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Survival Page Two



Surviving the Coming Collapse
Poor economic times usually spark the fear that total economic collapse is just around the corner. 

When the UK pound weakens and the price of goods such as oil, grain and gold rise, many people find themselves worrying about the economic stability of the country and how a downturn or even a total economic collapse could affect their bottom line.

So, how does one survive total economic collapse? There are a variety of survival skills, concerning both finances and day-to-day living that you can adopt to help you and your family survive total economic collapse, if such a situation befalls you.

Make a plan for how to survive a total economic collapse. List your debts and assets. How quickly can you pay off your debt, while still purchasing necessary supplies? 

Your goals should include no debt and the procurement and storage of valuable assets. Your preparation timetable should be as short as possible.

Pay off debt and avoid new debt by paying with cash instead of credit cards. Concentrate on paying off high-interest debt, loans with adjustable rates and unsecured debts first. 

Sell expensive vehicles that have loans to pay off what you owe and buy cheaper replacement vehicles using cash. To survive a total economic collapse, you need to have assets, not liabilities.

Convert your liquid savings into silver and gold. If the pound collapses, having precious metals will preserve your money, and precious metals can be used as currency or exchanged for a currency with value, such as Swiss francs.

As the pound continues to lose value, silver and gold preserve their value or go up in value, thus protecting your assets in the event of an economic recession, allowing you to financially survive a recession or depression.

Purchase goods and valuables such as guns for hunting and personal protection, and basic food and water supplies such as whole grains and legumes, like beans peas and lentils which are easy to store. 

Invest in water purification bottles and tablets, and keep some bottled water on hand to meet immediate needs in the event of a shortage.

All of these will make it more possible to survive a total economic collapse in the event of panic-induced disaster.

Prepare a first aid kit, sewing kit and other practical necessities of daily life to aid in survival of a total economic collapse. 

These are good things to have on hand anyway, for regular daily life as well as for emergencies.

Get to know your neighbours and build a community wherever you are. In the event of total economic collapse, life will become very local and survival will depend on working together with others, beginning with families.

Grow some of your own food and raise animals for meat, if possible. 

Chickens and rabbits are small and easy to look after.

Chickens provide eggs as well as meat and are excellent sources of protein and fat, both of which are   critical for survival. In economic downturns such as a recession or depression, being able to produce food is an important skill to have.

Learn how to barter, and stock items to trade. Think about necessities (wool blankets, soap, boots, duct tape, ammunition) as well as luxuries (chocolate, tobacco, alcohol).

Useful tools will be more valuable than money if there is a currency collapse. Useful barter items will be helpful to have on hand as you prepare to survive an economic collapse. 

The severity and flavour of a collapse will alter the value of one’s skill set and its favourable contribution to your own self-reliance and/or that of a group.

You could say that the more severe the collapse, the more primitive of skills and strengths will be necessary for basic survival.  

As the severity lessens, and as a rebuilding phase begins, a much broader set of skills will be required to establish systems of convenience and the rebuilding of an infrastructure.

During the post-collapse period, and during most attempts to interact with others, a question will be: “What do you bring to the table?” It may not be said out loud, but it will be part of the interaction.

So ask yourself: 

“What do I bring to the table? What skills do I have that will be useful or valuable after a collapse?”

Typically, a person’s skill is exemplified in their career choice. Their job. Many people also have hobbies, which often are not related to their job. Do any of these talents, interests or hobbies apply to skills that may be valued after a collapse?

If you are at all concerned about the possibility of a collapse scenario, one in which a major portion of society would be badly affected… meaning that you would probably NOT be able to escape it one way or another, then you may want to think about your existing skill set.

It may help to first jot down on a piece of paper, a number of collapse scenarios, particularly those that you feel in your gut may actually be of legitimate risk today. After you have completed the list, write down what it is that you believe will be lacking in such a world. 

Which services? Which utilities? etc…

try and imagine HOW you would get by with what you have and what you know, in order to simply stay alive. If that’s covered (which it probably is not if you are honest with yourself), then move on to something else, like security… 

HOW will you be able to keep or protect what you have from others who WILL wish to take it from you? (Desperate people do desperate things)

There are a handful of basic categories to initially consider – those that basically keep you alive and keep you fed and sheltered. Once you’ve covered that, then move on to the next level. Know that you cannot make it long-term entirely on your own.

You WILL need others. This is the level at which a broad skill set of individual talents will be more sought out. Initially these will still be fairly basic requirements. However even a basic requirement coupled with a targeted skill set will be extremely valuable due to the efficient and targeted application of said talent.

Unfortunately (for post collapse skills) in today’s modern world, many people’s skills are focused on high-tech in one way or another. While this is all fine and good for today, much of it will probably be completely nullified and useless in a post-collapse world.

One suggestion may be to acquire a hobby (which will become a skill) that is down to earth. 

Something practical, basic, but more importantly something that is FUN for you. Most of us like to get away from our modern day hectic lives once in a while, to get back to our roots.

Explore those feelings and experiment with some of the interests and curiosities that come to mind. Quite likely THESE ARE THE THINGS that will be valuable in a post-collapse world.

I believe that SO MUCH of our roots has been rotted out, that there will be a sort of re-planting in the not too distant future. Common sense tells me that you can only venture out so far on a plank, before you fall into the water.

The plank being highly leveraged modern day living by way of the systems that enable it. The water being the collapse.
It will do you good to better understand the risks that we face today, and to understand your existing skill set. If you need to make changes, 

I suggest that you do it soon…



Crossing Rivers
The beauty of a mountain stream flowing through a forest can be the highlight of the day. But knowing how to cross a river is a critical Survival skill.

The fact is that crossing rivers, especially when they’re running high, is among the riskier things you can do on the trail. Rocks and logs may offer a bridge to the opposite bank. 

But they’re often wet or covered with algae and mosses.
That can lead to slips and falls, and, therefore, any number of things that you really don’t want to experience: head injuries, broken bones, and the chance to get swept downstream.

The rate of runoff in streams and rivers is highly variable. In years of light snowfall and hot spring days, streams may run at low-to-moderate levels by early summer.

However, in years with heavy and late-season snows, rivers can run so high that trails, even ones with actual bridges can remain impassable well into summer.

Two keys to remember:” Don't take any unnecessary risks. And don't push anyone past their skill and confidence level. You're only as capable as the weakest person in your group”
Check on conditions. Identify your destination or trail. Then check for updates on weather conditions.

Carry a Staff or a pole. They can help you assess water depth and rate of runoff, then provide additional stability when you do cross a stream.

Wear shorts or convertible pants. Long pants will increase drag in the stream and can be uncomfortable to hike in once they’re soaked.

Pack hiking sandals or gym shoes. If a stream is shallow enough to cross, it’s often easier to walk through the water instead of trying to boulder hop on slippery rocks. With spare shoes or hiking sandals, you can keep your hiking boots dry.
But don’t cross barefoot or use flip-flops because the current can easily sweep them off your feet.

Get out early. Cooler overnight and morning temperatures mean that the volume of snowmelt is lower early in the day, which means that streams will flow more slowly.
Thunderstorms are also more common in afternoon and make currents more treacherous.

At the Crossing assess the situation. The actual point where a trail meets a river may not be the best place to get to the other side.

Scout the river (ideally from an elevated perspective) or look both up- and downstream for alternatives. If you can't identify a safe crossing location, then don’t take the risk and turn around.

Wishful thinking has no place in this decision, so be conservative and assume the worst. Invariably, streams are faster and deeper than they appear.

Straight, Wide, Shallow. That’s what you’re looking for when identifying a place to cross.

Watch out for debris. If the river is carrying a lot of debris, such as branches and small logs, it’s not a good idea to cross.

The debris is an indication that stream flows are high. And objects flowing downstream can create a serious hazard if they strike you as you’re crossing.

Look for braided channels. The crossing may be wider where a river breaks into separate channels. But the current's intensity will be dissipated and there may also be small islands or gravel bars where you can take a break and plot your next steps.

Test the current.

Toss a branch and watch how swiftly it moves downstream. That will give you a better sense of the direction of the main current and how fast it’s moving.

Don’t cross where flows are much above your knees. Even comparatively shallow water can knock you off balance and carry you downstream if it’s flowing rapidly enough. The only time to wade through deeper water is when you locate a flat pool with little or no current.

Loosen your pack before crossing. Undo your waist belt and let out the shoulder straps so that it's easier to remove. If you fall in and your pack gets soaked, it can drag you down or get snagged. You might lose your pack but consider the alternative.

Look for low and open exit points on the opposite bank. Once you reach the other side, you’ll want to be able to get out of the stream as quickly as possible. A scramble up a steep bank could lead to a slip that puts you right back into the stream.

When crossing the Stream face Upstream and Shuffle Sideways. Slide your feet along the bottom while facing the river.

Angle yourself diagonally to the flow and move in a slightly downstream direction toward the opposite bank.

Always maintain two points of contact with the bottom. Use your staff or pole to steady yourself as you shift your feet. The more contact you have with the bottom, the more stable you'll be.

There’s strength in numbers. Crossing with a partner or with a group of people creates additional stability. Link arms and coordinate your movements.







Tips for Over Night Survival
In the UK, most people who become lost are often day hikers or climbers who fully expect to sleep in their own bed (or at least in their own sleeping bag) that night. 

But a turn onto the wrong trail or an extra twenty minutes of late afternoon climbing can result in an unexpected overnight stay. Not forgetting an injury event either.

If you don’t carry a “survival kit” as such, there are a few inexpensive yet essential items I seldom venture far from home without. 
Among these are:
A reliable, sturdy knife (I recommend the Chris Cain Survival knife).
A good-quality multi-tool.
A length of Parachute cord.

A competent knowledge of how to use these three items will allow you to cut poles, prepare kindling, lash together a shelter, make a bow-drill fire, and perform a host of other tasks.

 Other items include:
A foil emergency blanket can also be used as an improvised poncho, ground cloth, or tarp.

First aid kit. It should include gauze, bandages, butterflies, antibiotic cream, plasters etc.

Compass: Worthwhile if you know how to use it, or know the approximate direction of nearby major landmarks.

A Wooley hat (even in warm weather). In addition to keeping you warm, it can be used as a bag.

A magnesium striker

A method of water purification (such as a Purificup or lifesaver Bottle).


A whistle. In really remote areas, a signal mirror is also a worthy addition.
Tips:
Learn to construct a simple cold-weather survival shelter. It doesn’t take a freezing night to bring about fatal hypothermia. Temperatures even in the fifties can be disastrous if you are improperly dressed or wet.

Always carry or wear a bandana. It can be used as a bandage, sling, or carrying bundle. A belt is useful, too.

Wrap a quantity of duct tape around your water bottle. Use good quality tape.

Stay put: You arrive at “lostness” from one direction, a single degree out of 360. 

You have 359 chances to depart your situation in the wrong direction.

Make a base camp: As humans, our sense of well-being is improved when we have a place to call home, even if it is a temporary one. 

Locate it in an area that is out of the wind, and where it won’t be flooded during a rainstorm.

Learn how to tie and use half a dozen or so simple but useful knots. Overhand knot, square knot, clove hitch, bowline, sheet bend, lark’s head, timber hitch, and variations on the half-hitch are good suggestions.

Customize your list: Include items specific to your needs such as daily or emergency medications, inhalers, or epi-pens.

Practice your skills and become familiar with your gear before you need them, so you know what to expect! when the time comes to use them, as it is then too late to learn them.

Having to night –out even with what some would see as sub-standard kit is not the end of the world so don’t panic.

Having clothes on is better than being naked, being behind a wall, hedge or tree is better than being exposed to the elements.

Being under a poncho is better than being wet, being in a cheap tent is better than being in a poncho, being in a sleeping is better than being without one, I think you get the message.
Any shelter is better than none. 

You main priority in finding shelter is to defend your body from the weather that is it you must keep dry and warm to have a chance of survival.

And as long as you understand the basic principles you can go on survival exercises even without the top of the range designer kit, because people have survived with far less before they were invented and I promise people will continue to do so in the future.



Small Game Hunting Strategies
I have really concentrated on which techniques and tricks to employ to harvest grey squirrels at certain periods of the season. Give these tips a try in your area, you may find your hunting success and pleasure really intensifies!

EARLY SEASON (SEPTEMBER- EARLY OCTOBER)

As the squirrel season starts, I totally concentrate on the feeding pattern of the squirrel. My favourite technique is to SLOWLY stalk through the woods, LISTENING for falling debris from feeding squirrels in the trees. Beech trees are my first target, so a little preseason scouting to locate productive trees will pay off in dividends.

When I hear evidence of an overhead squirrel, I immediately look for movement of the game. 

If all goes well, the sun will be right and the falling particles will be easily seen, giving away the squirrel's location. From this point the stalk is on.

Don’t hurry your shot! If you move slowly, avoiding downed branches and their tell-tale "snap" the squirrel will be busy feeding and pay no attention to you. Don't forget, the early season canopy of leaves will work in your favour as well..

If the action is slow, I resort to calling to the squirrels to liven up the forest.

MID SEASON (MID OCTOBER - EARLY NOVEMBER)

By now, the beech nuts have gone and I have to concentrate on another food source... corn! I set up for action now as opposed to my stalking technique.

Obviously, I am going to select hunting grounds that are proximate to cut corm fields. A typical set up is near a hedgerow between hardwoods and the corn itself. Hunters can attempt to do some quick scouting by looking for fallen corn husks or squirrels tracks in snow if any is present. From here it is a waiting game. 

When a squirrel is shot, stay put because more squirrels will often be following in pursuit of the corn.

LATE SEASON (DECEMBER - FEBRUARY)

If you are still pursuing squirrels at this point, use the snow to your advantage. Look for abundant tracks near tree bases so you know where the busiest section of woods will be. 

It is best to be hunting at day break, as squirrels are said to be most active from dawn to mid-day and spend the rest of the day in sleep.

SQUIRREL CALLING... DO THOSE THINGS REALLY WORK?

Well it is a known fact that squirrels spend most of their day in their dray after am feeding which can mean that the woods seem devoid of this little tasty creature so you need to call them, to expose them to be able to shoot them.

While squirrel calls are available commercially, I like to strike a coin against the butt plate of the gun, to imitate a bark and by striking two coins together, I can imitate feeding chatter.

Doctor’s practice, lawyers practice and so must you as hunting is a skill that must be practiced.

Wood Pigeon Shooting

As with squirrel hunting the most popular weapon used will be the air rifle and therefore we must maximise our chances of gaining some free tasty grub as failing to do so will lead to the land of groaning stomachs.

In my opinion there are only two ways to take wood pigeon with an air rifle (with the exception of the odd one sat on a fence or tree top) they are decoying and roost shooting.

Decoying

Woodpigeon decoying is the art of building a hide on a field where pigeons are feeding and using artificial or dead bird decoys to attract pigeons to within air rifle range (20 to 35 yards). The sport requires considerable reconnaissance and much patience and field craft to achieve results.

Hides may be built with camouflage nets, straw bales or natural cover. When using bales remember to ask the farmer’s permission to move them and always replace them after the shoot. 

Natural hides are made with materials found on the farm and should be dismantled at the end of the shooting day.

Do not cut into hedgerows or otherwise damage the farmer’s property. The hide should be large enough (3ft. square) to accommodate the shooter, his dog and equipment, and have as level a floor as possible.

Roost shooting

For roost shooting Guns position themselves before dusk in woods where pigeons are known to roost during the winter and wait for the birds to return from their day’s feeding. 

Mixed woods of conifers and hardwoods are the most popular and pigeon droppings under the trees will show the places to stand. 

As it will be almost dark before the shoot ends fallen birds should be retrieved immediately. 

Both of these methods will more that fill your game bag and provide many free tasty meals indeed.

Remember hunting is just that and to be successful you must employ all your senses and use nature to your advantage combined with your knowledge on your preys habits and your ability to be patient and when the time comes shoot straight.




Surviving Flooding
The news around a month or two ago read as follows:
Hundreds of people are facing a night in temporary accommodation after a second day of heavy rain brought flooding and travel chaos to parts of the UK.

More than 300 properties have flooded across the country since Sunday, including in Morpeth, Durham, Chester-le-Street and Stockton on Tees, the Environment Agency said.

Elderly residents at a council care home in North Yorkshire had to be carried to safety by firefighters after it became swamped by 3ft of water. 

And a modern block of flats had to be evacuated in Newburn, Newcastle, after its foundations appeared to have been washed away. Meanwhile, roads and railways ground to a halt because of the rain and flooding, with the A1 and the East Coast Main Line among the routes hit by the conditions.

The Met Office said an area of low pressure measuring 973 millibars had been recorded near the coast of the north east of England - the lowest in the UK for September since 1981.

Some areas have seen more than a month's rainfall in 24 hours as downpours and strong winds battered parts of Wales, northern England and Scotland. Parts of north Wales and northern England were expected to get 25mm to 50mm (1in to 2in) of rain during the day

Just up the road from me the weather division of the Press Association, said Ravensworth in North Yorkshire had seen the highest amount of rain, with 123mm recorded since the start of the heavy downpours on Sunday night. 

Some 93mm of rain had fallen in Leeming, North Yorkshire, which is almost double the average rainfall for the village in September (50mm). Rhyl, north Wales, had recorded 93mm of rain since Sunday, while Northern Ireland has also seen heavy downpours.

The Met Office said many places have had between 50mm and 70mm (2in to 2.8in) in the past 48 hours. And heavy rain and strong winds are forecast to return to some southern areas with 20mm to 40mm (0.8in to 1.6in) likely in places.

The Environment Agency had issued 83 flood warnings for Potential River flooding tonight, and 139 less serious flood alerts.

The agency warned that river levels will continue to rise through Wednesday along the River Ouse in Yorkshire and the River Severn, which could cause further flooding as the water moves downstream. 

Communities in Yorkshire, the North West and north Wales were urged to remain on their guard for further floods.

This time my kitchen flooded and the mess is still there as I wait for the insurance company to get around to me.

So what can I do, what can you do to prevent flooding in the future well firstly you can sign up for Floodline Warnings 

Direct by calling Floodline on 0845 988 1188

Floodline Warnings Direct is a free service which sends you a direct message when flooding is expected and may affect your property. 

Flood warnings will give you time to prepare for flooding which could save you time, money and heartache. You can receive warnings by telephone, mobile, email, SMS text message or fax, whichever you prefer.


But what can we do in practical terms to defend against the threat of flooding. Well here in my village we have a sand bag store as the local river does frequently flood and our parish councillors contacted the Borough council who supplied the sand bags and built a store for them, perhaps you could do the same.

If this is not an option then look into making your own sand bags of using another flood prevention product available on the market today such as http://www.floodgate.ltd.uk

Remember if you are under threat of flood make the following arrangements before it happens.

Make sure your insurance is up to date
Plan to move soft furnishings upstairs or at least well off the floor
Plan to live upstairs

Take with you water, food, emergency lighting and heating, medicines, mobiles, radio, warm clothing, method of cooking, your bug out bag don’t forget your insurance policy and all other important documents.

Treat fast flowing water as a river and use river crossing methods to move across it, remember: be aware of missing manhole covers people have been sucked into these and drowned before, watch out for heavy objects moving with the flow like cars and buildings etc.

Leave your home if ordered to by the emergency services as they may be aware of a more serious impending threat to life that you are.

