’s a comprehensive tutorial, with variations of the poncho-shelter.

Video first seen on UglyTent Bushcraft & Survival.

How to Improvise a Teeppee

You can always improvise a native Indian-styled tent also known as a tipi/teepee, just watch this video. This is one of my favorite projects as it’s simple to set up and fairly easy to DIY.

Video first seen on Wilderness Innovation

And here’s a pull-up tipi, or an improvised tent/survival shelter that’s not supported by poles, by rather pulled up with cord/rope. This is the ideal emergency shelter for one person.

Video first seen on Wilderness Innovation

Here’s another cool idea for a no-pole improvised tent.

Video first seen on mc outdoors

How to Make a Shelter in the Woods

If you know how to use an ax, then log tents may also be an option. Log tents were built by native Indians for centuries, as their primary winter houses in North America.

This is a very basic idea for building an improvised log tent, or how to make a shelter in the woods if you don’t have a tarp or something similar available.

Video  first seen on Videojug

And here’s a more complex one, a frame super-tent if you like, using green wood for the horizontal beams.

Video first seen on Birch Point Outdoors

If you think you have what it takes, here’s a picture depicting native American log-tents of the ancient North, which make for an excellent warm winter camp, especially if the logs fit well together and they’re properly calked with dry grass and moss.

Now that you know how to build a survival shelter, start practicing!

Will you be able to protect your own in a life or death scenario?

Click the banner below to find out!

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

6+ Tips That Could Save Your Life In A Plane Crash

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Usually speaking, the general public believes that the vast majority of plane crashes leaves no one left behind alive to tell the story.

However, there are many exceptions to that rule. If we’re talking about science, well, there’s a whole science behind the concept of surviving a plane crash.

Actually, plane crashes are incredibly rare.

Statistically speaking, you’re more prone to dying while driving your car, i.e. in a car crash, than to be involved in a plane crash. Airplane-related incidents are a very rare occurrence and today they are at an all time low, due to the huge advances in flight security and technology.

What Are the Odds?

To give you a scientific example using statistics, the odds of the average Survivopedia reader being killed in a plane crash even providing that he/she flies regularly are 1 in 8015. The chances of any single flight being plagued by an incident are 1 in 1.2 million. The chance of you getting killed in a plane crash are over your entire lifetime 1 in 8015.

To put things into a broader perspective, your chances of being killed in a car accident are anywhere between 1 in 112 (over your entire lifetime) or anywhere between 1 in 4000/8000 every time you’re on the road, as there are many variables to take into account: what kind of vehicle you drive, how often and far you drive on a daily basis etc.

However, if you  compare these aforementioned figures to the odds of dying in an airplane crash, you’ll have a hard time comprehending people’s fear of flying, or, for that matter, our utter nonchalance when it comes to driving for the most meaningless of purposes, but let that one go.

It’s also interesting to mention than a whopping 96% of all victims involved in an airplane crash survive. If that figure sounds very high, well, it’s because the vast majority of airplane crashes are not as catastrophic as one may be inclined to think watching TV all day.

Catastrophic airplane crashes, where the plane just drops out of the sky for some reason, aren’t typically survivable (except from blind luck), but they’re very rare. “Regular” plane crashes are totally survivable provided you don’t lose your head and you learn some tiny bits of essential information.

To make things real simple, an airplane is basically a long, combustible aluminum tube filled with people; go figure it out for yourself what happens in a crash landing, which defines the vast majority of airplane accidents nowadays (80% of plane crashes happen during take-off/landing procedures).

But modern-day airplanes are specially designed for allowing all of the passengers to be evacuated in 90 seconds tops, and that’s important because most of the injuries/victims when it comes to plane crashes are due to fires.

One thing that really grinds my gears is that almost ninety percent of the passengers fail to read the safety cards and half of them don’t watch the pre-flight safety presentations, even if the information regarding flight safety is a matter of life and death.

Simply put, actions have consequences and every action you take prior, during, and after a plane crash plays a vital role with regard to your chances of survival. To begin with, according to flight security experts, almost 33% of all casualties due to plane crashes in the past could have been prevented, provided the passengers had known their survival basics, i.e. what to do during and after the plane crash.

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Choose Your Airplane Seat Carefully

Lesson number one: everything in life is about location, hence choose your airplane seat carefully, as per the picture below:

However, let’s be honest about it: surviving an airplane crash is not an exact science. Even if you choose your seat as per the illustration above, which, according to statistics, shows you the safest position inside of an airplane for surviving a crash, there’s no guarantee you’ll make it out alive if SHTF.

The thing is, even if certain seats are safer than others using probabilities, it all depends on the nature of a particular incident, i.e. if you sit in the front of the plane in the business class and the impacts occurs primarily in the rear, your chances of survival will be higher in this situation, right?

Still, the FAA claims that there’s no such thing as a safe space inside of an airplane, because there is no seat that’s safer than another. Airplane manufacturers are saying the same thing, arguing that all seats are created equal, provided you’re using the seat belt.

But, recent studies analyzing  survival patterns of many catastrophic airplane crashes suggest that the rear third of the plane is the safest with regard to one’s chances of surviving, with the last row being the ideal spot due to its proximity to the rear exit.

Speaking of emergency exits, there’s always the five-row rule, which states that your chances of surviving a plane crash are pretty good if your seat is within 5 rows of an emergency exit. This theory makes perfect sense: the sooner you get out of the plane, the better.

The least safe seats in coach are in the middle third of the airplane and the same goes for seats located in the very front of the entire cabin (business/first class). The fatality rate of those passengers having to travel more than 5 rows to an emergency exit is significantly higher, so remember that next time you book a seat.

Overall, the lesson to be taken home is that middle seats in the rear third of the cabin are the sweet spots for surviving a plane crash.

Wear Flame-resistant Clothes

The next thing to contemplate is your clothing. Yes, you read that right because the biggest danger in an airplane crash, provided you survived the impact, is the combustible parts of the plane igniting and provoking a huge fire; therefore, your clothes are the first and last line of defense.

While there are flame-resistant clothes on the market, it’s not always possible to wear these, especially during business trips and all that. However, remember to avoid nylon, polyester and acrylic , as these materials are very dangerous in a fire because they melt (and burn) at relatively low temperatures, compared to other materials. That means that they will stick to your skin if heated enough, provoking horrible injuries as they burn.

Wool and cotton are way better and remember: do not wear skirts, dresses, shorts or flowing/loose fitting clothes during flight. Also, pay attention to your shoes. The best choice is to wear laced-up, comfy and sturdy leather shoes, made with solid soles and good traction. As you’ll be trying to escape from a burning plane, these details are very important.

Learn How to Operate the Safety Equipment

Always pay attention to the back seat pocket card and the safety presentation, as every aircraft model has its own safety procedures and features.

Learn how to operate the safety equipment and know where the emergency exits are, how to open them, and so on and so forth.

Know the +3 / -8 Rule

While it’s recommended that you stay alert and aware at all times, not only during flight, when it comes to surviving a plane crash, there’s the +3/-8 rule. This rule refers to the fact that most airplane crashes (80%) take place in the first three minutes after take-off and in the final 8 minutes of the flight.

During these periods of time, don’t read, don’t get distracted, and stay alert and ready to execute your plan if necessary.

Buckle Up for Safety

Seat belts are a no-brainer; always remember to buckle up for safety both while driving and flying. What’s crucial to remember with regard to airplane seat belts is that they’re somewhat different from their car brethren and it was widely reported that many passengers have difficulty and lose valuable time trying to remove their seat belts in the aftermath of a plane crash.

The thing is, unlike a car seat belt which releases at a push of a button, an airplane seat belt uses a different mechanism so you should familiarize yourself with removing your seat belt by both sight and touch, so you’ll be ready and able to release it instantly if SHTF even if the cabin is dark.

Also, remember to fasten your seat belt as tight as you can, as any loose inch matters in the eventuality of a high-speed crash. Every half inch of slack will triple the G-force you’ll have to endure in a crash.

Even if it may sound uncomfortable, I would advise you to keep your seat beat fastened even when you’re sleeping, especially when you’re sleeping.

Be Ready to Act

Now, with prevention taken care of, the “good news” so to speak is that you’ll probably be aware of the imminence of a plane crash long before it actually happens. That’s why it’s important to develop a plan, thus to dramatically increase your chance of surviving a plane crash just by taking a few minutes to think about what you’ll  have to do to survive in the eventuality of an accident.

Be ready to act quickly, calmly, and efficiently in any crisis situation. Know where the emergency exits are located and count the rows to the nearest exit both behind and in front of your seat so you can navigate the cabin easily even in the dark.

Before the Crash

If the plane will have to perform an emergency landing over water, put your life vest on, but don’t inflate it until you’re out of the plane—this is important. An inflated life vest will impair your movements, making it harder to get out of the plane quickly.

Try to pad your head prior to impact, if possible, using pillows, a coat or blankets. Also try to protect your ankles and shins if possible and secure any loose items near you.

Empirical evidence teaches us that bracing for impact, i.e. assuming the proper position prior to a heavy impact, will maximize your chances of survival. The crash position is taught in the pre flight safety presentation and not only increases your chances of survival, but it also minimizes the risk of getting injured (neck, head, leg injuries) if you do actually survive the crash.

As soon as the oxygen mask drops, put it on. In the eventuality the cabin becomes depressurized, you’ll only have fifteen to twenty seconds to put it on before your rendered unconscious. Put your oxygen mask on before assisting other passengers or even your children. If you pass out, you’ll not be able to help anyone anyway.

After the Crash

After the crash, try to get out of the plane ASAP. Pay attention to the cabin crew instructions, as they’re well trained to respond in the event of a plane crash. Follow their instructions and remember—the first 90 seconds after a plane crash are essential, i.e. after 90 seconds, if you’re still inside the cabin, your chances of survival will drop dramatically.

Get out as fast as you can and as far away as you can – think kerosene exploding in a huge fireball.

Forget about your luggage, valuables, Mac Book, engagement ring or whatever. It’s not worth losing your life over stuff.

Don’t try to climb seats unless there’s no other way out. I must repeat, even if speed is essential after a plane crash, stay calm and try not to panic.

Don’t be stunned by the horrific events, move as fast as you can, and don’t lose your head. Most fatalities following a plane crash are due to fire and its derivates, i.e. smoke inhalation and fumes.

If there are smoke and fumes inside the cabin, lay low (don’t crawl though, stay on 2 feet) while evacuating and try to cover your nose and mouth using a piece of cloth (moistened would be ideal). You can also consider carrying a heat-resistant portable smoke hood.

Proceed to the nearest safe exit and move away from the crash scene, at least 500 feet away in an upwind direction. Then, assess the situation, take care of your wounds and/or assist others using basic first aid methods if you can. Stay close to the scene and wait for the rescue to arrive.

Will you be able to protect your own in a life or death scenario? Click the banner below to find out!

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

Prep Blog Review: Summer Prepping Activities To Do With Kids

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Teaching kids about survival is a tough thing to do, but is very important. We put a lot of emphasis on our own prepping, but we really should be teaching our kids how to prep, too.

Teaching the little ones to prepare for disaster involves tactic and a lot of patience. But, you can transform all this prepping lessons into funny activities kids will love.

Summer is coming so you’ll need new ideas to keep them busy and off your nerves. So, for this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered four articles on this topic to help you prep with your little ones.

1. 10 Prepping Activities To Do With Your Kids This Summer

“Summer is coming! The kids will be out of school very soon and will need ideas to keep them out of trouble and off your nerves. Teaching kids prepping should be at the top of your list of things for them to do.

We put a lot of emphasis on adults knowing how to prep, but we really should be teaching the next generation how to prep too.

Remember: our goal in raising kids is that they are self-sufficient when they leave home.

While we should expect phone calls on how to do things, we want them to know the basics and be able to care for themselves.”

Read more on Living Life In Rural Iowa.

2. Prepping With Kids

“If you’d asked me 16 years ago if I’d be ready for when the SHTF, I would’ve answered yes without any kind of hesitation.

After all, I was single, I was a Ground Team Leader in the Air Force Auxiliary unit Civil Air Patrol, I had worked as an Armed Security Agent, was working in the airlines, and had taken a multitude of camping, firearms, first aid, and survival courses.

In the chaos of 9/11 I’d been told that I’d handled myself admirably and with a cool and level head by my co-workers and supervisors. I felt prepared.”

Read more on The Prepper Journal.

3. 4 Top Survival Skills You Must Teach your Kids

“Some of Bear Grylls’ biggest fans are kids. Their eyes widen at his derring-do, and boys and girls alike admire his survival skills and savvy.

However, the survival skills for kids that will keep them safe and sound are far more mundane!

Below are four survival skills for kids to learn, along with a few tips for parents.”

Read more on The Survival Mom.

  1. 4. Essential Survival Skills That Kids Should Know ASAP

“How safe are our kids today? Isn’t it a very valid question? It’s quite natural that we, as parents become so protective and in this blind love, we end up doing everything for them. We are proud of the fact that our kids are 100 % dependent on us. But is that fair?

Think about, what will be your response if I ask you, whether your kids will be able to manage on their own if they have a crisis.

The contingency can be small or big, but, as parents, we have the complete responsibility to train our kids on some necessary survival skills, for them to take care of, on their own during these situations.”

Read more on Prepper’s Will.

 

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia. 

Jungle Survival Shelters| How To Stay High And Dry In The Jungle

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Many of us may never need to set up shelter in the jungle… In fact, it may be the farthest thing from your mind. However, a survivalist’s true talent lies in their ability to adapt and overcome any situation. Jungle survival involves a lot more than a simple pop-up tent…

Jungle Survival | A Guide to Building A Simple Shelter

A shelter’s job is to keep you safe, warm, dry and out of the reach of wild animals and extreme weather conditions. But when it comes to jungle survival, one of your main concerns is getting off the ground. Knowing how to make a shelter that gets you off the ground and keeps you dry is a must for jungle survival. Continue reading as I’m about to give you a few tips in constructing a simple shelter for you to stay in.

 

Location Spotting

Image via Rough Guides

Look for a perfect place to set-up your shelter. Choose a location far enough away from water forms so that if it floods, your shelter turn into a raft…  Avoid building your shelter near a site with signs of wild animals or else you might be in for a rude awakening in the middle of the night.

Framework Construction

Image via Sigma 3 Survival School

To create a strong shelter, you must be able to make a nearly indestructible frame. Use strong wood or branches of trees available around you. Use ropes, vines, or paracord that can hold the frame in place.

Nest Making

Image via Buzzard Bushcraft

After the hard frame, proceed with the saplings to serve as your bed. Use leaves to provide you comfort. It also serves as an insulator, especially for cold weather. Cover the whole base of the frame with leaves. It’s better to use large leaves to prevent it from scattering when you sleep on it.

Wall Stabilizing

Image via Sigma 3 Survival School

Think about your wall next. This is one of the most important parts of your shelter. This must withstand various factors that might destroy the whole safe house. And it must also protect you from extreme heat and rain, to avoid getting you sick or making you weak.

Roofing

Image via Bushcraft UK

Lastly, you’ll be needing an over-all covering for the whole shelter. If you’re prepared for circumstances like this, you must have brought a large plastic or emergency blankets in your survival kit. This will prevent you from getting wet and will provide insulation at times of low temperature. Tie it tightly to your roof and base frame so it won’t get blown by strong winds.

Watch the video below to discover exactly how you can build a jungle survival shelter out of bamboo:

In extreme conditions, you could be up a creek without a paddle in as little as 3 hours without proper shelter. Always remember to be knowledgeable before going to dangerous places. Equip yourself with survival hacks, including this jungle survival shelter guide to help you out when you’re outdoors!

 

Source : survivallife.com

 

 

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The 26 Best Snares for Survival: Land, Air, Sea

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The ability to turn the woods around you, and maybe some cordage, into a trap that can actually feed you is near mythical. I think a lot of preppers have an idea about how this process works but I don’t think many are well practiced. For one thing, it’s kind of ugly to take the […]

The post The 26 Best Snares for Survival: Land, Air, Sea appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Green Coffee Beans for Long Term Storage

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Green coffee beans are best for long-term storage whereas roasted coffee beans have a limited shelf-life — they comparatively won’t retain their fresh flavor for too long. The shelf life of ground coffee is even less – making both roasted coffee beans and ground coffee poor choices for long term storage. For those who are […]

Survival Myth Explained: Can Playing Dead Save Your Life?

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When you are in a life or death situation with just a few seconds to a minute remaining, some strategies will work better than others. Ultimately, you’ll be locked into your decision to stay and fight it out until you win or you die, or to try and escape.

Playing dead is one of these strategies: a double edged sword that you should handle carefully. It can help you, or it can also cost your life instead of saving it. In the end, it all depends on the mindset and will of those you encounter, humans and animals equally.

Let’s have a look at some different scenarios and what is likely to happen if you try to play dead. It will help you build the mindset you need to survive!

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Scenario 1: Active Shooter Scenarios

Police say most active shooters can take months to years to plan out and gather everything they need to carry out their final scene.

On the other hand, you might not be prepared to face this challenge and have to think fast to find a way to survive. So, are you going to play dead to stay alive? Before deciding, consider that:

  • An active shooter most likely has a real, imagined, or socially induced grudge or grievance.
  • The shooter has already decided that violence is the only answer.
  • This person has more than likely listened to music, played video games, or read materials that encourage the expression violence.
  • The shooter has also decided that killing others is an acceptable outcome even if they are not directly associated with the grievance or similar to those that are directly associated.
  • The shooter may have communicated his/her intent to others, thus making a commitment to follow through.
  • Has already developed a plan, rehearsed it, and acquired weapons.
  • Ultimately, has a sense of hopelessness, desperation, and despair.

An active shooter is locked into a drama inside his/her head, and they may or may not be paying attention to how many people they have actually killed. Rather, as long as people go down, and there is plenty of blood around, they may assume you are dead if you look dead.

During the Charleston church shooting, it was Dylann Roof’s belief that he was there to start a race war. He chose the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston South Carolina because it is one of the United States’ oldest continuous running Black churches.

Each victim was shot multiple times to ensure that they were dead. One survivor of the killing spree, did, in fact, escape detection by laying in her own son’s blood and playing dead. The survivor was very lucky this strategy worked, however not every shooter would or will just pass a still body, especially if they have a good sense of where their bullets have struck.

That being said, following the Paris terrorist attacks the United Kingdom’s Terrorism Security Office issued new guidelines that amount to:

  • Run – Clear the active shooting areas as fast as possible without getting shot.
  • Hide – Find a safe place to hide. Wait for the police or other proper authorities to come and get you.
  • Tell – Tell the authorities everything you saw, did, and noticed during the active shooting event.

The US Department of Homeland Security’s guide for an active shooting situation following the San Bernardino California incident also say that people should run and hide. Instead of “tell”, they recommend, as a last resort, making an improvised weapon and fighting to protect yourself and others.

But in an active shooting scenario, no professional or professional organization that I know of, recommends playing dead.  I don’t recommend it because, in a split second, it is very hard to tell exactly what kind of person you are dealing with or what is going on in their sick little mind.

There have been volumes written on the difference between a crazy person acting out a drama for personal benefit and a terrorist that is more interested in killing as a social statement instead of an emotional one. In fact, some even say there is no difference at all, or that a person can change as the situation progresses.

Scenario 2: Terror Attacks

If you are in a terrorist attack, run, try to escape, and take as many others with you as possible. If you do play dead in a terrorist attack, it is likely the terrorist will not see an end of a life. Instead, they may see a body that can be used to “send a message” to anyone who is watching.

It is nothing for a terrorist to mutilate a dead body while video taping their escapades. Later on, it will become a training video and inspiration for others, as well as the means to terrorize their sworn opponents. In the end, if you can’t escape, you must fight to the death.

Scenario 3: Armed Robberies

For many people living in the cities or suburbs armed robberies are an every day event. If you cooperate with the robber most of the time they will not hurt you because they just want valuables. If you try to fight back, the robber could very easily shoot you or stab you.

On the other hand, if you fake being sick (such as having a seizure or heart attack), or pretend to fall over dead while playing sick, the robber may leave the scene abruptly.

Robbers do not want undue attention drawn to the area during the robbery. A lot depends on how the robber responds to stress and what is in their mind. Where some will run, others  may kick you, stamp on you, or shoot you.

Playing dead is very dangerous in any type of armed robbery. They may even put a bullet in you just to make sure you can’t act as a witness later on.

Scenario 4: Domestic Violence

The frequency and severity of domestic violence can vary dramatically. However, the one constant component of domestic violence is one of the partner’s constant efforts to maintain power and control over the other.

Domestic violence also usually intensifies over time. It can begin with simple name calling and end up with great bodily harm and psychological damage. In all too many cases domestic violence ends in death.

Domestic violence does not always end when the victim escapes the abuser, tries to terminate the relationship, or seeks help. The abuser will continue to stalk, threatened, and try to control the victim after the victim has escaped.  As a result, the victim is usually in the most danger following an attempt to exit the relationship. 20% of victims of domestic violence with restraining orders are usually found murdered within 2 days after obtaining the court order.

Quite frankly, playing dead in this situation is not a viable answer. It will not stop the beatings or the violence. If the person has decided to kill, or is in an uncontrollable rage, your stillness may be an invitation to carry out more violence until you are actually dead.

As with other violent situations, you must move to escape and ask for help, or you must fight for your life.

Scenario 5: Street Fights

If you run into an experience street fighter it means that he is strong, aggressive, and can throw extremely hard punches with good knock down power. It also means that this fighter will be willing to bite you, choke you, claw at your eyes, or use what are considered dirty tactics.

There are many methods that you can practice to take your street fighting skills to a successful level, however playing dead isn’t one of them.

Consider that it is very common for a street fighter to try to choke you. Pretending you are dead will more than likely result in your neck being twisted and broken until you are actually dead.

You can use feints or false relaxing to gain an edge, however those are advanced skills that must be carried out in a split second. You must learn and practice often to know when and how to use them. They bear no resemblance to playing dead for several moments.

Scenario 6: Animal Attacks

The best way to avoid wildlife problems is to use common sense. Be aware of what’s around you, what kind of animals you are likely to encounter, and the danger they pose. The most dangerous animals that you’ll run into in North America are cougars, bears, moose, deer, elk, buffalo, wolves, and coyotes.

When interacting with dangerous large animals of North America you may have to fight these animals in order to survive. Sometimes playing dead may be your only option to survive these vicious attacks.

Unlike dealing with humans, animals are more predictable within their species. Wild animals may maul and seriously injure a human, but they will stop short of killing and simply walk away. Man, on the other hand, kills for fun and sport; and will carry through to ending a life.

Here are some observations about wild animals you may encounter, and whether or not it is a good strategy to play dead around them.

Bear

Bears are extremely dangerous regardless of the species.  They are most inclined to attack when you surprise them, they think you are competing for food, you corner them, or get between a mother and her cubs.

Even the less dangerous bear species will attack when they are hungry. Only play dead when you cannot escape and all else fails.

You might get bit, or even clawed. Unless the bear is hungry, it should leave after that. If you panic while you are playing dead, do not get up, and start to run away. The odds are the bear will run you down and kill you.

Cougar

Cougar attacks are no time to play dead or make yourself look small or weak.  Under no circumstances do you crouch down or play dead. These large cats are active predators that will stalk, kill, and eat their prey either animal or human.

Moose

Moose attacks can be staved off by playing dead. Curl up in a ball to protect yourself against the kicks and the stomps. Do not move until the moose goes away or it will renew its’ attack against you.

Deer

Deer and elk attacks can also be staved off by playing dead. As with moose, curl up in a ball or fetal position to protect your head, neck, and vital organs. The animals will kick at you, but they will eventually leave you alone.

Buffalo

Buffalo are always risky to deal with, however playing dead works. These huge animals can head-butt, gore, or stomp,  in a matter of seconds. If you are knocked down stay down and play dead.  Normally after a buffalo has charged it will wander off and resume grazing.

Wolf and Coyote

Wolf and coyote attacks are becoming more common. These are very cunning and highly intelligent animals that stalk their prey by sneaking in from behind to nip and ripped leg muscles to disable their victim. Once you are down the whole pack will swarm in on you for the kill.

Under no circumstances should you play dead. Your best defense is to kill or injure as many as possible until you can escape. Focusing on the first attacker or dominant animal in the pack may or may not work.

How to Play Dead

It is my personal opinion that playing dead to survive a criminal encounter is  extremely dangerous and could lead to your death.

If you do play dead it is a last-ditch attempt to surviving a criminal encounter where the odds are you would be shot or murdered anyway.

  • If you are going to play dead, don’t just fall to the ground. Make it look like the attack was so bad, you actually died.
  • Once you have stopped moving, try to hold your breath. When you must breathe, take shadow slow breaths.
  • If you want to watch what’s going on around you, keep your eyelids almost closed and look through the tiny slits.  Do not make any fast eye movements.
  • When playing dead, be ready for the other person to strike you or take other steps to see if you are actually dead. No matter what the test is, chances are it is going to hurt. Unless you are trained to use this split second to attack, chances are your involuntary responses will get you killed.

Skills to Practice

Even though playing dead is not a good idea if you encounter a violent human, it does work for some animals. In the latter situation, you may have to play dead for several moments.

Here are some things to practice:

  • Breath control – know how to control breathing so that no motion is seen or felt.  Use meditation to help avoid panic, and also to breathe as lightly and slowly as possible.
  • Be completely still for long periods of time.
  • Learn how to look around a room without being noticed.
  • Under no circumstances do you cough, burp, sneeze, pass gas, or make other noises or odors.

Playing dead may or may not work if your life is in serious danger. When encountering humans, use this method only as a last resort. You can use playing dead more effectively when encountering wild animals depending on the species.

Playing dead can be an effective and life saving strategy, however you must know how to use it properly.

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This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.

Barter will become the new economy after the global financial collapse, so make sure you have plenty of these items

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Following the global collapse of the world’s financial system, which no one knows when will happen but many believe is inevitable given the massive debt held by the world’s biggest economies, the concept of “money” will change virtually overnight.

Like post-World War I Germany, when hyperinflation made the currency – the mark – so devalued and worthless that German waiters in restaurants had to climb on tables to announce new menu prices every 30 minutes, the world’s currencies will similarly collapse, since they are all based on the U.S. dollar.

Five years ago an MIT study noted that an earlier analysis predicting a “global economic collapse” by 2030 had not changed and was “still on track” to occur. But the key is the dollar.

And more recently Natural News founder/editor Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, predicted that should President Donald J. Trump fail to convert to the Church of Globalism, like the Deep State and the global elite want him to, they are more likely to crash the economy on purpose and blame him for it, in order to retain their own power and prevent him from draining the swamp.

While that reasoning is certainly sound – and most Americans probably would blame him – in many ways it won’t matter who is responsible, only that the economy as we knew it no longer exists. Which means what we typically used to obtain goods and services – money – is no longer valuable.

But our needs won’t change. We’ll still need food, water, shelter, clothing, personal hygiene items, ammunition, firearms, and other things in order to carry on with our lives as best we can. And though money might be obsolete, the things we need to live will still retain value.

How will we obtain them? Through a barter system.

Barter is a system of exchange where goods or services are exchanged for other goods and services. If you have something of value – even a skill – you can use it to trade for something you need that someone else has.

Here are some of the most popular items that you’ll need to obtain to use as currency in a post-collapse world so you can still get what you need:

— Precious metals like gold and silver

— Alcohol – believe it or not, this will be in high demand; buy small quantities though, like half-pints and single bottles

— Tobacco – even stale, someone will want a smoke

— Ammunition – all popular calibers like .22LR, 9 mm, .45 ACP, .223, .40 cal (Read : Top 5 Ammo Types for Your Survival Guns )

— Over-the-counter meds like Tylenol/ibuprofen, aspirin, allergy medications and antibiotic ointment (Read : 17 Natural Antibiotics Our Grandparents Used Instead Of Pills)

— Bandages/band aids

— Bar soap

— Individual sanitary wipes

Water (in individual bottles); having your own water supply will become invaluable – and something you’ll have to guard day and night

— Hygiene supplies, especially for women

— Gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene

— Cooking oil

— Fishing gear and tackle

— Batteries (9V, AA, AAA, C)

— Food – individually packed like military meals ready to eat (MREs)

— Nails, screws, bolts, nuts, lumber

— Paper

— Books and magazines – yes, it will get boring during the apocalypse without electronic games, Facebook and Netflix

— Plastic sheeting and trash bags – for shelters and waterproofing

— Board games and playing cards will come in handy

— Tooth brushes

— Any prepper items like fire starters

— Disposable lighters, flints and steel

— Plastic storage containers (think Tupperware ®)

— Ziplock bags

— Zip ties

 

These skills will also come in handy to use as barter:

Medical skills – like EMT/Paramedic, nurses, nurse practitioners and doctors

— Construction skills – builders, carpenters, masons, electricians

— Military and former military professionals and veterans

— Farmer and expert gardener

— Automobile mechanic

Homesteader – someone who knows how to make soap, candles, and other consumables that you will need and use over and over again

— Gunsmiths and ammunition reloaders

There are others but these suggestions give you an idea of what will come in very handy in a post-collapse world, when things we take for granted now because we can drive a few miles to a store and get them with ease become very scarce – yet just as necessary for our comfort and survival.

One more tip: You should learn one of the valuable skills mentioned above or perhaps even a combination of them, to give yourself more barter value.

Source : naturalnews.com

 

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The Simple Things Could Mean the Difference Between Life and Death: A Real Life Scenario

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It’s the simple things, the know-how and the skill to actually do it, that can mean the difference between life and death. This truth didn’t become more real than just recently when a father and son were lost in Australia and were thought to be dead. It was a crude shelter they built that kept them alive!

John Ward, 42 and his son Stephen, 13, decided to spend some time bonding and went on a day hike in the Tasmanian wilderness, Nine Mile Creek, Arthurs Plains to be exact. They mistakenly started a multi-day hike, thinking it was just a day hike trail.

“It nearly turned to tragedy but left them unscathed, apart from Mr Ward’s mild hypothermia. As well as being inexperienced, they were underprepared for the punishing conditions.

With snow falling on nearby mountains, their chances of survival were rated 0 to 5 percent by some searchers on Thursday morning, after a third night in the open.”
Source

Rescuer’s credited the father and son’s survival on one big factor, the ability to make a shelter.

“They’ve built a small shelter (from vegetation) … they’ve been able to protect themselves somewhat from the elements, from the heavy rain we had,” Sergeant Williams said. “That’s most likely saved their lives. They’ve had the smarts to build something like that and keep themselves out of the weather.”  Source

Some other things that helped in their survival and rescue were they were able to find a food depot that was left for other Bushwalkers. They were able to eat and maintain their energy throughout the three days they were exposed.

On the day they were found, they walked to higher ground, but left clues for searchers and even used “something reflect­ive to signal, as well as yelling.” Source

Real life survival stories help us understand how quickly a situation that we are in can go south. It also helps us understand or be reminded that there are some things that we can do and lessons to be learned so we don’t make the same mistakes.

Lessons to Learn

Kit Up! – Regardless if you are going on a day hike or not, if you are traveling somewhere, carry a survival kit with you! Putting some supplies inside a small backpack would have made a big difference in this scenario. A knife, a fire kit, some cordage, a means to filter water, some snacks and first aid supplies should be the minimum. You just never know! What would it have been like if this father and son had a fire kit and knew how to make a fire? They would have stayed a lot warmer and could have signaled rescuers more easily.

My suggestion – If you are not comfortable in your fire craft skills yet, please purchase some wet fire to go in your kit. Having this will help ensure you have a way to start a fire in harsh conditions. And, at the very minimum, make yourself a robust Altoids Tin Kit that you can slip in your pocket in a moments notice.  Check out these easy DIY fire starters. They are all very easy to make.

 

Get Familiar with the Lay of the Land Before You Go Out! – The Tasmanian Wilderness is beautiful but can be deadly. In researching this story, I came across another situation where a Forest guide tripped and broke her ankle. She spent two days out in the wilderness in cold temperatures. So if even guides can have a hard time out there, we should do everything we can to make sure our memories are all good ones. Source

The Tasmanian Wildlife Service has a nice PDF with plenty of info. (The pics alone are worth a peek) (Source) Many places that have hiking trails have something similar. But, you should also have a trail map and a compass and know how to use it! Just don’t go out without doing some research on where you’re going!

My suggestion – Watch this video on how to use a compass and practice in your neighborhood or local park. Teach your kids how to do this too!  Also, if this guide would have been carrying around a whistle, it would have helped others locate her more easily.  I purchased this whistle for my wife (for safety reasons). It is supposed to be the loudest made whistle available.

 

Get Some Book Knowledge?!? – Book knowledge will never replace actual skills! Let me say that again so you make sure you read it… Book knowledge will never replace actual skills! But, it is in reading and studying where we get ideas and a foundation for building on our current knowledge.

My suggestion – Create a list of survival skills you would like to learn: fire craft, filtering water, building a shelter, making cordage, etc… Then devote a few hours on the weekend to practicing one until you feel comfortable enough to mark it off your list. Also, purchase a copy of Mors Kochanski’s classic book, Bushcraft. This is a must have book if you are going to be spending time in the wilderness!

Let Other’s Know Where You’re Going – I understand…sometimes you just want to get away! But it is just being responsible to let others know where you are going. There are people that will be worried and scared that something terrible has happened to you. In the father and son situation, the wife was frantic. Could you imagine losing your husband and son at the same time? They might not have been able to let someone at the campsite know where they were going, but they could have left a message in their tent or even in their vehicle. Something like, “It’s Friday, 1 p.m., we are taking a day hiking trip down trail such and such. I agree that this would be a pain and something else to do, but you just never know! Even if you think you are experienced, it is a good practice.

For another example, in the above situation with the female trial guide, if she would have let other’s know where she was going or left a message, they would have found her so much more easily.

My suggestion – Get into the habit of letting those close to you know where you are going. It’s a hassle, but better safe than sorry!

Think Worst Case Scenario – Some will take this as pessimistic, but I don’t. I like to think about what is the worst case scenario, and then put things in place to help mitigate that possibility. It’s an attitude that doesn’t come from a point of fear, but instead a place of strength. You have the strength to change things, make adjustments, prepare before you are stuck in a terrible situation! If this father would have thought worst case scenario, he might have realized that they could get lost or even hurt on the trail. He could have then taken measures to mitigate that possibility, like kit-up and leave a message about their route on the trail!

My suggestion – If you are going to spend time in the deep wilderness or even on the ocean, get a Personal Beacon Device. These devices will connect with satellites and send your coordinates to rescuers. They are pricey for something you might not ever use ($260), but if you needed it…what is your life worth?

Concluding Thought

We get put in situations every single day that can go south. Just getting in your car and driving to the corner can change your life forever. And although spending some time outside is a goal for many of us, we should be eve more careful and wise about how we prepare and prep when we are out in the wilderness, whatever that looks like for you. Be smart and don’t add more grief to your life – yours or anyone you love!

Peace,
Todd

Must-Read Advice For Surviving In The Wild

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Image Source: Pexels.com

By The Survival Place Blog

There are many reasons why someone might find themselves out in the wild. Perhaps you’re in the military and are deployed out in foreign territories having to live in jungles or other wild areas? Or, you’re someone that likes testing himself and doing extreme things such as mountain climbing or trekking.

Either way, you need to know how to survive in the wild to ensure you make it back home in one piece. Bearing that in mind, here are some tips you must read:

Always Carry A Knife

Knives are one of the most important survival tools out there. You can use a knife as a tool to help cut things, as a hunting device, but also as a combat weapon should you ever run into trouble. With a knife, you have something that can do many different things to help you survive. Plus, they’re easy to carry and don’t weigh much at all. In fact, if you read any KA-BAR review you’ll see that there are top of the range survival knives that are only 7 inches in length. That’s not that long, and you can keep it strapped to your belt or even in your bag. You will always find yourself in a position where a knife can come in handy, it just makes sense to carry one when you’re out in the wild.

Learn How To Start A Fire Anywhere

You won’t be able to survive out in the wild if you can’t start a fire. Fire is essential for cooking food on and providing warmth. Not only that but if you need to attract attention to get rescued, then a fire is a brilliant thing to use. The obvious tip is to bring a lighter with you, but you might break it or run out of fluid. So, you should learn how to start one naturally using things you find in the wild such as sticks and stones. Alternatively, it makes sense to get your hands on some fire starters that won’t break easily and can be used over and over again. Some places sell things like two metal rods that can be rubbed together to create a spark. Fire is your friend, ensure you can call upon it whenever you want.

Brush Up On Wild Food Knowledge

Naturally, you should bring lots of food and preserves with you whenever you’re venturing out in the wild. The food you bring is designed to last a long time, but things could go wrong. You may end up out there longer than you thought, or you could lose all your stuff in an accident. In which case, you must turn to your surrounding environment for nourishment. It’s vital you know what you can and can’t eat out in the wild. One wrong move and you could poison yourself and die. Brush up your wild food knowledge so you know what you can eat, and stay well-fed as you survive.

These are the main things to think about if you want to survive in the wild. Pay close attention as you never know when it can come in handy.

This article was first published at The Survival Place Blog: Must-Read Advice For Surviving In The Wild

Filed under: Emergency Survival Tips, Prepping, Wilderness Survival Gear

Start A Metalworking Business By Building A Forge

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Many advances in human society and culture occurred as different groups learned how to mine metal ore and turn it into useful tools.

You need farm tools, weapons, or machines to carry out various tasks, so keep on hand what you need for metal working. If you know how build and use a forge, you’ll have a valuable skill to barter, but also a good start for a business that can help you survive nowadays.

There are several ways to build a forge that will meet most of your needs. Aim to build at least one forge and learn how to use it so that you have a better chance of being able to make and repair metal items in the future.

What is a Forge?

At it’s simplest, a forge is not much more than a place where you can heat metals up in order to soften them for further working. If you define a forge as all the things that you will need to heat, shape, and temper the metal, then there are a few more parts to consider.

For the sake of this article, I am defining a forge as the equipment you use to heat metals only.

Every Forge Must Have These Parts

You need to obtain and maintain a specific temperature to make metal items that will be durable and useful. As a result, there are some parts that every forge must have in order to achieve maximum temperature without compromising safety:

  • A place to burn fuel. If the forge is going to use coal, this area might be an open pit or tub lined with fireproof material. Forges that use gas or liquid based fuels may have a cylindrical or square shaped fireproof chamber surrounded by a metal jacket. It should be noted that coal burning forges are better for situations where you need to heat large amounts of metal or produce an unusually large shape such as a sword. Since gas fired forges produce a more even heat and are easier to operate, they are usually better for knives or other small items. That being said, if you are looking to build a highly adaptable forge, coal fired ones will be more suitable for your needs.
  • Fuel Inlet – for simple coal forges, you might simply layer some coal in the bottom of the pit, and when more fuel is needed, simply drop it into the burn area. If you are going to use natural gas or propane, then the fuel might be fed into a central chamber via a pipe and nozzle. In a similar fashion, if you are going to use a liquid fuel form, you will most likely want to pipe it in and be able to control the flow via a nozzle.
  • Air Inlet or Tuyere – since burning fuel requires oxygen, the forge must also have a means for introducing larger amounts of air. This is usually done via a tube or pipe extending into the main burn area.
  • Bellows – in order to reach and maintain higher temperatures, more air needs to get into the burn area in a shorter period of time. Bellows are used to push the air into this area as quickly as possible. Coal burning forges might have the Tuyere located under the burn area, and then a pipe would lead from the bellows so that air comes up from the bottom. Gas burning forges usually have a blower or fan that is used for the same purpose.

Materials in Nature You Can Use to Build a Coal Fired Forge

No matter how experienced you may be as a prepper, there are bound to be things that don’t seem very useful right now that will turn out to be very important later on. A metal forge is one of those items that can easily be left out of your plans, or just as bad, left behind if you have to evacuate.

If you are in a situation where you absolutely need a forge, here are some natural materials you can use to build each part of a coal forge:

  • Burn Pit – a pit or even a hole in the ground can serve as a burn pit. You can line the pit with rocks and small stones so that it retains heat better.
  • Air Inlet – create something like a Dakota Firepit design so that you have an easy way to introduce air into the burn area.
  • Bellows – the simplest form of bellows will only force air into the fire when the handles are compressed. On the other hand, if you are going to forge metal, the supply of air must be steady, yet easy to adjust as your working needs change.

There are two forms of bellows that will be suitable for this task. First, the double-acting bellows is not so different from the simpler form.

You will need animal hide, leather, and other soft material to make the bag and attach the pipe, paddle, piston, valves, and handles. The pipe is a simple hollow tube that you can make from wood, bone, or even sturdy reeds or bamboo. Finally, you can make the paddle, piston, valves, and handles from wood harvested from trees.

The second form of bellows is known as a Fuigo Box Bellows. Unlike the Double Acting Bellows, this form does not require a bag. You can make everything but the sealing from wood.

Video first seen on Cut Marks

How to Make a Gas Fired Coffee Can Forge

As a prepper, I find no end to the usefulness of institution sized, or #10 food cans. From making large bins for storing devices to building stoves, there is truly no end to what these sturdy cans can be repurposed for. In this case, they serve as the beginning material for a forge that you can make knives, spear points, and many other useful items with.

Here are the basic instructions:

  • Start off by making sure the can is clean and dry.
  • Most people do not remove the bottom can lid, however having one end of the can closed limits the amount of room you have for heating metal. I recommend removing the bottom lid so that you can extend the metal past the back. While you may have to move the metal back and forth to keep it heating evenly, it is better than having a forge that is too small for anything larger than a 2 -3 inch item.
  • Next, attach a base to where the bottom of forge will be. It should be big enough and wide enough so that the can will not roll over. Be sure to use fireproof material. The base should also be sturdy enough so that it will no collapse under the weight of the can, the lining, and any other attachments you will be adding to the can. If at all possible, try to make the base wider than the size of the can opening. When you are working with metal in such a cramped area, it is all too easy to bump the metal or the tongs holding it into the sides of the can. If the base is not sturdy enough or tips easily, it can make for a disaster as well as more than a few injuries. While many videos and “how-to” guides show coffee can forges with substantially narrower bases, it is better to be on the safe side and realize that accidents can and will happen, especially when you are in a stressful situation or working with unfamiliar equipment.
  • Take a propane torch and measure the tip of it. You will need a metal pipe that is large enough so that the tip of the torch can fit through it easily.
  • Once you locate a suitable metal pipe, drill a hole in the can to accommodate it. If you removed the bottom lid of the can, it might be best to put the hole near the center of the can so that heat will radiate evenly to the front and back of the can. Attach the pipe to the can. The hole should be in an area where you can easily place the torch into the pipe and not have it or the can tip over. If necessary, add a cinder blocks or something else beneath the base of the can so that the torch tip will be at the right height in relation to to the can.
  • Even though a natural gas or propane flame produces quite a bit of heat, tin cans aren’t very good at retaining heat. Therefore, you will need to line the inside of the can with fireproof material. Plaster of Paris, cement, and even mud will work as insulators. When lining the can with an insulator, do not forget to leave the hole open for the torch inlet. Try not to get insulating material in the pipe used for this purpose.

Video first seen on Andrew W

How to Make a Gas Fired Forge From Natural Materials

It is fair to say that a coal fired forge is easier to make mainly because you don’t have to be overly concerned about constructing a viable fire pit. While you will always have to be concerned about the size of the pit in order to conserve fuel, at least you will not have to spend as much time forming a more robust enclosure.

Overall, I would most recommend using fired clay or adobe to make the enclosure for a gas fired forge. When making the enclosure, do not forget that clay shrinks well over 20% from its original size as it loses water. It is better to make the enclosure a bit bigger so that you don’t wind up starting all over again.

Here are some basic rules for making a clay enclosure that can be fired successfully without the benefits of a modern kiln and all it’s heating controls:

  • As with any other clay construction that must be fired, always avoid making air pockets in the clay. Pay extra attention to joining areas and overlaps where air pockets are likely to form.
  • Don’t forget to poke holes in the clay so that it heats evenly. Since it will be much harder to control the speed at which temperatures change in a field kiln, these holes can reduce the risk of the entire vessel cracking.
  • Always make sure the clay is as dry as possible. While moisture isn’t quite as dangerous as air to a clay object being fired, it can still lead to war page and cracking, especially if some areas are thicker than others.
  • Try to make the clay thickness as even as possible throughout the vessel.

