I start this week with the Blizzard Survival Discount Offer, Ribz Discount Offer and the Wilderness121 Discount Offer and Field Leisure Discount Offer, THE BUSHCRAFT SHOW, How to Make Char cloth, What Is A Faraday Cage?, Support these Companies, The Neutron Bomb, How To Make A Feather Stick For Fire Lighting, Water for Survival, More companies to support, How To!!!, Making Cordage from Natural Fibres, How to Gain Permission to Use Land for survival training, First Aid Kit and First Aid Training, Lyme Disease, How to Read a Compass, Magnetic or Geographic? Survival Fishing, Basic Wilderness Survival Skills, Types of Campfires, Selection of your Campsite, The Birch Tree, Further Companies to Support, THE ELEVENTH WILDERNESS GATHERING
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A front pack is a pack or bag that allows for access of equipment from the persons chest. Front packs first and foremost allow for easy access of gear without the removal of any equipment.
In many adventure outdoor activities it can be critical to the sport to have the ability to reach essential gear fast without the removal of a backpack. Simplicity is the foremost purpose of the front pack but there are many additional benefits as well.
Weight distribution and balance is a key element in the utility of the front pack. Shifting weight forward in situations when carrying heavy loads can be critical to the comfort and balance of an individual.
Backpacking is a sport where in many situations it is critical to both minimize and maximize the contents of your load for a longer or lighter duration of stay. The ability to move small amounts of weight to the frontal region significantly reduces overall stress on a person’s shoulders and back.
Moving a small amount of heavy equipment forward to a front pack can allow for an individual to either maximize or minimize the overall load contained in a backpack.
In all there are unlimited uses for the front pack. Front packs are the best compliment to any outdoorsman’s gear when accessibility, functionality, mobility and simplicity are required.
From horseback riding, long distance biking, motorcycling and kayaking. All sports where fast and easy access of gear is essential, a front pack is your best solution and as you can imagine it is going down a storm within the prepping and survivalist community.
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Now pop along to www.wilderness121.co.uk and check out their great range of survival related products.
Now thanks to the Managing Director Paul listeners visiting Field Leisure - The Bushcraft & Wilderness Store at http://www.fieldleisure.co.uk/ can get 10% OFF by entering the code UKPRN at the checkout now Paul guarantees next day delivery all over the UK and fast European and US delivery and that is reassuring and refreshing too.
So a big thank you to Blizzard Survival, Ribz front pack, Wilderness121 and Field leisure for your great offers to listeners of this programme.
How to Make Char cloth
Fire making is a basic survival skill that must be learnt then practiced regularly or you could find yourself stuck in the wilderness without a way to boil your water or cook your food.
In order to make a fire, it’s more than just making a spark from a magnesium firesteel, fire piston, flint and steel, or a flame from a lighter. You need that ignition source to easily catch on to something that’ll burn long enough for the kindling to catch, which is supposed to burn long enough for your fuel wood to burn. That something is called Tinder.
The components of a good tinder are:
- you have it with you or can find it when you need it
- it catches fire easily in whatever weather or environment you’re in
- it burns long enough to catch your kindling on fire
I have to say that having one of Bushcraft tools fire pistons I recommend Char Cloth. Technically, char cloth is an addition to your tinder stock.
So what is char cloth I hear you ask?
Char cloth is an organic material (like cotton) that has been heated enough that all (most) of the gasses inside have left but has been protected from burning itself up.
When something burns, it’s actually a chemical reaction with oxygen or a similar gas. When something like wood or cotton burns, chemicals like carbon monoxide, hydrogen and carbon dioxide are released into the air.
If you heat up something like cotton to a certain point and don’t let oxygen into the area for it to burn, the gasses will be released but the material itself won’t combust. That’s essentially all you need to do to make char cloth in theory, but let’s look at how you make it.
How do you make charred cloth?
The simplest prepper method of making char cloth is to take something like pieces of cotton from a t-shirt or old jeans and put it into a small tin, like an altoids tin or an air pellet tin. You can also use a tuna tin, coffee tin etc. as long as you can seal it fairly well after you put the material in it and it won’t burn itself up.
I wanted to make some char cloth just using stuff I had lying around the house so instead of an altoids tin I used an old pellet tin I had lying around.
You need the gasses to escape from the inside after they’re released from the cotton, so you need to poke a small hole in the tin with something like a nail. You don’t want it too big though, or oxygen will get in and your fabric will catch fire.
I got my Gillie Kettle out and lit it and put the old pellet tin on top then I cut a strip denim from some old jeans about as wide as the tin is long, rolled it up and put it into the tin. The smoke was coming out of the hole in the top of the tin, and if I was to put a flame to it, that smoke would catch fire.
This is essentially a mini-gasifier. That gas is flammable enough to be used in a generator or carb for an engine.
Then, you just cook the tin in the fire for a while until you don’t see any more smoke coming out, and that’s it. Depending on how much stuff you have, how big your tin is and how hot your fire is, it should take anywhere from 15-45 minutes.
Obviously, the proof is in the pudding so I took out my magnesium fire starter that I keep in my pocket as a part of my EDC kit, and it lit after one spark.
That’s really all there is to it. You should experiment with different types of fabrics and different temperatures and times to heat it up but it’s not really all that hard. You don’t even need to use cloth. Almost any organic material should work, such as wood or plant fibres. You just need to get all the gasses out without burning it.
Char cloth vs other tinder?
Char cloth catches so easily that just one spark will usually catch, so not only can you place it right under your tinder bundle, things like a breeze or damp air shouldn’t be a problem. It will burn usually for a few minutes too, giving it enough time to catch. Because it doesn’t give off a flame though, char cloth isn’t really going to be able to catch kindling.
Other tinder like dry leaves, grass, cat tail fluff, etc. burns pretty well but isn’t always easy to catch from a spark. Especially if it’s damp out.
Putting them together though, makes a powerful combination.
How to use char cloth to start a fire.
Char cloth catches easily but it won’t burn hot enough to catch twigs on fire unless they’re REALLY tiny.
You also probably won’t have a lot of char cloth in your kit. It will, however, burn enough to catch other tinder on fire. By making a tinder bundle out of dry material that burns quickly and then putting the char cloth in side it, you make an easy-to-light pile of stuff known as a nest that will burn hot enough to catch twigs.
Having a successful fire started is all about sticking to the sequence of fire starting. The spark catches the char cloth. The char cloth catches the rest of the tinder. The tinder then catches your kindling. The kindling catches the fuel wood and you can then boil water or cook a meal.
What Is A Faraday Cage?
A Faraday Cage (or Shield) can be described as an enclosure created by conducting materials that blocks external electric fields (both static and non-static).
These shields – cages can be used to protect different kinds of electronic equipment from electrostatic discharges. They can’t block magnetic fields like Earth’s magnetic field, but they can protect the interior from electromagnetic radiation coming from the outside.
The Invention of the Faraday Cage
Michael Faraday invented the “cages” in 1836, and they were named after him, but Benjamin Franklin also made a great contribution to “Faraday Cage” development and application.
Faraday noticed that the conductor charge (on a charged conductor) did not influence anything that was enclosed within; the charge resided only on the exterior.
Faraday constructed a room, coated the entire room with metal foil, and used an electrostatic generator to create high-voltage discharges that stroke the outside of his metal foil-coated room. He found no electric charge on the inside walls. Faraday used an electroscope to prove this.
In 1755, Benjamin Franklin discovered what we now call “A Faraday Cage”, in his own experiment. He used a cork ball and a can. The cork was suspended on a thread and put into the can through a small opening. Franklin found that the cork wasn’t attracted to the inside, although it did touch the bottom; when drawn out, the cork was not electrified. If it touched the outside, it would have been electrified.
How Does It Work?
An external electrical field leads to rearrangement of the charges, and this cancels the filed inside. Electric fields (applied externally) create forces on electrons in the conductor, creating a current, which will further result in charge rearrangement. The current will cease when the charges rearrange and the applied field inside is cancelled.
So what are the applications of the Faraday Cage
• Safety against lightening: The cage protects the interior of the vehicle from the strong electric fields. Cars and aircraft act as Faraday cages / shields to protect people when the vehicle is struck by lightning.
