Reader Recommendations: Preppers List Their Favourite Gear

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Reader Recommendations: Preppers List Their Favourite Gear

This article is a follow up of a post I made just a couple weeks ago asking you guys to recommend the prepper gear you use and love. The question came about because I’d made an article listing the best prepper gear I could think of without price point being much of a factor. I tried to […]

This is just the start of the post Reader Recommendations: Preppers List Their Favourite Gear. Continue reading and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!

Reader Recommendations: Preppers List Their Favourite Gear, written by Elise Xavier, was created exclusively for readers of the survival blog More Than Just Surviving.

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.”

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!


SURVIVAL TACTICS: Your Guide To Wilderness Survival

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As a hunter, I have stranded in the wilderness many times. There came a stage where it seemed impossible to survive. I lost my way, I lived in dark, I had no food. But still I managed to escape. How??All these years of hunting and exploring wilderness, have taught me a good deal about unusual survival tactics to protect myself.  These days, most of the novice hunters act quite overconfidently about this profession and consider, only their iPhone and a GPS navigation appis enough to aid them in the race of their ultimate survival. My only question to them, how long can you keep your battery charged??

Survival Tactics Every Hunter Should Know!

There is an array of ways, knowing which can get you out of trouble in any situation. Read on to find your guide to wilderness survival here.

  1. Share your Destination

Never leave your place without informing some close pal or family member about your final hunting abode. It is the key point in your survival. At least some of your close fellows must know where you are heading to. In case, you get stranded, it would help them in tracing you out.

              2. Don’t Get Panic!

That is the most common mistake that inexperienced hunters commit after straying in the wild. Staying fit both physically and mentally is really important for your survival. If you face such situation, stay calm and cool. Stop, sit and take a deep breath. Think cleverly and plan your way out.

             3. Find a Secure Place for Shelter

In a situation like this, the first thing should be to look for a safe campsite. Once you are settled safely, you can plan your survival tactics there. Your shelter should be on a place both high and dry. Simply put, avoid valleys and pathways, as such places are always at the risk of getting flooded(flash flood).

Photo Source

             4. Start a Fire

Surviving without fire is impossible. You need fire to stay warm, to cook food, to boil water, to keep the predators and bugs away and most importantly, to use as a sign for help. Never forget to store a Firestarter in your survival kit. Even a tactical pen(a tactical pen comes with a number of uses for the strayed) with Firestarter can work for you. In case you’ve missed it, there is another trick to start the fire. Using a battery is a handy way to lit the fire. How? You simply need to short-circuit the battery. Connect the positive and negative terminals to some steel wool, foil or a wire. It would cause a spark. Lit your bundle of wood with it.

          5. Look for Drinkable Water

Your body can’t survive without water for more than three days. You’d be lucky if you find a body of potable water in the wild. If water seems polluted (water in puddles), never use it without boiling. What if you don’t find water? Wait for the rain, dew or snow. That’s the best I can suggest in a tricky situation like this. All three are the natural and the safest sources of water and do not require boiling.But unfortunately, you can’t predict weather. What if none of it happens and you don’t get even a single drop of water? My survival tactics are not over yet. Look for the maple trees around. Cutting a hole in its bark releases a liquid. That is quite safe to drink. To survive, gulp it down.

           6. Look for Food

I always advise to pack a bundle of edible items with you. As you can’t predict the duration of your adventure. In case, you are running short of food, look for food in your surroundings. Otherwise, you are going to be the victim of malnutrition. Once that happens, getting out of wild may become a dream. Now the question is; which edibles you can find in such wilderness? Read on your guide to wilderness survival to know more. To cop up with this hard situation, your body needs protein. Let’s hunt around for some bugs, critters, frogs, eggs and lizards. If you happen to be a vegetarian, forests are sourced with edible (and non-edible) berries and plants. Some edible plants include—lambsquarter(wild spinach), dandelions and cattails. Research well about these plants before leaving for the hunt. When you already know about plant’s structure and shape, it would be easier to identify them.


Photo Source


                7. Something to Cut

A knife is a must have tool. It helps in a number of ways—for cutting anything, for cooking food and also for your own protection against elements. Before you set out, make sure to pack a couple of tactical knives with you.

              8. Use Survival signals

Fire is the most recommended survival signal that you can send to the outer world, especially when you hear the sounds of some plane or rescuer’s helicopter nearby. Find some open place or a hilltop to lit the fire(to avoid the spreading of the fire).Gather twigs and dry leaves from your surroundings to lit the fire. Once the fire is kindled, add spruce leaves and fresh pine to intensify the fire and the smoke. You must have your combustible material saved for this very critical moment (or else you might miss the chance of getting rescued).Don’t forget to extinguish the fire before leaving this spot. The second survival tactic can be a mirror signal. The light that flashes from a mirror signal can travel to miles. Even at night time, you can send a flash signal with moonlight.


Note: It is not essential to have a mirror to send the signal. Any reflective surface including your mobile’s screen, can be improvised in this regard.

           9. Find the Best Ways to Navigate

In case, you don’t find any signs of aid from any side (even if the building the fire signal gone useless), it’s time to move on. Don’t waste your time sitting there waiting for aid. You must have some navigation tool, map or a compass. What if you don’t? Get help from mother nature. In the daylight, sun can be a part of your survival tactics in the wild. You know sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Simply following the sun can help in determining your current direction. In the night, get help from the starry sky. Find the Polaris (north star or pole star). It’s lined up with the constellation, little dipper. When you are facing north star, you are actually heading in the north direction.

Photo Source


           10. Other Ways to Find your Way!

Every forest or wild area has some mountains, paths or rivers in it. If you find one, keep following it. These often lead to civilization or pathways.



About the author : Sheldon Martin is the founder of Captain Hunter. is a site dedicated to the sport of hunting. We have a deep respect for nature and for the environment, and we therefore take the sport of hunting very seriously. Never think that you are alone in the woods again. Our goal is to share what we know with who needs it most.

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17 Common Sense Ways to Prevent Hypothermia While Outdoors

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17 Common Sense Ways to Prevent Hypothermia While Outdoors

If you were hoping to learn about some groundbreaking new techniques or read some phenomenally ingenious ways of preventing yourself from getting hypothermia while outdoors, sorry to say, that’s not what this article is for. When I say the following are common sense ways you can help prevent yourself from getting hypothermia outdoors, I really… Read More

This is just the start of the post 17 Common Sense Ways to Prevent Hypothermia While Outdoors. Continue reading and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!

17 Common Sense Ways to Prevent Hypothermia While Outdoors, written by Elise Xavier, was created exclusively for readers of the survival blog More Than Just Surviving.

You Have Your Bug-Out Bag – Now What Do You Do With It?

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winterfire-300x225One thing I constantly try to keep in mind is that not everybody is familiar with the great outdoors. Recently I had a conversation with a friend at work who told me he had a bug-out bag full of good gear, but when we talked it became evident that he didn’t have a real solid plan of what to do with it in case he actually needed to bug-out. So I thought I’d write a short guide on what do do with your bug-out kit once you actually have to step outside the door with it.

By Jarhead Survivor, a Contributing Author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

Let’s assume you have the basics of what should be in a good camping kit. Remember the Survival Rule of 3’s?

1. You can survive three hours without shelter
2. You can survive three days without water
3. You can survive three weeks without food

This means you’ll need shelter, water – carrying some and with a wait to purify it, and food.

Let’s further assume that this bug-out (or camping trip) will last for three days and you want to go off grid where there is no electricity or other people in the area. We’ll also say that you’ve cleared the trouble area and now it’s time to enter the woods and set up camp.

In your pack you should have a shelter of some kind such as a tarp, tent or bivy. You’ll also need water and food, and a way to navigate such as map and compass. Don’t forget a first-aid kit! Add in some basics such as a knife, flashlight, sleeping bag, water filter, mess kit, stove, fuel, etc, and pretty soon you’ll have a pretty heavy pack with lots of gear. (See this post about keeping your pack weight down.)

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

So now it’s time to bug-out. What are the actual first steps you take? As silly as it might sound make sure you’ve got your pack(s) ready to go. When you’re satisfied that all is good go ahead and shoulder it. Make sure it fits properly and the waist and shoulder straps are cinched properly.

Check Out: The Survival Staff

Open the door and start walking.

I know that sounds a little silly, but stay with me.

glock_19_katrina_pistol_trijicon_streamlight_tlr2_surefire_with_gerber_lmf-2Now, if this is a full scale event with millions of people trying to get out of Dodge don’t be shy about taking care of yourself. If you have a gun carry it to where you can get to it easily. Very likely that someone who hasn’t done the planning you have might decide that your stuff looks pretty good and they’d like to have it for themselves. A gun is a great way to dissuade them if comes down to it.

In The Woods

ominous_forest_coldNow you’ve reached the patch of wilderness that is your destination. What do do? One of the first things you should have done is look over your map or Google Maps and get a sense of the land. Is there water in that patch of woods? If so are they lakes, streams, or rivers? Any cliffs or mountains? Swamps? Are there roads or trails? What’s out there that might benefit or hinder you? Where’s the nearest road in case you get lost? What’s the azimuth to it? The more information you have about the area you’ll be working in the better off you’ll be.

Now that we have a map and a better understanding of the area it’s time to pick a location for a camp. When I’m camping I typically look for a spot near water, but high enough not to be bothered by rising water if it rains. If possible, talk to people who’ve camped there before and ask them what the land is like and if there’s anything to watch out for.

Next to a lake or river on a high bank is usually a good spot. Spots like these will likely draw in other hikers/campers/refugees as well, so keep that in mind when selecting your camp. If you’re planning on burning wood make sure there’s plenty of dry dead wood in your area that will burn good. Standing dead is your best choice.

Watch out for “widow makers.” A widow maker is a dead tree or branch on or over where you’re setting up that might fall down during a high wind. Nothing will ruin your night like a widow maker crashing through your tent and killing you.


Once you’re happy with your area it’s time to set up your tent. (I’ll assume we’re using a tent in this scenario, although a tarp or poncho would work just as well.)

Clear the area of debris where your tent is going to be. Rocks, roots, pine cones, any of these things can make an overnight feel like a week if it gets under your sleeping mat. Once your tent is set up put the sleeping pad and sleeping bag inside, grab your axe/hatchet/saw and head out to get some firewood.

Related: Cold Weather Survival in a Blizzard

shelter_fire_camping_out-2As mentioned earlier, standing dead wood is your best bet. If you find wood lying directly on the ground it’s likely to be wet, damp, and/or punky and probably won’t burn very well. Tree’s that are standing, but dead, will offer a great source of firewood once you’ve cut them down. I usually have a small saw and don’t cut anything bigger than four or five inches at the base, which makes dragging and processing the wood a little easier.

After you cut the tree down don’t cut it up yet. I like to leave it at tree length as much as possible and carry it back as one unit, then cut it up when I get back to camp. Make a good stack of wood so you’ll be able to have a fire well into the evening. If you’re depending on the fire to keep you warm gather as much wood as you think you’ll need, then add some more. An all night fire burns a lot of wood!


If I’m doing a long distance hike I’ll primarily take freeze dried foods, which aren’t bad, but then again they rarely make me jump for joy either. But anything tastes good if you’re hungry enough!

At dinner I would advise using a fire to heat your water and food and save your stove fuel for when you really need it. When I’m in the field dinner is usually my biggest meal. I like to eat, hang out around the fire, then go to bed when I get tired.

Breakfast is typically a quick affair where I’ll either something simple like GORP, or heat up water for oatmeal and instant coffee. If you’re not moving you can use a fire to heat your meal. If you’re packing up and getting ready to leave you could probably use your stove to heat the water. This isn’t a hard and fast rule though! If you’d rather have a small fire before you get going go ahead. Just make sure your fire is dead before you leave.

If you’re on the move lunch is another quick meal. When I’m walking I like to stop for lunch somewhere high if possible and enjoy whatever view I can. If you’re trying not to be seen there are all kinds of places where you can drop your pack and get your stove going. My lunches are typically quick and easy to prepare, maybe some Oodles of Noodles and an energy bar, or if I don’t want to cook some GORP or trail mix might do the trick.


gps_compass_lostWhen you’re moving from place to place you need to keep accurate track of your location. You can do this by using a GPS unit or a map and compass. Being old school I like the map and compass and I highly suggest that you get a little schooling on them if you don’t already know how. If you’re on a bug-out and the S has really HTF then you don’t want to rely too heavily on anything that uses batteries.

If you’re moving site to site leave yourself a little wiggle room on the amount of time you expect it will take you to get there. I’ve pulled into a site after dark on many occasions and it can suck setting up camp in the dark after a day of hiking a heavy pack through the woods. Do what you have to do. Sometimes being in the woods on a long trip sucks and you just need to suck it up.

Conserving Your Resources

When I talk about conservation I’m thinking more about conserving your supplies as much as possible. Drink from streams with a filter if possible and save the water in your canteen. (But do drink. A lot!) If you’re sitting around the fire at night there’s no need to have your headlamp or flashlight going. Keep them off and save the batteries. If it’s the right time of year you can fish and pick berries to help offset what you eat.

Bathroom Breaks at Camp

When you’re traveling a bathroom is no big deal. Just step off the trail and do your business. Bury everything when you’re done.

If you’re in camp you’ll need to designate a spot for pit stops. I usually like to walk about fifteen steps from camp, but at night you’ll realistically probably only walk a few steps away before you let fly. Unwise, but understandable, especially if it’s cold. Better for everyone if you all have the discipline to go to the prescribed bathroom spot.


Now you have a basic idea of what an off-grid camp out looks like. A bug-out to the wilderness won’t be that different except you’ll probably be more on the alert for other people while you’re out there and will probably want to practice more light and noise security.

Every camp out is different, but they all share the same attributes and in order to get good at it you need to get out there and do it. Practice, practice, practice!

If you’re nervous start by sleeping out in your backyard or at a campground. As you get more confident head out into the wilderness for longer stays.

Talk to people who’ve camped in that area and see what they have to say. Is a gun necessary due to animals? Does it rain a lot? Etc. Ask questions about where they camped and how they made out. Ok, if you have questions or comments sound off below!

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Couch Potato Bushcrafting: Wilderness Survival Skills From Your Sofa

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Couch Potato Bushcrafting: Wilderness Survival Skills From Your Sofa

I’ve already done an article on couch potato prepping, so you should already know how much a fan I am of doing and learning what you can from the comfort of your own home. While it may sound completely preposterous, you actually can get quite a few bushcraft/wilderness survival skills ready for the outdoors without… Read More

This is just the start of the post Couch Potato Bushcrafting: Wilderness Survival Skills From Your Sofa. Continue reading and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!

Couch Potato Bushcrafting: Wilderness Survival Skills From Your Sofa, written by Elise Xavier, was created exclusively for readers of the survival blog More Than Just Surviving.

Here’s the Absolute Best Way to Tell If a Wild Plant is Edible

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You have to give a lot of respect to people who practice foraging. It’s definitely one of the most underrated skills in the modern world, and it’s also quite difficult to learn. If you want to eat plants that are found in the wild, you must have an encyclopedic knowledge of wild plants, both where you live and abroad. And not just because there are thousands of plants in the world that are poisonous, but also because many of them look a lot like edible plants.

For most people however, it can be difficult to justify learning this skill. We live in an era that provides an abundance of cheap food (relative to previous eras of course). If you want to learn how to safely forage for food in the wild, you have to spend a lot of time and energy on a skill that may not ever come in handy for you.

But if you want to better your odds of surviving in the wilderness, and you don’t have time to gain such an impressive skill, there is a shortcut you can learn. Like most things in life that take less effort, it’s not as comprehensive or effective, but it’s a lot better than nothing. It’s called the Universal Edibility Test, and it’s a method of safely testing wild plants that you’re not familiar with to see if you can actually eat them. Here’s how it works:

  1. Say you find a tasty looking plant in the wilderness. To see if it’s safe, the first thing you need to do is separate its parts, such as stems, leaves, flowers, buds, and roots. That’s because in many cases, only certain parts of a plant are poisonous.
  2. Next you need to take one of those parts and smell it. Certain plants have evolved to avoid being consumed, and they often have a terrible smell. So if it smells something awful, throw it out.
  3. But if it passes the smell test, the next thing you need to do is rub or place the plant on your skin, preferably on your inner elbow or wrist. Keep it there for a few minutes, then wait eight hours. If that spot starts to feel itchy, numb, or develops a rash, then clearly that plant doesn’t want to be eaten.
  4. If the plant passes that test, then the next thing you need to do is cook it if you can, since that often neutralizes poisons. Then you need to rub it on your lips for about three minutes. If you don’t encounter any kind of burning or tingling sensation after 15 minutes, then you can move on to the next step.
  5. Now you need to put the plant in your mouth. However, don’t swallow just yet. Just let the plant material rest on your tongue for 15 minutes. If the plant tastes bitter, or just gag-worthy in general; or if you experience burning or tingling in your mouth, then it’s probably not safe to eat. If it passes this test, then try swishing it around in your mouth for 15 minutes and look for the same signs. If you do experience any of these negative reactions, then not only should you spit the plant out, but you should also clean your mouth out with water.
  6. Finally, if you don’t receive any negative reactions from that previous step, then you can swallow the plant. Wait till the next day, and don’t eat anything else while you’re waiting. If you’re still feeling alright after that, then you can be reasonably sure that the plant is safe to eat. You can repeat this process for the other parts of the plant.

Now you can try eating a more substantial amount of the plant. If you still feel fine after another eight hours or so, then it’s definitely safe to eat.

Given the time-consuming nature of this test, you’ll want to try this out first on plants that are more abundant in your environment. It’s also important to note that there are certain things that are not worth your time with this test. Most notably, mushrooms usually can’t be tested with this method, so don’t even bother with them unless you’re well versed in spotting edible mushrooms.

Obviously the Universal Edibility Test isn’t perfect, and conducting it in the wild is going to use up a lot of precious time. Nothing beats having actual skills, and genuinely learning how to forage for wild plants. But if you don’t know what is and isn’t edible in your environment and you’re in a survival situation, then this is the absolute best way to find edible food in the wild.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Wilderness Survival: Starting Fire After Rain, Drinking Seawater, & More

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Wilderness Survival: Starting Fire After Rain, Drinking Seawater, & More

We’re a blog about more than just wilderness survival – but that doesn’t mean we don’t cover wilderness survival and bushcraft techniques at all. There are a good number of articles we’ve published on this blog that have to do specifically with wilderness survival, though they do end up buried amongst the prepping and gear… Read More

This is just the start of the post Wilderness Survival: Starting Fire After Rain, Drinking Seawater, & More. Continue reading and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!

Wilderness Survival: Starting Fire After Rain, Drinking Seawater, & More, written by Elise Xavier, was created exclusively for readers of the survival blog More Than Just Surviving.

Hypothermia: Life Threatening, Yet Simple to Treat – Do You Know How?

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Hypothermia: Life Threatening, Yet Simple to Treat – Do You Know How?

Hypothermia is one of those conditions that is often discussed and yet rarely described as anything more than simply being out in the cold for too long. The reality is quite a bit more complex and the consequences of ignoring the symptoms often lead to extreme end results, sometimes even death. What Is Hypothermia? Hypothermia… Read More

This is just the start of the post Hypothermia: Life Threatening, Yet Simple to Treat – Do You Know How?. Continue reading and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!

Hypothermia: Life Threatening, Yet Simple to Treat – Do You Know How?, written by Thomas Xavier, was created exclusively for readers of the survival blog More Than Just Surviving.

That Exists? Coolest Survival, Outdoor, & Camp Gear We’ve Seen

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That Exists? Coolest Survival, Outdoor, & Camp Gear We’ve Seen

There’s not always a heck of a lot new going on in the survival, outdoor, & camping world when it comes to interesting gadgets, new products, and overall innovation. This makes sense, since when it comes to camping, survival, & the general outdoors, many choose (wisely) to stick to what they’ve already got because, well plainly put,… Read More

This is just the start of the post That Exists? Coolest Survival, Outdoor, & Camp Gear We’ve Seen. Continue reading and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!

That Exists? Coolest Survival, Outdoor, & Camp Gear We’ve Seen, written by Elise Xavier, was created exclusively for readers of the survival blog More Than Just Surviving.

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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Make A Practical Water Purification System Part of Your Survival Kit

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In a disaster, no single item or piece of gear can absolutely guarantee your ability to purify water for drinking. But several carefully-chosen pieces of water purification equipment might give you a fighting chance!

by Leon Pantenburg

As a newspaper reporter covering various natural disasters, including tornadoes, floods and forest fires, I noticed a common aspect among all of them: Drinking water was always in short supply.

My first flood taught me that. I was working for the Vicksburg Evening Post and was sent to photograph the high water in Chickasaw Bayou, north of Vicksburg, MS. The nearby Mississippi River had reclaimed some of its flood plain, sending high water into a subdivision and forcing residents to leave.

I rode in a jonboat with a sheriff’s deputy, and we cruised the flooded streets. It

A drainage ditch might be the only source of water you can find.

was Mississippi summer hot, the heat reflected off the muddy, nasty water and the bottom of the metal boat, and the  deputy and I baked in the sunshine.

Though  there were miles and miles of water, there was not one drop to drink (to update and steal a cliche from “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”). I would have gotten  really thirsty, except the deputy was prepared with extra water and willing to share!

I’m not sure anything could have made that vile floodwater stew after Katrina potable! But regardless of where you are, staying hydrated is one of your first priorities.

Where I live in Central Oregon, I am within striking distance of high desert, mountains, temperate rain forests, the Pacific coast and beautiful deciduous forests. I love to roam all these areas, and frequently, during hunting season, may end up miles from the vehicle and my backup water supply. But these areas all require different variations of hydration gear, and here’s how to decide what will work best for your region.

Here’s an important consideration before choosing hydration gear: How long will it take to work? Some sport bottle systems work instantaneously – you fill them up, prime the filter and drink. This can invaluable if you need to quickly re-hydrate a child or someone who is dehydrated to the point of medical emergency.

The chemical treatments, such as the Polar Pure, can require upward of 30 minutes to work, depending on the water temperature. Some filters just take a long time to work. Generally speaking, boiling is not a particularly quick operation. The time it takes to boil water varies, depending on altitude, heat source, shape of container etc.

Buy this filter.

Here’s what I carry as part of my hydration system, and so far, everything has served me well. (Many of these items are multi-use):

Water Containers: You must have durable, large capacity water containers available. If you’re out all day in the desert or a flood, for example,

The Nalgene in the center is what I drink from and the Platypus flexible bottles on either side are backups.

there probably won’t be a place or chance to replenish your drinking water, and all you’ll have is what you carry. Also, you might find someone without any water at all. You don’t want to give away your backup!

  • Nalgene bottle: I like the wide-mouth model, and modify mine with a paracord loop and duct tape. The loop is designed so the bottle can be carried on my belt, or tied to a cord to lower into a stock tank, depression or water source that is hard to get to. Don’t think you can just tie something onto the lid retainer – chances are it will break at some point, and as these things go, probably when you need it the most.

Duct tape is useful for everything, and around the water bottle is a convenient place to carry it!

  • Platypus flexible water containers:  These collapsible water containers are available in various sizes as water storage units and they roll up into a small, lightweight pack when empty. I generally carry two or three large-sized extras, rolled up and empty, in my daypack, since they weigh next to nothing and don’t take up much space.   Then, if you need to carry water from a spring or other water source, you won’t have to improve. (Tip: Since you will probably need a minimum of a gallon of water per day, it makes sense to take enough flexible water containers to haul a gallon!)

Tin or metal cup for boiling or dipping water out of hard-to-reach places. Boiling water is probably the safest, most effective method of water purification available, providing you have a heat source, and a tin cup works great and is incredibly useful.

I usually carry a large (about 24-ounce capacity), metal cup for several tasks. My trusty, large blue enamel cup and a spoon comprised my mess kit for nine days in the Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota. I never needed anything else. I have brewed countless cups of tea or coffee over various heat sources with that piece of gear, and I don’t leave home without one!

How long should you boil the water to purify it? Bring the water to a boil, and that should kill anything that boiling will

This Central Oregon high desert spring is the only water source for miles. The water will require purification before using.

This Central Oregon high desert spring is the only water source for miles. The water will require purification before using.

kill. Water boils at 212 degrees, then vaporizes. Extended boiling will not make the water hotter or kill more nasties, but it will use up more of your fuel!

Polar Pure or Potable Agua: These are chemical purifiers, and require a certain time period for them to work. I used the Polar Pure system exclusively on a nine-day canoe trip in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters and the system worked really well. Potable Agua comes in capsules and is easy to carry and use. Either Polar Pure of Potable Aqua goes on every outing. (Order Polar Pure here.)

Six-foot piece of aquarium tubing: I got this tip from survival expert Peter Kummerfeldt. Peter recommends including the tubing in case you find water in a crack or crevice and can’t get to it. Just stick the tube in the water and suck it out.

Coffee filter and bandanna: If you can filter the mud and debris out of the water, it will make any filter last that much longer. In especially turbid, muddy water, wrap the coffee filter around the bottom of any filter and attach it with a rubber band. It will help! The bandanna has many uses, including serving as a water filter. A clean one, that you haven’t used to wipe your nose, is preferable!

Large garbage bag: Another multi-use item. Use this to catch rain or dew, or as a reservoir for holding water.

Water filter: Some lightweight  method of filtering and purifying water can be incredibly useful.  Several companies make sport bottles with filters in them. Use is simple – fill the bottle and suck the water through the filter.

These are the best for hikes along streams, or in areas where you know there is running water available.

If the water is really nasty, two drops of plain chlorinated bleach or iodine can be added to each refill before filtering. This will kill minute pathogens such as viruses, and the disinfectant will then be filtered from the water entirely removing its odor, color and taste.

So, these items work for me. My hydration system is set up with the idea that there is a piece of equipment that should be able to handle any situation. Do your research, select your equipment carefully and include an integrated hydration system in every survival kit.

And make sure to  use your common sense to stay hydrated in the first place!

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For Wilderness and Urban Safety: Attach a whistle to your child

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You can only yell for help as long as your voice lasts. Here’s why you need to carry a whistle.

by Leon Pantenburg

To keep your child safe in the city or in the wilderness, the proper training and a whistle, may be the most important tools.

Attach whistles to outdoor and everyday gear, so you’ll have one if needed.

I carry a whistle at all times on my keyring. For an easily-carried auditory signalling device, there is nothing better. A whistle blast is not normal: People tend to look in the direction where the noise came from.

Shouting for help, during an emergency,  will last as long as your voice does. (Remember Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet floating on that door after the ship went down in “Titanic“?)

And screaming, whooping and hollering won’t carry as far as a shrill whistle, and may be mistaken for something other than a call for help.

In an urban situation where everyone is talking and making noise, a whistle can cut through the background din to draw attention in your direction. (And here’s an interesting survival scenario:  If you end up in a dark movie theater and the lights go out completely, whoever has a flashlight instantly becomes a leader! If you also  use a whistle, you will be viewed as the person in charge.)

A good safety practice is to attach a whistle to every child on every outing. (My kids were so used to this. When my daughter was younger and went to the mall, a whistle was clipped to her backpack. If she felt threatened or in danger, she had been trained to blow it, wherever she might be!)

These whistles are less-likely to freeze during cold weather since they don’t have a pea in them.

Here are some whistle training rules to teach your child:

  • The whistle is not a toy. Never blow the survival whistle for fun, and only use it if you’re lost.
  • In an urban or wilderness situation, don’t move around once you think you’re lost.
  • Stay in one place and blow a series of three blasts. This is the universal distress signal.
  • After you blow the three blasts, wait awhile, and blow another series. Searchers may be trying to signal back, and you won’t hear them if you blow continually.
  • If  lost in a crowd, stay in one place and blow three blasts on your whistle. Keep doing this regularly until you are found.

* A really good wilderness safety reference book for parents  is “I Sit and I Stay.” In the book, author Leah L. Waarvik gives whistle-training and other safety tips for kids if  they get lost outdoors.

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5 Poisonous Plant Families the Survivalist Should Know

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dogbane_2The subject of poisonous plants is complex.  Conditioned by the grocery store, modern man often considers it a black and white subject, with things being either edible or poisonous.  Realistically, toxicity in plants is much more like a spectrum.  Some things are very toxic and some very safe, while most are along a spectrum of the in-between.  The subject is further complicated by variables such as dose and preparation.  Hence, the saying “the dose makes the poison”, as even water proves fatal in excess. (See “Water Intoxication”.)

By Nathaniel Whitmore a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

Often people ask, “Why are there poisonous plants?” or “Why would God create poisons?”.  While this could prove another very complex discussion, it’s sufficient here to point out that even the most poisonous plants have medicinal uses.  In fact, it is precisely the poisonous plants that have provided the most powerful and dramatic medicines- they are poisonous or medicinal because their chemical constituents are so strong.  So, everything has its place.  The survivalist should get to know the most toxic plant families to avoid accidental poisoning and to become familiar with the myriad uses of such plants.

There are certain generalizations that the botanist can make regarding the identification of plant families.  Likewise, there are generalizations that the forager and herbalist can make about the edible, medicinal, and toxic properties of plant families.  This is very useful for plant identification and use of plants for food and medicine.  However, while generalizing is useful for learning – it is not the full story and one must also learn the details.  The Carrot Family (Apiaceae), for instance, is one of the most poisonous plant families that also gives us Carrots, Parsley, and other well-known edibles.  The forager should know that the family in general is quite toxic.  But they must also learn which species are good edibles, which have medicinal properties that are also somewhat toxic, and which are fatally poisonous.  Learn the ends of the spectrum first- the most edible and the most poisonous.

One could argue that the safest method to learning about wild edibles is to learn the most deadly poisons first.  Then, one would know what to avoid to avoid death.  All other mistakes would be mild in comparison.  This is good theory, but in reality it is much more common and natural to learn a little bit here-and-there about edibles, medicinals, and poisons.  Still, the point has been made.

Because of the “spectrum of edibility” an exhaustive article on plant poisons would be very long.  For this post we will focus on five plant families of common occurrence and some of the most deadly plants.  This will be a good starting place for the subject.  The five families covered are the Poison Ivy Family (Anacardiaceae), the Carrot Family (Apiaceae), the Milkweed Family (Apocynaceae), the Buttercup Family (Ranunculaceae), and the Nightshade Family (Solanaceae).

Anacardiaceae – The Poison Ivy Family

poison_ivyAnacardiaceae is also known as the Cashew Family.  Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) is a complex species group that may or may not include what is otherwise known as Poison Oak.  They deserve mention here not only due to “poison” in their name but because these plants are among the most trouble to people spending time outdoors, some people anyway.  A decent percentage of people can react to the Poison Ivy oils and experience a troublesome, blistering rash.  Some people do not react, but must still maintain some respect for the plants as sensitivity can develop at any age.  People also lose sensitivity spontaneously or through desensitising protocols.  The best remedy for the Poison Ivy rash is fresh Jewelweed (Impatiens spp. or Touch-Me-Not).  The juicy plants can be crushed and rubbed on the exposed area.  You should learn Poison Ivy and its relatives as well as Jewelweed.

Poison Sumac (Toxicodendron vernix) is another in the genus.  Sometimes when people get a bad Toxicodendron rash they will say it is Poison Sumac because of how bad the rash is.  However, because Poison Sumac grows in swamps and bogs it is much more rare to come in contact with.

Mangos (Mangifera indica) and Cashews (Anacardium occidentale) belong to Anacardiaceae, as do our Sumacs (Rhus spp.).  It is believed that eating these foods can help against Poison Ivy reactiveness.  People sometimes worry about consuming Sumacs because of Poison Sumac.  But Poison Sumac belongs to Toxicodendron and Staghorn Sumac and its close relatives belong to Rhus.  They are different plants.  Rhus species provide several edible and medicinal parts.

Apiaceae – The Carrot Family

Apiaceae is also known as the Poison Hemlock Family, the Parsley Family, and by its old name, the Umbel Family or Umbelliferae.  This latter designation has persisted since Apiaceae became official largely because it describes the flower type, the umble, which is characteristic.  To describe it here is slightly too technical (will save it for an article focused on this family alone), but perhaps you already know it.  Carrots (Daucus carrota), Angelica (Angelica spp.), Parsnips (Pastinica sativa), Dill (Anethum graveolens), Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum), and Water Hemlock (Cicuta spp.) all have umble (umbrella-shaped) flowerheads.  Yarrow (Achellea millefollium of the Aster Family) and Elderberry (Sambucus spp. of the Elder Family, Adoxaceae) look at first to have umbels, but when inspected closely the stalks supporting the flowering parts arise in a branching pattern from the main stem while true umbles branch from a single node of the main stem.  That is, umbels come from one point.  

david_-_the_death_of_socratesPoison Hemlock, Water Hemlock, and the related species are very deadly.  Water Hemlock (Cicuta douglasii) has been considered the most poisonous plant in North America.  Poison Hemlock is infamous as the plant that killed Socrates, as it was used in ancient times as a euthanizing agent.  Umbel flower-heads should be a warning.  Eat and use such plants carefully to avoid confusing a desired species with a fatally poisonous one.  Even those that are edible can produce toxic parts.  For instance, Parsnip has been cultivated for generations as a delicious vegetable, but the above-ground portions of Wild Parsnip are well known to produce rashes in some people.