You can also make the enclosure from slabs of stone and then join them together with mud or adobe. It will take less work than making a clay vessel, however, you must choose the rocks carefully. Porous rocks can retain water and air that will cause them to explode when heated. They may also release toxic gases that can kill you or leave you with severe health problems. Learn about which rock types can be heated safely, and make sure you know how to recognize them in any terrain.

At the same time, you can also learn more about which rocks carry metal ores or point to veins of ore. This is especially important if you wind up in a situation where you don’t have much metal to work with, or the metal is of the wrong type for your needs.

How to Find Fuel for the Forge

You can use charcoal in a coal fired forge as long as you have enough air flowing through from the bellows. Even if you do not have coal, you can still turn wood or other materials into charcoal and use them in the forge.

Insofar as natural gas fired forges, try getting natural gas from large compost piles or septic waste systems, but it can be difficult to store this type of gas and also ensure that you remain safe. You’ll also need suitable piping and a valve system so that you can control the gas flow. To make these, you will need softer metal ores, or, you can start out with a coal fired forge to make these items, and then build the gas forge.

While forges aren’t especially complicated in terms of the equipment used, they are vital for building and repairing metal items.

No matter how far back society slides, the path back up to a more modern lifestyle cannot happen without metallurgy skills. At the very least, if you have metal forging skills, you and your descendants will have a better chance of surviving and thriving after a major disaster scenario.

Grab your tools and start practicing your skills!

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

References:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Coffee-Can-Forge/

Hypothermia: Tips Against the Cold

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1_featured_hypothermia_ice

Hypothermia presents one of nature’s greatest dangers. Even just among America’s homeless, thousands die from exposure to the freezing elements. Nobody should face the cold unprepared.

By Alex Coyne, a contributing author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog.com

Here are some of the facts behind hypothermia, and some more about what you can do to handle it.

#1: Defining hypothermia.

2_hypothermiaHypothermia literally means “below heat”, and it’s what happens when the body’s temperature drops below 35°C. This means that your organs will eventually begin shutting down due to the cold. Once tissue starts freezing, what you’re dealing with is frostbite, the nasty cousin of hypothermia. Its opposite is hyperthermia, or what happens when the body overheats.

#2: What is frostbite?

The symptoms of frostbite include loss of feeling and discoloration of the skin: This can be blue, red or white, so keep in mind that any unnatural discoloration is generally a bad sign which can point to issues in circulation. Yes, permanent damage or the loss of limbs and digits becomes a real danger here: Once affected by frostbite, your priority is to warm up the affected areas gradually though as soon as possible.  Think of frostbite like freezer burn.

#3: Just how cold…?

There are several factors involved with contracting hypothermia: Cold, air and exposure time are just some of them. Here’s a handy chart from the US National Weather Service showing the temperature, wind and time related to both hypothermia and frostbite, just in case you were wondering.

#4: Recognizing the symptoms.

2_frozen_hypothermiaHypothermia is classified in three stages: Mild, moderate and severe. The symptoms of hypothermia start off slow with shivering – the body’s natural way of trying to warm itself up – slight nausea, drowsiness and confusion, but can eventually turn to much more severe versions thereof. Apathy and slurred speech eventually sets in, and inevitably the sufferer will tire out, fall asleep and into a deep coma and die.

#5: Alcohol will not help.

Do you know anyone who has a brandy to warm themselves up, usually on a camping trip? In the event of hypothermia, it turns out that’s one of the most dangerous things you could possibly do. Contrary to popular belief – yes, this is complete BS – alcohol will not warm you up. What alcohol really does is dilate the blood vessels, making you only feel warmer while you’re losing most of the heat through your skin. It does more harm than good, so don’t do it.

Related: Ten Ways to Survive the Winter Cold

#6: Preparing beforehand.

The best medicine is prevention. When you’re preparing for a trip (or stocking up your grab-and-go bags), make sure you pack essentials like warm, insulated gloves. It’s also worth investing in proper thermal wear, which can be expensive, but you’ll surely thank yourself if you’re stuck somewhere in the cold. Also prepare by checking out the weather forecast before heading out: Is there any bad weather in the cards?

#7: You can’t, and shouldn’t, work it off.

3_exercise_winterIt’s another common myth that exercise will get rid of hypothermia entirely, so you can just “exercise it out” or “walk it off” and you’ll be fine. Like most myths, there’s more harm than good to this one as hypothermia puts intense strain on the heart. Suddenly exercising can cause your body to shut down if you are already in an advanced state of hypothermia. The same applies to throwing someone with hypothermia into a hot bath (or, for that matter, someone with a fever into a cold one): The resulting stress on the heart can cause a heart attack.

#8: Warming up gradually.

Due to the stress hypothermia places on the body (and the ice crystals that form in the tissue in the case of frostbite), the key to getting rid of either is to warm the patient up gradually, not quickly. Getting them out of wet, cold clothes and covering them with a warm blanket or clothes is step one, and much less dangerous than the common method that certainly might kill someone.

#9: The enemy of cold.

Know how to make a fire even in a cold or ice-covered climate, as it might be the quickest way to avoid getting hypothermia. (Remember: Cold doesn’t always come in the form of ice, and both icy wind and cold water can induce hypothermia just as quickly.) Many campers carry a flask of hot tea or coffee for keeping the cold away in the mornings, and – when possible – it’s highly recommended.

Check Out: Emergency Foods from Wild Plants

#10: Increasing your tolerance for cold.

4_ice_adaptControlled exposure to the cold will eventually increase the body’s tolerance levels if done over a long period of time. This is true for people like Wim Hof, better known as “The Iceman” and the Guinness World Record holder for the longest time immersed in ice – a total of one hour and fifty-two minutes. (That doesn’t sound like too much until you actually try it.) There’s nothing superhuman about it, though: Wim (and many others like him) insist that their abilities are due to practice and practice alone.

Download Smart Thermometer from the Google Play Store, Fingerprint Thermometer from PreApps.com, Free Digital Temperature from the App Store or The Thermometer App and make sure you know just how cold it is outside.

Have you experienced frostbite or hypothermia while hiking, swimming or camping?  Tell us your story in the comments.

How To get Started With Fishing

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Although most of our readers live in the big city, I always recommend spending time outdoors and learning a survival skill or two.  Even if nothing happens, you’ll have a relaxing time, and learn to find food for the family in the outdoors.  Last month, we featured getting started with hunting.  This month, we take a look at fishing as a hobby. How To get Started With Fishing Written by Lisa Summertime is finally here; it’s now time to go […]

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Interview With Kevin From Wilderness Safety Institute

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Interview With Kevin From Wilderness Safety InstituteIn this weeks Survivalist Prepper podcast we had Kevin from Wilderness Safety Institute on to talk about wilderness medicine, EMT skills, water filtration, survival myths and a few other subjects. Because there is so much information that goes into each of these subjects we will probably have Kevin on in the future…watch for that.

Kevin is an instructor at Wilderness Safety Institute where they have courses on wilderness survival skills, basic survival skills, urban survival and first aid. Here is a little from his bio page at WSI…

Kevin has had an avid interest in the outdoors since his father took him fishing at age 3, and has continued to pursue many outdoor activities for over 45 years, such as hiking, camping, fishing, trapping, and hunting.

While serving as a Reconnaissance Specialist in the US Military, he started his diving career, and holds the certifications of DiveMaster and Master Scuba Diver, with over 15 specialties.

For most of his life, he has not only been continually learning, but has used that knowledge about nature and the outdoors to teach others.

Kevin has taught members of Search and Rescue teams, participated in numerous SAR missions, given lectures on diving medicine at university hospitals, volunteered as an EMT and firefighter in his local community, served as an Assistant Scoutmaster with a local Boy Scouts Troop, and actively participates in educational podcasts and videos for EMS providers.

For more about Kevin visit his bio page here.

SPP201 Interview With Kevin From Wilderness Survival Institute

Here are a few notes from the show…

Wilderness medicine: We didn’t talk about medicinal herbs, we talked about how to help yourself when no help is available, and learning the basics. Wilderness medicine could help in many disaster scenarios, not just in the woods. – prevention

The SURVIVAL acronym: In any survival situation, or any critical situation it is important to stay calm and focused. Keeping your wits about you can eliminate unnecessary mistakes. Here is an article I wrote in the past about the S.U.R.V.I.V.A.L. acronym. 

Roughing it at home: Learning survival skills doesn’t mean you need to head out into the woods for a week. learning to do things at home without modern conveniences can show you how things might be, not just how everyone else says it will be.

Learning skills: You don’t need a degree to be survival smart. Taking smaller courses and classes can teach you needed survival skills without becoming an “expert”. Don’t totally depend on YouTube University.

Becoming EMT certified: The cost to become EMT certified depends on your area, in my area it’s about $1,500 and takes a few months. This is something that is well worth the time and money…unfortunately I just don’t have it right now. This is why the smaller basic courses might be a better option.

Quick Clot, good or bad? Avoid the older style granules, but the short answer is good. If you need to stop severe bleeding, you need to stop it. Doctors hate it, because the wound needs to be derided, But when it’s life or death the choice is simple. Here is a QuickClot training link I found that goes over what it is, and how it works.

Why suturing is not a great idea (for most people):  As preppers, we hear all the time about suturing and why it’s a necessary skill. We talked in the show about why it’s not a good idea for most people, and some alternatives like Steri Strips and the Isreali wound closure we talked about a few weeks ago.

Survival show myths: With the magic of editing, these “survival experts” can do just about anything. The truth is that while we can gleen some minor education from these shows, doing something (taking classes) is much better than watching something.

Water filtering education: what will do what – Katadyn Hiker PRO – Katadyn Micropur MP1 Purification Tablets (The only tablet or liquid proven effective against viruses, bacteria, Giardia, and Cryptosporidium in all water conditions) (Water filter link Article)

The Disaster Podcast: Kevin is a recurring guest on the Disaster podcast which is available on iTunes and other podcasting apps. This podcast is great! It goes over disaster situations from a medical perspective.

Training Classes Discount for Members: Kevin is a trainer for a number of survival courses, and if the group is large enough he will travel just about anywhere (in the U.S.) to teach. Kevin has offered a 25% discount for Survivalist Prepper Academy members. If you are interested just send me an email and I’ll get you in touch with Kevin.

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Essential Survival Self Defense Tips

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By The Survival Place Blog

When you’re a survivalist, you have to be ready for any eventuality, and that includes an attack that comes when you’re unarmed. Such a scenario can be completely terrifying, especially if your attacker has a weapon, but if you are prepared, and you know how to defend yourself, chances are you will come out the other side with nothing more than a few scratches and bruises.

Here are some of the most essential self defense tips every survivalist should know about:

Just Fight Dirty

If someone attacks you and you’re unarmed, you don’t have to play by any rules. You should do whatever you can to get yourself out of the situation you’re in. At this website, they recommend going for the groin, eyes, and throat of your attacker, and this is certainly a sensible course of action to take if you are able to. I would also add biting at exposed flesh to that list.

Don’t Fight on the Ground When There are Multiple Attackers

When you’re fighting one on one in sports like wrestling and many martial arts, tackling your opponent to the ground and fighting them there can be a very effective technique, but you should never be tempted to do this when you are facing two or more attackers, because it simply isn’t possible to effectively fight more than one person at a time in this way. Try to stay standing, move around as much as possible and attempt to take the assailants on one at a time.

Find a Weapon

Wherever you are, you should try to find a weapon. Look around you for anything that could be used to incapacitate an attacker, whether that be a broken off tree branch, a knife from your kitchen or boiling water from the stove. You need to find any advantage you can get if you want to be able to fight your way out of the situation you find yourself in.

Distract Your Attacker and Take Control of Their Weapon

If an attacker comes up to you holding a knife or gun and you have no option but to stand your ground and fight, your best course of action is to do whatever you can to distract the assailant, and then remove their weapon from their possession. If they are trying to steal from you, you could do this by dropping your wallet and making a move as they bend to pick it up, but if their motive is to simply do you harm, you will need to think on your feet and perhaps pretend to speak to someone behind them or make a move they weren’t expecting, to distract them effectively.

Lay Low

Of course, sometimes, one of the best things you can do to defend yourself is to keep your presence hidden. If you feel like someone threatening is approaching you, and you are able to move quickly, go hide out behind the trees or in a nearby ditch and wait for the threat to pass.
Have you ever found yourself in a threatening situation? What did you do to successfully defend yourself?

This article was originally published at The Survival Place Blog: Essential Survival Self Defense Tips

Filed under: Emergency Survival Tips

Everyday Carry (EDC) for Preppers: From Head to Toe

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Every Day Carry (EDC) for PreppersWhen we think about everyday carry items we usually think about what we put in our pockets every day. The reason I titled this article “Everyday Carry (EDC) for Preppers From Head to Toe” is because there is much more that goes into EDC items than a flashlight and a pocket knife.

These prepping supplies and EDC supplies are important though. As they say, a carpenter is only as good as his tools. Anyone can go out and buy the best “tools of the trade” but if they don’t know how to use them, the house they build might not look like a house at all.

I will be going over some ideas and supplies for every day carry items in this article, but I wanted to start off by talking about knowledge and skills first. Most of the items we carry everyday are stored in our head, not in our pockets, purse, or wallet.

SPP200 Everyday Carry (EDC) for Preppers

While there are a few supplies listed below, not everything we everyday carry needs to fit in our pockets. These days there is no shortage of options, and no shortage of places to learn about personal safety and security.

Knowledge and Skill

Having these everyday carry supplies is only the first step. We also need to understand how we might use them, and why we might need them. Owning a gun requires safety education, maintenance and understanding when, why, and how you might use it.

While having a pocket knife doesn’t require the skill and training a gun does, we still need to know which one will suit our needs. Wearing a paracord bracelet is pretty pointless if you can’t tie a few different knots. Having a ferro rod if you can’t get a spark is also pointless.

Understanding when, why and how you might use an item will give you a better idea about the everyday carry items you might need. It will also give you a better idea how to handle a situation when those tools and supplies aren’t available.

Operational Security

The best way to handle any dangerous situation that might come is to stay out of it in the first place. Pay attention to what you do that might make you an easy target, and pay attention to what people around you are doing.

It is important to have these everyday carry supplies, but our goal should be to never need to use them. Sometimes the circumstances are unavoidable, and situations like these are why EDC items are so important.

Self Defense

There is no shortage of items you can carry to help you with self-defense. I’ll list a few below, but keep in mind, these tools shouldn’t be an alternative to knowing how to defend yourself, they are tools that might give you better odds.

This doesn’t mean you need to be Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris (wouldn’t that be awesome!) but we should learn as much as we can about basic self-defense. Criminals are cowards and opportunists, so like the saying goes…

“You don’t need to be faster than the bear. You just need to be faster than the person next to you”.

Demonstrating confidence and awareness might make that person wanting to do us harm think twice. If you can get them to think that you are not as easy a target as they thought, they might rethink their plans.

Personal Defense EDC Ideas

On Your Body (Typical EDC)

Typically when we think about everyday carry items we think about what we should put in our pockets everyday. Everyday carry items for preppers should include more than a flashlight, pocket knife and some paracord. Preppers are genius about finding ways to carry survival items, while still remaining the gray man.

Women seem to have the advantage here because a purse can hold more than a wallet. While I’m not opposed to a Fanny Pack or a Murse (Man Purse), I’m just not the type of guy that could pull it off. There are other options though, for both men and women, you just need to think outside the box.

Hats: With a little sewing skill and some ingenuity you could add a few secret compartments in your hat. There are also a couple of options online like this one from WazooSurvivalGear.

Jewelry: There is no shortage of everyday carry items we can wear, rather than put in our pockets. There are all sorts of paracord braclets, bushcraft necklaces, survival watches and more.

Clothes: I love cargo pants because there are so many pockets, but they are a little obvious. ScotteVest makes quite a few clothing options with hidden compartments.

Purse/Pack: If I were to get a “Man Purse” it would probably look something like this. Purses and Go bags give you the ability to carry more than just the basics. Something that looks like a laptop bag probably wouldn’t stick out too much these days.

Wallet: While space is limited in a wallet we should always have some extra cash on hand, and important information. Along with that there are a few other items like a credit card knife or freznel lens that would fit in a wallet.

Shoes: You might not be able to do it with “fancy shoes” but why not use paracord for work boots, hiking boots, or tennis shoes. I use Titan SurvivorCord in my shoes because it has fishing line, waxed jute and a copper wire inside.

Belt: A belt is not just to hold your pants up when your pockets are full. It could be a full on paracord belt like the Preppinstein Designs belt, or just a belt you can attach stuff to like a holster, multi tool or knife.

The EDC Basics

There are quite a few articles about the everyday carry basics, and people love to share what their EDC items include (me as well). Here is a short list of what I think that should include.

Extra Cash: There are many reasons why the grid would go down, and if this happens our money in the bank is useless. How much you carry is up to you, but I suggest at least $20 in small bills.

Pen (And Paper): You never know when you might need to leave information for someone else, or write something down for yourself. Using a pen and paper is easier than carving something into your dashboard.

Cell Phone: These days your cell phone is probably no further than arms reach away, so this might be an easy one. Even if there is no cell service, we might be able to text. We also have important information stored on our phones.

Important Info: Because we have everyone’s phone number in our cell phone, we probably don’t know their actual phone number. Have emergency contact info in your wallet, and also important medical information.

Flashlight: This is one of those “you’ll wish you had it” items. They offer more flexibility than using a lighter, and some can be used as a weapon.

Pocket Knife: Having a cutting tool is important for a number of reasons. You might only use it for opening packages these days, but you’ll be glad you have it in a survival situation.

Multi Tool: If you don’t already have a good multi tool, believe me, you will use it more than you think. You don’t need the best multi tool out there, but don’t go cheap. I have this Leatherman and I love it.

Fire Making: This goes without saying, but having a couple ways to start a fire are must have EDC items. Always carry a Bic lighter on you, and have at least one more option on top of that.

Self Defense: I talked about self defense above, so I won’t go into detail here. Most of the tools listed above can be used for self defense as well. The ability to conceal carry is best for self defense by far.

In Your Automobile

If you define everyday carry by what you can carry in your pockets, items in your car probably don’t make the list. In my opinion they should. We use our automobiles for everything we do, and they are always within walking distance of us.

Our cars also give you more storage space, and act as a staging point depending on which environment we are heading into. These days if you took all of your EDC supplies into a courthouse or airport, you might get the dreaded “domestic terrorist” label. Other situations might afford you the option of carrying more than just the basics.

All of this is why maintaining your automobile is so important. The easiest way of getting from point A to point B is on 4 wheels. If our vehicle breaks down, you will be left with the choice of what to take, and what to leave behind.

Here are a few items you can store in your car, but would be a an inconvenience to carry around with you everywhere you go.

Tools: I try to have all the tools I might need for small repairs in my truck. This includes a 40 piece socket set, screwdrivers, plyers, and some Duct Tape just to name a few.

Even if you don’t know how to use these tools, they are important to have. You might run into a problem that someone else might be able to fix… as long as you have the tools to do it.

Bug Out Bags: You can have the best bug out bag setup in the world, but if it sits at home it is useless. My bug out bag spends far more time on my backseat than on my back, but if I need it, I know it’s there.

Car (Road) Kits: First and foremost make sure you have a car jack, lug wrench, and a spare tire. I have purchased a few used cars in my day, and I’d say 90% of them don’t have a jack or a lug wrench in them.

Along with that, make sure you have an emergency car kit. This car kit here is a great ready to go kit. As preppers we are constantly adding/removing/tailoring our kits, so make sure and add/remove/tailor these kits to fit your needs.

Clothing: Most cars have plenty of storage space, so why not have some extra clothes and blankets in the trunk. Along with clothes you should have gloves, walking shoes, extra socks etc.

Shelter: In my truck I have 2 tarps, 2 survival blankets, duct tape and paracord to make shelter if the need arises. Overkill? possibly. But better safe than sorry I say.

Food & Water: It’s not only important to have a little food and water in your car, it’s also important to check and rotate it every once in a while. Extreme temperature changes can affect certain foods, and water can freeze and expand, causing a big mess when it thaws.

First Aid Supplies: Whether it’s a big emergency or something small, first aid supplies are always important. We use our cars to take us everywhere, and having some first aid supplies might become useful if we become injured, or to help someone else.

Preparedness Supplies at Work

The average person spends 8 hours a day at work, so it only makes sense to have some preparedness supplies there. Where and how you store these supplies depends on your job. Some people have desks, some have lockers, and some are very limited. If you have space available to stash some food, water and other preparedness supplies, why not use it.

To get a better understanding of what preparedness supplies you might need you need to have a good understanding of your surroundings. This means the people around you, the tools available to you, and even knowing the escape routes.

Supplies at Home

Items stored at home aren’t necessarily EDC items, but I want to cover them none the less. We have a tendency of letting our guard down when we get home because it is our “safe place”. This is all well and good, but we need to make sure it truly  is our “safe place”.

Have some defense items stashed around the house and strategically located. Having a baseball bat parked by the front door, a firearm on your hip or a fat can of mace on your nightstand might give you an edge if needed.

Hypothetical Scenario: Lets say someone was holding you hostage in your house (robbing you) and told you to stay seated at the table until they were done. If you had a can of mace taped under that table you might be able to use it when they weren’t expecting it and get away.

Conclusion…

You might be thinking that this goes WAY beyond everyday carry items, but the whole point of this article is to not limit ourselves to what we can put in our pockets. We can have all the supplies in the world, but if they are not readily available, they are useless.

If we take advantage of every opportunity we have, we are less likely to get caught with our pants down in a survival situation…especially if we have a belt.

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Human Body Under Test: How Far Can You Really Go?

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The human body is amazingly adaptable, able to survive in a wide range of conditions, and through suffering a wide range of circumstances.

We’ve all heard of people who have survived being shot in the heart or even in the brain. While those are supposedly impossible situations to survive, some people do survive them. Likewise, people have survived the harshest climate that nature can throw at them, as well as the worst hell that mankind can create.

Many of us don’t know the limits of their body and how strong they are but your body can take a lot more than you think when pushing its limits to survival.

There are some limits to human survival which have been well mapped out. We all know the rule of 3, which defines how long we can live without some of our most basic survival needs. But even then, there are extreme cases where people have done the impossible and survived past those limits.

Then there are a wide range of challenges which are unknowns, as the limit has never been fully mapped out. How long can a person survive without sleep? The longest on record is 11 days, but while the test subject was little more coherent than a vegetable at the end of that time, they were in no risk of dying.

The same can be said for a wide range of athletic achievements. For a long time, it was believed that humans could not beat the four-minute-mile. Then Roger Bannister ran a mile in 3:59:4, back in 1954. Once he did that, others were able to break through that barrier, till today, the fastest mile on record is almost 17 seconds faster than Bannister’s record-breaking time.

This is not uncommon in athletics, as every record broken becomes a new challenge to other athletes. Today’s Olympic athletes can outperform those of a century ago by so far, as to make those in the past look like a bunch of bumbling fools. Yet in their day, each of them was a marvel of human accomplishment.

Every time a new record has been set, either by athletes or by people who survive seemingly impossible situations, scientists are forced to rethink their understanding of the human body’s abilities. Yet just because one person succeeds in surviving a specific situation, that doesn’t mean that all people can.

People fall off of buildings and survive, even buildings as tall as ten stories high. In most cases, falling 100 feet like that would result in death or at least extremely severe injury. But there are always those rare cases of people who survive such a fall, and seem to do so, without serious injury.

In some cases, that can be attributed to the individual being drunk. Drinking to excess causes the muscles to relax, amongst the other effects it has. It also makes the drunk person less aware of their surroundings and what is happening to them. Without that awareness, they can fall off a building and not tense their muscles in expectation to the sudden stop at the bottom. This can actually help them to survive, as a relaxed body will often suffer less injury than a tense one.

But that doesn’t mean that we should all walk around drunk, or that being drunk when falling off a building would ensure our survival. There are many factors in play in any such accident; such as the individual’s physical condition, their health, how they strike the ground, the surface they land on and how their body collapses upon impact.

Then there’s the many differences in individual bodies, as no two people are exactly the same.

Strong muscles not only provide the strength and endurance necessary to perform survival tasks, they also help prevent injury. Many bone and ligament injuries happen simply because of a lack of muscle strength. If muscles are strong enough, they protect the bones as well, acting as a cushion. Fat can’t do that.

All this affects our ability to survive much more than a fall. In any survival situation, these same factors come into play. One person might be able to withstand cold well, while another may do better in the heat. Some can eat foods that might be considered tainted, without suffering any harm, while others have systems which are easily affected by even the slightest thing wrong with their food.

While some of this is beyond our control, there are things which we can do, which will ultimately increase our ability to survive. If one is forced to bug out from their home on foot, both strength and endurance will come into play.

Strength will affect how much they are able to carry with them, while endurance will affect how far they can walk, before they have to stop and take a break. Each has its value, so to concentrate on one, to the exclusion of the other, is not the best training strategy.

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

Explore Your Limits

Before you start training, you need to know where you are right now. What are your body’s limits? What can you withstand? Knowing the generalities of what “most people” can withstand isn’t enough, you need to know what works for you.

Knowing that people can survive living in a temperature range from 40°F to °F to 95°F won’t help you a bit, if you don’t know how your body reacts to heat and cold. So you need to put yourself into circumstances where you are forced to function for a prolonged period of time in those temperatures, and monitor how well you do.

Do you lose strength quickly when it’s hot? Does cold weather make your joints stiffen? How much do you sweat when it’s hot and how much does physical activity affect that?

Your ability to withstand extremes in temperature need to be evaluated over time, as your body will gradually adjust to those extremes.

Explorers who go to the Arctic or Antarctica spend time acclimating to the cold, before starting their explorations. Given time, their bodies adjust, making it possible for them to survive in circumstances where others couldn’t.

Establish Real Life Strength and Endurance Tests

You can test yourself for strength and endurance fairly easily. Just don’t do it at your local gym. While the gym might be great for physical fitness training, it’s an unrealistic environment. Just because you can lift X number of pounds for 20 repetitions, or even 200 repetitions, doesn’t mean that you can wield an axe for three hours, splitting firewood. The effort and movement may seem similar, but it’s not. Weight training really only prepares you for more weight training, it doesn’t prepare you for real-life survival tasks.

Nor can endurance be measured on a stationary bicycle or elliptical machine. While that might give you a comparative evaluation of how you are today, compared to how you were a year ago, it won’t tell you how far you can hike through rugged terrain, carrying a 50 pound pack.

You’ve got to establish realistic tests, based upon real-life survival tasks. If you want to know how well you’ll handle carrying that pack on a bug out, go backpacking in the type of terrain that you expect to pass through while bugging out.

Make your pack as heavy as it would be on that bug out, or even a touch heavier. Dress yourself in the same way, and make sure you have good hiking boots on. Then see how well you do.

The same sort of test can be done for every survival task that you envision having to do. Split a pile of firewood, so you can see how long it will take and how many breaks you’ll need to take before getting done. Check how well your hands survive as well, as you might find them covered with blisters.

Please note here that most people will quit, long before they reach their limits. We tend to stop when we get tired, saying that we’re about to collapse. But in fact, we are far from collapsing; we’re just tired. We just don’t want to do any more.

I remember a time in my military service, when I was at that point, but circumstances forced me to go on. You know something? I did. I went well beyond what I thought were my limits, yet still didn’t reach the point of collapsing.

With your real-life tests in the log book, you can then go to the gym and do comparable tests. Put yourself through a workout, trying to do exercises that simulate your real-life survival tasks.

Record the results of those as well, right alongside the other tests. You can then use your progress in the gym, as an indication of how you might do in the field. It won’t be a perfect comparison, but an improvement in the gym should roughly equal a similar improvement in the field.

Develop Your Training Regimen for Survival

Let’s be honest with ourselves. Most of us aren’t in good enough shape for survival. I know I’m not. Having to hike all day, carrying a heavy pack or needing to split a pile of firewood is probably more than I can do. I’m not as young as I once was and I spend way too much time sitting in front of my computer.

But that doesn’t mean I have to stay that way. Physical training is just training. As such, it’s something that just about anyone can do. All we need is to develop the right sort of training regimen, and then to have the discipline to follow through.

That’s the keyword – discipline. It is the lack of discipline which prevents most of us from exercising. We know we should, we even know how to… but we still don’t do it. We lack the discipline.

“Our limits are mostly mental limits, not physical limits. Once we accept them as such, we should be able to change them.”

You can discipline yourself by simply motivating yourself. What’s your reason to push the limits of your body? To be able to survive, right? That desire to survive should be all the motivation you need. With it, you should be able to push yourself beyond what you think are your limits, finding new limits that you never even knew existed.

A number of years ago, trainers for the Olympic bicycling team tried an experiment with their cyclists. They started out telling them to ride as fast as they can, “sprinting” on the bicycle, if you will. Then, they told them to “follow” a video of someone else riding and stay right with them. Even though the videos were one or two miles per hour faster than their supposed “fastest time,” they were able to keep up.

There’s a secret that we can all use. That is, our limits are mostly mental limits, not physical limits. Once we accept them as such, we should be able to change them, simply by deciding that we can. In other words, starting out at our limit and then adding just a little bit more. By incrementally increasing our limit in this way, we push our body’s ability and find the ability to do more.

Video first seen on Outside

Develop Toughness Too

Physical strength and endurance are important parts of survival. An individual who is in shape, is much more likely to accept and overcome the hardships of survival. Their body will rise to the challenge, putting for the necessary exertion to get through whatever survival problem.

But that body which is in condition will be able to withstand the rigors better, as well. They won’t just be able to do more, but they will suffer less in doing so. Part of that is the physical toughness that goes with being physically in shape.

Fighter of all kinds work to develop toughness, right alongside strength, endurance and agility. What do I mean by that physical toughness? It’s the ability to take the blows, without it affecting you. It’s pretty much impossible to have physical toughness, without physical conditioning. But it is possible to have that physical conditioning, without the toughness to go with it.

Physical toughness is developed by taking blows. Muscles which are hardened by exercise can take those blows, without it doing them harm. This is especially true when the muscles are flexed, hardening them.

If your abdominal muscles are relaxed and someone hits you in the belly, it will hurt. It might even tear some muscle or cause other damage. But if you are given the opportunity to tighten those muscles, before the blow, you will withstand the same blow, without harm. If your abdominal muscles are in shape, you’ll be able to take a much stronger blow, without harm.

But there’s another side of toughness, besides physical toughness, that’s mental toughness. Physical toughness is something that you can train your body to have, while mental toughness is something you must train your mind to have.

Put simply, mental toughness is the ability to push on through and not give up. As I mentioned before, most of us give up before we reach our limit. This doesn’t just apply to endurance, but to everything. Having mental toughness means that we won’t quit, no matter how tired we are, how much we hurt, or how impossible the situation looks.

Probably the greatest experts in mental toughness today are the Navy Seals. Seal training is reported to be the toughest military training there is. But they make it extremely easy to quit. A trainee can quit at any time, no questions asked. There’s a bell just outside the main office, where it can be seen by all, all the way through their training. All they have to do is trot over to that bell and ring it. One clang of the bell and you’re given a warm blanket, a cup of coffee, a donut and a fast trip out of Seal training.

They make it easy to quit, because the Seals are looking for people who aren’t quitters. One of the things that makes them so effective, is that the Seals are made of people who won’t quit, no matter what.

Seals are survivors. They’re people who don’t know how to quit. They’ve got the mental toughness to keep on trying, no matter what. Work on yourself to get yours!

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This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

34 Primitive Survival Skills All Survivalist Should Know

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34 Primitive Survival Skills All Survivalist Should Know Humans have existed for hundreds of thousands of year and our ancestors have moved from places to places to find a home. It is without any doubt that they possess an incredible willpower and a repertoire of survival skills. The latter, unfortunately, was forgotten over the course. …

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Do You Know These 25 Native American Survival skills?

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This article was originally published by Alex Park on survivallife.com

 

It is very easy to forget in our modern times of the internet and instant heat, cooling, food and shelter that people use to live a much simpler and much harder life before the advents of the modern comforts we take for granted every day. The Native Americans are the prime example of how people use to live off the land and survived the threats of nature with basic and cultivated survival tactics.

Native Americans crafted their own survival tools, built their own fires, foraged for their food and hunted their prey all by hand and it is astounding to think how well they were able to survive and thrive based on necessity alone. Would someone like you or me be able to do the same if we were put into such a hostile environment? Probably not but that it is why it is good to be aware of how the Native Americans were so deftly able to sustain themselves in an unforgiving North American wilderness.

The following list will highlight just 25 of some of the more interesting survival tactics commonly used by the tribes of the Native Americans of North America. Let this list be an insight into the lives of these fascinating people, an educational tool for our modern culture, a means of appreciating a society that is so rare and thin today and a reminder that the human spirit and will are much stronger than what we give them credit for.

25. Community –The tribal mindset and lifestyle of the Native Americans of yesteryear plays a huge role into their survival tactics. As you probably are already aware, Native Americans distinguished themselves by tribes. You have probably already heard of the more common and prominent tribes like the Apache, Navajo and Mohican. The sense of community, sharing of resources and wisdom and collective protection between tribesmen cannot be understated when considering how Native Americans were able to survive.

24. Footwear – If you have ever worked a day in your life with an improper pair of shoes then you know how important footwear is to comfort and bodily health. Footwear was integral to Native American survival and moccasins made of tanned leather and sewn together were common in North American tribes. Although designs and cuts differed from tribe to tribe features like rabbit pelt for added warmth and hardened rawhide for increased durability were common attributes of moccosins.

23. The Fox Walk – The fox walk was a method of tracking, traversing and hunting stealthily for Native Americans. This specific style consisting of wearing thin moccasins to feel the ground better, landing on the heel first and rolling your foot down, and traveling in lines to conceal your numbers was used in battle and in hunting.

22. Preserving Meat – Meat got many Native American tribes through harsh winters but there were no preservatives or refrigerators back then. Instead, Native Americans would preserve meat by cutting it into lean strips, eliminating fat and drying it in the sun. This is essentially what we know today as beef jerky. This thin, dried meat can keep for a very long time and was an essential food supply for Native Americans. We put together a guide to preserving meat in the wilderness.

21. Animal Hides – Animal hides were essential to Native American life and key to their survival. By honing a process of tanning and smoking, Native Americans were able to turn raw animal hides into moccasins, clothing and even shelter

20. Natural Observation – Being able to tell what kind of weather was on the horizon was a huge asset for Native Americans and they used the natural signs of the environment to predict weather and to prepare accordingly. They would study the behaviors of animals who have much keener senses for weather than we do and read the clouds.

19. Using Plants – How Native Americans were able to discern the healing powers of certain plants is an unknown but we do know that these practices were handed down from generation to generation so it was probably a case of trial and error. They would use plants, herbs and other life found in nature to heal wounds and treat illnesses.

 

18. Artful Crafting – By turning the crafting of basic survival tools and shelters into works of art, Native Americans were able to make the essentials of life that would stand up to the rigors of their environment. Native Americans took their time to craft tools and shelters thus ensuring their durability and overall quality and helping them survive in harsh conditions.

17. Body Paint – Before hunts, Native American tribes would paint their bodies so that they could blend into the natural scenery as stealth was a very important aspect of survival in those times.

16. Clothing – Proper clothing is essential for anyone to survive in any situation and the Native Americans had their clothing crafting skills down to a science. They used animal hides and smoked leathers to create warm clothing for the cold winters. They also used certain colored clothing for stealth when hunting prey.

15. Camps – The Native Americans often built temporary camps for hunting excursions but they still needed to maintain a certain level of stealth. They would build these camps of earth-toned materials and animal skins and tuck them into the base of foothills or other strategic natural sites so that they would be hard to spot from a distance.

 

14. Blow Guns – These have become something of a novelty in today’s day and age but blow guns were actually used for hunting and in warfare by Native American tribes such as the Cherokee. They would fashion these weapons out of cane or reed. The reed would be hollowed out to a tube wherein a dart would be inserted and propelled by a strong breath towards a target. Blow guns were used primarily to kill small game like birds, rabbits and squirrels and were sometimes tipped with poison extracted from venomous snakes and even Gila Monsters.

13. Deadfalls – Deadfalls are a kind of trap that were used by Native Americans to kill their prey. A heavy rock or log would be elevated by rope or a lever made of wood over a piece of meat or food to entice an animal. The deadfalls usually had a trigger that when the animal touched it, would activate the primitive trap and send the heavy object crashing down on them.

12. Snares – Trapping was one of the main ways that Native Americans caught their food and snares were among the most common types of traps utilized. A snare uses a vine that is tied in a loop and attached to a young sapling that is bent over and is fastened by tying it to a stick driven into the ground. The loop goes around a piece of meat to entice an animal and when the animal puts its head through the loop and tries to make off with the bait, the stick is dislodges and the loop turns into a noose around the prey’s neck and is suspended in the air as the sapling, free of its fastener, springs back into an upright position.

11. Trapping Pits –This is one of the more straightforward survival tactics utilized by the Native Americans. As the name suggests, this trap is simply a dug pit sometimes fitted with spikes at the bottom to kill or bleed the trapped animal. The dug pit would be covered up by branches and earth so that unsuspecting animals would walk over it and fall in.

10. Fishing Weirs – Fish were an indispensible source of food for Native Americans and among the ways that they would catch fish were fishing weirs. Fishing weirs are essentially traps built by rock or wood that would lead fish migrating up or downstream to a corridor built to be narrow and ultimately trap the fish.

9. Spearfishing – Another way the Native Americans caught fish was by spearfishing. There were different methods of spearfishing employed depending on the time of year. In the winter when the lakes would freeze over, a hole was cut into the ice and a lure made of bone was used to entice the fish toward the hole. Then, a spear made of wood for the shaft and copper or bone for the tip punctured the fish.

8. Hunting Tactics – It may seem simple now that we look back but many hunting tactics devised by Native Americans were learned over the generations and used to help them survive. Simple tactics like reading the wind and standing downwind from a target increased the chances for success of a hunt dramatically.

7. Nomadic Practices – Not all Native American tribes stayed in one place. After the Spanish visitors brought horses to the great plains, many tribes such as the Blackfeet, Crow and Comanche adopted a nomadic lifestyle in order to hunt buffalo across the plains all year round. This supplied for them a stable food source and ensured, to a certain degree, survival.

6. Teepees – Of course, there can be no survival without some form of shelter. The Great Plains Native Americans knew this very well and built teepees which are essentially tents. They were commonly made from buffalo hides and long wooden poles.

5. Dedicated Tribe Roles – A lost every aspect of Native American life was spurred by survival. This is even true of the gender roles of the Native Americans. The men were the hunters and to prevent any waste which could mean the difference between life and death in the North American frontier, the women were the cooks. They would prepare the meat that the men brought back immediately so as not to waste a single morsel and ensure that they had plenty of food.

4. Bows – An indelible image that most people have of Native Americans is the bow and arrowwhich was vital for the survival of all tribes in North and South America. Most bows were fashioned out of wood and strengthened with animal tendons. Bow strings were made from animal tendon or yucca and similar natural fibers.

3. Axes – There are certain tools that are as essential now as they were in the days of the Native Americans for survival. Among them are axes. While Native Americans used axes for warfare, they were also used to chop wood that would be used for many different causes and to hunt prey.

2. Water – This may seem a simple and almost thoughtless aspect of survival but the fact of the matter is that if the Native Americans did not have sources of fresh water to draw from, they would have never survived. The plentiful rivers and lakes of the Americas helped sustain the Natives and they regarded water sources with great reverence.

1. Fire – There is no life without food and warmth and fire is number one on the list of 25 essential survival skills that kept Native Americans alive because it provided both. There were many methods of building fires among Native Americans but among the most common were striking stones like pyrites together to create a spark that would be caught be a pile of tinder. The friction caused by rubbing 2 sticks together also generated enough heat to combust tinder. Bow drills and fire pump drills were also common methods of starting fires. These contraptions used string wrapped around a stick and controlled by a bow to generate the heat needed to start a flame.

Though the methods and practices of Native Americans varied from tribe to tribe, the innovation for the sake of survival was universal. They borrowed methods form each other and created ones unique to their tribe. They even borrowed from foreign settlers and visitors. The Native Americans were a group of humans that had to learn how to adapt and we are all the richer and wiser for their survival efforts.

It is hard to separate the survival tactics we employ today from those introduced to us by the Native Americans. Thus, we owe a debt of gratitude to these people who learned how to tame the wild Americas and make them a place hospitable for human life.

Saving our forefathers ways starts with people like you and me actually relearning these skills and putting them to use to live better lives through good times and bad. Our answers on these lost skills comes straight from the source, from old forgotten classic books written by past generations, and from first hand witness accounts from the past few hundred years. Aside from a precious few who have gone out of their way to learn basic survival skills, most of us today would be utterly hopeless if we were plopped in the middle of a forest or jungle and suddenly forced to fend for ourselves using only the resources around us. To our ancient ancestors, we’d appear as helpless as babies. In short, our forefathers lived more simply than most people today are willing to live and that is why they survived with no grocery store, no cheap oil, no cars, no electricity, and no running water. Just like our forefathers used to do, The Lost Ways Book teaches you how you can survive in the worst-case scenario with the minimum resources available. It comes as a step-by-step guide accompanied by pictures and teaches you how to use basic ingredients to make super-food for your loved ones. Watch the video HERE

 

Source : survivallife.com

 

            Check out these related articles :

 

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Spring and Summer Prepping Ideas

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Spring and Summer Prepping IdeasAs spring and summer arrive, everything starts to spring to life, and that should include us. The winter time can lead us to becoming complacent about prepping because there is only so much we can do indoors. You can’t go camping, you can’t grow a garden, and you can’t practice fire starting skills indoors…or you shouldn’t anyway.

This is my most favorite time of the year! The days are getting longer, it is finally warm outside, and it is the pre-season to summer, when we will be prepping up a storm!

Since the weather is warming up, and the days are getting longer, this is the perfect time to get outside and get some work done. It is still too early to plant our garden outside yet, it snowed yesterday morning, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get everything ready to go.

SPP199 Spring and Summer Prepping Ideas

Getting Outside

As the days get longer and warmer, we finally have the chance to get outside and get some work done, so why not take advantage of it. Prepping is about much more than what supplies we have, it’s about skills and being ready for some hard times.

Gardening: There is a lot of prep work that goes into gardening. Now is the perfect time to acclimate yourself to being outside. Get those garden beds ready! Weed, and work the dirt. Get your compost pile in shape, and move some ready compost to your garden.

Camping:  Going camping doesn’t mean heading out to the woods for a week with nothing more than a bug out bag. Camping is a great way to apply all those skills we learned over the winter. it’s also a great way of getting away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, and spend some quality time with the family.

Physical Fitness: Any sort of SHTF event, or disaster scenario is going to require some hard work.Not only that, but the healthier we are now, the less problems we will have is these scenarios. When we are cooped up in the house, it can be tough to stay physically fit, but the summer brings a number of opportunity’s.

Taking your bug out bag for a walk, planting a garden or doing work around the house are all great ways to become “Farmer Strong” as Dale calls it. I know plenty of farmers who could outwork a gym rat every day of the week.

Go For a Hike: With the weather being warmer, this is an excellent time to put your pack on, and go out for a hike. Keep it short at first, and maybe only take the bare necessities the first couple of times you go out. You will build endurance, as well as some muscle.

Walking is an excellent way to get in shape. And by making it fun, and bringing your camera a long to capture some memories along your journey can motivate you to keep going.

Have a Stay-Cation

Instead of spending thousands of dollars on a trip, why not use that money for an improvement around your home? Instead of going to lay on a beach somewhere or traveling to faraway places, I usually take my vacation to get caught up around our home. It’s also fun to sleep in at home, and spend the day moving slowly around home, instead of hurrying up and going somewhere. We also use that time to take shorter day trips to places around us and exploring new places within our own community.

Clean Out the Garage

If your garage is anything like mine, it isn’t just for storing your cars. In fact, our garage is a workshop and a “catchall” for our preparedness supplies. Over time, things get moved around and misplaced. Move that stuff out, go through it, and make sure you are organized.

If you are lucky enough to have a garage, take advantage of the storage space. Hang peg board up, or build some shelves. Do what you can to make the most of the space you have. Over time, you will have more preparedness supplies than you know what to do with…believe me, I know!