• Microwave: the microwaves inside the oven are trapped and used for cooking. The metal shell of the microwave acts as a Faraday cage.
• Protections for electronic goods: Electronic equipment can be shielded and protected from stray electromagnetic fields by using coaxial cables that contain a conducting shell that acts as a Faraday cage.
• Protective suits for power line workers, who often wear protective suits that act as Faraday cages while working with high voltage power lines. These suits protect them from getting electrocuted.
• MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) scan rooms are good examples of a Faraday cage. External radio frequency signals are prevented from interfering with the data coming from the patient.
How to Build a Faraday Cage
Do you know that your fragile computer chips need protection from the Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP)? To prevent them from getting disrupted by the EMP, we can build our own Faraday cages. There are also other numerous examples of the Faraday cage. Here is how to construct your own Faraday cage.
You will need:
- Two cardboard boxes – one cardboard box should fit tightly inside the other
- Aluminium foil
- 6 to 10 mm black polyethylene sheeting
- Grounding wire (wire that connects metal components in a circuit to the ground)
- An Alligator clip (also called spring clip / crocodile clip)
- Cellophane tape
- Aluminium foil
- 6 to 10 mm black polyethylene sheeting
- Grounding wire (wire that connects metal components in a circuit to the ground)
- An Alligator clip (also called spring clip / crocodile clip)
- Cellophane tape
• Place the smaller cardboard box inside the bigger one.
• Cover the external box completely with aluminium foil.
• Attach a grounding wire to the aluminium foil using the cellophane tape. Attach the crocodile clip to the end of the grounding wire.
• Wrap the covered box with the black polyethylene sheeting
• Use tape to prevent the foil from ripping
• Put the item into the smaller box
• Cover the external box completely with aluminium foil.
• Attach a grounding wire to the aluminium foil using the cellophane tape. Attach the crocodile clip to the end of the grounding wire.
• Wrap the covered box with the black polyethylene sheeting
• Use tape to prevent the foil from ripping
• Put the item into the smaller box
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You are listening to the UK preppers Radio network on KPRNDB-UK I’m your host Tom Linden
The Neutron Bomb
Some people felt at the time that its relatively small initial blast and large fallout was ideal for use in densely populated areas, like Europe. Other proponents argued that deployment of the neutron warhead could be used as a bargaining chip against the Soviet SS-20 missile which was viewed as a threat to NATO forces in Europe.
Opponents of the weapon argued that the neutron bomb made the idea of using nuclear weapons in war more conceivable. Because the neutron bomb would devastate the whole of a target, military planners might not be as hesitant to use the neutron bomb as they would a standard fission bomb.
Neutron Bomb Timeline
Summer 1958- While conducting researching on developing a large thermonuclear weapon, Sam Cohen introduces the idea of removing the uranium casing from a hydrogen bomb to allow neutrons to travel great distances and penetrate even heavily shielded armour and structures.
1961-The Kennedy administration decides against the idea of developing a neutron bomb and introducing it into the US nuclear arsenal because it may jeopardize the moratorium on nuclear testing being observed by the US and Soviet Union.
1961-The Soviet Union breaks the moratorium on nuclear testing allowing the US to proceed with developing the neutron bomb.
1962-The first neutron device is successfully tested.
1970s-The Carter administration proposes modernizing the US nuclear arsenal by installing neutron warheads on the Lance missiles and artillery shells planned for deployment in Europe.
1977-West Germans realize their country will likely be the battleground for use of the neutron bomb and begin hotly debating whether or not the weapon should be allowed on their soil.
1978-Succumbing to international and domestic pressure, President Carter decides to defer deployment of the neutron bomb, conditional to Soviet restraint in military production and force deployments.
1980-France announces that it has tested a neutron device.
1981-President Reagan re-authorizes the production of neutron warheads for the Lance missile and an 8-inch artillery shell, but because of strong opposition in Europe, he orders that all neutron weapons be stored in the US with the option to deploy overseas in the event of war. The USSR announces that it too has tested neutron weapons, but has no plans of deploying them.
1982-France begins production of the neutron warhead.
1986-France announces it will abandon the production of neutron warheads because of internal and external political pressure.
Definition of the Neutron Bomb
"Also called ENHANCED RADIATION WARHEAD, it is a specialized type of small thermonuclear weapon that produces minimal blast and heat but which releases large amounts of lethal radiation.
The neutron bomb delivers blast and heat effects that are confined to an area of only a few hundred yards in radius. But within a somewhat larger area it throws off a massive wave of neutron and gamma radiation, which can penetrate armour or several feet of earth.
This radiation is extremely destructive to living tissue. Because of its short-range destructiveness and the absence of long-range effect, the neutron bomb would be highly effective against tank and infantry formations on the battlefield but would not endanger cities or other population centres only a few miles away.
It can be carried in a Lance missile or delivered by an 8-inch (200-millimetre) howitzer, or possibly by attack aircraft. In strategic terms, the neutron bomb has a theoretical deterrent effect: discouraging an armoured ground assault by arousing the fear of neutron bomb counterattack.
The bomb would disable enemy tank crews in minutes, and those exposed would die within days. U.S. production of the bomb was postponed in 1978 and resumed in 1981."
How To Make A Feather Stick For Fire Lighting
Attempting to start a fire in the damp or rain can be laborious process, therefore, mastering the art of feather stick making could mean the difference between being able to start a fire and keeping warm and spending a cold and miserable night in camp.
Split wood burns much better than whole wood and even if it is raining, or if the wood you are using appears damp, the inside of the branch will invariably still be dry. Feather sticks are simply large branches split down into smaller pieces to reveal the dry inside, which is then shaved so that the shavings remain attached to the stick, providing both tinder and kindling in the same handy package.
As well as assisting with initial fire lighting, feather sticks can also be used to re-ignite a fire which has died down, or which has been opened up whilst away from camp.
Select a piece of dead, standing wood, about 2-3 inches in diameter (5-7 cm) and about 30–60 cm in length, which is straight and has no knots along its surface. Dead standing wood are branches and twigs that have fallen, however, before reaching the floor, has got caught on other branches or trees. This acts to keep the wood from lying on the damp ground and becoming sodden and rotten.
Take the wood you have selected and, depending on its size, split it length ways into at least four pieces. This can be achieved by taking a knife, and placing it at the top of the stick, using another branch or batten to hit down through the top of the knife, cutting through to the bottom of the wood, as seen below.
Once the initial branch has been cut into several smaller pieces, select one and place it lengthways on the floor or a steady log.
Run your finger down the stick, you will feel a prominent ridge, take a sharp knife and angle it slightly inwards. Run the knife down the ridge, shaving the wood as thin as possible, until just before the bottom of the stick. As the wood is carved, the shaving will curl up as it nears the bottom, try and keep the shavings attached to the wood.
Each shaving made will create a new ridge, make a slight turn in the wood and cut down this new ridge. By moving the angled blade down each ridge and repeating the process, fine shavings and subsequently a decent feather stick can be created. Continue turning and cutting the feather stick until the wood snaps or there is sufficient feathering to start and maintain your fire. You will need several feather sticks to achieve this aim.
If the feather stick is made correctly, it will have thin shavings next to thicker shavings. The thin shavings will catch a spark from a flint or fire striker, which will subsequently ignite the thicker shavings creating a longer lasting flame.
Whilst carving your feather sticks, don’t worry if some of the shavings fall onto the floor, as these can be placed individually on your tinder bundle or flame.
In summary, if it is cold a wet when setting up camp, a few minutes of extra effort, spent creating several feather sticks, will pay dividends in creating a fire for warmth, water purification and the cooking of food. Once the fire is going, more feather sticks can be prepared and kept dry, to assist in re-igniting the fire in the morning.
Water for Survival
Your body loses water through normal body processes (sweating, urinating, defecating and even breathing). During average daily exertion when the atmospheric temperature is 20 degrees Celsius (C) (68 degrees Fahrenheit), the average adult loses and therefore requires 2 to 3 litres of water daily. Other factors, such as heat exposure, cold exposure, intense activity, high altitude, burns, or illness, can cause your body to lose more water. You must replace this water.