As a last resort if trapped upstairs by rising water, break through the roof and climb out onto it using your mobile to call for rescue. Perhaps having a pry bay in the loft would be a good survival decision.

Surviving flooding is like surviving any other disaster it is down to planning that is all.



Route Planning
Route planning is an essential navigation skill and one you must master if you are planning bug out. 

Even for the more experienced survivalist or prepper who has been training for years and only walks for pleasure, a few minutes route planning is very valuable. 

Some experienced survivalists and preppers see it as an unnecessary chore but I say that even in a familiar area it can make you think about things you may have missed and help prevent you becoming complacent.

Think of route planning as a sort of risk assessment, the important thing is to think about what if, and how you would deal with that. Also it is vital not to overestimate your fitness that of of your party. You may be much fitter than other members so escape routes and alternative routes are very important. 

Many people who are experienced day walkers also underestimate the difficulty of multi day walks with a full pack on.

Route Cards
A route card is quite simply the route you plan to take broken into stages with the time you expect to return on. It can be written on anything in any form as long as copy is left with a responsible person who will be able to contact help if you do not arrive back when you should.

This means if you get into trouble help will know where to look, for a multi-day expedition a card should cover each day. Make sure when you do get back safely that you inform the person with the card.

The more detailed a route card the better, as it is much better to work out compass bearing etc at home than up a mountain and allows you to plan a more enjoyable trip and means if something does go wrong from a sprained ankle to a broken leg you are much better prepared. 

Designing your own route card is fairly simple and most navigation books have an example. Below is an example, which you can use or adapt.
Date:
Members in group:
Weather Forecast:
Starting grid Ref:
Description:
Departure Time:
To (Grid Ref)Finishing Point Grid Ref:
Estimated Arrival Time:
Phone Check in Time:
Party leaders Mobile No:
Escape route

Estimating Time
The speed which you cover ground will depend on many things, fitness, how much your pack weighs, experience, weather and ground conditions, and the terrain. 

If you have time the best way is to work out a pace card where you time the number of paces and time it takes you to cover a set piece of ground say 100 meters and then work out your average speed over a 1km, but this takes time and experience to do.

Generally you will cover 3km or 2 miles an hour over rough trails with a pack on with this falling to about 2km over hilly or steep ground. 

A large group will travel more slowly than a solo or pair of walkers as it must travel at the speed of the slowest member but also more time is needed while the group waits as they cross obstacles such as styles and streams or wait while people go to the toilet.

One good way of estimating time is Nasmith’s Rule.  W. Nasmith was a Scottish mountaineer in the late 19th century who came up with a formula for estimating the time needed to complete a hike in the mountains which is still widely used today.

The rule states that you should allow 1 hour for every 5km (3 miles) adding 30 minutes for every 1,000 ft (300 meters) that you gain in height. 

This rule assumes a fit experienced party and does not allow for rests (and is therefore used by the British military in its training).

It also doesn’t allow for bad weather and makes no allowance for downhill (steep descents will also slow a party and contra to what people think you do not tend to gain time coming down compared to if the ground was flat). 

This rule works well for UK land ranger maps (1:50,000) where you can add 1 minute for every 10-meter contour line.

Example a 20km (12 miles) walk gaining 2000ft of height would take 5 hours without breaks (4 hours for distance plus 1 hour for ascent)

Escape Routes
You will note on the example route there is a space for escape routes. This is an easy way off the mountain at a certain point or a quick route to the nearest shelter or help. 

They should be easy routes to follow even in bad weather (which may be the reason for needing the escape route in the first place) and should not be too steep of difficult as you may have a party member with a minor injury.

The reason for using an escape route may not be serious, it could be that members of the party are not as fit as they thought or the weather is worse than planned. 

IF IN DOUBT, USE THE ESCAPE / ALTERNATIVE ROUTE, many groups get in trouble when they soldier on despite problems which then become much more serious, it may not be macho but it is sensible and mountain rescue will not thank you for getting yourself in trouble when you had a chance to get out of danger earlier.



The simplest Survival Navigation Technique
Things happen...your GPS or compass may become lost or broken. 

You may find yourself needing an alternate method of finding your bearings. You can use terrain association, if there is some readily identifiable features in view, but you really need to orient your map to a direction.

Anyone who has gone through any survival courses has been taught a variety of methods of survival navigation. Most have two problems in common, first they only apply to certain conditions, second they are a little too complicated and very easy to forget.

If you wish to use the North Star, it must be night, you need a clear night sky and must be in the northern hemisphere. The watch method of survival navigation is difficult since almost no one can remember which hand does what, and how north is indicated.

Also most people now wear digital watches without the hands on them, especially during outdoor activities. The stick shadow technique for survival navigation is simple, easy to remember and works anywhere on the planet in conditions where you can see a shadow.

The improvised Survival Navigation Technique is the simplest and most versatile method for direction finding without a compass. 

It works anywhere on the planet as long as the sun throws a shadow. Equipment needed is simple: only a stick or straight object such as a pen, and two small objects like pennies or rocks and you will be able to find north.

Step One of the Stick Shadow Technique for Survival 
Navigation

Place your stick or any straight object into the ground, so it throws a shadow.

Step Two

Put a rock or penny at the tip of the shadow, something easily identifiable and wait 15 or 20 minutes.

Step Three

Place a second object at the tip of the shadow's new position.

Step Four

Place your left foot on the first rock or penny and your right foot on the second object. Just remember that you read left to right so your left foot goes on the first object and right on the second object, or if you are military-minded you always start off with your left foot.

You are now facing north!

All you really need to remember is to place the two rocks at the tip of the stick's shadow. Then place your left foot on the first rock and right foot on the second rock. if you ever find yourself without a compass and in need of a little help orienting yourself, then this technique is easy to remember and needs little equipment or special conditions.



Survival Mistakes
Wilderness survival techniques are arguably a matter of life and death. Turning into a self-sufficient survivor does not happen at the snap of a finger. 

It takes knowledge, proper gear, and preparation. By planning for the worst before it happens you could be saving your life and other's.

According to some of the top wilderness survival websites, there are eight common mistakes that can cost you big in the wild. The first is no shelter, which really turns into a double barrelled mistake. If you do not have a proper shelter with you or lack the knowledge to build one with what is around you-you might be in trouble. 

It is vital to create a shelter that keeps you dry and limits exposure to the elements, especially the wind.

The second biggest wilderness survival mistake is being caught without a working navigational tool. It is easy to get turned around in the middle of thick bushes and trees. A map and a compass are failsafe standards any wilderness adventurer should pack.

Thanks to technology, a GPS is a handy tool as well. GPS devices are small, compact, and generally able to work for a descent time period if kept at full charge. Keep navigational tools with you at all times. 

Learning how to utilize cardinal directions by the sun and stars is also beneficial.

Another common mistake that can cost you is lack of knowledge and preparation.  
There are five key things you should be knowledgeable of first:
How to build shelter
How to signal for assistance
What is safe to eat and how to find it
How to build and maintain a fire
How to locate water and safely prepare it

Never underestimate the risk factor. The most innocent of outdoor excursions-fishing, hiking, hunting-can turn into a wilderness survival situation. Always be prepared.

Don't be caught with the wrong clothing. A rule of thumb is to always dress in layers, making the outer layer warmer than what you should need. Research indicates that most hypothermia cases develop in temperatures over 40 degrees Fahrenheit thanks to lack of proper clothing.

Water is essential to survive. 

The problem is finding drinkable water. Waterborne organisms can cause severe diarrhoea and vomiting, which increases dehydration. Carry a supply of pure drinking water along with the ability to filter water by boiling, chemical tablets, or filters.

Finally, be sure to have a signal plan and know how to create and maintain a fire. Almost any outdoor/camping supplier has sections dedicated to signal devices. Whistles, mirrors, high beam torches, and fire starting devices are all easy to carry signal devices. Couple these with learning how to create your own emergency signal by using trees, rocks, dirt, or even snow.

Fire is vital to wilderness survival. It can warm, protect, and heat food or boil water. You can even use it to signal for help. 

Do not underestimate learning how to make and maintain a fire. Take time to prepare for your outdoor excursions and you will be able to tackle whatever kinks come your way.

When it comes to survival skills, the smallest of mistakes could have a huge impact on your ability to stay safe. 

However, there are a few things which can help to avoid making such mistakes, and will ensure that your survival skills are as effective as possible.

If you find your survival skills being put to the test unexpectedly, then the natural reaction can be to panic. 

However, this is often the worst thing you can do, as you need to be thinking as clearly as possible in such situations.

You might not be able to simply google ‘survival techniques’ whilst checking your facebook page and playing cheeky bingo, but if you have done your research, then you will already be well prepared. 

You simply need to keep a clear head, and remember all the skills which you have learnt.

Often, people panic the most when it comes to putting up a shelter, and tend to rush the process. In actual fact, it is worth spending extra time making sure that your shelter is safe and secure, and unlikely to collapse without warning, OH! And water and wind proof as well.



Keeping Warm in the Wilderness
In the woods when you are around pine trees look for old stumps, fallen trees, or limbs that have fallen and rotted into a hard core. 

Scrape into them to see if there is a hard rich golden colour. If you have hit the right stuff, it will smell like fresh pine sap, and will not appear in the least bit old or rotted, although it may be taken from the centre of a very rotten knot or stump.

This is the best fire starting material you will ever come across. 

Split off a few splinters and set your fire. It will flare as if lighter fluid was dropped on it. It will burn for a good while, but will put off a very black sooty smoke. Carry a few small pieces in you survival gear for those rainy days.

Reflectors or as boiling rocks, be sure that the rocks are collected from a high and dry area. It may take a little more time to secure good rocks, but the effort is certainly worth it and could save you from a painful accident.

Rocks that are collected from a creek bed or in a damp place can hold moisture in them that forces itself out when the rocks are heated. This creates an explosion of incredible force. Not only is it dangerous, (i.e., loss of eye, puncture wound, etc.), but the loud pop sounds like a gunshot and may scare away any wild game you hope to harvest.

Nine out of ten accidents in the woods are self-inflicted, so be careful and use your head.

Dehydration is one of the leading causes of fatigue in the outdoorsl. If you feel thirsty you are probably dehydrated already. One of the most convenient ways I found to keep my intake of water up, was to purchase a  hydration system. 

You’ll be amazed at how much you do drink without noticing , and how much better you feel on the trail.

One extra tip is to pack a small bag of salted peanuts with you. The salt helps you to retain the water, the fat and protein will give you an energy boost .

THE FOLLOWING ARE POINTERS FOR PREVENTING HYPOTHERMIA

Which dulls the brain--the most important survival tool you have to help you survival:
Seek and create shelter from cold, wind, snow, and rain. If possible, retreat to timbered areas for shelter construction and fire.

Use natural shelters: the windless side of ridges, rock croppings, slope depressions, snow blocks, a snow hole at base of standing trees, dense stands of trees, or under downed trees or dry stone walls and hedges.

Improvise a windbreak or shelter from: stacked rocks or snow blocks, tree trunks, limbs, bark slabs and evergreen boughs, or dig a snow cave or snow trench with a cover.
Conserve, share, and create warmth.

Conserve body heat by putting on extra clothing. Replace damp undershirt and socks. Place damp wool clothing over dry wool clothing. Loosen boot laces to increase circulation. 

Place feet with boots on in a pack. Use evergreen boughs to insulate body from ground. Place hands in armpits or crotch.
Share body heat. Sit or lie front to back or back to back. Warm the hands and feet of injured person or companions.

Create body heat.

Nibble high energy goods--candy, nuts, energy bar. Sip water kept warm with body heat. Use solid fuel hand warmer, igniting both ends of fuel stick, which is good for four hours of heat. Do isometric exercises to stir up body's circulation system.

Build a fire.

Find dry wood--dead lower branches and bark from underside of trees. Look under downed trees and inside dead logs for dry kindling. Remember wet wood will burn as it dries in a strong fire.

Select a sheltered area, protected from strong winds, as the site for an emergency campfire. Under snow conditions build a fire base first, with large, four-inch diameter or larger pieces of wood (use your wire saw from your survival kit). 

Put fire starter on the base, surround a fire starter with branches to hold kindling above the fire starter, then place a hatchwork of kindling and slightly larger wood on the branches. Light fire starter and blow lightly to help its flame ignite kindling. 

Add progressively larger wood to the flame area.

Prevent heat loss.

Remember the body loses heat by respiration, evaporation, conduction, radiation, and convection.
To prevent loss by respiration, cover the mouth and nose with loosely woven or knitted wool.

To reduce evaporation through excessive perspiration, wear clothes that breathe and are in layers.

To avoid loss by conduction, put a layer of  cover between the body and a cold, wet surface. This insulation is particularly important if you're already wet.

To prevent loss by radiation, keep the head, hands, and feet covered.

To prevent loss by convection, protect the body from the wind.
In stage one of hypothermia, the victim begins shivering, has poor coordination, slurs speech, and shows poor judgment.

By stage two, when the body temperature is below 95 degrees, muscular rigidity replaces shivering, and the victim becomes more irrational and needs warmth immediately from external sources and protection from further heat loss. 

Know that the victim is the LAST to realize s/he's in danger.



Trapping and Snaring for Food
Having spent well over 30 years studying survival skills I have had first-hand experience of the many processes that each learner will go through to finally achieve each element of natural wilderness survival.

As we all know food is the LAST thing you should worry about. Shelter, fire, water and signalling for help are far more important.

Remember the rule of 3's... You can die from exposure to the elements in 3 hours,
You can die from lack of water in 3 days,
But it takes 3 WEEKS or more to die of starvation.
3 weeks is a long time, so plan for your essentials first. If you have your other bases covered, then you can start planning for food. Snaring and fishing are your best bets, as they allow for you to

"set and forget", which means that you conserve energy.

All hunting should be done with as little energy expenditure as possible. Find a comfortable spot and wait for dinner to come to you. Rabbits, being very common worldwide, are a good wild game food.

They can typically be found grazing in fields and clearings where grasses and other low lying plants are found. Watch to see where they enter and exit these areas to provide the locations for snares. 
Some people have been known to add impassable brush and wooden stakes along both sides of the path leading to the trap creating a funnel effect.

They can then drive rabbits or other small game in the direction of the trap and be relatively sure that the game will head straight into the snare.

The Rabbit Snare can be used for many types of small game depending on how and where you deploy it. It consists of a noose loosely draped over twigs, brush, or any low-lying points where you can drape it. 

The noose is smooth cord that can easily slide through the small metal ring it is tied to (small key rings work very well for this).

The key to this snare is the bowed branch overhead, and the catch or trigger mechanism. A simple trigger consists of a very simple stake that is wedged at an angle very close to that of the line to the branch. 

It is also sharpened and sits on a smooth rock so that any movement at all will free it.

A rabbit is not very smart, and assumes that the string across its path is simply grass, and typically does not slow down. 

The looseness and breadth of the noose allows the game to proceed a couple feet before it tugs the branch and releases the catch.

You must remove all human scent and two good ways that I use are firstly to place the complete snare over a fire and let the smoke do its work (remember smoke is a natural smell) or secondly to place the complete snare into fresh cow dung don’t worry it is only digested grass.

Fishing

Survival fishing is quite different than normal fishing. Survival fishing is often done without you even being there. It's more akin to trapping and snaring than it is to conventional fishing. There are several ways in which this can be accomplished.

Absentee Fishing

If you have fishhooks and line (in a survival kit), then you're way ahead of the game. You can bait a whole bunch of hooks, string them on a line across the waterway, and then walk away. This is "absentee fishing". 

Be careful that the line you string across the waterway is strong (10 – 15 lb line).

Tie it between a couple trees a couple feet above the water, and then you can either rely on the water flow to keep the bait near the surface, or simply put just enough line down to your hooks to not allow them to sink. 

If the water is moving, your bait will be dancing to entice the fish. If there's little or no movement, you can tie some leaf covered branches to the paracord to catch the wind, which also makes your bait look lively.

While waiting for a catch, you can keep yourself busy with important things like fire and shelter, and simply check your lines every few hours.

Fish Fences

If you don't have any hooks and line, then I recommend a "fish fence". A "fish fence" is just what it sounds like. It's a fence that you make out of sticks that will corral the fish for you.

The fence should be dense in fact the denser the better, as long as water can flow through, and fish cannot! This is built on land in sections, and then inserted in a likely waterway by pushing the posts into the mud at the bottom.

There are several versions of this... it really depends on the waterway. If it's a pond, and there's no flowing water, then you'll just make a corral in a shallow area with only one opening that funnels fish in. 

Once they're trapped in the small area, they can be speared or grabbed more easily.

If you're working with a stream, then it's important to determine the direction of flow. Observe whether fish are moving upstream, downstream, or both. 

If the fish are moving in one direction then a basic fence placed diagonally across the stream will concentrate the fish in a small area making it easier to spear one.

If the fish are moving in both directions, you may want to make a "corral" that will catch in both directions as shown below. 

If you have built your fencing in sections, it's easier to try different configurations to see which works best for you.
Crayfish Trap Guidelines
As you need the Environment Agency’s written consent to use a crayfish trap, it’s sensible to get permission from them before you buy a crayfish trap. You must make sure that the trap you buy is legal for crayfish trapping.
There are strict rules about the size and design. This is to protect other wildlife such as otters.
The entrance to the trap must be no more than 9.5 cm across
If the entrance is more than 9.5 cm across, there must be an otter guard or restriction on the funnel leading into the trap
The holes in the mesh must not be more than 3 cm across
The trap itself must not be more than 60 cm long or 35 cm wide
If you want to use a trap that does not comply with these rules, you will need written permission from the EA. Phone the National Customer Call Centre on 0370 8506506 and ask to speak to your local Fisheries Officer. They refuse many applications because of the risks to otters and water voles. These are protected species. Don’t break the law.
Please note: The owners of fish farms, and their employees, do not need our written consent to use crayfish traps on their fish farms. However all traps have to comply with these rules so please contact your local fisheries officer before you start trapping.
Water voles
If there are water voles nearby, the EA may refuse your application to trap crayfish. This is because trapping can put these protected animals in danger.
You are breaking the law if you:
Use illegal traps, recklessly allow water voles to drown in crayfish traps place traps in the entrances to water vole tunnels
Sites with lots of water voles are unlikely to have many crayfish – they prefer different habitats. But if there are water voles where you want to trap, we may ask you to use baited drop nets. These are open traps that are safe for water voles, unlike the more traditional, funneled, closed traps.
You must not block a water vole burrow with a crayfish trap If it is safe to do so, position your traps away from the banks. (traps in the middle of a stream or watercourse are less likely to catch voles)
If you do accidentally catch a water vole, stop trapping immediately and let your local Fisheries Officer know
You can modify your trap by cutting escape holes into the roof. Holes that are 6–8 cm across will be Remember:
Do not put traps near water vole burrows



Surviving Unemployment
In the UK recent figures have revealed that UK unemployment levels continue to be on the up. In fact, in the three months to the end of November 2010, UK unemployment rose by 49,000 to almost 2.5 million, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The UK unemployment rate now stands at 7.9%.

But it's the young who have been hit hardest. One in five 16 to 24-year-olds are now out of work, taking the total to 951,000 without jobs - this is the highest figure since records began in 1992.

If you're one of the many who have recently been made redundant, or perhaps you're self-employed and struggling to find work, rest assured, there are lots of constructive steps you can take.

