Survival can be difficult even at the best of times and can be both psychologically and physically intense; testing you to the limits.
This is likely to be magnified even further if you are accompanied by children, as you’ll feel the added responsibility and pressure to get everybody to safety on an even greater level. There are some things you should do
There is little point in trying to conceal the gravity of finding yourselves in an emergency situation when accompanied by children. They will soon pick up on what’s going on. Therefore, you need to be honest about what’s happening, yet try to remain calm at the same time.
Offer reassurance that the situation is not impossible to get out of, that together you can work things out and that help or rescue is not going to be too far away.
Whilst you may feel like panicking inside yourself, it’s important to maintain an ‘adult’ impression at the same time as children naturally and often subconsciously, think of adults as people who they can rely on to provide shelter, warmth, food and safety.
By coming up with an action plan and enlisting the help of the children, not only will you be able to complete your survival priorities more quickly, but by being occupied, it will take the children’s minds off the worry element of survival.
Take an inventory of all your collective belongings and discuss with the children what each item might be used for.
Because children have such fertile imaginations, they may even come up with creative ideas that you might not even have thought of yourself.
Make sure that they know what each item does and how you are going to use it. Get them to help you erect or find a shelter and get them to gather suitable material for a fire.
Tell them about the importance of food and water in a survival situation and what the priorities are. Explain the dangers of eating poisonous foods and drinking dirty water and what they should and shouldn’t do with regard to both issues.
Then, adults and children should all work as a team in your collection of both food and water provisions and preparing it for consumption.
Encourage a camaraderie and build some time into your survival regime in order to take the children’s minds off the situation by telling funny stories, sharing jokes, having a sing-song and any other general ‘campfire’ games you can come up with.
Just because you are the adult, you must consider the children as equals when it comes to being ‘team members’. They will want to help and will often come up with ingenious ideas. Encourage them to be open with you and with each other.
Discuss their fears and try to allay them but show warmth, empathy and be honest and realistic with them above all else.
Most survival situations do not last too long, perhaps a day or two is a fair average estimate.
Therefore, whilst it might be a scary time for all, with determination and a will to work together to succeed, both you and the children should return to safety before too long and will be able to look back on the situation as an incredible adventure that has only made everybody stronger as a result.
Sea Fishing Tips
Cod remain arguably the UK angler’s favourite sea fish, partly because of the rough and tough environment and conditions we fish for them in, but also because they put up a decent fight from the shore and also taste good on a plate.
The only fish the cod can really be confused with is it’s near cousin the whiting. The cod though has a more blunt head shape, with the whiting being more pointed.
The lateral line on the cod is also more pronounced with an upward curve above the pectoral fin.
Whiting also carry a definite black spot at the root of the pectoral fin, whereas the cod does not. Cod range widely in colour.
Over sand they are a mottled fawn or brown on the back with white underside, but over mixed ground become a mottled green, yet when living around kelp weed beds they can be a dull reddy-orange.
Cod are an eating machine and have a wide diet. They take small crustaceans and crabs, worms and brittle stars when small, but as they pack on weight start to become more predatory favouring small cod, whiting, herring, mackerel, sand eel, pout and poor cod.
The average size nowadays for UK cod is between 1 and 5lbs, but double figure fish are always on the cards and 20lbers still feature off the beaches occasionally.
Cod in excess of 200lbs were recorded in the 1800’s by long-liners over the Grand Banks, and 100lb plus fish are still sometimes caught commercially and taken in to fish factories in Iceland and Norway.
The chance of a monster still remains!
Here are some basic tips that may increase your chances of a cod feast when fishing on rough ground.
LOCATION TIP ONE
If you catch one cod from a certain position in a certain gully, try and cast back to exactly the same position again. Cod are predictable and fish will favour certain specific areas to feed above all others.
LOCATION TIP TWO
Most rocks marks fish best during the flooding tide, especially the rock gullies in deeper water. However when fishing offshore reef ground, fish will often move along the beach with the flood tide, but drop back again over the same ground on the ebb, though they tend to be at longer range.
This means that an ebb tide at night might well out fish the perfect flood tide by day.
The best tip off all is target cod when the sea is rough with a good surf running. Ideal conditions often fall just as a full gale has blown through and the sea is just beginning to lose its full swell.
Cod are powerful swimmers and have no problem feeding in rough surf seas.
BAIT TIP ONE
In the pre-Christmas period a big lugworm bait will catch the bulk of the cod. Make your bait by pushing two or three worms, size depending up on the hook, then putting two more worms alongside the hook bait splint style and then wrap the whole lot together with bait elastic to form a big sausage shape about 6 to 8-inches long.
BAIT TIP TWO
Worm baits can often be made more effective by tipping them off with mussel and queen cockles, especially after a gale has washed shellfish up on to the shore. Tipping with squid strip is also effective.
BAIT TIP THREE
In the early New Year period cod in many areas begin to lose interest in worm based baits and will take big mussel baits, again made with multiple mussel pushed up the hook and bound on with bait elastic to form a sausage shape about 4 to 6-inches long.
Mussel is especially effective along the east Scottish shore and in the Northeast of England, but will catch fish anywhere.
BAIT TIP FOUR
In the more southern areas of England after late January cod become scarcer as they move offshore, but those left inshore late will have a preference for fresh peeler crab if you can get it.
If a fish is hooked but gets snagged on the way in, give it a few feet of free line and slightly lower the rod tip. Often the fish will swim the lead weight free of the snag as it swims back away from you and you’ll realise this as the line tightens again to the weight of the fish.
SNAG TIP If a fish is hooked but gets snagged on the way in, give it a few feet of free line and slightly lower the rod tip. Often the fish will swim the lead weight free of the snag as it swims back away from you and you’ll realise this as the line tightens again to the weight of the fish.
Remember all the sea fish you are likely to catch are edible so get catching.
The beach shelter protects you from the sun, wind, rain, and heat. It is easy to make using natural materials and is perfect for use on beaches.
With a beach survival shelter if you’re stuck on a beach, you’ll be surrounded by lots of sand, but will also likely have some access to driftwood, small bushes and maybe even some trees.
Since sand is easy to dig in, you should be able to handle this one on your own. Start by digging a trench large enough to lie down in and build-up 3 walls around it.
Lay any driftwood you can find across the top to form a roof.
Make sure the sand forming the walls is compacted enough that the beams can lie comfortably across the top.
Gather any sort of leaves or shrubbery you can find and lay it across the roof beams. You can also use the foliage to make the ground inside the shelter a little softer for you to sleep in.
Since you can be exposed to lots of sun on the beach, this shelter is especially important to providing you with shade.
Remember staying out of the sun will keep you hydrated longer and conserve your energy, as well as protect you from potentially bad sunburn and debilitating heat stroke.
Rock Pool Foraging
You will be exploring a whole new set of habitats that have a diversity of foodstuffs that is entirely different to what you’ll find elsewhere; shellfish, seaweed, coastal plants, a whole new array of flavours and textures to explore.
Whole books can (and indeed have been) written on the subject of seashore foraging. This short guide does not attempt to replace any of them, and I make no claims as to it being exhaustive.
I have chosen ten that are common, easy to identify, simple to find and easy to prepare.
A Quick Note on Safety
It does, of course, go without saying that you have to be absolutely sure of the identity of any wild food you are about to eat.
But I’m saying it anyway; don’t make me regret writing this by poisoning yourself with something you didn’t identify properly.
There are further risks to seaside foraging that you don’t very often encounter inland.
The first one, the one that you’re most likely to run foul of, is cleanliness.
On our congested little island we have managed to make lots of our beaches somewhat toxic; before gathering shellfish consult with the Environment Agency to make sure that your proposed foraging grounds are clean and safe.
Failing that, at the very least talk with the locals to find out where is safe. Remember that while shellfish are at their best in winter (or any month with an R in it, as they say), you CAN eat them in summer; but the quality during the summer months, when they are spawning, is much reduced.
The second risk is the sea itself.
You may scoff at this, but it is VERY easy to be trapped by rising tides or, worse, caught up in quicksand. If there are signs warning about quicksand or treacherous tides, take note.
Don’t get drowned, don’t get cocky. Take a compass with you down to the beach to find your way home through a sea mist, and make sure you’re not still there as the tide comes trundling in around you.
I remember once going down the beach at Bridlington and turning round and not being able to actually see Brid because of the sea mist.
The final risk I’ll warn you of is cliffs; now this may seem obvious, but if the forage you are after is growing on or near a cliff top (and this often happens, due to the lack of grazing on the cliff itself) then leave it be. It isn’t worth it, no matter how good the forage looks.
Marsh Samphire (also known as glasswort) .
Is a funny looking plant. You find it in mud flats and coastal salt marshes around much of the South of the British Isles, being less common up in Scotland. I guess you’d call it something of a ‘succulent’, having a soft, green water filled body and no leaves as such.
It is now commonly sold in fishmongers and on farmers markets, one of the few really wild vegetables for sale, and it is all the rage in some of the posh restaurants where it fetches a silly price, which is amusing if you know where to pick it for free.
Get your wellies on if you’re looking for this one. It’s a dirty job. Pick the young plants whole in July, ideally, but its edible well into August and sometimes into September. Wash them well, steam them lightly, toss in a little butter, and pick them up by the roots and bite off the soft growth.
Eat it as fresh as you can and you won’t be disappointed. As it ages, it gets a hard, wiry heart, which isn’t the end of the world, just chew the plant off that.
Sea Beet is fantastic and If I lived close to the sea, almost anywhere in the UK, then I wouldn’t grow spinach or chard in my garden, I’d rely on this superb wild vegetable. It grows profusely on cliffs and by dunes near the sea, and it tastes just like spinach, only sometimes it is slightly salty.
It is, in fact, the wild relative of spinach, and you can sometimes spot that there’s been some hybridisation (you find some wild cultivars that have bigger leaves, odd colouration, etc).
And to be honest you can use it like spinach; try the leaves raw first, find out whether the specimen is good enough for salad, but if it isn’t then it’ll cook as well as spinach.
Alexanders are one of the umbellifers we can thank the Romans for introducing, they brought it over as a green vegetable, and a superb one it is too.
You can find it around the coast of much of Britain (being especially common from Anglesey, down and around all the way to Norfolk, sporadically further North on the East Coast being plentiful in places like Scarborough), and also inland by some roadsides and some waste places, where it can almost inexplicably grow to the exclusion of everything else.
Pick the young stems and steam them gently, perhaps coating in butter when they're done. Or chop them and add them with stock vegetables in a stew, and they'll impart a delicate, herby flavour unlike anything else.
I personally like to use them to flavour seafood dishes; try adding the chopped leaves to moules mariniere, or dressing crab salads with them.
Like any umbellifer, you could do yourself serious harm if you were to mistake one of the poisonous wild relatives of Alexanders for the real thing. But don't let that worry you too much, once you get to know the texture and smell you'll have no trouble knowing the real thing.
Pick it before it flowers if you can; if you miss it in Spring, go looking again in Autumn when it starts growing again to flower next Spring.
The Limpet, The poor old limpet isn’t rated as a food by most people, and I can see why. They’re tough, hard to prise off the rocks, and take some cooking to make them good, but on the flip side they’re plentiful, tasty, and very easy to identify!
The key to limpet hunting is stealth. You may laugh at this, but once a limpet knows you are there then there’s no shifting him.
Don’t try a gentle tap to remove him, all you’ll achieve is that he will grip the rock more tightly, and unless you actually smash his shell (ruining the limpet for nothing) then he’s staying where he is.
One firm strike at an unsuspecting limpet with the butt of a knife or a small rock is all that is needed. Don’t try to pry one off with a knife, I tried that once and the end broke off!
When you’ve got your limpets, you’ll see that they’re basically snails.
There are two good ways of cooking limpets. Either plunge them into boiling water for 5 minutes, extract them from their shells, and then fry with some garlic and herbs (I like alexanders and wild garlic for this), or put them on the rack of a warn barbecue, shell side down, and poach them in their own juices with just a drop of lemon juice.
The latter produces a surprisingly tasty and tender morsel of food.
The limpets head is rather hard, so you might find limpets go down better if you cut the hard part off after the initial boiling.
Winkles are one of my favourite seaside forages. I think that this comes from happy childhood memories of gathering winkles in the rock pools on the coast of Carlingford Lough, and then boiling them for a short while in salty water before sitting and eating them by the sea, armed with a trusty pin to work the unlikely, snot like snails from their shells.
And in all honesty, that’s as good as it gets with winkles.
You’re not going to fill your belly with them in a hurry, but they are tasty and fun little things to eat, and if you’ve got a good patch then you can pick plenty. Never empty a whole pool of them, but rather take a few from lots of different pools; leave plenty of breeding stock.
Common throughout the British Isles, these little grey-black sea-snails are found in rock pools in the littoral, tidal zone (the clue is in the scientific name!) pretty universally.
I cook them for 12-15 minutes in boiling salted water, dress them with a little more salt and vinegar, then sit and winkle them out; you get a pin, flick off the little hard shield, and then carefully twist and pry the meat out.
It takes some getting used to, but it’s well worth it. Pop it straight into your mouth (or save it for a more complex recipe if you prefer), and ideally, throw the shell over your shoulder and into the sea, enjoying the view from the harbour wall…
Mussles, are my favourite shellfish, and perhaps the tastiest, having a flavour that can rival the oyster and even the best scallops.
They are really very common, if you have a good spot to go forage on. Best picked from rocky shore lines, and it is extremely important that the shore be clean; really, check this out with the Environment Agency if you are in any way unsure.
Once you have your mussels, put them in a bucket of salty water with some oats, and leave them overnight. This frees up a lot of the grit that might be in them and somewhat cleans and purges them.
If you are starving though cook straight away of course.
Take each one, tap it to make sure it stays closed (if it isn’t closed chuck it, it’s dead and therefore unsafe), scrape off any barnacles, pull out the byssus (the hairs that hold the mussels together and to the rocks) and they’re ready for cooking.
Cook them just as you would for bought ones, but in the spirit of happy foraging, try combining them with other wild ingredients.
Moules mariniere flavoured with cow parsley and sorrel works well, and a wild herb soup with mussels is one of the best things you will ever taste.