Our body consists of 60% water, 75% of our brain and lean muscles is water, and 83% of water in our blood. Dehydration results from inadequate replacement of lost body fluids. It decreases your efficiency and, if injured, increases your susceptibility to severe shock. Consider the following results of body fluid loss:
A 2% dehydration, results in a feeling of thirst.
A 5% dehydration, results in a feeling of being hot and tired, and strength and endurance decrease.
A 10% dehydration, results in a feeling of delirium and blurred vision.
A 20% dehydration, results in death.
The most common signs and symptoms of dehydration are:
Dark urine with a very strong odour.
Low urine output.
Dark, sunken eyes.
Loss of skin elasticity.
Delayed capillary refill in fingernail beds.
Trench line down centre of tongue.
Thirst. Last on the list because you are already 2 per cent dehydrated by the time you crave fluids.
In any situation where food intake is low, drink 6 to 8 litres of water per day. In an extreme climate, especially an arid one, the average person can lose 2.5 to 3.5 litres of water per hour. In this type of climate, you should drink 14 to 30 litres of water per day.
With the loss of water there is also a loss of electrolytes (body salts). The average diet can usually keep up with these losses but in an extreme situation or illness, additional sources need to be provided. A mixture of 0.25 teaspoon of salt to 1 litre of water will provide a concentration that the body tissues can readily absorb.
Of all the physical problems encountered in a survival situation, the loss of water is the most preventable. The following are basic guidelines for the prevention of dehydration:
Always drink water when eating. Water is used and consumed as a part of the digestion process and can lead to dehydration.
Acclimatize. The body performs more efficiently in extreme conditions when acclimatized.
Conserve sweat not water. Limit sweat-producing activities but drink water.
Ration water. Until you find a suitable source, ration your water sensibly. A daily intake of 500 cubic centimetre (0.5 litre) of a sugar-water mixture (2 teaspoons per litre) will suffice to prevent severe dehydration for at least a week, provided you keep water losses to a minimum by limiting activity and heat gain or loss.
You can estimate fluid loss by several means. A standard field dressing holds about 0.25 litre (one-fourth canteen) of blood. A soaked T-shirt holds 0.5 to 0.75 litres.
You can also use the pulse and breathing rate to estimate fluid loss. Use the following as a guide:
With a 0.75 litre loss the wrist pulse rate will be under 100 beats per minute and the breathing rate 12 to 20 breaths per minute.
With a 0.75 to 1.5 litre loss the pulse rate will be 100 to 120 beats per minute and 20 to 30 breaths per minute.
With a 1.5 to 2 litre loss the pulse rate will be 120 to 140 beats per minute and 30 to 40 breaths per minute. Vital signs above these rates require more advanced care.
Don't eat (especially dry food) if you cannot find water, because to digest food your body will need water.
If you're very thirsty and find water, drink it slowly, don't overload your system, and try to drink every 10 minutes until you don't feel thirsty anymore.
Ways to Find Water
Water is one of your most urgent needs in a survival situation. You can’t live long without it, especially in hot areas where you lose water rapidly through perspiration. Even in cold areas, you need a minimum of 2 litres of water each day to maintain efficiency.
More than three-fourths of your body is composed of fluids. Your body loses fluid as a result of heat, cold, stress, and exertion. To function effectively, you must replace the fluid your body loses. So, one of your first goals is to obtain an adequate supply of water.
Almost any environment has water present to some degree, here are some?
Frigid Areas: Snow and ice can be melted. Warning: Do not eat snow or ice without melting! Eating snow and ice can reduce body temperature and will lead to more dehydration. Sea ice that is grey in colour or opaque is salty. Do not use it without desalting it. Sea ice that is crystalline with a bluish cast has little salt in it.
For sea water you need to use desalted kit, do not drink seawater without desalting.
Rain Water: Rain water is not the main source in survival situation but in case it rains and you're short of water it would be of a big help, try to find a wide container, because the width in this case is more important than the depth especially if it's going to rain only for a short time, you may want to occupy the widest surface possible to take advantage of every drop of rain the wider the better (a kids inflatable swimming pool would be nice). Also you can spread a big clean sheet of plastic and make a hole in the middle, place it about 2 feet above the ground, place a bucket underneath the plastic sheet, exactly underneath the hole, so that the rain collected from the big plastic would pour rain water through the hole into the bucket, you may need to empty the bucket to a bigger container and place it again under the hole. (Try to make the centre of the plastic form a V so that the rain water will accumulate only in the centre by placing a clean stone in the centre).
Water at the Beach: Dig a hole deep enough to allow water to seep in, obtain rocks, build fire and heat rocks, drop hot rocks in water, hold cloth over hole to absorb steam, wring water from cloth. The rocks will make the water evaporate; the cloth will capture the evaporated water and convert it into water.
Alternate method if a container or bark pot is available, fill container or pot with seawater, build fire and boil water to produce steam, hold cloth over container to absorb steam; wring water from cloth.
Water in the Desert: In deserts you can find water in:
Valleys and low areas
Foot of concave banks of dry river beads
Foot of cliffs or rock outcrops.
First depression behind first sand dune of dry desert lakes.
Wherever you find damp surface sand
Wherever you find green vegetation
After you spot one of the options above dig holes deep enough to allow water to seep in.
In a sand dune belt, any available water will be found beneath the original valley floor at the edge of dunes.
Cacti can contain a good source of water, once a barrel cactus is found cut off the top and mash or squeeze the pulp. Caution: do not eat pulp, place pulp in mouth, suck out juice and discard pulp. Without a machete cutting into a cactus is difficult and takes time since you must get past the long strong spines and cut through the tough rind.
Stills (Solar Stills): You can use stills in various areas of the world. They draw moisture from the ground and from plant material. You need certain materials to build a still, and you need time to let it collect the water. It takes about 24 hours to get 0.5 to 1 litre of water.
To make a belowground still, you need a digging tool, a container, a clear plastic sheet, a drinking tube, and a rock (See image below).
Select a site where you believe the soil will contain moisture (such as a dry stream bed or a low spot where rainwater has collected). The soil at this site should be easy to dig, and sunlight must hit the site most of the day.
To construct the still:
Dig a bowl-shaped hole about 1 meter across and 60 centimetres deep.
Dig a sump in the centre of the hole. The sump's depth and perimeter will depend on the size of the container that you have to place in it. The bottom of the sump should allow the container to stand upright.
Anchor the tubing to the container's bottom by forming a loose overhand knot in the tubing.
Place the container upright in the sump.
Extend the unanchored end of the tubing up, over, and beyond the lip of the hole.
Place the plastic sheet over the hole, covering its edges with soil to hold it in place.
Place a rock in the centre of the plastic sheet.
Lower the plastic sheet into the hole until it is about 40 centimetres below ground level. It now forms an inverted cone with the rock at its apex. Make sure that the cone's apex is directly over your container. Also make sure the plastic cone does not touch the sides of the hole because the earth will absorb the condensed water.
Put more soil on the edges of the plastic to hold it securely in place and to prevent the loss of moisture.
Plug the tube when not in use so that the moisture will not evaporate.You can drink water without disturbing the still by using the tube as a straw. You may want to use plants in the hole as a moisture source. If so, dig out additional soil from the sides of the hole to form a slope on which to place the plants.
Then proceed as above. If polluted water is your only moisture source, dig a small trough outside the hole about 25 centimetres from the still's lip the trough about 25 centimetres deep and 8 centimetres wide. Pour the polluted water in the trough.
Be sure you do not spill any polluted water around the rim of the hole where the plastic sheet touches the soil. The trough holds the polluted water and the soil filters it as the still draws it. The water then condenses on the plastic and drains into the container.
This process works extremely well when your only water source is salt water. Note: This can only be done as a last resort in absence of other water sources.
Rainwater collected in clean containers or in plants is usually safe for drinking. However, purify water from lakes, ponds, swamps, springs, or streams, especially the water near human settlements or in the tropics.
When possible, purify all water you got from vegetation or from the ground by using iodine or chlorine, or by boiling.
Purify water by:
Using water purification tablets.
Placing 5 drops of 2 per cent tincture of iodine in a canteen full of clear water. If the canteen is full of cloudy or cold water, use 10 drops. (Let the canteen of water stand for 30 minutes before drinking.)