Make Important Repairs

If things have been piling up on your “to do” list, now is the time to get those projects done. It doesn’t all have to be done in one weekend, but take advantage of the warmer weather while you can. Instead of overwhelming yourself by trying to get everything done at one time (Lisa) get your list and focus on one task at a time.

Do it right, and do it well. By the end of the summer, hopefully you will have everything checked or crossed off that list. Again, take advantage of the warm weather. It’s much easier to make needed repairs when it’s warm and dry, than it is slopping through mud or a foot of snow.

Neighborhood Get Together

Some of us might be a little leery about putting our selves out there with the neighbors, but it is very important. We should always be mindful of our operational security, but because these people are right outside our front door, it’s important to know who they actually are.

You don’t necessarily need to have a full blown neighborhood BBQ (unless you want to), but anything we can do to get to know who our neighbors really are, not “who we think they are” will give us a better idea about who will be helpful, and who we need to watch out for.

Learning Something New

Again, don’t set out to complete a new task every weekend. Instead think of one thing you really want to do and do it. For me, it is planting a cornfield. That has been something I have always wanted to do, and this summer, I am going to do it! I might also learn how to start a fire the non-traditional way and challenge Dale to a fire starting contest, but the corn field comes first.

Dale is planning on learning to pressure can. We can’t do this indoors because we have a ceramic top stove, so he plans on getting an outdoor propane burner. He is also getting ready to start the “Bushcraft Prepping” course at the Survivalist Prepper Academy.

These are just a few things to think about before summer is in full swing around us. Plan and prepare now for an incredible and productive summer. How about you? What are your plans for the upcoming summer?

Also from the show…

200th Episode Giveaway: To celebrate our 200th episode of the Survivalist Prepper Podcast we are giving away a great compound bow package from Apollo-Tactical along with a couple other prizes. Click here to enter the giveaway.

YouTube Live: Earlier this week Dale and I were on the Learning to be Prepared YouTube channel talking about preparedness. Click here to watch the replay. We mentioned a podcast Dale did in the past with Brian Gittens from the UK. You can listen to that here.

HydroFlo Water Filter Discount: Dale recently did a video on the HydroFlo Jerry Can water filter, and they have also set up a coupon code SP20 for fans of Survivalist Prepper to get a 20% discount. Have a look at their website here.

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SHTF Preparedness: How to Mask Noise and Light Signatures

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By Jeremiah Johnson – Ready Nutrition

This article is an introduction on how to mask the signatures of light and noise that are given off if not controlled.  We are talking primarily about a scenario taking place in the forest, but the techniques can also be applied to an urban setting.  The tougher one of the two to overcome is the noise; however, each poses a challenge that if not handled can lead to a problem when you wish to remain incognito in the field.

How to Diffuse Light in SHTF Environments

First let’s deal with light.  The reason light poses a problem is we need light to see optimally, but in using it at night, the light can be seen by others, giving our position away.  Flashlights and any kind of hand-held lantern, battery powered or otherwise are the main problems here.  There are a few simple ways to cut down on these signatures, and all of them take practice.

  1. No white lenses with movement: you need to obtain a red lens for your flashlight. This will not defeat NVD’s (night vision devices), but it will cut down on being compromised by the unwanted naked eye considerably.
  2. When using the flashlight, cover it up: preferably a poncho over top of yourself and the flashlight, to perform whatever task you need to accomplish when moving at night, such as checking your position on the map, or fooling with equipment of some kind. Keep that light covered.
  3. Adjust your eyes and learn to move in the dark without a flashlight: this will take some practice, and some people may not have the night vision abilities to perform it, especially those with eye problems. For everyone else, practice makes perfect.  Most nights have a little illumination and are not pitch dark (except for the New Moon and a day before and after).
  4. Smokers: you must hide the signature of the end of your cigarette. Through NVD’s it appears to be a flare going off from a distance.  Either cup it within your hands, or inside of an aluminum pouch, such as found with MRE’s (Meal Ready to Eat).  When you light that cigarette you also tend to give off a big signature.  Best thing I can tell you is to quit smoking and really nip it in the bud.  Not to mention the fact that you can smell a cigarette from several hundred feet away.

How to Minimize Noise Levels in Dangerous Situations

Noise is an entirely different animal.  We make noise as we walk.  We can’t help it.

What we can do, however, is control the amount of noise we make…and reduce the amount that would give away our position.  You must practice noise discipline in order to perfect it!  Looking where you walk and where you take your next step is key.  Be keenly observant of where you are moving and through what.  Are you facing a large area covered in dry leaves, with dry weather?  Are there dried branches and twigs strewn all over the place?

How about sticker bushes and nettles in the summertime?  If you’re not crushing them underfoot, how about if one of them whips you across the face?  Unless you are prepared to take the pain of it, you may yell, curse, or cry out.  You should practice moving through all of these different types of substances.  In addition, how about the noise made just as a consequence of your movement?

Many people carry so much stuff, such as keys, change in their pockets, etc., that they mimic a tambourine when they walk.  Let’s not forget our happy, singing, laughing, chirping tracking devices…our cell phones.  Your cell phones: I don’t use one.  You can believe when Uncle Ed tries to reach you or you get a call from Gram-gram, or some other family member, and you’re out in the woods?  The whole world (animal, vegetable, and human) will hear that ringtone.  Clattering gear that is rattling around, the sounds of trampled branches and vegetation, the occasional grunt in fatigue or pain…all of these will give you away.

Any and all of your rattling gear needs to be silenced.  Everything that is loose must be tied down and secured.  This is not just prudent: this is survival.  “What is the situation?” you may ask.

The situation is anything: our happy “Betty Crocker/Holly Hobby” society can change with the blink of an eye into “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy.

Choose the situation.  The situation is unimportant.  What is important here is that you ensure noise and light discipline in order to avoid being obsequious and potentially to evade a pursuer.  Practice walking at night in the woods, and listen to yourself.  When you’re stationary, practice listening to the things that are around you.  If you’re patient and open your eyes, ears, and mind, the woods will come alive for you. Your senses will experience what your normal Western-Consumer marketing environment deadens them to.

Learn to pace yourself by the amount of noise you make and also practice leaving fewer tracks and/or a trail.  Practice negotiating close (thickly-vegetated) terrain and making as little noise as possible.  Skills need practice in order to master them.  Now that the weather is warming up, try some training that won’t cost you anything except time and effort to master these skills.  JJ out!

This information has been made available by Ready NutritionSHTF Preparedness: How to Mask Noise and Light Signatures

About the author:

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

 

Filed under: Emergency Survival Tips, Prepping

15 Ways to Repel Bugs Naturally

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1_featured_bug_repellent_natural

2_tiger-mosquito-mosquito-asian-tigermucke-sting-86722Having a healthy insect population in your garden is a good thing, but when you’re camping you can run into all sorts of things like mosquitoes, flies, spiders, ticks, fleas, ants and mites. If you’re an avid gardener, you might also want to keep the insect population on your lovelies in check. Pesticides and insect repellents can contain harmful ingredients (or you might not have access to them), and you might want to opt for a natural way that doesn’t harm you, your family or the bugs in question.

By Alex Coyne, a contributing author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog.com

Here are some of the most effective ways to repel bugs naturally…

#1: Crushed basil leaves

What’s homemade Italian cooking without some basil? It’s an essential addition to any herb garden – as most chefs will tell you! Fresh, crushed basil leaves placed on a table will keep flies away while you’re eating: This is especially handy for camping trips, picnics or hot days.

#2: A solution of yeast, water and sugar

Yeast is something you should always have in the house. A solution of yeast and sugar – to feed the yeast and attract the bugs – will keep flies away. This is the natural version of the bug-zapper. Just remember to change it out every couple of days – or hours, depending on how huge your fly problem is.

#3: Homemade fly strips

1_fly_bug_repellentThere’s no reason you should have to buy fly strips. (If you’ve ever tried getting one down again without sticking hundreds of fly corpses to yourself, you might not want to buy them again….). Boil some sugar water (or water with a bit of money in it) and add strips of paper. Hang these up, and they will attract flies pretty much just like a fly strip would. Again, change and dispose of these periodically.

Read Also: Oak Trees and Survival Food

#4: Clove essential oil

Flies (and some humans) absolutely hate the scent of clove oil, so if you’re trying to get a handle on a fly problem, get some essential oil to make a spray with and spray in the areas the flies happen to frequent. Keep clove oil as part of your natural arsenal anyway, as it can also be used as a natural and very effective (though temporary) remedy for toothache: If you do not have the oil, bite down on a clove.

#5: Yellow globes

Yellow light naturally repels bugs (including moths and mosquitoes) at night, so if you have an ongoing problem with either, start by changing your lights – and, it should go without saying, getting a mosquito net to go with your bed. They’re cheaper than getting treated for malaria, or, y’know, being buried.

#6: Burning coffee grounds

Used coffee grounds can be burned – over a fire, like you would incense or dried herbs – to get rid of mosquitoes. If you’re a regular camper, it’s likely that you love the smell of coffee by a campfire, so it doesn’t cost you anything to do this as part of your process anyway.

#7: Rose geranium for ticks

Ticks can carry diseases like tick bite fever, and if you’re going to the woods or African bush you’ll want to check your body regularly. Rose geranium, in an essential oil on the skin (or diluted in a spray), is commonly recommended to get rid of ticks. This works on both man and beast, by the way, so it’s even great for your dogs.

#8: Black pepper for ants

1_pepper-pepper-mill-pfefferkorn-pepper-ground-39069Black pepper, sprinkled where you don’t want them to go or diluted in a spray, will keep ants in check and away you’re your food. Of course, don’t leave open food lying around for ants either – get containers that seal (and seal properly). Cayenne pepper works just as well, but you don’t want to get that in your eyes.

#9: Vinegar

Vinegar is commonly recommended as a repellent for spiders: Diluted, spray it if you don’t want to follow the spiders. Apple cider vinegar (again, diluted in water) will also keep away ticks and fleas on both humans and animals. Keep in mind that cats hate the smell of vinegar (and it’s also a cat repellent), so dilute pretty well if you plan on using it on your cats. Internally, it’s given to cats and dogs to treat a bladder infection.

#10: Caffeine for mites

Caffeine is a naturally occurring pesticide, and a weak coffee spray on plants will keep all sorts of pests away, including mites.

#11: Garlic

Garlic keeps away more than just vampires. You can also increase the amount of garlic in your diet to keep away mosquitoes: They really don’t like the smell of it. (If your camping mates don’t either, chewing on some parsley will neutralize the smell of garlic on your breath after some buttery garlic bread.)

Check Out: Protecting Your Soil Over Winter

#12: Mint leaves

3_mintMint leaves, fresh and crushed, in an oil or in a spray will keep away mosquitoes – and a range of other bugs including moths. Catnip is technically family of mint, and much of the same properties that apply to mint apply to catnip. (For those with heart problems, take care when ingesting mint.)

#13: Lavender for moths

Lavender has been recommended for years as a remedy for calm and aiding sleep, but it turns out that dried lavender pouches work just as well for keeping moths out of your clothes. (This tip comes courtesy of Martha Stewart – the queen of homemaking hacks.)

#14: Citronella for mosquitoes

Citronella candles or oil should always be part of your camping kit as a bug repellent. It’s commonly recommended for mosquitoes, and is a great natural replacement for mosquito coils.

#15: Sage

Both sage and rosemary can be burned over a fire to get rid of mosquitoes naturally. (And again, both are great additions to whatever you’ve got cooking on the fire, too!)

What have you used as a natural bug repellent? Use the comments to let us know.

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Easy Guide To Make Activated Carbon At Home

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When the air smells bad, and the water tastes awkward, you know something is wrong with them, and most probably they are polluted.

While many people have traded the safety and cleansing power of activated charcoal for all kinds of poisonous air sprays and dangerous municipal water supplies, activated carbon can save your life now as well as in the future.

You can make activated carbon at home, if you have proper tools and materials. This substance has a lot of uses, and air and water filtration is on top of them as it offers the widest range of protection against a range of chemicals.

Read the following article and learn how to deal with it!

How to Make Activated Carbon

Even though activated carbon is not especially difficult to make, you will still need the right tools and materials. Here are the basic steps:

Step 1 – You will need wood or some other dense plant fiber to burn. Hardwood, coconuts, or just about anything else that is porous and will burn well can be used for this purpose. Make sure the material is as dry as possible before burning it.

Step 2 – Put the material in a pot and cover it. The pot should have some ventilation holes in it, however the flow of oxygen should remain limited.  If you know how to make tinder cloth, then you can use a similar process for making charcoal.

Step 3 – If you have a campfire going, set the pot on the fire. The temperature will have to be hot enough to cause the material within the pot to burn. Your goal is to burn off everything but the carbon. It may take several hours for this process to complete. During that time, you should see smoke and gas escaping from the pot.

Step 4 – Let the charcoal cool, and then rinse it to remove any ash or other debris.

Step 5 – Grind the charcoal into a powder. As you get better at making activated carbon, you can try leaving it in small chunks.  Remember that later on, the charcoal will need to be saturated with a chemical that will increase pore size.

If the chunks are too large, you may not achieve this goal, and the resulting activated carbon will not be as efficient or as effective. Make sure the charcoal from Step 5 (this step)  is completely dry before mixing it with anything else.

Step 6 – Next, you will either need bleach, calcium chloride, or lemon juice to turn the charcoal into activated carbon. Of the three materials, calcium chloride can be made from natural resources as long as you observe some basic safety precautions.

To make calcium chloride, work outdoors or in some other well ventilated area, and wear goggles, safety gloves that are resistant to acids and other chemicals, and other protective gear. Start off with hydrochloric acid (you can obtain this from the stomach of any animal you have hunted and refine it from there) and limestone (your main source of calcium carbonate).

Put the hydrochloric into a glass beaker, but don’t fill more than ¼ of the vessel (some people go as high as half. It is best to start with small amounts until you are more sure of how the chemicals will react to each other). 

Carefully pour calcium carbonate powder into the hydrochloric acid until the solution stops bubbling. Once the reaction is complete, pour the solution through a strainer so that any lumps are removed. Next, you can heat the solution to remove any excess water.  The powder left behind is calcium chloride.

Step 7 – Next, mix the material you choose from step 5, and combine it with 75% water.

Step 8 – Pour enough of the mix from Step 7 into the charcoal so that the charcoal is completely covered.

Step 9 – Let the charcoal sit for 24 hours.

Step 10 – Drain all liquid from the carbon and rinse it to remove any stray chemical left behind.

Step 11 – Remove as much water as possible. The charcoal should be wet without being completely saturated.

Step 12 – Place the charcoal back in the metal pot and let it cook for about 3 hours. If the fire is hot enough to boil water, it will be just the right temperature to finish converting charcoal into activated carbon.

Contaminated water after an emergency can put your family at risk. Protect them now!

How to Use Carbon for Filtration

Air Filtration

Do you ever notice that when you travel to certain areas, the air smells really bad? Do you also notice that this sensation seems to fade after a few days? The air around you is so dirty it is probably making you and your family members very sick even though your nose had adapted to it.

From higher volumes of cars passing to garbage dumps and industrial smokestacks, there are actually very few places left where there is safe, clean air to breathe. Here are just a few contaminants that trigger everything from asthma to increased risk of panic attacks, heart problems, and other diseases:

  • Aside from carbon monoxide, automobiles also release other dangerous chemicals into the air, and some of them are known to trigger asthma and other breathing disorders.
  • Medical waste and rubbish dumps release dangerous chemicals into the air. If you smell something bad in the air when downwind of a dump, then this is the natural gas released by the piles of garbage. The dump may also be releasing all kinds of chemicals created when trash mixes together and new substances begin to form. You can’t tell just how many of these substances cause cancer or other health problems simply because you inhaled the disgusting odor of rotting trash.
  • Factories and power plants also release volatile organic compounds and other chemicals into the air. You may be able to smell some of them, while others are odorless.

If you spend the money and time to build an air quality sensor capable of detecting specific chemicals, you’ll be amazed at how dangerous the air around you really is. It will get much worse after a crisis because of increased numbers of fires and a lack of tools, labor, and resources required to manage dangerous chemicals.

Activated carbon can be used to remove most volatile organic compounds, and many other chemical based contaminants from the air. In fact, if you suffer from chronic medical problems, you might need a pre-fabricated carbon filter attached to a fan or some other source of air flow. Aside from cleaner smelling air, it will ease your health problems.

If you are concerned about gas attacks or other social collapse related scenarios – these kinds of filters will be essential if you plan to stay in your home. While there is much more to prepping for an air quality related disaster, activated carbon filters are a good place to start.

There are a number of furnace filters available that have activated carbon in them. In most cases, these are little more than a liquid solution of activated carbon added to the filter media. You can try experimenting with your own versions to see if you can get a filter that effectively removes odors (and therefore their cause) from the air.

Make Respirators and Gas Masks Using Activated Carbon

Even if you could seal off your home entirely from the outside world, it would not be a feasible option. Gases and bio weapons will easily seep through even the tiniest crack and can be devastating, and there will also be times when you have to leave your location. And if you are away from your bug out location, you’ll need to protect your lungs as much as possible.

These are reasons why making and wearing a viable gas mask or respirator is very important. As with air filters, activated carbon offers the widest range of protection against a range of chemicals.  Considering the rising rate of smog and other air pollutants, activated carbon masks are also very important for improving and maintaining a reasonable level of health. In fact, in many Asian countries, people don’t go outdoors or exercise without wearing an activated carbon mask.

While this is a fairly rare sight in the United States, those who know the truth are doing the exact same thing. If you have asthma or other chronic breathing problems, even a surgical style mask with activated carbon in it can make a big difference.

I have personally noticed a 50% reduction in noxious odors from insecticides, smog, and other fumes when wearing this kind of mask. Others that have tried them notice a 70% or better reduction. While I have not tried the wrap-around designs more common in Asian countries, I suspect they would be more effective because they would seal off the areas where I tend to get the most air leaks.

A surgical style activated carbon mask is better than nothing, however you will need a more robust respirator design for gas attacks and other dangerous situations. You can try making them from soda bottles or purchase one made for this purpose, as you see in the video below.

Video first seen on BlackScoutSurvival.

Just remember to practice breathing with these masks, and they can and do restrict air flow. Also make sure you keep the mask clean and change the cartridges on a regular basis. As good as activated carbon is at filtering out many kinds of chemicals, the pores in it still fill up quickly, hence the need to replace the cartridges often.

You can and should try taking used cartridges apart to see if you can find a way to refill the activated carbon part. Even if you cannot obtain or make the other filter media, at least you may be able to keep this vital part of the mask working for a longer period of time.

Using Activated Carbon for Water Filtration

As a prepper, you may already be giving a lot more thought to water quality than air quality, but activated carbon isn’t only useful for removing the bad taste from water after it has been boiled. That bad taste is an indicator that the water isn’t as clean as you think it is.

Boiling water will kill off bacteria, however it will actually cause an increase in the concentration of heavy metals, pesticides, and even dangerous drugs that have leached into just about every potable water supply at the surface level. While activated carbon will not remove all heavy metals, it is excellent for removing most other dangerous chemicals and drugs.

Typically, filtering water with activated carbon is a lot easier than filtering air. At the simplest, just add some activated carbon to a clean sock and pour the water through it. You can also make your own cartridges and add a pump for larger volumes of water.

Video first seen on MakerBoat.

When designing your own system, don’t forget to make it easy to change the cartridge as well as detect when it needs to be changed. Since many water quality issues reflect in changes in pH, you may want to try building a pH sensor into your system so that you know when to change the filter.

As you can see, making activated carbon isn’t especially difficult.  No matter whether you are concerned about improving your health and lifestyle now, or want to do as well as possible during and after a social collapse, activated carbon should be a household staple.

Even if you get started by simply buying products with activated carbon, it will give you a chance to see how useful it is before you delve into making your own activated carbon exclusively from natural resources. Once you acquire this skill, you will be well on your way to managing a number of emergencies that may not be as high on your priority list as others.

Nevertheless, when the situation demands, at least you will have something on hand to deal with it.

Never worry about having safe water again.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

Are Millennials Ready for SHTF?

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The further we get from the days of the pioneers, the more helpless people become. It’s gotten to where most young people (millennials and generation Z) have no basic survival skills. To them, cooking dinner means putting a frozen entree into the microwave. Many of them have never cooked a meal from scratch in their […]

The post Are Millennials Ready for SHTF? appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

PrepperCon 2017: Why You Can’t Afford To Miss It

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When I am asked by preppers if it should be worth the time and price of admission to attend PrepperCon 2017, based on the standard of change effected due to attending past PrepperCon Expos, my answer is, “You can’t afford not to go.”

So don’t make any other plans, but prepare to attend this big preparedness event on April 21-22, in Salt Lake City, Utah. There is a lot to learn and discover at this preparedness event. You’ll find me there too, with a special Q&A session and you’ll have the opportunity to get your EMP survival question answered.

Read the article below to discover the promotional code you can use for getting discount tickets for the show!

ROI for the Survival Consumer

Just like most of you reading this article, I am a consumer of survival/self-reliance products and services, and my experience as a survival consumer is vast. Over the years, I have developed a simple rule of thumb to judge survival ROI (Return On Investment) for my hard-earned money and time:  Change Effected

Based on my investment, what change was effected? If I read a magazine and make a change or two to my personal survival/self-recovery kit as a result, then it was well worth the price of the magazine and the time it took to read it. If I made more than a couple of changes, then it was a great issue! If I read a magazine and no change is effected, it was a bust.

Whether the investment is a magazine or book, video or TV show, time engaged in social media or attending training, classes or an expo, the same formula holds true. Scaling the model up, as a result of the investment, did my gear, vision, relationships, situational awareness, habits, SOP, knowledge, ability or skills change?

Scaling it up some more, when major changes in vision, philosophy or relationships or trust occur, they can be life-changing. One of my most influential mentors used to say that, “trust is the one thing that changes everything.” I try to use this rule, when I write and provide services too. I ask myself how likely it is that what I am writing or teaching will effect change for my readers or clients in their emergency preparations, and I’m glad that so many of you appreciate it.

Click here to get your discount tickets at PrepperCon 2017!

Use survivopedia promotional code!

Celebrities, Guests & Speakers

A neat thing about this event is that you can just walk right up to celebrities you have seen on TV and strike up a conversation. I have found that the celebrities have been surprisingly accessible. If you are shy, don’t be.

Celebrities are just people, just like you and they share your same interests. You may find that you have more in common that you imagined. If you would like to get to speak to a particular celebrity, author or expert, your best chance is early on Friday while many people will still be at work!

  • Salvador Alvarenga – This remarkable man survived an incredible 438 days at sea. You could read the book or you could meet him, hear his story and ask him questions is person! For those of you who cannot make it, I will be interviewing him for you!
  • Alan Kay – Meet the man you watched win Season 1 of Alone on the History Channel! He is also a long time survival, preparedness and self-defense instructor.
  • Nicole Apelian – Nicole is a favorite of Alone Season 2 fans and completed her doctorate in Sustainability Education with a focus on Cultural Anthropology. Nicole continues to visit the San Bushmen of Southern Africa whom she has worked with for many years to the end of preserving their culture and teaches primitive skills and herbal medicine based on her experiences.
  • David Holladay – For many city dwellers, most of their understanding of primitive survival comes from watching survival reality TV. David is an Expert Survival Instructor who has trained many of the most knowledgeable survival instructors on TV and countless others who are not. He’s also a very down to earth all-around great guy and an immensely talented educator.
  • Dave Wescott – Dave is an Expert Survival Instructor who owned the Boulder Outdoor Survival School and has hosted the nation’s premier primitive skills events for over 30 years. In the primitive skills world, David Holladay and Dave Wescott are living legends, both having worked with best selling author Larry Dean Olsen (Outdoor Survival Skills) based on primitive skills of the Paiute Tribe of Native Americans and helped to preserve these valuable skills.
  • Jeff Anderson – Survival & Modern Combat Instructor
  • Che Bodhi – Survival & Barter Expert
  • Chris Weatherman – Survival Author known as Angery American (Survivalist series of books), Alone
  • Yours Truly – I will be hosting Q&A classes on EMP Survival and covering the event for all of you who can’t make it.
  • A.R. Shaw – Author (The China Pandemic)
  • Kate Morris – Author (The McClane Apocalypse series of books)
  • Annie Berdel – Author (Alpha Farm, The Beginning)
  • Boyd Craven – Author (The World Burns series of books)

For Survivopedia Readers

I am excited to be hosting 2 question and answer sessions on EMP survival for Survivopedia at PrepperCon 2017!

Please come see me and get your EMP survival questions answered at the EMP Q&A with Cache Valley Prepper at PrepperCon 2017 at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy, Utah. Class times will be 4:30-5:20pm on Friday the 21st and 12:30-1:20pm on Saturday the 22nd in Room 300C.

If you miss the class, stop by my table and say, “Hi!” if I’m there or flag me down if I’m running around covering the event and you’ll be among the few who get to put a face with the name : )

Classes/Education

PrepperCon 2017 boasts well over 120 classes, many of them taught by some of the very best instructors on the planet. Don’t confuse them with so many folks to whom survival is largely theoretical. These are typically vetted subject matter experts have actually been there and done that.

So many topics are being covered at this show that whatever your interest and skill level are, you sure to find classes or workshops that you will benefit from. As Expo’s go, this one is very interactive, education-heavy and focused on actually helping you to prepare for emergencies. Here are a few other highlights I find particularly interesting:

  • Record Castaway Survivor on Ocean 438 Days – Ben Hansen & Jose Salvador Alvarenga
  • Celebrity Panel: “Why Learn Primitive Survival Skills to Survive Modern Society?” – Alan Kay, David Holladay, David Wescott, Dr Nicole Apelian
  • Psychology of Survival – Alan Kay, Dr Nicole Apelian
  • Top 10 Lessons Learned from a Real World Disaster – Jeff Anderson
  • EDC/BOB for Individuals and Families – Alan Kay & Dr Nicole Apelian
  • Celebrity Panel: SHTF Talkin’ – Apocalypse Fiction Authors
  • Surviving Catastrophic Events – Simplified Severe Injury Treatment – Ed Hendershot
  • Emergency Childbirth – Raili Bjarnsen
  • Family Survival the Earthquake Tomorrow – Scott Thomas
  • Suturing – Dr David Pruett
  • Emergency Water Storage & Disinfection – Max Gyllensog – Aqua Mira (Max is a water quality engineer with too many certifications to list who has traveled to other countries to set up water treatment in major disasters)
  • Self-Protection – Unarmed, Hand, No Weapon, No Knife with Alan Kay

Products/Vendors

Vendors are the driving force behind any expo and legions of survival vendors competing against each other under the same roof creates a great environment for survival consumers to score show specials. PrepperCon 2017 will showcase some exciting new inventions and product offerings. While it can be fun to window shop online, it is nice to be able to see products with your own eyes, feel the quality, understand the dimensions without a ruler, heft them and have the ability to take them home if you choose. Some of the highlights, innovation and deals I am looking forward to are:

  • Scavenger Six – Multi-caliber Repeating Firearm Unveiled to the World – Tim Ralston
  • Tech Protect – Faraday Bags
  • Survival Medical – Exactly what it sounds like
  • 5.11 Tactical – Tactical Apparel
  • AMP-3 – Amateur Radio Gear & Medical
  • Aquamira Technologies
  • Backwoods Home Magazine – Amazing writers!
  • Zeus Lighters – USB-rechargeable Lighters that don’t use any fuel. Recharge from portable solar/USB battery pack
  • Plan B – Custom Surplus Trucks
  • Dillon Precision – Reloading Equipment

Entertainment Value

PrepperCon 2017 includes attractions for kids and even family members who maybe are not that into the whole survivalist scene. Creativity, entertainment value and fun are areas where PrepperCon stands apart from other survival expos.

The team of preppers who put on the event are enthusiastic about preparedness and have a healthy sense of humor about prepping which gives the event it’s unique personality and some fun family-oriented attractions:

  • PrepperFash Fashion Show
  • Hurricane Simulator – This is really cool!
  • Do You Dare Eat This – with prizes – David & Jill Holladay
  • Utah Search Dogs
  • Food Storage Cook-off with Wise Foods

I expect a lot from this event considering, and you shouldn’t miss it. Did you get your tickets yet?

Remember that knowledge is the only thing that can save you! Will you survive?

Click the banner below to find out!

This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia. 

Decided to survive? Make sure to avoid these common prepping mistakes and pitfalls – Part II

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Image: Decided to survive? Make sure to avoid these common prepping mistakes and pitfalls – Part II

By  – Natural News

(Natural News) Deciding to become a prepper is not an easy decision. There is much involved, and not everyone gives ample consideration to the potential pitfalls and problems you can encounter once you’ve made the decision to become better prepared to face – whatever. A lot of times people just jump in with both feet thinking they know what they’re doing, only to discover some months later that all of their time and effort really hasn’t contributed much to their overall preparedness.

In Part I, we discussed a number of steps beginning and even seasoned preppers should take in order to avoid wasting time and money on a process that really is so important it could actually save your life in an emergency. We talked about not allowing the over-exaggerated 24-hour news cycle to force you into making bad prepping purchases and decisions; guarding against “fake news” that over-excites but does little to actually inform; looking out for scams; overspending on items you don’t really need and prepping for real-life scenarios that you could actually encounter. (RELATED: In plain sight: How to stay hidden during a crisis)

In Part II, we’ll examine additional things to watch for as you evolve in preparations to survive any number of circumstances, including natural- and manmade disasters, economic collapse and political turmoil (H/T Survival Prepper):

Continue reading at Natural News: Decided to survive? Make sure to avoid these common prepping mistakes and pitfalls – Part II

Filed under: How To Prepare, Prepping

Can You Sustain Yourself?

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Image Source: Pexels.com

By The Survival Place Blog

We can’t live without food. It is perhaps the most important skill that anyone with a mind on survival can learn. All your navigation and self-defense skills aren’t going to be of any use when you run out of canned goods and have to rely on your wits to survive. To learn to live in the wild, you need to learn a few tasty skills.

Time for a forage

Foraging for natural foodstuffs is a skill that has mostly died out but it’s part of what got humans this far. If you can’t tell your safe and totally edible morels from your potentially dangerous false morels, it’s time to brush up on your knowledge. Research with the help of foraging apps are a good start, but make sure you cross-reference any info you get with at least one other highly experienced, reputable source. There’s a lot of misinformation on the internet, after all.

The hunt is about more than the thrill

Hunting’s a great pastime, but many people who take part in it realize they’re learning a skill that can be truly handy in a critical situation. Hunting should be more than practiced, however. It should be sustainable. That’s why, above all other techniques, you should consider bow hunting lessons. It’s not enough to learn about how to use them, either. There are lessons in crafting bows and arrows from natural sources that could prove essential when you’re left in the wild.

Image Source: Pexels.com

Find your catch

Hunting’s a great source of meat in a time of survival. However, if you live near a river or a lake then you already have one of your most reliable sources of foods right there. Fishing is a skill that many of us might already know from our childhoods. If you’re out of practice, however, take a trip now and again and try different methods. From traditional rod fishing to fly fishing and even spearfishing. It’s a lot more reliable than hunting when in the wild.

Image Source: Pexels.com

Growing your own

It’s not all about meat, either. Besides foraging, you should work on your skills in growing your own vegetables and herbs. Gardening might not be what most would consider an essential survival skill, but if you learn to grow stock crops like potatoes, then you guarantee yourself a great source of carbs when they might otherwise be scarce.

Image Source: Pexels.com

That vital aqua vitae

The truth is that the human body for go for a surprisingly long time without food. The same can’t be said about water. Water purification tablets are a handy tool to keep in any bug out bag. But you can’t expect to go long periods of isolation and survival without learning how to purify water. Now is the time to start practicing the method of creating your own filters and boiling water. You can even make tea with some of the needles of leaves you might be able to forage.

It’s a good idea to take it slow and practice these skills one at a time. As time goes on and you get more proficient, organize more extended trips out, relying on everything you’ve learned. Don’t be afraid to keep some apps and guides on hand while you start out. It can be dangerous to get it wrong, after all.

Originally published at The Survival Place Blog: Can You Sustain Yourself?

Filed under: Prepping

First Aid and Medical Skills For Preppers

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If you are reading this right now I am still working on this post. I will have it finished shortly…
First Aid and Medical Skills For PreppersWhile food, water and shelter are the 3 most important aspects of prepping, first aid and medical skills for preppers aren’t far behind. There could be times when medical help isn’t available, or even times where we can save some money by treating minor injuries and sickness ourselves.

This article isn’t a list of first aid supplies for preppers, you can find more information than you need with a simple Google search. We even have a couple here and here. This article is more about how to decide which medical supplies you might need.

Just like everything with preparedness, we can’t move on to the “bigger and better” until we take care of the basics. First aid for preppers is not always about bullet wounds and Severed limbs, but that doesn’t mean we can ignore that aspect of it.  USCrow: Advanced Medical Care https://uscrow.org/category/survival-skills/advanced-medical-skills/

SPP197 First Aid and Medical Skills For Preppers

The truth is, there are illnesses and accidents that happen on a daily basis. These minor issues could turn into bigger issues if we don’t know how to treat them. Without refrigeration, foodborne illnesses could become commonplace and diseases like Cholera could rear their ugly head once again.

Most Common Issues

Respiratory, Infection, Diarrhea

Diagnosis & Vital Signs (figure out what your dealing with)

Prevention

Personal Hygiene and Sanitation | hygienic conditions (no clean running water)

Tailor your kit to your needs (Family medical conditions, lifestyle, location)

Training – Learn what you need to learn (In order – A,B,C, not A,D,B,C)

Survival Medicine

(shtf applications will require more than the basics) http://americansurvivor.org/home/survival-medics/

The post First Aid and Medical Skills For Preppers appeared first on Survivalist Prepper.

Ready to survive? Make sure to avoid these common prepping mistakes and pitfalls – Part I

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Image: Ready to survive? Make sure to avoid these common prepping mistakes and pitfalls – Part I

By  – Natural News

(Natural News) Making the decision to become a prepper is not an easy one and, frankly, should not be made in haste. While most people have a natural instinct and will to survive – whether it be a natural disaster, global war or a societal collapse – not everyone is motivated to make the preparations necessary to survive.

It’s easy to see why. Millions live in denial that such events could take place in their lifetimes. Prepping requires a sizeable investment of time and money. Preppers must often alter their lifestyles in order to begin living more simply. Prepping tools must be mastered, medical skills honed, and making the decision to protect yourself and your family with a weapon must be carefully considered and accepted.

But once a person does decide to take on the responsibility, there are a number of common mistakes and pitfalls that await. Everything from paying too much for supplies to purchasing the wrong gear to falling for prepping gimmicks can throw you off your prepping schedule and set you back weeks, months or even years. (RELATED: World’s Ultra-Rich Buying Bug-Out Retreats In Anticipation Of Mass Social Uprising)

With that in mind, let’s go through some of the more common pitfalls of prepping, per the Survivalist Prepper:

Continue reading at Natural News: Ready to survive? Make sure to avoid these common prepping mistakes and pitfalls – Part I

Filed under: How To Prepare, Prepping

The Prepper Learning Curve

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1_featured_prepper_learning_curve

prepare_SWOT-2Often in the process of reading and studying prepper and survival information the terminology can often seem to get confusing.  It is part of the prepper learning process.  For the newbie prepper this can be very confusing until enough knowledge is acquired to sort it all out.  It would be great if somebody would develop a prepping dictionary or encyclopedia, but, as far as I know, there are none yet.  

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

But until then, it is up to each of us to learn to decipher the value of all the prepping material available within this World Wide Web in which we exist.   We must then cull out the information that is much more melodramatic than useful — like much of the mainstream media news.

Initiate the Learning Curve

survival_book_bunker_military_survival_army_sasAs they say, knowledge is power, and if you are just starting down the pathway to becoming a survival prepper, then the road can be long, narrow, rocky, and full of potholes.  Early on, you have to learn to navigate through all the available information portals out there.  There is a ton of useful, practical, and insightful knowledge to acquire.  This is required to achieve a full understanding of what needs to be learned about prepping and survival.  It is the first step among many, many more in this long journey you have decided to undertake.  

Survival information is available from many sources.  All you have to do is glance down the bookshelves at a well-stocked bookstore to see what is already available in print.  The subjects vary widely from philosophical discussions to skills books, to hard core how-to books on every possible topic related to surviving.  Building a good, thorough library of survival topic books will return back many times the value of the investment.  

Consider too, many of the government and specifically military training manuals on many subjects commonly taught to members of the armed services.  Generally speaking, the basic training manuals offer top quality information, though some of it may be somewhat dated in comparison to today’s technologies.   However, basic survival information changes little in terms of skills development.  How to build a camping fire or survival shelter does not change much.  All of these basic essential prepping skills need to be learned though.  

A ton of survival information is also available through instructional videos, and CDs.  You can find out how to do about anything in the world by searching Youtube sources for presentations and backyard craftsmen doing this or that.  Live seminars and demonstrations at outdoor stores, craft fairs, and educational institutions should also be researched and attended.  

Of course, the Internet is jam packed with survival sites that present unending quantities of prepper information as well.  To get started down this route to open these doors, just perform a Google search on any number of survival or prepper related subject topics.  Your computer will subsequently explode.  

survival_book_bunker_woodlore_wisdom_game_processingYou will uncover more information sources than you can likely handle at least in the short term.  Find a few sites that look credible then check them out over an extended period to see if the information is accurate and reliable.  Try out their suggestions to see if they in work.  Then, continue to search even more topics to build your own “favorites” lists.  In this way you more or less create your own survival-prepper library.  But remember these sources are contingent upon the power grid remaining intact.  So, retain many hard copies.  

Sources of Reliable Prepper Info

fullsizerender_7Over time you begin to catalog a number of source resources that you will tend to count on.  Lock down these sites, manuals or books for continued reference.  While a published source like a book may become rather static, web sites are constantly changing and presenting new and updated information, news flashes, fresh political insights, and other pertinent data and resource information.  Knowing trends in political action, social unrest, and even changing weather patterns can yield valuable updates.  

Likewise you somehow came to land on our web sites of Survival Cache and SHTF Blog.  We’re certainly confident that the information found on our sites is fully researched and as accurate as the information available to us.  We also put out a lot of inquiry information seeking reader input, because we are not the sole sources of all survival information nor do we possess the end all experiences of everything survivalist.  We value your feedback, too.  That is what makes our sites even more valuable to ramp up preppers and to veteran survival enthusiasts alike.  

shtf_survival_cache_shtfblog_windham_weaponry_308_ar10_r18fsfsm-308_aimpoint_comp_ml3_outdoors_midwest_industriesLikewise our product reviews come from firsthand experience.  That does not always mean we hiked to the heights of the Himalayas to test a pair of socks, but our site writers spend considerable time in the fields and woods of the world actually working with the gear and equipment we comment on.  If something is no good, we say so, or otherwise you would never see the item reviewed here.  We try our best to protect and advise our readership.  

We also present thought provoking articles on a wide variety of subjects, often controversial and sometimes highly opinionated.  We approach theoretical topics, speculations, the psychology and politics of prepping and SHTF survival.  These are all parts of the complex prepping puzzle.  

As with any source of information though, it is your responsibility to wade through the swamp without getting snake bitten.  The best approach is to trust, but verify.  Don’t take anything you read at face value until you cross reference it with other sources just to be certain.  I mean your survival and life may well depend on it.  

The Magazine Rack Sources

book_shelfThe next time you have time at a well-stocked bookstore or even the grocery store, cruise by the magazine rack.  It is in vogue these days for a variety of media sources to be producing slick magazines covering all kinds of approaches to survival, preparedness, survival weapons and all the related subjects.  Make certain such publications fit your needs.  Many of them seem to take on an almost mercenary approach to survival, not the usual tone for everyday types of SHTF the common person faces.  You be the judge.  

Take from such sources what information you can use, especially presentations on products.  If you can afford $500 pocket knives and $6,000 survival bang-bangs, good for you.  Maybe you have an extra $150,000 for a converted military vehicle made into a doomsday escape ride.  In contrast though, look for practical products, reasonably priced that could be a real useful tool to add to your gear list or BOB.  

Whatever sources you purview, be certain to “vet” them like congress does a new Supreme Court nominee.  Do not take for granted that any particular source is valid, much less the information they present.  Check for credentials, biographies, backgrounds, and experiences.  

Remember, too, that every experienced prepper source offering information, skills explanations, or how-to instructions does not have to come from a Navy Seal, Delta Force, Black Ops, or trained by yet any other cloak and dagger outfit.  By contrast, I have learned a lot of things from Boy Scouts, and years of plain old realistic experiences while camping or hunting.  

The prepper learning curve never flattens out regardless of time or experience.  It is indeed a lifelong learning process.  But to ride to the end of the tunnel, you have to jump on the train.  Consume all the information you can, study it, test it, practice it, and live it.  Then if a real SHTF situation arises, you will be at your prep best to survive it.  Trust me, the enlightenment is worth the travel.

 

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(Free) New US Air Force SERE Manual

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The new Survival Evasion Resistance Escape (SERE) Operations Manual is available free online and it’s actually pretty great. It’s a rather large file so rather than opening it with the browser I suggest to right click and directly download the PDF.

AF Handbook 10-644 SERE 21 March 2017

The USAF survival manual has always been a solid survival literature staple, often used as reference or downright plagiarized by more than a few survival manuals out there. This latest version is packed full of good updated info.

Keep a copy in your PC, you phone and flash drive, heck, take the time and print a hard copy of it as well.

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

 

 

8 Basic Skills You Need To Master Before The SHTF

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You don’t have to be an expert at every survival skill to survive a disaster–very few people have mastered all the skills. However, there are a handful of skills that everyone will need in a true SHTF scenario, especially if they’re on their own. In this article from Modern Survival Online, Ryan explains what he […]

The post 8 Basic Skills You Need To Master Before The SHTF appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

How to Get Started with Hunting

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A lot of survival sites advise “learn how to hunt for food” in the event of a collapse.  Indeed, in Venezuela, where there is widespread hunger, desperate people are killing animals that are not normally considered as food.  However, unless you have a family that hunts, many city dwellers would not know the first thing about hunting.  I thought it would be interesting to find out how do you get started with hunting for readers who are curious about what’s […]

The post How to Get Started with Hunting appeared first on Apartment Prepper.

Veteran Seeking a Happy Community

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Hi I’m 31 white male Army veteran, medically discharged, and have been traveling around tent camping and living off grid much as I can on free forests I run into. As a veteran,I know primitive survival skills from native Americans and know how to train people for this as well. I know how to build shelters, fences anything with wood with axes or saws. I can garden, know plants that you can eat or use for medicinal uses. Just looking to stay at a place long term like permanent and be a happy off grid community. I’m a hippie very peaceful, drama free and very loving guy. Hit me up if you want to know more about me or have a place I can help join you all out. 

The post Veteran Seeking a Happy Community appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

34 Primitive Survival Skills All Survivalists Should Know

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This article was shared with us by Colin, freelance writer and editor at Basis Gear Maybe you’ve got a few tricks up your sleeve when it comes to outdoor survival, or perhaps you are searching for some? In any case, it goes without saying that as an earth-dweller, surviving outdoors is a matter of extreme importance. When it comes down to this, preparation is everything. How should you prepare? By taking into account the variety of skills and information essential […]

The post 34 Primitive Survival Skills All Survivalists Should Know appeared first on Apartment Prepper.

The Stranger In the Woods

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hike_march_bug_outHave you ever wondered what it would be like if you had to bug out by yourself and live alone? Or what it would be like after TEOTWAWKI living by yourself? I approached Michael Finkel’s book, “The Stranger In The Woods,” with curiosity on several levels.  First, the events described take place less than forty-five minutes from where I live, and second, I’ve often wondered what it would be like to just walk away from it all and go live in the woods.

By Jarhead Survivor, a Contributing Author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

Have you ever gone for a hike or an extended camping trip and wondered to yourself, “What would happen if I just kept going? What if I didn’t go back?”  I read the book hoping for some insight and think I found an answer, or at least a partial answer.

In case you haven’t heard the curious tale of the “The North Pond Hermit“, in 1986 Christopher Knight drove his car into the Maine woods as far as he could, threw the keys on the dash, and walked away.  Over the course of several months he worked his way through the forest staying in one place or another, until he found a good sport for his camp near North Pond in Rome, Maine.  He didn’t want to be a part of society and distanced himself from human contact, but a hermit’s gotta eat, so he started breaking into places to get food.