Once cooked any that do not open through away.
Bladder Wrack, is the manky seaweed with little air holes on it that makes it float up. It isn’t the tastiest seaweed, but it’s the most common, and it has a pleasant, salty, inoffensive flavour.
It’s a good beginner’s seaweed for all of those reasons; give it a go, it’ll surprise you.
Pick it in Spring, when it is starting to throw up softer growth. Don’t gather the nasty stuff that has broken away on its own, pick it when it is still moist and attached to the rocks, and only pick the softer stuff, leaving the old, tough fronds behind.
I like to chew little bits on the beach, just as it is, but most people think I’m insane for that, it’s far too salty.
For your first seaweed recipe, can I suggest using it in a simple fish stew. Take your bladderwrack and soak it for a couple of hours in clean water, then add it to the stock you’re going to use and boil it for half an hour.
Remove it from the stock, and you’ve imparted a subtle, salty, sea weedy flavour and a kind of slightly thick, almost slightly glutinous texture. Give it a shot.
Sea Lettuce, actually looks like lettuce leaves, a green and leafy seaweed found between the low and high tide marks all round Britain.
I would guess that from talking about eating seaweed with some French friends that this is the one that our neighbours over the channel esteem most.
Really, the leaves are very lettucy in shape. I recommend a recipe I’ve adapted from Roger Phillips wild food book, pick them fresh from the rocks, soak in fresh water for half an hour, and cook lightly in butter for three minutes before dressing with olive oil, vinegar, pepper and lemon juice.
Garnish with chopped spring onions, and you have the nicest hot seaweed salad you’ll ever encounter.
Or try marinating in soy sauce, rice wine and vinegar for an oriental salad, it goes very well with oily fish, like Mackerel for example.
Sweet Oar Weed, This is kind of brownie green, with straight but frilly fronds up to 3m long.
You need to get your waders on for this one; you find it right at the low tide mark, extending into the sea. Pick it in spring, when it is at its best.
This is the one you want to pick for real crispy fried seaweed.
The stuff you normally get in Chinese restaurants is cabbage, and that’s nice, but it isn’t a patch on real fried seaweed.
Gather a frond or two, hang them in a warm place until kind of dry and leathery; you aren’t looking at totally dried out here, but you want it dry to the touch.
Cut it into squares about 1-2cm across, and drop the squares a few at a time into hot (not boiling) fat, taking great care because they do spit terribly. They will quickly expand and go crispy.
They will need no salting, but a little pepper does no harm.
Kind of like seaweed crisps, and surprisingly sweet.
Lastly is Laver rather like sea lettuce, but much darker, almost black, kind of purplish sometimes. In truth, you’re likely to pick a wide variety of very similar species, but it barely matters, they mix together just fine.
A traditional foodstuff in some parts of Wales, I’d go so far as to call it an ‘acquired taste’. But if you find some, try cooking it to a puree (takes a while; an hour or more sometimes), and keep in the freezer till breakfast time. Then heat it in a pan, spread it on toast, and serve with bacon.
Well, that’s the theory.
A Question or Two
There is no doubt that the times are changing.
With recent storms and flooding, economic meltdown, and terrorist rag heads still on the loose, natural or manmade disasters are now more a part of our lives than ever.
You only need to watch SKY or BBC for an hour or two to become a little frightened about the possibility of the sky falling on our heads at any time.
There are so many (or too many) cogs in the wheels of our economic system that allow any minor disturbance to have a seriously detrimental effect on the supply chain of goods to our local food shops.
I have, like lots of you been reading many, many web sites and blogs that deal with bad weather survival, disaster survival, and survival preparedness.
One aspect of preparing for a prolonged survival situation that has been commonly overlooked is how to deal with family, friends, and neighbour’s that have NOT prepared for the worst case scenario after the turd hits the fan.
Remember, WE are smart and prepare for a disaster with a comprehensive survival kit with an aimed for 3 months’ minimum supply of food and water, maybe a gun or two, and a few must have luxury items because you realise that you just can't rely on anyone but yourself when things get ugly (i.e. localised power cuts “Strikes” or flooding).
This is where I would like to propose a few hypothetical questions.
While you’re next door neighbour went on a fancy and expensive vacation to the US and didn't heed the warning to prepare, would you share your survival rations?
Your best friend just purchased a new car and is more worried about rims and tires than preparing a survival kit, would you share your survival supplies?
Your sister didn't even stash a can of beans in her cupboards, but she knows you did because you have been telling her since before Y2K that you have been preparing for a disaster, would you share your gear?
A pack of hungry, desperate, and angry locals decide that your supplies are now theirs; would you defend your supplies by all means necessary?
We have been extremely fortunate in our lifetime to not have experienced a great shortage of basic staple goods and empty supermarket shelves.
But, we have never as a country faced the economic quicksand that we are drowning in today.
Oh yes, don't forget Mother Nature, because she is the one that is really in charge.
I'm still trying to define my answers to the questions proposed above, but it is worth a moment of time to consider both the questions and the potential answers.
Top of the Food Chain
After a SHTF event most of us accept that our control at the top of the food chain will be disrupted.
It may be a temporary situation and we may soon get our control back, in individual cases it may not occur and in some cases we may not be able to regain our status at all.
The differences between these outcomes is going to be how prepared you are physically and mentally, the local predators and if you are armed or not.
Weapons are going to make a big difference here and you need to bear this in mind. There will be nobody to phone up and get help.
It is down to you and the predator and it is only through our society and technology that we are top of the food chain. It is a fragile position and we can quickly find that for a period, a short brutal and fatal period, our society or technology has left us vulnerable and we drop a few links in the chain.
You read about it all the time in the news. People just recently were eaten by sharks, others by polar bears and others have died due to storms.
Our position at the top is precarious.
Of course as well as what we see as natures predators we also have to deal with the most dangerous predator of all. “Man” is currently the number one predator of man.
This takes up most of the news, one man harming another in some way. Where this should be a major consideration in allowing us to defend ourselves it appears that it does the opposite.
After an event we have already considered local predators and have stocked up on traps, weapons and defensive capabilities.
We can handle the wolves, dogs and other wild animals. We can even handle the weather and the loss of our food, water and shelter. We are fully prepared for those.
They are on our lists, we have weapons that can deal with them and we should be thankful that we live in the UK where we don’t have Grizzlies, Lions, Alligators, Sharks and other major predators.
We don’t have as standard tornadoes, tsunamis and earthquakes either so we really are lucky.
What we do have though, and plenty of, are human predators. Some are obviously predators and will come up against your defences.
Just hope that you are armed enough. There are others though who are not so obvious.
Those that will kidnap your children during the disruption of an event, those that will infiltrate your security at home and kill you in your sleep.
They will disarm you with guile and lies and you will be defenceless against them. If you don’t think you will fall for lies and deceit just look around and see what is going on today as we are being screwed over by politicians
You need to prepare but there are some things that you just cannot fully prepare for.
Liars and con men are one of those.
You can only be aware. Phase your acceptance of people until they prove themselves.
Even then be careful how much access they have. It is (need to know) and being careful that will serve you best here. Real people will understand.
Predators cannot afford to wait as they cannot hide their true identities for long.
One thing I am always accused of is that I am not very forgiving. I’m friendly enough but I only get screwed once. I rarely forgive people screwing with me but I never forget.
They only get one chance.
I will be honest with everyone and if they are honest in their dealings with me then I can forgive mistakes but never something deliberate.
After a few years this issue will almost disappear and it will be less dangerous. Everyone will know who is trustworthy and who is not. In the olden days people’s integrity was known for miles.
So all you will have to worry about is those who are wandering. They should be few and far between.
Keep your friends close and kill your enemies, or at least keep clear of them if they don’t deserve killing.
Out and About
Here are three survival 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.
Define ‘awareness’ in the context of your self-security:
Know what is happening or has happened in your field of travel
Look around you (and behind you) while moving (walking, driving, etc) 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 UK.
Look around you (and behind you) while traveling
This simple behaviour is more effective than you may imagine.
The reason 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, 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 awhile, 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!
I am Just
Lots of things get people in trouble when they go into the woods including lack of preparedness, not paying attention to the weather, accidents etc.
More commonly, it is the attitude toward our safety that is the precursor to a life threatening event occurring.
How many times have you said to yourself or have heard others say, “I am just………” as in “I’m just going to walk up the ridge and see if I can see a deer,” or “I’m just going to be out for fifteen minutes,” or perhaps “I’m just going to run down to the shop.”
I believe these three little words “I am just” get more people into trouble than any other three little words I can think of!
Except I LOVE YOU Ha, Ha,
Most commonly you don’t say these words out loud, but say them to yourself, silently─ which is even more dangerous.
Many times you are not even conscious of your decision to leave your gear behind.
Unconsciously you already have made the decision to leave it because “I am just…….” When spoken out loud there always is the chance that someone, upon hearing you say, “I am just……….” will step in and remind you of the importance of always taking your emergency clothing and equipment with you ─ even though the possibility of having to spend an unplanned night out is remote.
When nothing looks familiar, and every direction seems to be the same, STOP and think about what to do next!
It is easy to convince yourself that nothing life threatening will happen ─ after all you are “just……………” When you use the word “just,” you are convincing yourself that the weather will remain pleasant, that no accident will happen, that you will not get lost, or that you will be able to get back before dark!
You are saying to yourself that you don’t need to carry your day pack with your emergency gear and warm clothing because you won’t need it ─ you are “just…………….”
It also is easy to rationalize away the need to always carry your back up clothing and emergency equipment.
As the years ago by, one hunting season follows another, and you have yet to spend that unplanned night out, the temptation to reduce the weight of the daypack you are carrying by leaving your survival kit at home, can be very attractive.
As you look to the mountains in anticipation of having to ascend on foot and hunt at higher altitudes, it is natural to want to lighten your load and leave behind those pieces of equipment that you have seldom, if ever, used.
Sometimes it is “space” or the lack of it, which causes you to decide to leave items behind that you should take.
Most often, it’s the short trips that get you in trouble! After all, “I was just………” You get complacent.
Nothing life threatening ever has happened in the past and so it is easy to convince yourself that it won’t happen in the future and if it does you can handle it ─whatever “it” is!
Ignoring the possibility of finding yourself in a survival situation is like playing Russian roulette.
Falling victim to the “I am just” syndrome is like playing
Russian roulette with five out of six chambers loaded!
History is replete with examples of those finding themselves in trouble who, after being rescued from some horrendous situation, said “I was just……..”
Several years ago in the US an older man left his camp one evening ─ he was “just” going to walk down to the end of the ridge and see if he could spot a stag.
The following morning was the opening day of the shooting season. He never returned and despite an extensive search he was not found alive.
Ten days later his body, partially buried under snow, was discovered by other hunters.
His emergency gear consisted of a .357 Magnum pistol and thirty seven rounds of ammunition, which he had used to try to signal his hunting partners.
Thirty-six of the thirty-seven cartridges had been fired, but were never heard by either his partners or those that searched for him.
He had tried to shelter himself by drawing two log ends together and laying slabs of bark on top of the logs to provide a crude roof.
His clothing, a mixture of cotton and wool, failed to provide the protection he needed from the environmental conditions he encountered.
Physiologically he died from hypothermia, but it also could be said that he died because he had rationalized away the need to carry any additional emergency gear.
Equipment that might have prevented the situation from developing in the first place – a map, compass or a GPS Receiver.
Equipment that he could have used to increase his protection from cold temperatures, precipitation and wind-chill.
Equipment that he could have used to attract the attention of the rescuers that were looking for him – a mirror, whistle, mobile, warm clothing, survival bag.
He was “just going to walk to the end of the ridge, to look for an elk and then return to camp!”
The words “I am just” when spoken out loud or silently should be considered a red flag warning!
When you say them yourself or hear others say them ─ STOP! The trap is being set!
Continuing on only will spring the trap and once you are in it, there may be no escape.
Without adequate clothing, without basic survival equipment (reliable fire starting devices, waterproof, windproof sheltering materials, a signal mirror and whistle), without the ability to build a fire or signal to others, survival depends on an individual’s tenacity to live, their ability to improvise what they need and luck – but sometimes that’s not enough!
As you contemplate what you should have with you as you begin a trip – even a short one, don’t use the words “I am just…….”
The Human Factor
When two vehicles pass on a two-lane road the space between them can be as little as a few feet!
As long as the vehicles stick to their side of the road everything works well but a moment’s in attention can result in catastrophe.
The more I think about it the more I realized that this concept could be applied to many other scenarios.
The difference between surviving and dying, especially in the outdoors, is indeed a thin one. In fact I believe that we are the thickness of a piece of paper away from a disaster at any given time!
As a society we have become so dependent on technology to keep us safe that we no longer think about the threats to our safety and what we would do in the event that our lives are placed at risk.
We have come to depend on others to keep us free from harm. The government, our employers, family members and others have a role in keeping us all safe but ultimately we each have to recognize that no one is more responsible for our safety than we are.
That “buck” cannot be passed!
Our safety is dependent on the preparation we accomplish before an event. Our safety is dependent on our ability to recognize danger and react quickly enough to ensure our safety.
Is it possible to guarantee personal safety in the outdoors? Of course not!
But you can increase your knowledge, improve your survival skills, outfit yourself with reliable equipment, thoroughly evaluate the risks and then measure your skills against those risks before undertaking an activity in the outdoors.
A comprehensive analysis of the threats to your safety must be followed by an honest, objective appraisal of your skill level and ability to cope with those threats.
It is easy to talk about the impact of weather, or terrain hazards or perhaps the threats posed by animals when you travel in the outdoors but the part of risk management and accident prevention that is hard to come to grips with is what the academics call “human factors.”
Here are a few “human factors” that you should think about:
Complacency- a product of boredom, distraction, lack of awareness, or failure to question old habits results in a belief that“ I’ve done this before successfully therefore there won’t be a problem the next time!”
Not necessarily! Sometimes we are suckered into complacency by our past successes!
Risk perception – a situation that is familiar, controllable, pleasant, predictable and avoidable is perceived to be of less risk. Consequently when an activity becomes routine the likelihood of an accident increases.
Also keep in mind that to be able to deal with a dangerous situation you must first be able to recognize a dangerous situation!