Reassess your financial priorities

Firstly, you need to take a good long look at your budget. For example, if you have a standing order to your savings account , you may need to cancel this and use the cash for everyday expenses, instead. Or perhaps you're no longer able to overpay your credit card each month. See how you can save your money.

Focus on the skills that matter

If you're unemployed, you're going to have to fight tooth and nail to get ahead of other candidates in your field and nail that next job. And if you're self-employed, you'll know that it's a constant battle to bag the next commission.

Either way, you need to focus on the skills that will make you stand out from everyone else. Salsa dancing is a lovely hobby to have but some perspective will be needed, depending on the job you're going for.

A good place to start is surveying job adverts in your sector and work out what skills, qualifications or experience they all seem to be asking for. Talk to other people in your profession and work out which skills are in short supply and high demand. Then focus on getting your head round them.

Strengthen your brand

This is particularly important if you're self-employed, because very often future commissions rely on your portfolio and your reputation as much as on your CV.

Here are a few ways to get you into the public eye:

Build a website – Register an internet domain under your own name and build yourself a simple website showcasing your skills and experience. This doesn't have to cost much, and you don't have to be a tech whizz to get things off the ground.

There are various web hosts and site-building programmes that you can use to get the whole thing going for well under £50. Your main outlay will be the time you spend getting it right.

Get some business cards printed – Make yours stand out by choosing an unusual colour, material or shape. The more recognisable, the more the chance is of an employer taking the time to review it in detail.

Tailor your stationery – Get correspondence paper that's tailored to your needs. A stylish, well-placed design that's unique to you will look professional and sophisticated.

Keep your spirits up

If you feel yourself sinking into despair/apathy/complete inactivity, you need to drag yourself out of it as soon as possible. That could just mean getting out of the house, even if you don't feel like it.

Or, to help motivate your job hunt, you could set yourself inexpensive rewards for getting things done. So three solid job applications = ice cream and a DVD - or something on those lines.

Finally, try to keep yourself groomed and in reasonable physical shape. When you're out of work, it's all too easy to live in your pyjamas. Look good and you'll feel good.

How to prep cost-effectively.

Often individuals watch shows and see others prepping for what is described as doomsday events. Often the individuals that we watch or hear about spend thousands of dollars on prepping supplies. 

If you are like most individuals and do not have thousands of dollars to spend on prepping supplies, you must find another avenue to acquire your prepping supplies.

Be reassured that there are other means of acquiring a large storehouse of food and supplies for a SHTF event than spending thousands of dollars in obtaining them. 

One way an individual can acquire a stockpile of food is by purchasing an extra item of the regular types of foods that they normally would use.

When shopping instead of Buying two cans of corn by three. Take one can of the corn and put it in your prepping storeroom. You can then rotate the food as you need the food and replace the extra food while shopping the following week. 

This is a great way to acquire a very large cachet of food over a period of about six months.

Another way an individual can save money on purchasing prepping items is by visiting your local pound shop. Some may laugh at this idea. Some may think this idea is absurd. 

The facts of the matter are that your local pound shop often has first aid supplies that are normally very costly at other shops, mine also sells food.

Usually most pound shops offer the supplies for a pound or less. I have personally seen in the past were the same supplies often cost more than £5 apiece. 

Things like Band-Aids, swab sticks, aspirin, and even vitamins are often offered at your local pound shop. A substantial savings can be amassed by purchasing your items at this type of venue.

Often individuals think that a survival kit must have a beautiful label with a beautiful amount of individually packaged items to be deemed what is called a survival kit. 

The real fact of the matter is that as long as the survival kit is capable of administering treatment to an individual that has been injured the first aid kit is completely functional.

It doesn't take a pretty package to have the perfect first aid kit. In actuality, these pre-packaged first aid kits often contain items that are inferior in quality compared to the items that you could obtain from a pound shop, in other words you can design your own kit.

Another factor to consider while at the pound shop is buying items such as batteries, flashlights, tools, vitamins, paper products, disinfectants, personal hygienic items; the list goes on and on. 

An individual can purchase a small duffel bag from your local army surplus store and stockpile these items into it creating one heck of a bug out bag for less than £15.

The same bag with inferior items contained inside may be offered at more than £100 when commercially prepared for the public. I am not against buying these commercially prepared bug out bags or first aid kits.

What I am concerned with is providing the same opportunities to individuals that are on a shoestring budget as compared to those that live a lifestyle where money is abundant. 

The fact of the matter is that everyone should be entitled to surviving and having prepping supplies readily available.
To buy good but cheap food preps I suggest that you check out http://www.approvedfood.co.uk

Approved Food & Drink is the biggest online seller of clearance food and drink and they deliver to your door across the UK.

I hope this information has provided some food for thought and will help individuals that live on a limited budget.



Wild Camping
Only those with strength and great determination can be extreme campers. 

Do you have what it takes?

Anyone can go camping, but only extreme campers can do it with limited supplies and tools. Also known as primitive camping, the article, "Primitive Camping - Dos and Don'ts," describes extreme camping as reverting back to the caveman lifestyle where the camper kills his own food and relies on nature for survival. 

These tips are helpful if a camper is ever stranded or wants to test his/her limits in the wilderness.

Setting up Camp

Having a shelter is a big priority when out in the wilderness that’s a given. They say a person can survive three hours without shelter, so when a tent is not available, the extreme camper should know how to build a simple dwelling.

One of the most basic structures to build is called the wickiup. Wickiups have been used for hundreds of years by Native Americans. In order to craft a wickiup, the camper should first gather as many sturdy branches as possible, preferably branches that don't bend easily. 

You can construct a half wickiup by leaning branches against a large tree trunk or a full wickiup by creating a circular dome and tying the branches together at the top.

The wickiup will then look like a small tepee. If string or rope is not available, the camper can rip up strips of clothing or find some vines. For more coverage, lightweight branches with leaves can be laid on top of the structure. This will provide more protection from rain or sunlight.

Fire Building

Extreme campers are able to build a fire without using matches or a lighter. Some techniques however require tools that an extreme camper will not have handy. Only two of the methods would be helpful to an extreme camper without supplies, and they include the hand drill and fire plow techniques.

The hand drill method is the most difficult of all only requiring wood, hands, and gritty determination. A tinder nest can be created using dry grass, leaves, or bark. The purpose of the nest is to create the flame from the spark. A flat piece of wood is needed with a v-shaped notch cut out and a depression adjacent to it.

Next, a wooden stick or spindle, about two feet long, is to be placed in the depression on the flat piece of wood. Rub the spindle between both hands, moving hands in an up and down motion. This is where the process becomes long and tedious and requires a lot of patience.

Continue this process until an ember forms at the bottom of the fireboard. The ember should be dropped onto a piece of bark and transferred to the nest that was created earlier. Then you gently blow on the ember to start a flame.

The fire plow method is similar to this, but instead of rubbing your hands up and down the spindle while spinning it in the depression, the spindle is placed in a groove cut out in the fireboard and rubbed back and forth to create the ember.

Finding Food

Regular campers bring hotdogs and hamburgers to cook out while camping, but extreme campers rely on nature to provide them with food. 

One way to eat without store bought items is to go fishing, but since extreme campers won't have a fishing rod, one will have to be crafted out of wood.

This can be done by breaking off a branch of the desired length and cutting off any shoots or leaves. Find some green vines to use as fishing line, or use the fishing line in your survival kit. 

Tie two vines together using a surgeon's knot or however you are able to keep them secure. The vine should then be tied to the pole and wrapped around it a few times.

A hook can be made by carving a v-shaped green stick and attaching it to the end of the line. It shouldn't be too difficult to find some bait in the woods. Just look in shady or mossy areas or lift up some large rocks. 

If constructing your own fishing rod is too complicated, you can try spearing fish by sharpening the edge of a branch with a knife. An even easier way to gather food is to find edible plants.

Here is a list of what to look for and what to avoid when searching for plants to munch on. Steer clear of plants with any of the following:

Milky or discoloured sap
Fine hairs or thorns
Beans, bulbs, or seeds inside pods
Bitter or soapy taste
Dill, carrot, or parsley-like foliage
Almond scent
Grain heads with pink, black , or purplish spurs
Three-leaved growth pattern

Some of the common plants that are safe to eat are cloves, burdock, chickweed and dandelion, and plantain. But if you really want to know which plants to eat and which ones not to eat then check out http://survivalinfo.co.uk  For the Wild and Edible Nutrition E Book

Boiling Water

Water from streams, ponds, or any other natural source should never be ingested unless it has been boiled first. Boiling the water removes bacteria that could cause you to become ill. This task would be simple if a camper brought along some sort of container, but there is an option for boiling water when the camper has no such supplies.
Once the fire has been created, the camper can use birch bark to craft a container for water. The flame on the fire cannot be too high or the birch bark container will ignite, but building a circular rock wall for the bark container to rest upon will help prevent burning. Boiling water this way takes impressive skill, but it can be done if you're an extreme camper.
Or simply forget boiling water and buy a Purificup HERE

Best for Wiping

There aren't any toilets in the wild, and extreme campers who don't have supplies will not have toilet paper. With that said, what is a squatter supposed to wipe with? Well some choices are the finger and water method; not very pleasant, but it gets the job done in a few swipes.

Others can opt for something like smooth stones or green leaves. Just make sure the leaves aren't going to leave a rash. You should squat down and if necessary brace your back against a tree or a wall and then pull your cheeks apart and that way you will not have much if anything to wipe away.

Extreme camping can be a challenging but rewarding experience for those who are willing to stretch themselves and test their limits. 

It takes a great amount of patience and determination, and only the strong survive.



Interesting and Strange Ways to Start a Fire?
I will be honest and tell you that I have not tried all these methods and I am not even sure that some of them will work in the UK anyway.

Have you ever been out camping and realized that you forgot the matches? If you didn’t have any matches, would you know how to start a fire? What if the situation was one of survival and you needed to start a fire to keep warm, cook food, and ? 

Would you know what to do?

Fire making is a skill that everyone should be competent in. Knowing how to create a fire could someday save your life and/or the lives of your loved ones. After reading this article, you should have the knowledge to be able to create one whenever or wherever it is needed.

Things to Consider When Starting a Fire

All fires need three ingredients to be self-sustaining. They need: 1) Fuel, 2) Oxygen, & 3) Heat. If you are missing any of these three ingredients, you won't be able to make a fire. 

When outdoors, be mindful of such things as relative humidity, precipitation, wind speed, and temperature. All of these things can affect your ability to create a fire.

Another key thing to remember is to start out small. By this I mean, start by heating a small amount of very fine kindling. 

After you see some glowing embers, slowly add more and larger pieces of fuel while fanning or gently blowing on it to add oxygen to it. Remember, you can't start a log on fire without first building up enough heat to ignite it.

And lastly, a word about safety. Safety should be your number one priority, especially in a survival or disaster situation. Be aware of your surroundings and be sure you know what you are doing prior to doing it. Before you start a fire, you should also make sure that you have the tools to put it out properly. 

You don't want to start a forest fire or harm yourself or your friends now do you?

Light Magnification Methods

The sun can easily be used to start a fire by magnifying and focusing the solar radiation that is hitting an object. Almost any kind of transparent lens can be used to refract light and focus it on a single point. There are several ways that light can be magnified.

Magnifying Glass - A magnifying glasses lens bends the sun's light and focuses it on a single point. This intense amount of light energy can heat up some kindling enough to ignite it. 

Just about every type of magnifying glass can be used to start a fire given enough patience and the right conditions. In fact, some sporting good store sell special lens that have the sole purpose of starting fires.

Binoculars - When you place binoculars in such a way that it directs the sun's light to focus on a single point, a fire can be 
created. Simply hold the binoculars with the eye piece pointed toward the object you are trying to ignite. 

Keep a steady hand and be patient to allow the material to heat up and ignite.

Ice Lens - In a cold climate you may be able to find a small block of ice that can be turned into a magnifying lens. If you can find one, begin shaping it by rubbing it on a hard surface such as a stone or boulder. Keep doing this until you develop a perfect convex shape. 

Be careful not to move too fast or all of your hard work may end up melting away. When you are done, use it to start a fire just like you would a regular magnifying glass.

Bag of Water - Fill a typical sandwich bag with some water and squeeze it into the shape of a lens. Hold the bag tightly over your tinder and don't allow any water to drip onto it. Allow the light to be refracted though the bag and to focus on a single point. Pretty much any kind of transparent and flexible plastic can actually be used here.

Broken Light Bulb - The top of a broken light bulb can be turned into a fire starting implement very easily. Simply add some clean water to the glass and allow the sunlight to be refracted through it.

Wine Glass - This has basically the same concept as the broken light bulb. A small amount of clean water added to a wine glass can create a lens with the ability to start a fire. This won't work all of the time. You will need to find a drinking vessel that has that perfect spherical shape.

Camera Lens - An old camera lens may be small, but it can be quite powerful if used in the correct manner. A camera lens has a perfect convex shape and is thus perfect for focusing light. This works the same as a magnifying glass, but will be more difficult because of its small size.

Light Intensification Methods
A mirror with a parabolic shape can focus light into a single point by reflecting it. The reflected light is intensified by the mirror and can easily create a flame. Almost anything that has a parabolic shape can be used to start a fire.

Starting a fire with a soda can and a chocolate bar
Aluminium Can - The bottom of an aluminium can has a near perfect parabolic shape. This means that it is great for focusing the sun's rays into a single point. You will need to find something to polish the bottom of the can to make it really reflective for this to work. 

A very fine clay-mud and a cloth can be used for this. You can use toothpaste or a candy bar like they did on the hit Discovery Channel Show Myth busters to polish the aluminium. Unfortunately for the environment, you can probably find some empty beverage cans anywhere you go.

Metal Pot Lid - Some steel and aluminium cooking pots have lids with a parabolic shape. Use the inside of the pot's lid to focus the sun's light onto a single point. It may not be too difficult to find the perfect lid, you just may one tucked away in your cupboard right now.

Flashlight - Inside of almost every camping or survival flashlight is a parabolic mirror. After cracking open the flashlight, you can use the mirror to direct a focused beam of light toward your tinder.

Salad Bowl and Foil - After finding a nice parabolic shaped salad bowl, carefully press aluminium foiled into the bowl to make a reflective surface. You may need to add a sticky substance to the bowl such as tree sap, glue, or caramel candy to allow the foil to stay in place. 

You will also need to lightly buff the foil so that it becomes very shiny. Use the completed device to focus light on a single point and start a fire.

Spark Methods
If you can find a way to create a spark, you can effortlessly create a fire. Sparks can be easily created from a variety of tools and materials.

Flint and Knife - This is probably on of the easiest ways to create a spark. Simply force the knife blade over the flint stone surface. Flint can be purchased at your local camping store or big box retailer.

Steel and Stone - If you strike a stone on a very hard piece of steel, a spark can be created. When striking them together, be sure that the objects are hitting each other at an oblique angle. 

Your striking motion should be such that you are "aiming" the sparks toward your kindling. You can also use a second hard stone in place of a piece of steel if needed.

 9-Volt Battery and Steel Wool - A fresh 9 volt battery will very easily make a spark when touched to a steel wool pad. This is actually one of the easiest ways to create a spark as it is basically instantaneous.

Pencil and Car Battery - Use a knife to remove the eraser end of the pencil and expose the graphite. Carefully touch the ends of the pencil to the battery terminal by dropping it onto the battery. Use extreme caution with the method has the pencil itself should ignite rather quickly. 

Use the burning pencil to ignite your tinder.

Friction Methods
If you can find a way to generate a lot of heat through friction, you may be able to start a fire. Here are some methods to start a fire using friction (assuming no electricity).

Bow Drill - An old shoe string tied around a curved piece of wood can be used to start a fire. Use the string and curved stick to form a bow. Then twist a straight, cylindrical stick into the bow. Use the bow to spin the stick and create friction. 

Creating a fire with this method takes an incredible amount of work. The image at right should help you understand how this works.
Fire Rope - Use a long (2-3ft) piece of rope to start a fire. The rope will need to be made out of cotton, leather, or some other organic material. 

Nylon ropes will melt before a fire is created. First, find an old and dry log. Carefully partially split the log and wedge it open with a rock. Stuff some kindling into the crack at the bottom of the split. Next, insert the rope through the split in the log and grab each end with your hands. 

With rapid and short strokes, "saw" the rope back and forth until you see smoke. This is extremely difficult and should only be used as a last resort.

Fire Saw - This is the old "rub two sticks together method." Again, this takes an incredible amount of work to complete. To increase your chances of success, use a very dry and soft piece of wood. Rub one stick on the other in very a short and rapid back and forth motion. 

Place tinder at the end of the rubbing region. Continue this effort without stopping until an ember is formed.



Pigeon Shooting for Beginners
Pigeon shooting In the summer, when the days are as hot as your barrels, pigeon shooting comes into its own. 

Since pigeons are capable of devastating agricultural crops farmers will often welcome responsible Guns, so how do you get started? 

Well here is a beginner’s guide.

I am a strong believer in field craft.  Go out and practise it, enjoy the sport and its many rewards, and remember the most important rule: do your reconnaissance and look for pigeons in the air not on the ground.'

There you have it, field craft and reconnaissance: the be all and end all of pigeon shooting.  However, it's not quite as easy as that, you need a starting point, so let's start with the bird itself.

The woodpigeon

I have chosen the woodpigeon because it is easily the most common edible size bird we will see in an urban and a rural environment and it will form the backbone of our small game food intake along with the rabbit.

The woodpigeon, Columba palumbus, has been native to Great Britain for centuries, its cousin in mainland Europe is migratory but we have the only sedentary population of the species that exists.   

We probably have as many as 15-20 million birds in the UK. 

The population is healthy, the bird breeds at least twice, and in good warm summers three times, a year and they lay two eggs at a time.  It has been guesstimated that we shoot around a third of this increasing population and more than 200,000 people hunt the woodpigeon in the UK every year.

The woodpigeon is easy to recognise; a delicate grey overall with white wing bars and, in the adults, a white neck band. 
The underside of the body is a rich mixture of colours from pink to mauve.   

A bright yellow eye, a wingspan of just over two feet and an extraordinary capacity for aerobatics which can leave the decoyer with two empty cartridges and nothing in the bag more often than you would believe.

Our bird weighs around 20 ounces and is capable of more than 50 miles an hour in level flight.

By the way, if the bird you are aiming at has no white wing bars don't even attempt to shoot it, it is most likely a stock dove and protected under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act

Now you know how to recognise the bird you need to find it and go about hunting it.  Wood pigeons are a flock bird, they eat almost non-stop to keep up with their rapid metabolism and they spend many of their waking hours on the ground with their fellows eating the poor farmer out of house and home.

This is where you come in.

You are driving home on a summer's afternoon (one the best times of day to go decoying), when you pass a recently harvested field of oilseed rape; as if at a signal the field bursts into life.   

One moment there is a stubble field, the next the air is full of grey and white birds twisting and turning as they lift of the field as one.  Pigeons.  

 How can you get some?

The answer lies in field craft, to be precise in flight lines.
Woodpigeons arrive, and leave, their chosen field on flight lines and to decoy successfully you need to know what a flight line is and how to find it.   

A flight line is quite simply a 'road in the air' which the birds use to get from home to food and back again.

The woodpigeon sleeps, and breeds, in woods, he feeds in fields and he has chosen routes on which he flies to travel between the two.   

Drive to a field on which you have spotted pigeon feeding, sit in your car on the edge of the field with a pair of binoculars for half an hour or more and watch.  If the birds are using the field you will see traffic, birds coming into and going out of the field.