For the next twenty-six years he lived in his little camp, near people, but never communicating with them.  Anything he needed he stole; food, clothes, a small radio, battery operated tv, sleeping bags, tent, etc.  He wasn’t proud of this and when he was finally caught he readily admitted to stealing and said how sorry he was that he had to do it.  He never lit a fire and was careful never to travel after the snow fell so that he would never leave tracks by which he might be discovered.

Finkel has done an impressive amount of research on being alone and looks at both voluntary isolation (monks, hermits, etc,) and involuntary isolation (prisoners, prisoner of war, castaways, and the like).  It was found that after ten days being alone was enough to cause nearly physical suffering in people who aren’t voluntary hermits.  Prisoners said that being alone was enough to cause great suffering and they’d rather have been with someone they didn’t like than be alone.

As to Chris Knight, legends grew up around him.  His image was caught once or twice on trail cams and he actually ran into a hiker once by accident.  This was the only time he spoke to another human being in 26 years.  He said, “Hi,” avoided contact and kept walking.  The guy barely paid him any attention and kept going.

Alone

Regardless of whether you think he’s a thief and it’s about time he got caught, or a legend who lived off what society had to offer without being a part of it, the fact remains that he spent a bunch of time by himself.

cabin_aspens_bug_outI like to get away sometimes and spend a little time to myself; who doesn’t?  But Christopher took that feeling to a whole new level.  Most “normal” people need social interaction, which is why solitary confinement is such a powerful form of torture for most people.  But Chris didn’t.  Indeed, he thrived on being alone and when he was in jail suffered greatly because he didn’t like being around other people.

Over the years, I think about the longest stretch I ever did by myself was around a week.  That’s quite a long time to go without human interaction and I admit I was ready for some company at the end of that camping trip.  It’s nice to be alone, but if you’re wired the way most people are (I hesitate to use the word “normal” here,) then after a few days you’re looking for human interaction.

People are different depending on their genetics and upbringing.  I’ve known people who couldn’t stand being alone for more than an hour at a time.  Literally!  I’ve also known people who could disappear from society and probably would be fine only talking to other humans once a month.

Check Out: Fortifying Your Home

But twenty-six years?  That’s a new record and an astonishingly long time to be by yourself.  Finkel explores the fact that Knight might have a form of Asperger’s disease, or maybe a form of schizophrenia.  Regardless, Knight showed an extreme resilience to being on his own for a long time.

In the end you’ll get caught if you’re breaking the law and that’s what happened to Chris Knight.  A game warden set up one of Chris’ favorite spots with some new high-tech surveillance equipment and caught him red handed.  Knight was taken to jail and shortly after that the story broke about the “North Pond Hermit” and he rose to fame, although he didn’t want anything to do with it.

He did answer Finkel’s letter however, which is how the story came to be written.  Finkel strives to keep the story straight and without sensation, which I welcomed instead of the typical story that could have really gone wild about Chris’ exploits.

Chris showed himself to be an intelligent guy with little or no patience for societal niceties.  Over the years I’ve known a couple of guys like this; those who don’t care about how you feel, or maybe they do, but don’t know how to “be nice” when talking to someone.   He told Finkel straight up he didn’t want to be visited and that he was being a pain, but Michael – in the true sense of the press – didn’t give up.  Eventually Chris talked with him and shared his story.

Answers

Camp trailerI said earlier that I think the author found a partial answer to how I would feel in the wilderness for long stretches by myself.  Having spent a little time alone I think I’d be ok for  a month or two, but to go twenty-six years is beyond comprehension.  Unless I was stranded on an island somewhere by myself I think I’d want some company.  Tom Hanks character in Castaway needed companionship even if it was in the form of an imaginary friend, “Wilson.”  (Remember Wilson?)

Read Also: The Best of Survival Fiction

I think it’s safe to say that to voluntarily be alone for twenty-six years is an extraordinary feat probably brought on by some personality trait 99.9% of the population doesn’t have.  Like me, I’m sure many of you day-dream about the idea of walking off the grid and living “out there” by yourself for long periods of time, but the reality is that you need money to survive, even if just a little, otherwise you’ll be doing the same thing Chris did and stealing in order to survive.

In my opinion Chris isn’t someone to be emulated because even though he appears to be reasonably intelligent, he couldn’t seem to come up with a way to live off the grid without breaking the law.  His ability to be alone is admirable to those who find that a positive trait, but in the end he should have approached the whole thing keeping in mind that just because you don’t like society doesn’t mean you can break the law and get away with it forever.

Has anybody else out there read the book?  If so, I’d love to hear your views! Questions?  Comments? Sound off below!

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The Government Knows Something We Don’t

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By The Survival Place Blog

After some digging around the political archives, we have discovered that almost all governments have some form of strategy for surviving a zombie apocalypse. Now they clearly know something we don’t, what with all of their intelligence agencies and secret sources, and that means we have to seriously consider how we would survive a sudden – and unprecedented – rise of the dead.

But don’t worry, we’re not going to be selfish with this one because, should the day come where a zombie plague spreads like wildfire – we’re going to need to civilization to stand tall. As such, we have come up with a list of equipment you’ll need if you’re planning on being around to see the new world.

 

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Food & Water

Sustenance is going to be your best friend here. When a zombie apocalypse happens, you’re going to need to get used to life on the road for a while. That is where food and water come in. As long as you are able to look after your body, you will be able to outrun a herd of zombies. As such, make sure you know where fresh water supplies are before heading anywhere, make sure you know how to store it properly and make sure you have plenty of non-perishable foods with you. Zombies don’t die unless killed, so stock up as good as possible because the waiting game is not an option.

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First Aid

Unfortunately, your current first aid kit will need to be seriously ramped up in order to meet the demands of a zombie outbreak. The reason for this is, the injuries are likely to be more severe. As such, it is important you have certain things like bandages, possibly a casting kit, a defibrillator, oxygen masks and morphine, as well as the more regular things like plasters and insect repellent.

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Get Yourself A Vehicle

Of course, the more multi-purpose your vehicle is because, well, roads won’t always be an option. As is often the case, roads tend to fall prey to blockades, or even a hoard of zombies. As such, you will need a vehicle that is capable of going off-road, and capable of carrying multiple people and things. That is where an RV will come in handy. It will give you somewhere to sleep, as well as somewhere to store bigger pieces of equipment, such as an inflatable fishing boat, which would not only serve as a secondary getaway vehicle but grant you a source of protein. A place to call home that will allow you to keep moving, and keep scavenging, will help as much with your sanity as it will with your survival.

Image Source: Pixabay.com

Load Up and Load Out

You’re going to need a gun, and the more guns you have the better. It is as simple as that. As a standard piece of equipment, we suggest you have a handgun and holster. It may not be your first choice in a weapon, but it doesn’t hurt to have an easy to access a good backup option. After that, we suggest you get your hands on a shotgun, simply because ammunition is easy to come by. But, as a rule, don’t turn your nose up at anything, especially not a sniper rifle.

Originally published at The Survival Place Blog: The Government Knows Something We Don’t

Filed under: How To Prepare, Prepping

Secure This House

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1_secure_this_house_featured

2_secure_this_houseConsider any house, any house at random, or own your house.  You’ve decided, for a whole host of practical and realistic reasons, that if and when a significant SHTF occurs, a Bug In is your best option.  After all, this is your home.  You’ve lived there for years in relative comfort.  You know every inch of it.  You know your neighbors, well, at least by sight anyway, or you should.  

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

For years you have worked on a prepping plan that hopefully would allow you and your family to survive at a fairly decent level of comfort during any SHTF or disaster aside from one that completely destroys your residence.  This plan did not come easy or without some discomfort or sacrifice especially financially.  You are convinced though, you made the right choices so far and for the most part your family is on board, though their doubts may linger.

Related: Fortifying Your Home

Your survival stocks of essential goods include food, water, medical, sanitary, and the basic gear to get by.   All the same stuff that would be in a Bug Out Bag is at the house in storage containers and safe boxes.  Oh, you did a BOB just in case, too.  You think you have all your bases covered.  

Still you fine tune and home, but feel pretty confident you can withstand a SHTF, at least for a good while.  But, what else?  Maybe other fears continue to haunt you?

A Man’s Home is his Castle

3_secure_this_houseHow secure is your house after all?  Could it be breached, easily or with considerable effort?  How much detailing have you put into making your physical residence as break in proof as possible once a SHTF siren goes off?  Eventually, count on people milling around investigating who is home, what is easy to take, or how to get inside your house. Recall the movie Purge?  Yeah, I know, its Hollywood, but the scenario portrayed is none the less pretty scary.  That house was secure, or so they thought.  They had steel shutters that closed and locked electronically over every window and door entry.  Their “lock down” for the Purge was over the top.  Well, I know the system was unlocked from the inside for the movie plot to play out, but the purge pranksters (neighbors by the way) were able to attach chains to the front door and jerk off all the security armament they had in place.  Just saying.  

So, let’s play a game, one that could save your life.  It’s actually fun.  You can do it yourself, with family, or perhaps a prepper teammate or somebody else you know that is prepping like you are.  Exchange the favor to help each other out.  

Being the devil’s advocate is always fun.  Take a legal pad and a red pen.  Walk around your house from the outside noting every weakness you can find that could be exploited by somebody wanting to break into your house during dire circumstances like a SHTF.  

Now, this analysis helps, too, in cases of pure crime like breaking and entering, or robbery, but now we’re talking a full bore SHTF where people are thirsty, hungry, in need of help, or just want to take what you have and kill you in the process.  This could and does happen during real survival disaster situations.  

Repel from the Outside

4_secure_this_houseThe more hardened you can make your house during a SHTF, the more likely you are to repel unwanted advances or threats to your security.  During your walk around take note of these usual weaknesses.  All entry points, doors, windows, garage, patio, fireplace chimney, roof, attic vent outside access points, any place or weak spot that could be opened, pried open, cut into, hacked into, or where an otherwise forced upon entry could be made.  

How protected or locked down, sealed from outside tampering are your utility connections including electricity, natural gas, and water?  This might also include sewer and certainly an external power generator.  These could be cut off in order to force you out of the house.  During a SHTF, devise some way to add extra security to these key resources.  

It is common during hurricanes for residents and business people to cover their doors and windows with heavy duty plywood for protection.  Perhaps such “shutters” could be custom made for your house and stored in the garage.  Special break proof glass could be installed in windows, but the cost factors may well be out of reason.  Seek other options.  

All normal entry points should be double secured with multiple locking systems particularly hardened physical dead bolts and slide locks, not just electronic locks.  Replace exterior wooden doors with steel doors with minimal windows.  A viewing port though would be valuable.  Garage doors should be hardened too, with inside slide locks or lock jams.  

As you do the security analysis of your home from the outside, just ask yourself, “If I could get into this door or that window, or drop a fire cocktail down an open chimney top, then so could anybody else intent on breaking in as well or indeed forcing an evacuation.”

Defend from the Inside

6_The_outlaw_josey_walesIn the movie The Outlaw Josey WalesI always liked those window shutters the old adobe house had so that gun barrels could be moved in a “T” fashion or like a cross port, both up and down, and right or left.  Any defender inside the house could see out of those slits, but also see well enough to shoot out of them.  Outsiders found it hard to target these shutter openings.  I wonder if SHTF shutters could be fashioned like those designed to secure a door or window but still allow them to be shot out of.  Something to ponder I guess.  The point being, if you Bug In and your house is more or less on a security lock down, you may still have to defend your positions from inside the house, aka The Alamo.  Sounds easy, but much more difficult to deploy with doors and windows shut.  Even shooting out an open door or cracked open window can be problematic if not practiced.   This is a training drill you will need to practice.  Do not fail to consider defense of all sides of your house.  

If you live in a two-story house, then the second floor could offer a defensive advantage being able to oversee advancement threats below.  There may also be ways to deploy roofline defenses from the rear of the house.  If your house has dormers with windows, these may be defensive positions as well.  All the possibilities need to be explored.  

Check Out: Handling an Active Shooter Situation

Regardless, you will need plans for defending multiple points of potential attack on your residence.  Hopefully you have other adults or responsible youth that can help out, too.  They will need training, weapons, ammo, and gear of their own or a shared arsenal with ample back up supplies.  

Securing your Bug In residence takes on considerable complications.  Defending it requires even more planning, preparation, practice and execution.  Of course your intent is to survive a SHTF, whatever it is, so step up your prepping plan a few more notches beyond sustenance basics.  There will likely be the opportunity to test it out eventually.  

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Grand Canyon Survival Story: Student Stayed Alive. Could You?

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On March 12, 2017, Amber Van Hecke ran out of gas in the Havasupai Reservation while leaving the southern rim of the Grand Canyon. The twenty-four year old college student was there hiking for spring break when her vacation turned deadly. Thanks to her own resourcefulness and preparedness, she lived to tell the tale.

So, what can we learn from Amber’s experience? We found 8 survival lessons to learn from her adventure, and we’ll take them one by one in the following article.

When Hiking Goes Bad

First, I’ll bring you up to speed on what happened, then we’ll get to that part.

Video first seen on ABC News.

Amber’s problem started when she plugged Havasu Falls Trail Head into Google Maps and followed the directions, just like the rest of us probably would. She only had 70 miles of fuel left until empty, not counting the reserves (so she thought) in her tank and decided to roll the dice because, according to Maps, it was only a 40-mile drive to the next main road.

She took a right turn when it told her to, even though her gut told her that it was too early. She found herself on what she calls a “ratchet dirt road” and followed it for 35 miles before her GPS told her to take a right onto a road that didn’t exist. Being a person fairly experienced with backroads, and considering the horrible road she was already on, she thought that maybe part of the road had eroded, so she took the turn, hoping to run into the remaining section of the road shortly.

Instead of finding a road, she ran straight into a fence. Amber admits she panicked a bit and drove around trying to find the road when she should have just stayed put. By then it was getting dark and she was down to zero miles to empty, and her reserves were empty, too. She found the nearest man-made structure and decided to wait til morning to decide what to do.

She certainly didn’t lack creativity or motivation, and she had food and water because she was planning a hike. She actually had extra, as any good prepper or trail-savvy person does.

This is when her 5-day period of waiting began. She had no cell signal, so she made an SOS sign from rocks that were about 4’x10’. That didn’t work, so she spelled out “HELP,” again using rocks, but this time she went big – her letters were 20-30 feet tall. She tried getting help using a signal fire, but because she was stuck in an extremely dry area, the wood burned too clean to create smoke.

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

After a truck drove right by her before she could flag him down, she barricaded the road (which was brilliant, actually, just in case). She had a flashing headlamp in her truck that she turned on at night, to no avail. Finally, after 5 days, she decided to take matters into her own hands and took off walking in an attempt to find a cell signal. Fortunately, she didn’t kill the battery in her car, so she was able to charge her phone.

She was smart about it, though. She left a detailed note with her vehicle, and she marked her trail. It said: “I started following the road EAST to see if I can get a cellphone signal. I am marking my way with white sports tape. If you read this, please come help me!”

After she’d walked 11 miles east of her vehicle and tried a whopping 76 times to get a call out she did manage to find a weak signal and contacted the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office. Her call dropped 49 seconds into the call and she couldn’t get another call out, so she just had to hope that they’d managed to locate her before the call dropped.

She walked almost all the way back to her car, but the helicopter did find her after searching with the limited information that they had. They spotted the glint off of her car and the help sign that she’d made. They also found her note and followed the direction that she said she’d gone in order to find her, and they succeeded.

Because she’d had a stockpile of water and food, she was in good shape when they found her. She rationed it because she didn’t know how long it would take, and she made ramen noodles on her dashboard.

8 Survival Lessons to Learn from Amber’s Story

With little to no injury, Amber survived because she was prepared and knew what to do in an emergency. Did she make mistakes? Yes, but don’t we all?

Just for those of you who need to know it:

Stranded with no way out =/= camping regardless of how well I prepared with my supplies.
I had a compass and I am fantastic at reading maps but I made the mistake of not bringing one this time.
Almost everyone has run out of gas at some point, mine just happened to be supremely inconvenient.
It was not a matter of simply turning around since I wasn’t aware how to get out and I was legitimately lost.

So, yes, I made silly mistakes. However, I also maintained composure when I found myself in an unfortunate situation…

Amber Van Hecke Facebook Page

Let’s look at what we can learn from her experience.

Don’t Depend Solely on Technology

Her gut told her she was turning too soon, and had she heeded that instead of doing what many of us are trained to do – trust that technology knows more than we do – she may have found her way and her story wouldn’t have been more than another leg of her travel plans.

Don’t Cut it Close on Fuel

Only having 70 miles left in your tank is just fine if you’re tooling around town or heading between one major town and another, where there are many opportunities to refuel. However, the US – especially the US West – still has many roads where there are at least 70 miles between gas stations.

As a woman who rides a bike, I have a standing rule – never turn down the opportunity to pee or get gas. It’s a good policy to follow, especially when you’re in a remote area.

Stock That Vehicle Bag

Let’s see … what did she use that many people wouldn’t have necessarily had in their vehicles? A flashing headlamp. The materials to make a fire. White sports tape. Oh yeah, she had books that kept her occupied. Pen and paper. Food and water. A mobile cellphone charger.

Did they all work? No, but she had options and tools, and some of them – the charger, the food and water, and the pen and paper saved her life. Any one of them could have worked had the right person flown over or driven by at the right time.

Don’t Risk Getting Lost

She makes a comment at one point in an interview that she got bored and tooted her horn to make the coyotes leave the prairie dogs alone. What if she’d panicked and taken off walking in the dark? What if she’d made a wrong turn on her way back to her vehicle after she made the call because she didn’t mark her trail?

She did everything right when it came to this part of her experience. She stayed where she had shelter – there wasn’t anybody there to honk the horn to keep the coyotes off HER – and she marked her trail when she did leave so that she could find her way back.

Pack Energy Dense Food

She purportedly had sunflower seeds and an apple left when they found her. Those are foods that are high in sustained energy – the apple because it has fiber that slows down the digestion process, and the seeds because they have both fiber to slow down the processing of the sugar, and fat that your body will use after it uses the sugar.

Packing food isn’t enough – pack the RIGHT foods.

Be Proactive

Nobody wants you to get saved more than you do. She communicated: she made signs, she built a signal fire, and, when none of that worked, she got tired of waiting and took her fate into her own hands and decided to walk til she was able to help people help her. Don’t just sit around waiting for the cavalry when they may not even know you’re missing.

However, don’t screw up your chances by not communicating – in this case, had she not left the note, the rescuers may have missed her.

Keep Your Vehicle in Good Repair

Yes, she ran out of gas, but the rest of her car was in good repair and ready for a trip. Had her battery failed, she may still be sitting there, out of water and out of hope.

Don’t Panic

Yes, I realize that it’s easier said than done, but she admitted that she ran the last of her gas out because she panicked. Would it have made much difference in her case? Probably not. But what if it was the middle of winter, when temperatures can drop to the single digits in the desert? What if she’d been in Maine or North Dakota instead of in Arizona?

By panicking, she didn’t just run out her source of transportation, she exhausted a major heat source, too. True, she could have started a campfire, but that would have left her to the animals, that likely didn’t have granola bars, seeds, and apples stocked back. Keep your head and think before you act.

Amber survived this situation because she was prepared. Of course, she also got herself into it because, when it came to fuel, she made a mistake and went in unprepared. Her story offers dual lessons of what to do and what not to do. Thankfully, she did way more right than she did wrong, and that – along with a bit of luck – ensured that she lived to tell the tale!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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University Of North Texas Student Survives For Five Days Stranded In Grand Canyon

Here Are The Survival Maps You Should Be Using

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Mankind is at greater risk from both natural hazards and many manmade hazards than at any other time in history. Think about that statement for a moment. I know I do. This is why I try to write about what I am working on in my personal emergency preparedness and survival efforts, or to work on my preparedness related to topics, to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.

One of my long-term projects is my own personal Modular Survival Kit which is one of the primary frameworks for my personal emergency preparedness efforts. From that framework hangs a smaller project which is called the Digital Survival Library and my personal digital map collection is part of that project.

I have been working on it and thought I’d document some bits and pieces to share with my friends who read Surviopedia. Make a list and check them one by one as you get them, you will later make good use of these survival resources!

12 Strategic Planning Maps Sources for Location Selection

I have listed some resources for the USA and a few for maps abroad, but if you live or own property outside the US, you may need to look up the equivalent entity in that country. I wouldn’t buy paper copies of the maps here unless they are in books since you only need them to plan.

1. USGS Natural Hazards Maps

This is probably most all-encompassing natural hazards map site I know of and includes tsunami, earthquake, geomagnetism, landslide, volcano, astrogeology, flood, drought and wildfire hazards. It even includes quite a bit of information for foreign nations.

2. FEMA Earthquake Hazard Maps 

This one will show you  how earthquake hazards vary across the United States.

3. FEMA Flood Map Service Centergov

They can help you understand flood insurance rate maps.

4. National Geospatial Intelligence Maps

They are good for studying all kinds of things from nuclear power plants to polar ice and climate change.

5. US Nuclear Reactors, Nuclear Power Plants & Seismic Hazard

It wouldn’t take a tsunami to cause a severe nuclear accident in the US. Note where the nation’s 104 nuclear reactors are and note 10 & 50 mile zones around plant and take prevailing winds into consideration.

6. Nuclear Target Maps

You won’t find any current nuclear target maps on-line, as any current information is going to be secret compartmented. That said, there is plenty of outdated, declassified material available in on-line archives.

One of the greatest nuclear risks today is that a single nuclear weapon or small number of them will be detonated in major cities. New York and Washington DC are major targets as are many significant and/or populous cities, but it’s largely speculation so I won’t include nuclear target maps on this topic for planning purposes, but do observe likely fallout patterns from major cities.

7. Nukemap

In case you want to simulate weapons effects in nearby cities. Helpful for creating realistic training scenarios and choosing locations of fixed sites.

8. EarthExplorer

Think of it as the USGS version of Google Earth … only you can go back in time. Some of the first generation of US satellite imagery taken between 1960 & 1972 has been declassified, so it you want imagery of areas unlikely to change since then you have a free resource now.

9. Google Earth

As every criminal casing your home and retreat knows, Google has invested crazy resources to make Google Earth a fairly-up-to-date tool for ever-increasing swaths of the planet … especially most places most folks reading this live, own property or plan to hole up. If that’s not OK with you, get your place blacked out by telling them you run a child day care, but save some images before you do for your own use.

For survival use, I recommend the Offline Installer for Google Earth. Zoom in areas of interest and snap and print what you need, mark them with the scale, indicate magnetic declination, label and print them and you have useful maps.

10. Books

There are many fine books on the subject containing a number of maps and guidelines – Rawles on Retreats by JW Rawles and Strategic Relocation by Joel Skousen are a couple of good ones.

11. Threat-specific Online Searches

Search for hazard maps for threats you are concerned about, they will help you a lot.

12. Digital Survival Library

Use technology, but don’t become dependent on it. To this end, I curate a very useful collection of data that is my personal Digital Survival Library and as you probably guessed, it contains a ton of maps. I store it on pairs of volumes on ruggedized media.

 

The first volume is not encrypted and contains information necessary to treat me in an emergency and some selections from my library that I would like anyone who happens up on to have access to.

The other volume is encrypted and contains a vast library of books, maps, emergency communications plan, emergency plans, insurance information, medical records, photos, genealogy, music, scans of documents, software, driver and a backup of all my important data that I never want to be without. I scan and shred anything that can be, so it’s a lot of data.

It also includes all the software necessary to make any phone of computer I come across read every file type of maps and other files in the library, drivers to print, program amateur radios and everything else I could anticipate that a survivalist would need.

It is comforting to know that if my plane drops out of the sky and I find myself on some island in the Caribbean or in South America I have a map and access to my library … maybe I won’t have a map in the level of detail I would like, but chances are good that it would be useful.

13 Essential survival items are included inside this kit. Grab this offer now!

How to Make Your Own Digital Survival Library

If you make one for yourself, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Stash portions of your DSL on an encrypted server outside the US to make sure you can hop on line an access it from anywhere … as long as the internet is still up.

Cache copies in separate sites. Info caches can be very small so it’s no big deal to stash encrypted copies in places you could find yourself stranded.

It you have need, you can stash a copy on a rugged MicroSD card concealed in a hollowed-out coin, under a band-aid or any imaginable object of sufficient dimensions.

Carry a copy on your keychain in a flash drive or adapter that can connect to both cell phones and computers.

Be careful about using cellphones. Most people carry a powerful computer in their pocket, but haven’t configured it for use as a standalone computer, they are very portable and common. Sufficiently small cell phones are likely to survive EMP as a standalone tool even though they contain a lot of vulnerable circuitry because they lack the conductor length to pick up sufficient charge from an incident of typical (50kVA/m) field strength at a distance.

Their small size and low cost make it a simple matter to shield them against more intense super-EMP field strengths and to cache backup phones in Faraday cages. Make sure your phones have the all the software and drivers to get the most of out of your phone in an emergency. If you root a phone and remove all the balloon-ware and tracking software cell providers pre-load phones with, even old phones are plenty powerful to be very useful.

As with all digital maps, GPS’s make it possible to carry more maps, greater detail and more current information as long as you are willing to shell out the dough. They are great tools. Use them, but don’t become dependent on GPS’s, cellphones, PLB’s or anything else that runs on batteries.

Get proficient in orienteering with map and compass first and then add GPS’s and a DSL on top of a strong foundation of map and compass land navigation. Every year, I read about hikers dying from injuries and/or exposure when gizmo’s fail, leaving them stranded.

SERE Maps

Keep copies of a couple small maps in your PSSRK (Pocket Survival and Self-recovery Kit) so you will always have a map on your person. Update them as you move around. Even if you know the area like the back of your hand, not everyone will and maps have a number of other uses besides finding your way.

Phone Book Maps

If you find yourself without a map in a populated area, a decent map for Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (aka SERE) purpose can be had for free from any phonebook. You can often find old phonebooks in or near dumpsters or at recycling centers.

Make sure you have the social engineering skills to get your hands on one from any business or residence without putting yourself at risk stealing. Hotels and churches often print small maps on fliers and the latter have aided in prison escapes.

Tyvek

Tyvek is a waterproof, tear-resistant ultralight material that can aid in the construction of a shelter in a pinch … great for SERE maps. The Federal Publications Inc website in Canada prints maps of Canada on Tyvek as do US companies that change so frequently I won’t waste your time with a link … or you can DIY.

Fabric

There is a storied history of blood chits and E&E maps silkscreened or traced onto fabric and sewn into the lining of jackets.

Silk is durable and fire resistant. Polyester taffeta burns thoroughly and quickly without producing hardly any smoke upon exposure to a lighter or other flame. Choose material based on need. Both fabrics pack great in pocket kits.

Light Source

Make sure you can read your maps in the dark. Less-overt colors of low brightness are more covert and preserve night vision, also tend to make ink of the same wavelength disappear, making them less-effective for use with maps that use those colors.

Because of this, I use the Petzl STRIX IR a lot which is a headlamp that can produce red, green, blue white or IR light of low intensity or more intense white light depending on the situation.

UV Light & Marker

A small UV LED can be used to read notes written with UV ink that are normally invisible to the naked eye. UV LEDs and pens can also useful for marking and signaling dead drops, for visual communications and the LEDs for finding biomatter, and scorpions.

General Direction SERE Compass

If you do manage to survive with only the contents of your pockets in unfamiliar terrain, your map won’t be effective unless you orient it.

Maps for Travel, Recreation and Emergency Preparedness

You will want paper copies of these where possible. Digital copies can often be had for free, so get those either way. Store digital copies of your paper maps for use on your cell phones and computers. Scan maps that you only have on paper.

Neighborhood Maps for Emergency Response

I keep these in an emergency-response binder.

By collecting and updating maps, I have accurate maps showing every home and who lives in it, not only my neighborhood but also in surrounding neighborhoods. This information greatly simplifies the process of Block Captains and Co-Captains should keep maps of the neighborhood to mark off which homes need assistance in the event of a disaster incident.

Each neighborhood gets checked off house by house in each block with blocks reporting to neighborhood EOC’s (Emergency Operations Centers) and Neighborhood EOC’s reporting to Area or Municipality EOC’s. You can find out more about how the program works from your local CERT Program. Find a CERT Program Near You

US Geological Survey

You can download all the maps you want for free or order printed maps at reasonable cost.

Another option with the USGS is that you can send them media and they will send you the maps you request or even a copy of the entire inventory, but you had better send a big drive since that would be several TB of data at this writing. That would take quite a while to download over most connections, so perhaps that’s why they provide the service.

  • 1:24K Topo Maps – High level of detail when on foot.
  • 1:100K Topo Maps – A little larger scale for traveling by vehicle.

USDA Forest Service Maps

They typically cost $12-$14 for printed copies.

US National Park Maps

Download for free or buy paper copies for typically $9-$12ea. Set the page to the maximum number of products per page so you don’t have to scroll through as many pages.

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Map

Similar to EarthExplorer. Save digital copies and print paper ones.

Maps for Your Vehicle

City Maps

City maps are a must. I make it a point to pick them up wherever I travel, in advance when possible.

Topo Maps of the Entire State

These atlases and gazetteers by DeLorme and possibly competitive products are useful for traveling back roads and forest service roads by vehicle. This is important because you never know when an unforeseen emergency may force you to flee in an unplanned direction over back roads.

The scale isn’t large enough to be of much use on foot unless you have a lot of ground to cover, but pages or parts of pages could serve as E&E maps while traveling and is great for long drives. Invest in plastic covers and cases for these if you want them to last banging around in a vehicle.

Cost is about $15-$20 for most states and a little more for larger states or states with a lot of detail. I make sure I carry atlases for all of the states I am traveling and the adjacent states out West. Back in the Northeast where sizes of states are smaller I would make sure I had atlases for 2-4 states away from planned routes.

US Road Atlas

They are long distance backup to the above atlases.

Compact Phone Book

Maps and direction finding are more effective with a destination in mind. As soon as your cell tower, the grid or the internet go down, google and online maps will no longer work and you will find yourself reaching for something your probably don’t use much any more … a phone book … provided you are old enough to know what they are and how to use one, that is.

Custom Maps

Custom Maps Printed by University Libraries

Cheapest source of custom maps I have found. I had a university library print some color topographical maps on water-resistant paper in the same detail a the USGS topo maps. They are very large, about the size of 2 USGS topo maps high x 3 wide centered on areas of my choice.

They cost about $6 each which is an outstanding value! USGS topos would have cost me 6x as much, not come on water-resistant paper and aren’t centered where you like so you always seem to end up hiking through 2-4 maps per day, which means you have to line up the edges multiple maps.

DIY

Print maps at home. Depending on how many maps you print, what software you use and what you print them on, this can range from very inexpensive to expensive.

In addition to the USGS, there are several private websites which also offer free, printable maps online. I have printed some useful ones using Google Earth.

Custom Maps

mytopo and a few other companies have websites with easy to use interfaces that enable you to order custom maps of every sort imaginable. They have useful hunting products as they can display public vs private land, land owners and hunting areas. They are more expensive, but not ridiculously, so. Price varies by size and type.

Also check out their Backpacker Magazine Pro Maps if you are a backpacker.

This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia.

Hobbies That Will Save Your Life!

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By The Survival Place Blog

The great thing about life is that you gain experiences. It could be that you enjoyed a camping trip last summer, or playing 5-a-side soccer every Tuesday night. But while these are often seen as normal everyday experiences when taken at face value, more often than not they can double up as survival skills; it is just a matter of looking at them from a slightly different angle.

Think about it. Camping helps you understand how to live in the great outdoors and soccer improves your fitness; both of which would be highly sought after skills when survival instincts kick in. It is just a matter of understanding what skills and experiences you have, and how you can transfer them to another area of your life.

All too many people believe they wouldn’t survive in a state of emergency because they don’t have the skillset of a Navy SEAL or an SAS hero. But you don’t need their training to be able to survive. That is why we are going to show you what skills can be learned through just normal, fun activities.
Your preparation to survive a crisis situation starts now, and it starts with a smile.

Get Used To Life On The Move

When a crisis situation arises – whether that be war, zombie apocalypse or an alien invasion – nothing is going to become more helpful in your need to survive than your ability to live outside and live life on the move. That is where camping and backpacking come in. You see, learning how to shoulder a heavy load for days at a time can come as quite a shock to anyone who hasn’t done before, as can knowing how to survive in a tent, but these are so crucial to the longevity of your survival.
But it is not just about the hiking miles and miles with heavy equipment, it is also about the equipment you will have handy to you. If you have been camping, then the chances are you already have a huge chunk of the survival gear needed without even realizing. What’s more, if you have been wild-camping, then you will also have a steady understanding of what to look for in a good spot, such as the need to be on high ground and need a source of fresh water.

Know Enough About Mechanics

For a lot of people, this is a hobby that has helped them fulfill their petrolhead addictions. For others, it is simply a way to save money when it comes to getting their car, motorbike or plane fixed. Whatever the reason, when it comes to a scenario where survival is the main focus, this is going to be one of the most valuable skills.

Even by just learning the basic movements of an engine you will have a huge advantage. It could be that you manage to flee town in your Ford Ranger, which then ran into problems in the middle of nowhere. It could be that you stumbled across an airfield, and you have knowledge on how to jumpstart the plane in front of you, and thus be able to start flying in a Pitts S2C. Or perhaps, after days stumbling through a forest, you come across a lake, with a jetty, and a selection of boats, all of which require mechanical tinkering in order to get underway. That is where even a basic level of how engine works could save your life.

Hunting Is How We Got Here

These days – and quite rightly – there is a lot of stigma around hunting animals. We have done enough to harm the earth and all those that we share this planet with. But should the world start to implode, for whatever reason, knowing how to hunt is going to be the very skill that allows you to live? Without a food source, you can’t live, and it could be that you go days or weeks without finding a source of tinned food or non-perishable goods. It could even be that you had ample food stored, but this isn’t going to last forever, which is why knowing how to hunt will be critical.

What’s more, knowing how to hunt isn’t just about knowing how to kill. Hunting is about stalking, it is about blending in with your surroundings, knowing about wind direction, how to cover your scent, how to track and know how to avoid being tracked. All of these skills can help you avoid being detected by the enemy – or potential hostiles – meaning you will be able to effectively avoid the chance of being captured. Being spotted may be inevitable, that is why you will want to know how to disappear as quick as humanly possible, and without a trace too.

 

Back To The Basics Of Weaponry

Knowing how to hunt is going to heavily rely on your ability to shoot and kill while remaining undetected is going to mean using weapons that are silent. Basically, think Daryl in The Walking Dead. Knowing a little about archery is going to be your biggest asset when it comes to weapons.

But it isn’t just about offense, defense or being stealth; it is also about the fact you will be able to reuse your ammo over and over. This is not the case with modern weapons; with guns. When a bullet is spent, it is spent. When an arrow is fired, it is just a matter of collecting it and starting again. Crossbows are also incredibly durable too. As such, we recommend you start getting into archery, just in case. After all, it is relatively inexpensive, doesn’t require you to go through any thorough background checks, and doesn’t need a license. It could be the thing that keeps you alive in more ways than the obvious.
Of course, while these hobbies-slash-survival advantages are going to be imperative to your health and well-being should disaster strike in any form, it is also worth preparing yourself in other ways too. Such as knowing the surrounding area, understanding orienteering, and having a bug-out bag by the door. The more prepared you are, the better your chances of staying alive.

Originally published at The Survival Place Blog: Hobbies That Will Save Your Life!

Filed under: How To Prepare, Prepping

This Is How To Make And Recycle Rubber

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You need a fully functional tire (as opposed to a donut) in the trunk of your vehicle, and you may have gone through the extra expense to get it. Many other people haven’t even thought that far ahead, even this problem alone would lead to endless traffic jams and other problems in times of distress.

And there’s more bad news: even if you take good care of your tires and have a viable spare, there will come a time when all of your existing tires will have to be discarded.

Modern tires actually need to make contact with roads on a regular basis or they will begin to crack and rot. That’s why having the skill of making or refurbishing tires would worth a lot during crisis or after a major collapse.

Rubber is Older than You Think

While Europeans are credited with spreading the use of rubber throughout the world, it was first used by the Maya. They used latex from Hevea trees to coat balls that were used in a game similar to basketball.The latex was mixed with sap from the Ipomoea alba vine to make it less sticky and more durable.

In the 1700’s, French and English explorers discovered that rubber could be used for many other things. “Vulcanization”, which also makes rubber less sticky and more durable was not invented until the 1800’s by Charles Goodyear.

Since latex bearing trees only grew in South America, a great deal of effort went into protecting this monopoly, and it didn’t change until thousands of seeds were smuggled out of Brazil in 1876 by Henry Wickam. The plants that grew from these seeds were eventually used to build enormous rubber plantations in India, Indonesia, Asia, and Africa.

As automobiles became more popular, it became harder to keep up with the demand for rubber. Eventually, scientists found a way to synthesize rubber from petroleum. During WWII, this became a vital source of rubber that was used to keep the war effort moving forward.

Today, most, if not all rubber used in automobile tires is made from petroleum sources. As different nations become more unstable, there is an increased interest in finding plant based sources of rubber.

Russian Dandelions (T. kok-sanghyz) produce a latex that makes rubber almost as good a what you would get from a rubber tree. Milk thistle, or Prickly Lettuce, also produces enough latex to be used in making rubber.

There are also several other plants in the United States and around the world that may be suitable for this purpose, however much work needs to be done to find out which ones work best and how to get the most out of them.

Where to Get the Rubber From

Many preppers feel that it is very important to store away essential building materials such as wood, metal, glass, plastic, and cardboard. How many of them did ever think about storing away rubber, which is also a very important material to have on hand?

If you are building a stockpile of materials, you may find it a bit difficult to find rubber at a place other than Grainger. Rubber that hasn’t been made into some kind of product isn’t available to consumers. Make your own research in the following places, and you may come across limited supplies as they become available:

  • Repurposed materials
  • Public Surplus – if you are interested in used tires, this site may be a good place to start. Check if your local community has abandoned properties or other places where tire dumping is a problem. If you can get ahold of these tires, then you could do something with the rubber from them.
  • Salvex
  • Skycraft Parts and Surplus
  • Surplus Record – If you are part of a large enough prepper community and have plenty of land to work with, then think about building a small rubber factory. This site will give you information about equipment used to make synthetic rubber from petroleum. If you also have land that can be drilled for petroleum, it may be worth your while to think about turning some of it into rubber.

Even if you do not need to make rubber immediately after a major crisis, it could be an important commodity as society rebuilds and regains its capacity to bring people together to achieve goals. If you can produce petroleum and rubber, you and your group will prosper as different groups of people seek to regain the technologies and conveniences that may have been lost due to social collapse.

Never forget that future generations of your family will have to compete, and that will entail having marketable skills and products. As expensive as this equipment may be, it may be a wise investment that will set you and your family further ahead than you realize.

ENERGY SAVING PLAN – Find out how you can save energy following two simple steps! 

Basic Guide for Making Plant Based Rubber

If the Maya could make perfectly good rubber centuries ago, then it may also be possible for preppers to do the same. Making rubber from petroleum will more than likely be a lost skill after a major social collapse occurs.

As long as you have a source of plant based latex, then you should be able to make small as well as large batches of rubber to meet a range of needs. Here are the basic steps:

Step 1

Start off by harvesting latex. While Hevea Trees have to be “tapped” with V shaped slits in the trunk, the process is a bit different for plants.

For example, if you are going to use Milk Thistle, you will need to break open the plant stems to get at the latex, which is a milky white colored substance. If you decide to use dandelions (ideally Russian dandelions), you can get latex from the roots as well as the stems.

Step 2

Once you have collected enough latex, add some water and an acid to the sap. You can use vinegar or other weak acids. The ratios of sap, water, and acid will depend on the amount of latex in the sap as well as the strength of the acid.

For example, if you are using regular or Russian dandelions, you would use 1 part sap to 8 parts water and then enough vinegar to make the latex and water stick to whatever you are using to stir the mixture.

Step 3

Even though rubber made from dandelion will finish to “cure” or dry out on its own, you may still need to add sulfur and heat it to produce a more durable form of rubber. You may also want to try using Ipomoea alba sap to vulcanize the rubber.

Remember, different applications will require different levels of flexibility and durability. You will need to study the different characteristics of each type of rubber you plan to work with, and see what will work best to make them.

Video first seen on DSCDocumentries

When making plant based rubber, remember to start off with small batches and see how the resulting compound holds up over time and across different temperature conditions. Among other things, you will need to assess if the rubber will crack, and how well it will bounce back to its original shape after heavy weights are applied.

Give yourself plenty of time to explore this fascinating topic. Since there is still a great deal of trial and error involved in making rubber from dandelions and other more common plants, it is best to see what others are doing in this field even as you develop your own recipes and methods.

How to Recycle Rubber

Overall, there is a point where you can recycle rubber easily enough, and a level where it is well beyond the technical skills and assets available to most preppers. The complexity associated with fully recycling rubber lies in the process of vulcanization.

Let’s say you want to bake a cake that requires using eggs, flour, and some sugar. Let’s say you sift together the flour and sugar. Even though the sugar and flour are well mixed together, you can still separate them using various means. Once you crack open the eggs, in theory you can still put them back into the shell. To some extent, you can also still retrieve the eggs, sugar, and flour after they are all mixed together. Up until the cake is baked (the heat from baking drives off water and also causes different molecules in the batter to break apart and from bonds with other molecules), it is actually possible to separate out all the ingredients used in it.

In a similar fashion, once latex is treated with sulfur and heat, the molecular structure changes to a point where it cannot be reversed – or at least not reversed with ease.

Over the years, a great deal of effort has been made to see if there is a way to take rubber and turn it back to the latex stage. There is one patent, held by The Goodyear Rubber and Tire Company, on a process that uses high pressure and 2-butanol to reverse vulcanization.

This process is not something that can be done easily enough at the consumer level. Therefore, if you are interested in recycling tires or other rubber materials, you will need to take the existing rubber and use it for some purpose other than simply remaking tires.

3 Tips to Know Which Tires can be Salvaged

Consider a situation where a major catastrophe has made tires unavailable. While you are searching for replacements, you find a landfill and hundreds of tires stacked up. It may take a lot of work to find salvageable tires with a little bit of patience and effort, but you can do it if you keep in mind the following:

  • Tires with cracks in the sidewall and tread area more than likely have dry rot. The tread and sidewalls cannot be restored or reused for making new tires. If the tire is of a size that you need, you could take it apart and use the belts in combination with new rubber that you make from a plant based source. As long as the tire doesn’t show signs of having more than two patches, there is a chance that the inner anatomy of the tire is still intact. Even if you have to recoat the inner structures with more rubber, at least you will have some belts to work with.
  • Avoid tires that were punctured or slashed in the sidewall. If the tire is punctured deep enough, than it might have been discarded because it would not hold air. There are some methods you can use to repair a sidewall, but the tire may fail at a critical moment and cause a very bad accident.
  • Be wary of tires that are patched, even if the patches are less than ¼ inch in diameter and located far enough away from the sidewall.

Video first seen on Tank0923.

There are several different ways to repair punctures in tires. Depending on the size and age of the tire, you may find one that is worth patching even though the former owner chose to discard it. Remember, many people throw away good tires or repairable tires because their vehicle must be inspected and they don’t want to risk it failing. On the other hand, if you really need tires, then you could get some mileage out of them so long as you repair them correctly and drive carefully.

6 Ways to Use Tires for Your Homestead

  • The rubber part of tires can be ground up into a smaller bits that can be added to paving materials.
  • Rubber from tires can be cut into pieces and shaped into everything from shoe soles to waterproofing for containers.
  • When treated with acid, rubber softens and can be shaped into different objects.
  • Rubber products such as tires can also be burned to generate heat. From campfires to operating a steam turbine, you can easily use rubber tires and other products for this purpose, but keep in mind that it might have some health impact.
  • The rubber from tires can also be separated from the steel belt; which can be used to make new tires or for other purposes.
  • Rubber tires can also be used as raised bed planters. This may be especially useful if you plan to grow a garden in an area where water supplies and good soil are limited. In fact, if you want a cheap, easy way to make a multi-level potato planter, just stack up tires as the plants grow, and then harvest in the fall when it is time. Needless to say, if you are looking to hide your plants in open sight, a stack of tires may just look so unappealing no one will bother to look there for edible plants.