Over confidence– an unrealistic belief in one’s ability to cope with life threatening situations. Men are particularly prone to over estimating their ability to cope with a crisis. Sometimes brute strength isn’t enough!
Goal setting – the inability to adjust goals as situations change often leads to accidents. You must get to the “summit or die” mentality.
Remember –it is never wrong to turn back!
Impatience– patience is a virtue, impatience can be disastrous. Continuing on in the face of bad weather, rough terrain, darkness or other hazards in an effort to “get-back-at-all-cost” can be fatal.
Commitments– do not allow previously made commitments to influence what you should do when you are in trouble. Do what is in your best interest and don’t worry about what your spouse is thinking or what your employer is going to think when you don’t show up for work.
Their concerns are no longer important. Keeping yourself safe is.
Peer pressure - Don’t concern yourself with what others may think. You can survive teasing, ridicule, and the comments of others but you may not survive the impact of the environment if you fail to protect yourself
Failing to test – Nothing gets people in trouble quicker than accepting, at face value, the advice of others, Test everything before your life’s on the line. Practice your survival skills and experiment with your equipment before you need to use them in a crisis.
Experience can help you through a tough situation or it can betray you by setting you up to fail when your experience doesn’t take into account a new situation.
Put another way: “People are often set up for a disaster, not by their inexperience, but by their experience.”
While the tangible risks can usually be managed, the subjective, intangible issues, the human factors, are much more difficult to come to grips with.
To be a survivor you must prepare for what you hope will never happen while accepting the possibility that a crisis can happen at any time.
At some point you need to ask yourself “What do I want my newspaper headline to say?” “Survived in Style” or “Deceased?”
The Gloves are off Post SHTF
I say that Post SHTF the gloves are off as regards shooting game and even large domesticated farm animals.
Meat and animal products is what we get from livestock so even if you do not eat meat animals still have to be kept for eggs, milk, cheese and other dairy products, which we need to make up a healthy diet.
They are a very good source of protein and I can tell you that things do not seem so bad when you are tucking into a beef steak or a lamb joint.
The feed to production ratio value of your animals is basically like this. Poultry good, Pigs & Sheep medium, Cattle poor.
Poultry eat a mainly grain diet so that is expensive but this can be supplemented with natural feed when free ranging.
Any switch from high value grain to natural feed will lower the feed to meat and egg production ratio, but the switch to a varied natural feed can produce a higher quality product.
Pigs also eat a grain diet but this can be supplemented quite well with waste fruit and vegetables, and also natural feed when free ranging.
Sheep eat mainly grass but if producing black faced hardy sheep, these will eat almost all kinds of vegetation from the poorest of land, so even though their feed costs are low they still put weight on but slower than more expensively reared quality grass sheep.
Cattle require expensive quality grass to produce anything and will also require expensive winter feed and purpose built winter housing, producing anything from cattle takes many months and masses of expense and time.
Everything will depend on how big the operation is.
Many years ago I shot a mallard drake from across the river, the mistake I made was I was on the wrong bank when I shot it, and this meant that I had to cross the river to retrieve it, nevertheless it did eventually end up on my plate and all was well.
For decades game has been the preserve of the wealthy as they purchase days shooting on estates with driven game (a bit like shooting rats in a barrel)sometimes, I think.
The guy in the street “us” has been legally removed from these shoots except that we are good enough only to pick up what has been shot and beat, it seems.
Well as I said when SHTF “WE” assume the survivor rights of ancient times, yes we must provide for our own. Now with years of battery breeding of game birds we have a chemical drug free food source just running around free.
I’m afraid that any ethics will have to be over ridden as obtaining this free food is the priority and in many ways not the way we get it.
So lamping roosting pheasants and wood pigeons will be the norm instead of deploying decoy’s and building hides etc.
I’m sure many preppers and survivalists know what I mean and would agree with my sentiments.
And yes, water fowl and game birds will be shot on the ground and on the water as well.
As for large domestic farm animals they too will need to be on our menu either shot of dispatched with a quick blow to head with a heavy object. Imagine how long we would survive with a cow or sheep to keep us going.
Fish farms would be a logical target as would free range chicken farms.
I would also advocate the live capture of the above; including game birds and water fowl so as to breed our own food, the benefit being that most of these animals and birds feed themselves do they not.
It is criminal to take the life of an animal and waste it, for me it is also morally wrong too.
If you keep animals for food and then after slaughtering it you decide you can’t eat it and end up throwing it away, then you have wasted that animals life and killed it for no reason other than some half-baked idea that you could be self-sufficient or rear your own food.
This does happen to some people who then rush down to the supermarket for a pound of sausages. If you find you have become attached to your animals which happens quite a lot, then don't kill them, keep them as pets which they most probably will have become.
Best thing to do is work out exactly what you think you can achieve and stick to it and not get carried away by popular fads.
Either do it or stick to growing vegetables and let someone else produce the meat.
Growing fruit and vegetables is always going to be cheaper, simpler, easier and a lot less hassle than trying to produce your own meat.
Yes the gloves would be off.
Your Pet Survival Plan
You've made a survival kit for you and your family, now it is time to take care of those who depend upon you for their survival.
A pet survival kit is important survival gear for anyone who loves their pets.
When you acquired your pet you took on the responsibility of providing for all its needs. And that includes helping your pet survive come what may.
Having the proper pet survival kit goes beyond ensuring that your favourite animal is well taken care of.
For example, during large scale survival scenarios, such as the Katrina episode when hurricanes strike populated areas, pets are often let loose in vast numbers because their owners cannot properly take care of them.
Packs of roaming dogs are a danger to the community as they attempt to survive on their own. Cats, exotic birds, and other pets may develop breeding populations that cause environmental havoc proceeding the survival emergency.
It is the responsibility of all pet owners to properly prepare for pet survival. The best pet survival kits will contain at least the following items or actions:
Recent pictures of your pet placed both in the pet survival kit and on your person. A pet survival collar worn by your pet that contains the pet’s id, name, address and phone number
Have all your pets’ shots up to date.
Your pet’s vaccination documents.
Pet Health records.
Complete array of pet medications should be in the pet survival kit.
An extra leash.
A pet carrier or a pet cage.
Water and food bowls.
A two week pet survival food supply.
Several gallons of clean drinking water.
A hand can opener (not electric!).
A pet waste disposal system including newspapers, cat littler, poop scoop, bleach, and plastic garbage bags.
A list containing detailed special instructions for the care of each pet.
Grooming supplies and toys.
The pet survival kit should contain clean pet bedding.
Put the contents of the pet survival kit into an easy to transport container.
You also need to have a pet survival plan that considers the needs of your pet for any situation. Know the locations of local shelters for both you and your pets and ask if they accept pets during survival situations.
Your pet’s survival depends upon you even when times are easy. When survival is at stake, you need to be prepared to continue caring for your pets so that they come out alive and healthy.
A pet survival kit is required gear for any pet owner.
A while ago I said I was going to "overnight" out in the town or on the outskirts of the town or even under bushes in the local park.
So I was very pleased to see that doing this is called “Stealth Camping” and it is done mainly by biker-campers although not exclusively.
Stealth Camping is the act of sleeping in non-conventional areas without trace or discovery.
Though it may sound illegal, stealth camping, by definition does not imply an illegal activity. Instead, stealth campers take advantage of free or extremely low cost sleeping areas where other campers never think to stay.
Proper stealth camping is an art and requires forethought, consideration of the property owner, and safety consciousness in order to keep it legal, safe, and comfortable.
Stealth camping takes on many forms and there are very few confining definitions on what constitutes stealth camping.
If you have ever taken a long journey in your car and stopped at a rest stop or a fast food outlet for an extended nap you have stealth camped without even knowing you were doing it.
Though sleeping in your car for a few hours at a Burger King may not be considered hard core by the most experienced stealthers, car camping in public car parks is one of the more sedate forms of stealth camping.
If car parks are too tame for you, don’t write off stealth camping as only for losers who would rather sleep in their cars than shell out money for a hotel bed and a hot shower.
Remember, stealth camping takes on many forms.
The more exciting forms of stealth camping will have you stringing a Hammock Tent between two trees in a secluded wooded area on the outskirts of a big city or pitching a one-man bivy shelter within earshot of a train track or in a tucked away corner of a farmer’s pasture land.
I suggest that when stealth camping you use a hammock and here are some reasons why.
Do you remember last time you went camping looking for a piece of flat ground on which to camp?
Once you find a suitable site, the ground is never very flat. Even within your tent footprint, and sleeping bag, you are still lucky to find a spot without a root sticking in your back.
Besides, even with all that protection, you will still be sleeping on hard ground.
As hard as you try, you can never get truly comfortable. Anyway, this is STEALTH CAMPING…there is NEVER a flat spot when you need one.
With a hammock, you can pitch it almost anywhere over any type of terrain.
Being invisible is what stealth camping is all about. Since you don’t need a big flat area of ground, you are able to pitch your campsite amongst the trees.
Being hidden by low lying branches is one of the best cloaking devices ever for stealth campers. Hammocks are designed to be stealthy and trees are an effective blocking mechanism.
In densely wooded land, I have seen hammocks that cannot be seen within 10 feet of the campsite. It is very reasonable to assume that you can launch a hammock 50′ away from a populated area and never be seen by the public.
I can honestly say that I have never really had a comfortable night’s sleep in a standard tent. I cannot say the same thing about a hammock.
Hammocks have many of the benefits of a standard bed that you just cannot get sleeping in a tent. The first thing that comes to mind is the ability to prop yourself up.
Hammocks allow you to prop yourself up within the slight curvature as it is strung between two trees. This curvature isn’t over whelming though and you are still able to slide down and flatten out.
So I think I will be buying a hammock guys and getting into stealth camping as it sounds great fun.
Let’s look at Nuclear Threats
Just because you don't live next to a nuclear power station does not mean that you are free from any possible nuclear radiation threats. There are several facts and factors you need to know:
Look at Nuclear power plants - As the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986 demonstrated, even if you are several hundred miles or away from a nuclear power station, if an unlikely but possible major nuclear accident happens and you are downwind of it at the time, your safety would be seriously at risk.
Then there could be Nuclear material accidents - These can happen at a plant that works with nuclear material or nuclear waste or during the transportation of radioactive material in your area.
Don’t forget Radiological Dispersal Devices (RDDs) - These include terrorist attacks with radioactive material devices, as in "dirty bombs", which are caused by conventional and not nuclear explosions.
Nuclear weapons attack - You may say: "But the cold war is over". Yes, but the world is still full of crazy people, and there are now more nuclear weapons in the hands of more countries and terrorist groups than during the cold war.
Take this news report for example: On June 24 2009, a news report from the Associated Press started with: "North Korea threatened Wednesday to wipe the United States off the map as Washington and its allies watched for signs the regime will launch a series of missiles in the coming days." Plus there is still great animosity between many nations with nuclear capabilities.
The other factor that we have learned from the past is that historically, war has followed the collapse of the economy of a nation. I hope there are no economy collapses anywhere in the world. But if it happens, war is possible, and it could quite likely be nuclear.
There is also the possibility of a terrorist attack with a portable nuclear device like a "suitcase bomb".
There are 2 main dangers of a nuclear bomb: the initial blast effect and the radioactive fall-out afterwards. Fall-out is sometimes misunderstood.
There are different types of fall-out radiation, and its dispersal will depend on several factors, but it is basically fine dust from the explosion that continuously gives off invisible radiation as it falls to earth.
The largest, most dangerous particles will reach the ground first, closer to ground zero.
According to the research those particles that are concentrated and dangerous enough to require the use of fall-out shelters to protect you, will fall to earth within a few hours.
The finer particles will be carried by the wind, some taking months to settle to earth.
Fortunately the radiation from radioactive particles reduces with time, which helps man and nature to recover.
The initial radiation, which is fatal with one hour of exposure, weakens to only 1/10th as strong 7 hours later. Two days later, it's only 1/100th as strong.
Is a nuclear attack survivable? Absolutely - contrary to popular opinion! There are many myths about nuclear war, including this big one that no one will be able to survive it. To the contrary; nuclear wars are very survivable, IF people are prepared, excluding a small percentage of people near ground zero (the point directly below the explosion).
In fact, in Nagasaki during the atomic bomb attack, some people who were far inside tunnel shelters built for conventional air raids located as close as one-third of a mile from ground zero, survived uninjured.
This was true even though these long, large shelters lacked blast doors and were deep inside the zone within which all buildings were destroyed.
Another myth is that fall-out radiation penetrates everything and will kill all those who survived the initial blast.
Again, this is not true.
Adequate preparation can protect you from any harmful doses. And even minor preparations can save your life, even though your health may be adversely affected.
If nuclear wars are not survivable, then it would not make any sense to build nuclear fall-out shelters, and governments would not spend large amounts of money doing so for their citizens.
Some countries have done just that, including Russia, Switzerland and some Scandinavian countries. And, some countries have built them only for their leadership and not for their citizens!
There have been 100’s of nuclear detonation tests so we have actually had a nuclear war in real terms and we have all survived.
Eating Road Kill
During the last Great Depression in the 1930’s road kill was considered a table delicacy for many who would otherwise be going without meat. Deer, various birds, rabbit etc.and a variety of other animals killed by vehicles and left lying on the side of the road became an important source of protein for many a family.
An important feature of road kill is that the hunting has been done for you.
There the animal lay; all you need to do is pick it up, skin it out, and cook it up. A gift from the Gods a hungry man should not pass up!
Many people have considered road kill to be a windfall. As long as the kill is fresh and the animal looks healthy, its meat is perfectly safe to eat.
As with all meat, be sure to prepare it properly before consumption.
You Won’t Eat Road Kill? Don’t think you could eat road kill?
That’s simply because at this time you can afford to snub your nose at such easy free meat.
Sure, right now many of you are squeamish at the thought of eating road kill.
After all, your stomachs are regularly full and probably have been for all of your life.
You have never experienced first-hand what it is like to go hungry for several days straight – or even weeks.
Your cupboards are well stocked, and as much food as you could possibly want is waiting for you at the local shop. That could all change.
During times of natural and manmade disaster or economic collapse food sources can quickly dry up. It’s amazing how preconceived food prejudices are soon rejected when real knawing hunger sets in.