Like Parsnip, Wild Carrot is the wild version of the domestic vegetable (same species).  It is one of the most commonly consumed vegetables around the world.  Some people cook with the greens as well.  However, it is not considered safe to freely eat the greens or seeds in that there are some toxic properties.

Apocynaceae – the Milkweed Family

dogbaneApocynaceae is also known as the Dogbane Family, especially since Milkweed was formerly classified in Asclepiadaceae (the families have been merged).  I call it the Milkweed family because Milkweed (Asclepias spp.) is a much more commonly known plant and because I often teach about the edible properties of it.  Dogbane (Apocynum spp.) is commonly known as the poisonous relative of Milkweed.  Besides the toxic properties of Dogbane, the survivalist should get to know the plant as an important source of fiber for cordage.  A common species A. cannabinum is sometimes known as Indian Hemp (which is referenced in the species name that refers to Cannabis) because it was a primary fiber plant.  

Ranunculaceae – the Buttercup Family

marsh_marigold_buttercup_familyIn spite of being named after a food, Buttercups (Ranunculus spp. ) are generally toxic.  One species, Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustrus) is a well-known edible (must be cooked properly), but the family should be treated with caution.  It would be another whole article (or should I say will be another blog) to discuss the range of toxic plants of the Buttercup Family, from the Common Buttercup (Ranunculus spp.) to the “most deadly plant” in the world – Aconite (Aconitum spp. ).  If you live in an area where Aconite or poisonous relatives like Larkspur (Delphinium spp.) grow, you should learn these plants.  Aconite is also known as Monkshood and Wolf’s Bane.  

Another member of the family is known as Baneberry (Actaea spp.)  In my area we have Red Baneberry (A. rubra) and White Baneberry, or Doll’s Eyes, (A. pachypoda).  It has created some confusion since Black Cohosh, formerly Cimicifuga, was included in the genus, and some concern since the common medicinal is not as toxic as the Baneberries.  

Ranunculaceae is also known as the Crowfoot Family.  Members of the family are quite common, especially in wet areas.  Often, they go unnoticed when not in flower.  It is worth learning the leaves, by which they get the name Crowfoot.  Even Ranunculus species can blister your mouth if chewed on.  There are also important medicinals in Ranunculaceae, like the famous antibiotic herb Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis).

Solanaceae – the Nightshade Family

This is one of the most famous and controversial plant families.  While there are still many more families to discuss (such as the Lily Family, Liliaceae) in our exploration of poisonous plant groups, it is fitting to close with such an interesting group.

Solanaceae produces deadly poisons (hence the name “Deadly Nightshades”), hallucinogens (like Jimson Weed and Belladonna), food crops (like Potatoes and Tomatoes), and other exceptionally interesting plants (such as Tobacco).

daturaJimson Weed (Datura spp.), Deadly Nightshade (Atropa belladonna), and other similar plants are very toxic.  They have been associated with Witchcraft, crime, and other dark and deadly affairs.  They are also important medicinals.  Before asthma inhalers these plants were often used in the same fashion, though inhaled as smoke.  Still today, we get crucial medications from these plants like atropine and scopolamine.

Although widely associate with Italian food, Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) first came from South America.  It is widely believed that they were first cultivated as an exotic ornamental and thought to be poisonous before they became a staple cooking ingredient and primary garden “vegetable” (it is the fruit, technically, that we eat from the Tomato).  Wood Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara, also known as Bittersweet) helps to show why Tomatoes were once thought to be poisonous, as it has small, poisonous, red fruits that look very much like Tomatoes.  Black Nightshade (Solanum nigrum) is still believed by many to be deadly poisonous, though it was once promoted as “Wonderberry” in seed catalogues.  Common knowledge of the plant has been growing due to the popularity of Samual Thayers’ Nature’s Garden in which he discusses Black Nightshade and similar writings.  But still, edibility is not always clear and many diets (such as macrobiotics and anti-arthritis diets) recommending the near complete avoidance of Nightshades.     

Knowledge is Power

So, understanding poisonous plants will take some time and study.  The investment comes with the reward of knowledge that could save a life through prevention.  So start small, with the study of plant families and the identifying characteristics of the most poisonous species.

Maybe you noticed the word “Bane” in the names of plants in these families.  That is an indication of poison.  Apocynaceae has Dogbane.  Runuculaceae has Baneberry, Bugbane, and Wolf’s Bane.  Asteraceae (the Aster Family) has Fleabane (Erigeron spp.) and the list goes on.  Throughout the lore of plants, include in their names, has been woven the knowledge of toxicity.  Such is its importance.    

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Survival Gear Review: Therm-a-rest LuxuryLite Mesh Cot

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survival cot

Does you bug out plan include a truck, car or ATV?  If so, you may want to take a peek at the Therm-a-rest Survival CotLuxuryLite Mesh Cot, which is made in the USA.  What we liked about this cot vs. other cots on the market is the low profile that keeps you off the ground but will still fit into a normal camping tent.  When combined with a sleeping pad and warm sleeping bag, this cot can keep you warm and dry.  The downside of this cot is of course weight.  The ability to be off the ground is not worth the weight in your pack.

By Murphy, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

This is strictly a luxury item which is why it is called the LuxuryLite Mesh Cot.  When you have an item that weights over 3 lbs, it better be something that feeds you or has to do with water.  You would be much better off with just a normal Therm-a-rest sleeping pad for your bug out bag.  With that said, we tested it, slept on it and loved it for car camping or if your bug out plan has a car or truck involved.  It also is nice to have as back up bed for kids or visiting families if your space is limited.  It beats sleeping on the floor.

Video Review


Regular L XL
Width 24 in / 61 cm 26 in / 66 cm 30 in / 76 cm
Color Blue Blue Blue
Weight 3 lbs 9 oz / 1.62 kg 3 lbs 15 oz / 1.81 kg 4 lbs 7 oz / 2.01 kg
Length 72 in / 183 cm 77 in / 193 cm 77 in / 196 cm
Packed dimension 18 x 6 / 46 x 15 18 x 6 / 46 x 15 18 x 6 / 46 x 15
Top fabric type PVC Mesh PVC Mesh PVC Mesh

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Tech And Tips You Need Camping In The Wilderness

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By The Survival Place Blog

Are you planning on taking a trip into the wilderness for your next vacation? Then, you need to be prepared for everything that the elements can throw at you. You might think that it’s easy to survive the outdoors. Particularly, if you’re heading to a place that you know quite well. But you might be surprised because the weather can turn at any moment leaving you in trouble. For instance, you might be camping miles from the nearest point of civilization. Imagine, if fog falls thick and low over the ground. You would struggle to find your way back and would need to rely on the kit that you had with you. If you didn’t have enough supplies, you might find the next few days incredibly difficult. So, what do you need to survive camping in the wilderness?


A Portable Heater


You may want to consider purchasing a portable heater for camping in the wilderness with a good supply of fuel. It does depend on whether you’re traveling on foot or in the car. You might also want to consider whether you’ll be moving around a lot. That said if you’re camping a portable heater can be incredibly useful. Particularly, if you are camping in the winter. If you don’t take a portable heater, you need to make sure you have a survival sleeping bag. The best sleeping bag has a hood to keep you warm, even when the temperature has dropped below freezing outside. It’s possible with the best sleeping bags to stay warm and dry even without a tent!


A Compass


There are two things you’ll need to make sure that you don’t get completely lost wandering in the wilderness. The first is a map and the second is a compass. Ideally, you should have adequate orienteering skills to make sure that you can find your way back to camp. However, even if you don’t, with a compass, you should always be able to find your way back where you started. By knowing what direction your campsite is, you’ll always be able to find your way back to the starting point. You will even find some winter jackets come with compasses included on them. This shows how important that piece of kit is. You might also want to think about some night vision goggles. Night monoculars will allow you to see for miles even when it’s pitch black. You’ll always find your camp site with these and you can check out a review on a site such as



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Make sure you have a device or tool that you can use to chop down wood. In extreme situations, you might need to collect wood for shelter or even to supply fuel for a fire. Be aware that to make a good shelter or fire the wood has to be dry. If it’s not, it won’t light, and you’ll struggle to keep your body temperature at a normal level. You might be camping in an area where it is illegal to cut down trees. However, if it is a matter of survival, be prepared to ignore rules like this. Your safety should always be the top priority.


Finally, this is another useful tool that you can find on most winter, explorer jackets. Check out some of the latest winter jackets on  A small tracker is embedded in the material. When pressed it will send a signal to the closest rescue team. They will then be able to track your exact location and avoid you being lost in the wilderness for days.

This article first appeared at The Survival Place Blog: Tech And Tips You Need Camping In The Wilderness

Filed under: Outdoor Recreation, Wilderness Survival Gear

How to Use a Pair of Glasses to Survive in the Wilderness

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How to Use a Pair of Glasses to Survive in the Wilderness You may be surprised when I tell you that your glasses are one of the best survival tools at your disposal. Your glasses will help you in many ways, if you ever find yourself stuck in a survival situation. First of all, your …

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Dripping Survivalism to Neophytes

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I was talking to a friend of mine this past weekend. He knows generally that I am a prepper but he does not know to what extent. He (we’ll call him Bill) said that prior to the Presidential election he was concerned about the country falling in anarchy. So much in fact that he bought a gun. Bill told me he had inherited a 12 gauge “bird hunting’ shotgun from his father, but never had plans to buy another gun until he got ‘scared’ – for his family and himself. So he went out and bought as Glock 9mm handgun. He didn’t even know what model number.

Bill is some sort of a financial planner, trust funds or something, I really don’t remember and could not give a shit less, but I could not pass up the opportunity to educate him and used that angle to get him thinking:

UrbanMan: Well Bill, having a gun, several guns in fact, are a good idea for protection especially when the security situation becomes worse, but you need training and well as have some ammunition stocked up for the time when it gets scarce. Ammunition, as well as food, batteries, water, etc., will be the first to fly off the shelves – and before it flies off the shelves the price will raise dramatically.

Bill: I guess you are right. I have a box of 50 bullets for the Glock.

UrbanMan: Bill, if I were you I would buy another 150 or 200 rounds of ammunition and continue to buy at least a box a month until he have 1,000 rounds minimum. Plus you need to have some 12 gauge bird shot and buck shot, as well as some slug shotgun shells also.

Bill: That’s a lot of ammo! Do you really think I need that much? Although you are right about the shotgun. I don’t have any ammunition for that.

UrbanMan: Yes, you need plenty of ammunition. You don’t want to wait until you need it. At that point it will be expensive, maybe very hard to find and you will expose your safety going to gun shops trying to find it. Go buy two boxes of bird shot, which would be 50 shot shells, five boxes of 00 buckshot (total of 25 rounds) and two boxes of one ounce slugs (10 rounds). Buy a couple boxes of each, every month until you have two to three hundred of each load. Get an old Army metal ammunition can and keep it in your closet. It won’t take up much room and it’ll give you peace of mind.

Bill: I don;t know. That’s a lot of money.

UrbanMan: Jesus Bill, you make a lot of money, so stop buying beer or ice cream or movie tickets of whatever else you don’t need every week and invest in your survival insurance. Also what are you going to do if the banks close or the dollar tanks or the ATM stops working or the government says you can only withdraw $100 a day and food prices go up 1000%.

Bill: Well, I think we’ll have more problems than money if that happens.

UrbanMan: That’s right, hence the guns. And the food you have stocked up in your pantry and garage. And the safe place you have a plan to get to rather than staying in the suburbs.

Bill: I am really uncomfortable planning on the world to collapse.

UrbanMan: Uncomfortable? How about not being able to protect or feed your family? That in my book would be a lot more uncomfortable. All I am suggesting is a modicum of planning and preparation. You deal in the financial world. Is diversification of investments generally a good thing?

Bill: Generally, it is. You don’t want to have all your assets in one area, say stock funds.

UrbanMan: Well, consider a little prepping as diversification of your survival portfolio. Do you track the precious metals exchange?

Bill: Yes, I have clients who own gold and silver stocks. And come to think of it, I do field questions from existing clients on adding that to their portfolios. I really don;t recommend too much resources devoted to that investment.

UrbanMan: You are talking about ‘paper’ gold and silver, which will do you no good if everything collapses. You should think about buying at least some silver each month and put it away as a hedge if the dollar collapse or hyper inflation hits. Silver is about $16.75 an ounce right now, but if you research it, you’ll see that U.S. silver production is declining significantly over the past couple of months and expected to decline further. So solely as an investment I’ll think you see silver increasingly around $3 to $5 an ounce within the next three months. Just a few months ago it was around $21 an ounce and remember it wasn’t too long ago when silver hit $48 an ounce.

Bill: You may be right, but the precious metals market changes from time to time under forces we never fully understand,…everything from price manipulation to large purchases by various countries.

UrbanMan: Exactly. That’s why you need to protect yourself. I am not advocating an 180 degree change in your financial planning or monthly spending. I am just talking about small changes, re-directional really, that plug holes in your ability to survive.

Bill: Okay. Well I’ll think about it.

UrbanMan: Ok, you think about it. In the meantime, I’m going to send you some website and recommended reading. Don’t be the dumb ass left out.

9 Ways Birch Bark Can Save Your Life In An Emergency

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9 Ways Birch Bark Can Save Your Life In An Emergency Just like any other type of wood, birch bark has a variety of different beneficial uses, although harvesting this timber must be done so carefully. Should you remove the inner layer of bark from any living tree, it could cause irreversible harm to said …

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Encourage preparedness mindset with this book: “The Unthinkable”

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Suppose that significant other isn’t into preparedness. What is the first thing to do to get them thinking about the possibility about the “unthinkable” happening?

Hand them a copy of this book.

by Leon Pantenburg

Amanda Ripley’s “The Unthinkable” is not about disaster recovery: It’s about what happens in the midst  of one – before emergency personnel arrive and structure is imposed on the loss. It’s about the human reaction to disaster and how you should act if you want to survive.

Survival Book Review: The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes and Why By Amanda Ripley

This is a  fact: Nine of 10 Americans live in places at significant risk of earthquake, tornado, hurricanes, terrorism, or other disasters. Tomorrow you may have to make significant decisions to save yourself and/or your family. Or maybe you could have to make those decisions before you finish reading this!

It may be in an urban or  wilderness survival situation. Or you may have run to the grocery store for a gallon of milk when the earthquake or tornado hits.

Regardless of where or when the incident occurs, you will have to take decisive actions to survive.

But the overwhelming response, of the great majority of people, to that concept is something along the lines of:…I, personally, will not be affected by any of those emergencies…. And even if a disaster happens, it somehow won’t threaten or engulf  me or my family… But if it does, there’s nothing I can do anyway, so there is no need to prepare…

This is denial. If that continues to be part of your mindset, then you have just gotten into the first phase of a deadly, downward behavior progression that could cost your life.

The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes and Why” Amanda Ripley, an investigative journalist, writes about the human psychological reaction to disasters. Ripley covered some of the most devastating disasters of our time, and retraces how people reacted. She interviews leading brain scientists, trauma psychologists and other disaster experts. She comes up with the stunning inadequacies of many of our evolutionary responses.

Ripley’s book is not about disaster recovery: It’s about what happens in the midst  of one – before emergency personnel arrive and structure is imposed on the loss.

Ripley describes a “survival arc” everyone must travel to get from danger to safety. The survival arc’s three chronological phases of denial, deliberation and the decisive moment make up the structure of the book.

And while the path to survival may resemble a roller coaster rather than an arc, Ripley writes, it’s rare that anyone gets through a disaster without passing through these main stages at least once.

If you’ve ever thought about a disaster and possible reactions to it, then you’re on the right track. Ripley starts the survival arc process with the thought “I wonder what I would do if…”

Here’s the survival arc progression, according to Ripley, of a typical reaction to a disaster situation:

Denial: This can’t be happening. This isn’t happening to me. It’s all a bad dream. I’m imagining this. In a moment everything will be all right.

Denial is the most insidious fear response of all.“The more I learned, the more denial seemed to matter all the time, even long before the disaster, on days that passed without incident,” Ripley writes. Denial can manifest itself in delay.  Or it can cause people to freeze or become immobile in disbelief. Many, if not most, people shut down in a crisis, quite the opposite of panic. Denial can paralyze you.

Deliberation: We know something is terribly wrong, but don’t know what to do about it. How do you decide?

The first thing is the realization that nothing is normal. We all think and perceive things differently. We become, Ripley claims, superheros with learning disabilities. At this point, you need to have some training, or prior “What If?” planning  to fall back on. The overwhelming tendency will be for your mind to go blank, and you won’t have clue on what to do next. Let’s hope you learned the STOP mindset  exercise. (See story link below).

Your brain may be like the computer that has lost all its connections. Remember STOP as one of those vital links. Embed the acronym, and how to use it, into your psyche. To get through the deliberation phase and on to the decisive moment, you will have had to rely on your survival mindset and prior training.

The Decisive Moment: You’ve accepted that you are in danger, deliberated the options and
now it is time to make a plan to do something. If you’re in a group, about 75 to 80 percent of the crowd will do nothing, according to John Leach in “Survival Psychology.” Another 10 to 15 percent will do the wrong thing, and only about 10 percent will make the right decisions. And these people who react appropriately will do so because of previous training.

Anybody with a “Be Prepared” mentality hopefully moves quickly through the initial denial phase. We’ll also hope that you have read and studied survival techniques so you will be able to deliberate effectively and move on to the decisive moment phase. But even if you think you’re prepared mentally for surviving a disaster,  “Unthinkable” is a book you need to read.

The book  is not about stockpiling food, tools, weapons or prepping. You must understand what goes on in your head during a disaster before you can use your tools. You’ll need information and techniques to respond correctly. Some of that information can come from “The Unthinkable.”

The book’s information is a powerful survival tool. It should be in your prepper or survival library.

“This awful catastrophe is not the end but the beginning. History does not end so. It is the way its chapters open.” St. Augustine.

Click here to listen to earthquake expert geologist James Roddey on Radio

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Wilderness Safety Rules to Acknowledge

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Wilderness Safety Rules to Acknowledge Since I spend a lot of time in the wilderness, I’ve learned to respect Mother Nature and I developed a set of safety rules I follow to the letter. I’ve met a lot of hikers during my trips and it still amazes me that some of them treat their journeys …

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Can You Make Me a Student Survival Kit?

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Can You Make Me a Student Survival Kit? We got a reader question asking us if we could make a low-budget student survival kit. If you yourself are a student or know one and would like to give him or her a survival kit that would be excellent for wilderness survival but that doesn’t break …

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Wilderness Survival Skills: When You’re Lost in the Woods

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Wilderness Survival Skills: When You’re Lost in the Woods

It’s easy to be thrust into a survival situation; go fishing, take a walk in the woods, a Sunday afternoon drive and all of the sudden, you find yourself stranded. What started out as a time for relaxation and enjoyment suddenly turns into a wilderness survival situation.

The question is; are you ready?

Do you have the knowledge you need for a wilderness survival situation and have you brought the equipment along to help you survive? This isn’t the time to look up that information; it’s time to take action. You have to be ready or you just might not make it.

Before You Go

Before you leave for that walk in the woods, it’s always a good idea to let someone know where you are going, the route you are planning on taking and when you expect to be back. That way, if you don’t return or contact them when you are expected to, they can raise the alarm about you being overdo. Knowing where you are gives officials and rescuers a much better chance of finding you.

51fjz7tryzlAlso, make sure you take at least a basic survival kit along. There are lots of different ideas about what that survival kit should include, but at a minimum, it needs to have some means of providing you with the basic necessities of wilderness survival; shelter, water, food and fire. In a pinch, you can do without the food for a couple of weeks.

There’s one other thing you need; that’s a means of calling out for help. Your cell phone might be able to help you with this, but only if it is charged and you are in an area where you have a signal. A spare battery pack might be worthwhile to carry around too.

But don’t just count on your cell phone. A whistle is a great means of calling for help. The other old standby is a signal mirror. Airplanes ten miles up in the air can catch the glint off of your mirror, allowing the pilots to pinpoint your location and pass it on to searchers.


When You Realize You’re Lost

Once you realize you are lost, stop. Before running off and making the situation worse, you need to take stock of your situation. What do you have with you that you can use for wilderness survival? How much daylight is left? What’s the weather like? Are there any landmarks you recognize? Do you have any cell phone signal?

If you have cell phone signal, you should contact someone as quickly as you can and tell them you are lost, as well as whatever other information you can, which will help rescuers find you. Make your report clear, quick and organized, as you may not be able to contact them again. If your phone has GPS and you can get coordinates off of it, then tell them the coordinates you are at as well.

In most cases, you’re better off allowing rescuers to find you, rather than trying to find your way back out of the woods. So, unless you have a pretty good idea of where you are (which would mean that you’re not lost) or it has been several days and they haven’t found you, don’t try walking out.

Establish Camp

emergency-shelter-campWhen the sun goes down, it’s going to get colder. Even in the summertime, the temperature can drop enough to cause you to have hypothermia, especially if you are wearing wet clothes. So, if it is less than two hours to sunset, basic wisdom of wilderness survival states that it’s time to establish camp, right there where you are.

You can easily estimate the time till sunset by measuring the height of the sun above the horizon. Extend your hand and place the edge of your pinky on the horizon. Each finger’s width that the sun is above the horizon is approximately 15 minutes.


If you have more than two hours of time, you can try to locate some water. Setting up camp near water will save you from having to move camp the next day to find it. But don’t set your camp up right at the water, as that will deny it to the animals living in the woods. Instead, set up camp about 100 feet uphill of it. That’s close enough to give you access, but far enough to keep you from scaring the animals off.

Setting up camp basically means two things, building a shelter and building a fire. There are many ways of building shelters in the woods, but the easiest is to take shelter under a pine tree, if there are large pines you can use. There will be space under the lower branches, enough to sit up in, even though the tips of the branches might be brushing the ground. Clean out branches and debris, pile leaves around the base and you have a shelter.

Fire is necessary for several wilderness survival purposes. It will provide you with warmth, light, and protection. Most animals won’t go near a fire, so as long as you have a fire burning, you don’t have to worry about wild animals bothering you. But be careful that your fire can’t get out of control and turn into a forest fire.

RELATED : 18 Urban and Wilderness Survival Hacks That Would Make MacGyver Proud

Signaling for Help

Besides keeping yourself warm and drinking plenty of water, your biggest responsibility while waiting for rescue is to signal the rescuers. That means using your whistle and signaling mirror. Blow the whistle all day long, with pauses to listen for anyone crying out. Typically, the whistle can be heard much farther than the sound of a human voice, no matter how loud.

If you still have power and signal for your cell phone, use it occasionally to give update reports on your condition. Don’t leave it on all day though, as the battery will go dead. Then it won’t help you at all. Remember, text messages can get through at times when voice calls can’t.

If You Have to Walk Outimages1

If you haven’t been rescued in three days, chances are that you will need to walk out. The easiest way to find your way out of any woods is to go downhill. Wherever you are, there will be roads downhill, if you go down far enough. Just keep going until you find a road or community and then ask for help.




Source :

About the author : Skip Tanner is more than a writer, avid outdoorsman, hiker and international survival expert. He is also the creator of The Ultimate Survival Guide Books, The Family Survival Garden Guide, Becoming a King in the New World Guide and Skip’s been studying, sharpening, and expanding his skills every day since he was 15 years old. At, he brings you the news you need to know as well as breakthrough information from some of the best authors and experts in their field. Together, they share their deepest secrets of survival with you.

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Why You Should Never Drink Seawater – Especially in Survival Situations

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Why You Should Never Drink Seawater – Especially in Survival Situations “Don’t drink the salt water.” It’s what we’ve been told time and time again to avoid in survival situations. But why? Do you know why it’s important to stay away from ocean water and to look for rivers or streams if you’re lost out …

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The Many Benefits of Finding Bodies of Water in Survival Situations

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The Many Benefits of Finding Bodies of Water in Survival Situations Survival skills in the traditional sense are great to know, whether or not you’re planning on bugging out. If you are bugging out, then they’re necessary to learn, as it’s unlikely you’ll have any success bugging out if you don’t know a thing about …

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How to Find Civilization When You Have No Idea Where You Are

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How to Find Civilization When You Have No Idea Where You Are Let’s set the stage: you’re lost in the wilderness. You strayed off-road because your car broke down and you were in desperate need of some water. Now that you have the water (you managed to luck out and find a stream after walking …

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The Basics of Thermoregulation and Why It’s Important to Your Survival

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The Basics of Thermoregulation and Why It’s Important to Your Survival You know that after water and food, finding or creating a great shelter is the next step you have to being as safe as you can be in the wilderness. But why? What does it all boil down to? Thermoregulation, or the regulation of …

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The Fallkniven Professional Hunting Knife: When Quality Really Matters

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fallkniven_phk_professional_hunting_knife_closeAs knife designs evolve they have to overcome the traditions and stereotypes of the past. In an effort to drive knife sales, manufacturers have produced more versatile, creatively inspired blades. While this has yielded a multitude of blades, some manufacturers have missed the mark entirely with poorly designed, gimmicky knives. Others, like Fällkniven, produce modern blades that are just as useful as traditional blades. In 1984, Fällkniven opened its doors to the world and pushed blade technology to new limits. 

By Doc Montana, a Contributing Author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog

There seems to be very few constants in knife making these days. I can think of two constants: human strength and cutting capacity. The ideal blade isn’t too dull, flexible, or blunt. If you will, the ideal blade is a ‘Goldilocks Blade’. Beyond that, there are few rules. With this being said, there are many traditions and these must be properly navigated in order to innovate.

The Hunted

fallkniven_phk_professional_hunting_knife_blade_profileSince the mid-1980s the Fällkniven Knife Company has served the needs of those who might find themselves floating to earth under a parachute, or working their way back home after a crash landing. The Fällkniven F1, also known as the Swedish Pilots Knife, is a small package of cutting dynamite. With the F1, hunting is on the menu, but the menu is quite large with many vegetarian options. I carried the F1 in my hunting kit, but often found myself looking around for something better when it came to hunting tasks and game processing. Fällkniven, in usual fashion, answered the call.

Read Also: Survival Gear Review: Fällkniven A1 Pro

The Fällkniven Professional Hunting Knife, or PHK, is a gorgeous upswept-point blade of mildly larger proportions than dusty traditions would specify. Frankly, the moment I saw the design of this blade, I knew it would be good. There was just something so right about it. It carried forward the belly of a skinner with the rigidity of a wilderness blade while offering the user more control. The Fällkniven Professional Hunting Knife has an upsweep-drop point which seems like it could be an oxymoron, but in fact it’s the best of both worlds. Perhaps it is the best of all worlds.

The potentially contradictory blade shape of upswept-drop point is an irony of iron that really works. Traditionally upswept designs are elegant but small slicers are arguably more effective. When the blade exceeds the distance between palm and index finger, the whole hand must move beyond the grip. This motion compromises safety and is simply inefficient. It’s a dangerous move that requires practice especially when done quickly or blindly. On traditional larger drop point blades, the tip of the blade rides below the index fingernail meaning it’s easier to poke a hole into the skin or membrane during a slice. The pros can drag the tip precisely like a surgeon’s scalpel, but anything done in the field or elements is risky. And the more blood and sweat in the mix, the more likely the game won’t be the only one skinned. However, on the Fällkniven Professional Hunting Knife the upswept drop point allows fairly precise driving even from the back seat. The thick spine provides firm control and the added length in front of the fingertip is user friendly.

Iron Maiden

The iron coursing through the veins of the Fällkniven Professional Hunting Knife blade is a 3G laminated steel scoring a 62 on the Rockwell hardness scale (HRC). The tang is a broad protruding one that, like Fällkniven’s survival blades, pops out the back of the grip completing the solidity of this package. A single grommeted hole graces the far end of the kraton grip allowing a lanyard to be attached.

Related: Fallkniven A1 Survival Knife

fallkniven_phk_professional_hunting_knife_archeryBut with change comes controversy. If mildly noticeable deviations from the blade norm raise eyebrows, then drawing your PHK from the sheath will leave mouths agape. Without knowing it, most survivalist and hunters are carrying on a tradition that began long ago. The camo-clad crowd spouts “two is one, and one is none.” Big blades and little blades have been complementing each other for millennia. Big jobs are for the big knife and small jobs are for the small knife. A further refinement of this concept did develop further prejudice and that is with the sacrificial blade and the primary blade, or the Pawn and the King, if you will. In hunting circles, there is the hunting knife that is cared for, babied, and often rides safe and warm in the hunting pack instead of on the belt. Then, there is the working knife that does all the daily maintenance and dirty jobs far below the noble duties of the king. I admit that I practice this bit of favoritism, but in terms of survival, the OO knife (double-oh knife), or Only One knife concept is very real when the hunting gear must be high speed, low drag.

Traditions Change

I think hunting knives began to evolve when hunting moved from an out-the-backdoor activity to a pseudo-military expedition into the untamed wilderness. There’s not a lot of hardware to carry when popping a Bambi off the back porch. You gut the beast right there donating the innards to the predators that keep the place clean and tidy. Afterwards, you drag the carcass back home and string it up on a tree to cool. When ready, you head to your  kitchen for some meat and bone-specific cutlery. 

All is fine and dandy until you are miles into the woods and your quarry might not go down willingly like the whitetail snacking on your hedges. Enter the big hunting knife. When money and carry-weight is tight, items seem to gain more uses. Military knives moved from BDU belt accessory to top-tier hunting wardrobe. The knife needed to run triple-duty as a camp knife for those lifetime adventures in the national parks, off-grid hunting expeditions, and self-defense.

Like all evolutionary change, as one critter specializes, another pops up to capitalize on the available niche. So as the hip-hugging hunting knife moved away from the detailed work and more towards bigger cruder jobs, little knives moved in like tiny mammals taking over the mini-landscape left behind as the dinosaurs grew bigger. Then, when the mighty asteroid dirtied up the place 65 million years ago, the little furry warmbloods made their move. And here we are, more or less.

fallkniven_phk_professional_hunting_knife_gutting-birdSpecialized knives started to weigh down the hunter who might actually carry a combat blade for general outdoor use, a razor-sharp cutting knife, a skinning knife, a bone saw, and perhaps even a hunting hatchet to split open those pesky big game rib cages and detach bony limbs. What drove this equipment frenzy was the search for exactly the right tool for the job, and not the best tool for many jobs. While at home, you can have all the specialized tools and blades you want. Carrying them on your back and belt is a different story. Especially when you know you will need to use the knife for many other non-hunting chores and rarely for the chore it was designed for.

Small is Big

In a strange twist on a perpetual theme, there was a movement that started out with good intentions but ended up causing a mess. That movement was fueled by the belief that the better a hunter you were, the smaller the knife you needed. This was the opposite of the Bowie and Tennessee Toothpick persona. Imagine Rambo whipping out his Spyderco Ladybug. Maybe let’s not. The issue rose to epic proportions when a hunting knife could be mistaken for a scalpel complete. Of course, another knife was needed for regular camp tasks, and an even larger blade was carried for the traditional forest duties. So add to the growing pile of knives the sharpening tools and extra blades necessary to keep the knives in the fight.

Further Reading: Three Excellent Survival Knives for Under $100

But the same evolutionary rules that lead to the population explosion of knives can also lead to extinction. Blades were staying home and hunters were squeezing more performance and specialized jobs out of knives obviously not designed for such work. As the proverbial pendulum began a healthy swing back towards center, so started another renaissance of sorts with hunting knives. The short ones got a little longer, thin ones got a little thicker, the pointy ones got a little more dropped, and knives of all kinds implemented the full belly of the skinner.

fallkniven_phk_professional_hunting_knife_carvingTaking advantage of this enlightenment in hunting knives was none other than Fällkniven. By creating an obviously unique take on the philosophical concept of a hunting knife, the Fällkniven PHK has hints of many different blades from Samurai Sword, to Tanto fighting knife, to skinning blade, to wilderness knife, to survival blade. In fact, the PHK is like a piece of contemporary art that assumes the preferences of the viewer as much as standing on its own. In other words, the PHK does it all, and most things well. At five millimeters thick, the PHK blade shares a level of strength uncommon to traditional hunting knives. And its blade length exceeds the hunting industry standard by about an inch. Further, the attention Fällkniven gave to hygiene is something more in line with the butcher shop than the killing field. The stainless steel and kraton grip clean up nicely and provide few homes for bacteria.

In general, the PHK guts like a gutter, skins like a skinner, chops like a chopper and slices like a slicer. It does none of these things quite as good as a blade specifically designed and dedicated to such tasks, but the PHK is well within the margin of error for modern task-specific cutlery. Adding to this list, the Fällkniven PHK also worked great as a minor clever as it crunched through upland game bird wings and legs with skill and finesse. The full belly rolls smoothly through all things aviary, and breaks the bones of any fish you can lift. But big game is another story. Processing hundreds of pounds of animal requires some seriously edged firepower so pushing eight inches of blade length around a carcass is a task well within the Fällkniven Professional Hunting Knife skill set.