Video first seen on Just Az.com productions

Anatomy of an Automobile Tire

Today, there are many different kinds of tires that can be used for the same vehicle. For example, “all weather tires” are different from snow tires, mudders, and ones used for racing. Regardless of the tire type, they all have the same basic parts, however these parts may be designed a bit differently to accommodate different driving conditions.

Even though each layer of a tire also has many parts, here are the most basic ones you need to know about:

  • Treads – this is the outermost layer of the tire. It is the part that grips the road and wears out from friction with the road. The treads may also have sipes, or smaller grooves that increase traction when the tires are moving over ice, water, sand, and snow.
  • Grooves – these are also found in the outermost layer of the tire. Grooves are the long, deep channels cut into the tire. They help the tire to shed water and moisture so that it doesn’t clog up the treads.
  • Sidewall – this is the side of the tire that covers the other inner parts. It serves to protect and keep them clean and dry.
  • Belts – even though rubber bounces back to its original shape, it is not very strong. Without belts of nylon, steel, and even fiberglass, the tire would not maintain its shape very well. Depending on the tire, it may have several belts organized into layers just under the treads. When reclaiming rubber for other purposes, you will also be separating out these belts so that they can be used to make more tires, or for some other purpose.
  • Inner liner – separates the belt layer from the plies. It is also meant to act as a barrier to air so that it cannot escape into the belts, sidewall, and treads.
  • Plies – this part is what gives the tire most of its strength, and also the layer that holds air in. Typically, this layer is made up of materials that are organized so that the fiber runs across the tire instead of around it (the plies are perpendicular to the treads).
  • Bead – this is a metal cable coated in rubber that runs all the way around the inner rim of the tire. It is meant to keep the tire from slipping once it is mounted on a rim.

Why to Make Your Own Tires from Scratch

If you look at a modern tire factory, you may feel like it is impossible to make tires on your own. The task is going to be a bit difficult, but do not give up on researching and looking into automobile history to see how tires were made before robots and large factory machines were used.

Even if the tires you make aren’t as good, or don’t last as long as ones made in a modern factory, they may still be of use for short trips or keeping a tractor up and running.

Once you know how to make rubber and feel confident in your skills, the next step will be to see if you can recognize which tires can be retreated, and then figure out how to design your own tires and build them from scratch.

Retreading Tires

Not so long ago, retreading tires was seen as something dangerous and to be avoided at all cost. In many countries, including the United States, retreads are seen as a way to keep tires out of the landfill, and also as a means of cutting costs associated with vehicle maintenance.

As a prepper, you won’t have a modern retread factory or some of the more complex tools to work with. Nevertheless, if you look at retread factories in other places in the world, you can get some ideas about substitute tools, and then also figure out how to make the safest and most durable retreads possible.

Regardless of the factory type or situation, retreading requires the following basic steps:

  • Start off by inspecting the tire to check for signs of dry rot, punctures, slashes, and anything else that might have damaged the internal structures of the tire or its sidewalls.
  • If the tire is basically sound, strip off the treads. You will still need to leave some rubber behind for new material to adhere to.
  • Make sure the new surface is perfectly clean and ready to accept new rubber. If you see signs of belts showing through, or other damage, repair these issues first.
  • Apply rubber to the ground down surface of the tire. You may need to do this in several layers.
  • Next, apply the treads. These should be pre-made from rubber. If you know how to make rubber, then you can also use basic casting methods to produce strips of rubber treads that can be used for retreading.
  • Use heat and pressure to finish binding all the tire parts together.
  • Check the tire again for signs of holes, damage, or other problems.
  • Finally, apply a coat of paint or some other sealant to complete the tire.
  • Once the tire is dry, it should be ready to use. Make sure that you test the tire out in a safe area after mounting it to the rim. Do not forget to balance the tires and make sure that they are inflated properly.

As you can see, there is more to making rubber and using it for tires than you may have realized.

At the same time, tires and many other rubber products are integrated into almost every area of life. Since it is not always possible to replace rubber items with plastic ones, knowing how to make rubber and use it for a variety of purposes will help you a lot.

From fixing your own tires to bartering these services, you will always have something of value no matter what is going on in the human world around you.

Click the banner below for more!

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

Resources:

http://opensourceecology.org/wiki/Rubber_from_Dandelions#Temperate_Climate_Plants_that_Produce_Latex_and_an_Evaluation_of_their_Practical_and_Ecological_Use_in_Rubber_Making.

https://phys.org/news/2015-06-natural-rubber-dandelions.html

http://www.repurposedmaterialsinc.com/den-rolled-rubber-cheap-surplus-salvage/

http://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/browse/cataucs?catid=2503

http://www.scienceprojectideas.co.uk/make-rubber-band-from-dandelion.html

https://www.google.com/patents/US5891926

3 Essential EDC Fire Starters I Carry Everywhere

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by Todd Walker

3 Essential EDC Fire Starters I Carry Everywhere ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

What’s in your pockets? If you look at the popular trend of pocket dumps on social media, the answer appears to be everything, except the kitchen sink. I seldom see fire tools in these pocket dumps. Of course, our Everyday Carry items will look different depending on our jobs, lifestyle, and skill level.

Several of us from the Prepared Bloggers are sharing different EDC (Everyday Carry) items we never leave home without. Being the pyro that I am, I choose fire. Be sure to read the other value-adding articles by my friends in the links below this article.

The concept of carrying essential items on one’s person is smart habit. If ever separated from your main preparedness kit, the stuff in your pockets, plus your skillset to use said items, may be the only tools available.

The tool doesn’t determine your success. Your skills determine the tool’s success.

The quote above applies to preppers, survivalists, campers, carpenters, homesteaders, accountants, school teachers, and, well, all of us.

Pockets of Fire

If you frisked me, no matter the locale (urban or wilderness), you’d discover a minimum of three ignition sources in my pockets…

  • Mini Bic lighter (open flame)
  • Ferrocerium rod (spark ignition)
  • Fresnel lens (solar)
3 Essential EDC Fire Starters I Carry Everywhere ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

L to R: Key chain Exotac fireRod, mini Bic lighter, wallet fresnel lens, and two wallet tinders: duct tape and waxed jute twine.

Let’s break these down and discuss the advantages, disadvantages, and a few tips to successfully use each fire tool. Keep in mind that these are simply ignition sources and do not guarantee a sustainable fire. For more info on the importance of fire, you may find this article useful.

Bic Lighter – Open Flame

Since a road flare isn’t practical for EDC, I carry a mini Bic. The resemblance of road flares to dynamite puts people on edge, especially law enforcement officers. I do have them in my vehicle kits though.

The times you really need fire is usually when fire is hardest come by. I’ll take an open flame over sparks, solar, and especially fire by friction every day of the week and twice on Sundays! As mentioned previously, you must put in deliberate practice to hone your fire craft skills by actually Doing the Stuff or these fire tools just look cool in pocket dumps on Instagram.

To learn more on building sustainable fires, browse our Fire Craft Page.

Cold hands loose dexterity and make normally simple tasks, striking a lighter, difficult. Modify your EDC lighter by removing the child-proof device wrapped over the striker wheel. Pry it up from the chimney housing. Once free, pull the metal band from the lighter. Two metal wings will point up after removal. Bend the wings down flat to protect your thumb when striking the lighter.

What if your lighter gets wet?

On a recent wilderness survival course, I taught our boy scout troop how to bring a wet lighter back to life. Each threw their non-child-proofed lighter into the creek. After retrieval, they were instructed to blow excess moisture out of the chimney and striker wheel. Next, they ran the striker wheel down their pant leg several passes to further dry the flint and striker. Within a few minutes, lighters were sparking and each scout had a functioning fire tool again.

The lighters I carry in my bushcraft haversack and hiking backpack are more tricked out than my plain ole’ EDC Bic. Here’s a few ideas I’ve picked up for adding redundant lighters which may be of interest…

3 Essential EDC Fire Starters I Carry Everywhere ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

This full-size Bic is wrapped in duct tape holding a loop of cord which attaches inside my haversack. The green cap (spring clamp handle end) idea came from Alan Halcon. It keeps moisture out and prevents the fuel lever from being accidentally depressed.

3 Essential EDC Fire Starters I Carry Everywhere ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

The cap removed reveals the child-proof device missing.

Advantages

  • A mini Bic will give you approximately 1,450 open flames.
  • A wet Bic can be back in service within a minute or so.
  • So easy to light a five-year-old can use one.
  • Designed to be used with only one hand.

Disadvantages

  • It’s difficult to monitor the fuel level unless the housing is clear.
  • They are consumable… eventually.
  • Extreme cold limits a Bic. Keep it warm inside a shirt pocket under your overcoat.
  • A mythical disadvantage is that lighters won’t work in high altitudes. If Sherpas use them on Mt. Everest, this lowland sherpa is sold.

Ferrocerium Rod (Firesteel)

In the bushcraft/survivalist/prepper community, ferro rods have the hyped reputation of being a fail-safe fire maker. The device is simple and won’t malfunction, they say. Scrap the metal off the rod, and, poof, you have a fire, even in the rain. Sounds good but don’t buy the marketing hype!

“Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good.”
~ Thomas Sowell

In my experience teaching both children and adults, using a ferro rod for the first time ends in failure more times than not. Yet everyone is told to add one to their emergency fire kits. I carry a small one on my key chain because I enjoy practicing fire craft skills. They’re a novel way of making fire but, like any skill, require practice to become proficient.

3 Essential EDC Fire Starters I Carry Everywhere ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

The fireROD by Exotac  has a watertight compartment which will hold a full cotton makeup pad for tinder.

Of these three ferro rod techniques – push, pull, and thumb lever – the latter is my favorite on softer firesteels. It offers more accurate placement of sparks. The drawback is that the thumb lever requires more fine motor skills and coordination which go bye-bye in an adrenaline spiked emergency scenario. That’s why I carry a Bic!

If you’ve never tried the thumb lever technique, here’s a short video demonstration which may help…

One of the many reasons I practice fire by friction is the fact that it teaches the importance of preparing proper tinder material. Marginal tinder takes more heat to combust. Even with 3,000 degree ferro rod sparks, you may fail to ignite damp, finely shredded tinder. The amount of heat needed for ignition depends on the amount of surface area compared to its volume. Think in terms of small hair-like fibers. When you think you’ve got fine tinder, shred it some more.

Even without a “proper” striker or knife, any object hard enough to scrap metal off makes a good substitute.

A ferro rod/metal match is not my first choice in fire starters. It’s a fun bushcraft tool to use though.

Advantages

  • Scraped with a sharp rock, broken glass, or any object sharp enough to remove metal particles, 1,500º F to 3,000º F sparks spontaneously combust as they meet air.
  • Sparks even in wet conditions.
  • The average outdoors person will never use up a ferro rod.
  • Can ignite many tinder sources.
  • For more info on ferro rods, click here. My EDC rod is way smaller than the one in the link.

Disadvantages

  • They are consumable… eventually.
  • They’re difficult to use if you’ve never practiced with this tool.
  • Intermediate skill level needed.

Fresnel Lens

A quality fresnel lens is useful for starting fires, examining plants and insects, splinter and tick removal, and reading navigational maps. I carry a 4 power lens in my wallet. It takes up about as much space as a credit card. I ordered a 3-pack from Amazon for under $7.

Sunshine is loaded with electromagnetic energy in the form of photons. A fresnel lens simply harnesses the energy to a focused point creating enough heat to start a fire.

A few tips I’ve learned may help here. Not all tinder material will combust. You’ll get smoke and char but may never have an actual flame. In the short video below, within a second you’ll see smoke on crushed pine straw. Once a large area was smoldering, I had to blow the embers into a flame.

Increase your odds of solar ignition by keeping the lens perpendicular to the sun’s rays and the tinder. Move the lens closer or further away until the smallest dot of light strikes the target. Brace your hand to steady the spot of heat. Smoke should appear almost immediately. Afternoon sun is stronger than morning sun. Keep this in mind when practicing this method.

3 Essential EDC Fire Starters I Carry Everywhere ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Keep the lens perpendicular to the sun’s rays to concentrate the most radiant energy on your tinder.

Just for fun, I discovered that cocoa powder, which I carry in my bushcraft kit, makes a useable coal with solar ignition. Have fun playing and experimenting with fire!

Advantages

  • Beginner skill level. Ever drive ants crazy with one as a kid?
  • Can ignite different tinder materials
  • Lightweight
  • Saves other ignition sources on sunny days.
  • Never wears out. Always protect your lens from scratches and breakage.

Disadvantages

  • Dependent on sunshine.
  • May only create an ember which can be coaxed into flame.

EDC Fire Tinder

Duct tape and waxed jute twine ride alongside my fresnel lens in my wallet. You’ll also find a full-size cotton makeup pad stuffed inside the cap of my ferro rod. Wrapping a few feet of tape around an old gift card gives you an emergency tinder source for open flame ignition. Setting fire to a foot long strip of loosely balled duct tape will help ignite your kindling. There are so many multi-functional uses of duct tape, fire being one of them, that you should always carry at least a few feet in your wallet.

The waxed jute twine can be unravelled to create surface area for spark ignition. Unraveled, it can also be used as a long-burning candle wick. Either way, it’s nice to have another waterproof tinder in your pocket/wallet. Here’s a link if you’re interested in making your own waxed jute twine.

If all you have for ignition is a ferro rod, duct tape will ignite, but again, don’t count on it if you haven’t practiced this method. See our video below…

It never hurts to have multiple fire starting methods on your person. Drop us a comment on other EDC fire starters that I haven’t mentioned.

Be sure to scroll down and check out the other articles by my friends at the Prepared Bloggers.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook… and over at our Doing the Stuff Network.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there…

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright © by Survival Sherpa: In light of the recent theft of all my content by a pirate site, my sharing policy has changed. I do not permit the re-posting of entire articles from my site without express written consent by me. My content on this site may be shared in digital form (200 words or less) for non-commercial use with a link back (without no-follow attribute) to the original article crediting the author. All photos, drawings, and articles are copyrighted by and the property of Survival Sherpa. You are more than welcome to share our photos and articles on social media for educational purposes as long as you link back to the original article/photo with credit to the author.

 

The Prepared Bloggers present - Everyday Carry Bag. What will you find in ours?

The Prepared Bloggers are at it again!

Everyday carry, or EDC for short, refers to items that are carried on a regular basis to help you deal with the normal everyday needs of modern western society and possible emergency situations.

Some of the most common EDC items are knives, flashlights, multitools, wallets, smartphones, notebooks, and pens. Because people are different, the type and quantity of items will vary widely. If you have far to travel for work or have young children, your EDC could be huge!

But, even if you’re just setting out for a walk around the neighborhood, taking your essential items with you in a pair of cargo pants with large pockets, may be all you need to be prepared.

Follow the links to see what a few of the Prepared Bloggers always carry in their EDC.

Shelle at PreparednessMama always carries cash, find out why and how much she recommends.

John at 1776 Patriot USA tell us the 5 reasons he thinks his pistol is the essential item to have.

LeAnn at Homestead Dreamer won’t be caught without her handy water filter.

Justin at Sheep Dog Man has suggestions for the best flashlights to carry every day.

Bernie at Apartment Prepper always carries two knives with her, find out what she recommends.

Nettie at Preppers Survive has a cool way to carry duct tape that you can duplicate.

Todd at Ed That Matters tells us about the one item you’ll always go back for…your cell phone

Erica at Living Life in Rural Iowa knows how important her whistle can be when you want to be safe.

Todd at Survival Sherpa always carries 3 essential fire starters wherever he goes.

Angela at Food Storage and Survival loves her Mini MultiTool, it’s gotten her out of a few scrapes!

Prep Blog Review: Homesteading On A Budget

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Whether you are preparing for a disaster, or you just want to be self-reliant, homesteading should be an important part of your prepping plans. And here comes the real challenge – building a sustainable homestead on a budget is everyone’s dream, right?

You don’t have to spend a fortune to start homesteading so this makes the topic for this week’s prep blog review. I’ve gathered 4 articles on this topic and I hope you will enjoy them.

  1. 10 Hacks for Homesteading with Almost No Money

“Homesteading is about being self-sufficient and self-reliant. To do this, you need to figure out some hacks to make it easy and simple. This involves adopting better gardening methods, conserving electricity, minimizing wastage, and consuming locally grown food. You can also go a step further and produce your own clothing, craft-work, and other home accessories.

The following are some simple hacks you can adopt:

Leave your Clothes Out to Dry

Forget the dryer. You can still dry your clothes in the outdoors, balcony or rooftop. Light clothes dry within a few hours even in the chilly weather while heavier garments will take longer. Besides saving you high monthly energy bills, this hack leaves your clothes smelling fresh and natural.

Grow Tomatoes Vertically

Having a small space doesn’t mean you can’t farm your own tomatoes. There are some breeds that grow vertically rather than horizontally. Besides taking little space, most of the plant is off the ground and is less-likely to be affected by parasites and diseases. You also use fewer pesticides to take care of it.”

Read more on Plan and Prepared.

  1. 45 Homestead Tools for Off the Grid Living

“Laura Ingalls didn’t have a power drill, but I bet you her life would have been a lot easier if she did. Listen, your homestead isn’t going to collapse and crumble without having every single one of the tools on the list–at least not right away. But over time as weather wears on your roof and rain mucks up your roads, you are certainly going to need some reinforcement. The following list of homestead tools includes just about everything you will need.

Homesteading isn’t a process that happens overnight. Purchase these homestead tools as you need them until you have everything covered. Start taking stock now and begin gathering the essentials. To make it simpler, I broke the list into four sections: everyday tools, emergency tools, agriculture tools, and luxury tools.”

Read more on Homestead Survival Site.

  1. Homestead Geese – Easy to Care for Barnyard Protectors and Weed Eaters

“Homestead geese are not the first animals that come to mind when you consider homestead livestock. That award usually goes to backyard chickens, or dairy goats with the occasional pastured pig thrown in. But geese deserve to be fourth on that list in my opinion.

Geese are entertainment, lawn control, homestead guardians that also happen to taste pretty darn good.

Goose fat is prized among top chefs, and many a hawk or fox has been scared away from a chicken dinner by the threatening wing span of an angry goose.

You might share that opinion if you encountered an aggressive goose in childhood (or adulthood for that matter).

However, geese raised by you, from goslings (a young goose), can be as friendly as the family dog and twice as formidable when strangers or predators happen on to your homestead!”

Read more on Common Sense Homesteading.

  1. How to Raise Meat Rabbits in Small Spaces

“Whether you are planning to survive disasters or simply want to be self-sufficient and less dependent on outside resources, raising your own meat animals is a smart choice. That said, raising farm animals can be tough for those who live in urban areas, small homes or apartments, or under the rule of restrictive homeowners associations. If that sounds like you, consider raising meat rabbits.  Rabbits make it possible to produce your own meat without raising an eyebrow!

Why rabbits? Meat rabbits are an excellent way to supplement your family food supply.  Rabbit meat is tender and mild, plus rabbit meat is one of the healthiest meat sources, even beating chicken for low calories, high protein, and lower cholesterol levels. Not only that, rabbit meat is also far lower in fat and is higher in calcium and phosphorus than other meats.”

Read more on Backdoor Survival.

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

Spend Your Summer Wisely: Preparing For Survival

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Image Source: Pixabay.com

By The Survival Place Blog

There’s a million and one things you could do this summer. Lying by the beach, hosting a BBQ in your backyard…but what will you actually gain from this, beyond a few hours of pleasure? If you want to make the best possible use of the good weather, then you need to head outside and cement your survival skills. Summer, with its fine weather, is an ideal time for those people who haven’t quite got the skills they need.

Into the Woods

Of course, to practice survival skills you’ll need to take yourself away from anything man made, but also somewhere that contains plenty of life. Regardless of where you live, you most likely have a deep, dark forest somewhere within driving distance from you. Make that your base for a week or two and you’ll return to civilization with a whole host of new skills.

Finding Food

Most people underrate their ability to find food when it really matters. It’s a basic skill that everybody can learn if they put the effort in; just most people don’t put the effort in. Your best options for food will be: animals, fish, and foraging plants. It can be tricky to catch animals if you’ve never done it before, but fishing is a skill that everyone should have. Take a read of fly fishing explained and get into the water: one day, it could be the difference between life and death. Also, having a book that outlines which plants can and cannot be eaten will be an invaluable resource, so make it one of the few things you take with you on your trip.

Stepping it Up

If you’ve been on a survival trip before, then summer is a good opportunity for you to step it up and real test your skills. For example, try going into the woods without a tent and see if you’re capable of making your own shelter. In an emergency, it’s unlikely you’ll have a waterproof, easy to put up tent just lying around. Similarly, you should have water with you, but see first if you could make it without access to clean water. Where would you go for water in an emergency? Would you know where to look? Before doing either of these things, let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll be back.

Celestial Navigation

The clear summer nights are ideal time to learn how to navigate yourself using only stars. Once you know a few basic rules, you’ll know that it’s actually very easy. And if you have no access to any type of technology at some point in the future, you’ll still know how to get around.

Learning Lessons

At the end of your trip, have a think about what worked and what didn’t. How ready would you be, really, if something terrible happened and you needed to survive in the wild? There’ll almost be areas that you need to improve on, and they can become the focus for your next trip into the woods.

Originally published at The Survival Place Blog: Spend Your Summer Wisely: Preparing For Survival

Filed under: Outdoor Recreation, Prepping

5 Survival Reality Show Screw Ups

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featured_the_jump_featured

accident_truck_fear_factorReality TV shows generally tend to go two ways: Either they turn out to be partial or complete fakeries behind the scenes, or in some cases things veer a little too close to reality and people get hurt – in 2011, a contestant was involved in a massive crash on the set of Fear Factor, and that’s not the only case by far.

By Alex Coyne, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

Here are some of the worst survivalist reality show screw ups yet…

1. Kid Nation

kid_nationKid Nation first aired in 2007 as a reality show by CBS, and it goes down in history as one of the worst ideas for a reality tv show ever to make it to the airwaves. The premise of the show was simple: Forty kids were placed in a reconstruction old Western town and, well, told to run it by themselves with absolutely no adult intervention. This involved all of the tasks you’d expect from keeping a town going, from milking the cows, making the food, doing the dishes and establishing some form of government. Please note that these were kids, with ages ranging between eight and fifteen.

The show was subject to serious controversy right from the beginning, and it didn’t take long before things got completely out of hand: It became a power struggle almost immediately into the show, and saw older kids heavily abusing their power. (Doesn’t that remind you of a little something called the Stanford Prison Experiment?)

There’s even someone on Reddit who says they were one of the show’s contestants.

2. Koh-Lanta

koh-lantaKoh-Lanta is better known as the French version of the popular reality show Survivor. You can check out the intro for Koh-Lanta on YouTube over here. Back in 2013, while filming a new series, contestant Gerald Babin (aged 25) suddenly got sick during the first task in Cambodia – a game of tug-of-war between teams – and then, well, died from cardiac arrest.

The season of Koh-Lanta was cancelled immediately, and it raised a lot of questions about the safety of contestants on reality shows. French authorities immediately launched an investigation into Babin’s death to see whether or not it could be ruled manslaughter.

Check Out: Ten Facts You Should Know About Fire

That, however, is not the end of the story: The show’s on set doctor (Thierry Costa) committed suicide shortly after the event, feeling – according to his suicide note – that the media attention arising from the event had brought irreparable damage to his name.

(Interestingly, this is one of two cases where a contestant has died on international versions of Survivor, and is not by any means the only occasion where contestants in any version of Survivor have been hurt enough to be removed from the game.)

3. Bear Grylls’ The Island

bear_gryllsBear Grylls is a well-known name: He’s had several of his own TV shows, written several books on his version of the art of survivalism, has the Bear Grylls Survival Academy and generally has no idea what he’s doing. (Yes, he has been forced to apologize for faking it on reality TV, and we wouldn’t trust his advice – period.) This particular mishap happened during Season 3 of The Island with Bear Grylls, a show where regular people are made to participate in survival set-ups. (That already sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it?) Patrick Dauncey (then aged 19) fell off a cliff during filming – a spectacular thirty foot drop. You can see the video from The Guardian.

Read Also: Your Survival Library

Needless to say, he was airlifted to hospital – seriously injured, but it could have been worse. He can now be found on Twitter, for some reason.

That would have been the end of the story, at least until The Island with Bear Grylls got in trouble again – this time, a crocodile was stabbed to death. In another case, contestant Mike Tindall had to be…well, airlifted due to serious injury. Again. Really nice, Grylls.

Oh, and applications are open.

4. Steve Irwin

steve_irwinIt’s been more than a decade since his death, but most people still remember Steve Irwin as The Crocodile Hunter: He’s either seen as a man with a unique touch for interacting with wildlife, or someone who shouldn’t have gotten that close to wild animals in the first place. Whatever your opinion, he remains, at least, notable. While filming his tv show The Crocodile Hunter in September 2006, Irwin got a little too close to a stingray: A move which resulted in his death. It was widely publicised, and we’d be lying if we said it didn’t raise more questions about what should and shouldn’t be part of reality television.

His family continues his legacy in education and conservation. You can find the official website for The Crocodile Hunter here.

5. The Jump

jump_reality_showThe Jump is a Channel 4 (British) reality show that takes various celebrities and puts them against each other to compete in winter games-themed tasks. This sounds like a great idea until you realize just how dangerous the premise of this show could be. For example, here’s an article on The Huffington Post about how many celebrities have had to be removed from the game due to injuries…so far.

Just some of the injuries courtesy of The Jump include Beth Twiddle’s neck injury, Ola Jordan’s potentially permanent leg injury and Heather Mills’ injured thumb and leg. Surprisingly, the show made it as far as a 2017 season, with contestant Spencer Matthews taking home a prize we’re not sure should have been up for offer in the first place.

What’s the worst reality TV show injury you’ve heard of so far? How about the craziest reality show overall? Link us to it in the comments: We love getting in touch with readers!

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How To Survive In A War Zone

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Image Source: Pixabay.com

By The Survival Place Blog

It hasn’t been a question that many Western civilians have needed to ask in the past couple of decades because we have remained relatively clear of any world wars, military invasions or coups. However, whether we like it or not, the political landscape has changed a bit, what with Trump, May and Putin leading the free world.
As such, the chances of us getting caught up in a war zone type scenario are increasingly higher than they have been. Korea is testing nukes. Russia is influencing elections. Ukraine has been made unstable. And a lot more. That is why we have taken the time to give you some advice on how you can survive a war zone.

  1. Water and food are going to be your priority and that is because they are usually the two first things to be subjected to limitations, whether through the panic of enemy tactics. As such, stock up on non-perishable foods and learn how to effectively store water.

 

  1. Never expose yourself unnecessarily, especially during a firefight. Your best bet when it comes to surviving is to stay as concealed as possible, and that means learning how to use cover and stay low. It also means staying away from obvious and potential targets.

 

  1. Protect your home or hideout. Your defensive strategy is going to be absolutely key to your survival rates. So block the doors and board the windows as an immediate measure. Then see what other methods are available to you. If you can get hold of blast curtains, then do. Otherwise, use furniture as a means to protect yourself from any explosive damage. The more you can protect your home, the better.

 

  1. Spend the time learning about basic first-aid. Chances are that electricity will go pretty quickly in a war zone, so stock up books that will educate you on how to survive, and how to perform basic first aid. If you are with a group, then don’t keep this knowledge to yourself. This isn’t The Walking Dead, this is war, and so your vital knowledge needs to be shared.

 

  1. Know the area in which you are. It could be that you are familiar with the area, know the terrain and have a solid understanding of the different routes you can take to escape or move around. If you don’t have this knowledge, then get a map and learn all you can about your surrounding area.

 

  1. Learn how to use a firearm. This may not sit well with you, but it is better to know how to use a firearm and not need it than to need it and not know how to use it. You will want to do this without giving away your position or alerting anyone to your position. So start off with learning about the safety and how to reload. Then learn how to be comfortable holding a firearm. It could be enough to deter someone. It is also worth knowing how to maintain any firearms you have.

 

  1. Be disciplined when it comes to light and sound. At night, light and sound can travel a long way, so make sure you have a self-imposed curfew and stick to it. Another tip should be using red lights instead of natural lights, as it doesn’t travel as far. This could be a matter of life or death, so ensure there is nothing in your vicinity that shines or rattles without your permission.

This is only the basics but it gives you a good base line to start you thinking and making plans for just this sort of scenario.

Originally published at The Survival Place Blog: How To Survive In A War Zone

Filed under: Emergency Survival Tips, How To Prepare, Prepping

Everyday Cures for an Aching Tooth

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cures_home_toothache

It may still be true that most people just don’t like going to the dentist.  That remains the case even today although modern advances in dental care, techniques, and pain medications can take care of most tooth ailments.  Maybe it is just the sound of that air drill cranking up in your ear.

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

lion_home_teeth_acheIn the old days before dentists were as common as bus stops at city corners, grandmas would go into the kitchen or on the back porch to brew up some tonic to chase just about any pain away.  All those herbs and spices hanging swinging by strings from the rafters where not for scaring werewolves away.  In those pioneer days those dried plants were the only medicines available.

For the most part those old log cabin remedies are long gone, but some basic mixture cures can still be found among books and articles on primitive medicines.  Some of them can still be used today with some effects.  

Related: Five Best DIY Toothache Remedies

Here are seven of the most basic, common home remedies for a toothache.  Now, understand that relieving pain in the short term is far different from a permanent cure.  These toothache pain suspenders are just more or less temporary.  If you have a cracked tooth, or other serious dental issue, then I’m afraid there is a dentist in your future.  But, meantime, try one of these.  You never know, it just might make a permanent fix for some issues.  

Oil of Cloves

When I was a kid, my mom kept a small bottle of clove oil in the bathroom medicine cabinet.  I remember taking the cork out just to take a whiff of the clove smell.  I liked it.  She used it on toothaches and as I recall it did a pretty good job.  She would just dab a bit on the tooth with her little finger.  The pain was gone and the taste lingered.  

Put the oil of cloves on a cotton ball or a small cotton roll like dentists use.  Let it soak in, but don’t overdo it.  Then place the oil soaked roll or cotton ball next to the affected tooth.  Leave it there until the pain subsides.  Repeat as needed.  

Ginger-Cayenne Paste

toothache_ginger_pasteUse this home remedy in small amounts, because the combination makes for a hot mixture.  Form a paste with ginger and ground cayenne pepper flakes using a small amount of water.  Mix until the consistency is like a glue or pudding like substance.  Dab the mix with a cotton swab.  Place the paste directly on the tooth, but try to keep it off the gums and cheek inside your mouth.  Leave it there as long as you can stand it.  

Either spice can be used by itself, so if the pepper is too hot, try the ginger by itself.  

Salt Water Gargle

salt_toothachesPractically everybody knows this remedy, but its use may have gotten lost in the sands of time.  You can use common table salt or even sea salt, but add a tablespoon or so to water and heat to dissolve the salt.  After it cools to a warm solution, simply gargle the salt water for 30 seconds or so.  Repeat several times to ease the tooth pain.  

Peppermint Tea

ache_tea_toothVarious teas have long been known to provide pain relieving benefits.  Peppermint tea in particular seems to work well, perhaps because people simply like the taste of it.  Peppermint though has other properties to help with aches and pains as well.  The tannins in tea also assist with reducing swelling.  Brew the tea and swish it in the mouth to help knock the edge off the tooth pain.   Some even recommend placing a wet tea bag right against the tooth.  

Hydrogen Peroxide

toothache_hydrogen_peroxideThis is an easy remedy for toothache, but use it with some caution.  Use a 3 percent solution to swish around the impacted tooth.  Do not swallow the hydrogen peroxide but spit it out.  Repeated applications can be used, but again, be certain not to swallow the mixture.  

Ice Cubes

Ice cubes are of course frozen and the super cold tends to deaden nerves.  Application can be done in various ways, chipped or cubes can be placed into a sealed plastic bag, then wrapped in a piece of cloth.  This pack is applied next to the tooth.  The same ice pack can be placed outside the mouth along the cheek near the affected tooth.  Use until the pain is numbed.  

Tincture of Myrrh

myrrh_toothache_Commiphora_myrrha_-_Köhler–s_Medizinal-Pflanzen-019Bought on line or at specialty vitamin stores, myrrh is a natural gum or resin extracted from small trees of the Commiphora species.  The resin or oil acts as an astringent which reduces inflammation.  Make a mixture of the myrrh by simmering a teaspoon in two cups of water for about 30 minutes.  Then use a tea strainer to separate the material from the solution. Let the solution cool.  Then put one teaspoon of this solution into a half cup of water to further dilute it.  Rinse in the mouth over the tooth 5-6 times a day.  This should help reduce the pain and ache of the hurting tooth. Again, everybody gets different results from these various home remedies.  Continue to monitor the condition of the tooth.  Finding a dentist during a SHTF or any disaster can be a problem.  If the tooth gets worse, then begin a search for one.  Right now, find out if one should happen to live close to where you live or near a potential bug out location.  

Check Out: Making Maple Syrup

This is even more reason to pursue regular medical care as a preventive measure.  See your family doctors regularly, and a dentist at least twice a year.  If you take care of business, maybe you can avoid troubles later on.  
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Bushcraft: must have prepper survival skills!

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Bushcraft: must have prepper survival skills! Forrest & Kyle “The Prepping Academy” Audio in player below! Kyle and Forrest discuss bushcraft. What the heck is bushcraft? Isn’t that for survivalist and mountain men? It’s for everybody! Learning bushcraft skills should be one of the fountains stones for your preparedness pyramid. Before we get in to … Continue reading Bushcraft: must have prepper survival skills!

The post Bushcraft: must have prepper survival skills! appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Making Maple Syrup

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1_featured_syrupandshack

2_tappedinsnowMaking Maple syrup is an annual celebration of spring, as it is one of the first wild plant foods of the year and the rising of the sap marks the beginning of the spring harvest.  For the do-it-yourself tapper, it is not so much about calculating (the work to syrup ratio turns many a woodsman to purchase rather than boil, and perhaps even to the manufactured, corn syrup based, imitations) as it is about experiencing the full spectrum of early spring weather while communing with the forests and partaking in one of the most quintessentially American traditions.

By Nathaniel Whitmore, a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

For me, cooking sap is a way of remembering my first mentor who taught me of wild edibles and medicinal herbs.  It is also a time to remember the Native Americans who taught early colonists how to tap Maple trees and boil the sap into syrup and sugar.  It is also a great way to start off a new year with an act of self-reliance.  Even if you don’t have the time or lifestyle to make syrup every year, you should be familiar with the basic principles and practices in the case of necessity.  The process is rather simple, but there are several things to know and be aware of.  This article will explain the basic steps of making syrup, including some information you should know about trees, the season, and the process of cooking.

When to Make Maple Syrup

When the dormant sap of trees first rises in the late winter and early spring, its sugar content is high and it is free of many of the stronger tasting constituents of the sap of a fully awakened tree.  It is this sap, that rises and descends back to the roots with the warm and cold of early spring.  Once the trees bud, the sap takes on bitter flavor and remains suspended in the tree, while the hole you drill to receive the sap through starts to heal up.

This year, because of regular warm spells, the sap is very watery.  I have not counted the gallons I boiled or the syrup resulting from it, but I have heard a couple people say that a local paper reported that the ratio was around 70 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup.  Good cold winters followed by ideal spring conditions (such as a March, in my area, with lots of warm days well above freezing alternating with cold nights well below freezing), produce much sweeter sap than warm winters.  We had sap flow all year and by mid February people were tapping trees and getting good sap flow.  Often, it is still much too cold in February for much sugaring.  Generally, a good year starts off with Sugar Maple yielding around 1 gallon of sap for 35 gallons of syrup.  The average for Sugar Maple is said to be 40 to 1.  The average for Red Maple is 60 to 1.  In spite of the watery sap, the syrup still tastes delicious!

Which Trees to Tap

Generally, syrup is made from Maple trees.  However, many other types of trees were tapped by Native Americans, including Birch, Ash, Hickory, and Black Walnut.  The ideal tree is Sugar Maple.  Quite a lot of syrup is made from Red Maple.  Silver Maple, Ash-Leaf Maple (Box Elder), and others can also be used.  

9_maple_leaf_imageMaple trees are relatively easy to pick out.  One distinct characteristic of Maples is that they have opposite branching.  When looking at the buds or branch silhouettes, you can see that the buds are formed directly opposite each other and the branches tend to remain that way (of course, here and there one of two opposite branches breaks off, but overwhelmingly the opposite branch arrangement is obvious).  Most other trees have alternate branch arrangement, where the branches come from one side then the other, or spiral around, so that they are alternating, rather than opposite.  A third type, such as is seen in many evergreens, is the whorled arrangement, in which several branches spread out from a certain point, or node.

The only other trees in my area besides Maple that have opposite leaves are Ash trees.  Ash are easy to tell apart because, having compound leaves, the branches are rather stout (the smaller branching taking place in the deciduous stem of the compound leaf).  Since Maple have only simple leaves, they need more finely divided branches.

Maple bark is distinct, but difficult to describe and highly variable.  Red Maples develop a much more shaggy appearance in older specimens, while Sugar Maple has its distinct folds.  Red Maples have large red buds, while those of Sugar Maple are smaller and brown.  Sugar Maple prefers upland, more exposed areas.  Red Maple prefers moist areas and is also known as Swamp Maple.  (Sugar Maple is known as Hard Maple and Red as Soft Maple because of the density of the wood.  Sugar Maple is good firewood.)

Besides the sugar content of the sap, Red Maple often doesn’t flow as well as Sugar because of the cooler shady areas it tends to grow.  Generally, people try to tap on the south side of the tree of trees with good southern exposure.  This is because on an average year, the trees that warm up the easiest run the best for syrup productions.  However, if you are tapping the same trees year after year, you will want to spiral around the tree with the taps each year to avoid damaging the “sweet spot”.

Tapping the Trees

9_dropofsapI use a non-electric drill to make the holes for my spiles.  It is a traditional tool, works well, is much more peaceful than a power drill, and doesn’t run out of battery power.  The holes are drilled so that they are a little deeper than the spile will need to go (you don’t want to smash it into the back of the hole) and at a little bit of a downward slant so the sap doesn’t stagnate in the back of the hole. When you hammer the tap, or spile, into the hole, take care not to split the tree.  If you split the tree, sap will run out of the crack and less through your spile into the sap bucket.  I listen for a change in tone as I tap.  When the hollow thud turns to a crisp note, I know the spile is seated tightly.

Hang your bucket, cover with the lid, and, if the weather is right, enjoy the pings of the drops of sap landing in the empty buckets.

Boiling Maple Sap

Cooking of the sap is best done in a shallow pan, for surface area.  Bring the sap to a good boil.  As it gets cooking and for a little while after it is boiling impurities will rise to the top in the form of foam.  Use a sieve to scoop the foam from the boiling sap. Repeat this until it is cooking well without abundant foam production.  Every time you add sap, you will need to repeat the process of removing impurities as they foam to the surface.

3_3_goldenelixerAnother type of foam marks the end of the process.  Once the sugar concentration gets to a certain point, which depends also on the temperature, it turns to foam.  This is a very important point, for if you are not carefully watching towards the end, you could miss this stage as the syrup all turns to foam and bubbles out of the pan.  Many people like to finish the process inside.  It is particularly dangerous to leave almost finished syrup unattended in your home.  It could foam over and cause some problems.  This second foam, which marks the sugar concentration of syrup, is not to be removed with the sieve – it will simply calm back down to syrup once taken off the flame.

Finishing Steps

Once cooled, the syrup should be poured into large jars and let settle so that the sediment can sink to the bottom.  You can then pour the clear syrup off the top.  It might then be left to settle again, to remove any more sediment or sugar sand.  Often, people like to filter the syrup.  It can then be jarred.

With time, and sometimes quite quickly with watery syrup, mold can develop.  In order to recover moldy syrup simply bring to a simmer again and skim the mold off the top.  Let it simmer for a bit, being careful not to let it foam over, and skim repeatedly to make sure the syrup is heated up well and the impurities are completely removed.

Equipment

4_buckets on Red MapleI use the old fashioned galvanized buckets.  Many people today use plastic equipment, including plastic hose linked together to replace buckets at each tree.  I have often wondered about ways to make syrup without these specialty spiles and buckets.  Natives would sometimes collect sap through “v” shaped cuts, rather than holes with spiles.  It is, of course, possible to fashion spile with wood, bamboo, or other plants.

The process of cooking becomes much more challenging without metal.  The large, flat, pans used for sap boiling are perfect for the job.  I can’t easily imagine trying to boil without it.  Native people used hot rocks to boil sap, and apparently for making sugar.  I am sure they had ingenious ways for doing so, but any quantity of production will be much easier (and still plenty of work) with metal.

Drinking Sap

5_maplesyrupWhen I first began making Maple syrup, I was warned not to drink the sap.  However, this old knowledge was either misguided or the wisdom, for better or worse, has been forgotten.  Today, there are many companies bottling the sap itself for commercial sale.  It is being promoted as a sort of northern version of Coconut water. Sap, especially the first of the season, is indeed delicious.  It has a noticeably sweet taste and is otherwise clean and crisp like water.  Besides sugar, it has significant mineral content. It is also enjoyable to use the partially concentrated sap for making tea and oatmeal.  So, really, there are many ways to enjoy Maple sap, straight from the tree, during the cooking process, and as syrup.

Even if making Maple syrup is not much of an option, sap is a potentially important clean water substitute.  Weather permitting and without a good water source, it could be possible to tap a tree in the spring and collect the sap for cooking and drinking.  I mostly use 3 gallon buckets on the trees and on good days they can overflow.

One year I made some syrup from Black Birch when boiling from a stand of Red Maple.  The Maple ran for a couple weeks before the Birch started.  The Birch continued after the Red Maple had stopped.  The Black Birch produced copious amounts of sap.  Similarly, the Black Walnut that we tapped this season, though it dripped a little when first drilled it did not run much at first, when the Sugar Maple were productive, but then started to run well.  So, the staggered timing of the various tree’s sap flow is significant.  Knowing when which trees tend to run could help you collect sap beyond the season of any one species.

Pancake Ideas

pancakes_syrupOne final thought about Maple syrup- pancakes!  Since much of the delight in Maple syrup is in gathering food from the trees, I especially like to include other ingredients from the trees when eating it.  One of my favorites is acorn pancakes.  Properly prepared acorns are delicious and make very tasty pancakes.  I also like to use Slippery Elm powder as an ingredient.  (Sometimes, I simply make a gruel with Slippery Elm and Maple syrup.  It is very delicious.)  Walnuts can be added for additional flavor and nourishment from the trees.

The obvious drawback to Maple syrup is its high simple sugar content.  For this reason, I also like to use Cinnamon at times in my pancakes.  Cinnamon is known to help with blood sugar problems.  Blueberries (and other dark-colored fruits) are also good, as their high antioxidant content helps offset the sugar concentration.  Using such healthy ingredients makes enjoying Maple syrup a more wholesome and nourishing experience.

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Top 10 Safest and Possibly Best Countries for “Preppers” to Relocate to Outside the U.S.

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Could large parts of the U.S. become uninhabited following apocalyptic nuclear war? Yes. If you’re not cut out for a major bug out, take a serious look at international relocation beforehand.

Here are ten countries to consider relocating to and why

It’s no secret that millions of people across the U.S. are worried.

They worry about their future, about their employment and income, children, safety, quality of life, and much more. During the most recent presidential election numerous celebrities claimed they’d leave if Donald Trump won the presidency. We all know where that led.

While the rich celebrities are out of touch with reality and tend to be spoiled brats with little redeeming qualities, real, hard working Americans see the writing on the wall. We know what’s coming and that’s why we prepare.

Preparedness leads to stronger survival skills and foresight

We prepare with stronger survival skills, backup plans, and foresight into the future. We’ve seen the increase of natural disasters and climatic weather events on a steady increase for many years. Who can dispute that? We hear the threats growing from the Middle East and would be foolish to think that Radical Islam is simply going to stop their desire to destroy everything the U.S. stands for. Anyone who thinks it’s going to go away needs to get their heads out of the sand.