After a few months without enough food and you will think nothing of eating insects, worms, rats, or anything else that comes your way.
Served with wallpaper paste a nice road kill badger roast would be a seriously welcome addition to the dinner table.
When you think about it, what’s the difference whether that animal was dispatched at the abotrior , by a hunter in the forest, or a speeding vehicle?
None. As long as the meat is reasonably fresh and well-cooked it will not matter one bit how the animal met its end.
What does matter is feeding yourself and your family; road kill could put meat on the table when food is scarce and your survival is at stake.
Road Kill is Good Food, Road kill is traditionally accepted mealtime fare in many areas. In my neck of the woods pheasants are almost daily hit by motorists speeding through the countryside.
The local gamekeeper recons he loses around 35 to 40 per day on the roads around the estate.
As when you shop for meat at the supermarket, you want to insure your road kill meat is fresh and has not “gone off”.
Although obvious signs of potentially spoiled meat include smell and the presence of scavenging insects, maggots, and the like, meat can also be spoiled without these signs.
You must cook all meat thoroughly in order to destroy any disease causing organisms or parasites.
If you find road kill on a stretch of road you had just passed over several hours before, then chances are your road kill is reasonably fresh and you are in meat.
As in all things, the best survivors are aware of their environment and open to opportunity as it presents itself, however unexpectedly.
Road kill meat is a potentially valuable resource in times of need and not to be overlooked by the hungry survivor.
Remember in the UK if you hit and kill game on the roads YOU are not allowed to stop and pick it up however the driver of the vehicle behind legally can.
Survival Preparedness is a process or a condition of being prepared to survive.
To Survive. The phrase could be taken literally – that is, to stay alive. The words, ‘to survive’, could also be interpreted less literally – more like staying healthy or healthier than otherwise.
In the context of survival preparedness, some will describe this notion to its very basic core – like the ability to survive in the wilderness without any modern help whatsoever, you are on your own, life and death circumstances, black and white.
Others will describe survival preparedness more-or-less in the context of living within today’s modern society parameters, and utilizing the modern tools available today in order to prepare or be prepared for various problems that may occur tomorrow.
What I’m trying to say is that there are some ‘survival preparedness’ “preppers” that are more hard-core than others and I’ve noticed that the movement has been coined with two labels in an apparent attempt to delineate their core values.
I’m not so sure that I agree with labels and definitions,
knowing that there are all sorts of ‘shades of grey’, but having said that, the two labels are Survivalists and Preppers.
Survivalists are the hard core while the Preppers are the soft core.
Again, I do not agree with the labelling here, but the fact is that it exists.
The Prepper is thought of as someone who is fully functioning within the system of modern society, preparing for minor disruptions that may come their way, while the Survivalist is considered to be on the edge, perhaps already hunkered down in their bunker or survival retreat – ready for Armageddon.
As in all walks of life, there are truly the extremes, and lots of in-between. When it comes to survival preparedness, I believe that the spectrum is all pretty much OK, so long as it’s within the law of the land.
Since there are so very many different types of people, personalities, skills, and interests, there will likewise be a multitude of variety when it comes to how one prepares, and what they are preparing for.
People will interpret risks differently from one another and people will be in varying vicinities of the risk themselves.
Some face much higher risk than others based on their geographical location, their occupation, their own current financial and preparedness situation, etc.
Personally, I think that it’s great how more and more ordinary people are waking up and realizing that things are not all Rosy out there and that there are very real risks facing us all as the world’s economic systems are teetering on the brink of failure while the rumour of wars fill the air.
There will always be ‘newbies’ to survival preparedness and there will always be veterans of the same. There’s room for everyone.
Just remember this… by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
Positive Mental Attitude
The benefits of maintaining a good attitude in the wilderness seem implicit.
Daily experiences have taught us that mood influences outcomes. But just how does this "Pollyanna principle" affect your brain in survival situations?
A little positivity goes a long way when you're calling a handmade hovel miles from civilization "home."
While it may sound like a page ripped from a self-help book, positive mental attitude (PMA) is an integral part of survival.
In general terms, PMA combats your unconscious stress, allowing you to think more clearly and make better decisions.
For example, remember how the fight-or-flight response limits the amount of things you observe around you?
By improving your attitude and, consequently, lowering your stress, you reinvigorate your awareness of your surroundings.
Imagine how vital that would be when sharing habitats with unfriendly neighbours.
Now I know that looking at the glass half full can increase our chances of survival, but how exactly does that happen?
Why can positive thoughts breed positive results?
The study of positive psychology that analyses the effect of positive thinking and emotions on people sprang up a relatively short time ago.
Research revealed a link between positive thinking and emotions and successful survival.
That's because it opens up global thinking capacities in the brain, allowing for more innovation and creativity.
In the wilderness, once your initial needs are met, you will require new ideas and prioritization of tasks to keep yourself alive for the longer term.
Physiologically, PMA reverses the toll of stress on our bodies. Think about your body language when you watch a funny movie.
You're often more relaxed than when you see a nail-biting thriller. This loosening up will help you conserve precious energy.
Proper wilderness preparation and training also contributes to positive thinking because you will better know how to fend for yourself. That, coupled with PMA, can help you cross the bridge to survival.
A Bad Day Bag
This pack is not about Armageddon.
It's about "One Bad Day".
Every year 400-500 Americans die because of one bad day. The primary function of this safety kit is to provide the means to build a rudimentary shelter and a fire — to survive that one day. Cigarette lighters are great for lighting cigarettes. Matches are great if they're dry.
The foundation of this pack is the Chris Caine Survival Companion. It comes with a magnesium striker that will allow you the luxury of a fire anywhere anytime you can find something to burn.
The striker is good for thousands of fire starts and we can't imagine wearing out the knife.
These are companioned by a 21st Century survival piece that combines an emergency whistle, compass, thermometer, bright LED light, signalling mirror, and magnifying glass to help start a fire or extract a sliver.
There is a small bundle of 10-12 feet of 550 lb. paracord and a single emergency blanket.
I have also included a zip lock bag of Vaseline cotton wool balls a sure thing for fire starting. They fire up with speed.
These survival essentials will fit in to an easy to wear or store shoulder bag. You should consider the following as additions to your one bad day pack.
It's a good idea to have more than one emergency blanket.
Emergency food should be a major consideration; i.e., concentrated soy bars, nutrition bars. A week's supply is reasonable.
There are specialty foods high in nutrition and the fat your body needs at low cost.
There are emergency tents made of silver reflective material that retain body heat and protect you from the elements.
First-Aid Kit. You want something comprehensive.
If you're a surgeon and need a M.A.S.H. that's up to you. It's a good idea to include more than a roll of Band-Aids and a tube of ointment.
You want to stop bleeding, secure a broken bone, and alleviate pain.
Water purification. You should provide for the minimum ability to kill bacteria, viruses, girdia, and cryptosporidium.
This should include a water transport system, canteens, backpack bladders, etc. buy the Purificup at www.purifycup.co.uk
Finally, a good way to protect yourself from the elements. A good military poncho that will keep the wind and weather away.
This simple shoulder bag will start a fire, help attract attention and keep you alive until help arrives.
It's the least thing you can carry. It's a magnificent start to securing you and the people you love.
Mate you Stink! - a common phrase heard in the woods.
But beware of the pot calling the kettle black. “Camping sanitation practices” - “personal hygiene” – whatever you want to call it, it’s about more than just smell.
Your health and the health of fellow hikers; the aesthetics of the wilderness; avoiding fines; and your personal comfort are all at stake as well.
It’s all about the bugs – bacteria, viruses, and other various nasty’s. Keep them at bay through better personal and environmental cleanliness, and you’ll feel better, smell better and be less likely to end up gut-wrenching sick.
Survivalists and Preppers are usually knowledgeable about water contamination and proper treatment, but are less cautious about other sources of germs from food and waste - witness a trio of survivalists or preppers all sticking their grubby hands into a bag of trail mix at break time.
But just because you don’t have a gold-trimmed taps, a bidet and a rubbish disposal at camp doesn’t mean you can’t keep yourself and your trail area reasonably clean when out in the woods.
I’ve put some suggestions together on the subject so you can be a friend to the woods - and to your tent mate.
Make a point to carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your pocket and use it frequently – after toilet use; before grabbing a handful of trail mix; before cooking dinner.
This cuts down on the prospects of ingesting bacteria that can make you sick – a doubly unpleasant experience when on a survival exercise let alone the real thing.
Carry a small bottle of rubbing alcohol and some cotton balls.
Soak the cotton with the alcohol and give yourself a rub down at night under the arms, feet and groin area.
You’ll be amazed at how dirty the cotton becomes – yes, that all came off you - and how much better you feel afterwards. A light weight to carry with big benefits.
Whenever you can, don’t pass up the chance to dip your feet in a creek.
A quick 5-minute stop a couple of times a day to clean your feet, dry and move on does wonders for eliminating bacteria and relieving hot spots that may have been developing into blisters as you hike.
Better still, rotate your socks in use while you’re at it.
Speaking of socks, if you camp near water, wash out your socks and hang out to dry overnight.
Just make sure you have one dry pair for in the morning, as sometimes they won’t dry out completely at night. Tie outside your pack to finish drying the next day.
Carry a bandana and a small bottle of biodegradable soap to give yourself an occasional sponge bath of sorts – at least your face, underarms, groin, buttocks and feet.
This reduces chafing, odors, and bacteria, and you’ll sleep better if not so sticky everywhere.
For minimal impact on the environment, carry water away from the source to take this bath if you are using soap – one way is to include in your pack a container cut from a 1-gallon jug, or buy a collapsible bucket.
Carry a small container of body lotion or muscle rub and use it on your feet at night after cleaning.
Try to sleep in something other than what you hiked in, and hang those hiking clothes to air out overnight when possible. If near water, rinse them out when you can.
Maintaining dental hygiene while camping is comforting and healthful. Include dental floss and a travel-sized travel toothbrush and toothpaste in your pack.
Don’t rinse out your mouth right near your tent though. As with dishwater, either dispose of it well away from your sleeping area or in running water that will quickly dilute it.
An alternative to bathing with water is using wet-wipes you can remove a lot of grunge from your body with one or two of these alcohol-soaked cloths, when used burn them.
I’ve heard of survivalists and preppers going as long as a week without “going” because of either being uncomfortable with the process, or too bashful of sorts to let nature take its course.
No point getting your colon all up in knots over it; just emulate your cat, as explained below.
First, on urination – not a problem for us blokes; the world is our bathroom. Do relieve yourself away from camp sites as the urine odour can remain for some time.
Ladies have more difficulty, but are encouraged to either drip-dry, carry out the TP, or bury it where allowed by using a backpacker's trowel.
Second, There’s actually a good-selling book titled “How to S#!+ in the Woods”, but I’ll try to condense that issue down to a few points:
Go off trail and at least 200 feet from any water source, including springs and streams.
Always carry a lightweight plastic backpacker's trowel when you hike for toilet purposes.
Like your cat tries to, dig a hole 4-6 inches deep. If the ground is covered with snow, be sure to dig through the snow and create the cat hole beneath the topsoil – this can be quite hard work if the ground is frozen.
Then just squat above it. This is the part novices fear the most, but actually results in much more natural and healthful elimination than sitting at a 90 degree angle on your home toilet.
There are a couple of pointers – make sure you’re really out of sight; squat with your rear downhill; hang on to a tree for balance; and make sure your shirt or coat is lifted up in the back.
After wiping with TP, get yourself even cleaner back there with wet wipes this will reduce the chances of chafing and later discomfort.
After using the cat-hole, cover it and the TP with the soil you removed. Revert the site to its natural look by re-scattering leaves, rocks or pine needles over the top. Place a rock on top so the next person along doesn't step in it or animals try dig it up.
Always follow with a good hand cleaning with hand gel or soap and water.
Keep your trowel as clean as possible - wipe off on grass or sand or wash off after each use. Keep it and your roll of TP in a plastic bag and carry in or on your pack away from your food.
According to many countryside polls rubbish left on the trail and at camps – wrappers, toilet paper, plastic jugs can distract from the wilderness experience. Here’s how you can be part of the solution.
Plan ahead and pack consumables with minimal wrappers. Use Ziploc re-sealable baggies to package individual meal servings instead of their original containers, then use those bags to hold your rubbish coming out.
Avoid cans and other containers with metal – you’ll have to carry those in and out.
If fires are permitted where you camp, you can burn some trash items, but beware of paper not burning all the way to ash, or you still have a rubbish problem.
Cigarette butts can hang around for years, and don’t easily burn up – if you’re going to smoke, carry out the butts.
If you see rubbish on the route – be a trooper and pick it up; don’t wait for “someone to do something about it”.
Bring a heavy duty black bag with you – it has many potential purposes such as water protection, ground cover, or sleeping bag protector while you are out there – and then put your unburned rubbish in it on your way out.
Household Items for Survival Situations
Economic Collapse, Terrorist Attack, or Environmental Disaster Survival Items
Way of Life
While the subject of survival items to have in your home is not a pleasant one it does no harm to be prepared.
While many are greatly concerned about an economic collapse based upon a worsening financial situation and more specifically hyperinflation, I am not yet convinced that this is about to happen.
While the threat of a significant terrorist attack that would cripple our way of life is possible, it too seems unlikely. And while an environmental disaster may occur at any time, it is likely to be localized and not a nationwide disaster.
However, hyperinflation may happen, terrorists may pull off a huge attack, and an earthquake, meteor, or volcanic eruption of epic proportions could happen, this article will address preparation in your home to survive these or other calamities.
Antibacterial hand soap and dish soap are item to stockpile in the home. While most of the time antibacterial soap isn't needed, in a world with less than ideal water supplies and non-existent professional medical treatment it could be a lifesaver.
Petrol is another item that you might consider stockpiling in your home for survival situations. However as safe long term storage is not very practical for many homes this might not be practical.
Candles or perhaps better, the materials and knowledge to make candles, should be stockpiled in the home for survival purposes.
Candles can be used for light as well as a small heat source. It might seem trivial, but a few candles can make the difference between enough heat to survive and freezing.
Oil Lamps are another possible survival item. Oil lamps and oil can be stored away and used as a proper and safer light source that candles.