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Wilderness Survival Course, Are They Worth It?

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Wilderness Survival Course, Are They Worth It? A friend of mine recently took a short wilderness survival course. I was both impressed and amused. Still happy to see that my years of talk had finally paid off, but still concerned that the course wouldn’t teach her the skills she needs to really survive. I was worried … Continue reading Wilderness Survival Course, Are They Worth It?

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Survival Gear Review: The Mora Camp Axe

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Mora knives are the paracord of survival blades. Their utility is unquestioned, but not so much is their reliability as a true survival mora_axe_riverinstrument. Having a partial tang, thin blade, plastic sheath, and average steel, the Mora Knife is more of an inexpensive convenience, but by no means the last word in survival blades.  However, the Mora Knife is just the beginning of the Morakniv tool offerings to those with a survival bend. Among other things, Morakniv carries axes.  One particular axe caught my eye for review, the compact Mora Camp Axe.

By Doc Montana, a Contributing Author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog

The Morakniv company began its journey in Mora, Sweden in 1891, with knives being little more than a product diversification to their lineup of timber sleds. That’s almost a century-long head start in front of Fallkniven, another well known Swedish blade maker. After 125 years of changing names and products, the formal company of Morakniv was born on January 1, 2016. No more timber sleds, no more ice drills, just knives, hatchets, and a few other things.

Small Bites

Speaking of Mora Hatchets, I thought it a good time to take one for a SurvivalCache spin. The Mora Camp Axe has much of the flavor of the famous Mora Knife with a plastic handle, thin blade, and utilitarian steel. One of the packaging options is a combination box that includes both the axe and a matching Mora knife.

Also Read: Why the Tomahawk?

The hatchet-sized axe is 12.5 inches long with a 3.5 inch blade face. The quarter-inch flat steel axe head does some things well, while others not so much.  Lacking the wedge head of classic hatchets, wood is only mechanically forced a sixteenth of an inch in either direction off center. This makes for better slicing. The remedy is to vary the pitch of the blade during strikes.

Featherweight Fighter

Another variable here is that this hatchet weighs in its entirety just an ounce over one pound. That certainly makes for easy carry, but also severely limits its multiplied force as a tool. So of course, there are tradeoffs. For smaller camp and survival chores, the Mora Camp Axe is a fine little worker.

The plastic handle of the Mora Camp Axe is described as “reinforced” but I have no idea what that really means in this case. mora_orange_hatchet_and_knifeModern reinforced plastics are polymers with low modulus strands and high grade plastics. At the moment, I will just have to take Mora’s word since the handle of the Mora Camp Axe feels and looks like basic plastic to me. When I hold the handle up to a bright light, I cannot see any enlargement of the metal head within the plastic so the plastic’s grip on the head as is is all she wrote. However, I do see a couple quarter-inch holes in the metal where light gets through, along with a half-inch notch at the top. I assume that these holes and the notch are filled with plastic infill securing the head to the handle.The hatchet head is painted with a black epoxy that protects the steel from rust. It seems fairly durable, but you will need to touch up the exposed steel blade.

Related: Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe

The steel is listed as a boron steel which I find unusual for a common camp hatchet. Boron steels are special purpose steels found mostly in automotive applications. This steel can be incredibly strong, but also quite susceptible to heat tempering. Mora seems to have done this boron steel well since it remained quite sharp even after repeated chopping events. The poll or back end of the axe head is a quarter-inch by two-and-a-half-inch rectangle; hardly enough to do much work. This is worth consideration since the Mora Camp Axe costs about twice that of the $25 Fiskers X7 hatchet.

Test Driving

Two of my many field trips with the Mora Camp Axe were eventful. One was an outing with some high school boys, one of whom was infatuated with hatchets. When a ten-inch thick tree crossed our path, he was initially happy to clear the trail. What would have been a two-minute job with a full sized forest axe (something in in the 20-inch handle range and a two pound head) took more than 10 minutes with the Mora Camp Axe. And as fatigue set in, the number of misstrikes increased to the point I had to intervene on his technique for safety reasons.

Related: Good, Cheap Knives

Another trip had the Mora Camp Axe tucked into my belt while fly fishing. A small creek I like to wander up has some great little holes with cutthroat and brook trout. High winds in the area had created plenty of trees we call “widowmakers.” They are the dead or dying trees that lean at obscene angles just waiting for an unsuspecting hunter, hiker or fisherman to pause under it, then crash. Wind, rain, and time will bring down the tree. So, when a leaner was shading a fine looking Brook Trout hole, I decided to assist the tree in its suicide. Slipping the Mora Camp Axe from my belt, I surveyed the hazards of felling this tree and went to work.

With a larger axe, the job would have been much faster, so with the tiny bites the Mora Camp Axe took out of the tree’s base, I could sense the will of the tree giving in as it lost circumference. So much so that I was able to step away and film the trees last moments.  Here it is on my first of many Youtube videos for Survival Cache and SHTFBlog.

The Final Chop

The Mora Camp Axe has a place in the survival pack primarily in that it can be in a kit that would normally exclude a larger, heavier hatchet. The simplicity of this tool is that it takes up little space and never complains. It chops wood better than a knife, and does lighter blade work duties much better than a larger axe. Another area where the Mora Camp Axe excels is with smaller hands helping out. Larger tools take larger muscle and larger hands to work with them safely. So smaller tools can shave weight, open opportunities, and be darn handy around camp.

All Photos Courtesy of:
Doc Montana

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How To Start a Fire After It Has Rained

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How To Start a Fire After It Has Rained While it may seem very difficult to get a fire started after it’s rained, if you don’t live in an incredibly humid place, learning the skill of getting a fire running while conditions are still pretty wet is actually not too bad. Being able to light …

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21 Survival Uses For Paracord

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Paracord used to be used as the suspension lines for parachutes. After landing on the ground soldiers would cut the cord from their chutes because they found a multitude of uses for the light weight, durable cordage. Today, paracord has become incredibly popular not only with the military but with the civilian sector as well.

By Tinderwolf, a Contributing Author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

Why Paracord?

The most commonly used type of paracord is type III.  Type III has a minimum strength of five hundred and fifty pounds, which is why most people refer to it as 550 cord. Paracord is a nylon kernmantle rope which means there is an inner core of nylon strands incased by a nylon sheath. paracord_uses_orangeThis type of rope construction gives way to its strength and the variety of tasks it can accomplish. Type III paracord generally has seven inner strands but can have up to nine. Given that it is made out of nylon, paracord is fairly elastic and mold resistant. One of the reasons it is so versatile is that you can cut the outer sheath and use the individual core strands as well. Years ago, paracord only come in black or olive drab but with its grown popularity you can now purchase paracord in virtually any color that you want.

Below is a list of how I have used paracord.

  • Shoelaces
  • A line to hang up wet clothes
  • I have used one of the inner strands as fishing line and yes I did catch a bluegill. Some people have even made fly lures out of the paracord.
  • I have braided ropes
  • I have made monkey fists for the purpose of weighing down one end of my ropes. This makes the task of throwing a line over a tree branch or from a boat much easier.
  • Bracelets, while stylish, can be undone for emergency cordage. I recommend a double cobra weave as you will have twice the amount of cordage available.
  • Belts
  • Lanyards, I caution that if you make or buy a paracord lanyard make sure it has a break away clasp or on it.
  • Long gun slings
  • I have used the inner strands and an upholstery needle to sew shut a rather large hole in one my packs and it has held for over a year now. I also sewed shut a hole in my driver’s side truck seat which due to climbing in and out, gets a lot of wear and tear. Six months later it is still holding strong.
  • Rock slings
  • Hammocks
  • Tow lines, for vehicles and boats
  • I have tied down loads in my truck bed
  • Knife handles
  • Keychains
  • Bottle wraps
  • Dog leashes
  • Snares
  • Dog collars
  • Dental floss. While somewhat uncomfortable to use it will serve the purpose if you get popcorn stuck in your teeth around the campfire. 


The uses for this cord are only limited by your imagination. Generally paracord is sold in either one hundred foot hanks, or one thousand foot spools. Personally, I like the one thousand foot spools because you can cut the length you want for a specific job in mind. If you are going to be paracord_uses_greenmaking other items from the cord, such as bracelets and slings, having the extra cord on hand in case you make a mistake is definitely worth having the spool on hand. Given it’s plurality of uses and durability, any survival scenario is improved by paracord. I would be very interested in hearing what you have all used paracord for and your experience with it. So sound off and keep making adventures!

Photos Courtesy of:
Fabio Bertoldi


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Cutting Down Problems: Use These Basic Ideas for Survival

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By The Survival Place Blog

There are often problems when you have to survive in the wilderness. So the best thing to do is to plan and prepare for this and make sure you have the skills you need. These are a few of the ideas you can use for basic survival, should the time ever come to use them.

Learn First Aid

What’s the one skill that is going to possibly save lives in a survival situation? Probably first aid training. Being out in the wilderness and having to survive is going to lead to unexpected events. And it could well end up with people getting injured. That’s why it’s important to make sure you are trained in matters of first aid. This is so vital because it can make all the difference. You’ll know exactly what supplies to pack, and what to do to tend to injuries or wounds.


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Stock Up on Useful Tools and Weapons

There are a lot of things you’re going to need to help you when it comes to basic survival. That’s why it’s a good idea to try to stockpile tools and weapons as much as you can, starting right now! You’re going to need axes, which you can find out plenty about by checking out Axe and Answered. You’ll need water bottles, a compass, sleeping bag, tool box. And you could personably use some weapons too. There are a lot of tools, and weapons you could do with that will come in useful in survival scenarios. Do a bit of research if you’re unsure to make certain you have what you need.


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Spend a Weekend in the Wilderness

The best way to get yourself survival ready is to put what you know into practice. And the way to achieve that is to spend a weekend in the wilderness with your survival gear. This will give you an idea of what it’s like to be out there on your own. Plus you will be able to hone and develop your survival skills and instincts. This is very much one of those things that you need to learn by doing. So, it’s crucial to gain this experience and understand the sorts of things that will come in useful when you have to survive in the wild.


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Take up Fishing

If you haven’t fished before now is the time to take it up as a hobby. You have to make certain you learn skills that will come in handy in the wild. And you’re hardly going to be able to whip up a pasta bake, are you?! Learning to fish is fun and helps you develop a skill. Plus it is one of the most useful of all survival skills. It means you never have to worry about going hungry. As long as you are by water, you’ll always have access to a food supply. Fishing is awesome, therapeutic, and big part of survival 101.

You never know when disaster is going to strike and you might be thrust into survival mode. That’s why it’s useful to know some survival training and have plenty of resources to hand. Take a look at these basic ideas and try to use them to make sure you win at survival.

This article first appeared at The Survival Place Blog: Cutting Down Problems: Use These Basic Ideas for Survival

Filed under: Emergency Survival Tips, Outdoor Recreation, Wilderness Survival Gear

8 Wilderness Survival “Rules” That Are Actually Myths

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8 Wilderness Survival “Rules” That Are Actually Myths

Wilderness survival “rules” that you see online and on tv are full of myths and half-truths. Sometimes they’re dead wrong, and they’ll make you just as dead.

Knowing your stuff may be a question of life and death. When you have the right info you can use your knowledge to survive.

But when you don’t have all the facts, or you’ve been told outright myths, your chances of survival drops.

To make matters worse, these survival “rules” that we read online and hear from made-for-tv “experts” are usually only half true or simply false.

It’s easy to believe them, especially when we find ourselves in trouble, and when you’re in a dangerous situation the last thing you need to do is trust your life to a myth.

Below are 8 common wilderness myths that I’ll debunk.

Myth 1: Play dead when a bear attacks

You’ve seen this one a million times. On television they’ll be a scene where a person holds his breath when the great big grizzly bear approaches. Suddenly the bear turns away and everyone is ok.

Sure, some bears in some situations will decide to leave you alone and not eat you, but in reality their goal was to kill you because you were a threat and they would probably still maul and bite you for a while (probably until you’re really dead).

8-wilderness-survival-rules-that-are-actually-myths-bear-487x687To make things worse if you’re a defenseless hiker who meets a blood-thirsty bear in the wild, running is a bad idea too. They will chase you, and they will catch you. Don’t let their size fool you, bears are much faster than you.

Prevention is much better than cure when it comes to animal safety. Quickly walk away when you see bear trails in front of you. Don’t wait around. As you can see in the image to the right, bears do indeed climb trees, they just prefer not to, so don’t think you’ll simply hike up a limb and be ok.

Carry bear spray or at least pepper spray, a knife, and a large caliber pistol.

Your best bet to survive is to make yourself seem larger than the animal. If a predatory bear attacks you, which is usually a black bear, you have to fight for your life. Use your weapons or use anything in your surroundings. It’s literally a life or death fight so don’t ever think you can simply stay still and it will stop.

Different bears in different situations will act differently (I know, shocking, but still). A predatory bear usually attacks their prey from behind hard and fast. A scared bear will usually stand it’s ground and try to scare you off by making noise or standing on it’s hind legs or doing a short charge. A curious bear will usually run off when it detects a threat (like when you make noise or try to act big).

For mother grizzly bear protecting its cubs, good luck! It was nice knowing you, thanks for reading. Ok, seriously the best thing you can do is to show her that you are not a threat to them. Be quiet, make yourself smaller by squatting or bending down and slowly retreat backwards.

Myth 2: You should suck the venom out of a snakebite


Yet another scene played out in countless cowboy movies and survival shows. Someone gets bit and a quick-thinking hero sucks out the poison and spits it out. Butexperts say you’re doing it wrong, that sucking out venom is based far more on fiction than fact.

“The evidence suggests that cutting and sucking, or applying a tourniquet or ice does nothing to help the victim, says Robert A. Barish, MD.”

If you were to suck the venom from your own (or anyone’s) snakebite it would do no good and have a negative effect, further damaging the tissue around the bite and thus helping to spread the venom. The cut and suck technique will only increase the risk of an infection and a bigger wound.

While venom in your mouth isn’t necessarily deadly, you do risk swallowing any venom you get out, or if you have any sores in your mouth it can get in your bloodstream from there, adding to your problems.

Your best bet is to learn how to identify what a venomous snake and it’s bite looks like. The most venomous snakes in North America are rattlesnakes, cottonmouths and copperheads. We wrote an amazing post and infographic on venomous snakes a few weeks ago.

Trying to suck the venom out of a snakebite victim is indeed useless and simply delays proper treatment. Snake venom quickly spreads throughout the lymphatic system, and it is simply not possible for a human to suck fast or hard enough to remove enough of it to have any real effect.

The only thing you can do is to call an ambulance and apply some pressure to your wound, and pray.

Stocking up on anti-venom for first aid is essentially impossible. You would need that particular kind of AV for that particular kind of snake, and it expires, and it is very costly, and it’s hard to find, and some of it needs to be kept refrigerated. You could spend hundreds of dollars every year and still not have what you need.

Myth 3: If an object penetrates your body remove it immediately


Pulling anything larger than a small nail out of your body is a big mistake. Since you muscles, fat, and skin forms a kind of seal around penetrating objects, the object is actually blocking your blood vessels and keeping you from bleeding out. Pulling it out would only open the wound more and blood will start gushing out of your body.

You actually have a higher chance to survive if you leave the object where it is and get major medical help. A first aid kit isn’t going to stop internal bleeding, fix possible punctured organs, or sew up a deep wound.

Instead of pulling the object out, dress the wounded area first and keep the object stable. Try to stay still and not move if possible. The more it or you moves the worse it will hurt and bleed.

On tv they take a swig of whiskey and pull it out. In reality you need a professional, hopefully a team of them with machines and anesthesia.

Myth 4: If you are bleeding, just grab a belt and make a tourniquet


A tourniquet is a dangerous tool that can damage limbs, kill tissue, and cause heart attacks. You may even have to amputate a limb that would have been ok if you hadn’t used a tourniquet.

Tourniquets should be avoided and only used in a last-ditch attempt to keep blood in. Anything on the other side of your heart should be considered possibly dead after it’s use.

A Tourniquet should only be used when someone is bleeding to death and there’s no other choice, and preferably professional medical attention is within 20-30 minutes. In an ideal situation, only a trained medical professional should use a tourniquet.

Instead apply targeted direct pressure to the point of bleeding. Do whatever you can to stop the bleeding first and only if you have no other choice and the person in front of you is losing too much blood should you use a tourniquet.

Myth 5: You can easily live off the land in the wild


There’s a fantasy feeling out there that living off the land is as easy as walking in the woods with a good knife. While a trained survival expert with years of experience could make it through many situations with just a knife or at least minimum gear, your average person doesn’t stand a chance.

Thanks to survival tv shows featuring people or whole families who seem a little off their rockers bumbling through the woods yet always coming out just fine in the end everyone assumes it mustn’t be too hard to survive in the woods.

Production companies love to edit things so the people look dumber and the situations more serious than they really are too.

“If the Alaskan Bush People can walk into the woods and live in a tree through the winter, then I’ll be fine!”

“If Bear Grylls jumps off a waterfall, I can too!”

“If Grady can find berries and trap game on the side of a snow glacier, then my power bar is all I need!”

I’m not picking on these people by any means, but many of these situations are typically set up for the cameras or outright fabricated in the editing room.

Some made-for-tv survival experts sleep in hotels and eat pizza when the cameras go off. They all have a team of safety experts at arms reach, or in the case of realistic shows where the participants actually DO survive like SurvivorMan and Alone a team of experts is still just a button press away in case anything goes wrong.

Many tv “experts” are within 500ft of busy roads (and rescue) the whole time, and many of the jumps they risk are really much smaller thanks to camera angles and clever editing.

In reality, surviving in the wild is hard, very hard. Physically, mentally, and emotionally it will be about the hardest thing you EVER have to go through. It’s not an extended camping trip.

Don’t take it for granted. Learn the basics of survival now before you need it, prepare well, and always try to maintain a way to contact the outside world in case things go bad.

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

Myth 6: The woods has plenty of wild edible plants


“I’ll just look along the trail for some edible plants as I walk and sample a few things that I find” says the starving survivor who only finds about 50 calories a day.

First off food isn’t a huge priority compared to other needs, you can go about three weeks without eating, but it is very important because without proper calories and nutrients to fuel your body you will hardly be able to do anything and your body will begin to cannibalize your heart, organs, and muscles.

Unless you’re lost in a garden, thinking you’ll easily find enough edible plants is folly. The list of plants that either don’t provide enough nutrition or that are flat out poisonous is enormous.

In fact, you should totally avoid eating any wild plants if you have no prior knowledge. Your chances of dying are much higher than your chances of finding an 8 calorie bite to eat. Don’t gamble your life away eating plants that you are not familiar with. Do intensive research beforehand, preferably with a trained guide from your local area.

Once you have some knowledge, the Universal Edibility Test is a way for you to identify whether the plant can be eaten or not. Study the plant thoroughly, pull it up if you can and separating it into different parts such as the roots, stems, leaves and flowers.

Then, smell the parts and test them by touching the plant part to your wrist. Wait 15 minutes and if your skin itches or feels numb, most likely the plant is poisonous. If it passes, touch that same part of the plant to your bottom lip and wait another 15 minutes. Finally, chew a small part of it for 15 minutes, spit it out if it tastes bitter of if you feel numbness. If that passes, eat a single bite and wait, preferably overnight but at least three hours (do you see why picking a snack on the trail doesn’t work?) and if you still have no symptoms you can eat a little more. After 48 hours you can consider it safe. Do this with every plant you’re not 1,000% sure about.

There is a huge list of plants that are poisonous and many of the edible ones are still mostly roughage that pass right through and provides no real calorie or nutrient benefits.

Myth 7: You should drink pee or blood and eat snow to stay hydrated

This is where Bear Grylls comes into the limelight. The man made a name for himself by drinking his own urine, eating rancid meat, and sucking down poop. They just don’t tell you about the, uuh… after effects.

8-wilderness-survival-rules-that-are-actually-myths-drinking-peeDrinking your pee will dehydrate you. Your body is not a perfect 100% in and 100% out system, urine may be mostly water but it is also full of the body’s waste products from the kidneys.

While the urine of a healthy person is essentially sterile, if you keep pouring it back into your body you will only concentrate the waste and salt in your bloodstream. Every time you drink your pee you’ve disadvantaged yourself.

Even so, you actually can use pee to dampening your clothing for evaporative cooling in a dry environment….if you don’t mind the smell. You can also build a solar still and extract the pure water from your urine.

Drinking raw blood from people or animals will provide protein and a lot of iron and some hydration. There’s a limit to how much blood you can drink at once, and you’re taking a very big risk too because you are also consuming pathogens and bacteria. Just like eating raw meat, drinking blood is a great way to catch all kinds of diseases.

It’s a bad idea to eat snow for water too. The air-to-water ratio of snow is 9 to 1, meaning you’ll have to eat a lot of freezing cold snow to get much water. Eating snow will lower your body temperature, which actually requires you to use more energy. Melt and then boil snow before drinking it.

Getting water from a cactus is another survival myth. The stem of a cactus is thick and fibrous, you will only be able to chew a little water from it and it may be harmful to your body too.

The best way to find water is to walk downhill into valleys and low areas, places where water will hopefully be on the surface or right below it.

Myth 8: You can start a fire by hitting two rocks together

Remember the movies where they pick up a couple of random rocks and strike them together to make a spark? Well, they don’t call it acting for nothing.

Of course a few types of rocks do make a spark, but they are not common in most areas and you’ll have to know what you’re looking for. The rocks have to be either flint or quarts to spark, and there’s a technique to it.

8-wilderness-survival-rules-that-are-actually-myths-fireEven starting a fire with a single match can be difficult in damp or windy situations. Starting a fire by sparks is no joke, it will take preparation and proper technique.

All of this can be said for rubbing two stick together too, friction fires are sometimes impossible for even the most expert of experts because conditions have to be just right.

You need a proper tinder bundle, or like in the gif some cotton balls and alcohol. Unless you are an expert bushcrafter, you should have a fire starter kit with you when you travel into the woods. And nothing beats a butane lighter, nothing.

Carry a fire piston or a flint and steel like the one used in the gif, and even then remember that it isn’t easy without practice. The art of starting a fire is definitely not something you should take for granted.

Final Thoughts

I hope that this article has broken some of the common misconceptions and myths towards surviving in the wilderness. What other wilderness myths do you think should be debunked? Please share them with me in the comment box below!

The Lost Ways is a survival book that shows you how to survive a crisis using only methods that were tested and proven by our forefathers for centuries. The best way to survive the next major crisis is to look back at how people did things 150 years ago. This book is a far-reaching book with chapters ranging from simple things like making tasty bark-bread—like people did when there was no food—to building a traditional backyard smokehouse.

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About the author : John Lewis

I am John Lewis, a blogger, survivalist and outdoor enthusiast. While I believe that everyone should enjoy their lives doing things they love, being financially, mentally and physically prepared to face challenges that may arise is inevitably important. You can follow me over at Epic Wilderness.

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20 Items For Outdoor Survival

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While there are seemingly countless survival items that you could choose to have with you for outdoor survival, there certainly are items that are more common among those who are asked what they would carry. In addition, whenever possible, the selection of survival items to carry would likely be tailored for the outdoor circumstance itself. […]

Survival Gear Review: Fällkniven A1 Pro

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Best Survival Knife

Being a restless survivalist, I find the endless pursuit of the best single knife to be both a noble Fallkniven_A1-Pro_survival knife_river-work_teotwawkione and and endless one.  Or so I thought.  The Fällkniven A1 Pro may have brought an end to my quest for the perfect survival knife, and become the life-long quest of other like minds.  Could the Fallkniven A1 Pro be the best survival knife?  The knife to end all survival knives?  Let’s consider it.

By Doc Montana, of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog 

Is the Fällkniven A1 Pro the Ultimate Survival Knife?

The Fällkniven knife company has decades of experience at the unique and effective intersection Top Survival Knifebetween necessary traditions and technological innovation. Some knife brands lean so far to the innovative side that they never quite fully bake an idea while others swing the pendulum too far the other way and hold a knife design to archaic steel and features that work well, but are far from what’s possible.  Not that I’m encouraging the use of performance enhancing chemicals, but I am thrilled that Fällkniven has put its indomitable and proven A1 knife on steroids. And the results are astonishing.

Department of Redundancy Department

What makes the A1 Pro survival knife so amazing is that Fällkniven took an already amazing knifeTop Survival Knife and made it even more amazing.  And as one who considers himself an aficionado of survival knives, I don’t say this lightly.  The Fällkniven A1 Pro is related to the A1, but kind of alike a tough kid that has a Navy SEAL for a big brother.  The A1 Pro  is a complete and total upgrade of already high performance option.

Taking a step back, let’s look at how the Fällkniven A1 Pro came to be, and why the A1 Pro will not have be a serious contender for the World’s Best Survival Knife for a long time.  Fällkniven began building on the Swedish blade traditions back in the early 1980’s.  It’s F1 knife was chosen as the singular survival blade for the Swedish Air Force.  And the F1 also gained respect and notoriety as an excellent solution when a smallish survival knife is needed.  What makes the F1, and later the A1 and now the A1 Pro such definitive blades is their steel technology.  And a few other things.

Now this is a Knife

Jumping ahead, the Fällkniven A1 quickly became a survival success story by providing the Best Bushcraft Knifeessentials and much more.  By laminating two supersteels, into a configuration that makes it not only outperform most other high end blades, but its combination of blended steels in a single blade puts the Fällknivens out of reach of other knives in overall strength, raw performance and technical prowess.

Also Read: Fällkniven F1 Survival Knife Review

But what happens when a purveyor of extremely high end blades takes a step back and assesses the performance of its own best edges, then turns up the volume on one of its best sellers and highest achievers.  Well, I guess you get the A1 Pro. So it’s official. Fällkniven goes to 11!

The Fällkniven A1, the original one, was a test bed for all things survival.  It pushed the limits of laminated steel giving the serious knife user a glimpse of what’s possible when performance outweighs tradition. From that point on, the world got a taste of things to come.  Now imagine Fällkniven taking everything good about the A1 and pumping it full of steroids.  The passing similarities between the A1 and the A1 Pro are only apparent from a distance.

While the grip size is the same, the material is different and the sometimes-debated finger guard Fallkniven_A1-Pro_survival knife_diamond-stone-DC4shape is reversed. And best of all, the already thick blade is even thicker and made of a ultra-high end cobalt-laminated steel.  The sheath is beefier and stronger.  The edge is a more refined convex shape. And the knife comes in a presentation box that doubles as a waterproof container complete with Fällkniven’s professional quality diamond sharpening stone, the DC4.

Brass Tacks

The A1 Pro contains a core of cobalt steel rather than the VG10 of its father.  Cobalt steel (CoS) Top Survival Knifecontains about 2.5% Co, along with a slightly higher chromium content. This magic mix of alchemy provides a better edge that stays sharp longer while hovering around 60 on the Rockwell (HRC) Scale.

Related: ESEE 6 Knife Review

Cobalt steel is not a recent phenomenon for Fällkniven. It was experimented with in prior Fällkniven knives including the KK and the PC.  As the results came in, it was clear that cobalt steel was the next go-to steel when the best was desired.  Add to that an “Improved Convex Edge” and you are on the literal and figurative bleeding edge of cutlery technology.  Cobalt steel blades truly are playing with sharpness at the molecular level of steel, not just the crystalian level.  In other words, sharp is a cousin, and cobalt steel is your filthy rich uncle.

Thick as a Brick

Seven is the new norm.  At seven millimeters thick the blade has added strength beyond the already ridiculous strength of the regular A1.  And that strength has extended into the grip with a thicker and wider tang that, like the A1, extends the all the way through and out the other end.

Consider the Bar Raised

Fällkniven admits that to claim something “professional” requires a corresponding and honest Best Survival Kniferaising of the bar. And Fällkniven delivered to an astronomically high level.  At the time of this writing, the Fällkniven website shows the A1 Pro as “sold out.”  Think about that for a moment.   In a world hip-deep in survival knives priced from the same as a couple gallons of gas to more than a car.  Then Fällkniven comes along and makes survival knife along with its dozen other survival knives already on their resume.  And this newcomer sells out before most folks even hear about it.

What’s in the Box?

The Fällkniven A1 Pro arrives inside a black watertight plastic box complete with foam liner and Top Bushcraft Knifeembossed lid.  Inside the box is the Fällkniven A1 Pro knife, it’s sheath, and Fällkniven’s DC4 diamond sharpening stone.  The box is a nice touch and Fällkniven encourages its use for storing other things like electronics. It’s not quite a Pelican but certainly more than a Plano.

The stone is an excellent choice. In addition to high end survival knives, Fällkniven also makes top notch kitchen cutlery and the tools to keep them razor sharp. The DC4, or Diamond/Ceramic 4-inch stone has a gold diamond surface of 25 micron grit on one side and a synthetic sapphire ceramic stone on the other. In addition to being able to sharpen the hard laminate supersteels, no lubrication is needed for smooth sailing.

Also Read: Smith’s Pocket Pal Knife Sharpener Review

The zytel sheath is an upgrade over the standard A1 model.  The Pro sheath is beefier with more Survival Knife Reviewpronounced strengthening fins. It also is more adaptable to MOLLE and other attachment systems with its inch-wide wings that will accept horizontal straps.  The Pro sheath uses the same riveted strap for a belt loop and friction retention.  In lieu of the thumb ramp present on the classic A1 sheath, the strap’s ear has the job now.

And the Knife

Even a cursory glance at the A1 Pro says this knife is all business.  From the grip to the guard to Best Survival Bladethe blade to the frighteningly thick spine, this knife demands respect.  At 11.2 inches overall length, the A1 Pro is not for the faint of heart or for those with low muscle tone.  The 6.3 inch blade, while not the longest tool in your bug out bag, is actually plenty for any confrontation with a human or larger critter outside those of the Grizzly variety.

Unlike the regular A1 knife that used a Kraton plastic for a grip material, the A1 Pro takes a cue from the Fällkniven F1 and runs Thermorun plastic on the handle of the A1 Pro. To quote myself in my review of the F1, Thermorun, “As an olefin thermoplastic material it is extremely durable, and has great properties for a survival knife grip. Thermorun is an electrical insulator, resistant to weathering, impervious to most chemicals that a knife would encounter, and pretty much ignores temperature changes. It feels great in the hand with just enough rubbery texture to keep the blade from sliding around, but still firm enough to avoid that tacky feeling of softer plastic grips.”

Also Read: Parry Blade Knife Review

Like the regular A1, the tang of the A1 Pro extends throughout the grip and out the top.  However, Fällkniven did upgrade the tang by making it larger, thicker and tapered.  But the real change is in the finger guard.  On the regular A1 the guard was covered in the same Kraton plastic as the grip, and leans just slightly back towards the hand.  The finger crossguard on the A1 Pro is polished, stainless steel, thicker welded to the frame, and opens out towards the blade.  Why this is important is due to some index finger strain when using the regular A1 for repetitive long-duration woodworking tasks.

Sorry About That

Fällkniven is apologetic about the price of the A1 Pro.  They defend the higher cost of the A1 Pro A1 Pro Knife Review(presumably compared to the regular A1) because of the more expensive steel, more expensive grip and guard, and more expensive containment and sharpening solutions included with the A1 Pro.  But frankly, if one compares the A1 Pro to anything custom, the A1 Pro seems mainstream in its pricing.  Either way, at the time of this writing, Fällkniven lists the A1 Pro as “sold out” so discussion about price are somewhat recreational.  Personally, I find the price of the A1 Pro completely reasonable, but like any pro-level piece of equipment, it only seems expensive if you don’t have the skills to extract the benefits from it.

Riding Into The Sunset

Like many preparing for SHTF events and the likely WROL that will follow, I’m always looking Best SHTF Knifefor the next big thing in bladeware.  Until now I was restless, always looking over my shoulder to see what else was out there.  But with the A1 Pro in hand, a calm settled over my quest for the ultimate survival knife.  Fällkniven’s Pro version of one of the world’s best survival knives, their own A1, as moved the bar so high that most general arguments are moot. With the Fällkniven A1 Pro on the scene, the quest for perfection is now simply a question of preference.

All Photos By Doc Montana

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Movie Review: Edge of Winter

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Survival Movie

One of my good friends is currently going through a nasty divorce and trying to adjust to life as a single dad with only Survival Movielimited time with his kids.  So when I saw the trailer for the movie Edge of Winter, it immediately struck a nerve with me and decided to watch it.  Joel Kinnaman plays sort of a survivalist/blue collar guy named Elliot who has fallen on hard times after his divorce.  Elliot’s ex-wife, played by Rachelle Lefevre, has moved on with her life and is going on a cruise with her new husband, Ted.  Before she leaves for the cruise, she drops off her teenage boys (Shiloh Fernandez & Tom Holland) with their Father, who decides to take them on a little surprise wilderness adventure.

By Jimmy C, a contributing author to Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

From there Edge of Winter takes a dark survival turn when Elliot and his boys crash their truck on a snowy logging road in Survival Moviethe middle of nowhere.  To compound their problems, one of his teenage sons tells him that his ex-wife and Ted are moving to London at the end of the month and taking his only boys with them.  This throws Elliot, who in most situations would probably be rock solid on survival, into a mental breakdown at the thought of losing his kids.