Boiling water for 1 minute at sea level, adding 1 minute for each additional 300 meters above sea level, or boil for 10 minutes no matter where you are.
By drinking no potable water you may contract diseases or swallow organisms that can harm you. Examples of such diseases or organisms are:
Dysentery. Severe, prolonged diarrhoea with bloody stools, fever, and weakness.
Cholera and typhoid. You may be susceptible to these diseases regardless of inoculations.
Flukes. Stagnant, polluted water--especially in tropical areas--often contains blood flukes. If you swallow flukes, they will bore into the bloodstream, live as parasites, and cause disease.
Leeches. If you swallow a leech, it can hook onto the throat passage or inside the nose. It will suck blood, create a wound, and move to another area. Each bleeding wound may become infected.
Water Filtration Devices
If the water you find is also muddy, stagnant, and foul smelling, you can clear the water:
By placing it in a container and letting it stand for 12 hours.
By pouring it through a filtering system.
Note: These procedures only clear the water and make it more palatable. You will have to purify it.
To make a filtering system, place several centimetres or layers of filtering material such as sand, crushed rock, charcoal, or cloth in bamboo, a hollow log, or an article of clothing.
Remove the odour from water by adding charcoal from your fire. Let the water stand for 45 minutes before drinking it.
What not to Drink:
Alcoholic beverages: dehydrate the body and cloud judgment.
Urine: contains harmful body wastes and is 2 per cent salt.
Blood: is salty and considered a food, therefore requires additional body fluids to digest, and may transmit disease.
Seawater: is about 4 per cent salt. It takes about 2 litres of body fluids to rid the body of waste from 1 litre of seawater, therefore by drinking seawater you deplete your body's water supply, which can cause death.
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A car could sink when falling off a bridge or simply when there is a flash flood. Once you’re the water starts pouring into your vehicle, do the following:
Stay calm, don't panic.
Unfasten your seat belt. (Don’t forget that)
Roll down your side window.
If it cannot be rolled down: break it with a heavy object (flashlight ...).
Don't try to break the windshield, it's very hard to break.
Swim out and head to the surface.
Reminder: Don't panic and forget your seat belt on, don't waste your time trying to save valuable possessions. SAVE YOURSELF.
How to Survive a House Fire
Statistically speaking, fires usually happen between 8 pm to 8 am. So chances you will be asleep when that happens, make sure you have smoke detectors in every room and that they're actually working. Follow these steps:
When you see the fire or smoke drop to the floor and crawl down.
When you reach a door, feel if it's hot before touching it to avoid burning your hand.
If it's hot, keep it closed, because it's protecting you from the smoke.
Try to get out of the window if living in the lower floor. Or signal for help if otherwise.
If the door is not hot, open it and find your exit from the house.
If your clothes catch on fire, stop where you are. Don’t run. Quickly drop to the ground. Roll over and over. This will put out the flames.
Call 999 or see if you can signal for help out of the window with a white shirt or flash light.
Other tips are: prepare a wet blanket to protect your body from burns. If there is too much smoke in the room, break the windows to have fresh air in the room.
Plan and practice with your family before a disaster hits.
Practice what to do with your kids when there is a fire.
Decide a meeting place where the whole family can meet (mailbox for example), so that if someone is not there, you would know that person is still inside.
How to Survive a Tornado
Tornadoes are unpredictable and destructive; they can wipe out a whole area in a matter of seconds. About 1000 tornadoes hit the U.S every year. Knowing how to save yourself depends on where you are. Below is what to do in 3 scenarios:
If you are in a structure (e.g. residence, small building, school, nursing home, hospital, factory, shopping centre, high-rise building) go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the centre of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Place yourself with as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck. Do not open windows.
If you're in a vehicle, trailer, or mobile home Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.
If you're outside with no shelter then lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of the potential for flooding.
Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.
Listen to a portable radio (weather channel), a key possession in a tornado, and wait for the official all clear.
How to remove Ticks
Ticks may carry diseases such as Lyme and babesiosis. You should remove the tick from your skin as soon as possible. But make sure you follow these steps.
The best way to remove a tick is to make it release its bite by pulling it off gently, leaving the tick and its mouth parts intact. So try the following:
Don't touch the tick. Use blunt curved tweezers or a thread.
Grasp the tick by placing the most part of its body inside the tweezers.
Start pulling firmly enough to lift up the skin.
Hold this tension for 3 to 4 minutes and the tick will let go.
Do not squeeze the body of the tick because its fluids may contain bacteria or tick-borne diseases.
Do not twist or jerk the tick while pulling upwards because this may cause the mouth parts to detach and stay on your skin.
People who are worried about Lyme disease can place the tick in a small plastic bag and freeze, so that if they get sick later they can take it for lab testing.
Wash your hands and the affected area with soap and water
Watch for signs of such as Bull's eye rash (Lyme disease symptom).
Making Cordage from Natural Fibres
In these modern days in our throwaway society, cordage, whether its string, cord or rope is taken for granted. Not much thought is given to it. A piece of string is used and when its job is done it will probably be discarded. When a piece of string is needed again, a fresh piece is cut from the ball and so it goes on.
However, to produce a length of cordage in the field from natural fibres can take a significant amount of time. Especially if a long, thin strong length of cordage needs to be produced. There are two main methods of producing cordage, twisting and plaiting.
Normally twisting is used to create an initial length of cordage. Then plaiting can be used with several of these twisted lengths to produce stronger, larger diameter cordage (cord or rope).
Lots of different natural fibres can be used to produce cordage. For example nettles, inner willow bark etc. Bear in mind that the cordage produced from natural fibres such as these are not as strong as commercial cordage which is now available.
o prevent cracking and breaking care should be taken not to bend natural cordage too sharply when using it in lashings or tying knots. One solution is to moisten the cordage to improve its flexibility but, one disadvantage of this is that water, as well as softening the natural fibres causes them to swell increasing the diameter of the cordage. This is fine until the cordage starts to dry out then any lashings or knots you have tied will become loose.
The outer fibres of the common nettle can be used to produce relatively strong thin cordage. First of all you must remove the leaves. This can be done by running your hand from the bottom to the top of the stem. Grasp the nettle firmly and you should not get stung. If you are worried about getting stung you can do this process wearing gloves.
Once all the leaves and stings have been removed you can crush the stem with the butt of your knife then run your thumb nail down the length of the nettle to open and flatten the stem out? Now take the stem and bend it over a finger. The outer fibres should now be able to be gently removed from the hard inner core. The outer fibres should then be put somewhere to dry until needed.
Take one of the nettle fibres and hold it tightly between finger and thumb at one end of the fibre. Then twist the fibre from the other end, rolling it over and over until it kinks, usually somewhere in the middle.
The fibre will now be half the original length. It will be doubled at one end. Continue to hold this end tightly between fingers and thumb while rolling the two tail ends around one another. When one of the tail ends ‘runs out’ add a new fibre in and continue twisting. Continue this process until your cordage reaches the length you require, to finish tie an overhand knot to stop the cord unwrapping.
The roots of many trees and plants can be used to produce cordage for example pine, alder and birch. Luckily the best roots for cordage tend to be found near the surface of the ground where they are thin and flexible. Using a digging stick or spade gently dig down until a suitable root is found.
Then follow the root along, exposing as much of its length as possible. This can sometimes be tricky as roots tend to interlace and can sometimes be quite a complicated puzzle. Don’t be lazy and try to pull on the root to remove it from the ground as it’ll just snap. In general it’s best to remove the roots outer bark but, it’s not always required. You can remove this bark by using a brake.
A brake is a thin stick which has a split at the end. You basically pull the root through the split stick (brake) and this scrapes the bark off the root. Larger diameter roots can be split in half or even quartered to produce the required diameter cordage.
Splitting also gives the advantage of giving cordage with a flat edge, giving a lashing more contact area and therefore greater strength. To split a root start the split with your knife. Then pull the two halves apart to continue the split. If the split starts to run off centre, bend the thicker half more (at a greater angle to the split).
Pay particular attention when approaching knots or bends with the split as these may have to be cut with a knife to stop them from running off.
As I mentioned at the beginning. We tend to use cordage without a thought.