Reading or working by candlelight is for Hollywood movies, oil lamps are much more useful.
A good assortment of wood and hardware is a must for survival as well. In fact cases of nails, screws, simple tools, etc. could be a money maker when it all hits the fan.
Of course, money might not be too important so trade your loot for food or something you can use.
Gardening supplies are another must. Easy growing vegetable seeds can be purchased cheaply and stored safely for a long time.
Better yet use the seeds each year and replace them.
The ability and supplies needed to can food should be stockpiled in the home for survival as well. A good crop from your garden will be more useful to survive the winter canned than dried or other food storage methods.
A couple of water purification systems should be ready in the home as well. Stockpiling water to get started is fine, but you'll run out at some point.
Iodine tablets can be used to chemically treat water and are available at most large retailers and camping, hiking, and backpacking stores.
Water purification filters are also available from sporting goods stores. Both types should be present in a survival situation.
Another cold hard fact is that you need to be able to defend yourself, your family, and your property. I'll leave this up to you, but don't think people are going to starve without trying to take your food.
This is not a pleasant subject to think about, but being prepared for whatever might come can provide you peace of mind that is quite needed these days.
Seven Million Working Adults are 'Just one Bill away from Disaster'
Adults in 3.6 million households are struggling to feed themselves and their children
Spiralling cost of living and squeezed salaries blamed for pushing working families to brink
Childless couples with combined incomes of up to £29,000 were among those at risk of poverty
Families had no equity in their home or savings if faced with an unexpected large bill at the end of a month
Nearly seven million working adults are under such financial strain each month a single unforeseen bill could cause them financial disaster, a study has found.
Around 3.6million households were struggling to find enough money at the end of each month to provide food for themselves and their children, according to shocking new research.
The survey for the Guardian focused on people who are employed and not reliant on state welfare, for whom 'work no longer pays'.
It found a squeeze on salaries and spiralling living costs were having particularly devastating consequences, forcing millions towards poverty.
Some of those facing the most critical financial stress can include a couple, without children, with a gross annual household income of between £,000 and £29,000, or couples with two children on between £17,000 and £41,000.
The dire predicament meant they were so stretched that a larger than expected bill could force them into debt, with no equity in their home or savings on which to fall back.
Bruno Rost, head of Experian Public Sector, which conducted the study, told the Guardian: ‘These people are the new working class – except the work they do no longer pays.
‘These people say that being forced to claim benefits or move into a council property would be the worst kind of social ignominy and self-failure.’
This latest research comes a week after charity Oxfam claimed that of those classed as being in poverty – officially defined as households with income of less than 60 per cent of median average - the number of people working outnumbered those unemployed.
Oxfam’s report also found that those in work but claiming housing benefit had risen to 900,000 – more than doubling since 2005.
The growing number of adults being placed under severe financial strain despite being in work and not relying on the state is likely to embarrass the Government which declared that getting a job was the best way to pull families out of poverty.
Isn’t this a disgrace in a 1st world country in the 21st century I think it is.
What an opportunity to promote prepping this situation really is now is the time to start local prepping groups and attract the financially poor into our world.
Evacuate, what would you do?
The most important to thing to note when it comes to handling an evacuation procedure is that there are no hard and fast rules as the need to evacuate and how you should go about doing so has so many variables which include:
The reasons why you need to evacuate e.g. to escape from fire, flood, gas explosions, hurricanes etc
The amount of notice you’ll have in terms of warning time before you must evacuate
Whether or not an official body is in control of conducting the evacuation e.g. the police, the fire brigade, the armed forces etc
To consider this in a little more in depth, it’s only necessary to look at two recent examples - the flooding experiences in the UK over recent years and the likes of the outbreak of forest fires we regularly witness on TV in the USA and other places.
In both situations, there will have ultimately been the need to evacuate for many people but how the evacuations were carried out would have been very different.
Therefore, unless you’ve received direct notification by an official authority representative calling at your house to tell you that you must evacuate or you’ve been made aware of any evacuation procedures via the local media, i.e.TV or radio then all you can do is to have some kind of preparation plan in place in the eventuality that you have no option but to evacuate your home.
Although you might think that you live in an area where everything is calm, tranquil and safe, disaster could strike at any time.
It could be a vehicle which is out of control and ends up careering into your property or a plane crash nearby or some kind of unexpected freak weather which damages your house beyond immediate repair - the list is endless and the fact is that none of us can be certain that we would never need to evacuate our home.
One of the things that is useful is to sit down and discuss with your family the types of disaster that could possibly happen.
However bizarre some of the suggestions might be, it can be a very useful exercise in the event that a disaster which required you to evacuate did actually occur.
Hopefully, an evacuation might be co-ordinated by one of the emergency services who would tell you what to do but that cannot always be guaranteed if there is insufficient time to respond so talking through possible scenarios and making some notes that you all understand is a good survival exercise.
Discuss things like:
The different types of disasters that could occur and how you might respond to each of them
Where you would go and what you would bring with you and when you wouldn’t even bother to bring anything with you in disaster scenarios where you might not have time to gather any belongings
Evacuation routes by car if you felt you needed to get well away from the immediate area
Although we’d all like to think that in a disaster scenario our family would all stay together, the reality is that this might not always be possible.
Therefore, you should plan 2 meeting points which all the family should be familiar with.
The first one might be somewhere reasonably close by but a safe distance from your home. This would be a meeting point perhaps in the event that your house caught fire.
The second meeting point should be a place which you’re all aware of but which might be outside your own neighbourhood in case you cannot return home in the foreseeable future following a catastrophe.
All of you should have the contact phone number of somebody such as a friend or close family member who lives well away from you (and therefore the disaster area) to whom each of you should report into by phone in the event that there’s a disaster and you are all separated.
When considering taking things with you in the event that you need to evacuate, this ill all depend upon whether or not there’s sufficient time to do that.
Remember, in certain disaster scenarios, a fire in your house for example, you won’t have time and then your only option is making sure you get out immediately and stay out.
However, if there is going to be time to take a few bits and pieces with you, the types of things you should consider might include:
Sleeping bags or blankets
Ready to eat, non-perishable foods and something to drink
Any necessary medications
Money, bank cards etc.
Wearing appropriate clothing for the weather conditions
First aid kit
As mentioned previously, the reason for the evacuation, the time you’ll have to evacuate and whether or not some kind of official body is organising the evacuation will all have a bearing on how you go about things.
Other useful things to know might include each responsible family member knowing how to shut off things like the electricity, water and gas from the main switches, all of you having attended a first-aid course, learning about home fire hazards etc and this will all be invaluable knowledge in the event that you ever need to evacuate.
Survival skills are the combined knowledge and abilities of methods and techniques that will be used in situations where modern conveniences and infrastructures don’t exist or have been damaged.
Survival skills are typically thought of in the context of wilderness survival.
The term is a very broad and general one, and applies to many ‘levels’ of survival, from the simple ability to cook your own food, make your own bread.
Shutting off the electricity-gas-water to your home, successfully build a fire, build your own shelter, purify drinking water, all the way to identifying outdoor wild edible plants, trapping, hunting, evasion, field dressing game, building a fence, preserving foods, growing a successful garden, and on and on.
I would say that the underlying theme is the general ability to be self-sufficient.
Everyone has their own unique interests and abilities, and really, no one person can know it all. People will gravitate towards the skill set that they find natural or enjoyable for them.
However, it is also a very good thing to challenge yourself and get outside of your comfort zone.
People usually need to be pushed to get into that zone, but the sesame somewhat stubborn people (I’m one of them) will often find it very rewarding after having conquered a new skill.
The thought of being able to survive and make it on your own, is just that… a thought.
In reality, it would be highly unlikely that even the best could succeed for long. OK, maybe the best could… but you know what I mean. We will always need support from others.
After all, this is how we built ‘civilization’.
Having survival skills will allow you peace-of-mind. They will also allow you to enjoy the outdoors to a further extent than others (except for the foolish).
They will enable you to adapt to situations without panicking and enable better decisions during times of crisis.
Survival skills are a valuable commodity during times of disaster.
Having survival skills, even if not ‘required’ in real life, will make you a different person, one who knows that they do not need to fully rely on the system.
Survival skills also include those that aren’t necessarily primitive.
Having an open mind, a logical mind, a mind with experiences, will enable you to adapt. Adapting, or adapting successfully, is probably the greatest skill of all.
It’s a very general term, but the ability to do, go, change, or make something else with the resources that you currently have, is a great asset.
So, in summary, to have survival skills doesn’t require that you necessarily learn how to go off and live by yourself in the woods.
You might say that ‘modern survival skills’ could be defined a little differently –having the skills to work outside of the system while still functioning in the modern world.
Start small. Examine what it is that you are ‘chained to’, the things that are holding you down. Figure out ways to break the chains.
Become slightly more self-sufficient by growing some of your own food – even if it isonly seasonal. Learn some of the basics like how to read a map and navigate without a GPS receiver.
Learn how to ‘tin’ and preserve foods. How about stepping out of the ‘comfort zone’and considering working for yourself instead of ‘the company’.
Think about the skills that you have now, at your current job. Are they something that you could do on your own?
Maybe you have other skills that could be utilized in a side business for yourself – something you enjoy, part time on the weekends. That’s where it starts…
Survival skills… think, ‘self-sufficient’, and go from there.
Forest Fires and What to do
A forest fire can cause an incredible amount of devastation in a very short space of time and wildfires have been responsible for killing many people over the years.
One of the most common mistakes people who are trying to escape a forest fire is to try to out run it. However, even in less dense forests, forest fires travel so quickly and faster than you can run.
By having a good knowledge of the way in which a forest fire travels and by having some awareness of the terrain you are in, these two things combined give you the best opportunity of surviving a forest fire.
One of the first things to remember is that a forest fire travels uphill far quicker than it travels downhill.
Therefore, if you see an opportunity, you might be able to keep in advance of the fire by moving downhill as quickly as you can.
Knowing your terrain and your current position in relation to it can help too.
Think of any roads, or stretches of water such as a lake, river, stream or pond that maybe close by and head towards them where it’s practical to do so.
Anywhere there is little or no vegetation which is able to burn such as the examples above can buy you valuable time.
Knowing your trees can also help. Evergreen trees, such as conifers and those which have needles burn far more quickly than deciduous trees.
Therefore, if you’re presented with the option between the two to try to escape, choose an escape route through a deciduous thicket of trees.
If you’re completely trapped and the forest fire is in such close proximity that an immediate escape is not possible, you should try to find or even dig a ditch into which you should climb and keep yourself as low down as possible.
Curl yourself up into a ball and, where possible, cover yourself up with a blanket or a coat if you have access to these items.
If you’re able to, soak the blanket or coat in water first.
By making sure you’re low down and covered up, this will give you the best chance of minimising the effects of the suffocating heat and smoke as so many people die in forest fires each year due to excessive inhalation of the smoke as opposed to being burned alive.
If you’re lucky enough to survive the fire, then once it has passed through, move upwind where the fire will have already burned out the vegetation.
If you’re in a remote woodland area where a forest fire is about to take hold, the likelihood is that if you’re not aware, it will be upon you in no time at all.
Buying you extra time can mean the difference between life and death.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to be aware of the signs of fire approaching.
Obviously, this is likely to begin by you having a vague sense of smelling smoke.
If that occurs, look at any cars, awnings and tents that may be in the area. A sure sign that fire is approaching is where you can spot fine particles of ash which will settle on these kinds of surfaces.
Look up into the sky and see if you can spot any hazy areas which don’t seem in keeping with the rest of the sky.
Obviously, if the ash thickens and the smell of smoke becomes more pungent, then the approach of fire is imminent.
Many forest fires often begin due to someone’s carelessness or negligence - a discarded cigarette end being the most obvious.
Therefore, it’s important to beaware of the safety procedures with regards to fire when out in the woods and to follow any rules, regulations and signs which are in place.
Pay particular attention to safe cooking procedures at camp as well as ensuring that any campfires you build are permitted, are within the regulations and that they are closely monitored at all times and extinguished properly.
Also, pay attention to any instructions you may receive from fire fighters that might be trying to stem the blaze.
If a fire is burning out of control around you, it’s easy to panic and to do the wrong thing.
However, where fire fighters are present, they will have been professionally trained to deal with all manners of fire fighting and all members of the fire fighting team will be working in co-ordination to ensure that the fire is extinguished as quickly as possible and to get people to safety.
Therefore, if they tell you to do something, don’t question their judgement – just do it. It could save your life.
Open and Closed seasons for Hunting and Fishing
Each shooting discipline has an open and closed season. It's illegal to shoot during the closed season.
For many other birds and animals, there are closed seasons that you need to respect. These were put in place to protect birds and animals whose populations could be in jeopardy if hunters are allowed to shoot them all year round.
As a shooter, you need to be aware of when the closed season is in your discipline, particularly if you have more than one shooting discipline to think about (for example, if you're a game hunter and a wildfowl hunter simultaneously).
It can be easy to lose track, and this can land you in a lot of hot water. Here is a guide to the open and closed seasons for some of the main shooting types.
Game and Grouse Shooting
The grouse shooting season opens on August 12th. In Northern Ireland, November 30th is the close of the season, but it doesn't end until December 10th in the rest of the UK.
For other game birds, there are individual shooting seasons that you need to be aware of.
Pheasants: The pheasant shooting season lasts from October 1st to February 1st in England, Scotland and Wales.
In Northern Ireland, it lasts from October 1st to January 31st.
Partridge: The partridge shooting season lasts from September 1st to February 1st in England, Scotland and Wales. Like the pheasant shooting season, it closes a day earlier in Northern Ireland.
Ptarmigan: The ptarmigan shooting season lasts from August 12th to December 12th. The birds are found mostly in Scotland, so there is no shooting season in Northern Ireland.
Blackgame: The blackgame shooting season lasts from August 20th to December 10th in England, Scotland and Wales. They aren't found in Northern Ireland, so there is no shooting season there.
Common snipe: The common snipe shooting season lasts from August 12th to January 31st on the UK mainland, and from September 1st to January 31st in Northern Ireland.