Also Read: 10 Cloverfield Lane

Joel Kinnaman, who I like in House of Cards, does a great job as the unhinged father, Elliot Baker.  He runs the full spectrum of emotions in this movie, from happy go lucky to a complete melt down.  As he and the boys push farther into the unknown, Elliot becomes more erratic.   At some point, the two teenage boys have to decide if they are safer with or without their dad because “Dad” is clearly losing it.

Edge of Winter is pretty dark, in a “Shining” sort of way as main character, Elliot becomes more and more dangerous to himself and those around him.  The movie has no slow parts, it builds right from the start.  I found myself feeling sorry for Elliot and the situation he finds himself in with two teenage boys who have no survival skills and world crumbling around him.

The Trailer


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Argentina: man lives in cave for 40 years

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Pedro Luca holdig his shotgun in front of his cave.

79 year old Pedro Luca has been living in a cave in San Pedro de Colalao, a desolated part of the province of Tucuman located in the northwest of Argentina.

Now if you think living like this is fun, think again. Mr. Luca’s life is pretty solitary and to be honest quite miserable. He wakes up at 3AM to begin his day by starting a fire. He keeps elven roosters and two goats, hunts and traps or goes to the nearest settlement 3 hours away down the mountain to buy some supplies (candles, yeast, corn) and collect his pension of 160 USD. He collects water from a creek. Of course he has no running water or power. He has leathery, weathered skin and few teeth left. I know that part of the country well enough. It gets very cold at night. Winters over there must be terrible and the wind sandblasts your skin. And then there’s of course the pumas which wont think twice about having you for lunch if not kept at bay with fire or gunshots.

Quoting Mr. Luca: “I never asked myself why I chose to live here,” he says. “There was another cave nearby but I liked this one better. Sometimes, I think that I would have liked to travel the world, see Europe. But there’s a lot of sea in the middle of it all and you have to have the time to cross that sea.”

Lesson of the day folks: Remember this next time you think about grabbing your INCH bag (Im never coming home bag) and running to the hills to live off the land.

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”.


Survival Gear Review: Cold Steel Pocket Bushman Knife

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Survival Knife

It seems that everyone’s favorite piece of gear to carry and discuss are knives. With the variety of survival knifestyles, shapes, sizes and the jobs they can perform, it is easy to see why they are a favorite piece of gear. When it comes to folding knives, I am very particular and will not carry an old pocket knife. I have seen a lot of guys carry those five to ten dollar knives that are piled in a box on a gas station or sporting goods counter top.  Those guys always love to show off that new, shiny, cool looking knife.

By Tinderwolf, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

Of course within a week or two, the blade locking mechanism has broken, the edge of the blade is Survival Knifeas dull as a butter knife and some of the screws or rivets are falling out. Those guys might as well have thrown their money into the garbage can because that is where their cool new knife ended up anyway.  For most of my life I carried a Schrade Old Timer, Swiss Army knife, or a Gerber Paraframe.

All three of these knives held up well, never broke, kept an edge and paid for themselves time and time again.  The only down fall of folders, is that they generally don’t stand up to the activities I would use a fixed blade for.  I know that I should not expect that kind of strength and durability from a folding knife as it is a completely different from a fixed blade.  However, I always wanted that out of a folding knife, and I think I have finally found a folding knife that will perform as closely to a fixed-blade knife as possible.

Also Read: Fallkniven Jarl Knife Review

Over the years I have owned a few fixed, full-tang knives from Cold Steel and have always been Survival Folding Knifevery happy with their products and their prices. So, a few years ago I decided to purchase a folder from them and I decided on buying the Pocket Bushman. It is probably one of the plainest looking knives you can buy, but boy is this knife a BEAST! The blade measure in at 4 ½” inches long with an overall length of 10 ¼”! All the reviews said that this knife was big and it did look big in the photos, but I really didn’t appreciate how big It was until I was holding it in my hands.

It felt more like a fixed blade knife than a folding pocket knife. Unlike other pocket knives, the Cold Steel Pocket Bushman does not whiz open with a flick of your thumb. It is rather slow and you need both hands to properly open it and shut it. When closing the knife you have to be extremely careful.  The knife has a rocker lock which is tough as nails but it is a bit different to close than other folders.  In order to close the knife safely and properly you need to place one hand on the spine of the blade and the other hand needs to pull the paracord lanyard at the bottom of the handle.  The first time I tried this it was a bit awkward and I almost cut myself. After opening and shutting it a few times the motions became very natural.

The handle has a very large and deep groove for your index finger.  This helps in keeping your hand from slipping forward to the blade when working with the knife.  The handle is probably the only downfall I can find with this knife.  While I like the smooth steel finish, it makes it a bit tough to use the knife if your hands are wet.  It would have been nice to see some kind of textured finished on the handle.  However, there have only been a few times that I have tried to use this knife in wet conditions and most of the time when I am using this knife I am wearing gloves, which I highly recommend.

While this is a folder and it fits well in my pocket, I love that it can handle the big jobs as well.  I have used it for making tinder, cutting cardboard, tape, ropes, tie downs, zip ties, carpet, to baton wood, gutted fish, and even split small logs.  I still remember the first time I showed it off at work. The guys thought I had wasted my money on some big knife just to be a show off.  While they were chuckling I bent down and picked up a broken piece of wood from a pallet.  I then commenced beating the back of the blade into a very tall, thick stack of cardboard. Once I got halfway down the stack I turned to a pallet that was leaning against a nearby shelf.

Also Read: Benchmade Bushcrafter Knife Review

The Pocket Bushman easily took chunks out of the pallet and after a few minutes it came out the Bushcraft Survival Knifeother side of the board.  I turned around to the guys, showed them there was no damage to the knife and no wiggle in the blade, folded it up, placed it in my pocket and walked away.  A few years have passed and I have used this knife so much, yet there is still no movement between the blade and handle, and it still sharpens very easily.  I have added paracord to the loop hole in the lock release slide at the bottom of the handle.  This is by far, hands down, the best folder I have ever purchased and would recommend it to anyone looking for a new tool.  I believe, when I bought this knife it was forty dollars.  I checked out the knife out on Amazon the other day and it was listed for fifty nine dollars.  I have been thinking about getting another one and I would not think twice about paying that price for this knife. If anyone else has used this knife I would love to hear about your experience with it.

Photos By:
Dan P
Matt Coz

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10 tips for staying cool during a power outage/heat wave emergency

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All things considered, any emergency situation can be made worse by the weather! Heat waves, coupled with power outages, can be deadly. Learn what you can do!

By Leon Pantenburg

What happens when an earthquake occurs along the New Madrid Seismic Zone (The United States’ second largest earthquake area, located near New Madrid, Mo., along the Mississippi River)? And how much worse will conditions be if this catastrophe happens during the winter when it’s -20 degrees?

heat outside

A heat wave can be more deadly than below-freezing temperatures.

On the other hand, how will you stay cool and safe, if an earthquake, flood, tornado, tropical storm etc. knocks out the power grid when the temperature is well over 100 degrees outside? If you don’t have to evacuate, how can you stay cool inside your house without power?

To start with: Don’t underestimate the danger of high temperatures!

About 400 Americans die each year from summer heat, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Furthermore, the National Weather Service claims excessive heat is the number one weather-related killer, causing more fatalities per year than floods, lightning, tornadoes, hurricanes, winter storms and extreme cold. There are energy-efficient, environmentally-sound methods of dealing with the heat inside your house, says Bobbie J. Bourne of the Bend, Oregon American Red Cross.

Start staying cool by taking care of yourself, and keeping hydrated, Bourne advises, and reduce physical activities during the hot part of the day.

“If you’re thirsty, that means you’re not drinking enough,” Bourne said. “Avoid caffeine and hot drinks and make sure you drink lots of water and drinks that replace electrolytes, such as Gatorade. Eat smaller meals, and eat something cold. Wear loose, light-colored clothing. You might want to put water in a spray bottle and cool yourself off with that.”

Then take a look at your home and think about how you can reduce the heat coming in, and regulate the interior temperature naturally. That beautiful sunshine pouring through the windows also heats up the air inside, so a good way to reduce that heat source is with drapes or window coverings.

heat window

Shut the windows during the heat of the day.

An effective way to use the coverings, Bourne says, is to pull them shut during the day when the sun is beating on the windows.

“Keep your windows open at night, so the cool air can come in, then shut the windows and pull the drapes in the morning,” Bourne said. “Your house will stay cooler during the day. When it gets cooler at night, open the windows and get the hot air out of the house.”

Depending on the emergency, there might not be electrical power to the area for months, or it might be sporadic. If the power does come back on, even briefly, a good, quick way to get the hot air moving out of the overheated house is with a pair of electric fans.

Place one facing in by the window where air is coming in, Bourne said, and one at an opposite window positioned to blow warm air out. This can create a nice “wind tunnel” effect in pulling air through the house, and that will cool the interior.

Let’s suppose that there is some intermittent electrical power available, but you can’t use the central air conditioning. Here are some tips from the American Red Cross for staying cool inside when it’s hot outside:

  • Make a “swamp cooler” by putting a bucket or pan of water in front of a fan. This will help cool the air as it is circulated. (I lived in an antebellum house in Mississippi, with no air conditioning, for several hot summers. This technique works!)
  • Minimize the use of your oven. Use your grill outside, Bourne recommends, or plug your toaster oven into an outside electrical outlet to cook.
  • Wait until after the sun has gone down to run heat-producing appliances.
  • Line-dry your clothes to avoid using the dryer.
  • Use ceiling fans to create a breeze and to re-circulate air.
  • Run the bathroom fan after you shower to pull the humidity out of the house.
  • Trade your hot shower in for a cold one.
  • Let your hair air dry after a shower, and enjoy the cooling effect of wet hair while you wait for it to dry.
  • Minimize the amount of bedding you use.
  • Make sure all air vents are free of obstructions. If they’re covered with furniture, the cool air won’t circulate.
  • Close your fireplace flue to avoid losing cool air.

Survival of any emergency, be it in an urban or wilderness survival situation, ultimately all boils down to education and preparation. Think about possible weather scenarios – hot or cold – as part of your family’s preparedness plans.

(Here’s an unrelated poem by James Autry called Nights Under a Tin Roof. It’s here because I like it!)


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How-to recipe: Make Southwest Chicken Corn Chowder from storage foods

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Survival food is sustenance that can be made easily during a survival or emergency situation with simple, long-term storage food items, cooked outdoors, using off-the-grid methods.

This chowder recipe comes from the late Jan LaBaron’s  food storage cookbook: ” Jan’s Fabulous Food Storage Recipes: Converting Stored Foods Into Usable Meals.

Southwest Chicken Corn Chowder

1 dutchoven

This recipe adapts readily to Dutch oven campfire cooking.


3 Tbs dehydrated onions

1/2 tsp garlic granules

1 small can diced green chilies (or 2 large, fresh roasted chilies of your choice)(or use dehydrated)

2 c freeze dried corn or dehydrated

I c dehydrated or freeze dried potato dices

5 c water

1 c white cream sauce (Pick your favorite white cream sauce recipe)

2 tsp oregano

1 tsp cumin (ground)

1 Tbs chicken soup base

1-1/2 c freeze dried chicken (or canned chicken)

Tortilla chips for garnish, if desired

In a small stockpot, add water and bring to a boil. Add potatoes, onions, garlic, green chilies, oregano, cumin and chicken soup base. Simmer until vegetables are tender. Now add the freeze dried corn, cook for another 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix together 1-1/2 c waster and cream soup base until smooth, slowly add the cream soup base to soup mix that has been simmering. Once this is incorporated, add the freeze dried tortilla chips and additional cheese if desired.

– from “Jan’s Fabulous Food Storage Recipes: Converting Stored Foods Into Usable Meals”

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The Quick and Easy Way to Make a Fishing Spear

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fishingCivilization makes life so easy, because you only have to be specialized in a handful of skills to survive. And the money those skills bring in will pay for everything else that you need in life. If however you’re ever stuck in the wilderness, you’ll find that you have to juggle countless responsibilities to survive. You have to build your own shelter, gather your own wood, protect yourself from predators, procure and clean your own water, and you have to find your own food.

And when it comes to food, you’ll require another layer of diverse skills. You’ll need to know how to forage and how to tell which plants are edible. You’ll have learn how to set traps and how to properly clean and cook the animals that you kill. And among many other skills, it would be useful to know how to catch a fish.

Obviously, if you’re struggling to survive in the wilderness, you won’t have a fishing pole and a tackle box. All you’ll have is your own bare hands and what you can make with them. While you could make a rudimentary fishing pole, in many cases your best bet would be to simply wade into some shallow water and spear the fish yourself.

While an ordinary sharpened pole can work well for this task, you’ll be more successful with a four pronged spearfishing pole. Fortunately, they aren’t too difficult to make out of the typical vegetation you’d find in the forest. Here’s how it’s done:

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Peter Kummerfeldt: How to choose the best saw for a survival kit

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Peter Kummerfeldt’s gear has been tested and refined over five decades of hands-on, in-the-field use. He choses a saw – every time – over an axe or hatchet for use in the backcountry,  Here’s why.

Three different types of saws: From left, is a Gerber folder; a Fiskar sliding blade, and a double-edged Pac-Saw Wyo.

by Peter Kummerfeldt

Cutting tools, in all of their variations, have been an integral part of my life. In my world the term “cutting tool” encompasses knives, saws and shears.

It does not include axes and here’s why. Nobody knows how to use them safely anymore!

In grandpa’s day someone had to fell trees, chop the wood into manageable lengths and then split it into pieces suitable for the kitchen stove or the furnace. With rare exceptions that’s unnecessary today. People of that era became very proficient in the use of axes.

When I began my Air Force survival instructor career we were issued an axe and instructed in its use. We were expected to be able to cut the wood needed to keep our students warm in the field regardless of the weather conditions. We, too, became very proficient with axes.

Today the only time axes are used are those all too infrequent opportunities we have to take the family camping or perhaps during the annual hunting trip. The gear is gathered and off we go to the woods.

In the hands of an inexperienced person an axe, be it hand axe or larger, is an accident looking for a place to happen! And happen it will! Axe injuries are often severe sometimes including amputations! Leave your axes at home and take a good saw!

I have never found myself handicapped because I chose to carry a saw rather than an axe. I can’t think of anything that I can do with an axe that I can’t do with a saw.

How, you ask, are you going to drive a tent peg with a saw?

My answer: “I’ll cut a chunk of wood and use it as a mallet!”

There are many saws available some of which are very useful and others not so much. Let’s take a look at a variety of them starting with the least useful.

Survival Wire Saws. These holdovers from WWII are still found in many survival kits and are commonly sold separately under the Coghlan’s brand. Avoid them. They don’t work.

Pocket Chain Saws. There are several varieties of these but only one that works well – the Pocket Chain Saw. This saw comes packed in a tin containing not only the saw but also two steel handles as well. Unlike the others this saw will cut through a four- inch limb in a couple of minutes with minimal effort on your part. The downside of this device is that it takes two hands to make it function. Being able to operate any tool with only one hand or arm is a distinct advantage when the other limb is injured.

The Swiss Army knife and Leatherman Waves have handy, small saw blades.

Folding Saws. Again there are many varieties of small folding blade saws. The smallest of these includes the three or four-inch long blades found on Swiss Army style pocketknives. The short blade length makes this type of saw totally impractical for producing firewood but may have some “improvising” utility. (Making needed “things” out of other available material.)

Longer folding saws may be more useful but again are limited by their short blade length. If you decide to carry one of these saws, select on that cuts both on the “pull” and on the “push.” Check the hinge carefully. Some are prone to loosen allowing the blade to fold back onto your hand causing injury.

Bow Saws. Generally bow saws have a longer blade than folding saws making them a more useful cutting tool. Two limiting factors should be considered: Bow saw blades are thin and narrow which makes them subject to bending and then breaking. Secondly, the height of the bow from blade to the top of the arch dictates the depth of the cut that can be made before the log being cut has to be re-positioned.

Non-folding Pruning Saws and those saws used for light tree limbing are very useful tools for cutting wood and snow blocks and for dismembering animal carcasses. An eighteen- inch blade length is ideal. This length is very efficient allowing for a full extension of your arm when sawing. The aggressive saw teeth do not bind up and quickly cut through large diameter wood without it having to be re-positioned. Beyond periodically tightening the screws that attach the handle to the blade and an annual sharpening this type of saw requires minimal maintenance.

Carpenter Saws, a longer version of the pruning saw, are equally suited to producing large quantities of firewood quickly. The drawback to a carpenter saw is length. Typically 24 inches long this type of saw is too long to fit in a backpack but is suitable for a vehicle survival kit or perhaps those who travel by horse.

Shears: When traveling beyond the limits of the tree line either by ascending to higher altitudes or moving toward the higher latitudes, where the only available fuel for fire will be scrubby willow and alder, shears work better than a saw for collecting firewood.

When selecting shears pick the kind where the upper blade cuts onto a flat surface – the anvil. The alternative, the type, where one blade passes by the other, tends to jam frequently. Select shears that ratchet rather than the type that require hand-strength to cut through apiece of wood.

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Outdoor Survival Tips

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Author Bio: Hi guys, I am John. I love spending my leisure time outdoors – backpacking, camping, etc. If you would like to learn more about me, definitely check out Epic Wilderness.

The prospect at having a getaway or relaxing weekend from our bustling, hectic city lives certainly seems a great antidote for the mind, body and soul. And where better to spend it if not with Mother Nature? The cheerful chirping of the birds and the lush green scenery will leave you feeling revitalised and ready to take on the stress and challenges of the upcoming week.

However, camping in the woods/forests or even hiking or trekking is certainly no walk in the park, for danger could strike at any moment. After all, you are out of your element and sharing space with some of nature’s most fearsome creatures! Fret not however, for here are some tips that will help you stay safe and enjoy your trip.

Note: These tips will also come in handy in the scenario of you being stranded in the wilderness.

Find a good shelter

natural-shelterNow, if you are camping, you will want to be sure to set up camp where food and water are easily accessible. Choose to set up your tent on a level ground and pin them down, otherwise in times of a rainstorm, your tent will most likely be blown away!

The same case goes for if you are stranded. It is most unlikely for you to be carrying a tent about, thus you will have to make do and find shelters of your own. High, tall trees make very good ones and you can easily build makeshift ones with sticks for the time being. Be careful however of venturing into caves or dens, for some other animal may have already made it it’s home first.

Be wary of poisonous plants and fruits

poison-ivyDo not underestimate the powers of these plants or fruits, for even a simple brush against one of these plants will cause you to break out into rashes and have a very itchy nightmare! Poison ivy is well known for this and are very common in most parts of the jungle. Some of the others include, akar saga, wolfsbane and white baneberry which have been known to lead to a series of complications such as kidney failure, cardiac arrest and eventually death.

Moreover, only choose to consume fruits that you know of and are familiar with. Do not be fooled by a fruit’s smell or colour for it is just a ploy that will end up in you being the victim. Take cherries or some berries for example, chew on the pip, and hydrogen cyanide is released. The reactions range from vomiting and headaches(mild) to increased blood pressure and heart rate(serious). Therefore, it is wise to take note of the appearance and effects of these plants and fruits.

Building a fire

Not having a cheerful fire to bask in its warmth in the darkness of the chilly night, is hardly a comforting feeling at all. Plus it may even serve to keep you from being attacked by wild animals. Thus it is very imperative that you supply yourself with the knowledge of building a fire.

You will want to start out by gathering dry twigs and sticks, basically anything that will catch on fire. Then build a ring of rocks to serve as your fire pit and slowly stack up all your kindling on top of one another, leaving a few spaces in between so that the flames can get to the topmost sticks. Once that is done, all you have to do is rub two sticks together and blow gently to get your fire started. This may take some practice of course.

Having a sense of direction

compassIn the event of you being lost, the most important thing to do is not panic! Take a few moments to calm yourself down by taking deep, long breaths. In finding your way out, a compass will be your best friend of course. If you don’t own one however, no worries, if you are able to locate the sun shining over the tree tops, align either your right or left shoulder with the sun and follow its blaze to lead you the way out.

Another most used way would be to locate water. Even if it is only a stream and not a river. Following a stream or river downhill is an extremely smart move as these often lead to roads and civilization. However, this also increases your chances of slipping into the stream or river itself or meeting more wildlife such as crocodiles.

Thus it is advisable to stay at least a hundred feet away just to be on the safe side. If in the event you are not lost and want to do some exploring of your own , but afraid of the possibility of getting lost, use rocks to carve out markings or symbols on every fourth or fifth tree. In doing so, you will be able to find your way back without a hitch.

Be respectful and cautious of the wildlife and surroundings

In order for you not to draw attention to yourself, you will want to be as quiet as possible and refrain from talking loudly if you are in a group walking through open ground. If you do however come face to face with an animal which in most cases is a bear, do not run!

Yes you heard me right. With all that adrenaline shooting across your system and your heart pounding, fleeing the scene seems like the best thing to do. However this increases your chances of being chased by the bear and probably be clawed or bitten. The bear would not eat you of course since humans are definitely not part of the bear’s food chain, but it might view you as a threat and in defense, attack.

To prevent something as horrifying as this from taking place, stop and crouch behind a tree or a bush and remain very still. Chances are the bear will lose interest and walk away.

Also always, always be wary and alert of your surroundings. Do not wander off into quiet, eerie areas of the jungle and also if paths are visible, remain on them. Do not turn about rocks or logs over , for these spots are usually homes to rattlesnakes and scorpions! Agitate them, and you’ll pay dearly for it. It is very important to keep both ears open and eyes peeled. You will thank yourself for it later.

Finding clean water

It is best to keep in mind that not all sources of water are clean and purified. Especially ones from rivers and streams. The amount of bacteria and parasites from animal faeces in one mouthful of water may be enough to poison and kill you. Water that flows from the tops of mountains are very pure and safe to drink, however on leveled ground this is hardly the case. Thus, it is always advisable to boil any source of water before consuming it. Other sources of clean water include rain and dew.

You can even obtain it from plants! Here’s how. This only works if you have a plastic bag at hand with you. If so,tie the plastic bag tightly over a leafy branch and leave it for a few hours. Since plants undergo a process called transpiration, whereby water is loss from the plant into the surrounding, water will have collected in the bag fit for consumption. Pretty cool if you ask me since even the most common of things end up being so useful!

And there you have it!

Tips that are fit to guide you into surviving your ordeal in the wilderness. Although, there are tons of other factors that need to be considered too of course, the 6 ones above are some of the most important ones and will undoubtedly help keep you alive and at the same time, enjoy your camping trip or trekking activity. After all there is no better cure or treat, than spending time out with Mother Nature, for it is truly one of God’s greatest creation and gift to mankind.

“Mors tells the best stories…” (pic heavy)

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My son Duncan and I took a holiday to Canada this summer. The last half of our trip was full of adventure in Jasper, Banff, and Yoho National Parks. We visited Jasper Lake, Medicine Lake, Maligne Canyon, Maligne Lake, Lake Louise, took a dip in Banff Upper Hot Springs, drove the Icefields Parkway, and were […]

What You’ll Need To Survive If You’re Caught Out In The Wild

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By The Survival Place Blog

You never know where you’re going to be when disaster strikes. Whether you’re stranded or the inevitable happens and you’re in the middle of nowhere. Survival isn’t just about making sure that you have your bug-out bag. It isn’t just about having your shelter ready. It’s also about being able to make it on your own. Being able to survive in the wild. If you’re not sure how to do that, keep reading.


You’re not always going to have your bug-out bag handy with you when you’re out in the wild. Whether you’re hunting, scouting or simply on the road in less populated areas. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a mini-bag of useful tools with you. Tools that can help you purify water. That can keep you connected to radio stations. The best tactical flashlight you can use to navigate the wilderness. The best clothes to keep you sheltered from the elements. Even when you’re far from home, it’s a good idea to have these kinds of things with you.


You’re going to want to have some kind of food with you to keep you immediately supplied. But besides that, it’s a good idea to also have some notion of how to keep your own food. Especially if you have to stay out there for days on end. Besides recognizing what and how to forage successfully, finding yourself a good supply of protein is valuable. This is where hunting skills come into play. Perhaps more reliably is finding protein sources from water, however. Sources like being able to successfully fish for bass and bluegill.


Physical strength

If you want to be able to make it away from civilization (or if civilization crumbles), then you need to be prepared. Not just in terms of equipment and knowledge. You’re going to need a certain degree of fitness, as well. Traversing rough terrain, particularly if you have the kind of equipment you need, isn’t easy. Similarly, in the event of the breakdown of civilization and any ensuing violence, then you need to be in a position to defend yourself as well. After all, your gun won’t always be immediately handy. If you’re talking about survival, your physical condition plays a key role.


Of course, it’s more than just the skill to procure food and take of yourself physically you need. Being truly independent means developing a whole set of skills that most people today have forgotten about. Skills we once relied on that have gotten a soft as a result of civilized living. Skills like orienteering and being able to navigate all by yourself. Skills like locating the site and resources for a shelter as well as being able to build it yourself. Take constant trips into the wilderness to cultivate these skills. Do it before you’re caught entirely unprepared.

Surviving in the wild is about combining skills, knowledge and conditioning. You’re going to need to learn how to take care of yourself, even when your supplies aren’t immediately handy.

This article first appeared at The Survival Place Blog: What You’ll Need To Survive If You’re Caught Out In The Wild

Filed under: Emergency Survival Tips, Outdoor Recreation, Wilderness Survival Gear

How to Harvest Clean Drinking Water From a Tree

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water-300x225You’ve probably seen it countless movies and TV shows. Some poor guy is stranded out in the desert, and is in desperate need of water. So he cuts into a cactus, and harvests an abundance of lifesaving H2O. In the real world however, most cacti don’t really provide much water. The fluid they do provide is far from potable. In all likelihood it will induce vomiting and delirium rather than quench your thirst.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t gather water from other plants. In fact, there are several tree species you can tap for fresh drinking water, in much the same way you would tap a cactus (if you had a death wish). While everyone knows that you can tap maple trees for their syrup, birch and walnut trees can also be tapped. They will produce a fluid that has a much lower sugar content than maple, though all three are good sources of hydration in case you’re ever stranded in the wilderness. Here’s how it’s done:

Or if you’d rather make a less intrusive mark in the tree, you can use this slightly different technique.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Flint and Steel Kit Review (and How to Make Charcloth from Nature)

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In this latest post on the TI website I’m going to be reviewing another flint and steel fire-making kit created by Mikhail Maletkin of I will also be showing you how to make your own natural charcloth that takes a spark just as easy as — but creates a longer-lasting coal than — traditional cotton or linen charcloth.


A few months ago I had the opportunity to review a flint and steel fire-making kit made by Mikhail Maletkin of If you’re at all interested in primitive and ancient forms of fire making and have never seen his kits before, they are truly a work of art. Mikhail comes from a long line of artisan blackmiths, so the skills and methods used in the manufacture of these kits has been preserved and passed down from generation to generation. The latest kit he sent me is no exception…

Flint & Steel Kit Review

This kit, which is described as “Set No. 3”, is housed in a circular fabric cloth (it feels like linen) that is embroidered with a tasteful design, adding to the overall quality and attention to detail that Mikhail puts in all his kits.

firesteel ki laid out

Similar to the leather kit I reviewed, this one also contains two rolls of natural jute twine, two chunks of flint, a tin of linen charcloth, a firesteel striker, and easy-to-follow directions. You can watch me demonstrate how to make a fire with one of his kits in this video:

If you’re at all interested in primitive or ancient firemaking methods, and would like to learn a firemaking method that has been used for literally thousands of years, then I highly recommend you pick up a kit from Mikhail. There’s something special about making fire with the same tools our ancestors relied upon to warm their homes and cook their food, that the modern ferro rod and lighter can’t quite reproduce.

If you’d like to pick up one of Mikhail’s kits, be sure to head on over to and pick one up.

How to Make a Long-Lasting Natural “Charcloth”

I thought in addition to providing a review of the kit, I’d take a moment to show you a natural material that makes an incredible “charcloth” you can produce when you run out of the charcloth included in the kit. When converted to char it will take a spark just as easy as — but creates a longer-lasting coal than — traditional cotton or linen charcloth.

The material you’ll use is called is amadou. It’s taken from a bracket fungus found on sweet-sapped trees like birch, maple and beech.

Here’s the process for gathering and preparing this material:

Step 1: Gather “horse hoof” fungus. This bracket can be found on different sweet-sapped trees like birch, maple and beech. In my area, they’re mostly on birch trees that are just starting to die. You’ll want to gather these either on standing dead trees or live trees:


By the time the tree falls, these are usually too rotten to process. Here’s a look at the rotten (black) and fresh (grey) kind:

birch braken old birch braken fresh

Step 2: Cut off the hard outer shell. Once gathered, the next step is to shave off the hard top crusty layer with a knife. Here’s the finished fungus after shaving:

processing amadou

Step 3: Slice away the spongy, flexible, soft outler layer. You’ll find this between outer shell and the inner woody pores.


Traditional amadou is processed by placing the slices made above in a mixture that is half wood ash, half water and letting it boil for about an hour. After the boil, you flatten it and let it dry out and what your left with is a very effective tinder that will catch a small spark and smolder, very much like charcloth. While this process is very effective, I find it a bit time consuming so what I prefer to do is simply convert the slices into char by following the steps below:

Step 1: Step one is just to prepare your heat source if necessary. If this is an open flame than make sure it has burned down to a decent amount of coals for a coal bed. Other wise you can just use your grill or stove.

Step 2: Punch a hole in the top cover of the tin with a small nail

Step 3: Fill your tin with your amadou and cover it up.

Step 4: Place your tin on top of the heat source

Step 5: After placing your tin on the heat source you’ll notice smoke starting to come out of the top hole. This smoke will continue until it stops at which time you’ll know the charcloth is complete.

Here’s a video of this process using cotton cloth (the process is exactly the same):

Once your amadou char is created, it can be used like any other piece of charcloth, with the added benefit of the coal lasting much longer than normal charcloth. Here’s a video showing how quick it catches a spark:

Different Types of Ropes and Their Survival Uses

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Different Types of Ropes and Their Survival Uses Rope is your best friend when it comes to surviving in the wild. Why? Because it can be used for practically anything. Unfortunately, not everyone is familiar with the different types of ropes that exist, as well as their benefits and what they can be used for. …

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Do You Need to Attend a Wilderness Survival Class and What Can You Expect?

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You have read the manuals, watched the videos, and have read dozens of articles online about wilderness survival, but does this mean you are ready, maybe, and then again maybe not.

There are several schools of thought when it comes to survival training. Some believe that pain equals gain. In other words, if you are not hungry and cold with an aching body during your survival training then you are not doing it right and simply will not learn anything.

This type of training course would be similar to the Naked and Afraid series where you are dropped off without even the clothes on your back. In the real world, you probably would not survive the night if put in this situation. It is unrealistic to think you are going to wake up naked in a faraway land, and then are expected to survive for days or weeks when you are starting from nothing.

The thought behind this method is that if you know what can happen if you are not well trained and prepared with the essentials for survival, then you will always be prepared. The knowledge and hands-on training will be better absorbed. Absorbed that is, if you can ignore how cold, wet and hungry you are and can ignore your aching back caused from sleeping on the cold ground.

Well, this sounds good on paper and some people do thrive in this environment, while others do not. This method is essentially sink or swim.

Another method of training is to provide a comfortable learning environment. The belief is that people do learn more when in a comfortable environment. However, any training you take should be conducted in a controlled environment where your mistakes are not deadly but instead can be used as a training tool.

Even if you decide to go it alone and learn on your own, you need a support system in place as you train. Even experts can make mistakes, and everyone needs a support system whether you believe it or not. If you do get lost, you will in many cases, have to rely on others to rescue or help you.

Do your research and know your instructor. The Internet is full of so-called survival experts with impressive sounding resumes but does this mean they can convey their knowledge to you while at the same time controlling the environment so no one in the class gets hurts.

What to Expect

Expect to learn the basics of wilderness survival. Learn how to construct an emergency shelter, make a fire under any conditions, find and purify a surface water source and learn how to forage for food. In most cases, you are taught to survive long enough to be rescued, so in most classes you will also learn how to signal rescue personnel, and learn basic land navigation techniques.

While most experts recommend that you shelter in place if you find yourself lost, you may have to self-rescue so knowing how to navigate through the woods is critical.

You should learn how to detect and provide treatment for hypothermia as well as hyperthermia, and learn how to combat dehydration when water is limited as well.

The above are the basics, which can essentially be taught over a long weekend. There are advanced courses that you can take that would delve into bushcraft versus survival techniques taught to keep you alive until rescued.

Once you have had a few days of hands-on training at a survival school, it is up to you to hone those skills, by getting back out in the woods and practicing. Gaining knowledge and skills is one thing, but applying what you have been taught in a real life situation is something entirely different. Your survival class is just the beginning. You cannot expect to attend a 3 or 5-day class and say that’s the end of it, your trained, so nothing more to see here let’s move on. Classes are just the beginning.