Threat of nukes, high level hacks, Islamic terrorism

Throw in all the threats of nuclear war coming from North Korea (and don’t forget about Iran at one time estimated to be connected to 80% of the world’s terrorism), coupled with dangerous hacking from the Russian and Chinese on all levels of U.S. infrastructure, and it’s clear that we face multiple threats that could sink us (with or without Trump in the White House), and not just to the U.S.

Story of the Titanic: America’s story?

We’ve compared the U.S. to the Titanic in recent years, the ship that the world was told was unsinkable. Realize this — if the U.S. has already hit the iceberg, it doesn’t matter who is the captain of the ship, Trump or not.

America’s enemies aren’t going away. Thanks to all that hacking by foreign governments, government spying, etc., etc., other superpowers in the world have the ability to sink us.

Attacks on the power grid, attacks on communications

They can attack our power grid for example, a loss of power leading to tens of millions of deaths in the first year alone (or the vast majority of the U.S. population say some experts on the threats to the grid, including EMP attack). What if these same foreign governments can interfere with communications from the White House that would give the order to U.S. ICBMs to launch retaliatory nukes at another country that had launched at us? Result: Their nukes strike. Ours never launch.

Today’s life planning should include preparedness

Instead of thinking only about college, careers, or retirement, or where to take that next vacation, now is the time to instead think about being adequately prepared with a get home bag and survival skills for surviving a long term disaster. For others, and the focus of this article, now may be the time to consider ‘getting out of Dodge while the gettins good’ and, for many, that may mean finding good, safe, and reliable places to live far from U.S.A.

Not everyone is cut out for a bug out

The fact is not everyone is cut out for a major bug out into wilderness or even just a remote town somewhere many miles distant. Bugging out successfully takes good health, resources and supplies, and a bit of ruggedness and even tactical know-how that some readers would rather not tackle.

Either choice should be something we should all be praying over, getting our lives right with God, so we know we are making the right decisions.

 

Top 10 Best and Safe Places Internationally for Americans to Consider Relocating To Before SHTF

Here are the top 10 we have found for Americans looking to relocate internationally as a way to survive a potential Perfect Storm of events that could lead to the toppling of an empire.

Falkland Islands

For those people in their 50s, 60s, or 70s, they probably remember hearing about the Falkland Islands in the 1980s. A British controlled territory in the southern portion of the Atlantic seaboard, the Falkland Islands remain under British control, but they’ve become much more self-sufficient in recent years.

The Falkland Islands are located in the southern Atlantic Ocean, some 400 miles from the South American mainland and 850 miles north of the Antarctic Circle. They are located between Latitude 51° and 53°S and Longitude 57° and 62°W; coincidentally, that is approximately the same latitude south as London is north.

Their main economic drive involves fishing, agriculture, and tourism. There has also been some exploratory drilling for oil that’s been met with some success, so it’s believed this could be a strong economic boost in the near future for the island nation.

The Falklands offer a number of benefits, most notably stability. With a large military presence from the British Empire (thanks to a failed insurgency from the 1980s), the Falkland Islands remain independent without any major threats to its residents or tourists.

Even though there’s a large military presence here, the Brits are said to not be involved in local politics. Schooling here is solid and the cost of living index remains comfortable for the average person looking for a better alternative to living in the U.S.

Malta

Malta has been on many radars as a place to consider for relocation in recent years and it’s really beginning to make some waves in the global perspective. The small nation is home to more people who are in long-term relationships. It’s not clear as to why this is the case, but it offers a low cost of living and some quality employment opportunities. More than that, a majority of respondents to a survey stated they are completely delighted with their partner.

A major draw for Malta is that it offers plenty of wonderful leisure activities, especially for those with some strong financial means. While Costa Rica ranked at the top of one list for personal happiness, Malta comes in a close second.

When asked, more than half of people living in Malta planned to remain there for the rest of their life, which was considerably higher than the global average.

The climate in Malta is relatively mild, and the summers can get hot and humid. For those who lived most of their life in the northern portion of the U.S., this could be like moving the Southeast part of the country.

While safety isn’t a major concern, some regions of the country are not as well kept or clean as others and this may be a deterrent for some. Cost of living is on the rise at the moment, but it still provides a great alternative to living in the U.S.

French Polynesia

A group of about 1,700 islands make up French Polynesia, located in the Pacific Ocean about halfway between California and Australia. While the total area, including water, is about the size of the European Union, land mass only consists of about 1,056 square miles, or slightly smaller than the state of Rhode Island.

What many people find attractive about French Polynesia is the climate. Yes, it can be quite hot and humid here during their summer months (between November and March), but even then the average temperatures hover about 85 degrees F. The water temperatures get to be about 84-degrees F during that time period as well.

As far as crime is concerned, it’s almost unheard of through many of these islands. Tahiti is the most commonly thought of island in French Polynesia, and also the most attractive to tourists.

Bora Bora, Moorea, and Huahine are commonly viewed as exceptional destinations. The nation has been under French control since the 19th century, but there has been a concerted effort in recent years to gain independence through economic development.

This makes it attractive for folks looking for a place to settle down and make their mark, and they get the added bonus of the tropical climate.

Australia

There are many people from the U.S. and beyond settling into Australia for a number of reasons. However, many of the same political issues that are currently plaguing the U.S. are beginning to filter down under.

One of the most attractive features of Australia is its incredible expanse of warm beaches and incredible (though dangerous) Outback. The climate in Australia can be relatively warm along the northern portion of the country, but winters in the south can be quite cold.

There is no shortage of recreational activities to enjoy in Australia and there’s no real language barrier for Americans deciding to call this country home in the future. However, you will need to learn some of the interesting and unique dialect, such as ‘barbie’ for barbeque.

Population levels are considered relatively low in Australia, which is a benefit for many Americans who are looking to get away from a growing population boom in the U.S.

One thing that may concern some is the new gun ban that went into effect in the country a couple of years ago. As most ardent patriots and survivalists understand is that a citizenry that’s disarmed allows its government too much control and power over it; one day that could be a bad thing.

Settling in near Melbourne or Queensland offers better safety than the rural outlying areas. The Outback can be potentially dangerous for those with little to no experience with unadulterated nature.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica has been a staple among men and women looking for a change of pace from the U.S. One of the main attractions for people moving to Costa Rica is the laid back attitude the entire country seems to have. In comparison to the U.S.’s ‘rat race,’ this pura vida, which literally means ‘pure life.’

This means most people here in Costa Rica have a relaxed and casual attitude about almost everything, including delivering the mail, restoring power when it goes out, or trying to accomplish any goal within the government.

Most people initially find this new attitude refreshing, but when you want things done on a schedule, it’s going to be incredibly frustrating. It also means you’re not going to find the infrastructure here in the best of conditions. Then again, if you’re from New York, Chicago, or just about any other major city in the U.S., you might even think Costa Rica’s infrastructure is better.

Because it’s a tropical climate, you may be in awe of the incredible surroundings, the jungle atmosphere, foliage, volcanoes (hopefully which stay quiet), and incredible scenery just about everywhere throughout this country. Of course, that also means some serious insects that are probably the size of small dogs or cats back in the states. There’s not much you can do about this, but if you’re okay with it, then settle in and enjoy life.

As far as safety is concerned, it’s the safest Central American country next to Nicaragua as far as violent crimes, but if you leave your home unattended too long, it will probably get broken into. Pickpockets target tourists and new people to the country frequently.

However, there are ways to prepare and protect yourself against these kinds of crimes and when you do, it’ll be a fun place to live.

New Zealand

If safety is your biggest concern, then New Zealand is a place to live. It’s one of the safest nations in the entire world, but there is a drawback; it’s far away from almost everything.

To go anywhere outside of this nation, you need to either cruise on a boat for a long, long trip or fly. Those are your basic options. This usually isn’t a big problem for many, but after what we witnessed in the U.S. after 9/11, when air travel is stopped, you could very well be stranded, at least until flights resume.

The scenery in New Zealand is often described as breathtaking, but it doesn’t have much in the way of historic buildings. While it doesn’t have a great number of people living there (about 4.5 million for a country about the size of Great Britain), this can be nice but there isn’t a great deal of public transportation and housing isn’t the best.

Job opportunities are limited, but for someone working remotely (online), that wouldn’t be an issue, either. Cost of living is decent, but not the best.

All in all, New Zealand would make a great option for any American who’s living with the belief that America has probably hit the iceberg and may go the way of the Titanic. Her sins are piled high to Heaven, as many evangelicals claim. God may be about to take action to upset America’s status in the world and the U.S. may go the way of the ancient Roman Empire, lost to the ash heap of history. If you do go to New Zealand, you may want to stay away from the city of Christchurch, which has been hit with severe and destructive earthquakes in recent years. Some evangelicals even claim that these earthquakes that have rocked Christchurch, New Zealand are a sign. Whatever it is, maybe it is a bit more than coincidental.

Canada

Canada remains a strong beacon for people seeking benefits coupled with a beautiful country. There are some issues to be aware of, however, before looking to Canada.

Yes, it has universal health care coverage and free public education, but nothing is free; the tax rate in Canada can be high, especially for those earning more than the average citizen. Also, if you enjoy city living, get ready to pay a premium for it, with real estate prices continuing to spiral upwards, almost out of control in Toronto, Quebec, and even Calgary.

If you’re interested in avoiding the harsh winter (at least in comparison to the U.S. in many spots), focus on the shoreline. Vancouver and Newfoundland can offer some respite from the seemingly endless winter cold that strikes inland more harshly, but does offer pleasant summers in many of these places that endure winter cold.

Newfoundland has been dealing with the effects of a depressed real estate market for some time and that means you could get some good deals on real estate if you relocate here. Just remember that jobs may be sparse in this part of Canada.

Schools are considered good, health care is good, and quality of life is often reported as being higher than in most other nations throughout the world.

Ecuador

Ecuador has been on the leading edge of people looking for a great place to live. While it’s beginning to show signs of slowing down and losing ground against other nations on the list, it’s still a strong alternative to living in the U.S. during uncertain times.

Ecuador offers a strong working abroad index, ranking 30th out of 67 countries, which is way down from where it was just a couple of short years ago. Job security is what’s holding back Ecuador from another top finish to many rankings.

A big part of the problem here is that few see the economic climate in Ecuador as being very positive.

Another major problem for this Central American country is safety. It had ranked much higher in previous years, but only 22% of people calling this nation home feel very safe here now.

One thing that makes Ecuador an appealing place to live is that it’s relatively easy to settle in and become comfortable. More than one fourth of people surveyed felt very happy about their decision to live in Ecuador, which is about 10 percentage points higher than it is for the rest of the world when asked about their home country.

Ecuador, as with several other Latin American countries, does have some safety issues, most notably cartels that kidnap children or other family members for ransom. So, life here definitely calls for being able to blend in so that you don’t stand out as a Westerner — having some kind of Hispanic heritage could be an asset, as well as a strong grasp of Spanish.

Just remember that avoiding some of the less populated regions and focusing more on the major cities where people tend to settle down can provide more safety, as long as you practice situational awareness and staying away from areas where criminals target tourists. Making and developing friendships, even marrying into a local family, with trustworthy citizens can be assets to living long term and not coming on to the radar of kidnappers in a few less populated areas.

Spain

Spain is only second to Taiwan (Taiwan isn’t on our list due to it’s close proximity to communist China) when it comes to overall contentment of foreigners calling a nation other than their original one home. Spain is an ideal location for a number of reasons, not the least of which is its incredible climate and when you plant yourself closer to the coast, miles upon miles of incredible sandy beaches.

Spain is a member of the EU and while that may cause concern for some people, it hasn’t dealt with some of the same issues plaguing other parts of the European Union. Politically speaking, it has a tendency to keep a low profile and doesn’t attract too much unwanted attention.

As with most places around the world you need to know where to live in a particular country. If you have children or plan to raise a family, Basque Country ranks highest in education in the country with Extremadura and Ceuta ranking lowest.

As far as safety is concerned, Basque Country ranks highest and Ceuta lowest. In fact, Ceuta, which borders Morocco, has issues with reported terrorist cells recruiting for ISIS and other organizations in Iraq and Syria.

Opportunities exist in Spain for skilled foreign workers in engineering, language teachers, and skilled trade, as all of these are currently in high demand.

Czech Republic

First off, since the EU formed, the Czech Republic has been on a boom economically. Housing is at a premium and is often more expensive for foreigners. However, it’s a rich and diverse culture that is ideal for those seeking history, culture, and rich architecture.

You’re nowhere near the sea in the Czech Republic, so if you enjoy the beach, this might not be the place for you. However, there’s a lot to do here and incredible outdoor hiking and other places to visit.

Crime is relatively low, but you’ll want to protect your wallet as there’s a rise in pickpockets in recent years. Salaries for work here are great, but you’ll have to contend with a lot of government bureaucracy.

It’s also not easy to get a driver’s license in the Czech Republic, but public transportation is cheap and reliable; you simply need to be aware that many taxi drivers try to take advantage of foreigners who aren’t familiar with the area.

If you’re looking for alternatives to uncertain times ahead in the U.S., there are plenty of great options to consider.

A dynamic President, but the same destiny?

As much as supporters and the rest of us appreciate Trump and his strong words for helping make America great again (who wouldn’t want that?), if the U.S. has enemies in the world, and it does, then only time will tell how these U.S. enemies will react. Don’t be fooled; if massive hacking is taking place, and it is, then potential scenarios where massive hacks attack U.S. infrastructure must be considered, and we should be prepared for that, whether it’s to the power grid or goes beyond the grid and includes White House communications with the military.

Hacking defenses are too little, too late

Trump’s plans to bolster America’s defenses to hacks are an essential step for a world superpower to take in the modern day. But it may be too late. Only time will tell just how much foreign governments have learned about essential U.S. operations from the thousands of hacks reported to have taken place and still taking place.

Conclusion

Maybe you’ll choose to bug out. Maybe you’ll bug in and do just fine instead.

Or maybe you’ll decide that a sunny beach in Costa Rica or a rugged Canadian coastal town or the Falkland Islands or even French Polynesia could be a better place to wait out the coming storm ahead.
Source : secretsofsurvival.com

 

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Acquiring and Managing Survival Gear and Equipment

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gear_equipment_survivalFor the sake of excusing any semantical argument over words here, we are going to basically equate the terms gear and equipment as the same.  I suppose one could separate the two.  For example, equipment might be an electric generator while support gear might be a gasoline can, electrical extension cords and connectors.  But, why bother?  

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

The important part for preppers and survivalists is to have the proper gear and equipment to overcome any kind of a disaster scenario.  But, certainly not just to have all the essential survival stuff, but to organize it and know how to use it when the time of necessity arrives.

However you approach the acquisition of gear and equipment, have an organized plan to do so including a system of categorizing what you are gathering in support of your survival efforts.  Organization is essential.  This is to avoid just buying gear and equipment willy-nilly, this or that, and chunking it all into the garage in a heap of stuff.  You know, like it looks the Monday after you get home from a weekend long camping trip?  Begin the process with an organizational system.

The Prepper Notebook

plan_active_shooterWhen it comes to prepping and most other phases of life demanding a sense of organization, I tend to be a bit anal retentive.  That is, I have to have a plan, and an on-going record of everything to do with the entire process.  This helps me track all the efforts, intents, goals, objectives and not to mention the actual acquisition of gear and equipment as with prepping.  At my age it pays big time dividends to have it all written down where it can be consulted, changed, or updated regularly.  

When asked by wannabe preppers how to get started, my first recommendation is to start a prepping notebook.  This helps organize everything for everybody.  You devise the book however it works best for you, by gear category, equipment type, bug in emphasis, bug out concentration, or whatever.  Develop chapters, lists, files, or any form of organization that is simple for you to follow and keep up.  This notebook becomes your Prepper Bible so to speak.  

Sure the notebook can take many forms.  Mine is a simple three-ring binder that allows me to update it with new pages, re-do or replace old pages as lists change or new ideas come to the forefront of the overall organizational plan.  Some do this but use a separate binder for each prepping survival category.  As the system grows over time, this might be a workable approach.  You decide what works best for you.

The Foundation Categories

survival_garden_forage_foodCommon sense and logistics vary from person to person.  The goal is simply to find a system you understand and that works for you.  Everybody’s does not have to be the same.  However, if you happen to be working with a team, several families, or even a neighborhood, then standardization would be the most plausible way to go.  

As you review survival information and planning guides, you may begin to see familiar terms and references to the most logical ways to organize survival gear and equipment.  I use a set of basic foundations to organize everything for me.  

My own basic survival foundations or essentials include (1) food, (2) water, (3) shelter issues, (4) hardware gear, (5) software gear, (6) security and weapons issues, (7) communication modes, and (8) health and sanitation.  Your categories may be different as you develop your own unique working organization system.  But create one and use it.  

Now let me go through each to briefly describe what kinds of items ought to be included in each survival foundation.

canned_miscellaneous_prep1) Food. This encompasses everything you will stock up to eat for 3-6 months.  It should cover both options of staying home or escaping to an alternative site.  Survival food kept at home could be considerably different than foods hauled to a bug out site.  At home you can keep bulky, heavy, high volume space items like canned goods, and big bags of rice, beans, wheat flour and such.  

Related: Preppers and Survivalists Must be Hunters and Gatherers

If you have not already pre-stocked a bug out site, then you may be limited to easier to handling foods to carry out of the house.  This might mean MREs, freeze-dried foods, or classic pre-packaged survival foods commercially purchased.  

Try to vary your menus by adding a balanced diet of meat proteins, vegetables, and fruits.  Watch your plan to keep lots of carbs and starches under control.  As with an everyday diet now, try to mix things up not only for nutritional value, but variety as well.  

glass_of_water2) Water.  If you are lucky, you’ll have access to continued water service or a private well even if it has to be hand pumped.  Calculate ahead to plan for at least one gallon of water per person per day.  That is a lot of water.  A water purification system will be needed for essential daily water needs but also as a backup way to purify any available nearby water source.  There are chemical ways to purify water, so look into those methods, too.

winter_shelter_survival_fire3) Shelter Issues.  Bugging in or out, make sure you have shelter and that it is sound and secure.  Deal with maintenance issues or be prepared to.  In storm areas you may want to pre-plan for window and door covers.  Beef up security with locks, bars, or other security efforts.  If the power grid is down, think ahead for ways to cool, heat, and light your shelter.  This may mean an outside generator and fuel supplies to power the basics if not only for short periods of time.  Have a plan for shelter security, monitoring and observing areas surrounding the shelter.  

4) Hardware Gear.  This includes everything from common mechanical tools, to construction tools, and everything thought of as hardware.  Add an AM-FM radio, weather alert radio, lanterns, flashlights, knives, utensils, cookware, cook stoves, hatchets, axes, machetes, gardening tools, chainsaws, sledge hammers, jacks, storage boxes, tote boxes, and such.  Have a thorough diverse selection of hardware repair items including nails, screws, bolts, nuts, and you name it.  Supplying hardware gear probably never ends, but is easier to organize for a permanent home than perhaps a bug out location, but try.  Even if you are forced to bug out, you will still need most all of this gear.  

5) Software Gear.  Software is basically anything canvas or nylon or such for bags, cases, packs, backpacks, fanny packs, sleeping bags, all garments for all weather conditions and seasons, and the same for shoes, and boots.  Also think of software in terms of gear that supports your weapons arsenal including cases, holsters, gear totes, ammo bags, magazine pouches, slings, and all else.  

300_blackout_blk_rifle_with_supressor_silencer_outdoors_hunting6) Security and Weapons.  A selection of weapons will be needed for self-protection, property protection, thwarting external threats of all kinds, two and four-footed, and for securing additional foods for survival by hunting and foraging.  A well rounded weapons arsenal will include handguns, rifles, and shotguns.  Acquiring the appropriate guns is a study of its own and requires much consideration, thought, comparisons, and planning.  Seek out professional advice at gun shops, gun ranges, and through a host of information sources available these days.  Shop carefully and buy prudently.  

Check Out: The KISS AR-15

Owning weapons also means everything that goes with it including an extensive ammunition supply of ammo types for both self-defense and hunting.  You will need storage capacity, boxes, or ammo cases.  Guns will need safes, or lockable cabinets.  Maintenance supplies will be needed including gun cleaning kits to handle every firearm and the consumables that go with it.  See also software above for weapons uses as well.  

Security plans and firearm’s training will be needed.  This should be a regular on-going activity to support all other survival training and activities.  Security should include both for the physical residence or bug out shelter, but also for vehicle escape during any SHTF scenario.  

communications7) Communications.  During a SHTF  scenario, communications will be important between you, family or other survival team members and or with the outside world.  IPhones may or may not be operational.  Hand radios can help for short range talk at home, or in the neighborhood, or bug out property.  Having a HAM radio is not out of the question as well. Emergency communication devices may be needed too including lights, flares, bonfires, signal mirrors, beacon strobes, message flags, PLBs (personal locator beacons) or anything else to draw attention when you need help.  Know the Morse Code SOS signal of 3 dots, 3 dashes, and 3 dots as a universally recognized emergency rescue signal.  That could come in handy, too.

8) Health and Sanitation.  This is a big one and not covered last because of a lack of importance.  Just the opposite.  During any SHTF or disaster of any kind, personal hygiene and sanitation is paramount.  Plan ahead how you will attempt to stay as clean as regularly as possible, and how to handle human waste issues.  Look into a variety of options for a porta-potty on site.  

medical_bag_packedPersonal health is critical especially if you take regular medications.  Be absolutely certain you maintain ample supplies of all required medications.  In this day and age of Obamacare or whatever the next plan is to be, it can be difficult to secure much more than 90 days of most prescription medicines.  Talk to your doctor about this.  Maybe you can find a pro-survivalist physician to help out.  Also keep a full supply of every kind of OTC meds you might use.  Have a comprehensive first aid kit, and backups for all frequently used items.  

Gear and equipment is a big issue in the survival movement.  You have to devise a plan to acquire everything that is needed, next, keep it organized and then to manage it for both long term storage and use.  The process never ends, so get started as soon as you can.

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10 Best Survival Skills for Natural Calamities

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Tomorrow is never certain.  We never know when there might be a dissonance which can disrupt the comfortable nature we are used to on a daily basis. There are many different emergency events which some people prepare for but, unfortunately, most of us tend to ignore. At some point in our lives, we will have

Building a Natural Emergency Shelter With No Tools

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

By Jarhead Survivor, a Contributing Author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

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

Time Line:

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

Don’t Lose Heat!

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

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

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

Resources and Construction

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

Read Also: Emergency Storage of Wild Plant Foods

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

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

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

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

Covering It Up

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

Related: Ten Facts About Fire

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

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

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

After Action Report

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

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

 

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The Most Important Survival Skills According to Grandpa

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The Most Important Survival Skills According to Grandpa   When people think about survival skills, they tend to lean more toward things like starting fires, making shelters, gardening, hunting, and being able to filter water. While all of these are indeed fantastic survival skills, they are actually secondary to the most important skills that people …

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Inferno: Ten Facts You Should Know About Fire

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fire_flame_facts_top_tenFire can be a beautiful thing to behold; knowing how to make fire is an essential skill that kick-started the next phase of human evolution, and it’s been keeping us alive ever since. As majestic as it is, fire is equally dangerous and will become deadly if unprepared. Fire can cross your path in several forms: As a way to create warmth; to send a signal; to prepare food and boil water; it can be as simple as lighting a cigarette or a campfire, or you can be faced with the wrong end of a ranging forest fire.

By Alex Coyne, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

Here’s what you should know about fire…

The three elements of fire.

This is basic high school science, yet something a lot of people discard when in an emergency. Fire needs heat, fuel and an oxidizing agent to burn. This is known as the Fire Triangle, and it’s vital when you’re making a fire or trying to kill one. (Fire needs 16% oxygen to burn; the air around us contains approximately 21%).

Have a fire starter kit.

Fire starter kits are cheap and there are thousands available for order on the internet; take a look at some of the options on Amazon.com and make sure that you have one as part of your survival kit. You’d rather have it and not need it, right?

If you make your own fire starters, do it carefully.

Many frugal survivalists prefer to make their own fire starter kits at home instead of buying them. That’s great, as long as you do it safely. (One of the most disastrous examples I’ve seen was an enthusiast who made his own portable kit in a small tin, then placed it next to the fire: It heated up, and the results should be relatively obvious. Store combustibles safely. It’s fire. Be careful).

Read Also: PureFire Tactical Survival Fire Starter

Don’t rely on matches.

Matches are a go-to for many avid campers, but it could also be their biggest mistake. Yes, there are ways to light wet matches – take a look at this article on WikiHow to see how – but that is not a chance you can afford to take when it’s your survival being put at risk. You’ll very likely be safer with a flint fire starter kit.

Certain woods are poisonous when burned.

poison_sumacKnow how to identify different types of woods, and know which are poisonous when burned. Novice fire starters often collect any wood they can find for their fire, only to be told by the locals later that they should have stayed away from it – or, in the worst-case scenario, serious illness or death occurs. Some include Elder wood, poison Sumac, and poison oak. Illness or death can occur from fumes, and any food prepared over a poison-wood fire could kill you.

Know how to treat a burn.

Common remedies for treating a burn include the application of some sort of fat or oil: Mayonnaise, butter, cooking oil or margarine. DON’T. This literally adds fuel to the burn, and it can lead to anything from infection to grilling your burn wound like a steak. Emergency guides generally recommend immediate cooling of the burn until help can be found – cold, sterile water. Have burn gel as part of your emergency kit, always.

Putting out fires are different.

Depending on what kind of fire you’re looking at, the way you put it out differs. Never grab the nearest thing and throw it on the fire; in many cases, that’s going to be an accelerant like alcohol, petrol or paraffin. (Also, never pour water on an oil fire. You’ll turn a fire into an inferno). Have a fire extinguisher handy, and keep baking soda and sand nearby. Remember how fire has three elements? Remove its oxygen.

Related: Six Steps to Harden Your Home Against Fire

Don’t forget smoke inhalation.

top_facts_smoke_fireIn most house and forest fires, the cause of death isn’t being burned alive, but smoke inhalation. Symptoms can include a dry cough, dizziness, nausea and potentially coughing up blood. Go down, because heat travels upwards and smoke tends to be less dense at the bottom. Fire can also be dangerous in other ways, like falling debris and burning embers.

Burnt food is carcinogenic; keep an eye on that fire!

Hone your barbeque skills at home when you’re not in a survival situation: Learn the tricks behind fish versus chicken versus beef; you can even bake on an open fire if you know how. Keep in mind that when food burns, acrylamide forms – this is a carcinogenic and obviously dangerous to your health.

Putting out camp and food fires are essential.

Put simply and in the words of an anthropomorphic bear, only you can prevent forest fires. Always make sure your fire is properly extinguished (and a fire that looks dead isn’t always), never leave a fire unattended and don’t put your tents, sleeping bags, gear or combustibles too close to the fire. Sand is your best friend for putting out smaller fires, so always keep a bucket or two nearby.

Send us your best fire starting tips for in the field (or at home) through the comments.

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Preppers and Survivalists Must Be Hunters and Gatherers

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empty_grocery_shelvesIt just isn’t realistic to think all of our prepping supplies will hold out forever. My family, friends, and I may have devised the best survival plan there is, even better than most of the selection of “you can make it” books at the big box book store.  But, as time dwells on, the supplies will dwindle. Maybe our Bug In survival scheme has enough food stocked for the millennium.  Good for us.  Tell me again how long that is?  Not unlike the Lord’s return if you believe in that survival book, we know not when the end comes.  So, how do you plan for it?  

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

Likewise, my loved ones and I had the forethought and the financial commitment to branch out to secure a designated Bug Out backup survival location.  This comes complete with a farmhouse, water well, and rural power.  A backup generator with a 1000 gallon fuel tank surely ought to last long enough until stability returns.  Well, we hope so anyway.

At the Bug Out, our panty is chocked full of long term foods, a mix of food types, and tastes.  With the available water we can mix up just about any variety of menu concoctions for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a few snacks thrown in.  We are among the lucky ones to have provisioned so well for the long haul.  

Time Bears On

We’re six months into the SHTF and doubt is starting to creep in.  The food stocks have gone past the first three rows in the cabinets, and now variety selections are waning.  Everybody is getting tired of canned meats, and if they eat another helping of tuna, they may start to grow gills.  Everybody’s eyes are not green with envy, but green from all the green beans and green peas.  Sure we are fine, but we all want something more, something different.  

Our Bug In residence is only two blocks away from a wooded area, and open sage fields teeming with natural life, both plant and animal.   The Bug Out escape house is near a huge forested area.   So far, neither area seems to have been approached by anybody else in the immediate area.  Scouting hikes provides good Intel that nobody seems to be using these available resources.  It’s time to take advantage of this situation.  

Hunting Becomes Necessity

squirrel_hunting_meatThis section is not so much about how to hunt, but more emphasis on the why we should.  Apart from whatever food supplies we laid by in store, we should be mixing in available game meat to supplement our diets.  Actually this should be done from the get go.  This makes our pantry supplies extend further well into a longer period of unrest or instability, or no new food supplies at the usual outlets.  We have to learn to supply some of our own food resources. The argument here too is for the value of this supplemental food source.  I am not a nutritionist, but everything I read about food recommends that protein is a good thing.  In a SHTF survival situation, adding meat to a diet would seem to be a very wise move.  

Read Also: Fallkniven Professional Hunting Knife 

What will you hunt?  If you have never hunted before and nobody in the group if there is one has never hunted, then you need to start to learn how now.  Books, videos, hunting television, seminars, and other participation activities can bring you up to speed fairly quickly.  I highly recommend a good library of hunting books, and everything to do related to the subject.  

Now, if you are an experienced hunter already, then you know what to do.  Generally this activity is initiated by on the ground scouting to inventory what game might be available to harvest.  This can be done by simple stealth hikes into prospective hunting areas.  Maintain as secret and as low a profile as you can.  Once you fire a gun to hunt, then you have given notice of your presence.  Archery is also an option to consider.   

Scouting can also be accomplished to a certain degree by observing via optics from a distance away.  You must have good binoculars and or a spotting scope to do this part well.  You are looking for obvious signs of game movement, tracks, deer rubs, and other game sign.  Visual confirmation of game in the areas is a really good start.  

hog_hunting_survivalWhat game might you expect to find?  Naturally this essentially depends on where you are in the country.  The United States is very blessed with a long list of wild game species available for pursuit via hunting.  The short list is white-tailed and mule deer, elk, antelope, goats, sheep, big bears, big cats, wild hogs and wild turkey.  Small game could be rabbits, squirrel, raccoon, and such.  Upland game will include all kinds of bird species from quail, dove, woodcock, pheasant, grouse, and the list goes on.  If water is around, you may find waterfowl in ducks and geese.  Find out what is normally available where you live and where your Bug Out site is located.  Your state wildlife agency will have a web site and likely pamphlets for this information.    

For hunting you will likely already have the necessary firearms including a decent, accurate, scoped rifle, one of at least .30 caliber, but a .223 or others can be used with the correct hunting type ammo.  Small game can be hunted with a rimfire rifle or handgun.  A shotgun will be useful for birds, waterfowl and small game.  Have a variety of shotshells on hand besides self-defense type loads. Certainly, you can add all types of hunting gear and accessories including hunting clothing, camouflage, knives, game bags, and everything else to help you secure the game meat you need.

Sport Fishing for Sustenance

fishing_survival_nutritionWhen we highlight hunting, we do not mean to slight or ignore the freshwater or saltwater fishing opportunities where you might reside during a SHTF.  As you have prepared for hunting, also prepare for fishing.  Fish are a high priority, good quality food to add to the menu. As with game animals, research what fishing opps are available to you and which types of fish can be caught.  I won’t list all the possibilities here, because the variety is so regional.  You should know your area well enough to know about fishing lakes, rivers, streams, and even small rural farm ponds, any water source that might hold edible fish.  Take the same advice on fishing as with hunting, if you do not know how.

Stock up on basic fishing tackle, rods, reels, line, lures, tackle supplies, hooks, weights, etc.  Have the whole shooting match on hand.  Again, a good book on general fishing will describe what to buy, and how to use it.  You may find also like hunting that fishing is a good recreational activity as well.  You’ll need that as well to support mental health during trying times.  

Gathering

survival_garden_forage_foodThis is my own weakness beyond knowing how to grow a garden.  By all means make plans and provisions for growing a garden of any size.  As you know Mother Nature also provides many sources of plant life that can be eaten raw, added to salads, or cooked. Again a good regional resource book will be valuable for finding greens, flowers, seeds, legumes, mushrooms, wild fruits, and other plant-vegetable life that is indigenous to your area.  This resource will be valuable so you’ll know what to gather and how to process it for food.  

Related: Tree Bark as an Emergency Food

So, obviously this was a quick treatise just skimming the bare essentials of food harvesting skills you will need to acquire and practice.  Ideally, you have stored up enough food stuffs to grind it out over a long period of time.  However, it is just smart to learn to supplement these supplies with fresh foods found in your local habitats.  Learn now what these resources are in your area, how to harvest or gather them as supplemental food sources.  

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John Woods
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“Micro-Homestead” This Modest Survival Shelter Could Save Your Life When It’s Time to Bug Out

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bug-out-woods

By Mac Slavo – SHTFplan.com

It certainly isn’t much, but when you have nothing else, it could be all you need.

In many emergencies, bugging out may not be the best option. Certainly it is not the best choice for every SHTF situation.

However, there may be situations where you need to leave your home or dwelling, get out of the city while you can, and lay low until/if sense ever returns to society.

You Tuber Kevin Coy shows you what may be the lowest cost, least effort way to build a viable survival shelter – which could also have uses for hunting, camping, play, etc.

He’s calling it a “micro-homestead.”

For the millions of Americans who can barely make it to the next paycheck, much less invest in high priced gear, supplies and stocks, it may be much better than nothing at all.

Here’s the set-up he came up with:

Of course, there are many other options, especially for those who have the means to purchase, build and develop more ideal structures and set-ups.

However, at 8×8, this building could likely be built without permit or on-grid approval in most areas, and could at least serve as a temporary structure until your dream getaway is ready to go!

Prepping requires time, energy, mental and physical effort and especially the mindset to plan ahead, make sacrifices in the “now” and put valuable resources towards insurance for the future. Many will contemplate taking action, but fewer still will actually be ready when the SHTF.

But the first step in this direction may prove to be the most important one you ever make…

This article first appeared at SHTFplan.com“Micro-Homestead” This Modest Survival Shelter Could Save Your Life When It’s Time to Bug Out

Filed under: Bug Out Bags, How To Prepare, Prepping, Shelter

Happy people: A Year in Taiga

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I’m pretty sure I posted this before, maybe last year, but in case you missed it it’s worth posting again.

Happy People: A Year in Taiga goes along the journey of one year with the professional trappers and hunters living along the Taiga river in Russia. These are hardy, no-nonsense old world people. They make a living in one of the harshest parts of the world, one that is at that beautiful and full of natural resources. The skill and resourcefulness they show is admirable.

It’s the second time I watch this documentary. Its four parts, one for each season (as in actual seasons of the year) each lasting one hour. Again, worth every minute of it.

One of the things that stuck with me this time though is that even though I bet they are happy people and some of them probably chose such a life, I sure wouldn’t trade places with them any time soon. In spite of the beautiful natural surroundings you can also see the Spartan way of life, in many ways limited. At the end of the day the trapping, fishing and hunting is done for good old money mostly, and they make rather little of it at that. Clearly being frugal is one of their main survival skills and if applied to any other line of work, likely one that pays better, it’s also understandable that a person would thrive as well.

Again, the skill and resourcefulness is amazing. How they cut down trees to make everything from skies to canoes, driving, navigating, repairing, fishing, hunting, trapping. While these people may be jack of all trades, they sure have mastered several of them as well.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

New To Prepping? Here’s Where To Start From

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New To Prepping

Bit by bit, the ranks of preppers are growing all the time. More and more people are waking up to the fact that the government can’t protect them and doesn’t even do a very good job of providing support in the aftermath of a disaster. Oh, they throw money at it, but money isn’t the answer to everything.

Every new prepper is faced with the same problems and the same questions they have to answer for themselves. It’s not that there’s no information available for new preppers to use, it’s that there’s too much information.

Check online for prepping or survival and you’ll find an enormous amount of information, not all of which agrees with other sources. Wading through all that and finding the information that one needs can be a daunting task.

You might very well be one of those newbies; someone who has just decided to look at prepping for the first time. If so, welcome to one of the most important movements in our country today.

Prepping is an individual journey that each of us take, with no two walking exactly the same path. Yet we are preppers together, part of a fellowship of like-minded people who have decided that it’s time to do something for themselves.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already decided that just looking at information isn’t enough. Being a prepper means taking action; preparing yourself and your family for whatever problem or disaster might come your way. Preppers believe in self-sufficiency; trusting in themselves in an emergency, not in the government.

But where does one begin? Of all the things that one can do to become more prepared, which one or ones are the most important? What does one have to do, in order to truly be prepared?

These questions are complicated by the fact that each person’s situation is unique. Oh, we all have things in common, but we also have our own needs, our own family, our own skills, our own resources and our own risks that we face. So cookie cutter prepping doesn’t work. Each person has to determine what their own needs are and how to best meet them.

Even so, there are some things we should all do at the beginning; things to get us on the road to becoming better prepared. The first steps we need to take on this journey may not be what you’re thinking. In fact, I’d be surprised if many preppers thought about these steps, before walking along the path for a ways.

Educate Yourself

It’s easy to think of prepping as just stockpiling supplies for a rainy day. That’s actually where most of us start off. Whether we just buy a couple of bags of beans and rice or go hog wild buying prepackaged survival food, squirreling food away for a rainy day seems like an almost instinctive act; something we easily gravitate towards, as a starting point for our prepping.

There’s nothing wrong with stockpiling food and in fact you need to do so; but before you start stockpiling, it’s a good idea to know what to stockpile. Not all foods keep well, nor do all of them provide the right nutrition to get you through an emergency. Take some time to research, before running off to the grocery store.

While you’re at it, you need to research much more than just what foods to stockpile. Our modern society doesn’t prepare us well for survival. If anything, it prepares us to die blaming others. But you can’t count on those others to help you survive. They don’t know how to either.

Our ancestors of 200 years ago were much better suited for survival than we are. For them, every year was about survival. They either stockpiled enough preserved food and cut enough firewood to make it through winter or they died. There weren’t too many other options available. Their lives were simpler, their needs and wants more closely associated with surviving and they had the skills they needed to take care of themselves.

There are a wide range of skills that you need to learn, some of which you might actually already know. If you like to go camping and spend time in the outdoors, you’re off to a good start, as the skills associated with those activities are closely related to survival skills.

Remember that a knife is a must have tool for outdoor survival as it helps you hunt, make shelter, start a fire and defend yourself.

Get your FREE easy to use and safely concealable Smith and Wesson Tactical Folding knife! 

Hunting, fishing, and starting a fire are all good survival skills. But you’ll also need to know how to grow food in your garden, purify water and defend your home as well.

For preppers, learning isn’t something that begins or ends, it’s just something that is. We start out learning about survival when we get into prepping, and we keep on learning for the rest of our lives. There’s always some new skill or information to learn; all of which is ultimately useful.

Develop a Survival Mentality

Most people tend to look at survival as a physical activity; but it’s as much mental as it is physical. You have to have the right attitude to survive or no matter what you do, you’ll fail.

What do I mean by the right attitude? I mean the attitude of a survivor. You have to be convinced that you’ll survive. You have to be convinced that you’ll overcome. You need to be convinced that you can do whatever is necessary to keep yourself and your family alive.

Here in America we’re protected from many of the harsher realities of life. Few Americans have had to kill and prepare their own food. Unless you’re a hunter; you probably don’t have the slightest idea of how to kill and clean a chicken for dinner, let alone how to properly field dress and butcher a deer or other large animal. But if it’s not done properly, the meat from that animal can be tainted in the process.

But you know the hardest part of killing and preparing that animal? It’s getting over the idea of having to do it. Most of us are squeamish when it comes to things like that; squeamish to the point that we’d die before killing that chicken.

Family food

Yet for millennia our ancestors hunted, killed and ate their own game, without the slightest bit of squeamishness. Men would bring the game home from their hunt, and their wives would clean and cook the animals. They didn’t throw up; they didn’t feel funny about it; they did it, and they enjoyed the meal that they prepared.

For us, here in America, overcoming the imprint of our society and accepting the needs of survival is paramount to being able to survive. Most have to do so at a moment’s notice, when they are faced with their first disaster. But those who develop a survival mentality learn to make the adjustment at their leisure, when it’s easier to do so.

Interestingly enough, attitude is so important to survival, that every military manual on survival starts off with a section on attitude. When you consider the amount of money and effort that goes into the preparation of those manuals, that one single fact is rather telling. Attitude is key to survival.

Analyze Your Family’s Strengths and Weaknesses

Each of us has a different family, with different strengths and weaknesses. Some family members might have skills or abilities which easily translate to a survival setting. Others have special needs that have to be considered when making our survival planning. Typically, we find a bit of each in our families.

Surviving as a lone wolf is much harder than surviving as part of a team. In a team, each individual is able to take part of the load, helping each other. With each one learning the necessary skills and doing part of the necessary tasks, not only does the work become easier; but more importantly, the chances of the team’s survival becomes greater.

Your family is your first survival team. Even if you join with others, in a larger survival team, your family is still the core of your personal team. As such, it’s important that you understand what your family is capable of doing, what it is capable of learning, and even more importantly, what you might need others to do for you, because you are incapable of learning to do it for yourself.

As part of this, you also need to analyze the assets you have at your disposal.

Do you have a vacation home somewhere, that you could use as a survival retreat if you needed to? Do you have a four-wheel-drive vehicle? Do you have enough land to turn your home into a homestead? Do you have camping equipment? How much money do you have available to use for prepping? What tools do you have, which will help you survive? Does your home have a fireplace? All of this, and more, will ultimately affect your ability to survive.

This process of analyzing your family will ultimately tell you what you need to do, in order to get from where you are today, to where you need to be. But don’t just do it once; from time to time you should reanalyze the situation and make any necessary adjustments.

Decide What Risks You Face

Prepping is ultimately about being ready to face a disaster, whether that’s a personal disaster, a regional disaster or a nationwide disaster. The problem is, none of us know the disaster that we are going to face. That makes prepping a little bit difficult.

But not knowing doesn’t mean that we can’t prepare. It just means that we prepare for likelihoods, rather than certainties. In other words, while it’s safe to say with certainty that we’ll all face some sort of disaster, sometime in our lives, what exact disaster we might face is nothing more than a likelihood.

So, the thing you need to do is figure out what the most likely disasters are, that you are going to face. That stats with figuring out what possible disasters you could face, ranging all the way from loss of a job to a zombie apocalypse, with natural disasters and the loss of the electrical grid in between. Don’t leave anything out at this point, as all you’re really doing is brainstorming possibilities.

Once you have your list of possible disasters, you need to give each of them two scores, say on a scale of one to five. The first scale is how likely you feel it is that you’ll actually face that disaster. The second scale is how much of an impact that disaster would have on your life. Some disasters, such as a zombie apocalypse might have an extremely low likelihood, earning it a one on that scale, but an extremely high impact, should it actually happen, earning it a five on that scale.

SVP prepping

(Note: The term TEOTWAWKI is commonly used by preppers to stand for “The end of the world as we know it.” This does not mean the literal end of the world, but rather, the end of our  modern lifestyle that we are accustomed to.)

Combining the two scores gives you a number from 2 to 10. That number is the one you use to prioritize considering that particular disaster in your planning. The way that usually works out, is that we concentrate on the highest ones and ignore the lower ones.

But in preparing for the highest ones, we are probably going to be prepared for whatever happens with the lower ones.

Begin Planning

Now that you’ve got a pretty good idea of what you have to work with and what you’re likely to face, you can start your survival planning. Once again, this is a process that will continue throughout the rest of your life. Everything you learn has the potential to change and improve your plans.

Your plan needs to define what you will do in each of the potential disaster situations you are likely to encounter, especially the high likelihood, high impact ones. You will find that there will be some overlap between different scenarios, but there will also be things that are unique to each one.

From this, you can determine how much you need to stockpile, whether it’s for a month, six months, a year or the rest of your life. You’ll also be able to determine the best place for your family to survive, in a variety of different situations. In many of those scenarios, you’ll be better off sheltering in place, or “bugging in.” But there might also be some which require you to bug out and go to a survival retreat somewhere.