Pigeons like to fly and they usually fly, and decoy,  better in a wind; the prevailing wind in this country is from the South West.  Study the wind, look for staging posts along the line that they use, single trees in the field, hedge lines, streams, farm tracks etc.   

The lines are really just like roads, they have cross roads, corners, junctions, lay-bys and so on. Once you have established the line that the birds are using you merely have to build your hide under that line and go decoying.

The logic behind this piece of field craft is easy.  If you don't do your reconnaissance and merely build your hide on the field where you have seen the birds feeding you will scare them away when you approach to construct your hide, and you have no way of knowing if they arrived to feed haphazardly in that spot or that they chose to be there.

If, however, you have watched the field and you build your hide under their flight line into that same field, you know, even if you scare them away when you start shooting, that when they return to feed (because you have attracted them with your decoy layout),  they will all fly along the flight line.    

Hides

The next step is to build yourself a hide under the line and start decoying.  Hides come in various guises; natural, bale and net.   

Today the technology in hide making belongs to the net and pole manufacturer.  Buy yourself 20ft x 4-5 feet of light coloured camouflage netting and half a dozen telescopic, purpose made hide poles and you have enough to build a hide anywhere which will serve you throughout the changing colours and seasons of the year. 

Build your hide so that you have background cover, enough room to sit comfortably, see out of the hide without showing your face to the incoming pigeon, stand and swing the gun and leave room for the dog. 

Hides can also be built from natural materials, but don't ever cut down any of the farmer's fences if you want to return.

Decoys

Now for the decoy pattern; I could give you several thousand words on the theories but  just take my word for it and set out a basic 'U' shaped pattern, watch the pigeons on their approach to your pattern and go from there.   

Pigeons like to feed with their friends, you therefore need a few (a dozen will to do to start with), decoys to get the ball rolling.

A 'U' shaped pattern will give the most encouragement to the birds to land and, with the wind behind you, give you the easiest shooting.

There are many artificial decoys  in the shops, they should not shine in either the sun or the rain, and the lightest are usually the best as they are the easiest to carry long distances.   

Set the front of the pattern 25 yards from the hide, leave 2-3 yards between each decoy and extend the arms of the 'U' at least 15-20 yards from the front of the pattern and finally make the open end of the 'U' at least 15 yards wide.

Once you have been successful with the 'U' you can experiment with other shapes.


A basic rule of all patterns is that, if the birds don't come into land and jink away from your decoys; you and not the pigeons have got something wrong.

Guns

Shooting, guns and cartridges:  The gun (to start with), 12-bore, double barrelled (28" barrels are good), choked improved and ½  firing 1 ounce (28 grams), of No 6 shot will drop pigeons stone dead at between 25-35 yards all day long.   
A 20-bore with the equivalent load (13/16 ounce (23 grams), will do the same.

An air rifle can be used to take birds on the ground or in trees for food.

The pigeon shot takes some practice but instinct is usually better than maintained lead.  You know that the decoys are placed within the range at which your gun patterns best, wait for the bird to come into the decoy pattern, mount the gun and swing through the bird in the same movement and squeeze the trigger.  

Don't move until you are going to shoot or you will scare the bird away before he comes within your chosen range.
Practice will make perfect.   

Forget about averages, if you are happy with your shooting then that is a good average, if you are not then that is a bad average and you should return to the shooting school.

There are a host of other areas which we could touch on in this article, dogs, dispatching birds, gaining permission to shoot, camouflage clothing, 'pigeon magnets', roost shooting, plucking and preparing birds for the table, in depth study of the bird and its habits, advanced decoying, crop protection or sport and so on but there should be enough here to get you started.
Good luck and keeping looking for those birds on their flight lines in the air.



How to stay warm at home when cash is low
How to stay warm at home if without turning the heating on when low on cash? Here are some thoughts...

Fool the eye: Sometimes warmth is a matter of perception.  
Warm colours and textures make you feel warmer so change out your decor. Try a throw so you can snuggle under it.

Cut a rug: Cover up your bare floors with a rug.

Bake something: Stews, roasts, casseroles and soups are made for the cold weather because they cook at low temperatures for a long period of time and, of course, they warm you up going down.

Drink something: Wrap your hands around a warm mug of tea, cocoa or coffee.

Let the sun in: Open curtains and blinds during the day.

Change your bedding: Switch to flannel sheets, a down comforter, use extra blankets.

Clean the house: Not only will your house be cleaner but activity will get your blood pumping.

Cover your head: It sounds silly but wearing a hat (and socks) to bed at night, even if the rest of you is clad in skimpy clothing, will keep you warm.


It's muggy in here: Use a humidifier. Humid air feels warmer. 

No humidifier? Open the bathroom door while you're showering.

Reverse the fan: We know that, since heat rises, running your ceiling fan in reverse will push the warm air back down to the ground.

Do your laundry: Nothing warms you up like clothing straight from the dryer.

It's drafty in here: Block drafts with weather stripping, a rolled up towel or a draft stopper.

It takes two: Snuggle up with your significant other.

Something old fashioned: Try a hot water bottle or, before you get into bed, running a hot pan over your sheets. Bags of rice or dried beans, warmed in the microwave, are another option.
How to stay warm with no heating for whatever reason.
Wear layers of clothing in real times if it is very cold then dress for the outdoors, wear a hat and gloves.

If you have a real fire build it up and gather the family in that room.

Block all drafts with rolled towels, rolled newspapers or fix weather strips.
Y
ou can create a double glazing effect by nailing up Perspex over existing windows remembering to leave an air gap between them, remember not to bang the nails home as that may by your only escape route in the event of a fire.
How to stay warm while sleeping outside

Put a warm hat on - your head 75% of your body heat.

Use your coat as another warm layer on top of your sleeping bag.

Are your socks dry? If damp, they might be chilling your feet.  
Put on clean and dry socks.

Add layers - put on clothing - clean and dry clothes are best.

Drink something hot or warm.

Wake up.

Eat something - just a snack.

Go for a pee - your body is using energy to keep that extra liquid warm.

Get up and build a fire to get warm. Then go back to bed.

Tense and relax muscles for a while - the passive equivalent of getting some exercise.

Use a hi-tech solution - instant hand and feet warmers - those little packets that you squeeze and get warm.

Make sure you are well enough insulated underneath.

If you are in a primitive shelter, ensure no breeze is getting in, and that you are not exposed to the sky.

Cozy up with a partner. If you are getting seriously cold, this is the most effective way to get warm, and it is no time to be shy or reluctant.

If you have an empty water drinks bottle then fill it with clean or dirty water but right to the top then put the lid on tight and place it on your fire. 

It will not explode or burn after 10 minutes it should be hot enough to act as a hot water bottle.

The best way I find to keep warm in the woods when on a survival session is to chop some wood for the fire, it really warms you up.

To get or keep warm while out and about:

Stay out of the wind. Seek out a sheltered spot.

Wear a warm hat

Build a fire - remember that in the winter, in most places, you can always stop and make a fire (provided you have the means to do so!).

Drink something hot.

Go for a pee - your body is heating that extra water for no reason.

Be comfortable - being uncomfortable can make you colder by being mentally stressed.

Be mentally prepared to be a little bit cooler than your ideal of being "nice and warm".

Stay active, but don't sweat.

Use a hi-tech solution - instant hand and feet warmers - those little packets that you squeeze and they get warm.

Eat something, more like a snack.

Put on more clothing.

If your feet are damp, put on clean dry socks, and wear dry boots.

Eat fatty foods.

If the sun is out, tilt your face towards the sun - you can absorb a lot of heat this way.

Sit close beside another person.

Exercise is your body's best friend when it comes to keeping warm. 20 - 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise will help your body warm up and keep warm even after you are done exercising. 

And exercise also helps your body to tolerate cold better and develop better circulation.

Keeping hydrated is also a must if you are always cold so drink plenty of water because proper hydration is crucial for a well-functioning body. 

Caffeine, alcohol and soda are not good for hydration, so have some warm soup or a cup of decaf tea instead.



Walking Home – Survival Tips
Here are three survival (security) tips that are free, and won’t cost you anything. 

There is a caveat though, that is you may need to force a slight change in your behaviour and habits.

In today’s world of increasing economic woes, more individuals are turning towards criminal behaviour as they become angrier, looking for someone to blame, and may be downright desperate. 

You, as a ‘normal’ person, may be walking among them from time to time and you don’t even know it or recognize it.

To a large extent, the key to avoid being victimized is to simply be aware. Awareness consciously (and subconsciously) changes your own behaviour such that you will be more likely to avoid dangerous situations that could escalate into violence.

Let me define ‘awareness’ in the context of your self-security:


Well firstly you should know what is happening or has happened in your field of travel, you should also look around you (and behind you) while moving (walking, driving, etc) and even outside your home, make eye contact while scanning in crowded public places.

Whether by paying attention to the news or ‘hearsay’, understand the history of the area you are about to travel in. 

Most people over time will come to understand where the ‘bad’ areas are in their local region – areas especially vulnerable to crime.

If you are new to the area, or if traveling outside your own area, make an effort to discover where these ‘bad’ areas are. 

A great tool to look for crime reports is on CrimeReports.com, which shows maps dotted with crime reports in Canada, the U.S., and the U

This simple behaviour is more effective than you may imagine. The reason being, is that so many people do not do this, they are ignorant to their surroundings, and are the first to become victims.

Predators look for the weaker prey. Someone who is looking down, or who appears to be in their own little world, they are prime targets for criminals.

Instead, you should scan around you from time to time, with your head up straight, as you walk with purpose – shoulders back, and confident. Not only might you avoid an unruly-looking gang of troublemakers, but they might avoid targeting YOU.

Make eye contact while scanning in crowded public places
Making purposeful, but quick eye contact is another very effective deterrent to a criminal. 

Here’s the reason… Most people purposely avoid eye contact in public places.

They want to remain in their own little world and by looking down or avoiding eye contact, they are convinced that they will remain in that cocoon. The reality is that they are entirely wrong.

Sure, that type of behaviour may avoid unwanted conversation that otherwise might initiate from a stranger, but that’s about it… By occasionally scanning and making quick eye contact with others, tells any potential criminal that you are not afraid. 

‘Quick’ eye contact simply means don’t stare. Staring will provoke a stranger.
  
Is this type of behaviour simply a bunch of paranoia? Do you have to walk around being paranoid to avoid being in the wrong place at the wrong time? No, of course not.

Granted, for some people, learning to do these simple things will feel uncomfortable at first – and they may feel as though they are being paranoid. However, after a while, this will become part of you, just like being able to carry on a conversation with someone while driving a car. It’s no big deal…

Bolster some confidence while you’re out and about. It may unknowingly ward off a pick-pocket, purse-snatcher, or worse criminal, without you even knowing it happened!



WHEN NATURE CALLS AND YOU GOTTA GO
What do you do? When you are on a survival exercise, the time will come when you’ve got no choice, you have to go

What’s the etiquette? What do you do if you’re a female?  

How can you be certain that you’re alone? Trust me, it’s not all that bad – once you get used to it.

You should always ensure that you are at least 200’ from any stream, lake, creek, etc. This applies to all body wastes. 

You don’t want to foul the water, and your waste WILL travel within the earth farther than you might think. Remember this rule when you’re getting your drinking water from a stream or lake

Start by digging a hole at least 6 to 8 inches deep and wide in a locale that you feel is both comfortable and private. You might wish to locate a good-size rock or log against which to support yourself. 

Women might wish to go in pairs – one can act as a lookout.

Carefully burn used toilet paper in the hole or in your campfire. This would also apply to women’s feminine hygiene items. Cover the hole with the dirt you removed – there should be at least 6 inches of covering dirt, I like to add a large rock to deter forest creatures from being too curious or hikers from stepping there.

Women!!! If you are quite concerned with privacy, buy a roomy, non-transparent poncho. 

You can wreath it for added security. It makes a wonderful outhouse while doubling as rain protection. NO extra weight to carry. 

Obviously, you’ll want to be careful not to soil the poncho.

Always carry a plastic trowel and toilet paper in your pack – even when day hiking.

For groups, I like to dig an 8 inch deep, 8 inch wide trench long enough to accommodate the group size and planned time in camp.

Choose a site which will be safe and easy to locate in the dark. Leave a trowel or shovel behind. Don’t leave a roll of paper behind unless it is well secured and waterproofed – soggy paper is no fun, and neither is toilet paper blowing through the forest. 

Each user simply covers their use; this saves everyone from locating and digging separate holes.

This way all users know to allow privacy in that spot, as well. Before leaving camp, always return the group toilet area to “no-trace condition. 

Scatter rocks, level the ground, etc.

Finally, if the ground is frozen or too hard for digging, pack out both waste and paper. Please do not take the easy way out – think of others. In snow, be sure to dig through the snow and into the earth.


And please remember don’t drink yellow snow!!!!



Survival Napping
As expert survivors we often think in terms of taking action in order to survive. 

For example we have our bug-out bags pre-packed and are ready to go, so that we may walk or drive many miles with enough supplies to get us there.

Survivors know how to build a fire in many different ways under a variety of adverse conditions. Survivors can obtain drinkable water and forage edible foods from a plethora of sources. 

As survival experts we can defend ourselves and our property to the best of our ability.

And that is just the beginning. When the going gets tough the experienced wilderness and urban survivor springs into action, taking adversity head on.

But not always. A wise old friend of mine once told me, “Sometimes the best thing you can do - is do nothing!”

When the going gets tough sometimes the best thing to do is to take a long nap. During very bad weather or social unrest it is often not wise to continue on with your plans. 

Rather than flail about in wind and storm or risk altercation during social unrest, simply go to sleep and wait it out! You will save your energy, reduce the risk of injury, and get a good rest besides.

Sometimes the best thing you can do- is do nothing!

This strategy has been employed by experienced wilderness survivors such as the northern Native Americans during foul winter weather, arctic explorers, and high mountain expeditions like those on Mount Everest and K2. 

Even the very squirrels and other animals, natures experienced survival instructors, will hunker down during the worst of conditions. They simply curl up in their dens and go to sleep.

During a survival situation of any kind, the ability to sleep warm, dry, and comfortable is very important and can mean the difference between health and the ability to take action during waking hours or possibly not making it out alive.

If you have the proper survival gear and knowledge, your outdoor sleep system can get you through the most trying of times with little expenditure of precious energy or exposure to danger.



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 survival exercise. 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, it just feels natural to me.

Like bubbling stew, 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 is 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 washing machine - 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. 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. 

In America the native peoples called it "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.

TEEPEE FIRE:

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.

PYRAMID/PLATFORM FIRE:

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 it's 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.

PARALLEL FIRE:

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 is 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 centre as the ends are consumed. It's another fire that can be kept burning all night long with little maintenance.

REFLECTOR FIRE:

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 and stormproof matches 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.



When the Power Stops
It is a fact that our country is more reliant on electrical power today than at any time in its history. 

Our way of life – from everyday conveniences and the security of local emergency services to commerce and communications – is contingent upon an always on, always available flow of electricity.

But an aging infrastructure coupled with a rise in natural and man-made disasters threatens our entire modern day digital infrastructure. According to many experts from the private and public sector, we’re just one major catastrophic event away from a complete meltdown of life in the United Kingdom as we know it today.

So, what happens if and when the grid goes down for an extended period of time? Aside from the aggravation of not being able to determine what is happening through traditional media channels, for the Average person, his problems have only just begun.

Our dependency to the power grid doesn’t just stop at the lack of electricity in our homes to power our appliances or an inability to charge our mobile phones; it Is much broader and affects every aspect of our lives.

We are regularly inundated with news reports covering power cuts that last several days or weeks resulting from bad weather or snow storms. During those times, when entire metropolitan areas or regions experience power cuts, we get a glimpse into what a truly widespread emergency might look like.

It is often the case that the first thing residents of affected areas do is rush to the supermarket and DIY stores hoping to acquire critical supplies like food, water, batteries, flashlights and generators.

And while these supplies acquired at the onset of crisis may provide short term sustenance, any long-term power cut situation that lasts for many weeks or months will prove dangerous, and perhaps fatal, to the unprepared.

Consider, for a moment, how drastically your life would change without the continuous flow of energy the grid delivers. While manageable during a short-term disaster, losing access to the following critical elements of our just-in-time society would wreak havoc on the system.

Challenges or shut downs of business commerce
Breakdown of our basic infrastructure: communications, mass transportation, supply chains
Inability to access money via atm machines
Payroll service interruptions
Interruptions in public facilities – schools, workplaces may close, and public gatherings.
Inability to have access to clean drinking water

The last widespread outage in the Northeast with over 80,000 homes without electricity, showed how intimately interconnected and alarmingly fragile our power grid is.

If our society is more reliant on power than at any time in history – without it, we’ve got no commerce, no communications, no clean water – and if power becomes less reliable in the future, the big question is: Will we be able to hack it?

THE TROUBLE with the future of power isn’t that there is one big problem that could knack us. It’s that there are a host of them, any one of which could knack us.

These things that could knack us I would class as Extreme Natural Disasters

This includes earthquakes, hurricanes, snow storms, thunderstorms as well as massive solar storms that have the potential to seriously damage the electrical grid. You don’t think it could happen?

“It took just 90 seconds for a 1989 solar storm to cause the collapse of the Hydro-Quebec power grid, leaving 6 million Canadians without power for up to nine hours.

A 2008 NASA-funded report noted the risk of significant damage to our interconnected grid in light of the forecast for increased solar activity. The 11-year solar cycle is expected to peak in 2013, and just two weeks ago we saw one of the biggest solar-radiation storms in years.

Acts of Terrorism

This category includes, but is not limited to a physical attack on the bulk power system, either at its source of generation or somewhere along its transmission route, cyber attack on the computers controlling our interconnected grid, electro-magnetic pulse, or an EMP, weapon.

Have you read me “effects of EMP” article. EMP’s will create long-lasting damage that would incapacitate electronic systems across the country and forever change our way of life. 

Cyber-threats are another concern and someone with serious hacking skills could easily take out computers, networks or information stored therein to cause lasting damage to our way of life.

The Ailing Grid

Our ailing power grid is almost as sick as our failing economy. With one malicious event, be it man made or by natural means, it is down. Our power delivery system is as old and stooped as a pensioner. 

As it is upgraded and its capacity is expanded, our rapacious need for more electrical power races to max it out once again.

A wide-spread emergency, such as a massive power surge, solar flare or a rogue electromagnetic pulse (EMP) detonation have the capacity to render our entire power infrastructure useless. 

Transformers and other key elements on which the grid depends could be permanently damaged as a result of massive electric surges.

In an event such as this our immediate problem will be finding a way to order, manufacture and take delivery of the components needed to replace the faulty ones.

Most of the parts made for our electrical grid are made in China – and many are decades old. It would take months to get the parts shipped to this country and replaced.

During the power cut, millions would be adversely affected; some even suggesting that within a year 9 out of 10 Britons would be dead from starvation, disease and violence.

Ladies and gentleman, if there’s one thing that can cause the veritable “S” to hit the fan, this is it.


So how do we remedy and or prepare for a grid down scenario? Think retro – like pioneer retro- and by that we have to go way back to when we were not so dependent on the luxury of on-demand energy in its various forms.

When preparing for a grid-down scenario, we must comprise different contingency plans for short-term and longer-term issues. That being the case, we have to admit to ourselves that it could last longer than we expect and be much more than just a minor inconvenience.