It takes practice, trial and error and a dedication to advancing your skills, so you build confidence, and thus, have the right reaction when the time comes. Pre-programmed responses are something that takes a tremendous amount of practice and hands-on training to perform without thought.

Primitive living techniques are taught by many schools, but you have to choose carefully, and it will be costly. Learning bushcraft on your own is difficult. You really do need the tutoring of those that came before you. Much bushcraft and primitive living skills have been passed down through the generations, and in some cases, the information is never written down, but passed on orally.

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Survival First Aid Basics: Skills and Gear to Keep You Alive

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survival first aid basics

With the current state of modern medicine, getting a cut, sprain, or broken bone is no longer the death sentence that our ancestors faced. With proper medical attention, you can get patched up and on your way in no time.

But what do you do if these medical systems fail, are destroyed, or are jammed with other survivors?

How will you make sure you or someone you love doesn’t die unnecessarily?

The best way to insulate yourself from this type of tragedy is to make sure you learn some basic survival first aid.

First aid is an invaluable skill set to learn and to help get you started we have teamed up with Dr James Hubbard of

Besides being a practicing doctor for the last 30 years, Dr Hubbard has also published five easy to understand books on survival first aid (see them here). In this article he walks us through some basic problems that are likely to occur in a survival situation and what you can do to save lives when it matters most.

What are the 3 basic 1st Aid skills you should learn for a survival scenario?

JH: The skill I most recommend learning is how to stop a wound from bleeding. Most of the time, applying pressure to the wound will work. Also know how to use a tourniquet.

Learn abdominal thrusts for choking. A person can die from choking within minutes, so even in normal times, when emergency services are available, this technique can save a life.

A third important skill is the skill of improvisation. Remember to use what you’ve got. If you don’t have the perfect medical equipment, you may be able to make it out of something common. For example, you can make a decent tourniquet from a belt or a T-shirt. I go over a lot of other ideas for makeshift supplies in the book.

But what about CPR?

JH: That is important to know, but a lot of people are surprised to learn that CPR is only going to keep you alive for a certain amount of time. So it’s most helpful if emergency services are on the way or if you have access to an AED—automated external defibrillator. A lot of public places and even some homes have them.

The longer you keep doing CPR without a defibrillator to restart the heart, the less likely the person is to survive. Experts say to do CPR until you’re completely exhausted. I agree, but in truth, after about ten minutes, the person is unlikely to survive.

Exceptions are victims of hypothermia and drowning. They’re likely to live longer, without irreversible brain damage, because they have lower metabolism—less need for blood and oxygen. Some people, especially children, have survived after multiple minutes—even an hour—of having CPR.

What’s your number-one piece of survival equipment?

JH: Besides my book, I’d say the brain—knowledge. You’re not always going to have the specific equipment you need. If you have knowledge, you can improvise.

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What are your top-five must-haves for a “go” bag?

JH: Vinyl gloves to protect yourself from infectious disease and fluids. I like vinyl because some people are allergic to latex. It’s better to buy too large than too small because you can always get a larger size on. And if someone else is using the gloves, they may have bigger hands than you. You could improvise by putting any type of waterproof material over your hands.

I like to keep some SAM Splints. They’re flexible splints that become rigid when you bend them. They’re so versatile, and you can use them for many types of sprains and broken bones.

Have some elastic bandages to use on sprains. They help with stability and with compression, which in turn can decrease swelling. With compression, watch the circulation though; your toes or fingers shouldn’t become numb or cold. You can also use an elastic bandage to keep a SAM Splint in place.

You’ll need bandage scissors or any type of strong scissors that can cut cloth, tape, and the SAM Splint.

And throw in some tape. Duct tape is my favorite. It’s a good waterproof, very sticky type of tape. However, any type of tape will do—the stickier the better. You can use it on bandages or to cover a wound after putting down some sort of cloth or padding. If you have to walk for help and your shoes are causing blisters, put duct tape in the shoes on the pressure points to relieve the friction. Duct tape does have latex in it, so it’s good to keep a latex-free option in case someone is allergic.

One reason I like these supplies is you can use most of them in multiple ways for multiple problems.

I live in a busy city and never go hiking; do I really need these skills?

JH: Yes. There’s always the risk you won’t be able to get medical care due to natural disasters, upheaval, or all kinds of other things.

A few years ago, there was an episode in England when some city dwellers, because of riots, were not able to get medical treatment in a timely manner. Ambulances were overwhelmed with calls, and it wasn’t safe to go into the streets and try to get to help. For unsafe times like that, the book also gives hints on when you really need to get to the doctor if that’s possible and when it can wait.

Even in ideal times, with emergency services just down a couple of streets, that first few minutes before they reach you can save a life.

What are some common household items you can use to treat a cut or wound?

JH: You can stop the bleeding by applying pressure with any clean cloth material, like a T-shirt. Wadded up, the material can apply deeper pressure than your hands would to a rough wound’s nooks and crannies.

You can clean the wound with drinkable water. Or many types of clean liquids will do.

And you can tape the wound with duct tape if the person isn’t allergic to latex. Not all wounds should be closed, but for those that do, a specific taping technique, which I go over in the book, can substitute for stitches if necessary.

What’s the main concern with broken bones and dislocations?

JH: The main concern is usually blood and nerve supply. If the bone is out of place, it can press on a nerve or blood vessel, and you could develop permanent problems. If blood flow is stopped, you could even lose the limb. In the book, I go over ways to check for these problems and try to fix them or minimize the damage, at least temporarily, if you’re unable to get professional help.

If you’re dealing with an open fracture, a main concern is infection. “Open fracture” means a broken bone has gone through the skin—maybe only briefly before going back in. This puts you at high risk for a serious bone infection.

How can you tell if someone has had a concussion?

JH: If a person has had head trauma—from either a hit or a jerk of the head or neck—and then has any symptom caused by that trauma, they probably have a concussion.

Many years ago, we thought you had to be knocked unconscious to have a concussion. Now that belief has changed, and we know there can be at least temporary brain damage with much less. For example, you might be dazed, have a headache, feel nauseous or dizzy, or have trouble sleeping. These are just some of the possible symptoms of a concussion.

What’s the first thing you should do if you get bitten by an animal?

JH: Get away from the animal!  If we’re talking about wounds: If it’s dangerously bleeding, stop the bleeding. Wash the wound out well with water.

Do not close it or get it sutured. Animal bites are especially prone to infection, and closing the wound will give those germs a nice breeding ground. Keep it open so you can regularly clean it and so your body can get rid of some of the germs.

With most normal wounds, cleaning with plain water will suffice. But for animal bites, there’s some indication that Betadine-type solutions work better when you’re trying to wash out rabies germs.

survival first aid basics

If you get bitten by an animal: FIRST get away from the animal, then do what you can to avoid infection.

What do TV shows and movies get wrong about CPR?

JH: The actors don’t press hard enough—because they can’t. You’re supposed to press the chest down about two inches, but you don’t want to do that on a living actor.

Also, the actors usually still do artificial respirations with the chest compressions. Today, it’s recommended that in most circumstances, when laypeople perform CPR, they only to do the chest compressions. Exceptions are when you’re performing CPR on children younger than puberty or on drowning or drug-overdose victims.

Also, in the movies and on TV, people come back to life just from chest compressions. In real life, that’s basically unheard of. It’s very, very rare. You do the chest compressions in order to keep the brain alive until you can shock the heart back.

survival first aid basics

Don’t do what the TV Doctors do. Especially this guy.

Where is the best place to be in a thunderstorm to avoid getting hit by lightning?

JH: In the inside part of a house—away from windows—or in a car. If you’re in the woods, there’s no great place.

Some experts have said to keep walking, so if lightning strikes you, hopefully one foot will be up and one down and you’ll be grounded. Others have said squatting on the balls of your feet, heels together, head down, hands off the ground, will help.

survival first aid basics

These theories are debated. I think the best idea is to stay away from metal poles and structures, and make sure you’re not the tallest thing around—or beside the tallest thing. Squat under a low-lying group of short trees.

People don’t usually die when they get struck. They sometimes have burns. There will be a boom that can cause hearing loss. They can have abnormal nerve troubles and are prone to get depression later on.

Can you really drink seawater, urine, and blood?

JH: Yes. It might help very short-term—meaning several minutes or so; it may get you out of a dangerous situation. But after that, it’s going to do more harm than good.

There’s too much concentration of chemicals in these fluids. Your body will try to dilute those out, so you’ll urinate more than usual. In turn, you’ll become more dehydrated.

Also, you’re putting toxins into your body. With urine, your body has just expelled those chemicals because it doesn’t need them. They’re not like a poison; they won’t kill you immediately. But they’ll be more concentrated in your body and will affect your kidneys in multiple ways.

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As you can see, there are a lot of skills we can learn to improve our chances of survival. If you are interested in this topic, start off with the basics and build your survival skill set from there. This is a skill that no one ever regrets learning. Always remember, Chance Favors The Well Prepared.

Further Reading:

Your Thoughts?

Is there a survival first aid skill you think everyone should know? Do you have a piece of first aid gear that is a must have for a bug out bag? Let us know in the Comments Section below, thanks!

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Missing Hiker Geraldine Largay Had Survived 26 Days

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On the morning of October 14, 2015, the remains of missing hiker Geraldine Largay, was found. A contractor for the U.S. Navy ‘SERE’ program (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape) was conducting a forestry survey on property owned by the U.S. Navy in Redington Township, Maine, and found the remains of the hiker who went missing […]

3 Ways to Find Bodies of Water in the Wilderness

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3 Ways to Find Bodies of Water in the Wilderness Wilderness survival skills are important skills for every prepper to learn. What happens if the SHTF, you need to bug out, and for some reason, the location you’ve scouted or prepped has already been invaded or pillaged by others? You’re going to need to bug …

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How to Make a Fish Trap Using a Water Bottle

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How to Make a Fish Trap Using a Water Bottle You’re in a survival situation and you’ve just gone through your last bottle of water…and you’re getting hungry. Sure, you could build a hunting spear and stalk animals like rabbits and foxes. You could even build a snare trap in hopes of catching a small …

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SOAP Note app (Wilderness Medicine)

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If you’ve had training in Wilderness Medicine, you likely learned how to do a SOAP Note for assessing a patient’s condition; this note being critical information for you as well as the higher standard of care of a physician once the patient reaches civilization. For those that have not had medical training yet, SOAP is an acronym for […]

Primitive Skills: Herbal Medicine Foraging & Uses

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herbal medicine chest

One of the most important things to stock in your home and pack in your bug out bag is your first aid kit. One way to keep your first aid kit full when bugging out is to learn herbal medicine foraging skills so you can identify and harvest useful natural remedies as you move.  A person’s health is, after all, essential to survival and should always be a top priority no matter what the situation is.

In this article we are going to teach you how to find and use 12 life saving herbs that can be used to treat illnesses, alleviate pain, and give you energy. The best part is that ALL of them can be grown at home of found in the wild at little to no cost!

Learning From Our Grandparents

Way before our reliance on pharmaceutical products to help improve our health, our ancestors relied on herbs and other natural products to alleviate their illnesses.

Many people are already starting to build and grow their herbal medicine chests to create an at-home pharmacy. In addition to making sure that only ‘organic and chemical-free’ elements enter your body, another advantage to creating an at-home herbal medicine chest is that it ensures a constant supply of alternative medicine during emergencies.

How do you start herbal medicine foraging?

It will take years for one to master the science of medicinal herbs, so the best thing that one can do is just figure out what the are the most needed items (check out our list below to see what you may need).  

Once you have done this it is time to start putting that knowledge into action!  Go out and try and find some of the herbs you think you may need in the future.  It is never too early to start building up a stockpile.

12 Basic Medicinal Herbs

To help you get started, here is a list of the most basic medicinal herbs including what they are used for and where they are found:

  1. Echinacea – A popular herb, also called as the coneflower, is the best in the list when it comes to fighting colds. What is even better is that aside from being a great plant for boosting one’s immune system, it is also a beautiful plant that can prettify your garden. These flowers naturally grow in Eastern and central North America, in moist to dry prairies and open wooded areas.

    herbal medicine chest

    Echinacea, also known as Coneflower

  2. Astragalus – When it comes to the Echinacea’s best partner in boosting the immune system, the Astragalus is on top of the list. Also, the herb also comes with antimicrobial and antibacterial properties essential in getting back to good health. For conditions related to colds and flu, diabetes, heart diseases and even side effects of chemotherapy, the root of the Astragalus can be used. It grows in the wild along the edges of woodlands, in thickets, open woods and grasslands and is hardy enough to survive a North American Winter, should you decide to plant it in your garden.

    herbal medicine chest

    Astragalus can help boost the immune system

  3. Licorice – Although it is super sweet, chewing on licorice root is the best remedy for a sore throat. You can create a tincture or decoction for this, or you can keep licorice ‘sticks’ handy in your herbal medicine chest. Licorice grows best warm climates in deep, rich sandy soil near a stream in full sun.

    herbal medicine chest

    Licorice is great for a sore throat

  4. Chamomile – Chamomile is the go-to herb for those with belly aches. It is also best made into tea and drank in the evenings, along with honey, because of its calming effects. Chamomile grows along fence lines, roadsides, and in sunny fields from Southern Canada to Northern U.S., the plant does not tolerate hot, dry climates.

    herbal medicine chest

    My Mother used to make me Chamomile when I had a stomach ache and I still use it!

  5. Wood Betony – This plant belongs to the mint family and is best used against stress and headaches. It is also great for covering up wounds to relieve it from soreness and inflammation. As you start growing your wood betony, make sure to protect them from harsh conditions and the wind and transfer it only to a herb garden once it has been established. Wood Betony typically grows in woodlands and in copses of trees, although it can occasionally be found in more open areas.

    herbal medicine chest

    Wood Betony can be used to cover a wound or treat a headache

  6. Calendula – This pretty little flower can be eaten and mixed with muffins. Yum! But, aside from filling your tummies, the Calendula is also used to soothe one’s skin. They are used to help heal and soothe rashes. You can make a salve out of it so you can easily grab it to use regularly. Calendula is also very mild even for kids to use. It can be found growing in the wild in open fields and prairies.

    herbal medicine foraging

    Calendula can help make a rash go away

  7. Feverfew – Just like the wood betony, feverfew is also great for headaches and can help dilate the blood vessels. You can take this one as a tincture or tea. Feverfew is commonly found along roadsides and along the borders of wooded areas.

    herbal medicine foraging

    Feverfew is great for headaches

  8. Elecampane – As a member of the sunflower and ragweed family, the Elecampane can grow as tall as five feet. Aside from stimulating the digestive system, it is also used to relieve congestion. Elecampane grows abundantly in pastures and along roadsides, preferring wet, rocky ground.

    herbal medicine foraging

    Elecampane can help with indigestion

  9. Horehound – Although horehound is among the best herbs for coughs, they are extremely bitter and will require lots of sugar – or honey – to make it easier to one’s taste. Horehound is a hardy plant that thrives in full sun and needs little moisture, it usually grows along roadsides, in disturbed areas, and in fields.

    herbal medicine foraging

    Horehound tastes bitter but is great for treating coughs

  10. Valerian – The root of this herb may not smell its best, but it works very well in a tincture or decoction for relaxation due to its sedative properties. Valerian likes moist soil and its native habitat is marshes and river banks.

    herbal medicine foraging

    Valerian has been used as a sedative for thousands of years

  11. Marshmallow – Nope, this is not the sugary stuff that we all love to roast in the campfire. In fact, this herb works as a mucilage to coat both the throat and stomach. It is also used for its anti-inflammatory properties. Marshmallow plants grow in sunny but cool climates on the edges of marshland and on grassy banks along lakes and rivers.

    herbal medicine foraging

    Marshmallow can help with a sore throat or stomach

  12. Comfrey – This herb, which is also known as bone knit, is great only for external wounds. It should never be taken in as it can be toxic to the liver. Simply mash the leaves and soak them in hot water for a few minutes then wrap the soaked leaves around the wounded area.

    Aside from this, comfrey is also recommended to be planted around fruit trees as it aids in pulling up calcium and minerals from the soil. Comfrey most commonly grows in in damp, grassy places. Although it likes damp soil it’s root is hardy enough to survive a minor drought.

herbal medicine foraging

Comfrey is great for healing wounds but should NEVER be ingested

How are these herbal medicines used?

Any of the medicinal plants listed above can be used to cure ailments in different ways, except for comfrey which should only be applied externally.

Method 1: Making A Tea

Among the most popular ways to use herbal medicines is to make them into a tea. To do this, one simply needs to create an infusion by boiling water and adding the leaves into it. Steep it for about 10 minutes (but going longer is okay as well), strain the herbs and use it as your drink all throughout the day.

Method 2: Making A Decoction

As for the roots and bark, one can create a decoction by adding a handful of the dried or fresh herb into a pot of water. Let it simmer after boiling then strain the herbs out. The decoction can be kept for a day inside the fridge but is best used within the day.

Method 3: Making A Tincture

To create tinctures, you can use alcohol to get the oils out from the herbs and preserve them. It is recommended to use dried herbs and enough vodka or brandy to soak it to about a quarter inch. Shake it every day for one month to eight weeks then strain and bottle. The regular dose of a tincture is about 30 drops for three times each day.

Herbal Medicine Foraging Conclusion

Growing, creating and using medicinal herbs can be a lot to take in but it can get easier once you get used to it. In time, your garden will not only make your house beautiful but will keep your family healthy as well.

If you don’t have a garden try going out in the woods and identifying (or even harvesting!) some of these herbs.  Herbal medicine foraging is a skill that pays dividends for the rest of your life once you learn it!​

Further Reading

Your Thoughts?

Do you have a natural or herbal medicine that you use? Do you think this is a good skill to add to our survival knowledge?  Do you have a herbal medicine foraging tip to share?  Let us know in the Comments Section below, thanks!

Author Bio

Lisa Farland is a writer at Happy to Survive – a blog that will help you thrive and survive, and offers articles about preparedness, and off-the-grid, self-reliant living. Lisa is an avid minimalist camper, prepper and survivalist.

The post Primitive Skills: Herbal Medicine Foraging & Uses appeared first on The Bug Out Bag Guide.

Using Airsoft As Prepper Practice!?

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Here is where airsoft comes in as good training for Preppers. When you are wearing your full load out including water, loaded magazines, armor panel’s, your conditioning yourself and becoming use to your gear and its weight. After two hours of high impact fast paced play. You have just moved one step closer to becoming … Continue reading Using Airsoft As Prepper Practice!?

Neck Knives For The Masses

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Best Neck Knife

The definition of a neck knife pretty much begins and ends with it being a blade worn on a Best Neck Knifelanyard around one’s neck.  Rather than in a belt sheath, pocket, pack clipped anywhere else, the neck knife offers a deployment option and carry strategy that opens some doors especially during specific activities and positions.  Neck knives can be tiny and as small as an index finger, usually carried tip-up.  Or they can be near full sized and carried tip-down on a substantial neckstrap.  Those are the small size can take many additional forms depending on anticipated use from EDC to the edges of survival.

By Doc Montana, a contributing author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog 

The larger end of the spectrum are more for daily use and easy access during general outdoors Best Neck Knifeand bushcrafting tasks. The particular reason I wear a neck knife is two-fold; first as a sport-specific knife, and second, for survival applications when things might-could get dark (using some small-town parlance).

Four situations I wear a neck knife over a knife in my pocket (or in addition to) include skiing, mountain biking, watersports like paddleboarding, and backpacking and hunting.  A main reason I got into neck carry is because I either am not wearing any pockets, or I may need to deploy the knife in a partially immobilized or even inverted state.  And I have different neck knives for each activity.  For downhill skiing, I wear a Boker Magyar.  It’s a stout little beast with a large finger hole and a thick drop point blade. The 440-C stainless steel is a must, like the mountain biking knife, because it will be soaked in salty sweat.  I like the finger hole to keep the Boker Magyar under control when hands are cold or a drop in the snow might as well be overboard in the ocean.

Related: Tops Brothers of Bushcraft Knife Review

For mountain biking, I like the Boker Grasshopper.  It has more handle than blade and is of a Survival Neck Knifemore traditional look as if just a small belt knife missing its scales.  The Grasshopper has a titanium-coated 440-C stainless clip point blade that can drill and stab better than drop points. It can also be held comfortably in a reverse grip as needed even though it weighs less than an ounce. And it’s near weightlessness makes it almost invisible even when bouncing down the trail.

Backpacking is another matter.  I prefer a workhorse of a neck knife because I will be using it ESEE Candiru often. The previous two are more for emergencies, or for that occasional extra-strength food wrapper.  For camping trips I want a neck knife that will get some daily if not hourly use.  I prefer the ESEE Candiru with G-10 scales.  It’s a tiny little critter, both the knife and its namesake, but the tales of it swimming up your, well, private part (the critter not the knife) are overblown (pun intended).  However, as a carbon steel the Candiru will rust if left alone, but the powder coating protects all but the very edge of the edge. After a day of wear, tiny orange flowers start growing on the shiny metal.  But the quality ESEE 1095 tool steel touches up beautifully with little effort to kiss the oxidation goodbye until next time.  Of all my neck knives, the has the best grip, but also the thickest footprint.

Also Read: Fallkniven Jarl Knife Review

And for paddleboarding and sea kayaking, I like the Boker Gnome.  Why?  Well, partially I justTop Neck Knife like the Boker Gnome and am always looking for a reason to wear it.  It’s a funny little knife with an apt name.  The Gnome has a very thick blade for it’s size and two of the cutest little micarta scales you’ve ever seen.  It is the best prybar of my neck knives and it’s 440-C steel resists rust better than most, even in salt water.  The knife is held only between the thumb and index finger because that’s all there is to hold.  So you could say that this is not a high leverage knife even with a 2 ⅛” long and ¼ inch thick blade.  But where the Gnome does shine is in brute strength if you have to pound on it like a piton.

…And Eat It Too

The question as to why a tiny fixed blade instead of a robust folder is a good one.  Especially since folding knives today are better and stronger than ever.  But not at under two ounces, or even under one ounce.  Hinged blades require robust parts and dual reinforcement in the handle.  Locking mechanisms, by nature, can never be as strong as as a solid shaft of steel for the same weight.  And even given the added weight, deployment still requires gravity, muscle or a more complex spring system.  The simplicity of a tiny fixed blade cannot be argued within those parameters.

Gallows Humor

A neck knife has only three parts: a knife, a sheath, and a loop of cord that allows the sheath to Survival Gear Neck knifebe worn around the neck.  There are no size or weight restrictions.  The blade can point up or down.  And the sheath can be molded Kydex, or elegant leather or even bland plastic. In my case, I prefer the uneventful durability of nylon-like scabbards.  A durable, but breakaway neck cord should be a must, but we put many strong cords around our necks quite often, so I’m not really worried that my last breath will be a swear word directed at a loop of paracord around my trachea.  Especially when the point of a neck knife is a rapid and convenient deployment of a blade that will easily cut through paracord.

Chains of small balls like the pull-chains on floor lamps are popular neck knives lanyards.  They will break away before killing you.  At least that’s the plan, but I haven’t personally tested it in all cases.  So use your brain.  But more important that lanyard strength is blade retention. While easy extraction is important, should unintentional deployment happen you will find a sharp blade wandering around your belly region just looking for something to cut.  There is no happy ending to that story except relief when you find it before it finds you.

Related: Benchmade Adamas Knife Review

As neck knives gain popularity it becomes clear that the design is still in its crude phase of evolution.  Not that the knives are rough, but like early days of powered flight, the designs are all over the place.  From mostly handles to almost no handles.  From full-bellied blades to narrow scalpels.  From finger holes to featureless grips.  And from skeleton to scaled. All of these differences give the wearer plenty of options for job-specific carry even when the particular feature set seems oxymoronic like the Boker Gnome.

All Photos By Doc Montana

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Bushcraft Skills: How To Carve A Wooden Spoon and Bowl

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how to carve a wooden spoon and bowl

In a long-term survival situation, you may need to fashion your own cooking and eating tools from whatever is available. This article will give you a step-by-step tutorial on how to make a spoon and bowl from wood that you can scavenge or find.

The wooden bowl and spoon are a good starting point for making tools as well as a useful introduction to wood carving. Carving them will teach you the primary skills you need to implement when creating other useful utensils. I suggest you start off with this basic project and then expand from there based on your personal needs.

This is a great skill for people of all ages. Kids find whittling fun and adults often find it relaxing so let’s get started!

The Humble Spoon And Bowl

Wooden spoons and bowls were some of the first tools carved by our ancient ancestors thousands of years ago. They were valued for their ability to help prepare, cook, and eat food. In modern times, we have the advantage of having metal tools and a seemingly endless supply of wood carving and whittling resources online that help us perfect our craft.

Essentials Tools And Materials

Project 1: How To Carve A Wooden Spoon

Choose Your Wood

It helps to choose a block where the fibers in the wood run straight and parallel. Basswood and other soft woods are common choices as they are easy to use and allow you to make precise cuts without needing to apply a lot of force.

Flatten The Wood

Begin by taking your axe/hatchet and evening out one side of the wood. You’ll need to refrain from striking the wood. Instead make precise and controlled cuts with the grain. Following this, use your knife and continue making controlled push cuts until the grain is even enough to draw the outline of a spoon on the flat side of the wood.

A push cut is a whittling technique where the carver holds the object being carved in their off hand and the knife in their dominant hand while making strokes away from themselves to remove the desired amount of wood shavings from the block. In our case, it would be to make one side of the wood flat.

Draw Your Outline

Once you have the side flat, draw a rough outline of a spoon. Visualize how small or big you would like the spoon to be and make a rough sketch of it on to the wood. It doesn’t need to be nice and pretty, just obvious enough to give you a visual barrier throughout the guide.

Safety Note!

Whatever knife you use, make sure it is SHARP! Dull knives become extremely susceptible to accidents when carving since they are more prone to slip and cause you to lose control. Take care of your tools and they will take care of you!

Shaping The Handle

After drawing your rough outline, you will want to position the wood vertically with the handle side pointed downwards. You are going to be carving with the grain so start removing material downwards with your knife.

The goal here is to remove wood shavings along the edge where the handle and the head of the spoon meet. Aim to remove small portions of wood instead of hacking off chunks. This will leave you with a larger margin of error should you slip.

Carving is all about maintaining control of the knife, this is necessary for the item being carved and for the safety of the carver.

Do not carve on the drawing or against the grain. If you go against the grain it could very well split the wood and ruin it. Leave just enough space, about a 1/2 inch, between the edge of the wood and the outline of the spoon.

Take care of your tools and they will take care of you!

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Shaping The Spoon

Flip the spoon over so that the head of the spoon is now pointed down. Use your knife to make push cuts and thumb push cuts around the top part where the spoon head is located. Leave about an inch of space between the edge of the wood and the outline of the spoon. We will be drawing a line outside our previous rough drawing to determine the thickness of the edge.

Be careful carving end grain, this is where people are most likely to cut themselves. Stay mindful of where your hands are and how much tension you apply when making cuts.

Scooping The Spoon’s Bowl Out

With a hook knife, make controlled downward scoop cuts while pushing the blunt part of the hook blade with your thumb. Think of it as if you’re scooping ice cream from a bucket, at first you’ll need leverage from your other hand to get the initial scoops, and the further into the wood you get with the hook knife the easier it gets.

Eventually, the head of the spoon starts taking the shape of the hook knife. Afterwards, take a carving knife and do thumb push cuts to shave off the side material so it is flush with the outline.


Even out one of the sides flat enough to draw the spoon’s profile. Once the side profile outline is complete, carve off the excess material to finalize the shape of your spoon.


The final and most time consuming part is sanding down the project, which is to help create a more detailed and aesthetic finish to the final result. When you reach this step, ideally, you’ll use a low grit sandpaper, a medium grit, then a high grit.

I use a 400 grit to help get rid of all the uneven cuts, then an 800 grit to shape the spoon/bowl, and finally the 1200 grit to finish it all out so that it looks nice and clean.

Project 2: Making A Wooden Bowl

The steps in making a wooden bowl are quite similar to the steps explained for making the spoon. The tools we will use will be slightly different while the size and thickness of the piece of wood will be larger.

Generally when making a wooden bowl, as with the spoon, you start by selecting your wood. We can carve our bowl in any size or style we like, so choose a block that will match what you are going for.

Select The Right Wood Block and Tools

With enough time and dedication it is possible to make a wooden bowl out of nothing more than a straight carving knife, but that also requires more experience. I suggest starting out with the following tools:

Make A Rough Outline

The outline will be a guide as you remove bulk pieces from the wood during the first stage of carving. Use a tape measure to mark the desired thickness of the edge of the bowl, this will help maintain consistency all the way around. Once you attain measurements, draw an outline that connects all the marks into two concentric outlines. If you want a large bowl, then the lines should be about an inch apart.

how to carve a wooden bowl and spoon

Some advanced woodworking tools

Shape the inside of your bowl

With the adze tool, make downward cutting motions similar to when using a hatchet for removing large portions of wood. Don’t constantly cut one way, you will need to cut from opposite angles in order to evenly cut your bowl to a desired depth.

As you progress deeper, the cuts will need to be more precise to prevent from cutting too far.

Once you are happy with the depth you have carved, even out the inside as much as you can with the adze tool or a straight carving knife. Either work fine, but I prefer to switch over to a carving knife since it is more accurate, which makes this process easier.

Cut and carve the outside

Ensure that the wood is secured to your work surface and then begin to remove the outside wood carefully. You will be working towards the outline you drew on the top and the base of the bowl.

This carving should be done using push cuts with the carving knife. You can start off a little bit aggressive but make sure you rein it is as the outside of the bowl quickly starts to take shape. Ensure that you frequently check the thickness of the bottom and sides to keep things even. Make sure you do not punch through the wall of the bowl!


Again, one of the most time consuming steps, but necessary to remove all the uneven edges. You may use the same assembly of grits to sand it down that was mentioned for the spoon, moving from roughest to finest grit as you progress. A nice touch to add is melting beeswax and mineral oil together then lathering it over the wood brings a classic color to the final product.


As you can see, carving a spoon or bowl is a relatively easy task that does not require a lot of time, material, or money. People of all ages can master this skill, you never know when it may come in handy! I encourage you to give it a try and let me know how it goes. Good luck whittling!

Further Reading

woodworking projects

Click on the image to get access to 16,000 woodworking projects complete with step by step tutorials!

Your Thoughts?

Have you ever carved a tool out of wood? What was it? Do you have any wood carving tips or tricks that you would like to share? Let us know in the Comments Section below, thanks!

About The Author

Nathan Dobson operates a wood carving website that provides highest rated top quality recommendations for all things wood carving related. Includes reviews, how-to’s, wood carving guides, and everything else to help beginners start and veterans learn new techniques. Go to our website to see our top picks

Nathan began wood carving 6 years ago with just a basic pocket knife while camping. He ended up thoroughly enjoying the craft and learned everything he could about it. He’s come to learn various methods to carving wood while discovering the best techniques to give to those looking to start and even veterans like himself.

The post Bushcraft Skills: How To Carve A Wooden Spoon and Bowl appeared first on The Bug Out Bag Guide.

Wildfire Rages in Canada: Largest Evacuation in Alberta’s History

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SHTF in Northern Canada


An entire city of 80,000 forced to evacuate due to fires.

Note that this is near the tar sands so I can’t help but wonder what
industrial facilities might burn, and what the long-term impact will
be of toxins released in the vicinity.



I don’t know if you heard this, but the entire city of Fort McMurray, Alberta was ordered to evacuate as a massive wildfire breached the city limits.

The scale of this inconceivable. We hear for wildfires taking forests and a measurable number homes, but not entire cities of 80,000 people. The scale is massive. The report tells of evacuees being stranded because their vehicles could not get enough air to keep the engines running.

Keep the people of Fort McMurray and Alberta in your prayers.



Thanks for the heads up guys. The environmental and economic loss is already terrible, people are losing everything and the damage to the forests is terrible. I haven’t read of any fatalities yet but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some given the magnitude of this wildfire and how it spread into a large urban area.

Let’s keep them in our prayers and help those we can.


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”.


Lost in the woods for 5 days in NZ: Saved by ground to air signal

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I recently posted a similar story, I believe it was also “HELP” which was written.

Missing mom, daughter rescued from New Zealand forest

The story is pretty common and so are the lessons to be learned:

*Carry proper equipment when hiking. Even if you plan on not staying the night.

*Take extra warm clothes and a survival kit just in case you get lost or suffer an accident

*Make sure you have a working phone.

Also, tell people where you plan on going and when are you expected to be back. When I was younger and went hiking solo I would leave my mother a map with the route I would be taking. Sound silly but Tierra del Fuego is 18,572 sq. miles so its not the kind of place you want to get lost in!


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”.