The old saying “Easy come, Easy go” springs to mind. However, being able to produce cordage from natural fibres is an important skill which should not be overlooked.
It is time consuming but a skill well worth learning. One thing is for sure, after making a reasonable length of cordage from natural fibres you will certainly have new found appreciation for a humble piece of string.
How to Gain Permission to Use Land for survival training
In the United Kingdom at present land is at a premium. With a population of around sixty million which, is continually growing due to government policy and only 137,745 square miles (including Southern Ireland) making up the United Kingdom, it comes as no surprise that it is not easy to find quiet areas of land in which to practice the skills and crafts we are interested in.
So, how do we go about acquiring some land, preferably woodland to practise our skills in, legally and safely? Well there’s only one thing for it… you need to approach the landowner either in writing, in person or better still both.
I would suggest that you draft yourself a letter. In which you explain what you would like the landowner to do for you and what you can do for the landowner. Now bear in mind that this is an introduction.
The landowner probably doesn’t know you, so it’s probably best if you don’t go in with guns blazing asking for permission to build shelters, cut boughs off trees, light fires, camp for the night etc. etc. A trust has to build between both parties. You may know exactly what you are doing but, the landowner does not know how competent you are.
I know for a fact that if I owned a piece of woodland and someone I didn’t know approached me and asked if they could do these sorts of activities in it I’d be pretty loathed to say yes. For all I knew the entire woodland could end up being burnt to the ground. I’m sure if you put yourself in the shoes of a landowner you can understand why it is so hard to win them over.
Explain in your letter that you are interested in nature, both flora and fauna and that you would appreciate being able to walk across their land looking at what it has to offer. Tell them about your interests in tracking, foraging for wild edibles. Mention how some of the old country crafts and skills interest you. Basically, take a soft approach.
Once you have earned the landowners trust, then is the time to broach subjects such as fires and camping out overnight. Also take the time to explain in your letter what you can do for the landowner. Explain that you could be a sort of volunteer care taker. You can report broken fences that are in need of repair, fly tipping, other people misusing the land etc.
Explain that you will leave little or no trace of your being there. You will carry all rubbish out with you and in fact will take other peoples rubbish out if you come across it. In this way you are offering the land owner a service for allowing you onto his land.
As I have already mentioned, I think it is a good idea to introduce yourself in person. Try and use a bit of common sense when you do this. It probably won’t be a good idea to make a nuisance of yourself by turning up on their doorstep at a meal time or if they appear to be busy. And, for goodness sake don’t turn up dressed head to toe in camouflage, yes you may wear this when you’re out and about bush crafting but, rightly or wrongly it’s not the best first impression to give.
So, let’s imagine that you’ve been given permission to go onto the land you have asked about. Give it a little time, a couple of months perhaps. Then call on the landowner again. You could perhaps explain that you had seen some badger sets and would love to spend the night in the woods observing them. You are basically building the relationship and trust with the landowner. You never know, eventually they might become interested in what you’re doing and want to come with you (it’s happened to me).
Don’t dismiss areas of land that are owned or managed by large organisations. I was told several times by numerous people that there is no point approaching the Forestry Commission, as they don’t give permission to anyone.
If I had taken this advice on its face value I would have missed out on a large area of wooded land (roughly three hundred acres) that I was very kindly given permission to use by the Forestry Commission in my local area.
Take the time to write those letters and make those visits. It’s well worth it.
Good luck and happy land hunting.
First Aid Kit and First Aid Training
A first aid kit is an important item of equipment, especially when you are using a knife, axe or saw, therefore, it should be carried on your person (I carry a few select items in a pocket using a small nylon, waterproof pouch e.g. plasters, bandage etc. I call this my ‘small cuts kit’ with the main first aid kit in the rucksack). The first aid kit should be stocked to handle every day and worst case scenarios, as typically you will be a significant distance from medical help. The first aid kit shown in the picture contains
• 42 x assorted plasters
• 10 x antiseptic wipes
• 10 x cotton buds
• 8 x Co-codamol 30/500mg tablets
• 8 x Paracetamol 500mg tablets
• 8 x Ibuprofen 200mg tablets
• 6 x Imodium tablets
• 4 x safety pins
• 3 x dressing pad 7.5cm x 7.5cm
• 3 x dressing pad 5cm x 5cm
• 2 x stretch bandages 5cm x 4m
• 1 x roll of micro-pore tape
• 1 x tube of Savlon antiseptic cream
• 1 x tube of Lipsol cream
• 1 x scissors
• 1 x tweezers
• 1 x needle
• 1 x bottle of surgical spirits
• 1 x field dressing 20cm x 19cm
• 1 x water proof container
The most common requirements will by to treat minor cuts, splitters and blisters. To treat blisters, first clean the affected area with surgical spirits and drain using a sterilised needle (heated in flame) by making a small hole at the edge of the blister and gently push out the fluid.
Then wipe on a little antiseptic cream or surgical spirit and cover with a suitable plaster or gauze and tape. Tip; ensure that the tape does not stick onto the blister as this can cause tearing when removed. If possible remove the cause of the blister in the shoe and increase padding using thicker or additional socks.
At night allow blisters to dry by removing plasters and drain again. A rub with surgical spirits also helps harden and clean the skin and on your feet and between your toes. You should pay particular attention to medium sized cuts as these can easily become infected.
Ensure these are covered with a suitable plaster i.e. keeping the cut clean and immobilised it whilst it’s healing. Tip, if a cut does become dirty keep a clean plaster on overnight, its surprising how easily the dirt is drawn out.
The disadvantage of keeping a plaster on for a long period of time is that it softens the skin, when possible airs the cut to allow the skin to harden (although not recommended I find that a splash of surgical spirits helps).
Worst case scenarios are covered with a standard army field dressing and a selection of dressing pads and stretch bandages. Pain killers included; Paracetamol (general, reduce fever), Co-codamol (stronger), Ibuprofen (anti-inflammatory, aspirin based).
Care should be taken when mixing Paracetamol based tablets i.e. Paracetamol and Co-codamol. Finally, Imodium tablets to treat bowl disorders.
And, last but not least… Knowledge. I have seen extremely fancy first aid kits that would put some A&E departments to shame. They include, defibrillators, suture kits etc. But, if you don’t know how to use these items, they are pretty much useless to you.
GET SOME TRAINING! St John’s ambulance courses are available in most places. Better still and much more applicable to the survivalist’s are dedicated survival first aid courses.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is spread to humans by infected ticks. Ticks are small, spider shaped insects that feed on the blood of mammals including humans.
The most common symptom of Lyme disease is a red skin rash that looks similar to the bull’s eye on a dartboard. However, if Lyme disease is left untreated, further symptoms can follow, including:
A high temperature (fever) 38C or over.
Joint pain and swelling.
Neurological symptoms, such as temporary paralysis of the facial muscles.
A person with Lyme disease is not contagious because the infection can only be spread by the ticks.
Lyme disease is an uncommon infection. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) estimates that there are between 1,000 – 2,000 cases of Lyme disease in the UK each year.
The ticks that cause Lyme disease are commonly found in woodland and heath land areas. This is because these types of habitat have high numbers of tick-carrying animals, such as deer and mice. Parts of the UK that are known to have a particularly high population of ticks include:
The New Forest in Hampshire.
The South Downs.
Parts of Wiltshire and Berkshire.
Thetford forest in Norfolk.
The Lake District.
The “Yorkshire Moors”.
The Scottish Highlands.
Due to their breeding patterns the tick population is at its highest during late spring and early summer.
Ticks can also be found in rural areas of many other countries including:
United States of America.
There is a widely held misconception that the outlook for Lyme disease is poor, and that the condition cannot be treated. However, this is not the case.
If Lyme disease is diagnosed in its early stages, it can be treated with antibiotics, and the outlook for the condition is excellent. Most people will make a full recovery within a couple of days.
Even if more serious symptoms develop, they can usually be cured with antibiotics, although a longer course will be required.
A vaccination for Lyme disease was introduced in 1998, but it has since been withdrawn by the manufacturer due to controversies over alleged side effects.
The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to take sensible precautions when you are in areas that are known to have a high tick population, such as:
Wear a long sleeved shirt.