Jack snipe: The Jack snipe shooting season lasts from September 1st to January 31st in Northern Ireland. The bird is protected at all times in England, Scotland and Wales, which makes it illegal to shoot or hunt it all year round.
Woodcock: The woodcock shooting season lasts from October 1st to January 31st in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland, the woodcock shooting season starts on September 1st and closes at the same time as the rest of the UK.
Ducks and Geese: Inland, the shooting season lasts from September 1st to January 31st in England, Scotland and Wales, and this is the same in Northern Ireland. If the HMV is less than ordinary spring tides, the shooting season closes on February 20th on the UK mainland.
Coots and Moorhen: The shooting season lasts from September 1st to January 31st across England, Scotland and Wales. In Northern Ireland, the birds are protected at all times, so it's illegal to shoot them at any time in the year.
Golden Plover: The Golden Plover shooting season lasts from September 1st to January 1st all over the UK (including Northern Ireland).
Curlew: The curlew shooting season lasts from September 1st to January 31st in Northern Ireland. It is illegal to shoot curlews in England, Scotland and Wales, as they are protected at all times.
The following mammals can be controlled by legally approved methods all year round - see British Association for Shooting and Conservation for more information.
Mice (except dormice)
And Feral cat
Angling seasons vary widely from area to area and even from river to river. Closed seasons are now largely a matter of local discretion or custom.
It is always best to consult an official body for local information:
England and Wales
Any angler aged 12 years or over, fishing for salmon, trout, freshwater fish or eels in England (except the River Tweed), Wales or the Border Esk and its tributaries in Scotland must have an Environment Agency rod licence.
Coarse fish close season - 15 March to 15 June inclusive. The coarse fish close season applies to all rivers, streams and drains in England & Wales, but does not apply to most still waters or canals.
Local District Salmon Fishery Board (number in telephone directory), or alternatively FishScotland.
No rod licence is needed.
Note that there is no legal close season for rainbow trout, grayling, coarse or sea fishing, although some fisheries do not operate in the winter.
The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL)
Local angling shops are also a good source of information.
5 Survival Skills
Acquiring survival skills is an on-going process that will last for your entire life.
There is always more to learn and experience, which is part of the fun of being a survivor.
As your survival expertise grows the knowledge and abilities you gain are often useful in other areas.
For example survivors prepare ahead of time, and they are experts in the art of ingenuity and inventiveness.
Excellent attributes for anyone.
The possible environments and situations you could find yourself in are in numerable.
Although each situation has its particular requirements for successfully surviving, in the final analysis it is mastery of five basic survival skills that are essential.
Proficiency and preparedness in these 5 basic skills will give you the edge and put you on your way toward becoming a talented survivor.
Knowing how to build a fire is the best survival skill you can have.
Fire provides warmth ,light, and comfort so you get on with the business of survival.
Even if you do not have adequate clothing a good fire can allow you to survive in the coldest of environments.
Fire keeps away the creatures that go bump in the night and so you can have the peace of mind and rest you need. And that is not all.
Fire will cook your food and purify your water, both excellent attributes when you want to stay healthy when potential disease causing organisms are lurking about.
Fire will dry your clothing and even aid in the making of tools and keeping pesky insects at bay.
But even that is not all. Fire and smoke can be used for signalling very long distances.
Always have at least two, and preferably three, ways of making a fire at you immediate disposal.
With waterproof matches, a butane lighter, and fire steel you should be able to create a fire anytime anywhere no matter how adverse the conditions.
So the lesson here is to learn the art of fire craft, Practice and become an expert.
Your ability to create a fire is perhaps the most visible mark of an experienced survivor.
Shelter protects your body from the outside elements. This includes heat, cold, rain, snow, the sun, and wind.
It also protects you from insects and other creatures that seek to do you harm.
The survival expert has several layers of shelter to think about. The first layer of shelter is the clothing you choose to wear.
Your clothing is of vital importance and must be wisely chosen according to the environment you are likely to find yourself in.
Be sure to dress in layers in order to maximize your ability to adapt to changing conditions.
The next layer of shelter is the one you may have to build yourself, a lean-to or debris hut perhaps.
This is only limited by your inventiveness and ingenuity. If the situation requires, your shelter can be insulated with whatever is at hand for the purpose.
Being prepared, you may have a space blanket or tarp with you, in which case creating a shelter should be relatively easy.
Before you are in need of making survival shelter, be sure to practice and experiment with a variety of materials and survival scenarios on a regular basis.
Should the need arise you will be glad you did.
By signalling to make contact with people who can rescue you without having to be in actual physical contact with them.
There are a variety of ways to signal for help. These include using fire and smoke,flashlights, bright colour clothing and other markers, reflective mirrors, whistles, and personal locator beacons and don’t forget the ResQbrite signal panel I have just reviewed.
Three of anything is considered a signal for help: 3 gunshots, 3 blows on a whistle, three sticks in the shape of a triangle.
In a pinch, your ingenuity in devising a way to signal potential help could very well save your life.
Whenever you plan an excursion be sure to always bring extra food and water
Having more on hand than you think you need will give you that extra measure of safety should something happened and you have to stay out longer than anticipated.
It is important that you know
How to ration water and food as well as find more in the environment in which you find yourself.
You can go without food for a number of days, but living without water for even a few days will cause your efficiency to drop dramatically.
If at all possible, boil any water you find in order to kill disease organisms that maybe in even the cleanest looking water.
Filtering or chemically treating water is second best.
Always bring along your first aid kit and a space blanket. Most injuries you are likely to encounter in the wilderness are relatively minor scrapes, cuts, bruises, and burns.
Larger injuries are going to need better facilities than that which you have at your disposal, which means you will need outside help.
Panic is your number one enemy when you are in any emergency situation, be it injured, lost, or stranded.
What you need in these situations is first aid for the mind.
Your best defence in any emergency is your ability to think and make correct decisions.
Building a fire is often the beginning first aid for the mind.
Doing so will keep you busy and provide an uplift from the warmth, light and protection fire provides.
The expert survivals kills and know-how you have accumulated through practice and experience will serve you well.
When the real thing comes along, you will be prepared and adept at staying alive.
Where others have perished, as a survivor you will know you can make it.
And that is a good feeling to be sure.
Flooded Out- Humour
It rained for days and days and there was a terrific flood.
The water rose so high that one man was forced to climb on top of his roof and sat in the rain.
As the waters came up higher a man in a rowboat came up to the house and told him to get in. "No thank you, the Lord will save me!" he said, and the man in the rowboat rowed away.
The waters rose to the edge of the roof and still the man sat on the roof until another rowboat came by and another man told him to get in. "No thank you, the Lord will save me!" he said again, and the man rowed away.
The waters covered the house and the man was forced to sit on his chimney as the rain poured down and a helicopter came by and another man urged him to get in or he'll drown. "No thank you," the man said again, "The Lord will save me!"
After much begging and pleading the man in the helicopter gave up and flew away.
The waters rose above the chimney and the man drowned and went to heaven where he met God.
"Lord, I don't understand," he told Him, frustrated, "The waters rose higher and higher and I waited hours for you to save me but you didn't! Why?"
The Lord just shook his head and said,
"What are you talking about? I sent two boats and a helicopter?!"
The Effects of EMP
Identifying the systems that would probably fail if there were a strong-enough EMP from either a massive solar CME, a nuclear EMP weapon, or a tactical EMP bomb, is easier to speculate than items that might survive an EMP.
There are some obvious items that would survive, but many are not that obvious.
An EMP, an ‘ electro-magnetic-pulse’, is a side-effect of a nuclear explosion, a coronal mass ejection (from the Sun), or a purposed EMP bomb.
An EMP is a near instantaneous and invisible ‘ZAP’ of electricity that surges through electrical wires and electrical semiconductor components.
‘IF’ the EMP is strong enough and the electronic components are close enough to the source, then these components could fry. Once they are fried, that’s it…they’re done.
Only physical replacements will bring the systems back up and running.
So, while attempting to discover what items will survive an EMP, we need to know what is INSIDE the item… namely, if there are any electronic semiconductors (transistors, IC ‘chips’, microprocessors, etc.).
It is the microscopic semiconductor ‘junctions’ themselves that are vulnerable to melting due to an excess of electrical current being forced through the junction (from the EMP).
Also, an EMP will be carried through overhead power lines (at the speed of light) and could instantaneously overwhelm power transformers along the grid with excess electrical current, causing the windings of the transformers to melt into a molten blob.
The power lines will also carry the EMP (at the speed of light) far and wide into homes and businesses in search of semiconductors to fry.
Here’s another thing to know… an EMP’s energy will decay the further away from the source that you get.
Electronic circuits that are further away will be less vulnerable to the EMP. How far away?
Well that depends (of course). It depends on the overall strength of the EMP, the altitude of the EMP, the ‘line-of-sight’ distance from the EMP, and any protection that the device might have to protect it from an EMP.
After all that, the simple answer to what items might survive, are those items that do not contain semiconductors!
The problem is, nearly all devices today contain semiconductors!
If the device you are wondering about contains any digital interface whatsoever, then you can probably kiss it good-bye.
Often it may be difficult to even know if there are semiconductors in a device. Even if there is no digital interface, there could still very well be semiconductors or electronic circuits somewhere inside.
Electric heaters… Forget about it. The grid will probably be down.
Oil heat… The burner’s ignition transformers, electronic control circuits, and electronic controlled pumps will fry. Plus, with no electrical power, the pumps won’t function.
Natural gas heat… The utility gas pressure will probably remain for a while, but electronic thermostats or gas valve controllers may fry.
Some basic-style natural gas heaters, such as wall units, could be lit manually though – until the pressure runs out.
Portable heaters… Most self-fuelled heaters without electronic controls will survive –until your fuel source runs out. If it plugs in, it’s toast.
Wood Stove heater… Ding Ding Ding… we have a winner!
Let’s talk cars.
As most of us know, any new car today is jam packed full of electronics. Forget it. It’s dead.
Any car made with electronic ignition and fuel injection will probably stop in its tracks.
Cars have been being built with these features longer than you may think in fact since the (1980′s).
Depending on the exact vehicle, you may be somewhat ‘safe’ with a car built in the early 1980′s, 1970′s or earlier.
It would take some significant research to list the vehicles built without these electronic systems, but suffice it to say that most any vehicle today is vulnerable to EMP failure (if close enough to the EMP source).
So should you re-think your choice of bug out vehicle?
Let’s talk ‘general’.
Generally speaking, ranging from tools, to appliances, to heaters, to vehicles… if it has electronic circuits, it is vulnerable to EMP.
This basically leaves hand tools, hand operated or primitive appliances, wood stove heat, and old vehicles.
We’re talking living like the 1800′s or earlier.
While the threat of an EMP to the degree of mass power cuts is apparently slim, the fact is that it is not zero.
A huge portion of the world population today relies on electricity for survival.
It has enabled great advancements in civilization. The lack thereof could enable great setbacks to civilization.
Inland fish for food
Millions of anglers catch fish only to put them straight back again. Isn't it time were discovered the culinary potential of freshwater species?
While Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has been raising awareness about sea fishing with his Fish Fight campaign, it seems a good time to cast an eye inland to our native freshwater species: the pike, perch, zander, chub, carp, bream and gudgeon that swim largely un eaten in our lakes and rivers.
Britain has a rich history of consuming freshwater species.
In the past those who didn't live near the sea ate whatever they could coax out of inland waterways.
Monastic gardens and manor houses almost always had a fish pond or moat where freshwater species were farmed for Friday fish suppers and feasts.
You would struggle to find any of the species above displayed on a fishmonger's slab in the UK these days, but they all make a worthy feast.
Some cultures have never forgotten this - the British angling press is frequently peppered with tales of resourceful eastern Europeans taking prize carp, something of a delicacy in their part of the world, home for tea.
With an estimated three million anglers in the UK regularly pulling fish out of the water only to put them straight back, why is it that we don't we eat more of our native freshwater species?
One of the main reasons must be that we are a nation of sporting folk; freshwater species are targeted on both quality and quantity criteria.
Specimen hunters invest plenty of time and money in the pursuit of large individuals of species such as pike, carp, barbel and the non-native catfish.
The reward is twofold: an epic fight and the possibility of a new personal best or even a record-breaker.
On the other hand, match fishermen go for quantity and any species is welcome regardless of size.
All these perfectly edible fish are put into a keep net to be weighed up at the end of the day before being released back into the water.
Many cultures would view this practice as verging on insanity, but it is our quality of life and today's convenience culture that has turned fishing in the UK from a necessity into a mass-participation sport.
Only those fishing for trout, sea trout and salmon seem to take something home for the table.
People are also nervous about the legality of fishing.
There's no need; in England and Wales as long as you are in possession of a £27 rod licence and have permission from the water's owner, the Environment Agency states that on any given day an angler may remove 15 small (up to 20cm) native species including barbel, chub,common bream, common carp, crucian carp, dace, grayling, perch, pike, roach,rudd, silver bream, smelt, tench and zander (non-native) as well as one pike of up to 65cm and two grayling of 30-38cm.
Another reason this subject is often approached with apprehension is that many people believe freshwater fish will taste muddy.
Fish from free-flowing waters don't tend to suffer from this problem, although those from still waters can.
As seening an episode of River Cottage Forever, the only antidote is to cleanse the fish through a de-mudification programme of 3-4 days in a spring-fed tank.
I'm afraid the bath tub just won't do.
To ensure these fish find their way into your kitchen, you have to catch them yourself. So what to catch? I've been fishing since childhood and over the years I have eaten my way through a number of freshwater species.
My favourite used to be eel, but as the number of young eels returning to European rivers has fallen by 95% it is now illegal to remove any caught by rod and line, but there are plenty of other options.
Perch are a beautiful fish, green scaled with black stripes down their flanks, an impressive spiked dorsal fin and a ferocious pack-hunter mentality.
Although nearly wiped out in UK waters in the 1970s and 1980s by a lethal virus, thankfully they have made a remarkable comeback.
Perch have firm white flesh similar to bass.
To cook, simply de-scale, fillet, toss in seasoned flour and pan fry with lemon juice: a recipe the French refer to as filet de perche.
The chub is deemed to be an inedible fish, Izaak Walton referred to it as being "full of forked bones, the flesh is not firm, but short and tasteless".