Top 25 Survival Skills to Know and Why

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Top 25 Survival Skills to Know & Why When it comes to survival, which do you think is better: having fancy equipment (knives, flashlights, etc.) or having knowledge? Most people would immediately answer, “Of course the answer is knowledge!” While the topic is certainly debatable, I’m a firm believer that knowledge is the best advantage you …

Continue reading »

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Peter Kummerfeldt: How to build common sense emergency survival shelters

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If we are to believe the survival manuals and the “how-to-survive” articles published in the popular outdoor press, building a shelter from natural shelters in an emergency should be a piece of cake!  After all, look at all the trees, bushes, bark and other natural materials you have to work with!

by Peter Kummerfeldt

Based on what we read there should always be a convenient hollow tree, rocky overhang or cave a person in trouble could use for shelter.  It’s strange how when you are not in trouble any number of suitable shelters can be found but when you really need one – they are in short supply.  Murphy’s Law I guess!

You can’t depend on finding a natural shelter when you need it!

I have always believed that if you are going to need a shelter you had better have the materials with you to build it!  I also believe that it is impossible for the typical survivor to build a waterproof, wind proof shelter from natural materials!

Consider this: When does a survivor first realize that they need a shelter?

Usually when the realization first hits that they are going to have to spend a night out that they hadn’t planned on.  It’s late in the day, (maybe even dark already!) the temperature is dropping, the wind’s picking up, and it’s beginning to rain!  This is not the time to be scrambling around the countryside trying to find the natural materials to build your home for the night – especially if you are injured!

Have you even wondered how you would build a shelter from natural materials if your arm was broken?  Shelters made from natural materials require time, natural resources, a cutting tool is helpful and a fully functional survivor who has practiced building survival shelters in the past!  These commodities are often in short supply in an emergency!

The survivor needs a waterproof, wind proof shelter now!  Being able to protect yourself from inclement weather quickly is a fundamental requirement if you are to survive.

Mylar blankets are largely useless.

Mylar Space blankets and bags. Mylar space blankets are light weight, inexpensive, compact and largely USELESS in an emergency!  Again consider the scenario I laid out earlier – it’s late in the day, cold, rainy, windy and the survivor is injured, hypothermic – or both!

Space blankets are difficult to get out of the package, they are difficult to unfolded and drape around yourself – especially if you are one-handed in a windy situation! They are usually too small for an adult and require the use of both hands to keep yourself enclosed within the blanket. They are very noisy; (which might preclude you from hearing the rescuers) and tear very easily if nicked or punctured.  Bags made out of the same Mylar plastic are also available however, other than the fact that they are a “bag” these devices suffer from all of the same flaws that blankets suffer from.  I do not recommend products made from Mylar plastic for emergency shelters.

Thermal blankets are similar to space blankets but are made from heavier material reinforced with fiberglass threads and with grommets in each corner.  Thermal blankets can be used as a body-wrap but once again, depending on the size of the person, they are often too small to completely protect an adult. Some survivors have attempted to use a thermal blanket as a shelter roof by tying lines off lines to each corner and stretching the blanket between various anchor points.  In benign conditions this may work, but with any wind loading or snow loading the grommets pull out very quickly and the blanket is destroyed.

This tube tent was made of two trash bags. (Peter Kummerfeldt photo)


Tube tents are another emergency shelter option.  Tube tents are generally eight feet long, and provide a tubular shelter three feet to five feet high when erected, depending on the brand.  Tube tents can also be pulled over the body to provide a quick shelter from the elements or they can be used as a “pup tent.”

To erect a tube tent shelter, tie off a line to an anchor point (a tree), run the line through the length of the tube tent and tie it off to second anchor point.  The tent is then spread out along the length of the line.  The height of the horizontal line above the ground should be such that the tent can spread out enough to accommodate the occupant.  The plastic that tube tents are made from comes in a variety of thicknesses.   With one popular brand the plastic is only one mil thick which tears very easily.

In order to withstand the abuse, and better meet the needs of a person having to spend the night out, the thickness of the plastic should be at least three mils – four mils is better.  Tube tents can be improvised from large household trash bags by opening up the closed end of one bag, sliding it into the open end of the second bag and then duct taping the seams together.

This A frame tarp shelter is easy to set up and effective.

This A frame tarp shelter is easy to set up and effective.

Tarps. Sheets of Visqueen plastic, painter’s drop cloths, canvas or other similar materials can be used to erect a wide variety of effective survival shelters.  “Blue Crinkly” tarps are a readily available, inexpensive products from which emergency shelters can be quickly built.   These tarps can be purchased from most hardware stores, come in a variety of sizes and are usually blue on both sides with grommets in each corner and at intervals along the sides.

An eight foot by ten foot tarp is needed to provide the protection needed by an adult.  Tarps of this size weigh about twenty six ounces and can be rolled up into a tube six inches in diameter by twelve inches long, which makes them very convenient to carry on the outside of a daypack or fanny pack.  Tie ten feet of parachute line to each corner grommet before you go outdoors to expedite erecting the shelter when time is short.

Tarps can be erected in a number of styles depending on the weather conditions that the survivor is exposed to.   To erect a lean-to tarp shelter first select a line long enough to stretch between two trees far enough apart for the tarp to be stretched tight.  Using a Timber Hitch, tie off one end of a line, about chest height,  to an anchor then, rather than passing the line through the grommet eyes, insert a bend in the line through the grommet eye and place a short stick through the eye in the line.

Repeat this process for each grommet stretching the tarp tight each time.. With the tarp attached to the line, tie off the other end of the line to the second tree, again stretching the line as tightly as possible..  The lower edge of the tarp is then pegged to the ground or anchored with large stones or a length of log.

If possible orient the shelter so that the lower edge points into the prevailing weather however if a fire is to be used in front of the lean-to, the front of the shelter should be parallel to the prevailing wind.  Oriented in this manner the wind will carry the smoke away the shelter rather than into it.


trash bag shelter photo by Peter Kummerfeldt

Trash bag shelter photo by Peter Kummerfeldt

Plastic bag shelters

Large, heavy grade, (3-4 mil) orange plastic 55 gallon drum liners make good short-term, emergency shelters.  It may be difficult to warm-up and dry out after becoming cold and wet and consequently you need a shelter that you can crawl under, or better still, crawl into quickly when weather conditions deteriorate.  A large plastic bag serves this purpose very well.

Totally encapsulating yourself inside a plastic bag is not a good idea.  Apart from the need for oxygen, the water vapor contained in the air you exhale and your perspiration will condense on the inner surfaces of the bag and the occupant can get quite wet.

To minimize this problem, cut an opening in the closed end of the bag just large enough to allow the user to pass their head through.  The bag is then passed over the survivor’s head until their face aligns with the hole and the moist air is exhaled to the outside.   When creating the hole, cut the plastic at ninety degrees to the fold to reduce the likelihood of the bag tearing along the seam. The hole should be just big enough to pass your head through when you are getting too warm and need to cool down.

Being able to protect oneself from the onslaughts of the weather is a fundamental survival skill. Not to do so is an invitation to dying from hypothermia!  Too many people venture into the outdoors without carrying a shelter, or the materials to make a shelter, thinking that they will be able to build one from whatever natural materials they find.  Many of these same people find out too late that the clothing they are wearing is adequate when they are active but totally inadequate when they are stationary.

Sheltering, i.e. defending your body core temperature from dropping below 98.6º F, begins with selecting appropriate clothing.    With good clothing you may not need any other shelter.  With inadequate clothing you had better have something in your gear to protect yourself from precipitation, wind and temperature extremes.  Inadequate clothing places a premium on a survivor’s ability to find or construct a shelter and on their ability to build a fire.

In the final analysis the only shelter you can count on is the shelter provided by your clothing.  Pick it carefully!  The only heat that you can count on is the heat your body is producing. Don’t waste it!!

Peter Kummerfeldt has walked the talk in the wilderness survival field for decades. Peter grew up in


Kenya, East Africa and came to America in 1965 and joined the U.S. Air Force. He is a graduate of the Air Force Survival Instructor Training School and has served as an instructor at the Basic Survival School, Spokane, Washington; the Arctic Survival School, Fairbanks, Alaska, and the Jungle Survival School, Republic of the Philippines.

For twelve years, Peter was the Survival Training Director at the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado. He retired from the Air Force in 1995 after 30 years of service.

In 1992, concerned with the number of accidents that were occurring in the outdoors annually and the number of tourists traveling overseas who were involved in unpleasant and sometimes life-threatening incidents Peter created

He is the author of Surviving a Wilderness Emergency and has addressed over 20,000 people as the featured speaker at numerous seminars, conferences and national conventions.


7 common misconceptions about wilderness survival

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The following is a guest post that I found to be interesting.  It shows a few of the misconceptions that people have about wilderness survival.


Reality TV has made faux survivalists of too many of us. A lot of people probably believe that we’d be able to live through a life-threatening situation just because we’ve watched all the episodes of Man Vs. Wild and Survivorman. Despite what some people think, not everything you see on TV is true, and misplaced confidence will only get your ass killed. Here are a few common misconceptions about wilderness survival.


wilderness survival
Photo by
mypubliclands. Used under Creative Commons.

#1: Food is always the first priority

Despite what you’ve seen on any survivalist show, you don’t need to immediately find food if you’re lost in the wild. No need to go scrounging up some worms or snakes so you could store up on energy. Your body’s fat reserves will ensure that you survive for weeks without food as long as you drink water. In short, starvation won’t be the thing that kills you in the wild. At least, not the first thing. Instead of food, your first priorities should be water, warmth, and protection.

#2: Shelter means a roof over your headwilderness survival

Photo by Martin Staviar. Used under Creative Commons.

When we speak of shelter, we envision homes, buildings–four walls with a roof. So when we are lost in the wild, we tend to seek this kind of shelter. In reality, shelter means protection from the elements. So instead of creating a lean-to shelter straight away, you’d be better off looking for shade if the weather is hot. Or, creating a bed to keep you insulated from the cold ground, in a location that would provide you some protection from the cold wind. Having some type of a roof over your head is sometimes just a bonus–it depends on what environment you’re in.

#3: Drinking your urine will keep you alive when water is scarce

wilderness survival

Photo by pclvv. Used under Creative Commons.

We’ve heard stories about people drinking their own urine to survive. We’ve even seen Bear Grylls do it on TV. Granted, some of the stories are quite possibly true, especially if they occurred as a short-term solution in a cool climate. But the reality is that drinking your own urine might just end up killing you instead. When you’re in a very hot environment, such as the desert, your body becomes overheated. Drinking urine will mean that your kidneys will have to process it, adding unnecessary stress to your overtaxed body. Instead of drinking it, your urine will be more effective when used to soak a bandana to wrap around your head. It will help cool down your body as it evaporates from the cloth.

#4: You can get drink water from a cactus

Cowboy movies have led us to believe that lopping off the top of a cactus will get you water in the desert. Unfortunately, that liquid isn’t water. It’s actually a fluid that contains toxic alkaloids. Instead of saving you from dehydration, it will mostly likely hasten its occurrence. Drinking the noxious fluid will cause diarrhea and vomiting – an event you wouldn’t want to happen if you’re in a life-or-death situation. So, to stay alive, stick to other water sources like those found in rock crevasses.

#5: Eating snow will keep you hydrated

Snow is just ice water, so it should keep you hydrated if you eat it, right? Makes sense.

But believing in this misconception can turn out to be deadly. Eating snow will lower your body temperature. This means that you will be making your body colder when it’s already fighting off the cold weather which can worsen hypothermia if it has already started to set in. In addition, your body will be using up energy reserves that you can’t afford to lose in order to warm the snow you’ve eaten. If you really need water, you’ll be better off melting the snow by boiling it and then letting it cool down a bit before drinking it.

#6: If a bear goes near you, just play dead


Photo by Peter Stevens. Used under Creative Commons.

This ploy actually depends on the bear. If it’s a mother grizzly bear with her cubs, then you SHOULD play dead if it attacks. If it’s a black bear, you’re better off staying calm and backing away slowly while avoiding direct eye contact. Don’t run away and never show fear. If it starts to follow you and seems to be focused on you, don’t wait for it to attack. Act aggressive by shouting, stamping your feet on the ground, and making yourself look as big as possible.

#7: Punch a shark in the nose if it attacks

Fighting back when a shark attacks sounds insane but it works. Unfortunately, punching its nose hard enough to stun it isn’t something that’s easy to accomplish, especially if you’re in the water. Besides, you just might aim wrong and end up putting your hand right in the shark’s mouth. To defend yourself, go for the eyes or the gills instead. And don’t punch, claw your way out of this survival situation instead. Like any creature, sharks will protect their vision and respiratory abilities. Plus, they tend to want easy prey. Shark experts believe that hurting them in these particular areas will scare them off since they won’t risk their safety just for food, no matter how tasty you seem.


Clearly, there are a lot of truths mixed in with misconceptions. And most people always think that such an extreme circumstance will never happen to them anyway. So why bother learning which is which?

Anything can happen anytime. Plus, even though it’s unlikely you’ll ever be trapped in a life-or-death situation in the middle of nowhere, there’s a degree of fulfillment and enjoyment to be gained from simply developing skills and knowledge in wilderness survival.

About the Author: Leighton Taylor is an outdoor enthusiast, writer, entrepreneur, and knife gawker. He occasionally writes something interesting at

The post 7 common misconceptions about wilderness survival appeared first on Preparedness Advice Blog.

Survival Gear Review: Fallkniven A2

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Top Survival Blog

Peter, the head of Fällkniven knives told me that a big blade can do everything a small blade can do, but a small Best Survival Knifeblade cannot do everything a big blade can do.  Or thereabouts.  In theory, I agree with him. But in practice…well, that would take field testing.  Big is not a measurement, it is a value judgment.  If you need a 22mm wrench, then you need a 22mm wrench. The tool is not too big, it is just right. However, if you have no particular job in front of you, then carrying around the wrench for no particular reason would make it seem “big.”

By Doc Montana, a contributing author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog

Carry Enough Knife

The same is true with the Fällkniven A2 Wilderness Knife.  If you have no real need for a knife such as the A2, then you might as well carry a smaller, lighter knife. Heck, or even no knife at all.  Heresy you say?  Well that is my point. You carry a knife that matches your anticipated duties. So it follows that a Wilderness Knife such as the Fällkniven A2 is the properly sized tool for the great big outdoors found just past the “great outdoors” common in movies and national parks.

Beyond the usual depth that most folks ever venture into the woods is an entirely new, bigger, and often scarier set of woods.  It is the uninhabited, trail-less frontier where the only certainty in the equation is that your survival skills must outweigh the survival challenges.  And while tools don’t equal skills, the lack of tools can certainly subtract from your skill set.

Size Matters

The absurdity of the so-called “Rambo blade” comes more from attitude and knife design than knife size and Top Survival Knifeintended use.  Nobody pokes fun about the size or length of kitchen knives because they are the right tool for the job. Yet compared to most outdoor knives, kitchen blades are downright huge!  Especially the pro-level cutters.  The Rambo knife moniker is often reserved not for just the knife but instead a knife too big for the tasks at hand. So a true wilderness knife like the Fällkniven A2 is actually the right size for the job so therefore it is not a Rambo knife. The A2 is a properly sized tool for the bigger pieces of the big picture.  Of course, that means it’s not for everybody.

History Lesson

Over a decade ago, Fällkniven took a page from the Swedish history book and explored the strength of laminated steels. For the same reason plywood is so much stronger than a similar thickness solid board or laminated glass windshields are intensely durable compared to household window glass, the layered steel in the Fällkniven A2 is massively stronger than most any other steel of similar thickness.

Fällkniven worked with a famous Japanese steel mill to perfect a laminated metal suitable for the highest quality knife blades. Well, not just any knife blades, but really big knife blades. The Fällkniven NL1 was the first to employ the new laminated 420J2 – VG10 – 402J2 steel and it stands taller than even the A2.

High carbon tool steels such as D2 or O1 are popular for outdoor knives due to their ease of sharpening and resistance to snapping when bent.  Stainless steels have many fine points including edge durability, but can chip or break much easier. So you can do the math.  The ideal steel would have the cutting prowess and durability of stainless, but the bending strength and sharpening ease of high carbon steel.  By laminating steel types, you get the best of both worlds. Plus the additional raw strength that lamination provides on its own.

Dog Inches

The Fällkniven A2 is not the biggest Fällkniven to ship from Sweden. But it’s close.  With a overall length of 12.8 Best Survival Knifeinches and all but 4.9 inches of that being stainless steel VG10 laminated goodness, the A2 is definitely one of the big boys in the sandbox.  The 7.9 inch blade is a full 1.7 inches longer than its famous little brother, the A1. And those 1.7 inches are like dog-inches when you get out to knives like this. It might seem like the added reach looses it’s effect as the blades get longer, but it is not just length where the A2’s blade grew; its also in depth.  Like football players, their height tells only part of the story.  You really need their weight in order to appreciate their potential on the field. Some players weigh half again as much as others of the same height.  For instance on the Denver Broncos lineup, the difference in height between William Sylvester and Aqib Talib is about the same as between the A2 and the A1.  However, Sylvester weighs 108 pounds more than Talib. Which player would you want to be facing off against on the scrimmage line?

But the Fällkniven A2 is not strictly an offensive blade. Instead it is proportioned for the big tasks of Big Wilderness and Big Survival. Especially where you need to wear a big coat, big boots, big gloves and a big hat. When the temperature drops so do our fine motor skills and our grip strength. The A2 helps compensate for the losses by beefing up its contribution to the workload.

When I passed my A2 around the campfire, more than a few folks have commented that it is too big. Avoiding a Best Survival Blogverbal fight, I usually let the comments slide. But what I really want to ask is “Too big for what?”  As Fällkniven notes in their description of the A2, “When you are far from inhabited areas, you need to be able to rely on your equipment.”  I think that make it pretty clear that the A2 was not designed for public carry, or even public campground carry.  So when someone is packing an A2, they are probably no where near you.  And if you do run into an A2 in the wild, you won’t be making any snide comments about it.

The Usual Suspects

For the record, the blade length of the Fällkniven A2 is only one inch longer than the KA-BAR Marine fighting knife.  You know that famous clip-point-leather-washered-grip-soft-steel knife that has multiplied force all over the world.  Other comparables include the big Beckers, the big ESEEs, the big Rats, and the big Cold Steels.  Where most of these knives differ from the A2 besides price is in the steel. Most of them are high carbon steel, spring steel, tool steel or common stainless steel like 420.  Nothing wrong any of those unless you want something different. In order to answer the question of the best steel, one must define the landscape where the knife will live.

As a wilderness knife, the A2 needs to hold an edge as long as possible, but also provide realistic sharpening options.  As a chopper, the convex grind provides good wedging for a knife yet resists as much pinching as possible allowing for easy retraction from the wood.  As a thick-bladed fighter, the system of handle and blade must be stronger than any man who carries it.

Oddly, however, the A2 would look right at home in the kitchen.  As noted before, kitchen knives that dwarf the length of the A2 are available for sale in grocery stores.  Quality is a concern, but the size hardly raises any eyebrows.  Unfortunately the city dwellers think you have a Crocodile Dundee Complex when you pack a kitchen-sized blade on your hip.  Another friendly juxtaposition is with gardening tools.  Most every serious gardener I know rarely ventures into the backyard with a Hori Hori strapped to their pleated cotton shorts.

A Hori Hori, or soil knife, is a heavy duty, wooden handled, double-edged, half-serrated blade averaging seven inches long with an overall length exceeding a foot with some up to 15 inches long. And the Hori Hori is considered a “Leisure Knife.” The smooth blade is to be kept razor sharp and the serrated side acts like a root saw. Hori Horis are worn in sheaths just like other belt knives and when sheathed are indistinguishable from wilderness knives like the A2 at a short distance. But up close, it’s obvious why the price of a quality Hori Hori is one-tenth or less of the Fällkniven.

Can You Handle It?

The A2 has exactly the same handle as the A1, as well as sharing the same blade thickness, convex grind, and SHTF Knifeprotruding tang.  So if you love the A1 grip, you will be just as happy with the A2.  Of course the inverse is true as well. or maybe worse. The typical issues with the A1 grip are its length, thickness, texture and direction of the quillion (finger guard).  The usual complaints are the grip is too short, too narrow, and too rough.  Sure, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that opinion should be based on something. For instance, the “too short” complaint is a comparison between the A2 and something else like another knife.  I prefer to appreciate the minimalism of the A2’s grip in that my large/XL hands almost swallow the A2 handle completely, but not quite.  So the argument about grip length is really more of “how much extra” is needed since the absolute grip amount is sufficiently matched to a large hand.

In a direct comparison, the Fällkniven A2’s actual usable grip length is longer than the Gerber LMF, the Boker Orca, the Spyderco Bushcraft, and the Benchmade Bushcrafter.  And the A2 gip is exactly the same thickness as the Gerber LMF.

The diameter of the grip is also something noted as in need of adjustment.  The diameter is a function of both grip depth and thickness.  The Gerber’s depth is about a quarter-inch more than the A2, but in my hand feels more like a pistol grip due to the position of my finger joints.  I would describe my grip on the Gerber LMF as more of bending around the handle, while gripping the A2 is decidedly wrapping my hand around it. It is similar to squeezing a trigger or pulling a trigger.  And in my hand, I cannot squeeze the Gerber’s handle because it is proportioned inefficiently for the biomechanics of my hand.

I think the complaints about the size of the Fällkniven A2 grip are more of visual perception clouding the actual feel of the knife. If grips were proportioned to blade size, then a machete would have a flagpole-sized grip. And a utility knife would have a pencil-thin handle.  Instead, the grip is proportioned within a narrow range where the human hand works best. Same with hatchet handles, hammers, and other hand tools.  Cutting tools rapidly become useless when designers venture out of that range.  So an average handle on an large blade looks small and can psychologoically “feel” small.

Regarding the texture of the grip, that is a personal choice.  But I will make two comments.  The first is that if you have soft office hands you will get blisters after 10 minutes of heavy use.  But you will also get blisters from a smooth hickory hatchet handle the first time you do some heavy chopping.  Once the tool is part of your routine, your skin will adapt with calluses.  Better yet, wear gloves.

Weight For Me

The weight of the Fällkniven A2 is 13 ounces, or 2.3 ounces more than the A1.  Thirteen ounces is not a small Best Survival Knifenumber for a knife, but it is small compared to many outdoor tools.  A 13 ounce handgun would be an unloaded Glock 42, the smallest Glock made.  A 13 ounce hatchet would be a Gransfors Bruks Mini Hatchet.  A can of lite beer weighs about 13 ounces.  And 13 ounces of Big Macs is less than two of them.  Yet when a 13 ounce knife shows up on a belt, people run around in circles with their hair on fire.  Again, a good reason to only wear the Fällkniven A2 in uninhabited areas.

Match Making

An area in need of mention is that in any planned wilderness adventure the Fällkniven A2 will not be traveling alone.  Most carriers of the A2 supplement its skills with a smaller knife of both the folding and straight variety.  You will get no argument from me about the necessity of a smaller blade, but neither will I let knee-jerk comments blasting big knives go unchallenged.  Survival tools fall along a continuum from small to big, light to heavy, cheap to expensive, and feeble to durable.  And those tools can be supported through their combination and contribution to the overall capabilities of the kit.  Every tool is a trade-off that establishes boundaries of use.  Where the wilderness knife fits into the scheme of things is that the finer, more delicate points of civilization are absent in the wilderness.

The 800-Pound Gorilla

The thing that always seems to change the course of the discussion about knives is the price. In this case, the price is the similar as other blades within this same knife space of size and quality.  A common knife of this size that is often compared to the Fällkniven A2 is the Cold Steel Trail Master, but at one third the price. It is easy to question the A2 as a sensible decision with that kind of dollar discrepancy, but what you don’t often read is that Cold Steel makes a high-end Wilderness Knife called the Trail Master but with VG1 steel and a better grip.  Not surprisingly the upgraded Trail Master price is the same as the Fällkniven A2.  You see quality and performance cost real dollars regardless of how similar the knife looks to others.  If you plan on carrying a knife but never pushing it to its survival limits, then go ahead and carry anything. But when the ball drops and what you have is all you will ever have, then now is not the time to be a poser.

Pass the Baton

Using a knife and a club to beat apart a wooden branch is the popular target task for survival knife tests. The Forge Survival Supplyproblem is that a survival knife is capable of so much more, and busting up firewood is something almost anything can do…until it breaks.  However, a true wilderness knife such as the Fällkniven A2 is exactly designed to baton firewood.

The advantage of batoning over using a hatchet is that the swinging of a hatchet or axe blade is only as accurate as the skill and luck of the user.  However, if one can place the cutting blade exactly where it’s needed and then apply the force, every cut will be as precise as the desired.  For those of us who use use a mechanized hydraulics to “chop” firewood, we know that surgical precision is possible when working around knots, and making custom sized wood for a particular stove or fire application.  Batoning is similar but certainly more crude than a smooth well-greased steel wedge sliding gracefully along a track with 20 tons of force behind it.

The A2 has a convex grind meaning that its slight outward bow towards the cutting edge preventing much of the pinching and binding a flat-sided chopping knife experiences.  The curved blade surface just beyond the cutting edge splays the wood apart as the knife sinks in deep, but leaves little metal on the table for the wood to stick to.

Some worry about the sharpening intricacies of a convex grind, but if all you have are rough field sharpening tools or smooth river rocks to polish up the edge, then the convex grind is happy with a gentle roll in the grit as the stone surfs across the blade (or vise versa).  As a wilderness knife, the Fällkniven A2 expects a long time between civilized visits to the dentist.  Living outdoors is the A1’s happy place.  Again, this is the difference between a survival knife and a wilderness knife.

Under Cover

The leather sheath for the A2 is of ambidextrous operation with the single securing snap strap snapping free to the wilderness_survival_knife_review_fallkniven_a2rear when in right-hand carry.  Overall, I really like the sheath.  It is unassuming and quite functional the dangler easily fits up to three inch belts.  The presentation of the grip while in the sheath is slightly outward from the body meaning it easy to grab.  The leather snugs up to the blade holding it in place just fine without the added snap strap for all but the most aggressive gymnastics.  Note that Rambo’s blades in the movies never had extra straps to overcome when deploying his power blade.  But also note that the first major knife deployment in the movie First Blood, Rambo yanked his knife free from the sheath and threw the sheath away behind him.  Yea, I get that he was in a hurry, but still.

The balance point of the A2 falls about an inch forward of the grip while the A1 balances right at the forward end of the grip.  Not a big difference, but certainly noticeable when chopping into a thick branch.  The A2 is a deliberate chopper and behaves as such.  While hacking through branches should be on the resume for all knives, the size of the branch is limited to about two-thirds the length of the blade, and often closer to one-half.

Sweden, home to the Nobel Prizes, should seriously consider opening a category for Cutlery.  But seriously, the degree to which Fällkniven dives into significant knife spaces is impressive not just in scope, but that they pull no punches in quality and performance.  Many blade companies, produce a rich line of edges, but with varying degrees of quality (cough, cough, SOG) and performance (ah-choo, Buck, Kershaw, a-hem).  Not that the major brands are lacking, but one cannot simply extend the capabilities of mass-market knives to pro-level survival and wilderness blades.  The difference must be experienced to be believed.

All Photos By Doc Montana

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Are Tactical Watches Useful For Urban And Wilderness Survival?

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tactical watches survival

Survival situations can arise in the blink of an eye, so we are always looking for ways to increase preparedness. However, carrying all of your survival gear on a daily basis simply is not practical for most people. Therefore, we also try to find lightweight gear with multiple functions that can be carried discretely as you go about your day. With so many features available, tactical watches are a survival tool worth investigating.

The tactical watch is possibly the most impressive form of wearable technology. With many practical uses, as well as specialized functions for extreme operations, tactical watches can provide you with a wealth of information to aid you in survival. The key to making the best choice is to determine how you are most likely to use it and finding the features that best meet those needs.

Survival Features Of Tactical Watches

Sure, a tactical watch sounds like an awesome piece of must-have gear but choosing one will be based on exactly what you will be doing. Completing a threat assessment will help you decide which features will most benefit you, then you can look for the watch with the best design for those features. No matter how you plan to use your watch, a secure comfortable fit and ease of use will play an important role.

tactical watches survival

Telling Time

In a world where we rarely use phones to talk, it isn’t too far-fetched that the primary function of a watch is the one least considered. How the time is displayed is a matter of personal preference. Digital or analog, military or standard 12 hour, or any combination may be available, depending on the specific tactical watch.

In addition to simply displaying the time, there are useful features that come into play in a post-disaster situation, such as a full calendar and sunrise/sunset indicator. Having a sense of how much time has passed when bugging out will provide a sense of stability and continuity. You can be sure the water boiled for a full 10 minutes, plan when to check your traps, or figure out how far your bug out party can travel during daylight. It is especially useful to know the exact date if you are tuning into emergency broadcasts for instruction, such as when and where relief efforts will commence.

Standing Up To The Elements

Tactical watches are built tough to withstand rigorous activity and a variety of conditions. Some have extra features to deal with special situations, such as diving, parachuting, and high impact activities.

tactical watches survival

The face will typically be made of a scratch- and shatter-resistant material, such as sapphire or mineral crystal. Stainless steel is a common material for the bevel and casing, due to its durability. Anodized aluminum is a lightweight alternative that does not compromise strength.

Tactical watch bands come in a variety of styles of materials, including nylon, rubber, leather, and steel. There are advantages to each material, depending on intended use and personal comfort. 

Other areas to consider that are specific to your needs are low-temperature resistance, submersion, impact resistance, and dust resistance. You’ll want to make sure that the construction is solid and will keep out anything that could damage the internal mechanisms.

Finding Your Way

Navigation features range in accuracy and capability. For simple orientation, you might get by with compass points on a rotating ring to give you a general idea of the direction you are heading. Some tactical watches have an actual button compass integrated into the watchband, while others use a digital or analog compass display.

tactical watches survival

Altimeters are usually displayed as a real-time reading but some tactical watches are able to record elevation data. Tracking your elevation is very useful in conjunction with topographical maps, making it easier to know if you are on the correct trail.

For more precise navigation, you can choose a watch with a digital GPS readout so you are able to pinpoint exactly where you are. This can be very useful if you need to share or record your specific location coordinates, such as for search and rescue, locating your bug out camp, or coordinating a gathering point for your bug out party. For day to day use, approximate location may be sufficient but if you spend a lot of time in remote areas, you may want to go with a tactical watch that has GPS.

tactical watches survival

Monitoring Your (Or Someone Else’s) Health

For daily use, a heart rate monitor can be used to track your activity. This is a great feature for fitness training but it also has survival applications. Unless you pack a stethoscope into your bug out bag, a heart rate monitor is the next best thing when you or a member of your bug out party is sick or severely injured. For conditions such as disease, loss of blood, and shock, keeping track of the person’s heart rate and being alerted to accelerations or decelerations can be life-saving.

tactical watches survival

If you are a traversing high-altitude region, an altimeter will also help with health maintenance. Altitude sickness can occur at 8000 feet above sea level and if left untreated, can result in death. The first warning signs are headache, nausea, and fatigue and should not be ignored. Breathlessness, caused by fluid in the lungs, is a sign of High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema (HAPE) and can be accompanied by fever and a frothy cough. Drowsiness, clumsiness, and irritability are signs of fluid on the brain, known as High Altitude Cerebral Oedema (HACE). Both of these conditions are fatal. Therefore, paying close attention to your altitude is especially important to your survival.

tactical watches survival

A thermometer can assist you in making sure that your shelter is warm enough, knowing when to avoid being exposed to extremely low temperatures, or conversely, extremely high temperatures. The general safe temperature range for humans is 40F-95F. Spending prolonged time on the low end of that can result in hypothermia or on the high end of the range, hyperthermia. Being aware of the temperature will help you make decisions that favor your survival.

Top 5 Tactical Watches

#1 Garmin Tactix Bravo

tactical watches survival

Click the image to view the Garmin Tactix Bravo on Amazon.

This watch is built tough for handling rigorous field operations. A high-strength domed sapphire lens is mounted in a stainless steel bezel and rear case plate. The buttons are knurled for ease of grip and are also PVD-coated stainless steel. The display is non-reflective and night-vision compatible. Two interchangeable nylon straps are included.

The high-resolution display turns the watch face from an analog clock to a personal GPS device, with TracBack technology for finding your way back to your starting point. You can view your precise coordinates or switch to map view and follow your progress point to point. Mark locations along the way, such as water sources or dangerous terrain, and share them using Bluetooth or ANT+ wireless connections.

tactical watches survival

Click the image to view the Garmin Tactix Bravo on Amazon.

The Garmin Tactix Bravo also has great features for training purposes, such as monitoring stride length, cadence, ground contact time, and vertical oscillation. The heart rate metrics provide a stress score, performance condition, and lactate threshold readout so you can track how your body is handling physical activity. It also tracks sleep patterns to create a record of your overall health.

One of the coolest features of the Tactix Bravo is the ability to download additional screens to customize to your specific needs. You can even set it up to receive alerts from another device, such as emails and texts from your smartphone.

The battery life depends on which mode you are using: 20 hours in GPS mode or 50 hours in UltraTrac mode. A USB charger is included.

#2 Casio G-9300-1 G-Shock Mudman

tactical watches survival

Click the image to view the Casio G-Shock Mudman on Amazon.