Wear long trousers and tuck the legs into your socks.
Wear insect repellent.
Inspect your skin for ticks, particularly at the end of the day, including your head, neck, armpits, groin and waistband.
How to Read a Compass
Navigation by way of compass may seem daunting at first to a beginner, but this trepidation shouldn’t stand in the way of learning to use one. In fact, once the basics are down, a compass will be a valued friend in the back-country — one you can always count on to help guide your steps.
This guide is meant to be a general overview of the basics of using a compass, with or without a map. There are only a few key things to keep in mind, and once you have grasped these fundamentals, the realm of compass navigation will be open to you forever.
First of all, what exactly does a compass do? In short, a compass is a fixed housing containing a free-floating metal “needle” able to align itself to the Earth’s magnetic field. One end of the needle will always point towards the north magnetic pole.
An important fact to mention here is that magnetic north is not the same as geographic north. A map will make reference to geographic north, i.e. the North Pole, a fixed point on the Earth’s surface, whereas magnetic north fluctuates in position over time. This is known as magnetic declination. I’ll come back to this in a moment.
In addition to the floating needle, a compass may have a myriad of other features, but only a few are really relevant to basic orienteering. The first, and most important, is the rotating bezel on the face.
The bezel contains the 360 degrees of a circle, or the azimuth. Another often-used term is bearing. So the bezel allows the user to “dial-in” his or her desired direction of travel simply by rotating the face.
Let’s say for example that you know your home base is in a south-easterly direction, ~120 degrees of azimuth. If you wanted to make sure you travelled in that direction, you would first orient yourself so that the red (north) end of the compass needle is aligned with the N (0°) mark on the bezel.
Next, you would rotate the bezel until the needle pointed to 120°. Finally, you would simply rotate yourself so that the needle once again pointed to the N (0°) mark. And voila, you now have your bearing.
Magnetic or Geographic?
There is one catch, though. Remember what I said about magnetic north not being true or geographic north? Well, the difference between the two is determined by your location on the Earth’s surface, and it’s enough to really throw off your bearing and put you into the nearest swamp.
Luckily, the bezel holds the key once again. Once you know your magnetic declination, you simply rotate the bezel according to that number. For instance, let’s pretend you live in Seattle, and know your magnetic declination to be 16° 51′ E. In this case, the difference is ~ +17° from true north, so we need to subtract that from our current bearing by rotating the bezel to the right.
So with our compass needle now pointing north again, our housing (and thus our direction of travel) will be oriented to 343°. Confused? Not surprising.
But take heart, it is much easier to understand once you have your compass in hand.
Finally, you might be asking, “How do I choose the right compass for me?” While there are lots of compass models on the market, the best ones will not be overwhelming with features nor so bare bones that they lack even a rotating bezel.
My personal recommendation is to go with a standard, liquid-filled orienteering compass such as that made by Suunto or Brunton. Stay away from “button” compasses or those found in the hilts of knives.
They are largely inaccurate and will not help you in the long run. Once you grasp the basics of using your standard compass, you can graduate to one with more advanced features. That being said, as long as your compass has a rotating bezel and can reliably point to magnetic north, you have everything you need to find your way.
Spending my early years in Northern Ireland, I did a lot of fresh water fishing as well as the sea fishing. Regarding the fresh water fishing I caught a few trout (mostly rainbow), bream, perch and a few pike. Sea fishing has mainly been whiting, mackerel, flounder and if I’ve been very lucky the occasional bass.
Please note that in normal situations you should NOT use some of these techniques that will be covered in this and future fishing articles, in the United Kingdom as they are illegal and others require the correct permit or licenses.
OK! Let’s address the most common mistake that inexperienced anglers make. When I say ‘inexperienced anglers’ I’m thinking of people such as myself. I’m interested in survival and bush craft not fishing itself. When I am fishing it is not for sport or merely pleasure, although I do enjoy it to a certain degree, it is to obtain food.
It is food which may possibly help to keep me alive or at least enable me to function.
So, the most common mistake made is simply dropping a hook, net, trap etc. into a body of water without much thought of our prey (the fish) and relying on luck or chance to catch our dinner. Well, like most things, it’s not quite as simple as that…
When fishing (no matter what technique we are using) one of the first areas we need to understand are the characteristics and behaviours of the fish we are trying to catch i.e. there is no point fishing in the wrong location, at the wrong time with the wrong tackle/bait. Let’s face it; you wouldn’t try to catch a rabbit on a beach with a figure four trap baited with beef jerky would you? The same principles apply to fishing.
Fresh water fish species can be divided into three groups: predators (mostly eat other fish), prey (mostly eat plants and insects) and mixed (mostly eat fish and insects). A good indication of category is tooth size, larger teeth indicates a higher percentage of fish in its diet (although it should be noted that most species will eat small fry at some time during the year). In general there will be a lot more prey fish than predators, therefore, play the odds and target this group.
Locating the fish is half the battle. In general fish look for two things: food and shelter. Don’t select a spot to fish from with just your comfort in mind. Give a thought to what a fish is looking for.
Most fish are naturally nervous preferring to have an area of cover close by e.g. overhanging trees, reed beds, water lilies, submerged obstacles etc. however, saying this on large lakes they are equally likely to be found in open water looking for food.
This is particularly true during the summer when the water is warm (fish tend to be more active), shoals of young prey fish can be found in open water near the surface (float tackle about 30cm deep), whereas larger fish will tend to prefer the deeper, cooler water.
The best way to locate fish is to look for the fish themselves e.g. visual inspection, breaking surface, taking insects, gas bubbles disturbed during feeding, fry jumping to escape predators etc. When a likely area is chosen select an appropriate bait e.g. caterpillars or fruit (elder berries) falling into the water from an overhanging tree, slugs, worms, crickets on the river bank etc. Remember to cut the bait to match the size of the fish you are targeting.
If a fish cannot fit the bait you are presenting it into its mouth, it will not take the bait.
A tip worth remembering – You can catch big fish with a big hook. You can catch small fish and big fish with a small hook. Remember, play the odds in your favour.
Basic Wilderness Survival Skills
Fear – For anyone faced with a wilderness emergency survival situation, fear is a normal reaction. Unless an emergency situation has been anticipated, fear is generally followed by panic then pain, cold, thirst, hunger, fatigue, boredom and loneliness. It is extremely important to calmly assess the situation and not allow these seven enemies to interfere with your survival.
Pain – Pain may often be ignored in a panic situation. Remember to deal with injuries immediately before they become even more serious.
Cold – Cold lowers the ability to think, numbing the body and reducing the will to survive. Never allow yourself to stop moving or to fall asleep unless adequately sheltered.
Thirst – Dehydration is a common enemy in an emergency situation and must not be ignored. It can dull your mind, causing you to overlook important survival information.
Hunger – Hunger is dangerous but seldom deadly. It may reduce your ability to think logically and increase your susceptibility to the effects of cold, pain and fear.
Fatigue – Fatigue is unavoidable in any situation so it is best to keep in mind that it can and will lower your mental ability. Remember that in an emergency situation this is often the bodies way of escaping a difficult situation.
Boredom & Loneliness – These enemies are quite often unanticipated and may lower the mind’s ability to deal with the situation.
Building a fire is the most important task when dealing with survival in the wilderness. Be sure to build yours in a sandy or rocky area or near a supply of sand and water as to avoid forest fires. The most common mistakes made by those attempting to build a fire are: choosing poor tinder, failing to shield precious matches from the wind and smothering the flames with too large pieces of fuel. The four most important factors when starting a fire are spark – tinder – fuel – oxygen.
1. Waterproof, strike-anywhere matches are your best bet. Matches may be water-proofed by dipping them in nail polish. Store your matches in a waterproof container.
2. A cigarette lighter is also a good way to produce a spark, with or without fuel.
3. The flint and steel method is one of the oldest and most reliable methods in fire starting. Aim the sparks at a pile of dry tinder to produce a fire.
4. The electric spark produced from a battery will ignite a gasoline dampened rag.
5. Remove half of the powder from a bullet and pour it into the tinder. Next place a rag in the cartridge case of the gun and fire. The rag should ignite and then may be placed into the tinder.