And I could not agree more.
If any freshwater species is guilty of tasting muddy, then it is the carp.
Due to increasing pressure on our saltwater stocks and adoration from Eastern Europeans in the UK, consumption of this fish is beginning to rise for the first since the middle ages.
Again, the flesh is firm and meaty and stands up to a variety of different ways of cooking, although baking is the best method.
The sinister pike is another excellent eating fish, I have had a few in restaurants in France Not only are they cannibals, regularly feasting on other pike often more than half their own size.
Their mouths contain a series of backward-pointing teeth: once something goes in, it's not coming out.
Pike can also grow to alarming size - the British record presently stands at a mighty 46lbs 13oz.
Even dead pike have a secret weapon; once cooked they possess a substantial number of Y-shaped bones along the fillet.
Once removed they have a mild taste which is quite pleasant.
As with growing and eating your own vegetables, catching and cooking a fish you have wrestled out of the depths gives a feeling of deep satisfaction.
With the pressure on our oceans at an all-time high, perhaps it is time to look at less familiar options.
For those who do fish, please consider tasting your catch. And if you don't, consider taking it up: you'll be in a position to get your hands on some of the freshest possible fish.
Many of the fish I've mentioned above have been staple foods in the past, so why are we so put off by them now?
If you've tucked into some of our lesser-known freshwater fish you will know what I mean.
Survival Matches - I see "waterproof survival matches" listed in more kits than I care to count, and I got to say... terrible idea.
While it may add a sense of drama to a movie when "Rambo" is down to his last couple matches, you don't need that kind of drama if you're in a life or death situation!
The space and weight taken up in a kit or in your pocket by a dozen "survival" matches would be better filled with a small Bic lighter.
A lighter will start a LOT more fires than those few matches. If you're worried about the lighter failing, then bring a magnesium fire starter.
These are 100% waterproof, will light thousands of fires, and the magnesium burns a lot hotter than matches.
Torch Method - This is a method I've seen by which you can break the bulb of your flashlight, and then use the coil inside to light a fire.
Simply put... give it a shot in your backyard and you'll find that it's great at destroying flashlights but terrible at actually starting fires!
Recommendation bring a lighter, and uses your Torch for... LIGHT!
Ice Lens Method - Can you start a fire with a lens that you fashion from ice? Probably not.
Scientifically, it's possible, but in all practical sense, the odds are really slim to none.
Seriously, give it a try in the comfort of your own backyard on a nice warm day.
Feel free to let me know how well this works. Also, while you're wasting hours on this, imagine that you're also freezing to death in a snowy, icy environment.
You'll quickly realize that this is a colossal waste of your time and energy, and you won't get a fire going. I guarantee you that.
Recommendation bring a lighter!
High Ground is Warmer - This is one survival tale that keeps popping up all over the place.
We're told that when considering locations for a shelter, we should avoid valleys and low lying areas because cold settles there and it may be several degrees colder than higher ground.
This is scientifically sound, but in actual practice... it's pure, unadulterated bullshit.
This is because while a thermometer may show a few degrees difference between two elevations, thermometers are incapable of measuring wind chill factors.
In most cases, higher elevations are exposed to a lot more wind while small valleys and lower areas are sheltered from it.
A thermometer may show that actual air temperature has increased 2 or 3 degrees by moving to higher ground, but the temperature as far as your body is concerned is likely to have dropped by20 or 30 degrees.
Wind will suck away your body heat faster than you can generate it. Today as I write this, it's almost 50 degrees and sunny outside... a seemingly nice January afternoon.
However, today's wind chill factor drops that to somewhere between 20 and 30... And suddenly it's not so great!
Now consider what happens once you get a fire going.
Most fires will quickly heat the surrounding area, but when you have some wind factored in, most of that heat is carried off.
Also remember that a fire in the wind is going to consume about twice as much wood. You'll spend most of your time and energy finding firewood, and then get very little heat as a reward!
Not a very good trade off. As such, one of your primary concerns is to find a place that's very sheltered from the wind and elements, and then build yourself a nice, warm fire to keep you warm!
Shelters Should Be Built From Dead Materials -
This one came from our friends in the "green"survival movement.
They are far more concerned that a few trees might get killed than they are about your life.
All advice from them should be considered highly suspect. Imagine building your shelter as a big pile of dead leaves and wood.
Now imagine having a campfire anywhere near that. Do you really want to climb in there and go to sleep? Nuff'said.
Boil for 10 Minutes - This is one so old, I don't even know where it came from. I've also heard 5 minutes, 15 minutes and even 20 minutes of boiling time.
All of these are B S I'll keep this short... if the water reaches boiling point, it's safe to drink, period, end of story.
Divining Rods - This is another old wives tale. Use your common sense and you'll probably find water
Use a forked stick and "mystical psychic powers", and you may find yourself very dead.
I've heard people claim that a divining rod is simply tapping into one's subconscious thoughts.
I suppose if you're some sort of walking emotional wreck who keeps every shred of logic and common sense buried away in your subconscious... then sure... go ahead and wave your stick.
Hold a séance while you're at it.
Maybe the spirits will tell you where to find water.
The rest of us (sane folks) will simply think our way through the situation.Common sense says water runs downhill.
If you walk downhill, you're pretty likely to find water. Birds and animal trails can also lead you to water... they need it as much as you do.
Plants Are a Good Source of Food in the Wilderness -
Unless you're a certified expert not just in plants, but in the plants of the given region you happen to be in, stay the hell away from the plants!
Here's the facts...
- ALL fur bearing mammals are safe to eat, and will provide you with nutrients and calories.
- ALL 6 legged insects are safe to eat, and will provide you with nutrients and calories.
- Almost all freshwater fish and almost all birds are safe to eat, and will provide you with nutrients and calories.
...and finally - MOST plants will harm you, make you sick, or worse... poison you.
There are actually very few that will provide you with any nutrients or calories.
It's a simple equation... if it walks, crawls, swims, or flies, the odds are in your favor that it's not only safe to eat, but that it will provide you with the nutrition and energy your body needs.
If it sits there like... umm... like a plant, the odds are against you both for your own physical safety, and for nutritional content.
It's just not worth the gamble unless you're absolutely sure!
Following numerous reports of failures on behalf of police to arrest looters or adequately respond during the riots in, curfews and troops on the streets are now being readied as authorities prepare to enforce martial law to quell massive civil unrest in the future.
During the riots BBC News twice reported that troops were being readied. The statement was first made by a reporter at 8:30 one morning and then repeated by a Metropolitan Police representative who said “all options were on the table”.
U.K. Home Secretary Theresa May confirmed that the government is considering “military support for the police”.
Curfews where also being discussed as authorities prepared to transform Britain into a locked down police state.
“Armoured vehicles had been brought in to clear the streets for the first time by police to tackle what senior officers say is the worst rioting and looting in living memory,”
“I have not heard of a curfew on mainland Britain in the past century. I would say that they are very difficult to impose.
“I’m not saying that it is definitely the way forward but it is something we have to consider,” Diane Abbott, Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington told BBC Breakfast.
Former London mayor Ken Livingstone even called for police to use water cannons to disperse the rioters.
As we know they started in poorer areas of London, and spread to other major cities including Bristol, Nottingham, Liverpool and Manchester.
There can be little doubt that the vast majority of the rioters are products of the country’s broken society, nihilistic youths who care little about political grievances and are primarily focused with exploiting the chaos to steal as much booty as they possibly can while getting off on mindless violence.
This behaviour ensures I think that the public will over whelming support whatever measures are proposed to deal with them, even to the point of outright martial law.
These youths should not be seen as the vanguard of some kind of genuine revolution against an abusive system.
If that were the case they would be rioting outside of Downing Street, the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace.
Instead they are burning down private homes and businesses while looting high-end electrical goods and clothing.
But what has exacerbated the situation is the lacklustre police response, with numerous reports from the public that police stood back and allowed looters to pillage both large department stores and private small businesses for hours on end.
During the initial riots in Tottenham on the Sunday night, police were criticized for “standing back and allowing rioters to cause havoc.”
This trend continued throughout the three nights of mayhem, with eyewitnesses bewildered at how the police had obviously been ordered not to arrest looters and rioters in some instances.
I have been predicting the onset of widespread rioting and civil unrest for years, particularly in the UK.
Last year I wrote on a very well-known website wrote that crippling austerity cuts would force the economically deprived to “take to the streets with a mind-set of nothing to lose if the government hand outs they have become dependent on are drastically reduced.”
Make no mistake about it, these riots will be hastily exploited by the system to turn Britain into an even more controlled and surveilled police state than it already is.
The riots achieved absolutely nothing aside from making the establishment look reasonable in whatever response it takes, measures which will be fully supported by a public bombarded with images of chaos, looting and burning.
However I think the next time will be different and some of the measures used to quell the rioters may even affect us the bystanders in ways we had not contemplated at all.
There are many myths surrounding the subject of wilderness survival, believe me I have heard many of them.
I wanted to dispel these myths, expose them for what they are, and bring some sense of reality and practicality back into the subject.
Drying Food to Preserve it
Drying is the oldest method of preserving food. The early American settlers dried foods such as corn, apple slices, currants, grapes, and meat.
Compared with other methods, drying is quite simple. In fact, you may already have most of the equipment on hand. Dried foods keep well because the moisture content is so low that spoilage organisms cannot grow.
Drying will never replace canning and freezing because these methods do a better job of retaining the taste, appearance, and nutritive value of fresh food.
But drying is an excellent way to preserve foods that can add variety to meals and provide delicious, nutritious snacks.
One of the biggest advantages of dried foods is that they take much less storage space than canned or frozen foods.
Recommended methods for canning and freezing have been determined by research and widespread experience.
Home drying, however, does not have firmly established procedures. Food can be dried several ways, for example, by the sun if the air is hot and dry enough, or in an oven or dryer if the climate is humid.
With the renewed interest in gardening and natural foods and because of the high cost of commercially dried products, drying foods at home is becoming popular again.
Drying is not difficult, but it does take time and a lot of attention. Although there are different drying methods, the guidelines remain the same.
Although solar drying is a popular and very inexpensive method, Illinois does not have a suitable climate for it.
Dependable solar dehydration of foods requires 3 to 5 consecutive days when the temperature is 95 degrees F. and the humidity is very low.
The average relative humidity in central Illinois on days with 95 degrees F. temperatures is usually 86 per cent. Solar drying is thus not feasible.
Drying food in the oven of a kitchen range, on the other hand, can be very expensive. In an electric oven, drying food has been found to be nine to twelve times as costly as canning it.
Food dehydrators are less expensive to operate but are only useful for a few months of the year.
A convection oven can be the most economical investment if the proper model is chosen. A convection oven that has a controllable temperature starting at 120 degrees F. and a continuous operation feature rather than a timer-controlled one will function quite well as a dehydrator during the gardening months.
For the rest of the year it can be used as a tabletop oven.
For a good-quality product, vegetables and fruits must be prepared for drying as soon as possible after harvesting. They should be blanched, cooled, and laid out to dry without delay.
Foods should be dried rapidly, but not so fast that the outside becomes hard before the moisture inside has a chance to evaporate.
Drying must not be interrupted. Once you start drying the food, don't let it cool down in order to start drying again later.
Mold and other spoilage organisms can grow on partly dried food.
During the first part of the drying process, the air temperature can be relatively high, that is, 150 degrees to 160 degrees F. (65 degrees to 70 degrees C.), so that moisture can evaporate quickly from the food.
Because food loses heat during rapid evaporation, the air temperature can be high without increasing the temperature of the food.
But as soon as surface moisture is lost (the outside begins to feel dry) and the rate of evaporation slows down, the food warms up.
The air temperature must then be reduced to about 140 degrees F. (60 degrees C.).
Toward the end of the drying process the food can scorch easily, so you must watch it carefully. Each fruit and vegetable has a critical temperature above which a scorched taste develops.
The temperature should be high enough to evaporate moisture from the food, but not high enough to cook the food.
Carefully follow directions for regulating temperatures.
Rapid dehydration is desirable. The higher the temperature and the lower the humidity, the more rapid the rate of dehydration will be.
Humid air slows down evaporation. Keep this in mind if you plan to dry food on hot, muggy summer days.
If drying takes place too fast, however, "case hardening" will occur. This means that the cells on the outside of the pieces of food give up moisture faster than the cells on the inside.
The surface becomes hard, preventing the escape of moisture from the inside.
Moisture in the food escapes by evaporating into the air. Trapped air soon takes on as much moisture as it can hold, and then drying can no longer take place.
this reason, be sure the ventilation around your oven or in your food dryer is adequate.
Drying the food evenly takes a little extra effort and attention. Stirring the pieces of food frequently and shifting the racks in the oven or dryer are essential because heat is not the same in all parts of the dryer.
For the best results, spread thin layers of uniformly-sized pieces of food on the drying racks.
Dried fruits are a good source of energy because they contain concentrated fruit sugars. Fruits also contain a rather large amount of vitamins and minerals.
The drying process, however, destroys some of the vitamins, especially A and C. Exposing fruit to sulfur before drying helps retain vitamins A and C. Sulfur destroys thiamine, one of the B vitamins, but fruit is not an important source of thiamine anyway. Many dried fruits are rich in riboflavin and iron.
Vegetables are a good source of minerals and the B vitamins thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin. Both fruits and vegetables provide useful amounts of the fiber (bulk) we need.
Save the water used for soaking or cooking dried foods because this nutrient-rich water can be used in recipes to make soups, sauces, and gravy.
Many kinds of fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, meat, and fish can be dried. If you have never tried drying food before, though, it's a good idea to experiment first by drying a small quantity in the oven.
This way you can see if you like the taste and texture of dried food. At the same time, you can become familiar with the drying process.
Fruits are easier to dry than vegetables because moisture evaporates wore easily, and not as much moisture must be removed for the product to keep.
Ripe apples, berries, cherries, peaches, apricots, and pears are practical to dry.
Vegetables that are also practical to dry include peas, corn, peppers, zucchini, okra, onions, and green beans.
Produce from the supermarket is usually more expensive and not as fresh as it should be for drying.
It is a waste of time and energy to dry vegetables such as carrots that can be kept for several months in a cool, dry basement or cellar.