Don’t expect that you’ll get everything right the first time around. You will most likely forget some items, because of being focused on other needs. That’s okay. As you continue to study, you’ll find the places you need to fill in, to make your survival plans and your stockpile more complete.

Prepping is a process, not a destination. You’ll probably never reach that point of perfection, where you sit back and say to yourself: “Self, I’ve arrived. I’m ready for anything.”

But rather, you’ll gain more and more confidence that you can take care of yourself and your family, no matter what comes your way. Each little step will give you and your family more security, and ultimately, that’s what prepping is all about.

A good knife is the most important tool you can have with you. Click the banner below to grab this offer!

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This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

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6 Solid Reasons to Invest in a Survival Bow and Arrow

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6 Solid Reasons to Invest in a Survival Bow and Arrow

Modern day survival enthusiasts are never without a trusty rifle or handgun. These weapons are often used for hunting game and for self-defense, which may become a very real necessity when you’re trying to survive in the wild. Of course, guns are easy, convenient, and powerful. But if you’re a survival specialist that’s looking for a real challenge, it’s probably better that you invest in a survival bow and arrow instead. In fact, a survival bow and arrow isn’t really something you should ever be without.

If you’re thinking you can get by without a bow and arrow, and you’re questioning whether you should really get one or not, this list of solid reasons should swing you towards the right decision.

  1. Lightweight and Portable – It’s any survivalist’s priority to maintain the lightest possible weight when in the wild. That’s because a heavy pack will make you feel more tired much faster, and can restrict the movements you can comfortably make. With too many guns and ammo in your bag, you might find yourself panting heavily before midday.

A survival bow and arrow can be very lightweight, collapsing into just three pieces or less, depending on the model you choose. This means you can easily fit it into a standard backpack or carry it around without working up a sweat.

  1. Versatile – The different parts of a survival bow and arrow can be easily adapted to perform several other functions. For instance, the bow can be used as a makeshift fishing rod, arrows themselves can be used as part of your shelter, and you can even utilize your bow to start a fire much easier. All that said, it’s easy to see that when you take a survival bow and arrow with you, you’ve got more than just a weapon.

 

  1. Silent – The best way to hunt down as much game as possible would be to take each one down without scaring off the others. When you shoot a rifle or a handgun, the reverberating noise can startle any other game in the area, meaning you’d have to go through the entire luring and calling process all over again. With a bow and arrow, you can take down your game without causing too much of a commotion, so you’d have more chances to hunt more down in the same proximity. Throw in the shooting rest you can find, and you can spend hours in the same spot, shooting down game without getting noticed.

 

  1. Endless Ammunition – When your rifle or handgun runs out of ammo, you become nothing more than a sitting duck. That’s why it’s any shooter’s priority to make sure they make the most of each bullet they have. With a survival bow and arrow however, you can have access to an endless supply of ammunition. Even so, if you don’t bother to retrieve your arrows, you can make your own from twigs, sticks, and wood you find around you. So you can be sure there’s always something you can use to make the most of your bow.

 

  1. Less Limited – Depending on where you live, there could be a plethora of different gun rules that you’d have to follow unless you want the cops at your doorstep. What’s more, buying a gun isn’t all that simple. There are lots of paperwork, documents, and requirements you need to submit just to register a gun to your name, and it could take weeks before you get your hands on your purchase.

With survival bow and arrows however, you won’t have to worry about the same issue. You can literally walk into a store and purchase one without any questions, and you can even have it shipped straight to your home when you buy it online.

  1. Adaptable – When using a gun for your hunt, you’d have to consider the size of your chosen game and select a corresponding gun caliber. If you’ve only got a few firearms in your possession, you may not be able to hunt down other sizes of animals because of the inappropriate caliber of your available gun.

With a survival bow and arrow however, you can screw on different arrow heads to allow you to take down literally any size animal you want to. Simply interchange the attachments to adapt your arrow to your chosen target and you’re good to go.

Another plus when it comes to adaptability is the endless number of attachments you can purchase for your bow. For instance, if you feel that your bow isn’t accurate enough or if you struggle to aim with a bow, you can purchase other attachments to make it easier to use. Often, the best bow sight can be bought for a very reasonable price, making the bow itself an economic choice compared to guns.

A survival bow and arrow can be a major investment, especially if you take your time to learn the ropes and master this uncommon survival weapon.

So, what are you waiting for? Up your hunting game and become a true blue survival expert by purchasing your own survival bow and arrow today.

 

About the author : 

Kevin Steffey is an avid hunter and freelance writer, the founder of Deer Hunting Field. He loves spending time in the field with his rifle more than almost anything else. He also occupies his off-time discussing deer and their habits online. But more than anything, he wants to teach and educate about hunting …
 

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Bushcraft 101

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Bushcraft 101 John Smith “Disaster Prep Guides” Audio in player below! Bushcraft is a term for wilderness survival skills that was originally created in Australia and South Africa. There are some areas in Australia that are called “The Bush,” which is an area that is mostly wilderness. If you are lacking the needed survival skills, … Continue reading Bushcraft 101

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12 Rare Skills That Will Come In Handy When SHTF

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If you’re at all familiar with the world of prepping for natural disasters or other life-changing, cataclysmic events, you may have made some simple provisions of your own. You’ve decided that having a bug out bag is a good idea; you’ve stocked up on nonperishable items in your pantry; you have a plan for where […]

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95 Survival Tips For When The SHTF: “Carry These. Do This. And Don’t Ever…”

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95 Survival Tips For When The SHTF: “Carry These. Do This. And Don’t Ever…”

Here is a quick barrage of sometimes unconventional survival tips for when the worst happens.

Some are useful supplies to bring along, others are simple tips you need to learn and practice before the situation gets real.

These ideas may help you stay alive, avoid losing heat and sweating, stay hydrated and establish shelter, fire and food:

Would you carry your bug out bag supplies in a guitar case to throw off suspicion, or remember aluminum foil as a simple fire starting barrier to moist or wet ground? Remember how to foster sparks when you need to start a fire without wasting too much valuable time?

What about homemade ballistic protection? Or a hobo fishing kit and toothpaste for bug bites? Glow sticks to attract rescue crews? Don’t forget first aid basics and cigarettes for barter, or alternately, bug repellent.

Most know the basics of water treatment, but carrying bleach, charcoal and/or tablets is a must for your bug out bag. This video remind you not to wash wounds or broken skin in questionable or untreated water, as infection could result.

Add a foil blanket inside a tarp or tent structure, and amplify the heat generated and kept in the temporary shelter – now a “super” shelter. Ponchos can turn into a shelter, block rain, or collect rain water for additional drinking sources.

There are many other simple tips and supplies you’ll want to think about ahead of time – consider these factors, and use them to upgrade and refine your preps and plans. Think ahead, practice and train – well before the SHTF.

Have some tips that weren’t covered in the video, or have it beat? Please share and discuss below.

History has shown us many times that it can all fly away in a split of a second. The biggest misstep that you can take now is to think that this can never happen in America or to you! Call me old fashioned; I don’t care…but I completely believe in America and what our ancestors stood for. They all had a part in turning this land into one of the most powerful countries in the world. Many died and suffered before a creative mind found an ingenious solution to maybe a century old problem. Believe it or not, our ancestors skills are all covered in American blood. This is why these must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same for our children and our children’s children. Our ancestors laid the bricks and built the world’s strongest foundation…that we are about to -irreversibly forget! I don’t want to see our forefathers’ knowledge disappear into the darkness of time…and if you care for your family…and what America stands for…then neither should you! Watch the video HERE .

 

Source : www.activistpost.com

 

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Emergency Fire-starter: Start A Fire With Bare Hands

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Starting a fire

Starting a fire with your bare hands may sound like the manliest activity you can do, doesn’t it? Bear Grylls has a couple of episodes about how to start a fire without any gear available, for cooking some crunchy worms, right?

I am kidding, of course, but knowing how to start a fire in a survival situation is a pretty useful skill to have. Without fire you can’t cook your food, you can’t get warm, you can’t dry your clothes, you don’t have light, you can’t signal your presence, you can’t disinfect water for safe drinking, and so on and so forth.

We rely on technology to survive; even when it comes to wilderness survival. We are comfortable thinking that it will be OK because we have a cool survival knife, even better than Rambo’s, not to mention our top of the line survival/emergency kit, which contains all the things we’ll ever need if SHTF, including some cool BIC lighters, impermeable matches and what not.

However, life has the unpleasant habit of ignoring our plans, and emergencies don’t seem to care about our personal inconveniences.

The question to be asked and answered is — what are you going to do if SHTF and you don’t have your survival gear on your person?  Well, you’ll have to improvise or die trying, right?

This scenario is pretty far-fetched at first glance; I mean, finding yourself alone and close to butt-naked somewhere in the woods, without any type of gear and all that jazz.

Find out how this little survival stove that fits in your pocket can save your life!

Fire is what separated the humans from the animal reign, along with the invention of the wheel and Facebook. (I’m kidding again, of course!)

But I can bet that even the invention of the wheel was somewhat related to fire, i.e. there are “cultures” in remote parts of the world who didn’t invent the wheel, but they know how to make a fire without a Zippo lighter. The idea is that if some troglodyte who still lives in the Neolithic period, technologically speaking, can make a fire using what’s naturally available, so should we.

And obviously, making a fire with minimal gear that you can do yourself will require a paleo approach, i.e. we’ll have to see how primitive cultures mitigate this problem.

As far as primitive fire starting goes, most of the methods (all of them actually, if I come to think about it) involve the 2nd law of thermodynamics, and I am talking about mechanical energy — friction in our case — which is converted into heat, another form of energy which leads to fire and a happy ending.

So, as the Greek philosopher and inventor Heraclitus said back in the day, everything changes, and so does energy. But enough with philosophy and let’s get down to business.

How To Start a Fire Using Sticks

The simplest method for making a fire via friction in dry climates is the hand drill. The concept is pretty simple: you’ll have to cut a V shaped notch into a piece of wood, or fire-board if you like, then to use a rock/knife or whatever you have at your disposal for making a small depression adjacent to the notch, where you’ll place a piece of bark which will eventually catch the ember and burst into flames.

In the next step you’ll have to put the spindle (a stick basically) in the depression and roll it vigorously between the palms of your hands. You know what I am talking about. You’ve seen endless “Wild Survival” documentaries about it.

Some tried it in real life and failed miserably, but this guy seems to have got the hang of it.

Video first seen on Videojug

It’s worth mentioning that two persons can do it better, i.e. one person will apply downward pressure to the drill constantly, while the other will use a shoelace or a piece of string to rapidly rotate the spindle.

How to Start a Fire by Friction

If you’re alone, you can use this method , which is way better than rolling the spindle in the palms of your hands, especially if you’re not used to manual labor. This method involves using a little bow for rolling the spindle and it’s order of magnitude is more efficient than doing it with your hands only.

Video first seen on AZ Film Company

How to Start a Fire Using a Cord Drill and a Pump Drill

Check out this guy who makes it all look very easy. Watching this clip, you’ll learn how to make a cord drill first, then to upgrade it to a pump drill (this can be used for making holes in things, which may prove useful). The cord drill is a spindle featuring a flywheel attached basically and it works very well for making fires and more.

Video first seen on Primitive Technology.

How to Start a Fire With the Fire Plow Technique

Another primitive method for making fire is the fire plow technique. The concept is pretty straightforward, as you’ll cut a groove in a soft piece of wood, which will be the fire-board for all intents and purposes, and then you’ll rub/plough the tip of a harder shaft up/down the groove.

This technique produces its own tinder as the sticks rubbed together will push out tiny particles of wood ahead of the friction.

Video first seen on Survival Lilly

How to Start a Fire With a Fire Piston

Here’s a cool method called the Fire Piston and it works under the principle that air gets very hot when compressed at high pressure.

If you’ve ever used a bicycle pump, you might have noticed the heat that is created in the cylinder. When you compress air inside a fire piston, it happens so quickly and efficiently that it can instantly ignite a piece of tinder placed at the end of the piston.

Video first seen on Discovery

Ancient methods of making fire pistons involve hardwood for the tube or even a horn. The tube must be closed at one end, accurately bored and very smooth inside. The gasket can be improvised from fiber or leather for creating a seal for the piston in order to get the compression required.

How to Start a Fire With Flint and Steel

A classic in the field of ancient fire making is flint and steel. If you strike a softer steel against flint (which is harder), you’ll produce sparks to ignite your fire. But you can also make fire with just what’s available out there, i.e. flint, marcasite, pyrite, fungus, grass/leaf and quartzite.

Video first seen on freejutube

Remember that fire provides you with a cooking flame so knowing how to start one with your bare hands will make your survival cooking easy as 1, 2, 3!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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How to Prep Like the Rich

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com I recently came across such as Doomsday Prep for the Super Rich and a few others that say the elite are preparing for disaster.  Many are concerned about widespread unrest and other large scale catastrophes.   We’ve been writing about preparedness for some time now so I am not surprised.  Anyone who considers how dependent we are on technology, electricity, transportation and infrastructure quickly realizes our way of life can be interrupted by a […]

The post How to Prep Like the Rich appeared first on Apartment Prepper.

Lead: The Perilous Poison in Your Tap Water

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water_meter_contaminated_lead_drinking

lead_water_infrastructrure_jackson_flintLead is a killer.  To that statement, nobody is surprised.  The shock may be perhaps just how silently lead slips into our systems, not only in terms of its delivery often by aging public utility works or other modes, but also how it becomes absorbed into our human bodily systems.  More often than not, the serious harm of lead poisoning has long taken its toll on the physiology of a person before it exhibits itself overtly via a plethora of symptoms finally manifested in multiple forms of chronic illness.  It is a dastardly manner to get sick or die.  

So, as prepper’s intent on surviving this world’s outward disasters in the form of natural and unnatural events, how does one protect against the potential infusions of poisoning by lead sources?  First is to understand it, know it, then begin to practice cautions to guard against it, identify it, and recognize the threats and how to ward off its impact on our health and that of our family especially small children, who are more highly susceptible.  

Lead the Toxin

lead_poison_toxic_drinkJust for the sake of basic scientific information the chemical symbol for lead on the chart is Pb.  It is a highly toxic metal considered to be a very strong poison.  It builds up in the human body sometimes not exposing itself in terms of medical symptoms for months or even years.  Children are the most susceptible, because in their very youngest years they are still developing their brains and nervous system which lead attacks. Lead is primarily a neurotoxin in that it mainly targets the nervous system as well as the brain.  It causes a number of maladies and disorders within these physiological systems.  Lead poisoning can also cause blood disorders that can be equally terminal in nature.  

The Symptoms of Lead Poisoning

The list of lead poisoning symptoms in the human body is lengthy.  The listing includes abdominal pain, cramps, aggressive behaviors, constipation, sleep disorders, headaches, irritability, loss of appetite, fatigue, high blood pressure, numbness or tingling in the extremities, memory loss, anemia, and kidney dysfunction.  

doctor_medical_SWOT-2Additional symptoms often displayed are vomiting, muscle weakness, stumbling, seizures, coma, and encephalopathy, which is a form of confusion often combined with coma. The real trick is to not only to identify these symptoms or illnesses, but to prove the link of these ailments to actual lead poisoning.  Thank goodness for us, this can be proven by a series of appropriate specific blood tests.  In theory then the links to lead poisoning can be shown so that treatment regimens can be prescribed by the medical profession.  

Lead Delivery Threats

graveyard_water_towerRemember Flint, Michigan?  I am certain there are numerous other examples of both isolated and widespread excessive concentrations of lead having been delivered to the citizen population via municipal water systems.  Lead poisoning is after all caused by the ingestion of the material into the human body and thereby absorbed into the tissues. Though as we know, lead poisoning can also come from lead paint that was quite common in older residential housing construction as well as huge metropolitan housing complexes, apartment buildings and other dwellings.  Lead was also prevalent in older toys, and other items that children might have put in their mouths over extended periods.  Those sources of lead have now long been cleaned up and removed from society for the most part.  They no longer remain a threat to human health, but drinking water sources are another matter entirely.  

Lead sources can also exist within our soils, ground water, and surface waters and are considered environmental contaminates.  These are often quite prevalent in areas where lead is mined or exists within the earth structures naturally. Towns and cities all over the country are under the threat of aging water piping systems. These were constructed of lead pipes and soldiered joints and are still a widespread threat in America.  Rural water systems are not exempt either from lead poisoning.  Threats of lead in water also exists in private wells as well.  

Every drinking water source is subject to government regulations regarding the amount of lead registered as PPB’s or parts per billion.  The Federal Government’s EPA has established acceptable standards for lead and all chemicals in drinking water.  These sources are supposed to be tested and certified on a regular basis, but sometimes are not.  Are your sources tested?  Is the water coming from your tap right now safe to drink?  This, you better know.  

A Case in Point

sink_water_drinking_contaminationJust last year a municipality near my location, Jackson, Mississippi, experienced issues with elevated lead levels in the city’s drinking water sources.  After extensive sampling of water in 58 city sample sites, 22 per cent of the locations showed lead levels exceeding the accepted Federal levels. The Feds say that a water lead test above 0.015 or 15 ppb exceeds safe levels.  Jackson’s water tested at 0.017 to 0.02 ppb, which is above the Federal standard for safe drinking water.  The source or blame was reported to be the individual home internal samples, not originating from the city’s water distribution network.  And who exactly believes that?  City officials reported that homes built before 1988 were susceptible to lead contaminated water.  Corrosive (city supplied) water can cause the lead in older pipes and commonly soldiered joints to leach out thus causing the excessive high lead levels in the water tests. Action by the city was to correct the inadequate corrosion control in the city water piping systems.  Water chemistry reacts to home pipes and fixtures thus increasing lead levels.  One suspects aging city water systems also contribute to the leaching lead.

It was also noted that the summer heat experienced in the south causes higher lead uptake than in the winter months.  One assumes the external environmental heat raises the temperature in the piping systems thus increasing the temperature of the lead in those pipes furthering the leaching potential into the drinking tap water.  

Treatment and Protection

red_cross_first_aid.svgThere are medical treatments for proven lead poisoning caused from ingestion and absorption.  Blood tests can reveal this as well as other medical tests to assess damage to tissue and organs. The human body can be purged of excessive lead levels.  The process is referred to as chelation therapy.  The treatment binds the lead to be evacuated from the body through urination.  One of the medicines used in the chelation process is known as dimercaprol.  Far be it from me to discuss the medical implications and complications of lead poisoning any further.  Consult other medical information, physicians, or medical experts on the subject.  

Protection is by working to prevent the ingestion of lead.  There are numerous lead filtering systems available for home use to reduce or eliminate the threat of lead in your drinking water.  Have your water tested professionally or purchase a home water testing kit to verify if lead is in your drinking water.  Just knowing one way or the other may be of some relief.  This should be done on a periodically recommended schedule as things change in water delivery systems, even a home well.  

Lead is a noxious substance.  It makes people sick and can eventually kill them.  Part of prepping is to also protect ourselves at home or work or life in addition to being prepared for other SHTF events.  If you have any reason to suspect your drinking water sources are contaminated with lead, then test it, then filter it to be on the safe side.  

Always monitor local area news reports and public service reports on municipal water system safety.  Make certain public waters are tested on schedule.  

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Core Survival Skills: Master Them First and Then Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS)

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You have probably heard of the KISS concept, but do you really know what it means.

KISS is an acronym for “Keep it simple, stupid” as a design principle noted by the U.S. Navy in 1960. The KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated. Therefore, simplicity should be a key goal in design and unnecessary complexity should be avoided.

“If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” – Albert Einstein (Anderson, 2014).

When practicing your skills, imagine you are explaining what you are doing to someone else. If you can’t explain what you are doing then you need more time, more practice. Use this as a learning technique to improve or hone your own survival or Bushcraft skills, you may never achieve perfection, but you do want to achieve permanent. You want your skills to last, as we stated in an earlier article your successes from practicing have to outlast your failures.

The Basics

If you cannot make a fire in the middle of a pine forest, in a rain forest, or on a snow covered mountain in Montana, you won’t survive long. You need fire for warmth, cooking, lighting up the night and for a psychological boost, also to repel predators and flying pests, and most importantly in many cases, you need fire to purify water.

Humans that lived 10,000 years ago needed fire to survive every day. We need it today as well. We need fire to burn propane or natural gas to heat our homes, heat our bath water, cook our food, and even power vehicles, in some cases. We also need fire to cook our steaks and chicken on the grill, but it all seems so easy, well it is easy today, except when it’s not.

Just because you have matches does not mean you can get a fire going. What if the wood is wet, the ground soaked, or snow covered, and what if there is no wood.

No wood, well certain animal dung when dried makes a very hot fire, do you know what kind of dung? Herbivores are those animals that only eat plant material. Plant material that once dried will take a spark. Once you have created an ember, it will burn like charcoal briquettes. It will boil water, heat your shelter, and cook your food.

Matches, lighters, Ferro rods, and magnesium sticks can be carried in your pockets, packs, and vehicles. In fact, you should have all or most of these fire-starting tools in your cars, packs, and pockets at all times.

Along with the above mentioned, you can carry dry tinder, such as wood curls and cotton balls, along with fire aids such as petroleum jelly, cigars (they hold an ember), alcohol-based hand sanitizer, strips of duct tape, (duct tape burns) and then wrap them all up in aluminum foil. The foil gives you a dry base in which to build your fire if the ground is saturated or snow covered.

If the wood you need is wet, you can split branches to reach the dry core and lay the dry side over your small fire, or shave the outer bark until you reach dry wood. If you have enough dry fuel, you can dry larger pieces of wet wood next to the fire.

You have to be pro-active. The underside of bark can be dry and used, or wood lying under downed trees and wood found under rock shelves can be dry as well. You need to assess or zone the area immediately and begin the hunt for fuel.

Simply put if you have matches, magnesium sticks, Ferro rods and fuel you can start a fire, providing you know how to use a Ferro rod and magnesium stick. There are videos on how to build the perfect fire, but perfect is not required, but some practice is. Practice may not make for perfect but if you practice something, long enough the information becomes permanent, which is actually better than perfect.

Okay, fire has been discussed, so now what. Well how do you get those perfect wood curls, how do you split sticks to reach the dry center, and how do you clean your fingernails.

You need a knife, a decent knife, not a 300-dollar knife, but one with a full tang, sturdy blade and one that can hold an edge. Stainless or carbon steel, carbon steel blades are stronger but they rust and it takes more effort to put a good edge on one, however, once sharp they stay sharp longer.

Stainless is softer, easier to sharpen and rust is not a problem. All that said, though, your knife needs to be able to clean fish, spread jelly on your toast, skin a rabbit or deer and cut up your food and be stout enough to split saplings, make wood curls and in some cases be able to dig small depressions in the ground. Choose carefully and you don’t need to spend a fortune either.

If you can make fire and have a good fixed blade knife, you can go far, so far in fact, you can survive. Forest debris will be your shelter. Long grasses can be cut and twisted or braided into cordage to help build your shelter or you can excavate under a downed tree to make a small space or find a downed tree and use the root ball as shelter by cutting vegetation, pine boughs, and so forth to enhance the roof and sides. Simply entwine grasses, pine boughs or any vegetation in and through the roots sticking up.

Learning how to make a fire in any situation takes practice, so never leave home until you know for sure you can, and, of course, always have the needed materials. Have a knife at all times, and know how to build a shelter from forest debris, which also takes some practice and a certain skill set that you must advance.

After all that, you go on to make tools such as spears for fishing, and long bows for hunting and stone arrowheads for the arrows or even spearheads. Cordage is everywhere if you know where to look, and you very likely have some on your person right now. 

While we said Bushcraft is simplistic, it requires work, knowledge and a skill set. You cannot wake one day and decide you want to be Mick Dodge. You will need food, clothing, and tools. You can, of course, make all of what you need, if you keep your needs simple.

One approach is to combine, prepping, training, and preparing for a crisis in your community, off grid living along with Bushcraft skills. This doesn’t mean you live in caves and hollow logs, it doesn’t mean you hunker in a bunker or string razor wire around your home. It means you learn all you can about living where and how you live now and learning how to live if your home is gone and you are heading for the hills.

Learn how to survive until rescued, this means having an EDC/survival kit with you at all times. The basics are simple, KISS remember, fire, water, shelter and then food, but food is not as important unless you do plan to live in logs and caves as a chosen way of life.

Anderson, A. R. (2014). Retrieved 2017, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/amyanderson/2014/02/27/keeping-it-simple-doesnt-mean-youre-stupid/#500d894672ca

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Forgotten Skills That Helped The Native Americans Survive Winter

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Forgotten Skills That Helped The Native Americans Survive Winter

Artist: Robert Duncan

Most of us head indoors and turn up the furnace when frigid weather hits, stacking in a good supply of wood for the stove or plugging in the old electric throw blanket — and praying that the power doesn’t go out!

For the native people of this land, however, they had none of those luxuries. Have you ever wondered just how the heck they stayed warm when it was dangerously cold? During blizzards and ice storms? Were teepees and other shelters really that warm?

Of course, there could be causalities during severe weather. You can’t help but picture the people who went outside to attend to nature’s call, only to find themselves half frozen within minutes, or lost in a driving snow.

Let’s take a look at how the indigenous people of this land not only survived during the harshest winter weather, but actually looked forward to it as a time to stay indoors, sleep, rest, spend time with family, and get caught up on chores.

An Ounce of Prevention

One way that native people prepared for harsh storms was forecasting them. Generally speaking, there were always one or two elders who seemed to have a knack of understanding that, for example, if the wind was bringing clouds from the north, it meant a blizzard, if from the east, it would bring snow, but nothing too harsh. Thin clouds meant cold weather. No snow and a ring circling the moon meant it would rain within 24 hours.

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It also helped to observe animal behavior. For example, woodpeckers sharing one tree or one nest meant a harsh winter was coming. It is also said that when muskrats made their holes high up on the banks of rivers, lots of snow was on the way.

In the far north, the elders looked for bright spots that appear on either side of that cold winter sun. An old saying was that those spots were fire, which the sun had made to warm its ears. This was a sign which meant a severe cold snap was coming quickly.

Forgotten Skills That Helped The Native Americans Survive Winter Native people were well aware that being caught without proper provisions during the winter would almost certainly mean death — so they prepared themselves accordingly.

When Caught Unaware

Literature has painted Native Americans as some sort of “magic” people who knew everything about nature, but the truth is that they were humans who made mistakes. This is especially true of young couples sneaking away for a little tryst, or young men trying to prove their bravery.

Sometimes, indigenous people were away from camp when a snowstorm or blizzard struck.  In these cases, stories of survival are almost all the same: People sought shelter quickly, made a small fire, tried to stay warm and wait it out. Shelter was the foremost concern, and it would take the shape of hollowed-out tree trunks, caves, rock outcroppings, even a quick lean-to made from branches, a tree and some snow.

Anything that would burn would be collected as quickly as possible, including horse or cow dung, pine cones, old pine needles, small branches – basically, whatever was dry. By surrounding the fire with rocks, they could radiate heat into the shelter.

If you were with someone else, you could share body heat. Natives would wait out the storm by sleeping as much as possible near the fire. It’s an old wives’ tale that people who fall asleep in the cold will never wake up. When you are cold enough, your body will wake you up to let you know!

Protect the Body

Next to the fire, your most precious asset is your own body heat. Native people considered their body as a natural fire that they never wanted to squander or allow to go out.

For the indigenous people, this meant never sitting directly on the ground, but instead perching themselves on furs or rocks near the fire that were covered with hides and fur. The Eskimo people were known to tie dried loon skins, including the feathers, to a rope, which they wore around their waist, similar to an apron. This was not only an extra layer of warmth, but if they were out and about, they would turn it around so the skins were lying on their buttocks, giving them a natural buffer between their fanny and a cold rock!

Native people kept their body fire protected by layering clothing. Better to remove clothing if you became too warm than to be caught in a snow storm wearing just a breechcloth!

Making the Cold an Ally

Of course, native people had many ways of dealing with the cold over the years that are no longer useful to us in modern times. Many tribes were nomadic and simply moved south along with the migrating birds. Other tribes used longhouses, where almost everyone in the tribe would spend the winters together in close quarters, their combined body heat making the interiors warmer.

Native people were known to cut wood when it was well below freezing. Why? Not only were they kept warm through the effort, but wood at 30 below (Fahrenheit) splits very easily!

Perhaps one of the best secrets of the indigenous people was that they saw the cold as a living thing that deserved respect. They did not try to prove how long they could stay outside in an ice storm. Native people believed that cold was a spirit that had great power worth of respect and attention.

Do you think you could have survived as a Native American in frigid weather? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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3 Steps To Start A Fire When Everything Is Wet

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Start a fire when everything is wet

Starting a fire in adverse weather, whether is rain or wind or both is a very important survival skill every outdoors aficionado must possess. The ability of igniting a fire when things are less than perfect is a fine art which must be learned and practiced until mastery is achieved.

The thing is, nature doesn’t care much about our best laid plans, mice and men alike and an emergency never comes alone. I mean, when confronted with a survival situation, you’d at least expect fine weather, cool breezes and sunshine.

In reality, your survival in an emergency situation will become much more complicated than initially thought and I would dare to say nine times out of ten, as you’ll end up not only lost in the woods or wherever, but you’ll also have to deal with rain, cold and high winds.

Emergencies almost always bring bad weather with them, it’s almost like a 2 for the price of 1 deal. And that’s fine as long you’re prepared both physically and mentally.

However, in critical times, your survival may depend on your ability to light a fire under rain and/or wind and any hardcore survivalist, even Bear Grylls will tell you that you should always carry at least 2 primary and 2 secondary tools for starting a fire.

The idea is that a regular fire starter may not always provide you with the best results, especially if it’s raining and it gets wet. Also, if it’s windy and rainy, your chances of igniting a fire with just one match are pretty slim. If it’s freezing cold, your BIC lighter (which uses butane) may not work at all.

Basically, starting a fire when it’s windy, cold and rainy is one of the worst situations imaginable, other than starting a fire under water, which is a skill only Chuck Norris masters (he uses phosphorus by the way).

I think I have already told you a dozen times in my previous articles about the holy trinity of survival, which includes fire as a means of providing you with (cooked) food, (safe) water and shelter (warmth, protection from wild animals etc), but also about the importance of location.

But do you know which survival essential is the first most important?

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1. Find an Adequate Location for Making the Fire

Everything in life is location, as Van Helsing used to say back in the day, and the same mantra is true when it comes to making a fire.

The first thing to look for is an adequate location for making a fire in harsh weather conditions. The idea is to provide your fire with as much protection possible from both wind and rain if possible. And if you’re not in the middle of a frozen desert with no snow around, that’s not impossible.

Shelter means three basic things:

  • shelter from the wind
  • shelter from the rain
  • shelter from the ground water.

2. Shelter the Fire

Ideally, you should shelter your fire on more than one side (upwind).

Build a Windbreak

You can protect your fire by building a C shaped windbreak with the open side downwind. You can build a windbreak using wood, rocks, snow, dirt, just use your imagination.

To shelter your fire from the rain when outdoors is the hardest job, but it can be achieved.

Make the Fire Under a Tree

But pay attention! The easiest way is to make your fire under a tree, as evergreens can be regarded as a natural tent of sorts. All you have to do is to pick a big one and make your fire under the lowest branches.

Making a fire under a tree may not seem like the best idea, as there are inherent risks attached, like setting the tree on fire, but if you’re paying attention and keeping your fire under control, the chances of such an event happening are minor.

You can minimize the risks further by building a good fire pit with no combustible materials around the fire.

Build a Fire Pit

The third requirement is how to protect the fire from ground earth, with the previous two taken care of by now. The easiest method is to use rocks for building a fire pit on a spot where the ground is raised from the floor.

Or you can do that yourself, i.e. you can build a little mound and on top of the mound you’ll put a layer of rocks, thus preventing your fire from staying directly on the wet ground and also making sure any running water will be drained ASAP.

3. Tinder, Kindling and Fuel

So much for location folks, let’s move on to the next issue and I will start with an axiom: if you don’t have the Bear Grylls flame-thrower with you, starting a fire using wet wood is basically impossible and a no-go under any circumstances. You’ll waste your time and your gear, bet on a dead horse and the whole palaver.

Video first seen on CommonSenseOutdoors

However, there are ways, as Gandalf used to say, but ideally, you should try to find something dry for starting your fire. As a general rule of thumb, a fire gets started in 3 stages: tinder, kindling and fuel.

The tinder is a combustible material which is very easy to ignite, i.e. it will catch fire quick and easy.

The kindling can be improvised using pieces of finger-thick wood that will be lit from the kindle.

The rest is pretty straight forward, as far as your kindle gets ignited you’ll start the main fuel and you’ll have a fire burning in no time.

Two of the best survival-tinder (fire starters actually) which can be used for igniting a fire in adverse conditions (even with wet wood) are cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly and dryer lint mixed with paraffin. These will burn for at least 2-3 minutes, thus providing you with plenty of time to get your fire started. I’ve already written an article about this issue.

As an interesting factoid, even in the midst of a rainstorm, you can almost surely find dried branches under the bottom of big/old pine trees. Another great place to look for dry combustible is the underside of uprooted (or dead) trees.

Video first seen on IA Woodsman

How to Make the Best Fire Starter for Wet Wood

The best fire-starter for wet wood can be home-made using black powder (gunpowder) and nail polish remover (the one that contains acetone). The acetone will be the solvent for the gunpowder. The idea is to make something that burns slow and as hot as possible and the gunpowder/acetone mix is by far the best in this regard.

Making the mix is fairly easy, as you’ll start with a small quantity of gunpowder the size of a golf ball put inside a ceramic/glass bowl. Start adding nail polish remover so that the mound of gunpowder is totally covered then mix it together slowly and thoroughly (always wear rubber gloves).

Once the stuff inside the ball gets in a putty-state, you can pour off the extra nail polish and then start kneading the putty, just like when making bread. i.e. folding it over time and time again.

The purpose of the kneading is to create layers inside your fire-starter. In this way, the burn rate is more controlled. The more layers, the better your fire-starter will be. The finished putty can be stored in an airtight container, but keep in mind that you’ll want to use your putty when it’s still moist. If dried, it burns too fast.

This fire-starter burns at 3000 degrees Fahrenheit and a golf-ball sized piece will burn for more than 3 minutes. Basically, you can set anything on fire with this baby and even  dry out damp wood in the worst conditions imaginable.

One final thing, it would always be nice to use fire accelerants, like gasoline (or alcohol, paint thinner etc), for starting a fire in rain or wind.

If you have your car around, the better, as you can siphon out some gasoline from the tank and start a fire even with damp wood in a jiffy. Okay, you’ll not receive those extra bonus style points, but that’s okay.

You’ll always have the peace of mind knowing that no matter where you go and no matter how bad the weather is you’ll be able to start a fire and safely cook food and boil some water. Click the banner below to grab this offer!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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Planning For A Zombie Apocalypse (And Other Bad Things)

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nuclear-war-1427454_1920

By The Survival Place Blog

The world is no longer a predictable place. There are a lot of things that can go wrong and a lot of reasons why they might. There is an uncertain political landscape, natural disaster, the possibility of super-flue’s becoming too much for antibiotics, global warming and terrorism (in whatever form that may come in). And we haven’t even mentioned the possibility of a zombie outbreak, which may be unlikely but doesn’t mean it isn’t entirely impossible. But as far apart as these threats may be from one another, there is one common interest that links them all: the need for a survival strategy. So, here is a list of things you should prepare.

  1. Escape Route

Don’t just rely on one option. Have a Plan A, Plan B, Plan C and D,E,F if possible. This requires a lot of consideration. You’ll need to consider what transport will be available (given a lot of public services won’t be operating anymore). Will it be a car or a truck, or a boat, or maybe you have a plane tucked away. We recommend a boat (if you live near a river, lake or sea) or a economic 4×4 if you live on land. The other thing to remember is not to take major roads. These will be everyone’s first thought, so plan an alternative route that doesn’t rely on main roads. Oh, and take a handheld GPS with you.

  1. Your Pack

These are also called ‘Bug Out Bags’ and are becoming increasingly popular, you know, just in case. You never know when an earthquake may hit, or a flood, or riots, or zombies; so have a bug out bag prepared and left near an exit from your home or in your car or at work. Somewhere you can grab it easily as you go to leave. When it comes to rules, make sure your survival pack is easy and comfortable to carry. Make sure its contents are simple. Make sure everything in their is needed, no luxuries. Make sure the contents allow you to become totally self-sufficient. And plan for how long you want your back to last you, for example 72 to 96 hours will be great. Click here to see what we’re talking about.  

  1. Food and Water

It is crucial you take into consideration routes that take you to or near a natural source of clean water, such as a river or lake. These will allow you to replenish your supplies of water, which will be critical in your attempts to survive. It could also be a good idea to make sure you know where certain crop farms are, especially things like potato farms. Being able to collect a food supply of slow-release energy will help your bid.

  1. Choose Your Destination

This shouldn’t be one single point, but a selection of options. Options are going to be your best friend. The other thing to consider is having options in multiple different directions. There is no point in having two options both in the same town, and on the same street. Tips to consider are once again local water supplies, food supplies, vegetation and minimally populated areas. If you need to lock down for a long time, consider places like supermarkets where the security is strong and supplies are plentiful, including any first aid supplies you may need.

This article published by The Survival Place Blog: Planning For A Zombie Apocalypse (And Other Bad Things)

Filed under: Prepping

5 Top Tips and Tactics For Successful Urban Deer Bowhunting

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bowhunting

Did you know that the deer can live virtually anywhere, including the urban areas surrounded by cities and crowds of people?

Over the past few years, the populations of these adaptable ruminants have been on the rise in many cities. You’ll even hear cases of the animals raiding gardens and flowerbeds, and running in front of cars. This has turned their rare sightings into routine occurrences.

While this might be a disappointment to the homeowners and motorists, it means a great opportunity for the urban bow hunter to bag that monster buck.

Before you attempt to take down any deer in the urban places, make sure you go through the following tips and tactics for urban bowhunting.

5 Tips and Tactics That Will Make You An Expert Urban Bowhunter:

Pause a moment!

Before we discuss the expert tips and tactics for urban bowhunting allow me to tell you a few details about it:

Due to the obvious reasons, it’s not advisable to hunt with a high-power rifle. Imagine firing around homes? The sound of the rifle alone will scare the neighbor and promote them to call the police. A stray bullet could even make matters worse.

That being said, you’re always advised to use your bow and arrow for urban bowhunting; it’s not only safer but quieter compared to the rifles. And bowhunting is a great survival skill to have if SHTF.

In fact, most local municipalities and game departments consider bowhunting as the most appropriate method of controlling the deer population in the urban areas.

Now that you know the right urban hunting process, we can move on to our discussion….

1. Start By Locating Your Bowhunting Zone

bowhunting

Via myfwc.com

The first task you should do in your urban bowhunting mission is checking for favorite lands to hunt in (and seeking the landowners’ permission to do so).

Locating favorable hunting areas isn’t that hard, especially if you have bow hunted before. Look for river corridors and thick creeks, patches of woods, etc., that are likely to hold a deer. Don’t ignore the 5-acre track – it can as well hold a deer or two.

If there are houses nearby, don’t forget to ask them who the landowner – you might be surprised that they’re actually the owners of the land.

Most state governments now have websites where you can easily track down the landowners. Alternatively, you can plan a trip to the courthouse to track the owner.

As a side, always be polite and presentable when seeking permission from the landowner.

2. This Ultimate Scouting Strategy Will Get You To Where The Deer Is:

bowhunting

If you do your scouting well, you’re sure to move to where the deer actually is.

When scouting urban areas, make sure you look for the likely covers and food sources. The deer tend to look for thick vegetation where they can comfortably hide, bed, and even get food to eat.

As for the food sources, look for features like – dogwoods, honeysuckle, oaks, and soft mast forms.

Another proven tactic involves setting up an ambush around a garden where the animals have been raiding.

Scouting for the deer highways, you might also find the buck on the move.

With just small, wooden areas, the deer moving between patches might be limited in their choices. In other words, they’ll prefer walking in areas that offer some cover as they move from one to the next.

3. Urban Bowhunting Calls For Accurate Shot Placement

bowhunting

True! Keep in mind you’re hunting in claustrophobic environments – sometimes a few yards from the garden edge and near houses.

What do you think would be the outcome if the wounded deer you’ve just shot runs with an arrow on it?

To perfect your shot placement in urban areas, you better start practicing with targets in a setup similar to the urban environment. Usually, the deer to approach within 10 yards, so you ought to practice at close ranges.

Sometimes you can fire a bad shot, making your tracking job lengthy and harder. The blood trail might lead into properties you don’t have access to – and in worst cases, into neighboring developments or yards. This means you’ll have to do some cleanups and start knocking doors to seek permissions to track your deer.

Again, be polite when seeking permission in such scenario.

As a bonus tip:

Always remove your camo and leave your bow in your truck before you approach any landowner to increase your chances of being granted permission to conduct your tracking job on their lands.

You never know, you might even gain new hunting zones as a result of interacting with the nearby landowners!

4. Be Patient!

bowhunting

It doesn’t matter the area you’re hunting in – hunting remains a waiting game even in urban areas.

Not only do urban areas provide you with decent hunting place, but they can also give you an opportunity to harvest a trophy buck. In these regions, you’ll find fewer hunters hounding the bucks, and the hunting pressure is quite low. This translates to the animals living for more years (and developing a bigger rack).

Picture yourself setting up on a travel corridor. With subdivisions all over your hunting area, you’re dead sure that the travel routes used by the deer are limited.

As such, you just need to remain patient in your climbing tree stand – the ideal tree stand for urban bowhunting – knowing that a monster buck will eventually come through.

Your patience will ultimately get rewarded!

5. Be Prepared To Remove Your Kill As Fast As You Can

After following all the tips and tactics we’ve discussed above, you’ll end up with a successful urban hunt, with a deer on the ground.

Depending on the visibility of your hunting areas, you might consider removing the whole animals and field dressing in a remote location.

Check out this video: How to Field Dress a Deer

You simply don’t want to leave behind bloody drag marks on someone’s property or leaving the gut pile there, or even the neighborhood dog taking a share of the pile before heading for a couch at home.

Additionally, don’t attempt to remove or drag your kill when your neighborhood kids are out waiting for the bus!

Such things might compromise your hunting permission.

Want To Preserve Your Extra Deer Meat So That It Doesn’t Rot?

Check out this CD set that gives you 11 off grid techniques to preserve your deer meat for long term storage.

Click here to learn how to preserve your deer meat without electricity

 

Final Verdict

Bowhunting deer used to be confined in the large tracts of farmlands and forests. But these days are long gone. Today, as an avid bow hunter, you’ll like it more hunting the big game in urban areas, in someone’s yard!

Keep all the above tips and tactics in mind when setting out to bow hunt in an urban area and you’ll surely harvest that monster buck.

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How to Remove Rusted Nuts and Bolts

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How to Remove Rusted Nuts and Bolts You may just thank us one day for sharing this little secret, If SHTF and you need to remove rusted nuts or bolts, remember this! This is an old secret that a lot of us don’t know or forget! There are hundreds and hundreds of lotions and potions …

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The post How to Remove Rusted Nuts and Bolts appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

Tree Bark as an Emergency Food

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cutting_bark_tree

bark_piecesAn almost forgotten food from the wild is that which comes from the bark of trees.  Once a staple, now it is barely known even as a coarse survival food.  I myself have been slow coming to it even with wild edible plants as a major preoccupation since my teens.  An obvious possibility for why tree bark has not been found much in modern cuisine is that it doesn’t taste good.  The modern imagination easily responds to the notion of tree bark as food with images of gnawing on trees – not exactly as exciting as fishing, hunting, picking mushrooms, or picking berries.  However, perhaps that assumption is wrong.  Maybe delicious foods can be prepared from tree bark.