Named for its resilience to mud and debris, the G-Shock Mudman has internal gaskets on all of the buttons and screws that are designed to handle dirty work. A sapphire crystal face protects the digital display, which features 12 or 24 hour time, date, temperature, pressure, and directional readouts. It also tracks the phases of the moon in a visual graphic.

The Mudman is shock resistant and water resistant to a depth of 200 meters, making it a suitable diving companion, as well. For navigating on land, use the digital compass with full 0-359 degree range, corrected for magnetic declination.

Since it is solar-powered, the G-Shock Mudman does not need to be charged or wound and it can last up to 8 months on a full charge even without exposure to light. This is a great feature for backcountry survival.

#3 Suunto Core

tactical watches survival

Click the image to view the Suunto Core on Amazon.

Designed with outdoor enthusiasts in mind, The Suunto Core has key weather and navigation features, as well as being built to handle tough conditions. The Weather Trend setting records and uses the recent barometric history to predict when a storm is coming; a rapid drop in air pressure usually indicates that a storm front is moving in. For more ways to predict the weather in nature, CLICK HERE.

The altimeter has several modes, including a start-from-zero setting to measure progress from a reference point. A movement sensor can automatically alternate between altitude and barometric displays in one mode or you can control which number is displayed by switching to manual mode. It also senses depth up to 30 feet and is submersible to 100 feet.

The digital compass includes a bearing lock for orienting in a continuous direction, which can be used on land and underwater to stay on course.

The Suunto Core has a mineral crystal display, aluminum bezel, and high-strength composite case. The strap is elastomer with an adjustable buckle closure.

#4 Luminox SureFire 2211 LED Wrist Light & Watch

tactical watches survival

Click the image to view the Luminox SureFire on Amazon.

The main feature of the SureFire, aside from being a durable timepiece, is the 3-level LED flashlight integrated into the casing. The flashlight operates by pressing either of the ambidextrous controls. When both are depressed, the light cycles through descending output levels of 300, 60, and 15 lumen.

The highest setting is bright enough to see approximately 150 meters ahead of you, which is useful for surveilling the area. Sixty lumens is suitable for working around camp, hiking, or climbing a dark stairwell. For map reading, unlocking doors, or just to be more discrete, the lowest setting is ideal. For more about lumen output and LED flashlights, CLICK HERE.

tactical watches survival

The Luminox SureFire 2211 is built to military specifications out of hard-anodized aerospace aluminum, which makes it surprisingly lightweight for its size. The rubber wristband saves weight while also reducing rotation about your wrist. It has a Swiss-made clock with self-illuminating hands and bezel markers.

The design was intended for military, security, and law enforcement personnel, as the flashlight is positioned for a two-handed pistol grip. However, having a hands-free source of illumination has countless other applications. It is useful in any situation where you need light focused at your hands, such as medical situations, household projects, camping, and construction trades. In an urban bug out, it’s perfect for breaching buildings.

#5 Timex T49859 Intelligent Quartz Tide-Temp-Compass

tactical watches survival

Click the image to view the Timex Tide-Temp-Compass on Amazon.

With several key nautical features, the Timex Tide-Temp-Compass is ideal for boating, swimming, and snorkeling. Behind the mineral glass lens is a quartz analog clock with concentric rings that include analog tide tracker and temperature displays. The digital thermometer reads air or water temperature, and the watch is water resistant to 100 meters. An Indiglo light allows you to view the full face in low lighting.

The stainless steel case has a slide-rule bevel with directional indicators. A fourth hand on the clock serves as an analog display for the digital compass. The sturdy stainless steel band features a deployment clasp for a secure fit. Overall, this is a rugged watch by a trusted brand, and more economical than others in its class.


Tactical watches are far sturdier than other electronic devices, such as cell phones and tablets. If you rely heavily on your smartphone to provide tactical information, keep in mind that it may cease to function in a disaster scenario and it likely wouldn’t survive 100 meter submersion, even in the toughest protective case. The convenience of having a wealth of information at your wrist and the extreme durability of tactical watches makes them a useful tool for survival situations.​

Your Thoughts

​Which features do you think you would be most likely to use in a survival situation? Do you think tactical watches can replace other survival gear? Share your opinions in the Comments section below, thanks!

The post Are Tactical Watches Useful For Urban And Wilderness Survival? appeared first on The Bug Out Bag Guide.

How To Move As Silently As A Cat

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how to move silently

It’s the quintessential moment in any horror flick – the part where the heroine is trying to sneak silently away from the bad guy by moving stealthily through the old, rickety house (aren’t they always set in an old, rickety house?), but try as she might to move quietly, her position is given away by a loud creak from the old wooden staircase.  We all wonder, why doesn’t she know how to move silently?

Makes for great suspense, but in the real world, learning how to walk silently is a valuable skill that should be in every prepper’s survival arsenal. Moving in silence is not only a valuable skill, but also easy to learn and practice. Think about your safety in a SHTF situation – how beneficial would it be to be able to move or run in silence?

how to move silently

Knowing how to walk quietly on a creaky floor or staircase gives you the advantage of stealth.

There are many instances you may run into where such a skill could save your life, including sneaking past checkpoints or aggressive / hostile people, scavenging while other (potentially hostile) people are around, leaving an area when unfriendly people arrive, or successfully stalking prey while hunting.

how to move silently

The slightest sound can alert your prey and ruin an opportunity to secure a meal.

Learning to use stealth techniques is an invaluable survival skill that you and any member of your family can learn – plus it’s easy to practice! In this article, we will teach you 5 essential tricks for moving in silence – as well as 1 bonus trick! – that will allow you to move undetected and help keep you safe.

5 Tricks for Moving in Silence

1. Maintain Your Center of Balance

If you are carrying anything, especially a backpack, stash it if you can as it throws off your center of balance. Look for somewhere safe you can leave it where it will be recoverable later. While a well-fitted backpack will be cinched tight to your body and have good weight distribution, it’s a surety that the added 30-50 lbs you are carrying around will change your center of balance.

The reason this is important is that it is far easier to sneak around quietly with your natural movements and center of gravity as opposed to your body trying to compensate for the unexpected extra weight.

how to move silently

Moving in silence is more difficult with the added bulk of a backpack because it throws off your natural balance. Image credit Joseph on flickr.

2. Get Rid of Noise Makers

When trying to move silently, if you have anything on you that jingles or jangles – get rid of it. If you are carrying items such as keys, change, jewelry, gear, buckles, or straps hanging off your body or bag that have the potential to make noise, make sure to eliminate them from your person.

how to move silently

Bring only what is necessary for the mission and be sure to secure any gear so that it will not make a sound when you move.

Zippers are another item that can give you away when trying to move quietly, but ranger bands can help with this – you can learn how to make ranger bands here or purchase them here. The video below shows how ranger bands can be used to silence zippers:

Also be aware of the clothing you are wearing. Some clothing may have the potential to swish or get caught on things, especially loose cargo pockets, which can easily get caught on a corner or exposed nail.

how to move silently

Silent clothes are slim-fitting with minimal protrusions. This large hooded jacket may keep you warm but it would make it difficult to walk quietly.

3. Don’t Move Blindly

how to move silently

When moving in silence, always scope out your path ahead of time, don’t stumble along blindly. Before moving, make sure to take a few seconds to survey the area around you and scope out the best path to take.

You’ll likely need to employ some improvisation at some point, but having a general plan of where you are going, including things to avoid and knowing where safe / quiet areas are, can mean the difference between detection and moving stealthily to safety.

If you have a long way to go, plan your trek by stopping in safe or concealed areas and then scoping out the next leg of your trip from there.

4. Look Out for Landmines

By landmines, we mean surprise objects that can give away your presence if stepped on. Items to be on the lookout for include broken glass, dry leaves, twigs, and animals.

how to move silently

Learn how to walk silently by avoiding noisy objects, such as pine cones and twigs.

When scoping out your path, try and find the way that has the least amount of debris that could potentially make noise and give you away. As you’ve no doubt seen in the movies, something as simple as the snap of a twig can immediately alert others to your presence.

Additionally, look out for animals and avoid them at all costs. The bark of a startled dog or the rustle of a bird hastily flying away are key indicators to others of your location.

how to move silently

Startling a flock of birds into flight is a dead giveaway of your presence.

5. Proceed with Caution

Even weight distribution and foot placement are key to moving stealthily and keeping your footfalls as quiet as possible. Always move carefully and with intent.

If you are unsure about your next step, test the location lightly with your toes and gradually place the rest of your foot down once you’ve determined it’s safe. Also be mindful not to knock anything over if you need to lean against something at some point. The video below gives a detailed demonstration of stepping with your toes first to walk quietly across any surface:

Bonus Trick For How To Move Silently

While the preceding 5 tricks will help you to move quietly and undetected, there is always the chance that something will go wrong, which brings us to our bonus trick – always have an escape plan.

If you are detected and need to run, it’s imperative you know which way to head in order to flee safely. Sometimes it can be as simple as going back the way you came, but in case that path is blocked or otherwise inaccessible it’s always prudent to have at least one additional escape route.

If escape is not a viable option, you may want to have some means of defending yourself against whomever detected you. This could include non-lethal options such as a flashlight or pepper spray, or entail more serious options such as a survival weapon or firearm.  

survival weapons

General Stealth Techniques

Along with the tricks above, keep the following in mind when attempting to walk or move undetected:

  • Use a red flashlight to move at night as this will preserve your night vision and attract less attention EC11 and EA21 from Nitecore both come with a secondary red LED in addition to their main light for just this purpose.
  • If avoidable, do not sneak around barefoot – yes, it is quieter to move barefoot than with shoes, but you will be in serious trouble if you get caught as it is much harder to run barefoot and you run a higher risk of injuring your feet
  • Be aware that floorboards will make more noise in the summer than in cold weather.
how to move silently

While you may be able to walk lightly over these rocks barefoot, running could cause serious injury to your feet.

Practicing How To Move Silently at Home

If you want to learn to move as silently as a cat, reading this article is a great start, but you’ll need to practice what you’ve learned. The great thing about stealth movement is that it’s a survival skill that’s easy to practice in your everyday life. Here are some tips and tricks on how you can incorporate stealth movement into your daily life and learn to move undetected:

  • When you’re just beginning, feel free to practice in socks or barefeet, but after you start to get the hang of walking silently, start practicing in the shoes or boots that you plan on wearing when bugging out
  • Take advantage of everyday situations to practice, such as movie night – when getting up to grab some popcorn, see if you can sneak back without anyone noticing;
  • Practice walking quietly past your pets – see if you can pass by Fido without attracting his attention
  • Turn practice into game time with your kids – start a game where one person sits centrally in a room (blindfolded, if need be) and challenge everyone else to get from one side of the room to the other without being heard (this also has the added benefit of teaching all members of your family how to move silently)
  • When moving around at night, see if you can move silently enough so as not to wake up your baby / husband / wife
  • While at work, try walking into your co-workers’ cubicles / offices / workspaces without them noticing your presence, at least until you say “Hello,” – no need to creep anyone out!


The ability to move about undetected is a highly valuable skill to have in survival situations and can be learned and mastered by anyone. Moving stealthily has myriad life-saving applications as well as practical uses for everyday life. Running or walking silently is a skill that can be practiced almost anywhere, which makes it one of the easiest survival skills to master. In order to learn how to move silently, keep in mind these 5 key tricks:

  1. Maintain your center of balance
  2. Get rid of potential noise makers
  3. Don’t move blindly, choose your path intentionally
  4. Look out for landmines
  5. Proceed with caution and have an escape plan!


how to move silently

What are you waiting for? Start practicing now and pretty soon you’ll be able to move around your friends and family as stealthily and silently as a cat!

Your Thoughts

Can you think of other situations where it is important to know how to move silently? Have you practiced stealth techniques on your own or with your family? Tell us about your experience in the Comments section below, thanks!

The post How To Move As Silently As A Cat appeared first on The Bug Out Bag Guide.

Homage to the Split Paper Match

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Master Woodsman

Early on in a 7-day class taught by Cody Lundin, myself and two other fellas learned for the first time how to split a paper match. My initial thought was this is a “just in case” solution should a resource become limited, i.e., two fires from one match. Little did we know there was much more to […]

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How To Predict The Weather In The Wilderness

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how to predict the weather

Typically we count on weather services and electronic devices to know what to expect from the sky. We may alter travel plans, make a quick trip to the store, or simply pack an umbrella in reaction to an impending storm. However, these services will likely come to a halt if disaster strikes and alternative means of monitoring weather conditions will be necessary. For those that opt to head for the hills, it will become vastly more important to know how to predict the weather in the wilderness.

Nature itself provides many clues as to what is in store. The clouds, plants, animals, insects, and the moon have been used for centuries to predict precipitation, droughts, and floods. Farmers, fishermen, sailors, and others who spend long periods of time outdoors, and whose livelihood depends heavily on the weather patterns, have devised ways to foresee the weather in order to prepare themselves.

Having the skills to read the warning signs that nature provides has short-term and long-term benefits that can greatly increase your chances of survival in a bug-out scenario. Whether a major storm is brewing and you need to prepare to build a shelter in for the day or if the likelihood of flooding doubles and you need to reconsider your location for the season, learning how to predict the weather using nature is a valuable survival skill.

Observing The Sky To Predict The Weather

The most intuitive way to predict the weather is to look to the sky. The clouds, wind direction, air pressure, and even the moon are directly related to incoming weather. Paying close attention to the changes in the sky and knowing how to interpret what you see gives you advance warning of what is to come and enables you to prepare.

how to predict the weather

A red rising sun warns of rain to come.

There is an old saying, “Red sky at night a sailor’s delight. Red sky morn, sailors take warn.” At sunset, the red sky is caused by sun rays passing through dust particles which accumulate at the forefront of a high pressure system. However, in the morning a red sky occurs when a low pressure system carrying moisture is on the way. Therefore, a brilliant red sunset usually precedes a clear day but a red sunrise is a warning that a storm is coming.

how to predict the weather

A red sky as the sun sets in the west is a sign of clear skies.

Another colorful way to predict the weather is the formation of rainbows. In the northern hemisphere, a morning rainbow in the east indicates rain is on the way, as weather generally moves east to west.

Reading Clouds

Cloud identification is a science in itself but there are some simple indicators that can prove very useful, especially when trying to predict the weather in the wilderness.

how to predict the weather

When you see cumulus clouds, it’s a good day for traveling, foraging, and other outdoor activities.

White, fluffy clouds sitting high in the sky are non-threatening as they pass overhead. When the cloud cover is low and dark, a storm is building and appropriate measures should be taken to prepare your camp. Gathering extra firewood and storing it in a protected location will ensure that you have dry fuel to burn during and after the storm.

how to predict the weather

Low, dark cloud cover is a sure sign that a storm is building. Make sure your shelter is ready to withstand rain and wind.

To give yourself more time to prepare, there are two easily identified types of clouds that form prior to storm clouds: mare’s tails and mackerel skies. Mare’s tails are wispy cirrus clouds that are somewhat hazy and undefined, as the tail of a galloping mare. The same conditions that cause them to form also cause airplane trails to linger in the sky.

how to predict the weather

Cirrus clouds precede incoming frontal systems and indicate changing weather. Image credit k4dordy on flickr.

Mackerel skies are altocumulus clouds and are also a sign of rising moisture levels. Independently, these each warn of rain coming within a few days, but seen together, rain will typically fall within 24 hours.

how to predict the weather

Mackerel skies are named for their resemblance to the scales of a mackerel fish.

While clouds are often thought of as bringers of rain, they also act as a layer of insulation. On an overcast night, the radiant heat from the earth is trapped by the cloud layer, leading to a higher temperature in the morning. When the sky is clear at night, the radiant heat escapes and the morning will be cooler as a result.

Wilderness Survival Kit

Detecting Air Pressure

Though air pressure is less noticeable than cloud cover, it is a very dependable indicator of incoming weather conditions. Low atmospheric pressure leads to cloud formation and precipitation. High pressure systems are associated with rising air and clear dry skies.

One way to detect the current air pressure conditions is to observe the smoke from a campfire. If the smoke is rising steadily in vertical column, the air pressure is high but if it is sinking and swirling, the air pressure is low and precipitation may soon follow.

survival after bugging out

Studying how to predict the weather turns your campfire into a barometer.

What The Wind Tells About The Weather

Wind is named for the direction it comes from, so an easterly wind blows from east to west. A gentle prevailing wind or light, variable winds are signs of clear weather. Strong winds occur when two fronts with different temperatures meet, and usually mean that a storm is forming.

An awareness of the surrounding climates will also help you read the wind. For instance, if a desert lies to the east of your location, wind coming from the east will typically carry dry, warm desert air. Mountains also play a role in that air flowing over a mountain will usually release precipitation as it rises along the side facing the wind and will move down the opposite side with dry air.

“Circle Around The Moon, Rain Or Snow Soon.”

People have long looked to the moon to provide insight into atmospheric conditions. As the old saying states, when the moon has a hazy ring around it, precipitation is on its way. The ring is caused by the presence of dust particles building up in the atmosphere. It means that a low pressure system is on its way, bringing rain or snow with it. As it passes through, the low pressure system will push the particles along.

how to predict the weather

You can see how the moonlight reflects on the particles in the air, forming a hazy ring.

When the moon appears clearly defined and bright, it is due to an absence of particles and moisture. This is characteristic of a high pressure system and the next day has a high chance of being dry. In the short-term, this is a simple and effective way to predict the weather.

how to predict the weather

When the outline of the moon is clearly defined, fair weather can be expected.

For long-term or seasonal weather predictions, the phases of the moon can reveal clues. When two full moons occur in the same month, there is a higher chance of flooding. It is also said that when the tips of a crescent moon point upward and the moon looks like a bowl that can hold water, a dry spell is coming. When the new moon looks like a frown, or a bowl that water would spill out of, a wet spell is predicted.

how to predict the weather

This bowl-shaped moon is often associated with a period of dry weather.

Weather Signs In Nature

The natural world is built to survive and living things will make adjustments in order to maintain life and produce offspring. Sometimes the changes are so subtle they can hardly be detected but there are some common plant and animal behaviors that reveal clues about the weather. When bugging out, you can use these clues to increase your own chances of survival.

How To Predict The Weather Using Plants

Upon waking, take a close look at the ground. Morning dew on the plants, while itself is wet, can actually be a sign of a dry day to come. A lack of morning dew can occur when dry winds have been pushed through ahead of a storm system bringing rain close behind. Of course, if it rained the night before, this will be more difficult to observe and you will need to look for additional signs in order to predict the weather.

how to predict the weather

A dewy morning can mean that a dry day is in store.

The phrase “it smells like rain” has some truth to it. The moist air of a low pressure system brings out the scents of plants, as they release their waste under this condition, so the air will smell more pungent just before a rain. Swamps will also release gases during a low pressure system, making for a telltale sign that a storm is moving in.

Visual signs that it is time to prepare for wet weather are readily apparent in trees. The leaves of deciduous trees will curl upward in anticipation of a rainstorm. Pine cones will open their scales in dry air but close them in high humidity.

how to predict the weather

The increase in humidity prior to a storm causes deciduous leaves to curl upward.

how to predict the weather

It looks like a dry sunny day for this pine tree.

Plants also have the ability to foresee more long-term conditions and will adjust their growth accordingly. Crops, such as onions and corn, will grow thicker husks when a harsher winter is predicted in order to provide more protection to their seeds. Similarly, evergreens will produce larger, more robust pine cones, and acorns will form thicker shells- all to provide the seeds with a better chance of surviving extreme winter conditions. If you notice these signs, be prepared for a cold, long winter.

how to predict the weather

A thicker husk provides the seeds with better insulation against extreme temperatures.

How To Predict The Weather Using Animals

The combination of heightened senses and well-developed instincts makes animals highly adept at sensing bad weather conditions. Be on the lookout for changes in feeding patterns, behavior, and sound level that may indicate rain is on the way.

Here are some specific examples of animal behavior that can be used to predict when a storm is coming: 

  • Fish will feed voraciously at the surface prior to a storm so that they can ride it out in deeper water where food is scarce, so an excellent day of fishing usually means you should seek shelter and be prepared to cook the day’s catch in the rain.

how to predict the weather

  • Turtles begin to seek higher ground 1-2 days before a large rainstorm, so you may see them on roads or other areas above normal water levels.
  • If birds are flying high, the weather will likely be clear for a few days. Birds will fly lower in dropping pressure systems because the change in pressure hurts their ears. They will also exhibit frenzied feeding. Squabbles at the bird feeder can mean that a storm is coming and birds are stocking up in preparation of riding out the storm in their nest.

how to predict the weather

  • Along coastlines, seagulls will take shelter before a storm and birds in general become very quiet.
  • Squirrels, similar to birds, will aggressively stock up on food prior to a pending storm.
  • Cats’ ears are very sensitive and they do not tend to wash them but a change in pressure may cause your cat to rub at its ears, indicating a drop in pressure and a storm on the way.

how to predict the weather

  • Horses and cows are known to exhibit similar ear sensitivity behaviors when the pressure changes.
  • Herd animals, such as cattle, will group tightly together, usually facing the same direction, when a storm is approaching. They also tend to head for high ground.

In addition to predicting major storms, animals can also sense long-term threats in the weather pattern. This information is highly valuable when preparing your bug out camp to withstand low temperatures and difficult conditions. A harsh winter means that food will be scarce and opportunities for foraging and hunting will be limited.

bushcraft skills

Depending on the amount of snow cover, it may be challenging to gather firewood. Keeping a fire going will be vital and your bug out party will need as many warm layers as you are able to find or make. All of these preparations take time, so the sooner you know, the better.

In general, if you notice extra thick coats of fur on domestic animals or local wildlife, expect dropping temperatures. Conversely, when their fur comes off in tufts, warmer temperatures are right around the corner.

If birds begin migrating earlier than usual, it is a sign of harsh winter to come. The brown section in the middle of a woolly bear’s body is also used to predict how harsh the upcoming winter will be; the thinner the brown stripe, the harsher the winter is expected to be. While there is not much research to back it up, a 70-80% success rate is pretty good for an old wives tale!

how to predict the weather

The Isabella Tiger Moth caterpillar, often referred to as the “woolly bear,” is an age-old predictor of winter conditions. The one on the left (photo credit Sheila Sund on flickr) is thought to indicate a short winter, while the one on the right (photo credit USFWS on flickr) shows a harsh winter is in store.

Farmers have even used cow fertility rates to predict whether there will be a drought the following year- a drop in fertility occurs in anticipation of a future water shortage.

how to predict the weather

Do cows know how to predict the weather?! Many animals will make similar adjustments in breeding in response to foreseen conditions.

Resources On How To Predict The Weather

To futher explore the topic of how to predict the weather using nature, check out these excellent resources on clouds, weather, navigating, and storms.

Resource Author Subject
The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs Tristan Gooley Forecasting, tracking, navigating and more by reading clues from nature
The Natural Navigator Tristan Gooley How to read navigational clues from the sun, plants, tides, stars and more to find your way
The Weather Wizard’s Cloud Book Jim Duncan, Louis D. Rubin Sr., Hiram J. Herbert A full guide to using clouds to predict the weather
Instant Weather Forecasting
Alan Watts Cloud formations and reading the sky to predict the weather
Instant Storm Forecasting
Alan Watts Focuses on forecasting strong winds, thunder, hail storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons, and waterspouts
Instant Wind Forecasting
Alan Watts Learn to read clues to make predictions for wind conditions
Truth About Nature: A Family’s Guide to 144 Common Myths about the Great Outdoors
Stacy Tornio and Ken Keffer Great for families! Explore myths about nature in this interactive guidebook

Click the image to view the book on Amazon.


Plants and animals have been “bugging out” and surviving in nature since the beginning of time. There is much to gain by observing their weather predicting skills and honing our own. When living in the natural world, a simple thunderstorm can be catastrophic if you are not prepared for it. Anticipating a harsh winter can help you ration supplies and apply your energy effectively so you have adequate food and fuel stored. Knowing how to predict the weather will help you to make wise decisions in favor of your survival.

Your Thoughts

Do you know any other ways to predict the weather in the wilderness? Have you been in a situation where knowledge of weather signs in nature benefitted you? Share your experiences in the Comments section below, thanks!

The post How To Predict The Weather In The Wilderness appeared first on The Bug Out Bag Guide.

Flint and Steel

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Master Woodsman

by Michael May Mankind has possessed the ability to control fire for many thousands of years, and in this time we have developed a number of clever ways in which to start fires. To begin with, the most widely spread methods of fire making were friction-based. That is to say, the heat created by rubbing […]

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4 Amazing Multipurpose Blades For The Outdoors

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If we’re talking preparedness and prepper conduit, we have to agree on one thing: there’s no such thing as being too prepared! And this is because so many things can go wrong at any time. It’s extremely important to be both physically and mentally prepared for when it really hits the fan; and it will hit the fan hard. You’ll need to counteract everything life throws at you, and it won’t be easy. But you have only so much time to do it, your resources are finite and there’s only so many things you can keep around the house or on you. Owning any sort of multipurpose blades is the way to go; the more you can get done with a single object that you can easily store in a small space is the key to surviving in a hostile environment. When it comes to pocket blades, the sky’s the limit. There are many companies that have followed in the footsteps of Victorinox (the producer of the Swiss Army Knife) and have released many competitive products, which are equipped with a lot of useful gadgets alongside a well sharpened blade. Owning such a tool will get you out of many tight spots; it’s only a matter of finding the right one for you. Let’s have a look at some of the finest multipurpose blades on the market.


The Swiss Army Knife

It’s only fair that we start with the most renowned name in the business, with the brand that started it all. The Swiss Army Knife is the most common product that Victorinox has to offer. And its reputation is well deserved. This tiny gadget is so much more than just a “blade-in-a-box”, it comes equipped with many tools and gadgets to help the wielder’s cause in so many situations. There are various models with a different combinations of features. The most multifunctional model comes with a can opener, a screwdriver, a compass, a pair of pliers, a nail file, a pair of scissors, magnifying glass, a toothpick and more. More recent models also offer a USB flash drive, a small digital clock and even an LED flashlight. The economic design makes it easy to fit in a small pocket and easy to use in any situation. The price will vary, depending on the model and the amount of features it has.


The Leatherman Skeletool

Leatherman have taken the idea forwarded by Victorinox and are trying their best to take it even further. This company have released a very serious model that’s giving the Swiss Army Knife a run for their money. Their “flagship” blade is called the Skeletool, and what’s sets it aside and makes it shine is the carbon fiber version. Not only is it small, compact and easy to use, but it’s also light and very durable at the same time, thanks to the carbon frame. In the tools and gadgets department, the Skeletool has all the necessary appliances you could need in a SHTF situation: a bottle opener/ carabiner, a bit driver, a pocket clip, a screwdriver, a pair of pliers and of course, a sturdy and sharpened blade. Based on the model, you’ll spend somewhere in the range of $80 – $100 if you decide to go with the Skeletool.

The CRKT Guppie Multi-Tool

The Guppie Multi-Tool is a device released by Columbia River that can also be attached to your belt, in case your pockets are full The clip gate makes it easy to attach to any sort of belt or D-ring. The gadget is made up of very durable 3Cr13 steel. The knife blade is made from high-carbon stainless steel and it can be opened with one hand. It also has a powerful enough LED light, a wrench, a bottle opener, a jar opener. The wrench jaws are adjustable and open half an inch, making it very efficient for small assembly or repair jobs. This tool is so much more than just a blade, and it will be very useful in case you’ll find yourself in a pickle.


The Buck 301 BKS Stockman

The Buck 301 BKS Stockman is one of the most elegant pocket blades on the market. This folding knife is not exactly what you’d call “small”, as it reaches an overall length of 4 inches. This all-American pocketknife has 3 very durable blades, made out of 420HC stainless steel, which will stay sharp for a very long time. It has a sheepsfoot blade, a Spey and a 3-inch clip point. To attest to the product’s quality, the Buck 301 BKS Stockman comes with a lifetime warranty. The handles are made of plastic, but they’re made in good taste and out of a strong plastic, that will last forever.


There are so many products to choose from, so making the right choice won’t be an easy task. The beautiful thing is that you don’t have to settle for just one multipurpose folding knife. You can get as many as you like, just make sure that the tools you decide to equip yourself with are complementary. No use in carrying too many identical knives on you. The more diverse their features are, the more options you’ll have in a survival scenario.


By Alec Deacon



The post 4 Amazing Multipurpose Blades For The Outdoors appeared first on My Family Survival Plan.

Mors article at Outdoor Readiness

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Master Woodsman

Nice article about Mors Kochanski at the blog Outdoor Readiness… Venerable bushcraft instructor Mors Kochanski is one of the most experienced outdoor skills instructors in North America. His specialty is northern forests, the boreal, all seasons. Kochanski bridged primitive and historical methods and skills (actual skills, not just descriptions of skills) into the 21st Century […]

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Wilderness Survival Part 4/4

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Video By T Jack Survival
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Transcription provided by American Preppers Network

Number of speakers: 2 (Tyler & Kirsten)
Duration: 12 min 45 sec

Wilderness Survival Skills Pt 4/4: Gear, Rescue, and Survival Discussion

Tyler: “So we are here at Boulder Outdoor Survival School and we are learning primitive skills that can help you in a survival situation. Alright so let’s say I don’t know anything. I know I need gear, I don’t know what gear I need to get. Where do I start.”

Kristen: “Hmmm, you’re in a survival situation is that true? Well, you know, everything starts before that situation actually happens. You need to let people know where you are going. If no one is looking for you, then no one is going to find you. So, leave a note in your car if you’re going on a hike letting them know where you plan to go and when you plan to be back. Let friends know. Know the area, have a map of the area on you.

“So actually these skills begin before you even leave the house.”

Tyler: “Ok let’s say I was dumb and didn’t let anyone know where I was going but I was smart enough to bring some kit with me. If there is one thing, and maybe a few more but primarily one thing that I need to bring, what do you think that would be?”

Kristen: “I would say at this point in time a steel blade is probably the most important thing in ones survival kit IF you have access to clean drinking water.”

Tyler: “Okay so why do I want a knife as opposed to a canteen.”

Kristen: “The land offers plentiful resources to allow you to do everything that you would do with modern gear so long as you’re actually able to access it. Sometimes plants, bushes, trees, need an aiding device in order to gather and harvest and use them for purposes, like let’s say your hot rock boiling inside of some kind of container that can’t go in a fire.”


Tyler: “So why would you hot rock boil something inside of a container?”

Kristen: “Water purification is very important. Whenever you have the opportunity to purify your water you should, even if you trust that resource. Things like Giardia and Cryptosporidium water borne illnesses usually have an incubation period of 7 to 10 days and then after that you can have diarrhea, vomiting and you end up losing mass amounts of water. So to avoid this, purifying and filtering your water is absolutely important.”

Tyler: ”So I have my knife but I don’t have the skill set. I go to blade HQ and buy myself a knife. What can I do first? Where should I go first to learn how to make that container to boil water, to learn how to make traps, how to make shelters?”



Kristen: “Well I’m gonna back you up a second. Actually the first thing I need to know is knife safety. I know that it could be a dangerous move to take my knife out of the sheath if my hand is over the blade because it may cut me. So I am going to be careful taking my knife out of the sheath.”

“I know that carving towards my femoral artery is going to be a poor decision so I’m gonna make sure that as I begin to use my knife that I am taking care of what I call my blood bubble. Making sure that my follow through never goes where it is going to hit me. Safety comes first.”

Tyler: ”So if you find yourself hiking or lost, or you find yourself in a vehicle that is broken down. How long can you expect before getting rescued and what are some things that you can maybe prepare ahead of time just in case something like this happens?”

Kristen: “If you have told someone where you are going, most likely in the United states you will be rescued within 72 hours. If you have not told anyone where you were going you will be missing for a while before someone realizes you are gone. I would say a week to maybe two weeks is more likely.”

“The top Items that I would want to have in my car or on my person if I were stuck in a survival situation would be a sturdy knife. I would love to have it be a full size tang, mid-size blade up to a small chopper.”


“I would want to have a metal canteen or some other type of water carrying device that I could also use in the fire to boil and purify my water.”

“I personally like to have a 5×5 foot piece of cloth. Wool is my preference because it wicks well. It doesn’t tend to smell after long term use and it doesn’t catch on fire if an ember comes and hits me.”




“Another great piece of equipment to have is a military poncho. They are great to protect you from the rain immediately. Just put them on. They are great for shelter and wind protection. Just like a 5×5 sheet of cloth it is great for hauling material. I would definitely want to have a poncho on me.”

“Rope. Rope is awesome. There are a lot of natural materials that you can use to make rope, BUT para cord is my favorite thing to take with me. I like to use para cord that is about 550 pound weight because inside of a para cord there are multiple strands. You can attach each strand together and have a longer piece of rope that will still give you close to 100 pound poundage.”



“Other items I would want to have on me might include a wool sweater and wool socks. Eventually something to cover my head with because we lose a lot of heat through our core and our head.”