6. Allow the sun’s rays to pass through a magnifying glass onto the tinder.
Dry grass, paper or cloth lint, gasoline-soaked rags and dry bark are all forms of tinder. Place your tinder in a small pile resembling a tepee with the driest pieces at the bottom. Use a fire starter or strip of pitch if it is available.
Before building your shelter be sure that the surrounding area provides the materials needed to build a good fire, a good water source and shelter from the wind. It is important to keep in mind that smaller pieces of kindling such as, twigs, bark, shavings and gasoline, are necessary when trying to ignite larger pieces of fuel.
Gather fuel before attempting to start your fire. Obviously dry wood burns better and wet or pitchy wood will create more smoke. Dense, dry wood will burn slow and hot. A well ventilated fire will burn best.
Wilderness shelters may include:
1. Natural shelters such as caves and overhanging cliffs. When exploring a possible shelter tie a piece of string to the outer mouth of the cave to ensure you will be able to find your way out. Keep in mind that these caves may already be occupied. If you do use a cave for shelter, build your fire near its mouth to prevent animals from entering.
2. Enlarge the natural pit under a fallen tree and line it with bark or tree boughs.
3. Near a rocky coastal area, build a rock shelter in the shape of a U, covering the roof with driftwood and a tarp or even seaweed for protection.4. A lean-to made with poles or fallen trees and a covering of plastic, boughs, thick grasses or bark is effective to shelter you from wind, rain and snow.
5. A wigwam may be constructed using three long poles. Tie the tops of the poles together and upright them in an appropriate spot. Cover the sides with a tarp, boughs, raingear or other suitable materials. Build a fire in the centre of the wigwam, making a draft channel in the wall and a small hole in the top to allow smoke to escape.
6. If you find yourself in open terrain, a snow cave will provide good shelter. Find a drift and burrow a tunnel into the side for about 60 cm (24 in) then build your chamber. The entrance of the tunnel should lead to the lowest level of you chamber where the cooking and storage of equipment will be. A minimum of two ventilating holes are necessary, preferably one in the roof and one in the door.
Clothing must provide warmth and offer protection from the elements. Layers of light, natural fibers are best. Hats are a must, as they offer protection from both the heat and cold. Water proof outer layers are necessary.
Equipment must be easily manageable and promote survival in any situation. Items to carry in your pockets may include a fire starter, waterproof matches and/or lighter, a pocket knife, goggles, compass, small first-aid kit and some sort of trail food.
Items for your survival kit should be packed in a waterproof container that can double as a cooking pot and water receptacle and be attached to your belt.
In addition to a survival kit, a good, comfortable backpack is mandatory. Loads of about 18 kg (40 lb.) are average. Items to include are; flashlight, extra jacket, socks and mittens, a pocket saw, gas camp stove, first aid kit, emergency food, and a tent and fly.
Useful items to include on your trek are:
1. A map and compass.
2. A large, bright plastic bag will be useful as a shelter, signalling device or in lieu of raingear.
3. A flashlight with extra batteries.
4. Extra water and food.
5. Extra clothing such as raingear, a toque and gloves, a sweater and pants.
6. Sun protection such as sunglasses, sunscreen, a hat and long sleeved clothing.
7. A sharp pocket knife.
8. Waterproof matches, a lighter and/or a flint.
9. Candles and fire starter.
10. A first aid kit.
11. A whistle, flares, a tarp.
Before venturing into the wilderness check weather forecasts and hazards.
Types of Campfires
I have to believe that one of the first things a creature did once it climbed out of the primordial ooze was to seek warmth. I can certainly relate to that quest at the end of a long paddling day. Despite the fact that proper clothing should provide its wearer with adequate warmth, there is still something about the glow and radiant heat of a good campfire that all the right garments can never provide.
Like a friendly mongrel mutt, any fire can give you feelings of warmth. However, knowing how different fires direct and produce differing amounts of heat can help you make the best fire for different circumstances. The "science" of a fire is based on three elements: fuel, oxygen and heat.
The fuel is the material that will start and then keep the fire burning. In order to burn it must have oxygen. The oxygen combines with the gases emitted from the fuel as it’s consumed - that gas is released by heat applied to the fuel.
Eventually the fuel is consumed, the energy is released in light and heat and the process is sustained by adding more fuel or reinitiated when a fire is needed again.
The key to any good fire is a quick start, sometimes with only one or two chances to do so. Good tinder - small dry shavings or strands or globs or drippings of quickly combustible material used to start a fire - is critical.
Practice with whatever fire igniter you prefer and practice lighting the myriad varieties of tinder you can find outdoors: cattail fluff, birch bark, shredded dry leaves, small blades and stalks of grass, lint from you pockets - practicing what lights quickly and produces enough heat to start your tinder burning is a key skill in becoming a competent fire starter. Tinder is the base of your fire.
Most any larger fire will usually be started from a tiny, burning pile of tinder (unless you happen to go the shortcut route and use Boy Scout Juice - lantern fuel!)
Once you're comfortable selecting and using tinder, learn what type of kindling can be used to further fuel your fire.
The tinder should burn long and hot enough to generate the gases that will ultimately ignite and start the combustion process with the larger pieces of wood or burning material that will be used to sustain your fire for a longer period of time.
Tinder is usually dry sticks and twigs that can usually be collected on the ground, or in wet country, from downed and dead branches and trees. It's often called "squaw wood" inferring it can be gathered without tools and much effort.
Sometimes larger, thicker pieces of bark or even stout canes and stalks from vegetation can be used as kindling. Tinder can also be used to generate a quick burst of heat for cooking, or light for better visibility around the camp. Once a fire is up and going, the larger pieces of wood can be used to maintain the fire with less monitoring than with smaller, more quickly consumed materials.
All fires are not the same; they can be built for specific purposes, to accent either heat or light, and can be constructed so as to radiate heat in a certain direction.
This is probably the most basic of fire designs. It is often used as a starter upon which bigger, longer-lasting fires are founded.
It's also a great fire for a quick warm-up or water-boiling snack break. This fire uses mostly kindling, but larger teepees can be created by adding larger logs vertically to the fire. Many beach fires are large teepee fires where pole-sized driftwood is laid upright against others to form this familiar shape.
A teepee fire is a good fire to direct heat upward and can be used beneath a hung pot on a tripod for fast heating.
This fire consists of a foundation framework of large logs laid side by side to form a solid base. A slightly shorter log is laid perpendicular and on top of this first layer. Each subsequent layer is slightly shorter as the platform or pyramid rises. This solid mass of right angle firewood takes a little effort to light but its well worth it for the huge amount of coals it produces, especially when the fire is lit on the top most layer and burns down through the layers.
A lighter version of the Pyramid fire is the platform. It's similar in shape to the pyramid fire except the logs are layered only along the outside edge (like walls on a log cabin) with each level of logs slightly shorter than the ones beneath.
This creates a hollow wood platform into which smaller kindling can be placed and ignited. It can provide quick warmth and be the start of any number of larger blazes.
Sometimes a fire is built between two long logs. If the logs are the same size, the tops of the log can be used to place pots for cooking.
It has the added advantage of prolonging the fire since the insides of the log are burning too, and it’s easy to direct the fire up or down the length of the side log, literally until the entire log eventually consumed.
A similar fire is the trench fire, used almost exclusively for cooking. These work by either blocking the wind or in funnelling the wind into the fire for a more concentrated and hotter "burn". Several pots can be placed over the trench and the fire can be maintained at different levels for a variety of cooking options.
STAR or INDIAN FIRE:
A star fire, or Indian fire, is the fire design often depicted as the campfire of the old West. Imagine five or six logs laid out like the spokes of a wheel (star shaped). A fire is started at the "hub" and each log is pushed towards the center as the ends are consumed. It's another fire that can be kept burning all night long with little maintenance.
A reflector fire is really any fire that has some sort of flat surface behind it to direct the heat back out past the fire. This surface is erected behind the fire and pointed, for example, at the face of a tent, lean-to or other shelter.
This back reflector can be made out of a few large slabs of bark, several logs laid against supports and stacked upon each other to form the surface. Rocks can also be used but just like those used to ring a fire, make sure they do not contain moisture.