Therefore, the best way to prepare is to start with your basic needs. That is the need for light, heat, water, and food. Therefore we must employ the usual SHTF plans to overcome this potential disaster situation.

The vulnerability of our grid is nothing new to us as preppers. Some have seen this problem coming for a long time and changed their entire ways of life by going off-grid.

They have found alternative sources such as solar, wind and diesel to power their homes and machinery. A majority of us, who have not gone off-grid, are making a concerted effort to avoid dependence on this ailing infrastructure and preparing for life without it.

That being said, all we can do is stay the course, prepare accordingly and continue on.



Surviving in your Car
Living in a car isn't something that anyone would recommend. However, when you get laid off, your emergency fund runs out, your home is foreclosed (or you get an eviction notice) and there's nobody to help, living in your car might be the only choice, especially if you don't feel safe at a local shelter.

Unfortunately, in many places, sleeping in your car is not only frowned upon, but also illegal. Here's how to get by until something better comes along.

Firstly remember, you are not alone and you have a vehicle. Lots of people have survived and even thrived while sleeping in cars

You can only live in your car successfully if your car works. You're going to need a new or "newish" car or be a good mechanic to live in an older car. If you have an old car keep in mind that you're liable to break down at an inopportune moment if you don't stay on top of maintenance.

Find a safe and inconspicuous place to park. First, check to see if there are any organizations or businesses in your area (or a nearby area) that designates parking lots specifically for people in situations like yours; For example, some supermarkets allow people to camp overnight in their parking lots.

It's not only legal, but the organization might screen the people who use the car park. If there are no such car parks available, and you live in a urban area, look for streets with no footpaths, no overlooking windows, and adjacent to woods; the area should be sparse enough to avoid nosy onlookers but populated enough that the car does not stand out.

Truck Stops or service stations on A roads and motorways (especially those that are open 24 hours and have toilets etc. are great to clean up in and have security, as long as you spend a couple of quid there and don't park in one place too often. 

Truck stops  however can be noisy, particularly in the morning as trucks arrive carrying food and goods.


Church car parks are often quiet during week days. If you check around, you may find a church that is less used than others. This could be a good place to park, and you may be able to ask for assistance at the church.

Industrial estates and business parks are often noisy by day, but very quiet at night. Small ones close to residential areas are best. They have to be quiet at night.

You may encounter security in some places like this, but if you are honest, saying you are just sleeping the night in your car, they usually won't bother you. Their main role is to protect the property.

University car parks are okay if you are a student, but not so good if you are not associated with the university. If required, get a parking permit.

Camping grounds are another option, although they usually have time limits and some are almost as expensive as a hotel room. Some offer a shower for a nominal fee. National Forests have some free camping with a limit of 14 days.

If there's no shower room, having a river nearby helps for rinsing purposes. Know how to safely defecate outdoors and make a poop tube. Five gallon bucket with a lid for example.

A free hospital parking space is another option. If approached by a guard, you can say that you're waiting to visit a sick relative. However, note that due to attacks on nurses, you may attract police attention by parking in a hospital car park. 

You may be asked to move on by security.

If you can establish rapport with the manager of a retail store or restaurant, they may not give you problems about staying overnight, especially if they see your presence as a form of overnight security.

Once you find a spot, try to arrive late at night, and leave before 7am. This will draw as little attention as possible to you.

Due to noise, you might find that you will need ear plugs to sleep. Ear plugs will block a lot of background noise to a level that is bearable. Ear plugs are good for blocking out traffic, birds, animals, talking and background music. They will not block out very loud noise or close noise, such as someone tapping on your car.

Find a place to shower. The most logical place would appear to be a gym. This will help you keep your sanity and give you a purpose to your morning. Don't settle for the first gym you find. If you look around, you may find nearly deserted gyms in which you can shower and fully clean yourself without embarrassment.

Remember: the people who can least afford to sport the dishevelled look of a homeless person are those who ARE homeless, so try not to look the part! Don't "let yourself go", as once descent starts, it is hard to pull out. 

Maintaining a well-kept appearance can only help you maintain a positive self-image during a time when it is being seriously challenged. Gyms can be an expensive option. Many 
Gyms range in cost from a few £’s per day to many, many £’s per week. This is pretty expensive just for a shower. Many councils, churches and support organisations have free showers. 

It can be a false economy to use a gym just for showers, particularly as there are many free ways to keep in shape without a gym.

Try to remember the flip flops or water shoes as not to get a foot fungus and let the towel dry out in the car.

Community or Recreation centres that have gyms and showers are a cheaper option than the nationwide chains. Many Rec or 
Community centres yearly memberships cost about the same as the monthly memberships at a national gym. You may not be able to store your items as safely in these places though.

The next best choice is to book into an affordable caravan park one or two days a week. These usually range from about £8-£15 a night. You will have a spot to park your car, you can do laundry (usually an extra fee), fill up on water, have a shower and even pitch a tent if you have one. 

They usually have powered sites, so you can recharge your electrical devices or run a fan or heater.

Another option, though possibly more expensive, is to book into a cheap motel or hostel once or twice a week and clean up thoroughly there (if you can afford it).

Swimming pools have showers, depending on whether they have private stalls or are set up gang style, they may provide a discrete place to shower.

Another option to consider- when you can't shower, use unscented baby wipes to clean up, or take a "bum shower" in a public restroom where you feel comfortable doing so.

At a truck stop, you can ask around for a shower coupon, if you feel safe allowing people to know that you're without a place to stay. Truck stops are good to sleep at too. Truck Stops can be noisy at night though, so ear plugs are recommended.

Be discreet. 

Keeping your situation under wraps minimizes the embarrassment and helps avoid becoming a target for police officers and criminals alike.

It is common sense to rotate among several parking locations to avoid getting noticed.

When you move around in the parked car, move slowly to avoid rocking the car.

You could consider using a car cover. Not only will it maintain privacy (especially since condensation on the windows will otherwise make it obvious that you're in there) but it will also keep the car warmer during winter. 

This is not a viable option, however, when it's hot outside.

When it's sunny in the daytime, use a sunshade for the windshield.

You may find that you need and want more privacy than windows offer. There are a few cheap ways to gain this privacy. Reflective window shades in your back and front window help. Similarly fold up shades on the side windows are good. You can also buy some cheap cloth and either stuff them in the windows, tape them in, or hold them in place by magnets. 

Black cloth is best for privacy and blocking out light.
  
If you can afford it, local laws allow, and you don't mind driving with it. Get your windows tinted as dark as legally possible. This along with the front sunshade and dark cloth or towels can provide a lot of privacy. If you hang a towel or cloth on a untinted window it screams homeless person. 

You hang the same on a tinted window it'll be impossible to see inside and won't draw attention.

Keep the windows slightly open while you sleep, not wide enough for someone to reach in, but enough to allow fresh air and reduce condensation on the windows.

Get the things you'll need. 

The basic essentials for living in a car are a blanket, a pillow, and a mattress or some other padding. Due to the angles involved in the seating setup, you may develop dull back pain from the cramped quarters. 

Should this happen, be sure to have pain medication on hand.

Once you have your sleeping gear, you'll want a blanket to place over the back seat, and draped over the two front seats. 

This will block light and people's views.

A cheap fridge will help make life easier. The main thing the cooler needs is to be water proof. Cold food will cause condensation, while ice will melt. You don't want that water inside of your car. 

A fridge will help keep your perishable food cool. It will work most efficiently when full, so add bottles of cold water to it as you take out food. If you choose to buy an electric fridge, it will need good ventilation to work.

For this reason, it will not work well in your car's boot. It is best placed within the car when running. Make sure it is only running when the engine runs, or use a low voltage cut out device, as explained below. 

Make sure the cooling vent grille is not touching anything as it exhausts waste heat and may set some things on fire.

One essential item, if you can afford it is a porta potti, a chemical toilet. These devices can really make living in a car bearable. They can be purchased for under £50 new these days. 

If you can't afford a porta potti or don't have room for one, you can pee into wide necked bottles, or make an improvised bucket style toilet.

Find alternate ways of generating electricity. A cigarette lighter converter is one option. These are useful for powering low consuming devices (100 watts), but if you plan on using your vehicle for cooking, then you'll need to draw power more directly from your battery or you'll blow the fuse. 

Running electric cooking appliances from your car though is fairly impractical without an expensive dual battery and inverter system.

There are small 12 volt water heaters and skillets, but these generally are not very efficient. You will also need a much more expensive inverter if you plan to run things that use mains voltage. 

You may need to idle the vehicle while drawing this power if you don't have a dual battery system, however even then, car alternators are not designed for such use and may not be able to produce the current you need.

A good buy for any car dweller is a low voltage cut out device. This device protects your car's battery by cutting off the electricity once the battery reaches a voltage where it can still start the car, but can't really run plug in devices much more. 

These usually retail for about £10 to £20.

They are a very good investment for a car dweller, as continual flattening of your battery will damage it, resulting in a costly replacement, and inconvenience of not being able to start the car.

An alternative to electric cooking devices is to use gas for cooking, but do not use this inside the vehicle for safety reasons. There are many dangers associated with cooking inside your car; unstable surfaces, fire hazards, burns from hot metal or spilled liquids, carbon monoxide build up, smells. 

Cooking is for outside of the car. If you live in a van with a stable set up for cooking, then cooking inside is okay, provided there is ventilation.

Have a place to store items that is portable. Get bags you can fill with your soaps, clothes, mobile phone, etc. Keeping things in order will save you a lot of hassle. A vehicle may seem like a small space, but losing things can be extremely easy. 

Also, keeping things neat inside the car will draw less attention from people passing by who happen to look in the windows.

Hiding your bedding might be a good idea (consider the boot). If there is no room in the car for a weeks’ worth of clothes and supplies, try to leave them at a friends for safe keeping and then you can have a reason to come over, and they may give you a shower and a place to hang out.

When you do your laundry, be sure to get them bone dry, as you do not want damp clothes to mildew or smell bad in the car. When you're not in the car, leave windows cracked and dryer sheets scattered about to keep the interior smelling decent. 

Wash your sheets once a month, or else you risk smelling like a homeless person, which will blow your cover and get you treated like a homeless person.

Keep dirty clothes separate in plastic bags so they do not smell up all your clothing.


Evaluate your food options. Peanut butter, tuna and crackers are great staples. Have a box for food so it does not get smashed. Gallons of water are a necessity for a lot of things. 

They will be limited by the lack of refrigeration.
Fast food is expensive when you're living off of it. With old fashioned (large flake) rolled oats, powdered milk, bottled water, plastic cups, and chocolate protein powder, you can ensure that you always have a nutritious snack to fall back on.

Before you start living in your car, use your permanent address to:

Rent a P.O. Box or a Private Mail Box (PMB). 

Although PMBs tend to be more expensive, you can receive packages at them and some services will let you use an address format which makes it appear to be an apartment, which is useful for when someone requires a physical address.

Sign up for a gym membership. (This however, can be expensive, and if your resources are limited, you may find it to be a drain.)

Renew any paperwork that will require an address to process soon.

Put valuables in a safe deposit box at a bank.


Lastly if you have friends or family who can't (or refuse to) help you with your living situation (or you refuse to ask them for help) think about at least asking them if you can use their address.

Stay positive. Keep reminding yourself that the situation is only temporary. Spend each day hitting the pavement and looking for jobs. 

Use the local library and bookstore not only to search for jobs, but also to become more knowledgeable in ways that will help you get through this and find a job.

Most importantly, talk to people like social workers and religious organization workers who will sympathize and understand, and try to help.

Here are some introductory steps to sleeping in your car for the first time.

If your car has the capacity, install a hanging bar. This will provide a bit more storage space as well as keep clothes wrinkle-free for job interviews, etc.

Tint your windows for privacy as I have already said; tinting works better than using barriers (blankets etc.) because it enables you to see out while others cannot see in. This could be helpful when trying to live unnoticed. 

Barriers also attract attention and advertise what you are doing, while tinted windows are very common on many cars.

If you wear contact lenses you will need a disinfectant for your hands. Better yet, wear glasses. Sleeping I know only too well will likely be a challenge at first because there is a good chance that your vehicle is not large enough for you to fully stretch out your body.

Find a position where you can comfortably sleep with your legs bent or against your chest. Alternatively, you can try sitting up in the back seat and propping a pillow against the wall of the car.

Get an AA or RAC membership. This will help you if you drain your battery, or break down.

Make sure you have vehicle documentation and insurance. Without them, your problems will increase.

Personal safety should always be your number-one priority. Knives used for food preparation and tire irons can be used as weapons. Criminals seek out people who appear vulnerable, or travel alone. 

Police generally do not regard homeless people well and there has been many unfortunate cases of harassment homeless people by police.

If you are spending the night in your car and you have been drinking alcohol, do not have the keys in the ignition, If it is winter and you need to run the car for heat, move over to the passenger or back seat. 

Otherwise, you could get a “drunk in charge” just for being in your car.

The bin lorry or other neighbourhood noises can wake you up. Consider earplugs.

Pay attention to your instincts. If a parking spot feels weird for any reason, find yourself a new one.

If you have little cash and can't afford deodorant or car deodorizer, baking soda is really good substitute that works very well. 

Also visit a pound shop and buy hydrogen peroxide along with baking soda, as they are a phenomenal toothpaste. If for some reason you cannot bath for a day or two, baking soda will make your hair clean and grease free.

An outdoors shop is a great place to get cheap things you'll need to live outside of an house.

A 24hr Asda usually allow all-night parking and sleeping in cars.

Using swimming pools for shower can be very cost effective. A single time swim costs around couple of quid and there are options for month passes at many public pools.

Avoid driving the car. While it seems harmless, police do not take kindly to marginalized people. 

A danger is that they may write a report about you to a government office in the hope that they'll cancel your license.
Never sleep in the driver seat if you can avoid it. 

Your body will quickly associate that seat with sleeping, creating risks when you are driving - especially when you're tired. Recline the passenger seat or lie down in the back if there is room, plus in the passenger seat there are no pedals to entangle your feet.

If you are sleeping in the car on a regular basis, do as few other things in the car as possible. Don't eat, read, or anything else that will cause you to spend more time than necessary in the car. 

The more time you spend in it, the more smells will accumulate.

If you use a car cover, never run the car or smoke while it is on. You could easily suffocate or get carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, do not use it on a warm day without adequate ventilation.

Be careful who you tell about your living in a car. If they're not likely to provide assistance, then don't bother, because you might end up endangering yourself.

Don't drink alcohol. Don't even bring any alcohol into your car. 

If cops find you with alcohol in your blood or in your car, you could get in serious trouble, even if you're not driving at the time

If you have been homeless for a while, you may not have money for car insurance. Be aware that you can be considered a vagrant.  

Your car will be impounded. 

No money, no recovery of your car and the impounder has just stolen your car. Now where can you go??????



Basic Survival Skills
You might be asking, “What is the best way to approach basic survival skills,” especially since there is so much information available. Here are 6 primary components of wilderness survival to help you thrive in any situation:

More than any other skill, your attitude determines how successful you are in a survival situation. This first of the basic survival skills might even determine whether you live or die!

To start, consider “The Rule of Threes.” A human can survive for:
- 3 minutes without air
- 3 hours without a regulated body temperature (shelter)
- 3 days without water
- 3 weeks without food

The “Rule of Threes” provides a guideline of how to prioritize basic survival skills: first shelter, then water, and lastly food.
Surviving a difficult wilderness situation also requires meeting many challenges while avoiding panic. 

When faced with a potential survival situation, remember to use a "SPEAR":
Stop
Plan
Execute
Assess &
Re-evaluate

By systematically assessing, planning, and executing your basic survival skills, you will help keep your mind and body actively engaged in addressing your situation. This will greatly aid in avoiding panic and other negative states of mind. By upholding an upright attitude, your chances of survival are greatly improved!

Many people who are forced into survival situations often get into serious trouble because of direct exposure to the elements. Most people in survival situations die of hypothermia, which can be easily avoided with basic survival skills.

Being able to build a shelter is of paramount importance in a survival situation. It is extremely important to prevent or minimize heat loss, or if in a desert environment, to minimize water loss. 

Here are some things to think about when planning to build a shelter:
- Location (away from hazards, near materials)
- Insulation (from ground, rain, wind, air)
- Heat Source (body heat or fire-heated)
- Personal or Group Shelter

There are many types of shelters to consider including natural shelters such as caves, hollow stumps and logs, as well as building shelters such as a debris hut, lean-to, debris tipi, or snow shelter. Of the shelters listed, the debris hut is often the most practical to construct in almost any environment. Learn how to construct a debris hut.

Since the human body is composed of 78.2% water, it should be no surprise that water is higher on the list than fire or food. Ideally, a person should drink about a gallon of water per day.

Many lost persons perish due to dehydration, and or the debilitating effects of water-borne pathogens from untreated water. In addition to water-borne pathogens, minerals and metals can be found in waters downstream from industrial and agricultural operations. 

The best sources for clean drinking water in a wilderness setting are springs, head-water streams, and collecting morning dew.

Popular modern methods for purifying and treating water include filtering pumps and chemical treatments, such as iodine. These can be efficient and effective solutions if you have access to these items in a survival situation.

The most widely used and proven method for safely purifying water is boiling. Bringing water to a boil and allowing it to continue to boil for 2-3 minutes will kill bacteria and viruses.
By maintaining a level attitude, creating a shelter, and obtaining clean water, a person can successfully survive for many weeks.

Even though it is not directly a survival need, fire is one of the most useful basic survival skills. It can help warm your body or your shelter, dry your clothes, boil your water, and cook your food. 

Also, fire can provide psychological support in a survival situation, creating a sense of security and safety.
Ideally, when traveling in the wilderness, it is best to carry multiple fire-starting tools, such as a lighter, matches, flint and steel, etc… Even with these implements starting a fire can be challenging in inclement weather. We highly recommend practicing fire starting in different weather conditions within different habitats. 

Good fire-making skills are invaluable. If you were to find yourself in a situation without a modern fire-making implement, fire by friction is the most effective primitive technique. Popular friction fire-making methods include bow drill, hand drill, fire plow, and fire saw.

Learn how to build a fire using the bow and drill friction fire technique.


You might be surprised to see food so low on the basic survival skills priorities list, though we can survive for much longer without it as compared with shelter and water.
Remember “The Rule of Threes”: humans can survive without food for roughly 3 weeks (though I'm sure you would not want to go that long without food!). 

Thankfully, most natural environments are filled with a variety of items that can meet our nutritional needs. 

Wild plants often provide the most readily available foods, though insects and small wild game can also support our dietary needs in a survival situation.

Be sure that you properly identify any plant you plan on consuming (using field guides and or the guidance of an experienced expert). Many plants can be difficult to identify and some edible plants have poisonous look-a-likes. If you cannot identify the plant, do not eat it.

The more you know about nature, the better you will be able to survive in the outdoors. To be great at wilderness survival, beyond the basic survival skills, requires an in-depth understanding of a variety of nature skills.

For example, wildlife tracking skills allow one to effectively locate wild game for food, and knowledge of herbal medicine allows one to heal illnesses with wild plants. Especially for the situation where you may choose to purposefully practice survival living for a lengthened period of time, naturalist knowledge is absolutely invaluable.

All of our hunter–gatherer ancestors had classification systems for living organisms, knew their names, understood their uses, recognized how they inter-related to each other, and were aware of exactly how to utilize those resources in a sustainable fashion.