By Nathaniel Whitmore, a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

I have in front of me eleven books on wild edibles.  At first glance at the table of contents of each book, or the text or index if the plants weren’t listed there, I found nothing in ten of the books  related to tree barks as edibles.  Euell Gibbons (Stalking the Wild Asparagus) and others discuss Black Walnuts and Hickory for nuts.  Lee Allen Peterson (Edible Wild Plants) discusses the leaves of Basswood.  Bradford Angier (Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants) discusses the seeds of Maple and, of course, that the sap is boiled into Maple syrup.  …And the list goes on of other foods from the trees.  Only in one, A Naturalists Guide to Cooking with Wild Plants by Connie and Arnold Krochmal, did I find that the authors went on to discuss harvesting and preparing Maple bark.  They have a recipe for Maple bark bread that uses, along with other typical ingredients for bread, only ½ cup of all-purpose flour to 2 cups of ground Maple bark.  Another recipe for porridge is a typical porridge recipe with only Maple bark (cooked like farina, grits, or oats), along with a suggestion to spread it out to chill and thicken before browning in oil.

Cuisine and Nutrition

maple_treeI have not yet tried Maple (Acer spp.) porridge.  I have made porridge from Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra) but only because I have acquired out-of-date stock from herbs stores here-and-there that I worked for.  The powdered bark is quite costly to eat like a breakfast cereal.  It is sold mostly for home-made lozenges and to add to smoothies.  Because the bark is quite mucilaginous, it is a great ingredient for do-it-yourself lozenges for sore or dry throat.  I like to always keep some in a convenient storage spot.  When I have plenty, I like to cook the powdered Elm bark with Maple syrup (and a little salt) for a real breakfast from the trees.  I have not yet attempted to powder the bark itself, though I do intend to.  Powdering bark is one of those things that is high up on my list of things to do that I never get around to doing.  Again, a survival situation might just re-prioritize that list.  The shredded bark is also readily available through commercial sources and is prepared as a cold infusion to produce a thick, moistening drink or ingredient.

Related: Food to Stock for Emergencies      

According to Daniel Moerman in Native American Food Plants, Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) was cooked by the Ojibwa.  Apparently they believe it tastes like eggs.  I have chewed it and infused it for “tea”, but will certainly have to try to prepare it like scrambled eggs!  I doubt it is all that similar, but I do not doubt that it can be prepared so that it tastes good.  Remember, much of foraging is about timing.  Not only is bark easier to peel off the tree in the spring (when the sap is flowing), but it also is thick, juicy, and milder tasting than other times of the year.  Certainly, timing is important for Ash bark and the others.  Though, if starving to death you might eat tree bark even if it wasn’t the ideal harvest season and even if it didn’t taste like eggs.

white_pine_barkWhite Pine (Pinus strobus) and other evergreens were vital survival foods for Native Americans in cold areas.  Although they often have too much astringency and pitchy consistency to be ideal foods, they also have vitamin C, bioflavonoids, and many important medicinal constituents.  It would be interesting, and potentially important in a survival scenario, to look into the nutritional constituents of various barks.  It shouldn’t be too difficult to understand that Pine bark has lots of vitamin C, but what about the macronutrients?  Are barks able to provide sufficient sugar, protein, or fat?  Sugar seems the most notable macronutrient from bark, but I still wonder how much is there.  Certainly, Maple bark can taste remarkably sweet, like Maple syrup.  Clearly it has sugar in it.  The benefits of bark as a survival food are at least partially illustrated by the Natives formerly feeding Cottonwood (Populus spp.) bark to horses.  Certainly, humans have different nutritional requirements than the four-legged grazers, though I still think it says something that the deer, other wild animals, and horses can glean nutrition from bark.

Basswood (American Linden, Tilia americana) is unique as a food tree in that it produces large broad leaves that are edible right off the tree.  Young twigs and buds were cooked by Chippewa.  By this I would assume that the bark is also mild and edible.  However, I turned to Moerman’s book Native American Medicinal Plants to learn that the Cherokee used the bark for diarrhea and the Iroquois used as a diuretic, which has me wondering if the bark is too astringent and drying to use as food.  Of course, many such remedies are mild enough to eat or can be prepared to be more food quality and less medicinal.  Generally though, diarrhea remedies are astringent and can cause constipation when not needed for runny stool.  Moerman did also report that the Cherokee used during pregnancy for heartburn and weak stomach and bowels.  If it was used during pregnancy, I imagine it is mild enough to eat.  Basswood bark is now bumped up to the top of the list of wild foods to try out this spring.

Medicinal Uses of Tree Bark

Medicines from tree barks are many.  Though this article focuses on edible barks, it would not be complete without mention of medicinal uses.  In addition to those already discussed above, the medicinal barks included many categories, such as astringents, cough remedies, blood-moving medicinals, and pain relievers.

aspirin_vintage_advertisement_willowWillow (Salix spp.) was an original source of a well-known medicine known as salicylic acid (named after Willow).  Like the drug Aspirin (which is named after Meadowsweet which is currently Filipendula, but formerly Spiraea), Willow is used for pain, to thin the blood, and for fevers.  Salicylic acid is commonly used for acne, dandruff, and warts.  Poplars (Populus spp.) are closely related to Willow both botanically (though many people confuse Poplars and Birch, or Betula spp.) and medicinally.  Poplars have largely fallen out of use in modern times, but formerly were commonly employed as medicinals – the bark used like Willow, and especially the resinous buds used for coughs.

Oaks (Quercus spp.) and many other trees have bitter-tasting astringency.  Astringents tone tissue, remove inflammation, and stop discharge.   They are important medicines that are indicated for damp, inflamed conditions like diarrhea, rashes, bleeding wounds, and sore throats.  Astringents are also used for daily maintenance like washing the face and brushing teeth.  In small quantities, they are used to maintain tissue integrity of the gums and digestive system.

Read Also: Bushcraft Mushrooms

Like Cinnamon (Cinnamomum spp.), our Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) is used to stimulate circulation and clean the blood.  The bark is delicious as tea, and can be combined with other root beer ingredients like Black Birch (Betula lenta).  The leaves of Sassafras are mucilaginous as well as spicy and can be prepared as food.  They are used in gumbo.  As an aromatic, blood-cleansing medicinal, Sassafras is used to treat skin disorders, arthritis, and to warm up the body.  The FDA has a controversial ban on Sassafras and the oil derived from it, safrole.

cherries_cherry_treePerhaps one of best-known cough remedies, Cherry Bark (Prunus spp.) has been used for ages.  My guess is that Cherry became a standard flavor for cough syrups largely because the bark was a standard medicine for coughs, even though the bark does not exactly taste like the fruit.  It does have a distinct Cherry flavor, but even more distinct is the cyanide flavor, especially in the fresh bark.  Because of the toxic properties, the use of fresh Cherry bark has been discouraged in the literature.  Though, the fresh bark is used medicinally and is significantly stronger than the dried bark.  The dried bark is available through commercial distributions.  Especially the wilted leaves have been known to cause poisoning in farm animals, so it seems the toxic properties spike during drying.  There are also various ideas about the best time to harvest.  Since I am not a chemist, I cannot say much with authority about cyanide content.  Consider yourself warned, however.  I encourage you to do your own research (before you find yourself starving or coughing to death in a Cherry forest).  Since this is such a valuable medicine I do indeed recommend learning about Cherry bark.  In my experience it is a top remedy for coughs and I assume it has many other uses in line with how Peach (Prunus persica) is used in Chinese medicine, which is extensive.  If the medicinal barks were not strong-natured and somewhat toxic, they would have been discussed earlier as edible barks.  It is precisely because they are strong that they are medicinal.  

Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) bark is very medicinal.  It is one of the strongest antifungal herbs and is well-known as a remedy for intestinal parasites.  The inner bark stains yellow, as do the green hulls and leaves.  These parts also give off a distinct aroma that can help with identification and are doubtlessly related to the medicinal virtues.  Of course, Black Walnut is also known for its nuts, which are important survival food.     

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How To Build Your Best Camouflage

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Survivopedia How To Build Your Best Camouflage

When talking about camouflage, there are basically two types of gear: camouflage clothes and ghillie suits.

Camouflage gear is is a must have piece of gear  if you’re a sniper, a soldier or a hunter. Ghillie suits were originally designed for hunting purposes, but later on they were used by military forces, because they’re great at making people invisible or very close to it.

Basically, regardless of your intents and purposes, if you want to blend into your surroundings, camouflage gear is essential.

The key elements for efficient camouflage are inspired from the animal reign (think polar bears or chameleons), i.e. the color scheme is essential, together with  efficient 3D dimensional textures, which is aimed at diffusing and blending your figure/silhouette into the surroundings, thus fooling the eye.

If these two work together as a whole, the color scheme and the 3D (three dimensional) textures, you’re hitting the sweet spot in terms of good camouflage, being basically unrecognizable and virtually invisible from the distance.

It’s just like in the cool meme, with the apprentice sniper being admonished by the sergeant, something like “Smith, I haven’t seen you at camouflage practice” and Smith going like: “Thank you Sir”.

Let’s take a closer look about camouflage basics and start from there.

So, commercial or home-made regular 2D (bi-dimensional) camouflage is pretty good at helping you blending into all sorts of backgrounds, but it can’t mitigate one of the most tell-tell signs of you presence, i.e. your silhouette.

Hard core hunters and veteran hiders, such as military snipers or undercover spooks always rely on 3D camouflage, which consists of entire suits that are built using billowy materials, which help with blurring their outline, thus allowing them to become virtually invisible or to disappear in plain sight.

So, there’s regular 2D camouflage and the ultimate 3D camouflage, namely the ghillies.

Ghillie suits were first invented by Scottish folk, game keepers who probably were pretty good at tax evasion too using those suits (just kidding).

To begin with, let’s quote Sun Tzu, the Chinese general who wrote The Art of War thousands of years ago:

“Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate.”

Find out more on how to improve your defense techniques to survive disaster! 

Camouflage Clothes – the Basic Gear for Ghosts

The first step is to determine your required 3 base-colors i.e. the top three most prevalent colors which are to be found in the environment you want to blend in. Don’t worry about exact tones and hues, just choose general colors.

For example, go for dark green/dark brown/black clothes and don’t waste your time trying to find pine needle green or chestnut brown.

If you’ve already determined the color scheme required for your camouflage purposes, buy plain colored T shirts/long sleeve/whatever you need in the respective color and stay away from fancy/expensive brands, the name of the game is utility and economy, otherwise you can buy commercially available camo, right?

The same concept goes for the hat and pants. Here’s a video tutorial with a guy who made his own camo shirt and pants using just a few common items besides the clothes themselves, namely a spray paint, some spare newspapers and some foliage with leaves.

Video first seen on Random Things.

The trick is to spray paint the leaves pattern onto the clothes and that’s about it, you’ll end up with home made camo for dirt cheap prices, especially if you’ll be using old clothes. The end result is pretty convincing.

The Ghillie Suit

Ghillie suit Now, with the basics taken care of, let’s see about the really good stuff, namely the ghillie suit.

Ghillie suits are arguably the best type of camouflage one can wear, as it helps you to integrate seamlessly (if it’s proper made obviously) into your surroundings, as it uses branches, foliage and/or leaves to break up your silhouette.

You’ll start with your already-made camo clothes, i.e. normal clothing spray painted (you can also use fabric patches) to match your desired surroundings.

A ghillie suit is basically 3D camo and it’s usually built using burlap, netting, sewing needles, dental floss and glue. Nothing fancy, nothing expensive.

The thing is, there are two basic designs for ghillie suits: the simple net for fixed positions and the suit construction.

The simple net design has advantages and disadvantages. For example, it’s pretty hard to use while on the move through forests/brush and it’s also very difficult to crawl in. The bright side is that simple net ghillies are light weight, hugely adaptable to fixed positions and they roll up forming a small bundle.

You can use camouflage netting which can be bought at army surplus stores, else you can always choose shrimp net or fish net (the former is the best as it’s treated with anti rot coating).

Suit construction requires a decoy bag, raffia grass, burlap, fabric dye, rubber bands, jute twine and seam reaper. Here’s a video on how to build a ghillie suit from the ground up using readily available and dirt cheap materials.

Video first seen on Zachary Crossman.

The most important customizing option for your ghillie suit it the use of natural vegetation, but this trick comes with the disadvantage that natural vegetation will wither and brown in a couple of hours. Here raffia grass comes into play, as it’s perfectly suited for dyeing and it’s extremely effective in desert, grassland and winter environments.

Other options include using spanish moss, carpet moss or even artificial vegetation and there’s a wide selection of artificial vegetation at hobby stores. You can mitigate its glossy appearance which is common with plastic made plants by using a flat spray paint in your desired color. Plastic vegetation can be painted/repainted ad nauseam,

Don’t worry, building your own ghillie suit doesn’t require mad skills, you’ll just have to know how to tie simple knots, to recognize plant shapes and mix different colors together.

What’s important before proceeding with your DIY job is proper fieldwork research, namely taking notes and photos that will help you with color matching your ghillie suit. Yes, you’ll have to do some scouting, going out to the grasslands/woods/desert plateau or wherever you plan to use your camo and observe the coloration of the terrain with your own eyes.

Building your own ghillie suit offers you some advantages and tactical options vs the commercially available ones (which are also pretty expensive).

For example, you can add a recoil pad pocket if you’re using your suit for hunting purposes, or a hydration pack for wearing it in warm climates, not to mention waterproofing on the areas that come in contact with moisture, thus helping you stay dry in wet environments.

Another advantage of a home made ghillie suit is that it will match accurately the color of your desired environment you wish to blend into, as opposed to commercial ones which are usually available for just 2 environments.

That about sums it up for today. I hope you enjoyed reading the article. If you have questions or comments, don’t hesitate to use the dedicated section below. Good luck, and stay prepared folks!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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7 Crazy Ways To Use Tree Bark For Survival

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7 Little-Noticed Ways to Use Tree Bark for Survival

Image source: Pixabay

By  Ashley Hetrick – Off The Grid News

If you find yourself in a survival situation in the woods, you’re basically standing in a goldmine of potential resources, all of which are literally at your fingertips along the trunks of nearby trees. Knowing just how versatile tree bark can be might just save your life.

1. Cordage

Tree bark, specifically long strips of inner bark, can be wrapped or braided together to create durable and flexible cordage quickly. Simply cut away the flaky outer bark from a section of the tree, and then begin to peel the inner bark away in long strips. Don’t remove more than one-fourth of the bark around the tree, or the tree might not be able to survive. Longer cuts top to bottom are better than wider cuts going further around the tree.

Good tree species to try include cedar, aspen, basswood/linden, maple or willow.

Continue reading at Off The Grid News: 7 Crazy Ways To Use Tree Bark For Survival

Filed under: Emergency Survival Tips, Prepping

Poison in the Water? Trace Pharmaceuticals and Your Faucet

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pharmaceuticals

Vicodin5mgThe issue of pharmaceuticals showing up in public water systems is gaining more and more attention in the media, and for good reason—because it’s there! While it isn’t entirely clear what these drugs are doing to your endocrine system, it isn’t positive. Moreover, your exposure to trace pharmaceuticals is probably greater than you imagine. Consider these news articles:

I could go on citing more and more articles on the subject, but what’s the point? These are all legitimate news sources, not quack “fake news” and conspiracy theory sites. The issue is real. Do your own research and you will quickly see for yourself. Believe it or not, you are exposed to trace chemicals from the improper disposal of pharmaceuticals. 

By Danger Dave, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & SurvivalCache

But what exactly are “trace pharmaceuticals”? Denver Water states:

Trace pharmaceuticals are sometimes called microconstituents or emerging contaminants. They are products that enter the water supply through animal-based agricultural runoff or from human sources. A high percentage of pharmaceuticals in wastewater enter the water supply when people dispose of medicines in the sink or toilet. Most, if not all, pharmaceutical products — whether used in animals or in humans — are used in doses at which some amounts are passed through the user and back into water systems. 

New York Legislator Burke (from the first article) said, “I heard someone make sort of a glib joke the other day that they’re feeling depressed, so instead of going to the pharmacy they’re just going to drink a cup of tap water.” Funny, but no laughing matter.

From Prescription to Drinking Water

glass_of_waterHow is it that when we turn on the tap water we get a refreshing glass of… drug-tainted water? Well, what do people do with unused and expired drugs? Chances are they get dumped in the toilet and flushed. The water system is a circular system. It all comes back around. What is more, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that the flushing of drugs is only part of the problem.

“The main way drug residues enter water systems is by people taking medicines and then naturally passing them through their bodies,” says Raanan Bloom, Ph.D., an environmental assessment expert at FDA. “Many drugs are not completely absorbed or metabolized by the body and can enter the environment after passing through wastewater treatment plants.”

So drugs are getting into the water system simply by the fact people are taking drugs and then using the bathroom as they always do.

Drugs in our water is no easy problem to solve, and it’s the reason the FDA, in partnership with the DEA and community organizations, developed community-based drug “take-back” programs. (Click here to find a take-back program in your area.)

Dangerous?

doctor_medical_SWOT-2Everyone agrees that trace amounts of drugs are in the water. As we established, this is not “alternative facts” or theory. It is undeniable. What is not clear is to what extent it may cause harm to individuals consuming the water. According to WebMD, while scientists do not know the extent of the threat to our health, of particular concern is the presence of synthetic hormones, because “hormones work at very low concentrations in the human body.” They go on to say, “We know that kids, including babies and toddlers, as well as fetuses, are more susceptible to environmental exposures because their bodies are still developing and their exposure on a pound-per-pound basis is higher. And they lack the detoxification system adults have. So it is not unreasonable to expect they would be at a higher risk.”

Soooo… if it is of particular concern for kids, and the science is still out on the effects their presence in water has on adults, I am inclined to err on the side of safety.

Solutions

So there is no denying the research and concern. Drugs in drinking water is very real. While solutions for preventing the drugs from entering the water system prove somewhat elusive, there are concrete ways to get trace pharmaceuticals out of your water.

“Boil it,” you say? Nope. Boiling it does not solve the problem. “Then bottled water,” you argue. Not likely. Twenty-five percent of bottled water comes from the tap. Your best bet at addressing the problem? Filtering it between when it leaves the tap to when it reaches your mouth.

water_pitcher_epicPreppers are familiar with a few of the common water filtration available to them because they have purchased them as insurance against an environmental or man-made catastrophe to allow them access to safe drinking water. But why wait until catastrophe strikes to use them when those very filters could be used right now to clean your drinking water for safe(er) consumption? If you own the products already, why not use them on a daily basis now? If you don’t own the products, consider getting one, for the sake of your family’s health. A few that we recommend for prepping purposes also remove trace pharmaceuticals:

  • Black Berkey Filters
  • Epic’s Filtration Pitcher

From my view, any “prepper” product that can get used now is a must get. It makes far more sense to purchase these products before products that will sit on a shelf for a “just in case” situation that may not come.

Lastly, you can do your part to help combat drugs entering the water supply by following the drug disposal guidelines from the FDA found here.

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How to: Choose the right sleeping bag

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One piece of gear you don’t want to have to improvise is a sleeping bag. If you can’t sleep at night because you’re cold, the next day is guaranteed to be exhausting.

by Leon Pantenburg

I graduated, less than penniless, from Iowa State University in 1976, and decided to go backpacking in the mountains.

So I did. Trips to the Bighorn and Pryor Mountains in Wyoming only whetted my appetite for more, and I couch-surfed at John Nerness’ house in Mountainview, CA, between trips. In addition to several weekenders around central California,  my grand finale was a 14-day hike of the John Muir Trail in the Sierras.

My backpack came from Target. My clothing was whatever I had – at the time I’d never heard of cotton killing anyone. My shelter was a piece of visqueen. Freeze-dried food was too expensive, for the most part, so my diet consisted of such things as macaroni and cheese. I borrowed a Swea 123 backpacking stove.

This 1977 photo from Lassen National Forest in northern California shows my gear was pretty sketchy.  I did invest in a quality knife, sleeping bag and boots.

This 1977 photo from Lassen National Forest in northern California shows my gear was pretty sketchy.

But I didn’t scrimp on a few items. My Buck folding knife was purchased for $25 at the Ace Hardware Store in Lovell, WY. My boots were on sale at the War Surplus Store in in Powell, WY, for about $30.

But my sleeping bag was bought at an upper end backpacking store for about $80, which, at the time, was about a third of all my “assets.”

That gear was used extensively in the next few years. The Buck, a Swea 123 and the sleeping bag went on several major backpacking trips and ended being used on my six-month canoe trip down the Mississippi River. None of this gear ever let me down.

Today, I have close to a dozen sleeping bags, ranging from indoor sleepover styles to a pair of  -15 degree winter bags. All  have their specific purposes. You will decide what the best sleeping bag is for your needs, and here are some considerations.

Where will the bag be used? Location is  important. I have slept on top of a sleeping bag in Louisiana, when the night time temperature was about 90 degrees, and snuggled deep in an arctic bag one night during a raging Iowa blizzard when the temperature got to -10 degrees, not counting wind chill.

Both bags were adequate for their jobs, but radically different from each other. One could not have safely replaced the other in those dramatically-different circumstances.

If you will be tent camping, you won’t need as warm a bag as if you’re sleeping under the stars. But that doesn’t mean you can or should buy a cheap, light bag!

Possible uses: The size, weight and composition of the insulation will all  be determined by the potential uses of the bag. A backpacking mummy bag is different from a full-cut bag designed for car camping. The car camping or elk camp sleeping bag, that won’t be carried anywhere, can be roomier, bigger and heavier. If you intend to backpack, or canoe, you’ll need something smaller and more compact.

Igloo interior during winter camping outing.

A heavy winter bag would be needed to sleep in this igloo. It would also need to be one that dries out easily.

Mummy or full cut: These are the two main styles of bag.You wear a mummy bag, so if claustrophobia is an issue, don’t get one! (One of my mummy bags is so snug-fitting it feels like I’m wearing a loose sausage casing. It doesn’t bother me, but make sure you to crawl inside any prospective bag in the store before buying it.) A full-cut bag is roomier, but the additional bulk and weight makes it harder to backpack.

Type of insulation: Sleeping bag insulation can be broken down basically into two categories: down and synthetic. Decide before buying: What is the potential for the bag getting wet?

Goose down insulation is the classic insulation used in sleeping bags, and, despite all the technological advances, is still the most efficient insulation around. Goose down provides the most warmth for the least bulk and weight, allowing for very warm sleeping bags that are in very, very small packages.

But goose down insulation is USELESS when wet, and it can take forever to dry. This could be deadly: What if you fall in a creek, soak all your gear and desperately need to warm up? Or suppose part of the bag gets soaked inadvertently during a rain? I don’t own a down bag, and get along very well with my synthetics.

But some of the very experienced Boy Scout leaders I backpack and camp with do use down bags. They swear by them, and I must admit, the tiny, light bundles the down bags compress into is very appealing!

Synthetics: There are a variety of good synthetic insulation fills on the market, and
generally you’ll get what you pay for. Check the internet and manufacturers’ specifications to decide which will be best for you.

My first synthetic bag paid for itself in my first two days in the Sierras. Here’s an excerpt (to read the whole story, click on  my 1976 John Muir Trail Journal:

Sunday July 25
Last night was the worst I’ve spent in the mountains so far. It rained all night, and I got completely soaked in my sleeping bag. The rain started after I was sound asleep, and drenched me before I even woke up. (I’d slept under the stars, and not bothered to set up the tarp).
The bag kept me warm, but it was sure was wet and clammy. Stayed awake most of the night. The rain kept stopping, then pouring down, so I kept getting wet, then getting wetter.
My camp was at 10,500 feet, so the temperature was pretty cold. Some of my clothes got wet, but I made sure to keep my boots dry.
“Got up, wrung out the sleeping bag and placed everything on rocks to dry. The sun is just coming up over the mountains, and the sky is clear. Looks like another nice day.

It rained, intermittently for  nine days straight after that, and keeping anything dry was a real struggle. I’m glad I didn’t have a down bag on that trip!

Weight: Sleeping bag weight is supposed to be a determination of how warm the bag might be. But beware! A lightweight down sleeping bag will be very warm, while a heavy, cheap cotton-filled bag will be heavy and cool. A better indication of warmth is probably the temperature rating.

Temperature Rating: My experience is that the manufacturers are very optimistic and that these ratings are more a statement of purpose than anything else! My rule of thumb is to look at the temperature rating and subtract 20 degrees.

Also, some people sleep colder than others. My snow camping equipment consists of a four-season dome tent and a minus 15 degree sleeping bag. I have slept comfortably in that setup down to zero, during blizzards with gale-force winds. But my wife took the same gear on a June Girl Scout campout in Oregon and was very comfortable.

What about getting sleeping bags that zip together so the loved one can snuggle? Again, this will depend on the couple.  If one is a colder sleeper than the other, both will be miserable.

Make your sleeping bag choices wisely. Otherwise, you may have some really long, uncomfortable nights to ponder and regret your hasty choices!
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The Authentic Lumber Sexual Guide to Ax Work

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by Todd Walker

The Authentic Lumber Sexual Guide to Ax Work ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

I’m not sure when the bastardization began. But, make no mistake, it’s happened.

From a distance, there was an aura about the young man, he looked as though he had just stepped out of a 19th century lumber camp photo, like a man who knew the secrets of ax work and living off the land. The beard, plaid flannel (red and black of course), skinny britches rolled up a few turns to show off his vintage L.L. Bean boots with just a hint of wool sock protruding at the top. I imagined the aroma of wood smoke from his stack of flapjacks and coffee would hit me as I pushed DRG’s shopping cart past him on the frozen food aisle. Nope. Just another fashion-fabulous hipster.

A lot of my authentic southern readers may have never heard of this crossbred, the lumber-sexual. My Publix sighting confirms they’re here and not going anywhere no time soon. They seem to have migrated from their native habitat up north, the over-priced Minnesota coffee shops. Apparently, the lumberjack look was a new twist for hipsters. Remember the rhinestone cowboy craze from the 70’s? Same thing. They are born from cross-breeding a metrosexual and urban hipster (google these terms to get up to speed). The closest they’ve come to chopping a tree was the cutting of the Yule log at the office Christmas party. I guess the look and feel of simple lumber attire conjures up nostalgia, and, presumably, a boost in manliness.

I get it, chic clothing trends, like chiggers in a Georgia summer, never cease. A hipster sipping a passion tango herbal tea on a leather sofa at the corner coffee shop posing as a lumberjack seems non-congruent in my mind. I’ll give ’em one thing, they can buy an authentic lumber-look, even earth scented beard balm, but, to their chagrin, they can’t buy callouses. Those come by doing the stuff old lumberjacks did.

For the lumber sexual who stumbles upon this article, and feels the need to stop playing dress up, and would like to add authentic skills to match his attire, learn the art and lore of ax work. That wall-mounted ax over your headboard longs to feel its hickory handle whist through crisp air, hear metal separate wood fibers, and watch dinner plate size wood chips fling loose. This alone will assuredly add authenticity to your next filtered Instagram ax-selfie.  An added bonus… the calloused handshake over a craft beer reeks of masculinity… adding to your woods cred.

The Authentic Lumber Sexual Guide to Ax Work ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

No worries. Fixin’ Wax helps.

This guide may also be useful for the non-lumber sexual…

Authentic Ax Work (Not AXE Grooming Products)

Outside of fire, little else can contribute more to living comfortably in the wilderness than knowing how to properly use a well-chosen axe.

~ Mors Kochanski, Bushcraft, 1988

The ax is the oldest, most under-appreciated, yet invaluable tool which serves not only as a wilderness lifeline, but a simple machine that connects your hands to the forgotten craft of ax work. You’ll need an authentic ax to get starter. Don’t waste your money on box store axes. Once in my life, only once, I traded a Benjamin and some change for a Swedish ax just because of their reputation of forging fine steel. I was not disappointed.

A more budget friendly way, my preferred path, is vintage American made axes. Forgotten and left to rust in the corner of grandpa’s shed, these old treasures are waiting to be born again and eat wood.

For more guidance on choosing an ax, check out our article here.

How to Swing an Ax

All ax swings are inherently dangerous. Some are safer than others. But that’s part of the lure of ax work. Learning to reduce the risk of maiming (or worse) is your first priority.

It may not seem obvious, but the very first step, before your first swing in the woods, is to clear every vine, twig, overhead limb, camera man, and pet away from the area of your ax arc. The smallest thing can snag the ax on both backswing and forward chop. Look up and down the tree you plan to chop for any dead limbs. These hangers earned the name widow-maker for a reason. Even a small limb plummeting from 30 feet can crack your skull or destroy a shoulder. I know of a dead pine with a trunk split cradling a wrist-size limb in the crotch, tempting me to sink my felling ax into its trunk, but I resist, hoping and waiting for a gust of wind to bring it down. My gut tells me three thuds of my ax and DRG may be a widow. Follow your gut. Wise axmen strike the tree with the poll of their ax to loosen any potential hangers. Be prepared to drop the ax and follow exit routes you’ve cleared beforehand.

Ideally, you want level ground to plant your feet for chopping. That’s not always possible. If you’re new to ax work, find level ground free of tripping and slipping hazards and sink those vintage Danner boots in firmly.

For right-handers like me, grip the end of the handle with your left hand and your right hand on top of the left. Reverse this arrangement for southpaw. As you were taught in little league baseball, do not cross your wrists, right on bottom and left on top for right-handers, on swings. Coach Melvin told me this would break my wrists.

There are two basic ax swings: lateral and vertical. Certain guidelines should be followed for each swing.

Lateral Chopping

Lateral swings (diagonal and horizontal) are used to fell a tree, cut saplings in one swoop, and finish chops to separate a log while bucking. Any strokes outside your frontal zone is considered lateral swings. What’s your frontal zone?

Adapted from The Ax Book

Adapted from The Ax Book

In The Ax Book, which I recommend you devour until the pages are dog-eared, Dudley Cook describes the frontal zone as two parallel lines running along side the outside edges of your feet when chopping. All lateral swings should be outside the parallel lines, always. A miss hit or deflection from a full, extended-arm swing only stops when it strikes a target. Inertia forces the ax head to a stopping point, and that point could be your body if you disregard the frontal zone guidelines.

There are too many additional considerations such as, proper notching (face and back cuts), lean and lay, hang-ups, kick-backs, which can’t be covered in this one article, which is already a long but value-adding read, for you to safely chop down your first tree. I plan to write more on the subject later. Until then, read The Ax Book and watch more videos in the additional resources listed below.

With that being said, we will concentrate on ax swings which require wielding sharp steel within the frontal zone (toward your feet).

Vertical Chopping

Since the chainsaw removed the ax from most wood cutting, splitting firewood is by far the most used vertical swing presently. But, wanting to add authenticity to your life, there are other vertical strokes you should master.

Vertical chops fall into three categories…

  1. Backed up
  2. Non-backed, and
  3. Bucking, or chopping below the level of your feet

Backed Up

Backed up strokes are performed on another piece of robust wood (chopping block) wide enough to stop the ax swing momentum once it cuts through the target. The shorter the ax handle, the more dangerous the ax. The popular “boys ax” measures from armpit to finger length and makes a great all-purpose tool. However, care should be taken to understand that missing your target on vertical strokes with a shorter handle will likely bury the ax in your lower extremities. Keep the ax parallel to the ground at impact by bending your knees and waist during the downward stroke. This shortens your body and will likely sink the axhead in the chopping block, not your leg.

When chopping wrist-size green wood for your firewood pile, I’ve found this methods effective. Hold one end of the stick (about as long as you are tall) with your left hand and lay the other on a chopping block (backed-up stroke) with a notch or saddle on the edge of the stump. Accurately strike the stick where it rests in the notch at a 45 degree angle. Continue feeding the stick through the saddle notch until the last stove-length piece is left in your left hand. The angled cut should never be perpendicular to the stick. If struck too close towards your body, missing the saddle notch, the cut end will fly back toward your face like a wooden missile.

Steven Edholm has a great video demonstrating this technique on his channel, Skill Cult. He captures the wooden missile moment.

Another method, which I’m building at base camp now, is the Chopping Platform described by Mr. Cook. I’ll post the project once it’s complete.

Non-Backed Chops

Of all the vertical swings, this one possesses the most potential for injury. This stoke is not for a novice. Even experienced woodsmen make this cut only when other options are unavailable.

There may be an overhead limb which needs cutting. The safest way would be to saw the limb. However, an ax can be used with these precautions. Strike the limb with a modified grip by sliding your right hand half way up the ax handle to gain more control of the ax should it slice trough the limb. Strike at a 45 degree angle using only enough force to cut a portion of the limb’s diameter. Remember Newton’s first Law of Motion? An object (your ax) will keep moving until acted up by another force to stop its motion. Don’t let that other force be your body.

Do this ax stuff enough and you’ll encounter the bent sapling. I felled a broken Sweet Gum tree for the upcoming Chopping Platform project. In the limbing (de-limbing) video below, I demonstrate how to relieve tension with a non-backed, properly place ax stroke. Cutting a spring-loaded sapling near the ground unleashes unbelievable tension stored in the tree. If cut through, the potential energy converts to kinetic energy, and will not only mess up a well-groomed beard, but kill with a throat punch or head shot.

Bucking

Any wood large enough to stand on is fair game. The ax swing is safely backed up by the log being chopped as long the stroke stays below the level of your feet.

Again, clear all obstacles from the arc of your bucking swing. Hew two flat surfaces on either side of the cut line at the top of the horizontal log giving you a solid platform for your feet. If the log is on the ground and rocks while standing on top, step off and secure it by driving wooden wedges under each side for stabilization. Mark the width of your V notch with your ax on the side of the log to match its diameter.

The Authentic Lumber Sexual Guide to Ax Work ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

One side of a Sweet Gum log bucked

The Authentic Lumber Sexual Guide to Ax Work ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

The opposite, or back cut separates the log

I’ve used two methods to buck logs. First is to make a small V notch and widen it gradually to the desired width and halfway through the log. In my experience, I find the second method, described below, a more effective bucking technique.

Stand on top of the fallen tree and begin cutting a small (2-3 inch wide) V notch on the first mark with controlled strokes. This notch serves as the side cut for the larger notch. Now begin chopping the other mark at about a 45 degree angle. Use a pattern of overlapping cuts on the full length of the second mark (bottom to top). You should begin to loosen large wood chips from the entire notch at this point. Repeat this chopping pattern on each side of the notch to about halfway through the log.

Turn 180 degrees and face the other side of the log to repeat the same pattern. Ideally, you want the point of the two V notches to meet a hair off-center in the middle. When the log is close to separation, step to one side of the notch, the one securely supported, and separate the log with a few well placed strokes.

To cut closer to the bottom of the log, bend your back and waist and swing with fully extended arms. Chopping closer to the top of the log requires that you straighten your back but maintain extended arms on full swings. Do not choke up on the ax handle to make cuts at the top of the log. Pay attention to fatigue and rest as necessary.

For accurate downward strokes, swing the ax in line with your nose as you look at your target. Ax control and accuracy will develop with practice.

For the lumber sexual, authentic fashion is job one. Hijacking the ax, the lumber attire, and the beard on Instagram will develop neither the skills nor the callouses of lumberjacks. To be completely honest, I really couldn’t give a warm spittoon of tobacco juice that you look like an authentic lumberjack. You may have bought the look, complete with an expensive ax, but you can’t buy old skills. So grab an ax – chop, chop. And no, you can’t borrow mine…

The Authentic Lumber Sexual Guide to Ax Work ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

A few of my working axes

You may loan your last dollar to a friend; but never loan him your axe, unless you are certain that he knows how to use it.

~ Horace Kephart, Camping and Woodcraft

Ax Work Resources:

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook… and over at our Doing the Stuff Network.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there…

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Copyright © by Survival Sherpa: In light of the recent theft of all my content by a pirate site, my sharing policy has changed. I do not permit the re-posting of entire articles from my site without express written consent by me. My content on this site may be shared in digital form (200 words or less) for non-commercial use with a link back (without no-follow attribute) to the original article crediting the author. All photos, drawings, and articles are copyrighted by and the property of Survival Sherpa. You are more than welcome to share our photos and articles on social media for educational purposes as long as you link back to the original article/photo with credit to the author.

Wilderness First Aid Guide

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first_aid_bag_stocked

red_cross_first_aid.svgAdministering the right first aid correctly can help save lives and reduce discomfort when you are out in the wilderness.  Understanding the common challenges you may face and how to react under such conditions will help remove uncertainties and improve patient outcome. Having your first aid kit with you is the first step to handling emergencies. Here are some steps to take when faced with health emergencies or accidents in the wilderness:

By Ryan, a contributing author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

1) Survey the Area: Before you jump in to help the patient, take a second to survey the area for any potential danger. It’s important you keep your instinct to help immediately in check and ensure that the area is safe for you. There is no need rushing in only to increase the number of patients by falling victim to whatever danger created the emergency in the first place. Watch for signs of dangerous animals, uneven terrains that maybe due to an avalanche, and so on.

2) Approach the Patient: Approach the patient and try to determine the cause of the injury or medical condition, and put on your gloves before you touch the patient.

3) Determine the State of Your Patient: Tap the patient on the shoulder and shout “are you ok?” If you don’t get a response, use 10 seconds to determine if the patient is still breathing (occasional gasps is not breathing).

4) If the patient is not breathing send someone to call the emergency number immediately. Get the patient lying face-up and ensure the neck, head and back are in a straight line. If it’s a child and the parent or guardian is around, ask for consent if you haven’t already. Then give rescue breath. The right way to give rescue breath is to tilt the patient’s head, raise the chin, pinch the nose, and then breathe in through the mouth till the chest expands. Give rescue breath one after the other.

5) If the chest doesn’t rise after two rescue breaths, start CPR immediately. If you witnessed the patient collapse, skip rescue breaths and start CPR immediately.

6) If the patient is still breathing, keep the airway clear by raising the patient’s neck and tilting the head.

Dealing with Bleeding

medical_bag_packedIf the patient is bleeding, it’s important you stop the bleeding immediately. Raise the wounded area above the heart level and apply direct pressure with gauze, clean cloth, sphagnum moss, or dried seaweed. However, if it’s a head injury, apply several dressings and press gently because the skull may be fractured.  If you feel bone fragments, depression, or a spongy area, DO NOT apply direct pressure. Use diffused pressure to control the bleeding. 

Related: First Aid Training 

For non-head bleeding that fails to stop after application of direct pressure, consider applying pressure at the pulse point between the bleeding area and the heart.

Once the bleeding is controlled, flood the area with water to wash out dirt and contaminants. If there is any dirt still visible the water can’t remove, use tweezers to remove it carefully. Clean the area around the wound with alcohol wipe if you have one in your first aid box. Ensure you do not clean the inside of the wound with the alcohol wipe. Apply antibiotic ointment to the wound, and add clean gauze, and then a wrap to keep it in place. 

Dealing with Bone and Joint Injuries

cast_orthopedicBone and joint injuries may be strains, fractures, sprains, or dislocations. Although it can be difficult for an inexperienced person without BLS certification to tell one from the other, the care to be given is similar. Check for symptoms such as deformity, tenderness, swelling, an inability of the patient to use or move the injured part without pain, loss of sensation, or open injuries to confirm you are dealing with a bone or joint injury. 

Also Read: What not to do When Lost in the Wilderness

Help the person rest the injured body part and immobilize it on the ground or with a splint if you need to move the person. Apply a cold pack if available on the body part, separating the skin and the cold pack with a gauze or clean cloth to avoid damaging the skin. Leave for 20 minutes. Use cold water if ice is unavailable. Elevate the fractured body part above the heart level if it won’t cause pain or discomfort. You can administer aspirin if the pain is severe.  Arrange for evacuation of the patient as soon as possible.

Apart from the above basic precaution, do not attempt to fix bone damage or a dislocation if you are not trained to do so as permanent damage may occur.

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Army Tricks To Learn For Survival

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Army Tricks Survival

Army teaches you unique survival skills and habits, useful not only in extreme situations, but also in your everyday life.

The first and the most important thing people in the military are forced to learn is to survive. They learn to think fast, to function under stress, to pay attention to details and to survive in extreme environments. There is no other option. You either adapt or you are out or you… die.

Not serving in the army doesn’t mean you don’t have to learn something from those who do.

From keeping a low profile to self-defense, here are the top military tips and skills to introduce into your survival strategy.

Situational Awareness

Situational awareness is a simple concept, it’s just being aware of your surroundings and understanding the reality of the threats that you may face in any given situation. It’s just constantly being aware of what’s going on around you.

To some, situational awareness is just a theory, but there is much more than that, and once you learn it you understand why it stands for the basis of survival.

How Do You Recognize a Suspicious Activity or Person

If you know what normal looks like, you should be able to pick out the things that stand out as being abnormal in any situation, and those suspicious things are going to stand out. Don’t be afraid to act by calling the authorities when you see it, better sorry than dead! It might be a false alarm, or your call could lead to the capture, kill, or arrest of a terrorist cell or network.

Detecting Criminal Surveillance

Criminal surveillance is watching something or someone to determine if you’re the target that they’re looking for. Once you are identified as the target, most probably they’re going to hit by robbing you, kidnapping you or your family or even worse.

Survivopedia_escapeHow to Lose a Tail

First, you have to be aware that you have a tail, then act to lose it.

If you’re on foot, start walking erratically, meaning instead of going straight from point A to point B, take some weird turns. Look for shiny or reflective surfaces (a mirror or a store window) to see if that person is still following you.

How to Keep a Low Profile

Keeping a low profile doesn’t mean to drive the most expensive car in the country and talking too much about what you do and why you do it.

The goal is to stay unnoticed so the danger wouldn’t meet you round the corner. It starts with the way you dress and the way you move when you are in a public place, and has to do with the way you act and react in order to not drawing attention.

How to Cope with Danger

The first thing you want to do is put as much distance between yourself and the threat as possible, then you want to make sure that you alert the authorities to what’s going on in case communication means are available. Give them all the information that you can to make their job as easy as possible.

Now it’s not always the case that you can get away. Sometimes you may find yourself in an active shooter type scenario where escape is not an option. You may have to do things that you are not trained to do and that you have never done before.

Just calm down, stay calm and think before you do. Think about each move that you’re going to make before you make it, and try and protect yourself and others, as Brian M. Morris says in his “Spec Ops Shooting” guide to combat shooting mastery and active shooting defense. This decorated former Green Beret shares a lot of lifesaving advice from his 25 years of service in this book.

Click here to get your Green Beret’s Guide To Combat Shooting Mastery & Active Shooter Defense!

Combat Tips to Use for Self-Defense

1. You should be armed. In most states it’s now legal to get a concealed carry permit, which allows you to carry a handgun concealed on your person. Thirty-seven of the states are now “will issue” states, which means that as long as you meet the requirements for a concealed carry permit and do not have a record of criminal activity or mental incompetence, the state is required to give you a permit, upon application.

Okay, so being aware and having a weapon on your person takes away a lot of the assailant’s advantage, but not all of it. They still have two major advantages over you; the first is that they choose the time and place and the second is their willingness to inflict harm on you.

2. When an attack comes, you need to react quickly and violently. Violently doesn’t necessarily mean that you kill them or even that you shoot them, it means that you react in such a way that they are convinced you are going to shoot them. That alone might be enough to get them to break off the attack and run away.

3. As part of that initial reaction, you want to move out of their line of fire. Most criminals are poor shots and not much more skilled with a knife. They’re depending on their ability to intimidate you. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t dangerous or that they can’t shoot you; just that they are likely to miss. Moving, whether dropping to one knee or moving to the side, reduces their chances of hitting you.

4. There’s a saying that anything that’s worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Police departments train their officers this way, teaching them to shoot “double taps”. Those double taps increase the chances that your shots are going to do enough harm to the assailant that you will be able to stop them. If your shots don’t stop them, keep shooting. Your goal isn’t to kill them, just to stop them. As long as they are facing you and holding a weapon, they’re a threat.

5. Once you start moving, keep moving. You should practice shooting while moving, so that you are prepared to do it. It is infinitely harder to shoot accurately while moving, than it is while standing still. Practice, so that you can do it when you need to. Your movement makes you a hard target to hit.

6. Events might transpire in such a way that you can’t draw your gun and return fire immediately. There are times that an assailant might get the upper hand, even if you are aware of your surroundings. Your first indication that anything is wrong might be seeing a gun or knife stuck in your face. If that’s the case and you can’t draw your weapon, play for time.

They’re keyed up to attack at first, but the longer they have to wait, the less ready they are. In such a situation, you want to try and wait until they are either momentarily distracted or let down their guard for a moment. That then becomes your moment to act.

Being able to master army skills is what makes you a warrior and helps you survive and protect other at the same time. It takes practice and time to build this mindset, but once you got it you ease your steps to survival.

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This article has been written by John Gilmore for Survivopedia. 

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