That trapped moisture can be heated to where it's like a steam engine with no release valve. Exploding rocks can send shrapnel and shards flying in every direction!
Several fire starters are on the market, from the basic match to clever kits that contain a flint-like material and striker unit all packaged together.
Space-age lighters and water/storm proof matches all can be your choice of fire starter. The most important thing to remember about fires is learning how to build and lit them long before you need one to save your life. Practice at home, make it a ceremonial task at your next camp out.
As humans I am convinced that the feelings evoked by a good campfire are remnants of our cave-dwelling ancestral days. Even if we have a good coat on our back, and a belly full of warm food cooked on a camp stove, there is something about a fire that makes the campsite complete.
Selection of your Campsite
Selection of your campsite is important to the enjoyment of your camping experience. Would you rather waken to a sunny morning or a cold, damp shady greeting? Sometimes you have to accept the campsite your map and plans have led you to, but even then, there are usually several choices as to where you put your tent or tents.
Guide books will usually rate established campsites. Here are things I look for:
1. A level spot big enough to accommodate my tent and the tents of my buddies, and also a spot suitable for cooking. Avoid areas full of rodent holes; camp away from game trails. Avoid camping near wood piles or other possible snake dens.
2. Threatening trees full of overhead deadwood. Even large falling cones can provide a painful awakening.
3. Gullies, narrow valleys, etc. Flash floods may pose a serious and lethal hazard. I find that camps above the valley floor but below hill crests offer fewer mosquitoes, pleasing breezes, which also mean drier ground, without the high winds of hill tops, sunnier exposures, and better views. These are also more lightning safe.
4. Camp away from hiking trails.
5. Use established fire rings. If you must make a new one, clear ground, make a shallow pit, circle pit with rocks, and cover rocks with tin foil to avoid blackening and high impact on area.
Do not remove stones from creek beds – internal water may expand and cause the stone to explode. Collect only dead, fallen wood for your fire.
NEVER, NEVER pull wood from trees or shrubs. NEVER. Keep fires small – don’t waste wood. It takes time to replenish itself and other campers would love to find some wood available, too.
6. If others are camped nearby, try to include some physical separation (trees, boulders, etc.); 9:00 PM is Quiet Hour. Many campers are up by 6:00 AM to get an early start on the trail. Respect the privacy of others.
7. Make sure there is a water source nearby.
8. Restore campsite, as much as possible, to its "pre-you" state.
The Birch Tree
The slender white barked birch tree can be found growing on the hills and mountain sides in the more temperate areas of the far north. It is considered to be a small tree (some birches are even classified as shrubs) with distinctive white bark that is marked with fine horizontal lines and a dark green triangular (or rhombus shaped) leaves with saw-toothed edges. The bark, for which the tree is most known for, starts out smooth and silvery white then turns bright white as it matures. The bark also develops large black cracks in it as it ages.
For centuries, Birch has been used to treat a large number of different maladies. Birch based brews have been used to help cleanse the body of toxins or intestinal parasites. The leaves have been used to treat infections and skin irritations and the buds have been used as diuretic to help with various bladder ailments.
The wood coal has been used to help deal with toxins, the bark, ripped into bands and moistened with water has even been used to help stabilized fractures.
Here are some other things that Birch has been used for:
Flu, fever, colds
Urinary Tract Health
The Birch tree has many amazing traditional healing properties and recent medical research has shown that the leaves, buds and bark of the birch do indeed have many beneficial substances that can lead to better health and well-being.
The buds of the birch tree, for example, have been shown to be high in Vitamin C, flavonoids, and tannins making them helpful in the prevention of viral infection and the formation of cancer. A decoction of birch buds has also been shown to help increase urination and to aid in the abatement of oedemas.
Perhaps the most exciting thing about the birch tree is the compound that is actually responsible for making the bark so white and shiny. Birch bark is rich in a compound known as botulin, a powdery substance that displays many valuable pharmacological properties.
Studies have shown that botulin could be potentially effective in the treatment of skin cancer, respiratory syncytial virus, pneumonia, and has even been tested for its effectiveness against HIV virus.
The unique biology of botulin and betulinic acid have also been shown to help protect the liver from toxic chemicals, and to help reduce the toxic effects of radiation and chemo therapy. It has also been shown that places where birch is abundant and the bark is used for many household items have displayed longer lifespan and less incidences of oncologic disease.
The birch has been prized for many centuries for both its aesthetic beauty as well as for its medicinal value. Throughout the regions where it grows it has becomes a symbol of health, healing, renewal and longevity, and modern research has shown that there is more than just a grain of truth to these myths surrounding this truly magical plant.
Using birch brews or infusions can help cleanse the body, clear the skin, strengthen the hair, and even help reduce the risk of tumours.
To treat diarrhoea brew birch bark tea. Use a teaspoon of ground birch bark and 8 ounces of boiling water. Allow the bark too steep for 15 minutes. Drink 3 cups spaced 4 hours apart to eliminate this health problem.
You can address skin conditions with a birch bark paste. Use sufficient water to cover the bark. Boil until soft and then mash with a kitchen hammer or pestle. Apply the paste to sores, abrasions and inflammations. Repeat daily and watch for improved skin health within a week.
Soothe sore muscles by rubbing them with birch oil, also called birch tar. Massage with the oil after exercise to reduce pain and stiffness.
Repel insects as they carry diseases that can compromise health. Use birch bark extract. It has a high concentration of acid that wards off mosquitoes, gnats and other bugs.
Combine 25 drops with 4 ounces of water. Use a spray pump bottle to distribute the mixture evenly over exposed skin.
Accelerate hair growth by brewing a tea using two handfuls of birch leaves. After shampooing, use the tea as a final rinse. Massage the scalp. You can also increase urination as this is important for the overall health of the urinary tract and prevention of kidney and bladder stones. Brew a birch leaf tea or take a tincture made from 2.5 grams of dry birch leaves. Drink one cup of tea or 25 drops of tincture, 3 times a day.
Further Companies to Support
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Go Survival Pack
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1 Person BASIC Backpack Survival Kit, the back pack that does it all
DD Hammock –The ultimate in Travel Hammocks
Elzetta ZFL-M60 Tactical Weapon-Grade LED Torch
Ultimate Adventurer Survival Kit everything in one kit
Adjustable Knife Lanyard Review
Handmade knives by James D. Sanders
Mini alarm Device with an Ultra bright White LED
The Power Trekk
The LUCI light
Nubé: (new-bay) The Ultimate Hammock Camping Shelter
Check out Black Cat Survival with its new shop Good Luck Guys
Maxpedition Jumbo E.D.C.
Solar Fire Starter Solar Lighter & Survival Tool
The Wilderness Gathering
From a small event in one field with some traders and schools sharing bushcraft skills and knowledge to a festival of wilderness living skills encompassing bushcraft/survival and woodland crafts.
The show has grown into an event with something for all the family with stories and music by the campfire in the evenings and skills workshops and activities throughout the three whole days of the festival.
The Wilderness Gathering has without a doubt become the premier family event for all those interested in bush crafts and the great outdoors.
The show has bushcraft clubs for all age groups of children to get involved in plus more activities for all including den building and wilderness skills classes for all.
There are hands on demonstrations of game preparation, knife sharpening, basha boat building, bowmaking, greenwood working, archery and axe throwing and primitive fire lighting to name just a few. There are talks on survival phycology, classes on falconry and wilderness survival fishing. All of these skills are there for everybody and anybody to participate in.
You can probably pick up information on nearly all the skills needed to live in the wilderness and prosper at The Wilderness Gathering.
There is a wealth of good quality trade stands that are carefully selected to be in theme for the show selling everything from custom knives to tipis and outdoor clothing to primitive tools. The organisers have even laid on a free service bring and buy stall where you can bring along your used and unwanted kit and they’ll sell it for you.
There are local scout and explorer groups onsite promoting the World Wide Scouting Movement as well helping out with some of the classes and site logistics.
The catering is within the theme of the event with venison and game featuring on the menus plus organic cakes and drinks. The woodland and open field camping facilities (with hot showers) giving you the option to visit for the whole weekend or just to attend as a day visitor.
Check out www.wildernessgathering.co.uk or call 0845 83870620845 8387062 you really won’t regret it.
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