This knowledge was at the foundation of their ability to thrive within the natural environment.
For even the recreational wilderness skills practitioner, a basic knowledge of the natural sciences (such as botany, ecology, geology, etc…) can be very useful and enriching. 

A great place to start is by purchasing the relevant plant and animal field guides for your region. These resources can help you begin to identify species and understand how they relate.
Now, with these keys to basic survival skills, you are well on your way to thriving in the outdoors!



Evading Trackers
I am for sure no expert when it comes to evading trackers, if they were intent of doing me harm I would give it a bloody good go at getting away from them that is for sure using some of the methods below having seen a few films etc LOL seem common sense to me anyway.

In many Hollywood films you see the hero evade hordes of pursuers and packs of bloodhounds with ease, in reality it is much harder to evade a well-trained and determined pursuit.

Evading pursuit is always a balance between speed and misdirection; the general aim is to put as much distance as possible between you and any pursuit while using misdirection to obscure the tracks you leave.

The first point to make is that tracking a human over rough ground is not easy and in most cases the pursuers will have a massive advantage in man power and resources, they are likely to have trained dogs, vehicles and even airborne assets to aid in the capture of any fugitive.

Secondly don't even think about hiding and waiting until your pursuers give up, they won't and successfully hiding if they have dogs is nearly impossible. All of the following techniques take time, the idea is that if they are successful you will gain time to make good your escape, if they fail then you will have wasted time.

One of the oldest tricks in the book is to simply brush away your tracks from an area using a branch from a tree or other improvised tool. The idea is that your tracks will just stop at a certain point and it will take time for pursuers to regain your trail.

This is a waste of time, the tell-tale marks left by brushing will inform your pursuers that you are on to them, use up time and energy and take very little time for a good tracker to re discover your direction of travel. If the tracker has dogs it may not even slow them at all.

Another favourite of the movies is to enter a stream to throw dogs off your scent. This has several problems, firstly it slows you down considerably and running through even shallow water can quickly sap reserves of strength. In winter icy water can very quickly tire you and could even lead to hypothermia and increased chance of frostbite.

With muddy banks it becomes clear where you entered and left the stream and the stream may not be heading in exactly the right direction again wasting time. In upland areas streams can rapidly head downwards and suddenly lead to waterfalls or plunge pools, which can be very dangerous at the best of times, more so to a tired person evading pursuit.

In dryer, warmer areas you will leave a dripping trail as you leave the stream and in tropical areas breaking vegetation becomes unavoidable as you leave the stream, let alone the risk from water borne parasites. Even shallow streams can leave a trail in the streambed and stony ones often have a thin film of algae on the stones, which can be disturbed by your passing allowing a tracker to follow.

Dogs will quickly pick up your scent once where you left the stream has been determined. If a stream can be found that is going in the direction you want, is deep enough for you to float in, is flowing faster than walking pace and has no rapids or waterfalls then it could be used to your advantage but this is highly unlikely I think.

You can avoid leaving tracks by hopping from rock to rock. This requires hard stony ground with plenty of large rocks that won’t shift dangerously when you tread on them. This is normally alongside a stream or river. This is slow work, which drains strength and stamina and risks a twisted ankle or a fall. 

Clean the soles of your shoes first to avoid smudges on the rocks as you travel. It will slow a tracker down, as it will take time to follow such a trail.

Used by military units where a few members of the group jump clear of a trail to circle round and ambush a pursuer. Less useful alone as a tracker will quickly pick up your new trail once your own trail ends suddenly. Also jumping clear can risk injury to ankles etc.

Backtracking is literally walking backwards in your own footprints and can be useful when combined with other techniques. The problem is when you walk backwards your stride is shorter and your feet further apart which can alert a good tracker.

Your prints will also become more well defined and deeper as they will have been trod in twice with earth displaced towards the heel rather than towards the toe as is normal. It is best to do this near a stream or rocks where tracks are becoming harder to follow that way a tracker might not immediately notice when your trail stops, buying you further time to get away, then once back 10 or 15 paces jump off or enter the stream possibly crossing it far back from where your trails stops.

Corner cutting is a technique used as you approach a road or a stream, as you get within 100meters alter your course 45 degrees to the right (or left) continue until you reach the stream or road then turn right again making sure that it is obvious your trail is heading on the road or has entered the stream. 

Then you back track to where you met the road or stream and continue along it making sure you leave very little trail then leave the road or stream and continue up country. This will hopefully make your pursuers think you saw the road or stream and decided to cut the corner to avoid it as you intended to head right.

If the trackers have dogs then few techniques will be effective. The human handler can be fooled by visual deceptions such as backtracking and jumping off but the dog’s sense of smell won't.

Remember the dog is fast but the handler will slow it down, so climbing tall fences, rocky outcrops etc will slow dog and handler down. Your scent sticks to vegetation so try to find hard stony ground near running water this will make it harder for the dog to track you. 

A decomposing animal such as a dead sheep or road kill can also help mask your scent, drag it behind you on a length of rope but don't let it touch you or you will carry its scent.
In urban areas seek out large groups of people, strong smells, butchers shops with meat hanging up outside, perfume counters, anything which could overload the dog's senses.

One trick in an urban area is to get some pepper from a café table and pour it liberally behind your scent, or even cover some leftover hamburger or food item, as the dog investigates the food it will get a nose full of pepper, which can be very effective.

In rural and woodland areas patches of ransoms or wild garlic can also upset the dog, as can mint, and covering a small item of your clothing with stinging nettles can also put the dog out of action long enough for you to make good your escape.

Moving through livestock such as cows or sheep can slow the handler and distract the dog. Heavy rain will also help disperse your scent quickly and remember your scent can also be carried on the wind so try to keep downwind of pursuers.



Psychology of Survival
So you think you will never have to learn about sea survival, or how to survive in a life raft? But you take the ferry to Calais on holiday without a care in the world wearing only shorts and a T-shirt, have you forgotten the herald of Free Enterprise way back in 1987.

So you, as you never intend to climb the Alps don’t bother to learn about mountain survival but you sit on a plane on your holidays in shorts and a T-shirt as you fly over the Alps, What if? 
And you do survive the crash?

You just give up and die. Sadly this is often the case as many disasters are full of tales of how people just give up and die, and it can be surprising how many people actually do this in an emergency.

An unconfirmed story tells of how a passenger airliner crashes in the sea, and many of the passengers seeing the plane go under the water don't even try to escape and are found with seatbelts still tied often holding hands with a loved one.

While those that tried to escape found themselves only a 100 meters from the shore and help. Although this seems unlikely psychological research has often shown this to be the case. On the other side of the coin the human body is capable of incredible feats of survival when the person involves doesn't give up.

In modern times one of the best examples of this can be seen in the film "Touching the Void" a dramatized documentary about a climbing expedition in the Andes which goes horribly wrong. One British climber broke his leg badly in a fall near the summit and during the attempt to return to camp his partner was forced to cut the rope, which in complete darkness dropped him into a deep crevasse.

Believed to be dead he knew no aid was coming, frozen with no food or water and a badly broken leg he then proceeded to crawl his way back to base camp which he reached days later and fully physically recovered from his ordeal. All this is inspiring and interesting but how do we react to an emergency situation and how can we prepare ourselves mentally to be the survivor if the worse happens.

Firstly it is important to consider the effects of fear upon a person. Everyone gets afraid if someone tells you they aren't afraid of anything they are either lying or an idiot. What's important is recognising the fear, separating what's rational (realistic) fear and what's irrational fear and using your fear to help not paralyse you.

Uncontrolled fear leads to panic and irrational and possibly dangerous behaviour, controlled your fear will boost your body's strength and endurance with a flood of adrenaline hormone. Uncontrolled fear in a survival situation can lead to the following;

Angry or violent outbursts

Selfish behaviour, not willing to share resources, or work as a team
Suicidal thoughts, people just giving up and dying or seeking death

Low motivation or energy levels and Carelessness or mistakes
When in a life threatening situation the body will release adrenaline hormone, this is often called the fight or flight hormone and is designed to prepare the body for escape or combat. 

Heart rate increases, as do energy levels as circulation speeds up moving more oxygen through the body and the body releases energy reserves, physical strength actually increases but mental focus can decrease as what is often described as a "red mist " descends clouding judgement, as the body wants action NOW not careful planning.

This burst of energy won’t last long and a prolonged period will lead to exhaustion so the survivor must make best use of this free burst of energy while it lasts to prepare shelter, escape from immediate danger etc. It is important to recognise this survival rush as what it is and act accordingly.

After the initial danger is passed longer-term psychological stressors set in, the most dangerous being isolation. Human beings are naturally social creatures and prolonged periods of isolation can be very psychologically harmful. 

Completely isolated from human contact the survivor can become paranoid or give in to feelings of desperation as they feel that no one is looking for them and rescue will never come.

There are ways to counter this, a constant effort to keep busy and improve the survivor's situation by building a more elaborate shelter or signal fires can offset the desperation and the creation of an imaginary friend often focused on an inanimate object or even a person’s faith talking to their god can all help.

People often find creative or survival skills they did not know they possessed and it is important that any set backs are seen as temporary or depression can set in. During any survival situation the person involved will face setbacks these can seem major at the time but in the long run are not important such as a caught animal prey escaping, a rope snapping or a shelter leaking. 

It is how people move on from minor setbacks, which determines survival.

Guilt can also be a psychological problem for lone survivors. The question arises in their mind of "Why me?" Faced with the death of comrades or loved ones it is a natural human reaction to wonder why others have died and they have not, a sort of "I'm not worthy " mentality.

This can be used in a positive sense, if people see themselves as now owing a debit to those who died to survive and striving harder to survive to honour the dead. Again for those of a religious outlook it can be that they believe that their god has spared them for a reason, whatever works is fine. There are ways in which you can prepare yourself psychologically in a survival situation;

Focus on family, pets or personal faith

Be realistic about what you can achieve but not defeatist, hope for the best but prepare for the worst, better to be surprised by minor victories than depressed at failure

Try to maintain a positive attitude

Remember what's at stake, how your friends/ family will miss you if you just give up

Learn to take pleasure in your surroundings and have time in the day to switch off and relax 

Hopefully none of you will need this advice but it is important to remember than more often than not a person's strength of will can be more important than pure physical strength. 



SURVIVAL ESSENTIALS
This part is why you need to stock up on all of the other items now. Most of us live a cashless lifestyle. We use checks, debit cards, and credit cards. When we lose power in a disaster, so do the shops. If the shops were not damaged too badly, and their goods were not damaged too badly, the owner might even open the shop for business.

You could buy whatever didn't break. Well, some people could. You see, the owner can't run your credit card or debit card through any machine. You have checks, but he isn't set up to deal with them either without electricity. That's okay because you have three £50 notes in your wallet. But, his cash register is electric and won't open. You can use one to buy whatever you want to, but he can't give you any change. 

The ATM machine that would have been able to give you smaller notes doesn't work without electricity. So, an important item to stock up on is cash. Twenties, tens, fives and ones, and even some coins.

Those who didn't prepare were the first ones to go the shops. That includes lots of people. There is a run on water, milk, bread, baby food, batteries, matches and candles. To prevent a riot, the owner has to put a per-person limit on all these items. 

The queue is around the corner. Two hundred people want to buy water at the very least, and there are now only about forty bottles left.

Your credit cards, debit cards, checks, and even your cash probably won't be able to help you survive a disaster after it strikes. Most of where you live is broken, damaged or destroyed. Grocery items are delivered daily, and supplies could certainly be brought in from other counties. But, the motorways all have major damage and trucks can't get the supplies through.

Trains won't dare run until every inch of track is checked for movement or breakage that would throw the train onto its side or worse. Even if you could get to another town for supplies, your car is almost out of fuel.  Don’t forget petrol station pumps work off electricity.             

Too many people, not enough supplies, no spendable money, no fuel, and family members at home waiting for you to bring home dinner. Dinner? It could be at least three days before a safe route can be found for supplies to reach the stores - or it could be three weeks.             

Please start stocking up on essential items now, and stock up for at least a month's worth. Three months would be better if a major power station were to be put out of commission. It would take so little to give you so much peace of mind.

You can't even balk at the cost for two reasons: 1) buying for such a long period of time can be done in bulk, resulting in a lower price per item than buying one or two at a time; and 2) you can use all of these items now if you simply replace them right away. In fact, this replacement method will insure that everything will be safe and usable when it is actually needed.

Your only real worry at the time of a disaster should be the immediate safety of you and your family, and taking care of any injuries that may have occurred as a result.                           

Firstly you need to check to be sure that no one is injured. If there are any injuries, you will have to use your own first-aid kit. Phone lines may be down so you may not be able to call for help, and rescuers will be helping those most seriously injured first. Even if the phone lines are down, your mobile will probably work. 

If a disaster strikes while you are at work and your family is at home, you might need a mobile phone on both ends to check on each other.
Think through possible injuries so you can be prepared in advance. Butterfly bandages can be used as "stitches" in smaller wounds. 

Menstrual pads can be used to cover and protect large wounds. You may actually need to stitch a large wound yourself if medical help simply can't reach you and you are unable to get to help.
St. Johns and the Red Cross both run first-aid courses locally, you should sign up now.

Many types of disasters can severely damage your home. If you are not sure if your home is safe after the initial strike, stay outdoors. Go "camping." If your home seems unsafe but your garage looks very safe, get the car out of there and move into the garage.

You can get an idea of a building's stability by looking at the walls, ceilings and floors. There may be many thin cracks, but these should not be a real problem. Large cracks, broken beams, or any new gaps or openings are not good signs, neither are creaking or cracking noises.                           

Before September 11, 2001, most wives thought that having a mobile phone simply was an essential. If a woman's car broke down in the middle of nowhere, she could either call roadside assistance or her husband for help. And, she could tell her husband she was late but safe. This spread to parents feeling safer about their teenage drivers if their kids carried a mobile phone at all times.             

Watching all of the disaster news, we kept hearing about people who called their wives, husbands and mothers (etc.) to say good-bye or "I love you" when they knew they were going to die. That was like being hit with an emotional hammer.
Some people who were trapped during the disaster were able to tell people where they were because they had a mobile phone.

We now know that a mobile phone can be a critical "survival essential" in more ways than we ever imagined.

If we lose phone lines during or after a disaster, wives will most likely still be able to call their husbands if they both have a mobile phone. Kids with their own mobile phones can call their parents to let them know where they are and if they need immediate medical help or if they are safe. Etc.

You will need a solar or battery-operated radio to find out what is happening in your immediate area and the rest of your city, possibly even the rest of your county. It can be comforting to hear that all is well in many areas and that help is on the way.

You will probably also hear warnings like the water supply is not safe to drink or looting is occurring three streets away. You can protect yourself and your family from problems only if you are able to find out that they exist.

If you don't hear any warnings about the water supply being tainted, you may want to quickly clean out the bathtub, rinse it well, and fill it with water because the water may be shut off soon. 

Rinse the dust out of any buckets you have on hand, then fill them with clean water. If you do find out afterwards that the water is not safe to drink, there are many more ways that it could come in handy in the next few days or weeks and of course there are many ways to make it safe to drink if necessary.             

The atmosphere of most disasters is one of helping each other and sticking together. But, sometimes you have those few who think it is a good time to go looting. In an extended disaster scenario, you could be threatened by people who are desperate for food and water.

It is totally up to you, but you may want to have some sort of weapon on hand for emergencies. Even in a disaster, children could still find a gun and the bad guys could still turn your own gun on you. So, if you do arm yourself, you must keep the gun locked up and separate from ammunition that is also locked up. 

Baseball bats seldom fire unexpectedly.             

You need an ample supply of all of the medicines that anyone in your family take on a regular basis. The need for other medicines may arise later. An unbreakable thermometer is a good item to have on hand. Vitamin supplements for all members of the family will be very beneficial with a limited diet, and will be needed more than ever due to stress.

It is not likely that you will be able to get antibiotics in advance, but you could ask your doctor saying that you were going off on a long trip, or you could buy OTC vetinary drugs as they will work on humans. Some people have been putting some away from what they get from the doctor.

This is a dangerous method because the full dose that you are prescribed is necessary to kill an infection. On the other side, you would need to save up enough antibiotics to make a full dose to receive any benefit - and that is only for one infection for one person.

Since you know that a biological attack is possible in the immediate future, start a fasting regimen now. This doesn't mean you stop eating. A fasting regime includes eating less, which puts your body in its own protective mode. 

Besides eating less food overall, a fasting regimen includes giving up fast foods, junk foods, and most sugars; adding natural fruit juices; and making all of your food healthy, whole or raw foods as much as possible.

In addition to eating correctly, start taking multi-vitamins now. 

And, take natural Vitamin C.

Since you may be on your own for all your first-aid and health care needs, it is a good idea to learn now how to take care of yourself and your family.

Don't forget to stock up on any medicines or vitamins that your pets may need.    



Building a Camp Fire
The days are long, you are out in the wilderness, and the night sky sparkles.

With that in mind, here are some tips for building a campfire!
Use dry firewood as freshly cut wood contains up to 50 per cent moisture. If steam bubbles and hisses on the fire, it’s wet or green—plus, it will make more campfire smoke, which burns your eyes. Prepare a good supply of “fuel.”

When collecting your fuel choose dry leaves, pine needles, grasses, wood shavings, rolled paper balls kindling dry, dead twigs, chopped firewood (thicker than 3 inches in diameter)

Now start your fire with the tinder and kindling—which provides surface area without a lot of weight to get a fire going; logs are too much weight in the beginning.

For an average fire, I suggest two “hats” worth of kindling and tinder. Once you’re in the process of fire-making, you don’t want to run out of fuel!

You need to clear a site at least 10 feet across.

Debris should be removed so that you are starting the fire on bare soil. The cleared circle should be about 10 feet across. Never locate your site near overhanging branches or standing deadwood—or, too close to your shelter. A fire ring can be built with stones and rocks to contain the fire. Keep a bucket of water or soil close to the fire for emergency use.

There are two basic types of fire base: the tepee and the log cabin.


With the tepee you make a loose pile of tinder in the centre (a couple of handfuls) and place the kindling vertically around the tinder in the shape of a tepee. After lighting the fire, feed it with more branches and then firewood as the fire grows.

With the log cabin place four large logs (about 8 to 10 inches in diameter) in a 2- to 3-foot square—well bedded down. 

Stack logs to form a short horizontal stack.

Fill the centre with tinder and kindling. There are variants of the log cabin, such as the lean-to, which is easier for novices/kids and will burn wood more slowly.

I recommend the teepee for its informal beauty and higher burning flames.

Now light your fire use matches or a lighter and light tinder from all sides. You can blow on the fire to get it going with oxygen, but blow gently! Never use charcoal lighter fluid or white gas (such as Coleman lantern/camp stove gas) as a campfire accelerant.

Eventually, the base logs will burn through. As this happens, move them into the centre and replace with new logs. Pace your burning to make sure that your log supply lasts as long as you wish to have a campfire. We’ve all prematurely burned out of wood at one time or another in our enthusiasm to have a big, robust fire.

If you want less fire, dampen it with a shovelful of dirt, sand, or ash. If you desire more blaze, add kindling to the top. Don’t put a giant log on the fire at the end of the night; make sure that you time the fire’s natural end with quitting time

If putting your fire out for the night be careful not to put your hands in the ashes for the next couple of days; ashes can remain extremely hot even under the water and cool ash mud. 
Hot ash from underneath is helpful if you want to have a fire the following night.