“For rescue stuff I would like to have a signal mirror on me. Being able to make a fire is critical for a lot of different reasons. Three fires in a row is an SOS signal to anyone in the world. Being able to make fire, having a Bic lighter, Vaseline cotton balls, pitch wood, a bow drill kit or hand drill kit on me. Definitely an item I would want to have. A fire making item.”



Tyler: “So I know one issue at night time is you get your great roaring fire set up, you fall asleep and wake up and it is gone. What is your solution to that problem?”

Kristen: “There is not a huge solution to that problem. Which is why as far as staying warm is concerned it is very helpful to use other insulatory materials VS fire. The coldest point in the night is usually the early morning. That is the time where we are totally asleep or really could be sleeping and our fire goes out or our hot rocks that we put underneath us are finally cold. Amassing your coals can help protect them and keep your fires going a little bit longer but the truth of the matter is if you want your fire to last all night long you will need to continually feed your fire wood. So you will have to wake up to do so.”

Tyler: “So once I’ve got my gear and I put that in my car kit and I find myself lost. I’ve calmed myself down and figured out where I’m at. Now what? What do I do?”

Kristen: ”If you know that you’re only going to be out there for a week and you need to take care of yourself and the area that you are in does not provide you with resources to maintain you core body temperature or does not provide you with a water source then you need to go find those things. If you leave the spot where you are last found, you want to leave a trail. Just like Hansel and Gretel. It can be pieces of a cloth that are wrapped around trees. It can be making sure that your foot prints are very deep and very easy to back track upon. It can even be a huge fire with smoke coming out of it that you can see. You go check an area and then come back to that point if you haven’t found what you are looking for. Then you go and check another area for those resources and come back to that point. Once you have found what you are looking for you can then move locations.”

“The resources that you need to pick up relate to thermal regulation and to water location. Hydrating. You need material that are going to help keep you warm and dry and finding water is apparel. Dehydration kills very quickly.”

“So how do we locate water if we have no idea where it is? One thing we can do is try to get to a high spot. The more we can see of the land the better our chances are of either seeing the low points where water runs. Even seeing reflection of water is possible from long distances or just getting a better understanding of how the land is moving so you have a better idea of where water might be. If I see sand for miles and I see a mountain in the other direction I will probably head for the mountain. I see grasses, I see bigger trees, more likely t have water than the sand.”

“What are animals doing? There may be tracks everywhere but when you want to look for water you want to look for where animal tracks are converging. Where multiple different species of animals, you find that their prints are coming together into one trail. Most likely that trail is leading towards water.”

“Another thing you can do at that vantage point is look for a change in vegetation. There may be lots of things that are green around you but you see no water nearby. If you look for a change in vegetation, things that are brighter green or I see, for example a cotton wood, some leafy things following in sort of a river like pattern that might be a great indication of water. So that vantage is huge. Get to that high point.”

“Look for things that always reside in water. Like frogs. If you hear frogs you should walk towards the frogs. Other wild life that tends to be in riparian zones that you know of, if you see any of them follow them. On that note, almost every creature needs to drink. So if there is animal life around, don’t fret, there is water around.”

“If you’re trapped out in the wilderness, for however long, and you take care of your priorities of survival, the truth of the matter is what you need to do is accept that just like our ancestors it is totally possible to live at peace in the wild. When you are afraid of nature it is scary. When you learn about it, and utilize its resources and they comfort you and you except the sunrises and the sun sets, you’re gonna do just fine. Resistance to your scenario is probably going to kill you. Acceptance until you can actually get to a point where you enjoy the natural world will save your life.”


Tyler: ”So what do you mean by maintaining a good or positive composure?

Kristen: “In times of duress we often have spikes of adrenaline which can be helpful or hurtful. What I mean by mental composure is the ability to calm oneself and utilize your natural energy that is going to happen in a survival situation in the right way. Panicking, yelling, a lot of anger and frustration, these are not helpful to your success. Sitting down, leaning against a tree, looking at something that you know like a bird or the sky that you see every day is going to make a better starting point for you to make good decisions.”





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The post Wilderness Survival Part 4/4 appeared first on American Preppers Network.

The Importance Of A Pocket Chainsaw For Surviving

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I am well aware of the fact that most of us that deal with prepping and take surviving in a SHTF situation seriously are familiar with the pocket chainsaw. Many of us have repeatedly used one, no doubt about that. And with good reason too. The motorized chainsaw is an essential tool to have around the house. It requires very little effort from your part when it comes to cutting down trees or chopping wood (mainly). The chainsaw comes in a lot of shapes and sizes and make the work as easy as possible; all it asks in return is fuel and occasional maintenance. But no matter how efficient it is in a day-to-day situation, it’s not very reliable when it comes down to a survival scenario. The fuel it requires will stop being a commodity and will become harder and harder to find; same goes for the oil and other parts that are required for maintenance. Fortunately, there’s an alternative available. It’s called the pocket saw, and it’s basically a chain similar to that of a chainsaw, but it has 2 handles attached at each end. This gadget will require a lot more effort from your part in cutting wood, as you’ll need to become the engine that drives the chain; but it’s the best option you got. And if some manual labor doesn’t scare you, it will be extremely efficient in a survival scenario, when you’ll need to cut wood for building a shelter, firewood or surpassing and obstacle that might be in your way.

The Chainmate pocket chainsaw

This particular pocket chainsaw is one of the simplest and easy to use models that are available on the market. Just because it’s simple, doesn’t mean it’s not efficient. It has a bi-directional carbon steel chain which is pretty resistant and comes in 3 sizes: the 24 inch version, a longer 36 inch version and the longest, the 48 inch version. Because the chain is made from carbon steel and the teeth are thinner than those of a regular pocket chainsaw, the product is overall lighter than its counterparts. Although the chain is not as polished and refined as what you get from its counterparts on the market, it will do its job. Just make sure you keep it lubricated at all times; spraying it with WD40 will do. The handles are simplistic, made up from a tough fiber. They’re not very refined either, but they’re strong and require very little to no maintenance at all. The down side is that they will become very uncomfortable on the hands after using them for 10 – 15 minutes, so wearing a pair of gloves and wrapping the handles in a soft cloth would be a good idea. Careful with the cloth wrapping though; it may cause the grip to break and you’d end up hurting yourself. The Chainmate pocket chainsaw should cost around $20 – $25 and as a bonus, you also get a pouch made from the same materials as the handles; it’s rough, but tough.

The Supreme Products pocket chainsaw

The pocket chainsaw put out by Supreme Products also has a bi-directional chain, but what makes it stand out is that the product is modular. The saw can be detached from the handle, and if stored in its box, it weighs only 4 ounces and it can easily be fitted safely inside any pocket. The chain is made of carbon steel that has been coated with an anti-rusting agent. The blade is 28 inches long and the teeth are placed every 1/4 of an inch. At each end of the saw you get a stainless steel hook, to which you can attach the plastic handles, which are more comfortable than the handles made out of fiber, especially when you’ll be using the saw for longer period of time. The purpose of making this chainsaw modular is that you can add extension if you want to rich high limbs; just add as much rope as you like in-between the hooks and the handle. It’s very reliable and sturdy, easy to carry and to assemble and because the blade cuts both ways, you can go through a 3-inch diameter limb in about 10 – 15 seconds. Getting one won’t cost you more than $21.

The SaberCut pocket chainsaw

The SaberCut is released by Ultimate Survival Technologies and it’s a very efficient and qualitative tool. The 24 inch blade is bidirectional, cutting both ways easily because it’s very flexible and durable. The saw weighs in at about 4.5 ounces. It’s one of the easiest-to-maintain pocket chainsaws I ever came across. The teeth are self cleaning and they can easily be sharpened with a standard 1/8 chainsaw sharpener. The handles are made from the same material as the pouch it comes with, which is pretty durable and strong enough. Although this particular saw is not modular, you can always add as much length as you want tying cord to the handles. Not only is the SaberCut efficient and trustworthy, but it’s also one of the cheapest pocket chainsaws you can find, as it costs no more than $11.


By Alec Deacon




The post The Importance Of A Pocket Chainsaw For Surviving appeared first on My Family Survival Plan.

Wilderness Survival Part 3/4

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Video By T Jack Survival
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Transcription provided by American Preppers Network

Number of speakers: 2  (Matt, Tyler)
Duration: 15 min 56 sec

Wilderness Survival Skills Pt 3/4: Hand Drill, Tarp Shelter, & Resource Gathering

Hand Drills:

Matt: “Hi, I’m Matt with Boulder Outdoor Survival School and what we are gonna talk about here this early afternoon is hand drill fire. We are gonna go ahead and make a fire, I think its tea time so I think we are gonna boil up some water and make a natural tea. To do that we are going to use and hand drill set to light the fire.”

“Hand Drills are a very, very universal, very ancient way, to make fire by friction. Some of the benefits of making a hand drill over a bow drill are that it is much simpler to make. Not as many moving parts and not as fidgety. On the flip side of it is one of the cons is that it takes much more practice and really perfect material and perfect form to be able to perform hand drills reliably.”

“So, here are some various iterations of a hand drill set. What I recommend and what I teach in the field is usually starting with some sort of spindle that will be from arm pit to wrist length. Much longer than that and you will get to much play at the top. Almost like trying to spin a car antenna or radio antenna. It wants to whip around. Any longer than that is not ideal. Shorter than that is going to be harder for someone just learning. The material that I am using for these spindles is generally some sort of flower stalk that has a piffy center and this ones been used so it’s a little harder to see.”

“The other component we are looking for is what we call a hearth board. A hearth board is these three items here. You’re looking for generally looking for things on the softer side than you would for a bow drill. So, something like yucca or our local material, my personal favorite, is the root of the cotton wood tree. I am going to go ahead and do a demonstration.”

“With anything fire, it doesn’t matter if you’re using a match, or a lighter, or a Ferro rod, or a hand drill. Proper prior preparation prevents piss poor performance. (Editor’s note: Say that five times fast. Lol) The old military saying, so, everything that I want to make a sustainable fire needs to be ready to go before I start putting this into service.”

“So, we’ve got our tinder bundle ready, we’ve got kindling and a fire lay ready to go. I’m going to get myself in a comfortable, level position. Get myself in a nice comfortable tri-pod and I’m actually going to wet my hand slightly to give me traction on my spindle. Seat my spindle and then I’m gonna start warming the board. So, what I am doing, this technique is called floating. Floating is kind of a modern, aboriginal innovation as far as I can tell, but it is very useful. The reason being, I don’t have to migrate down the spindle and then quickly move back to the top. I can continue spinning just by adding a little rocking motion with my hand. I can keep my hand stationary and actually warm up the board and start creating.

You can see already I have a notch full of dust and it’s smoking pretty heavily from the periphery of the spindle. It’s not an ember yet. I am basically just building my heat and budgeting my energy.”



“At this point I’ve got a full notch and I’ve got some good heat so I am gonna go ahead and start adding some more speed and downward pressure. You can see I just have to move my hands back up to the top really quickly. And now, I have an ember and the reason I know that is because that smoke is coming from the pile of fuel I created. So at this point I am actually not in a hurry. A lot of people see that ember and get excited, they’re tired, out of breath, and their hands are probably shaking. “




“You have time with this. What I’m gonna do is gently pull the board away from the ember and let that ember collet into a nice solid material. Right now it is basically a pile of powder or piled dust.



If I gently fan it you can see it starts to glow. So I want to bring my nest to my ember. At this point it is held together well enough that you should be able to gently lift it up without it falling apart. Then I will gently tap it in to my tinder nest.”




“Here is where this little glowing ember becomes a flame. It’s got more fuel to grow into but it needs oxygen so I’m just going to gently start blowing on it. There we go.”




Making Teas:

Tyler: “To make tea one of the things we are gonna use is pine needles which has a lot of vitamin c in it. We have what’s called Brigham tea or Phedra tea, which is a stimulate and then some elder berry. This is a little prudent so they kind of balance themselves.”

Matt: “So there’s some wild tea brewed on a fire made with a hand drill.”


A-Frame Poncho Shelter:

Kirsten: “What we have here is an A-Frame poncho shelter. To start with you want to make a very taught ridge-line. I’ve connected it between two trees here. In general you want to start at at least a waist level in height. If it’s lower it will keep you warmer. If it is higher it will be a little more spacious but you’ll have more wind flow through it so it could be a little bit colder.”



“On each corner of this you want to pull out from the grommet to about a 45 degree angle, once again making sure your poncho is very taught so that you can have water slide off of this and wind not blow your shelter everywhere. So making sure things are very tight is important in any shelter but particularly in an A Frame.”



“I’ve gone ahead and tied off the hood. Tied it off so no water or precipitation can get in there, but also tied another piece of P-cord to the hood and extended it to the nice tree behind me, once again creating even more tension in this poncho.”

“With two ponchos like this you can fit about three people in there comfortably. The more you put in there the warmer it’s going to be from shared body heat, but two people, one person, this would be a good size for any of them.”

“So when you’re sleeping directly on the ground the biggest problem is the heat transfer from your body to the cold ground that wants to rob you of all your heat. The easy way to take care of that is to build up what we like to call a BOSS duff. This could be anything from dried grasses, leaves, pine needles like they have on the ground here. Bows of trees would do. What you want to do is create insulation to get yourself off the ground to slow down that transfer of heat and allow it to kind of sit around in those empty air spaces so the air pockets in the duff below you.”

“So now that I’m all set up, my shelter is taken care of, I’m gonna go walk the area and look for resources I can eat and use fore other crafts that I have in mind.”


“When we are in survival situations we don’t always have a book telling us all of the wild edibles of the area but those types of food may be really important in your diet if you’re only living off mice and a few greens.”

“So if you’re testing a new plant the first thing you want to do is take a tiny bit of it and rub it on the inside of your wrist and then you want to wait a number of hours to see if you have a reaction. If you don’t have a reaction, you believe it to be something edible you can take the tiniest of bites. Leave it on your tongue for a few seconds and then spit it out and then rinse with some water. See what happens after a few hours, if you have anything going on. If you don’t then maybe you want to take a tiny piece, chew on it, actually swallow it and take it down with some water. If you don’t have a reaction in a few hours go for a small, but larger gathering of that plant. Have that, and then wait a full day and see what your system actually does. Anything that gives you diarrhea, anything that gives you an itchy throat, anything that gives you a stomach ache maybe that food isn’t even poisonous but it is new to your body. If it is causing you harm then maybe you shouldn’t be eating it. That is part of the progression.”


“Alright, so here we have a Ponderosa pine that has been struck by lightning actually. A couple things that are great. One, we have all these fantastic pine needles here on the ground. Nice, duff material right? So we would gather all these perhaps in a large cloth, take them to our camping sight and have bedding material. If we take a closer look at this pine, we actually find that there is a lot of pitch wood on here. Remember that pitch wood is great for flames and making fires and holding onto it. Then throughout all of this we are looking at sap basically. Sap has a lot of uses. I will take pitch and fill in different wounds that I have, cuts or things that are bothering me. Just to patch it and be done with it. Then these pine needles themselves, these larger pine needles are very high in Vitamin C so when you come across this tree with green needles on it you can take off the needles and make a tea. It taste good to. It’s a little bit sweet.”

“So this is a great plant. This is a big sage brush. Its foliage is a anti-microbial. So just by rubbing this in-between my hands it is sort of like hand sanitizer which is fantastic. If I take a bunch of it and have a pile of it we are looking at some fantastic toilet paper and when you look at the shape of this particular one and find a larger example you will find nice straight pieces that don’t have the curvature of the older sage. This is what I use for my bow drill fire kit. Pieces of sage brush. It also has some nice pealy bark on it which we know is great for nest materials. A lot of uses from a big sage brush.”


Knife Sharpening:

“Nice. So this is a good example of something that is getting close, but not quite what we are looking for for a sharpening stone. Sand stone out here works great to sharpen our Scandinavian bevel knife anyways. But you want a very flat surface and of course you need to get to the grit that is appropriate for your knife. These would rip them up and not quite a flat surface. “

Tyler: “Can we grind them out?”

Kirsten: “Yeah you can do some grinding for sure to flatten it a bit but it is nice just to get the perfect stone. Nice, flat and easy to carry. We have so much around so if you keep your eyes peeled you should be able to find something naturally.”

“So when we are looking for sharpening stones a nice place to start might be in the bit of a washer or drainage. Something like this where there has been more abrasion from water. Until you can find smoother pieces, flatter pieces or potentially something you can sharpen your knife with. Consequently out here we are able to find a lot of silk stuff which we use for our socket rocks very frequently. It’s grind-able but holds enough durability that your spindle isn’t actually going to burn into your hands and through the rock.”

“Another thing that is great about these larger slabs of sand stone is they will work very well for dead fall traps. This isn’t a good size or anything but you can see it is fairly flat in surface so we should be able to have a solid drop against another hard, durable surface and really compress and compact the animal for a death blow. Then there is also a little bit of texture to it so I might be able to get my bait sticking in a little bit of a nook without having to use a knife tip or something like that to actually create a little notch on the bottom of my trap. So, our sand stone slab works very well for dead fall traps.”


Cordage material:


Kirsten: “We have some examples of milk weed here. I use this plant for cordage material but what we need to find is dead, second year stalk. This is a small example, but this is a second year stalk from a milkweed plant. So what it can do is crush the plant all the way up to the tip. Open it up, take one half, and bend off all of this hard stuff we don’t want. What we are looking for is the fiber right here and you just peel it off. Once I’ve gotten all of my fiber clean I can twist it in a reverse rap cordage method and ultimately come out with some rope.”


Hand drill:

Matt: “So I mentioned that the hand drill and the technique for the hand drill is deceptively simple and it is. It is basically rubbing one stick against another. But when you get into trying to do this and learn this, especially the beginner. It is extremely difficult to get the technique down and the muscle memory and also just the hand toughness essentially. It is hard on your hands and also hard on your muscles. There are muscles you use doing this that probably never get used for anything else. So, you have to kind of develop those muscles over time and build up to it and not burn yourself out in the process.




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How to Estimate Distance in the Woods with Right Triangles

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by Todd Walker

As an eighth grade math teacher, a lot of the stuff we teach kids makes no sense. Students rarely get a chance to apply mathematics in the real world. We’re too busy pushing through the state mandated curriculum to get our hands dirty applying the concepts being taught.

How to Estimate Distance in the Woods with Right Triangles - (1)


A little dirt time in the woods or a homestead would go a long way in helping students (and teachers) trade theory for action. So put on your boots. School of the Woods is in session!

Like any other skill, estimating distance takes practice. The method I used in the video below is based on the Pythagorean Theorem → a² + b² = c². Don’t freak out about the formula. We won’t even use it!

Here’s the cool thing about this method…

There’s no math calculations involved! No square roots, no dividing, no multiplication, no algebra. If you can walk a straight line and count simple steps, you can use this method to estimate distance. In fact, all you really need is a stick.

Estimating Distance with Right Triangles

Estimations are more than guessing. They are based on calculations and useful for many tasks in bushcraft, homesteading, and outdoor self-reliance.

Here’s a quick refresher on geometry terms we’ll be using. A right triangle has two short sides called legs (a & b). The long side of the triangle is the hypotenuse (c).

What if you needed to ford a river, build a fence, or erect a foot bridge over a creek in the woods? I’ve never seen any of my woodsmen friends pull out a 100 foot measuring tape from their pack. But you can get an accurate estimation of width without a measuring device.

Here’s how it works…

Step #1 ~ Locate a Landmark

Note: This method requires a fair amount of open space along side the river or creek. Hilly terrain will affect your estimate as well.

How to Estimate Distance in the Woods with Right Triangles -

Drive a stick in the ground to mark Point A

Spot a landmark (tree or rock) across the divide you intend to cross (Point X). Standing directly across from the landmark, mark the ground with a stick or scrap of your boot. Point Y is where you begin counting your first 20 steps.

Step #2 ~ Start Stepping

Turn 90 degrees away from Point X and take 20 steps in as straight a path as possible. Drive a stick in the ground at your 20th step. This is Point A. The stick should be tall enough to see later in this exercise. You may want to tie a bandana or other material to make it easy to spot.

Step #3 ~ More Stepping

Continuing in a straight path from Point A, take 20 more steps. Mark this spot as Point B with a small stick or rock.

Step #4 ~ Turn 90º

Standing on Point B, turn 90º with your back towards the river or ravine. Begin walking perpendicularly away from the river. Be sure to count your steps. As you step, look back towards the stick on Point A. Stop when you visually line up with Point A and Point X (the landmark across the river). This is Point C on the diagram.

The number of step from Point B to Point C is the approximate distance across the divide.

In an emergency situation where you may need to cross a river or creek, a tree could be felled to help you safely navigate the divide. Knowing the width of the river or creek now, how can you estimate the height of a tree you’ll need to bridge that gap?

We’ll cover estimating height on our next post. Stay tuned!

A little update. I used my video in Math class yesterday. Afterwards, we went outside to test the theory in the real world. Have some fun and take your kids out and practice this self-reliant skill.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,


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Survival First Aid: Treating Bone Fractures

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Broken bones, fractures and joint injuries are a common thing that happen on a daily basis. We’re only one phone call away from receiving immediate medical assistance if in need. It’s not a life threatening situation in the 21st century, unless there are immediate complications. But what if we happen to brake a hand or a leg in a TEOTWAWKI scenario, where medical assistance will cease to be a commodity and when our very survival will depend on our mobility and full functionality? In case this happens, all is not lost, there are procedures to follow that will get as out of harm’s way. But if the treatment is to be successful, you’ll need to do everything by the book. The first thing to do is to make sure that the injured person’s life is not threatened in any way; once he’s out of harm’s way you can start treating the injury. Once his vital signs have been checked and you’ve concluded that he has been completely stabilized, you can start treating the fracture.

First and foremost, you’ll need to make sure that what you’re dealing with is a fracture and not something else. Most commonly fractures bear the following signs and symptoms: the inability to use or bear weight on the affected body part, severe pain, swelling, deformity, discoloration etc. In some cases, the ones that suffer the injury might even hear a loud cracking noise. In extreme cases, the fracture is so bad that the bone will pierce the flesh. Apart from bone fractures there are other injuries that are easier to treat and not as severe, but can be just as debilitating if left untreated, like muscle strained ligaments and joint dislocations. Fractures can be very tricky and should be approached with care. Many complications can arise (damaged blood vessels, torn muscles, damaged nerves), so minimal and gentle manipulation is imperative. If the affected area becomes swollen, pale, numb and the patient succumbs to shock, it’s probably that an important blood vessel has been damaged, causing internal bleeding. In this case, you should put on hold the fracture treatment and stop the hemorrhaging instead.  The best method of dealing with broken bones is splinting. Many people would advise that the splint should be applied without traction, in the position found, but this would be completely impractical, as the bone should be placed in an anatomically correct position in order to prevent severe pain and loss of function (partial or even complete). So it’s ok to manipulate the fracture gently.


Broken legs

You’ll need two forked branches that are strong enough, so you’ll need them to be at least 2 inches in diameter. One should measure the exact distance from the armpit to 12 inches past his broken leg, while the other should measure the distance from the groin to 12 inches past the broken leg. Next you’ll need to pad the splints. The ends that go past the leg (that measure 12 inches past the leg) will get a 2 inch in diameter branch placed in between them. Now the two splints should be tied together accordingly with the splinting guidelines with anything you can get your hands on: cloth, vines, rope etc. With the same material (provided it’s strong enough), tie a wrap around the ankle; the free ends will get tied to the cross member. Finally, add a twisting stick at the free end of the ankle wrap; twisting the wrap will provide traction. Continue twisting until the broken leg is in line with the healthy leg.


Broken feet

Splinting a foot will require a piece of long and tough cardboard or plastic. This piece of material should be bent lengthwise so that you get three identical (more or less) segments. You can add cloth or padding on the inner side to add comfort. Place the splint under the foot and the leg, so that it reaches halfway to the knee, yet it goes enough under the foot to immobilize the ankle; once this is done, add some cloth between the ankle and splint. Fold the cardboard around the leg and secure it with some tape.  Now do the same as you did with the ankle for all the empty spaces between the leg and the splint: add cloth. You can reduce swelling and discomfort with ice, but don’t keep it on for longer than 20 minutes.


Broken arms

Once the arm is adjusted in its natural position, you should apply the splints. You can use any material as long as it’s hard enough (strong cardboard, sticks, wood etc.) and long enough, so they extend passed the wrist and the elbow. Before the splints go on, wrap the arm in a clean and soft cloth, for comfort more than anything. Once the arm is wrapped, you can wrap the splints as well. The splints should be applied equally when it comes to length; for forearm fractures the splints should go beyond the wrist, while in the case of upper arm fractures, they should extend beyond the elbow. The cloth that holds the splints together should be at least 5 inches before and after the fracture. Don’t tie the bonds too firmly; if you can slip two fingers in, it’s perfect. In order to keep the arm secure and in place, tie a piece of cloth around the neck of the patient and slip the fractured hand in it. The hand should be centered on the sling and it should be at a flat and horizontal position. If the elbow is at a 90 degree angle, you’ve done an excellent job.


Broken hands

Securing a broken hand in place will be a bit trickier, as you’ll need a material that is strong and rigid enough to hold the hand in place, yet flexible enough to fold. It should extend from the wrist to the end of the fingers. The hand should be straight and relaxed, with its fingers slightly opened. Place some cloth in the palm of the hand and place the first splint under the wrist, so it extends to the end of the fingers. The splint should be folded up and around the wrist. Tie it together and add tape for extra security. Once you’re done, stuff the open spaces with cloth to increase comfort and firmness.

If you ever find yourself in the posture of treating broken bones or fractures, remember the first thing to do is to keep calm and act with caution. You’ll need to be very aware and have enough knowledge in the matter. You can educate yourself further in anatomy of the limbs and learn a few knots that will secure your splints in place. You can practice these techniques and even take up courses for first aid, so you won’t have to do it for the first time in a SHTF situation.


By Alec Deacon




The post Survival First Aid: Treating Bone Fractures appeared first on My Family Survival Plan.

How To Improvise A Fishing Rod

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Every serious fisherman knows the importance of owning the right fishing rod. Whether you’re fishing for sport or you’re simply trying to feed yourself, there’s no better way than doing it the old fashioned way. But in a SHTF situation (whether you’re lost in the wilderness or you’ve found yourself trapped in an end-of-days scenario) you might not have you trusted fishing rod on you. But you won’t necessarily need to. You’ll need nothing more than a knife; having a small tackle box with the right assortment of hooks and some spool of monofilament will make things easier. If you’re lucky enough to have these items on you, you’ll need to improvise the fishing pole only, which it’ll be more than enough to feed yourself in desperate times. If not, well, you’ll need to improvise the whole thing. The rest of the materials you can easily find in your surroundings. And here’s how to do it.

The pole

The first thing you’ll need to find is the pole; any 6 – 7 foot-long branch will do, as long as it’s no thicker than a human thumb. Once you’ve found the right one, you’ll have to break it off from the tree. Once this is achieved, you’ll need to break it again to the desired length. If it’s dry enough, you can snap it in half against your knee or against any hard surface; but if it’s not dry and it’s still rather flexible, you can try cutting it with the knife. Using dead branches is a bad idea because their durability is very low and break easily. You can test the tip by banding it to the point of snapping. If it snaps, fine; the more it does snap, the stronger the remaining pole gets. As soon as you got the pole to the desired length, use the knife to remove any remaining branches, leaves or shoots. Make it as smooth as possible in order to improve weight and handling.


The fishing line

If you happen to have some monofilament fishing like on you, your job gets much easier. If you don’t, sewing thread could get the job done as well. But in sewing thread isn’t an option either, you’ll need to get your hands dirty and look for thin green vines in ground cover or in the undergrowth found around various bushes. The greener the vine, the stronger it will be. If you find a vine that’s about 10 feet, look no further. Remove any tendrils by pulling carefully so you don’t damage the line. For safety, the line should be tied midway down the pole and wrapped as many times as possible towards the tip, where a simple overhand knot will suffice for holding it in place. This way, if the pole breaks, you can immediately catch the line with your hands.

The hooks and the bait

Some professional hooks will work extremely well, provided of course you brought some along. If not, you can always use paper clips, safety pins or soda can tabs. Another viable option is to carve your very own V-shaped hooks out of wood (green wood preferably). A one end you’ll need to carve a groove, in the hook-eye area. This will allow you to tie fishing line onto. As bait you can use pretty much any insect you can get your hands on. The easiest things to get are the earthworms, which can be found underground, under rocks, around moss and in other moist areas. Once you’ve baited the hook, you’re pretty much ready to go. From here on in it’s all about patience and skill.

When it comes to fishing is a SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation, fishing areas are very important. It’s absolutely necessary to procure the maximum amount of fish with as little resources as possible. So it’s not all about the gear that you have or that you’ve crafted. It’s just as important to know where, when and how to fish. If you’re fishing in stagnant waters, you’ll need to go after still pools. The stillness of the water will make the bait as visible as possible, thus increasing your chances of catching something fast. When it comes to running waters, the area behind exposed boulders would be the best location to catch anything, as fish have a tendency of gathering in such places. You might also want to consider bank fishing, as standing on the water’s edge can also be a very productive fishing method.

As you can see, improvising and entire fishing pole is a rather difficult task, but not impossible to achieve. As previously stated, having line and hooks on you will spare you a lot of trouble. But if not, you’ll just need to put some extra effort into it. Just follow all the steps and you’ll have your DIY fishing rod in no time.


By Alec Deacon



The post How To Improvise A Fishing Rod appeared first on My Family Survival Plan.

Flint and Steel Kit Review

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In this latest post on the TI website I’m going to be reviewing a flint and steel fire making kit created by Mikhail Maletkin of

I have long been a practitioner of primitive survival skills (going on 20 years now). And in that time I’ve made a number of flint and steel kits for myself as well as other primitive fire making kits such as bow drill and hand drill kits.

Especially when it came to my own homemade flint-and-steel kits, I’ve never considered them any more then objects of utilitarian purposes. They help me make fire, that’s about it. This kit I’ll be reviewing here, goes way beyond that. But before we get to it, I thought I’d provide…

A Short History of Flint and Steel Fire Making

I hear a lot of modern survivalists talk of using “flint and steel” or “firesteel” for fire making, but what I find they are actually referring to is modern fire strikers, which are actually made from ferrocerium alloys. 

Although I’m a big fan of modern ferro rods and typically have one with me, these are not true firesteels.

True firesteels go way back. If you’re not familiar with the flint-and-steel fire making, it is one of the oldest forms of making fire that we know of. Although it is most commonly associated with the fire-making method of choice for our pioneers, early explorers, and frontiersman it’s been in fact around since the age of steel (essentially, from the Iron Age onward, as early as 1200 BC).   

And If you’ve never made a fire from real flint and steel I encourage you to do so. I find (and I’m not unique in this) the process of using a real firesteel with some flint somehow connects a deeper part of yourself with your ancestors — something that the modern ferro rods just don’t quite accomplish.

OK, enough of the history lesson let’s get on with the product review…

Flint & Steel Kit Review

The first time I heard about these kits was when my friend Bill reached out to me asking if I’d be willing to review a product made by a Russian friend of his. He was going on about how his friend made these wonderful flint and steel kits that were works of art. Skeptical, but always willing to help a friend out, I gladly welcomed the product not expecting the prize that I would shortly receive.

On receiving the package I was blown away by the incredible craftsmanship and attention to detail and quality that these kits are created with. Mikhail, the creator of these kits, is clearly an artisan of the highest order and his passion shines through.

Everything in the kit (other than the tin that holds the char cloth) is made by hand. Mikhail comes from a long line of artisan blackmiths, so the skills and methods used in the manufacture of these kits has been preserved and passed down from generation to generation.

The bags are made from sturdy leather and are solidly assembled. There’s a front flap with a leather tab and clasp to keep the kit shut.


On the back is a belt loop for easy attachment to your hip.


Opening the kit you’re presented with a set of instructions, and two rolls of natural jute twine for tinder. 


Under the tinder there are two inner pockets which contain a firesteel striker and a tin of charcloth. And in the main area, you’ll find two chunks of flint.


The steel striker is carefully forged and quenched over charcoal in the same manner that Mikhail’s ancestors had done.  For the char cloth, Mikhail scorches linen fabric himself to create a high quality cloth tinder. Again, the attention to detail even down to the placement of the char cloth within the tin is quite impressive.


How to Use the Flint & Steel Kit

If flint and steel fire making is new to you, you may think it’s a difficult skill to learn. In reality, it’s a very simple and elegant process that takes a little practice. The instructions Mikhail includes are very clear and when followed you’ll be making fire in no time.
Here’s a short video of me demonstrating how to create a spark and turn it into a fire:

Where to Purchase a Flint and Steel Kit

If you’re interested in getting your hands on one of these (Mikhail has a number of other kits as well, so be sure to check them out) you can do so at You won’t be disappointed.

This Week’s Best Survival Posts – December 20th

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At Expert Prepper we’re committed to bringing you the best survival posts and preparedness information. There was a lot of great stuff out there this week, from survival gear reviews to breaking news and the latest and greatest survival tips. Check out this weeks best survival posts below: Basic First Aid Bushcraft is generally a […]

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