I love to roast pieces of tined meat on a stick over the fire as they taste fantastic when crispy

So how do you roast perfectly crispy luncheon meat, well firstly avoid putting your roasting stick right into the flames; place it to the side over glowing coals. And enjoy.



Urban Survival Skills for Surviving Disaster
Making disaster survival preparations has never been more important than they are today. How soon we forget, but it was only a century ago (less in many cases) that people had to do daily what is now considered "prepping" in order to live from day to day.

Surviving disaster has now brought the past back to the future for many concerned citizens as the "what if" list seems to grow daily. These basic urban survival skills are once again necessary, because...

Political, social and economic instability have never been greater. Tack on the growing number of, and very powerful, natural disasters happening around the globe and prepping for disaster survival is no longer a fringe craze, but a necessity in your life.

Disasters can come in many shapes and sizes and aren't always as extreme as the Indian Ocean tsunami (death toll 250,000+) or the tsunami in Japan (death toll over 19,300), the earthquake in Haiti (death toll between 46,000 and 85,000), attacks of September 11th (death toll near 3,000), but they can be much closer to home.

Although hardly newsworthy certain events can take a devastating toll on you and your family. What if...
Long Term Job Loss
Major Medical Issue
Fire Destroys Your Home
Major Bread Winner Passes Away

What would you do? Would you be able to feed yourself, your kids or your pets if you didn't have an income for the next 6 months, a year, maybe longer?

Would relying on government hand-outs be your plan for surviving disaster whether large or small? Sorry to say, but our government is bankrupt by all definitions. When the UK has to borrow money each and every month to pay its bills we're broke.

Sure they can always print more money, but each time that printing press is fired up each one of our pound coins is worth less and less and less...Until the pound is worthless!

Most legitimate economists feel that the only way out of this massive debt - our trusty politicians have created for us - is hyper-inflation. What does that mean? You can say triple or quadruple costs for bread, milk, gas and the list goes on and on. Thanks Osborne.

I don't know about you, but my disaster survival plans don't include trusting a government to remain solvent that has us TRILLIONS of pounds in debt and spends our money like there is no tomorrow.

It's not all gloom and doom however...Surviving disaster is all about preparation and the more prepared you are before one strikes the greater your likelihood of success getting through the tough times.

"Never put off until tomorrow what could and SHOULD be done today!"

's do a quick comparison of disaster survival preparedness to car insurance. If you have a car accident and then try to buy coverage it's going to be too late and you'll be stuck (fortunately for you it's only a financial loss).

The only way to cover yourself is to buy car insurance "before" there is an accident. You may never have an accident, but the coverage was there to protect you if you had.

This couldn't be any more true with regards to preparing for some sort of disaster. It's too late to prepare after the disaster and you stand to lose much more than some money.

In fact, you get more value preparing for disaster survival and one never happening than you would buying car insurance and never having an accident.

With car insurance it's simply money that is shelled out each month and you get no return on your investment. On the other hand, preparing for surviving disaster will teach you extremely valuable skills and you'll be stocking up on supplies that can be used whether or not disaster ever arises.

Assuming it doesn't spoil, can you ever have "too much" food? Can you have "too much" water? Of course not! In fact, for most people, not a day goes by where you're not eating or drinking.

How is investing in something you use daily and is quite necessary for you to live a bad investment? Answer: It's not!

So What Can You Do?

First off, you want to educate yourself. I hope this show and my blog are a very valuable resource for you and I will constantly be updating it with new inform on surviving disaster.

It is time to make a firm commitment to start preparing for disaster survival. Tomorrow is a good time, but right now is a great time...There's no time like the present!



Surviving a Flood
I see that flooding is the major natural disaster that most Britons will face during their life time. Recently over 70,000 people in the North east were without electricity due to recent flooding and bad weather, here is some advice to help you survive such an event.

When possible, take photographs of the damage to your building and contents or film the footage; they may help with the settlement of your claim

Don't throw away possessions without first discussing it with your claims adviser, as they will need to be assessed

Do not use electrical equipment or the gas supply until it has been checked by a qualified tradesman
Wash taps and run them for a few minutes before use

Do not rush to redecorate your home as it can take weeks for a flood-damaged property to fully dry out

Do not lift wet carpets unless absolutely necessary as they may shrink


Ensure any drains and gutters are clear of debris so rainfall can drain from your property effectively

valuable and electrical items in high cupboards to reduce the impact of any flood damage. Also store important documents, including insurance policy details and useful contact numbers in a watertight bag in a dry accessible place, preferably upstairs

Ensure outdoor furniture and other items likely to float away are safely restrained to reduce the risk of these items causing secondary damage

Establish an evacuation plan for your family. This will reduce the risk of injury to your loved ones and give you more time to save items of sentimental and material value

While it is safe to use electrical equipment, keep up to date with the latest weather and flood warnings by monitoring local television and radio services

If your property has flooded, switch off your mains power supply to reduce the risk of electrocution and fire caused by floodwater

Make up a flood emergency kit and keep it in a safe place.  Include key personal documents, a torch and portable radio with spare batteries, warm clothing, blankets, rubber boots and gloves, cleaning equipment, disinfectant and detergent, heavy duty refuse bags, a first aid kit and any essential medication

Make a list of useful numbers you may need - your insurer, your local council, the emergency services and the number of 

Floodline, tel: 0845 988 1188

Buy air brick covers or flood boards to block doorways

My Flood Survival Kit includes
Copies of my home insurance documents.
Other important documents all in a waterproof wallet.
A torch with spare batteries.
A battery radio.
Warm, waterproof clothing and blankets.
First aid kit
My prescription medication.
Bottled water.
Non-perishable foods.
Care items.
A Mobile phone (with important contact numbers programmed in)



Air Rifle Hunting Advice Post SHTF
Hunting with air rifles is challenging, demanding and, in the purest and best sense of the word, real hunting.

A number of factors combine to make a clean, humane and effective shot at a rabbit a lot more than simply yanking on a trigger with hope in your heart, though.

It’s true; pests form the vast majority of legal and suitable air rifle quarry, and therefore your wild food supply. But there’s more to simply knowing what you can shoot when you are out in the countryside. Fair enough, something defined as a pest doesn’t need much to qualify for a well-aimed pellet, but no matter how lowly or nasty a creature might seem to be, it still deserves a clean, quick and humane end with no suffering involved.

You, as an air rifle hunter, must behave with sportsmanship and with respect for your quarry at all times, and because of its relatively short range, using an air rifle will also make more demands of you than almost any other type of shooting. Field craft, the ability to get close enough to your target to ensure an accurate and humane shot, will test your abilities to the utmost. 

Quite often you’ll be frustrated if a tiring stalk ends in failure, but you get a real sense of achievement, and pride, when you do succeed.

There are one or two unwritten rules of air rifle hunting pre SHTF which make it clear that some species never qualify as legitimate or sporting quarry. All the game birds, for instance, will frequently present easy targets, but don’t be tempted because your permission to shoot will be very quickly withdrawn if you are seen to be poaching! 

Hares can become pests but they are too large to be shot humanely with airgun pellets, and that applies to foxes, too. There are plenty of sporting species that qualify as air rifle quarry and all most of them will taste great, without any need to look any further.

Also as an air rifle hunter, you must not only abide by the Country Code pre SHTF but uphold it too and possibly gain brownie points from the landowner in the process. If you see some example of the code being broken, like a dog worrying sheep, kids vandalising farm buildings or machinery, a picnic fire that’s not been properly extinguished, or simply rubbish left behind by thoughtless people do something about it.

As a privileged and authorised person who you are, since you’re out hunting on some farmers land you owe it to him to help police his land, so even if you can’t immediately do anything about a problem, report it as soon as possible.

The farmers bush telegraph soon spreads good news and bad, so showing that you’re prepared to help will quickly become known and you’ll more than likely be made welcome on other farms. Even if you never see another soul when you’re out hunting with your air rifle, there are right and wrong ways to behave and more often than not someone will be watching!

Open gates carefully and ensure they shut behind you but don’t slam them this only weakens the hinges. If the gate should be locked, climb over at the hinged end, not the latched end, because your weight will have far less effect if you cross where the gate is best supported, by the hinges.

If you have to cross a barbed-wire or stock-mesh fence, push the wire down at the centre of a run between two posts and, provided there’s enough slack for you to cock one leg and then the other over, hop over. If the fence is too tight, climb as close as possible to a fence-post, but don’t force the fence down and leave it sagging in the middle. Farm animals escaping into crops or neighbouring land is a sure-fire way to lose your shooting rights!

Whenever you cross from one field to another, make sure your rifle is safe. If it has a sling, which is best and safest whenever that’s possible, you can leave it on your shoulder when opening and closing a gate. But at all other times, especially when you have to climb and need both hands to cross an obstacle safely, make sure the rifle is unloaded and lay it down parallel with the fence or gate, so that you can reach over or through when on the other side, and retrieve it safely.

Resting the barrel on the wire is dangerous because the rifle might slip and fall if the fence wobbles as your weight is on it, and also because you might walk past the barrel once you’ve crossed the fence.

Even though you know the rifle is unloaded, never walk in front of a barrel that’s pointing at you.
When you fancy decoying pigeons you’ll often need to build a hide but if you don’t take hide-poles to support the net with you, ask the farmers permission first before cutting any. Don’t cut slow growing hardwood sticks, such as ash, from close to where the hide is to be built, choose quick-growing species like hazel.

Cut the poles with a fine-tooth saw or secateurs, at a steep angle, which gives you a point to make pushing them into the soil easier, and leaves behind a stump from which buds will more quickly sprout.

Use side branches to dress the hide netting to blend it in with the surroundings, and when you pack up, tuck these brashings into the base of the hedge and leave the hide poles where you can find them next time, or take them with you.
Leave the area as you found it. That’s part of the Country Code too.

When rabbit shooting, it might seem to make sense to paunch the rabbits (taking out the stomach and intestines) to make carrying them easier, but in fact cleaning out rabbits that have cooled off for a few hours is much easier than cutting open warm and floppy ones, and you won’t leave piles of guts around to attract foxes.

Most large areas are crossed by some form of path. As an authorised person, you must know where they are and make every effort to ensure that anyone using such paths is not in any way put at risk by any shots you might take. What this means is that the most sensible thing to do is keep well away from footpaths, tracks, rights of way and bridleways, and public roads.

All responsible air rifle hunters must know the laws on hunting and as well as shooting safely.

This means you should be able to recognise your quarry and whether it is legal to shoot it or not. As long as you have permission to be on the land or property where you are shooting, you may legally shoot the following species:

GREY SQUIRREL : Common and destructive pest, especially damages trees. Has displaced native, protected, Red squirrel in many parts of the UK.

CARRION CROW : Major predator on game and songbirds, eggs and chicks, will also peck eyes from new born lambs. Very wary and difficult to stalk.

FERAL PIGEON: Cheeky chappie town scrounger actually carries a variety of nasty diseases. Creates mess and damages buildings, I would not eat one.

COLLARED DOVE: Same size as protected Turtle dove but Collared variety can steal and soil large quantities of stored grain in farmyards it needs controling.

ROOK: Although officially a pest and predator, at certain times of the year they can be beneficial to agriculture, eating harmful insect pests.

WOODPIGEON: Vast flocks hoover-up crops in all parts of the UK. It is one of the most destructive pests in constant need of control and very good to eat.

RABBIT: Back in plague numbers in many areas, the rabbit is as destructive and greedy as the woodie and in need of continuous control and again great to eat.

RAT: Public enemy number 1. They do untold millions of pounds worth of damage worldwide plus carrier of several highly dangerous diseases.

MAGPIE: One of the most voracious and destructive predatory pests, hitting young broods of garden songbirds in particular.

There are other birds, like jays and jackdaws which are defined as pests, but don’t as a rule pose the same threat as those listed. Greater and lesser black-backed gulls and herring gulls, although also on the list, are too big or because of habitat not to be considered as suitable air rifle quarry.

birds, except the named pest species, are legally protected. Even pests may only be shot by authorised persons defined as the landowner, or one who has permission to shoot on the land where the quarry is present.

The Wildlife and Countryside Act, which governs avian pest species control, requires that a shooter must be sure that the quarry was causing or about to cause damage at the time it was shot. By definition a pest is a species whose numbers, appetite and destructive nature result in damage to food crops etc. so the need to control their numbers is obvious.

Using an air rifle to hunt at night, together with hand-held or scope mounted lamps, red-dot sights or modern Night Vision devices, is exciting. Both rabbit and rat numbers have surged over recent years so, with permission; of course, there’s plenty of pest control available.

All hunting lamps should be used sparingly. Just a quick flash round with the beam to pick out the targets, close the range down with a silent approach, pinpoint the rabbit in the light and take the shot. This method will save your battery, increase the time you can be out, and help to gain a bigger bag by not disturbing other potential targets.

Any risk, no matter how slight, involved in your intended shot must mean giving up the stalk and simply trying somewhere else on the shoot. You must also be aware that it is illegal to shoot within 15 metres of the centre of any road, track, path or right of way.

The Country Code, mostly unwritten and defined over many centuries, has fundamentally changed recently, due to the Right to Roam. The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CRoW) allows the general public access to far larger areas of the countryside than ever before but not unlimited access.

Large expanses of moorland, heathland, down land and mountain areas are now open but the act does not allow unlimited public access on private land, except via the many footpaths and bridleways that already exist.

Ordnance Survey maps of the British Isles include a key 
which defines the difference between county and parish boundaries, bridleways, tracks and paths with public footpaths and rights of way represented by red dotted lines and the word PATH or FP.

Road access points are indicated by signposts and the latest legislation has brought in another sign which indicates access to suitably designated areas. Footpaths are also a standard width, 3 feet, which is wide enough for two people to pass without bumping into one another.

But whatever the status of a path that crosses your shoot, the best advice is to avoid them whenever you can, and certainly when you are aware that there’s anyone using them. As an air rifle hunter, respect for the countryside includes having the same sort of respect for yourself, and your sport.



Prioritizing Survival Needs Using the Rule Of 3
Life must be prioritized and priorities are never more important than when you are in a survival situation. 

Decisions have to be made quickly and they must be the right decisions. To prevent panic and to keep from making the wrong decisions you need to prepare and prioritize.

The Most Commonly Accepted Survival Rule Of 3

You Cannot Survive:
Longer Than Three Minutes Without Air
Longer Than Three Hours Without Shelter
Longer Than Three Days Without Water
Longer Than Three Weeks Without Food

Three minutes without air is accurate. However, there have been cases where people have survived longer than three weeks without food and longer than three days without water.

Shelter is subjective; it can be a hollow spot under a log or burying yourself in a pile of leaves. A lot depends on what you call shelter.

Remember your priorities: you must escape the vehicle within three minutes if submerged, or find the shore if dumped out of your canoe in the middle of the rapids. You need air and it is your first priority.

Begin Prioritizing Survival Needs Using the Rule Of 3

Assume for a moment that you have plenty of air, so your next priority is shelter and water. The reason you need to focus on shelter first is you will become weaker from lack of water and calories. 

Therefore, build your shelter first. Keep in mind this must happen within a matter of hours. You must also soon be hydrated, it will help keep you warm at night and hydration will keep your energy level high enough to forage for food.

If you became lost on a day hike, for example you probably have a water bottle to get you through the night. It typically takes rescue operations 72 hours to find you or be close to finding you. 

Your pack should have:

A knife to help you in building a shelter,
Fire starting tools,
Water purification tablets or 2% liquid iodine for water purification,
Protein bars,

A full quart canteen or water bottle. The average person requires 4 liters of water a day for drinking and hygiene.
For now, your priority is shelter and fire to survive the night. 

Get a fire started for your comfort and moral. Fire is needed to signal rescue personnel, as well. If you are lost, stay put. If you knew how to get out you would not be lost, so wandering around lost is dangerous and makes it harder for rescue personnel to find you.

If you are hiking to a campsite, you may have a tent or canvas. If you do not have any type of shelter material in your pack you need to put a shelter together using what nature provides. 

The ground next to a fallen log can be scooped out. Pick the south side if you are in a cool climate. Prop pine boughs and saplings against the log and ground. If you do not have a knife or small axe or hatchet you will have to break the limbs. 

If you have to break limbs use dead ones, live saplings will bend but not break easily.

Leave one side open; the opening will face along the log and not away from it. Build your fire close to the entrance but not inside. You will be overcome with smoke if it is too close. 

If you have rain gear or a poncho set the gear so it collects the morning dew. Dew is simply the condensation of air that has been heated by the sun during the day.

Once the air cools down it allows moisture to settle on surfaces typically, in the very early hours. The moisture will collect on foliage and your poncho. Create depressions in the poncho for water to pool. 

Begin the process of gathering water regardless of your current supply. You can never have enough water.

Start another fire in a clearing if you are in the deep woods. The fire can be spotted from the air and ground. 

Do not wander at night but stay in the shelter and maintain the fire.

In the morning, consume the water from dew and save what water you may have brought with you. Work on enhancing your shelter and begin looking for a stream, natural ground springs or fissures in rock faces that seep water.

Gather pine cones and place in the fire to split open for the pine nuts and if you find a stream look for fish. Other animals will need water so there will be game trails. Set snares or wait for rabbits, squirrels, game girds and other game to come by.  

Spear or stone the game.

If you do not panic and begin running in circles you will survive. Stay calm and rely on your common sense. Remember prioritizing survival needs using the rule of 3.



Crossing Rivers
The beauty of a mountain stream flowing through a forest can be the highlight of a hike. 

But knowing how to cross a river is a critical hiking skill.

The fact is that crossing rivers, especially when they’re running high, is among the riskier things you can do on the trail. Rocks and logs may offer a bridge to the opposite bank. 

But they’re often wet or covered with algae and mosses. That can lead to slips and falls, and, therefore, any number of things that you really don’t want to experience: head injuries, broken bones, and the chance to get swept downstream.

The rate of runoff in streams and rivers is highly variable. In years of light snowfall and hot spring days, streams may run at low-to-moderate levels by early summer. 

However, in years with heavy and late-season snows, rivers can run so high that trails, even ones with actual bridges, remain impassable well into summer.

Two points to remember: Don't take any unnecessary risks. And don't push anyone past their skill and confidence level. You're only as capable as the weakest hiker in your group.

Before You Leave

Check on conditions. Identify your destination or route.

Carry a staff. 

They can help you assess water depth and rate of runoff, then provide additional stability when you do cross a stream. If you don’t have a staff, find a pair of sturdy branches that you can use instead.

Wear shorts or convertible pants. Long pants will increase drag in the stream and can be uncomfortable to hike in once they’re soaked.

Pack hiking sandals or gym shoes. If a stream is shallow enough to cross, it’s often easier to walk through the water instead of trying to boulder hop on slippery rocks. With spare shoes or hiking sandals, you can keep your hiking boots dry. 

But don’t cross barefoot or use flip-flops because the current can easily sweep them off your feet.

Get out early. Cooler overnight and morning temperatures mean that the volume of snowmelt is lower early in the day, which means that streams will flow more slowly. Thunderstorms are also more common in afternoon and make currents more treacherous.

At the Crossing

Assess the situation. The actual point where your route meets a river may not be the best place to get to the other side. Scout the river (ideally from an elevated perspective) or look both up- and downstream for alternatives.

If you can't identify a safe crossing location, then don’t take the risk and turn around. Wishful thinking has no place in this decision, so be conservative and assume the worst. Invariably, streams are faster and deeper than they appear.

Straight. Wide. Shallow. That’s what you’re looking for when identifying a place to cross.
Watch out for debris. If the river is carrying a lot of debris, such as branches and small logs, it’s not a good idea to cross. 

The debris is an indication that stream flows are high. And objects flowing downstream can create a serious hazard if they strike you as you’re crossing.

Look for braided channels. The crossing may be wider where a river breaks into separate channels. But the current's intensity will be dissipated and there may also be small islands or gravel bars where you can take a break and plot your next steps.

Test the current. Toss a branch and watch how swiftly it moves downstream. That will give you a better sense of the direction of the main current and how fast it’s moving.

Don’t cross where flows are much above your knees. Even comparatively shallow water can knock you off balance and carry you downstream if it’s flowing rapidly enough. The only time to wade through deeper water is when you locate a flat pool with little or no current.

Loosen your pack before crossing. Undo your waist belt and let out the shoulder straps so that it's easier to remove. If you fall in and your pack gets soaked, it can drag you down or get snagged. You might lose your pack but consider the alternative.

Look for low and open exit points on the opposite bank. Once you reach the other side, you’ll want to be able to get out of the stream as quickly as possible. A scramble up a steep bank could lead to a slip that puts you right back into the stream.

Crossing the Stream

Face Upstream and Shuffle Sideways. Slide your feet along the bottom while facing the river. Angle yourself diagonally to the flow and move in a slightly downstream direction toward the opposite bank.

Always maintain two points of contact with the bottom. Use your staff to steady yourself as you shift your feet. The more contact you have with the bottom, the more stable you'll be.

There’s strength in numbers. Crossing with a partner or with a group of people creates additional stability. Link arms and coordinate your movements.



How to use Pace Count to Measure Ground Distance
One way to measure ground distance is the pace count. A pace is equal to one natural step, about 30 inches long. 

To accurately use the pace count method, you must know how many paces it takes you to walk 100 meters. To determine this, you must walk an accurately measured course and count the number of paces you take.

A pace course can be as short as 100 meters or as long as 600 meters. The pace course, regardless of length, must be on similar terrain to that you will be walking over. It does no good to walk a course on flat terrain and then try to use that pace count on hilly terrain.

To determine your pace count on a 600-meter course, count the paces it takes you to walk the 600 meters, then divide the total paces by 6. The answer will give you the average paces it takes you to walk 100 meters. 

It is important that each person who navigates while dismounted knows his pace count.

There are many methods to keep track of the distance travelled when using the pace count. Some of these methods are: put a pebble in your pocket every time you have walked 100 meters according to your pace count; tie knots in a string; or put marks in a notebook. 

Do not try to remember the count; always use one of these methods or design your own method.

Certain conditions affect your pace count in the field, and you must allow for them by making adjustments.

Your pace lengthens on a downslope and shortens on an upgrade. Keeping this in mind, if it normally takes you 120 paces to walk 100 meters, your pace count may increase to 130 or more when walking up a slope. A head wind shortens the pace and a tail wind increases it.

Sand, gravel, mud, snow, and similar surface materials tend to shorten the pace.

Falling snow, rain, or ice cause the pace to be reduced in length.

Excess clothing and boots with poor traction affect the pace length.

Poor visibility, such as in fog, rain, or darkness, will shorten your pace.




Surviving the Effects of Nuclear Weapons
I spent 12 years in the Royal Observer Corps and I was an N.C.O. instructor specialising in the effects of Nuclear weapons.

The thoughts of being under Nuclear Attack, suffering from the effects of a nuclear attack or being subjected to a “Dirty Bomb” terrorist attack do not bear thinking about as they would be too devastating to describe and would lead to TEOTWAWKI.

But not even a Nuclear attack would be the end of the world, let’s face it there has already been a nuclear war plus hundreds of atmospheric nuclear detonations since the bomb was first built and we and the world are still here.

I do not want dismiss the horrors connected with nuclear weapons at all or the fact that we have allowed the growth of these weapons to get to a point where “Mutual Destruction” is guaranteed, is that not obscene as I think it is.

But I have to say that surviving the effects of nuclear weapons is just another set of rules and guidelines that we must learn and then follow as if we survive the initial effects of a nuclear detonation then we have to continue to live and survival knowledge will be all that we will have.

The initial effects of a nuclear detonation (everything within one minute) are the same as those for any chemical explosion Heat, Light and blast, anyone close enough to suffer from these initial effects will not be killed by radiation.

There are two types of radiation, initial and residual, initial is all radiation released within one minute of the detonation and residual is all other radiations released after that.

If the detonation is an air burst then there is no fallout to worry about, if however the detonation is a ground burst then everything under the detonation like buildings vehicles and the ground itself will be taken into the air by the intense heat and updraft of the fireball rising to thousands of feet, becoming ionised (radioactive) and falling back to earth as radioactive fallout the larger particles falling closest to Ground zero while the smaller particles will travel downwind.

The radioactive fallout can only go where the wind takes it and at the speed of the wind.

The only option most of us will have to survive radioactive fallout is to stay at home and wait it out there. Radiation is diminished by “distance and shielding” in other words the further you are away from the radiation and what is between you and it.

The damaging effect of gamma rays comes from their ability to ionize. Shielding materials containing large numbers of electrons will filter (attenuate) gamma rays. The more massive the material, the greater will be the attenuation factor. 

It has been found that certain amounts of shielding material will attenuate half the gamma radiation. This amount is referred to as the "half value thickness" for that particular material. The material is said then to give a protection factor (PF) of 2. Two half-value thicknesses will give a PF of 4. 

Three half-value thicknesses will give a PF of 8. It takes 10 half-value thicknesses to reach a PF of slightly greater than 1,000.
Below are some HVT examples
Steel 1 inch
Concrete 3.3 inches
Earth 4.8 inches
Water 7 inches

Distance means being as far away from the roof and outside walls as you can get, say under the stairs, in a cellar or in another county.

We have another weapon on our side which is known as the 7/10th rule yes time is on our side.

All radiation decays with time. During the fission process in a nuclear detonation, many isotopes with different decay patterns are produced. It has been found that the average decay rate behaves exponentially and can be estimated with the 7 / 10 rule. 

Simply stated, this rule says that for every seven-fold increase in time after detonation, there is a ten-fold decrease in the exposure rate.

This rule can be used to roughly estimate the future exposure rates. As an example, if the exposure rate were found to be 1000 R/hr. at 1 hour after the explosion, if there were no other explosions, the forecast for the future would be a rate of 100 R/hr after 7 hours; 10 R/hr after 49 hours (roughly 2 days); and 1 R/hr after 2 weeks. 

In all but the highest radiation levels, this decrease should allow for activities outside the shelter during much of the day. 

People should be taught to stay inside the best shelter that can be found for at least two weeks.


If you go down the route of buying some dosimeters please don’t forget to buy a charging unit as well. If you are going to buy military kit then buy enough filters for two weeks per person.

Just remember if you survive the initial effects of a nuclear detonation then you will need to learn these rules to survive post attack.



Navigation for Survival
The wonders of modern technology are all fine and dandy, with super accurate compasses and GPS gizmos making navigation as simple as can be. 

However, what would your situation would be if, in the middle of nowhere, you come to the realisation that your GPS unit has gone South or been crushed underfoot or run out of batteries, and your trusted compass is lost/broken/left at home because you were trusting in your GPS?

Alone, in unfamiliar territory, without your basic compasses, maps, communication equipment, unless you have some idea of 'survival navigation', you are effectively in the deep and smelly region of LOST.

Such situations call for an innovative approach - what the psychologists call "lateral thinking". With a degree of natural cunning, you can utilise various odds and ends, plus celestial bodies (no, not the kind in dodgy magazines - the ones in the sky) to find your way. 

This requires some knowledge and application to get right, but even Cub Scouts know the basics and can navigate without a compass with reasonable accuracy.

The first step is to improvise a compass. This can be done in various ways, but each requires a ferrous metal object such as needle, pin, nail razor blade, metal rod or similar, and a suspension system. 

The simplest way to magnetise your rudimentary compass needle so that it is attracted by one end to magnetic North just like and compass needle, is to stroke it with a magnet in one direction only. If you stroke towards the point of your needle, the point will indicate North.

Failing the availability of a magnet, stroke your compass needle with silk. Both these methods will need to be repeated regularly to maintain the magnetism of the compass needle.

Lacking silk or a magnet, you can also magnetise a needle, or similar, using a battery of 2 volts or more, and some insulated wire, preferably copper.

Coil the wire around your soon-to-be compass needle, and connect it to the terminals of your battery for about 5-10 minutes. It is important that the needle is insulated from the wire, so, if you only have bare wire insulate the needle by first wrapping it in paper thin card or similar.

A razor blade can be magnetised in the same way, or by stropping it (be careful here) on the palm of your hand.

It is also possible to magnetise metal with a hammer and the earth's magnetic field. Place the nail/needle against the ground aligned with magnetic North/magnetic South, the raised end pointing South in the Northern hemisphere, North in the Southern hemisphere. 

The angle that the earth's magnetic field enters the ground the angle to which you elevate the rod - unfortunately varies from place to place; it is 68 degrees in England, but between 62 and 80 degrees around Europe.

This angle of elevation should be as accurate as possible, though good results can be achieved with up to 10 degrees error either way. Hit the positioned metal with the hammer, and with trial and error, and time, you should be able to produce a magnetised compass needle this way.

Of course, you will need to suspend your compass needle so that it can swing freely. This can be done by tying it onto the end of a thread - beware of kinks and twisting in the thread, and be sure to balance the needle carefully.

For more accurate results, float your improvised compass needle, using paper, bark, grass etc. as a floating base on a still pool of water, eg. a puddle, full mess tin of the like. Be sure to protect this compass from any wind.

You will need to identify which end of your compass points North and to mark it for easy recognition. Check it against other systems of finding north. Be warned: gross errors may be caused by nearby metals, such as tanks, knives, and metal deposits underground.

If you lack the materials to make an improvised compass, you can rely on the sun, moon and stars for guidance.

Everyone knows the sun rises in the East, sets in the West and is due South at local noon (or North if you are in the Southern hemisphere). To find which hemisphere you are in (boy, are you lost!) watch the shadow's movements for a few moments to establish East and West.

To use your watch as an approximate compass outside of the tropics in the northern hemisphere, hold the watch horizontal and point the hour hand at the sun.

Half way between that point and the twelve o'clock mark on your watch points to the south. For example, if it is eight o'clock, point the 8 on the watch face at the sun and south would be at the ten o'clock position. 

If it is four o'clock, point the 4 on the watch face at the sun and south would be in the two o'clock position. At midday (twelve o'clock), the hour hand itself should point south.

The method of halving the angle between the hour hand and the twelve o'clock watch position is required since the earth rotates once in a day, but the hour hand goes around the clock face twice.

In the southern hemisphere, hold the watch horizontal and point the twelve o'clock mark in the direction of the sun. The north-south line is half way between the hour hand and the twelve o'clock mark.

Using a watch to determine direction within the tropics is more complicated, since there are two solar maxima. The sun may lie to the north or south (or at midday be directly overhead), depending upon the time of the year.

Because time on our planet is divided into 24 broad time zones, the sun is not normally directly south or at its highest point in the sky at exactly midday. The watch-as-compass method is therefore an approximate guide to direction only. 

The most exact method of finding direction without using a compass is to mark and measure the shadows that occur around midday. The shortest shadow cast by an object always points exactly north.

To find where the sun is on a cloudy day, hold a pencil or stick upright over a light piece of paper or a lighter part of the ground. The stick or pencil will cast some kind of shadow, indicating the position of the sun.

While reasonably accurate, this is a fairly rough and ready method of finding North/South, and it gets less precise the nearer you are to the Equator. In addition, it relies on your having a timepiece, knowledge of true time and a visible sun.

Lacking all, or any of these, the system fails, but as long as there is enough light to cast a shadow, and you have a stick or similar object (even your oppo standing still will do) the sun can still give you the North/South line. A straight stick about 3 feet long is ideal, and you will need preferably flat, clear ground to work on.

The quick method can be used on the move, takes about 15 - 20 minutes as you take a rest, but is not terribly accurate: Stick the pole upright in the ground and mark where the tip of its shadow falls. Wait at least 15 minutes, then mark where the tip of the shadow now falls. Join the two points to give your East/West line. Your North/South line naturally bisects this at right angles.

A more time consuming, though more accurate method uses the same stick upright in the ground, but can take all day (your oppo may resent being used for this method): Mark the first shadow in the morning at its tip, then draw a perfect arc (use string tied to the base of the pole for best results) with the pole as the centre point.

When the tip of the shadow fall reaches the arc again in the afternoon, mark this spot exactly. Join the morning and evening marks to give the East/ West line, and, again, the North/South line bisects this at right angles. In both methods the first mark is West.

At night you lose the sun (never!), but you will have the moon and the stars to guide you as they have guided travellers for centuries.

The moon, having no light of its own, is seen by way of light reflected from the sun, because the moon's lighted area varies as it waxes (grows larger) and wanes (diminishes), this, combined with its rotational rate, can give a rough help to your navigation. 

Cutting the technical explanation, if the moon rises before sunset, the light side of the moon is on the West. If the moon rises after midnight, the illuminated side is to the East.

As a rule of thumb, stars rise in the East and set in the West, but knowing, and being able to identify, some simple to recognise constellations will give you an even more accurate fix on your North/South line.

In the Northern hemisphere, we are lucky to have the Pole Star sitting over the North Pole with a variation of only about 2 degrees. This star is extremely useful for navigation, and can be found using the obvious constellations of the Plough (also known as the Dipper)

The Plough and the Cassiopeia never set. While all three constellations seem to rotate around the Pole Star, Orion is the most useful if you are near the Equator.

An imaginary line drawn from the 'tail" of the Plough to the lowest of the points of Cassiopeia, goes through the Pole Star while the central peak of the 'W' formed by Cassiopeia points to the Pole Star.

The two lower stars of the Plough also point to the Pole Star approximately four times the distance between the two stars. 

Orion rises above the Equator, and can be seen in both hemispheres rising due East, and setting due West. The three stars forming the 'belt' point East/West.

In the Northern Hemisphere: if the star seems to fall, you are facing West; if the star seems to curve flatly to the right, you are facing South; if the star seems to curve flatly to the left, you are facing North.

Although this is a rough and ready system, it can be made to work with any star other than the Pole Star. In the Southern hemisphere, the directions are reversed.

Should you have zero equipment, and 100 per cent cloud cover day and night, the best advice is to sit and wait either for better weather or for a rescue party!


Survival Hygiene
Hygiene and survival, are you really serious? Absolutely! Your best line of defence for disease and other simple, but debilitating conditions, is following good hygiene habits and procedures, religiously.

If your idea of being a survivor is being a “mountain man”, with a big bushy beard, wiping your mouth off on your sleeve and bathing “every so often” you’re in for a potentially life threatening surprise.

If you’ve ever had bum-crack-rot, fat thigh rash, cracked toes with gooey toe-jam funk and other cleanliness related issues you have experienced what in today’s world are minor issues. You can just go take a bath in hot, steaming water and use plenty of soap and some “Lotrimin”(available on Ebay and Amazon) you are “healed”. 

Not so in a survival situation.

In a survival situation you have to strive to avoid developing the problems in the first place. Your first line of defence against disease and functional debilitation is just plain, simple cleanliness. 

If you are in your “bug out place” and you have reasonable water supplies then by all means bathe every day, without fail. At least have a sponge bath and stay clean. If you are hoofing it, you need to take a “cat’s bath”, cleaning under your arms, your crotch, and between your toes at least once a day.

Baby wipes are a good portable solution, just don’t use “kitchen counter” disinfectant wipes as they will cause irritation and actually cause problems. 

Preventively, use Lotrimin or some other anti-fungal on your feet, and talc or some other powder on your privates, thighs, bum crack and under the arms.

If you’ve ever had cracked toes with itchy, gooey, toe-jam, funk and it gets really bad, walking becomes a problem and if you are walking, guess what? 

You could be in real trouble if you have to lie up for a few days to get better or can’t move at all. If you are in place, this should never be an issue. 

Get prepared properly and have what you need at home or in your BOB to avoid this and maintain your foot and other body health needs.

In either case, unless you are being chased you should stop and let a significant problem get healed before hiking off or starting back to work on the homestead. Also if on the hoof you can change your clothes and turn your dirty ones inside out and lay them in the sun or hang them on the outside of your pack. 

This will kill odours, and this is almost as good as washing them.

If you have any problem areas, such as acne or hypersensitivity to plants or other tactile contaminants you must keep them clean as well. If you are in place it is much easier to meet these needs and shave as well.

Unless you have a bona fide hypersensitivity to shaving you should shave every other day at least..

Being clean-shaven prevents odour, dirty skin, boils and reduces lice and other infestations. If you are on the trail try and shave as much as you can, but remember, the heavier your beard the shorter the lifespan of your razor.

The most probable way of making yourself sick is with your hands, either by hand to mouth/nose/face/eye contact or by damaging a very dirty hand or extremity. Hand washing is THE number one disease prevention hygiene habit.

Most illnesses are acquired by touching someone else (hand to hand) or something they touched, and then touching your face/mouth/nose/eyes. Develop the habit of NOT touching your face/nose/mouth/eyes and keeping your hands washed and/or use hand sanitizer, religiously.

When using tools or engaging in other hand and arm activities, keep your extremities clean. If you skin your knuckles, scratch your arm or have a really bad looking hangnail, be proactive and trim it/clean it up and rinse it with alcohol and put antibiotic on it and a plaster.

If you can swing it the well-prepared survivor should also have on hand tetracycline (Doxycycline), Cipro (or some form of methicillin analogs) and some sulfa drugs. These have different uses depending on what illness/injury you have. 

Some of these drugs can be found on veterinary sites and ordered OTC without a script and used on humans (check this out, thoroughly on your own before using these, and only use them in a dire emergency where medical care is not available but ONLY IF YOU CHOOSE TO DO SO).

To recap, keep clean and address open wounds immediately. Being on the move is no excuse for not being clean. If you are in place then cleanliness should never be an issue. Stay clean-shaven, cut your hair, clip your fingernails, bathe, wear clean clothes, clean shoes and socks, and wash your hands.

Make sure you have a supply of disinfecting materials, plasters, and antibiotics. Also if you can find one get a Combat LifeSaver (CLS, Army manual) and find a trained individual to train you in it.

These few simple things can prevent you from surviving TSHTF and then dying from something simple like a boil or skinned knuckles.
Be safe and survive well!


1 comment:

  1. Unique Outdoor Survival Skills

    Don't you find it ironic that even with all this scandalously expensive education, people today know so little?

    If they can't even fix their car, how are they supposed to handle a - let's say - long term food shortage?

    You can't possibly hope they'd know how to garden and produce their own food, save seeds for next year, and use leaves plowed under to fertilize the soil.

    Not to mention trapping, catching, skinning and cooking a rabbit...

    These may seem advanced outdoor survival skills now, but back in the days, they were merely called "Living".

    Watch this short video now and discover a set of unique and fantastic survival skills used and perfected by our ancestors.

    Don't wait for the next crisis to hit and live to regret you had the chance to learn these skills but didn't.

    Click here to watch video!

    Thanks again.

























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