Fresh herbs of all types are suitable for drying. The parts of the plant to dry vary, but leaves, seeds, or blossoms usually give the best results.
Lean meats such as beef, lamb, and venison can be dried for jerky.
Fish also is excellent when dried. Certain foods are not suitable for drying because of their high moisture content.
Lettuce, melons, and cucumbers are a few foods that do not dry well.
Don't be surprised to find a variety of suggestions for drying methods, temperatures, and lengths of time.
The drying process is simply not as precise as canning and freezing because it involves so many different factors.
You may need to use a trial-and-error approach to find what suits you best. Whatever method you use, be sure to remove enough moisture from the final product so that spoilage organisms cannot grow.
When you dry foods, remember the following:
Cleanliness and sanitation are essential.
The flavour of dried fruits and vegetables will be somewhat different from that of their fresh, canned, or frozen counterparts.
One of the advantages of drying foods rather than canning or freezing them is that you can get by with almost no special equipment.
A kitchen oven, drying trays or racks, and storage containers are the only basic equipment needed. If you want to dry large quantities of food, you may decide to buy or make a food dryer, but it is not essential.
For sun drying you need only racks and storage containers.
Although the following equipment is not absolutely necessary, it will help you make a more uniformly good product:
a food scale to weigh food before and after drying an electric fan to circulate the air
a thermometer to check the oven temperature
a blancher for vegetables
a sulfur box for fruit
Wood slats or stainless steel screen mesh are the best materials to use for the racks. Cake racks or a wooden frame covered with cheesecloth or other loosely-woven cloth can also be used for drying racks.
Do not use solid metal trays or cookie sheets to dry food because air must circulate all around the food so that drying can take place from the bottom and the top at the same time.
Pieces of meat for jerky can be placed directly on the metal racks in the oven if the pieces are large enough not to fall through the spaces in the racks.
Do not use racks made of galvanized screen, aluminum, copper, fiberglass, or vinyl. Galvanized screen contains zinc and cadmium.
These metals cause an acid reaction that forms harmful compounds and darkens the food. Aluminum becomes discolored and causes an off-flavor in sulfured fruit.
Copper materials destroy vitamin C. Fiberglass may leave dangerous splinters in the food, and vinyl melts at temperatures used for drying.
Oven drying is the simplest way to dry food because you need almost no special equipment. It is also faster than sun drying or using a food dryer.
But oven drying can be used only on a small scale. An ordinary kitchen oven can hold only 4 to 6 pounds of food at one time.
Set the oven on the lowest possible setting and preheat to 140 degrees F. (60 C.).
Do not use the broiler unit of an electric oven because the food on the top tray will dry too quickly' Remove the unit if it has no separate control.
Some gas ovens have a pilot right, which may keep the oven warm enough to dry the food.
It is important to keep the oven temperature at 140 to 160 F. (60 to 70 C.). So put an oven thermometer on the top tray about half way back where you can see it easily.
Check the temperature about every half hour.
Arrange 1 to 2 pounds of prepared food in a single layer on each tray. Put one tray on each oven rack. Allow 1-1/2 inches of space on the sides, front, and back of the trays so that air can circulate all around them in the oven.
To stack more trays in the oven, use blocks of wood in the comers of the racks to hold the trays at least I inches apart. Dry no more than four trays of food at a time.
A lighter load dries faster than a full load.
Keep the oven door open slightly during drying. A rolled newspaper, a block of wood, or a hot pad will keep the door ajar so that moist air can escape while the heat stays in the oven.
Four to six inches for electric ovens or 1 to 2 inches for gas ovens is usually enough space for ventilation, but use a thermometer to check the oven temperature to make sure it stays at 140 F.
An electric fan placed in front of the oven door helps to keep the air circulating.
Shifting the trays often is important for even drying because the temperature is not the same everywhere in the oven.
Rotate the trays from top to bottom and from front to back every half hour. It helps to number the trays so you can keep track of the order in which you rotate them.
Stirring fruit or vegetables every half hour or so also helps the food to dry evenly. jerky needs to be turned over occasionally to keep it from sticking to the trays.
Benefits of Animals when Living Off the Grid
If you go the extra mile and decide to raise animals, you will greatly reduce your dependence on the outside world shops & supermarkets for example because animals can provide you with the following:
Meat and Poultry (fresh meat, no hormones, healthier food).
Milk and Eggs (will make you happy every morning).
You can obtain other by-products such as cheese and butter (once you learn how to make them).
Animals are great pets and can bring joy to the whole family.
Can keep the grass mowed down for you.
Can provide you with fertilizers for your plants.
They can multiply, which means you have the option to sell or increase production.
Goats are the best choice when living off the grid, because they're low maintenance, they can basically take care of themselves.
Goats can survive on bushes, trees, desert scrub and aromatic herbs when sheep and cattle would starve to death. Goat milk casein and milk fat are more easily digested than cow milk.
Goat milk is valued for the elderly, sick, babies, children with cow milk allergies, patients with ulcers.
Goats have a lot to offer, and they don't ask much in return. They can clear invasive weeds, offer fresh goat milk, and they can be a fun pet. They can also be used for meat if necessary.
Goats can be quite a bit of work too, but many city dwellers are finding that raising urban goats is quite rewarding.
Before getting a cow, think hard about it. A cow is the biggest tie in the farm, you will have to milk her twice a day, to feed the cow you need to grow fodder, to use up the manure from the cow you will have to dig or plough more land ... unless you’re dedicated to spend more time in the farm, think loud and often before getting a cow.
On the other hand, a cow will save you more money in the farm than anything else, milk, butter and cheese go up and up in price, you can also sell or trade calves if you want for something else you might need more in the farm.
Sheep are a very good thing to keep, for the self-supporter.
Sheep live and fatten on grass. Don't even make demands on your hay unless the ground is covered with snow (and even then they won't eat hay unless they have previously learnt to); they are thus cheap to keep.
A good number would be 4 ewes and a ram (or ask a neighbouring farmer if you could borrow his ram for a few days).
Choose the breed that is native to the country you live in. Very good pasture may carry three ewes with their lambs per acre, less good two ewes and their lambs.
You might average one and a half lambs per ewe. But they will do far better if you rotate them around the farm: put them on, say, a quarter of your grass acreage and keep them there until they have nibbled the grass right down, then move them on to the next quarter.
In this way let them follow the cows—sheep will graze very advantageously after cows have had all they can get: cows will starve after sheep.
To raise chicken the humane and healthy way is to give them enough space to scrap, to perch, to flap their wings and take dust baths (which is not possible and even cruel in a wire cage).
If you want to have eggs all year then a couple of dozen of hens will do.
Give each hen a handful of grain every evening and a handful or two of high protein food in the morning, and any scraps you can spare, and they will do the rest.
They will eat a lot of grass and a lot of earwigs. They will hatch you out a clutch of pretty little chicks.
Keep them out of your garden or they will play hell with it.
Always keep a cock among your hens, hens like having it off as much as we do.
Let your chicken run right out into the fields and woods. They will be getting so much free food.
Why go in for incubators and brooders when hens will do all that work for nothing for you?
Hens will be able to give you eggs from grain and household scraps alone, but not many. If hens are really to produce eggs they must have some protein.
Raising geese is very easy and require very low maintenance if any. A pen of geese, say three geese and a gander will run happily about the fields, and live on grass with just a handful of grain thrown to them every night to lure them home to shut them in from the foxes, otherwise they don’t need any grain.
But you must protect them from rats and foxes. Rats will pull goose eggs, or young geese, right out from under the feathers of the goose mother.
A fox will go miles to get a sitting goose. When geese begin to lay, say in February or March, if you are lucky enough to have a broody hens then, you will have to splash eggs with water every day, because a hen doesn’t know this part of goose mother’s duties.
What's a Pandemic?
A pandemic is an epidemic of infectious disease that is spreading through human populations across a large region; for instance a continent, or even worldwide.
However, flu pandemics exclude seasonal flu, unless the flu of the season is a pandemic. Throughout history there have been a number of pandemics, such as smallpox and tuberculosis. More recent pandemics include the HIV pandemic and the 2009 swine flu pandemic.
Pandemics are easily spread in urban areas, because of their heavily populated nature.
Therefore it's very important to understand the way pandemics spread and how to prevent them from infecting you.
Pandemics have different methods of spreading, so to protect from a wide spread disease, you need to learn how it can infect you.
If we focus on the main killers of our new age, we will find out that the swine flu, is one of the biggest killers, and therefore it's necessary to point out the ways H1N1 spreads from one person to another.
Spread of 2009 H1N1 virus is thought to occur in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing by people with influenza.
Sometimes people may become infected by touching something – such as a surface or object – with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose or rubbing their eyes.
When living in urban areas, you will have contact with people at a very frequent basis. That means your chances of getting infected is higher.
Here are tips to protect yourself from being infected, whether it's a pandemic or just a regular flu season, the following steps are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like the flu.
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
Avoid crowds and other social distancing measures (especially during pandemics).
If you are sick with flu-like illness, it is recommended that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine for the majority of the cases.)
Keep away from others as much as possible to keep from making others sick.
The Greek physician Hippocrates, the "Father of Medicine", first described influenza in 412 BC.
The first influenza pandemic was recorded in 1580 and since then influenza pandemics occurred every 10 to 30 years.
The "Asiatic Flu", 1889–1890, was first reported in May 1889 in Bukhara, Uzbekistan, and spread worldwide in a matter of months. It had a very high attack and mortality rate.
About 1 million people died in this pandemic.
The "Spanish flu", 1918–1919. Had spread to become a worldwide pandemic on all continents, and eventually infected an estimated one third of the world's population (or ≈500 million persons).
Unusually deadly and virulent, it ended nearly as quickly as it began, vanishing completely within 18 months.
In six months, some 50 million were dead; some estimates put the total of those killed worldwide at over twice that number.
The "Asian Flu", 1957–58. An H2N2 virus caused about 70,000 deaths in the United States. First identified in China in late February 1957, the Asian flu spread to the United States by June 1957.
It caused about 2 million deaths globally.
The "Hong Kong Flu", 1968–69. An H3N2 caused about 34,000 deaths in the United States.
This virus was first detected in Hong Kong in early 1968, and spread to the United States later that year.
This pandemic of 1968 and 1969 killed an estimated one million people worldwide.
Fishing to Survive
In a survival situation, once you have found shelter, built a fire and collected water, your next task will be to find food resources.
And whilst it is perfectly possible to exist without food for a few weeks and live off edible wild plants and berries, you’ll no doubt be glad of a hearty meal.
Therefore, it’s very useful to learn some fishing skills and here are some tips; assuming that you have no fishing gear with you.
If you’re near water, the first thing you must do if you’re looking to catch fish is to spend a bit of time observing how the fish behave each day.
Like you, they’ll also be looking for their next meal, so you’ll need to establish their habits – when they’re active, where in the water they head for etc.
An additional tip, however, is to consider the temperature if you’re not sure where to look. In hot weather where the water is low, you’ll probably find them in deeper shaded water and when it’s cooler, you’ll find them in shallower areas where the sun warms the water up.
Some type of cord should always form part of your survival kit anyway and if you haven’t included a proper fishing hook too, you can always improvise and craft one out of a piece of bone, thorn, wood or a safety pin works just as well.
For bait, it’s useful to try to gain an idea of what the fish in the area are eating. Insects, a piece of bread, some raw meat, if you can find any, or worms are all good sources of bait.
Survival fishing isn’t an exact science though.
The more hooks you have in the water and your willingness to be patient and to experiment are going to be your biggest allies. Bad weather approaching is always a good time to go fishing as well as just after dawn and just before dusk.
If you are handy using your knife to carve out a piece of wood, making a spear to fish with in shallow water is another alternative but if you see fish swimming around in shallow water, it’s a useful skill to learn even though it takes an extreme amount of skill, quick reactions and patience.
A forked spear which can trap the fish between its prongs works best.
As for a net, you can fashion one out of using some kind of shirt or T-shirt tied onto a Y shaped branch.
Only your imagination can limit you to the kinds of fish traps you can engineer.
One of the simplest methods is to use the effects of the tide.
On a beach or area with tidal waters, build a circle of rocks and use small pebbles to plug any gaps.
When the tide comes in, it will bring small fish in with it.
Simply return to the rock circle later and see what you’ve caught.
Most fish found in freshwater are edible although some will taste better than others.
However, it’s important to remember that it’s not a matter of taste but a matter of survival. Once caught, cut the throat and gut it by slitting it from its anal passage to its throat removing the offal as you go.
Remove the head, tail and fins then smoke, grill or boil it.
Even though emergency situations don't happen very often, when they do, they impact our lives to a great extent.
To minimize or eliminate the negative effects of a certain emergency, you need to be prepared and have the emergency essentials, in terms of knowledge, food, water, shelter, and an escape plan.
When disaster strikes, we are caught by surprise and usually unprepared.
But emergencies sometimes have a similar pattern and cause the same problem even if they're different in nature, therefore the steps to prepare for them is the same, for example stocking food and water are steps that can help you in most national emergencies, and that's what we will discuss now.
Imagine there is an emergency in your city, or country, people will scramble to the shops, there will be a panic, looting, and so on will result, if you still decide to go to the store, you will find empty shelves or even closed shops.
Wouldn't it be better if when there is such an emergency, you sit with your family, and use the food and water you have stored? You bet it would be.
As you stock food, take into account your family’s unique needs. Try to include foods that they will enjoy and that are also high in calories and nutrition.
Foods that require no refrigeration, water, special preparation, or cooking are best. Take into consideration individuals with special diets and allergies such as babies and the ill.
Make sure you have a manual can opener and disposable utensils. Don’t forget non-perishable foods for your pets.
Keep food in a dry, cool dark area if possible.
Open food boxes and other re-sealable containers carefully so that you can close them tightly after each use.
Wrap perishable foods, such as cookies and crackers, in plastic bags and keep them in sealed containers.
Empty open packages of sugar, dried fruits, and nuts into screw-top jars or air-tight canisters for protection from pests.
Inspect all food for signs of spoilage before use.
Throw out canned goods that become swollen, dented, expired, or corroded.
Use foods before they go bad, and replace them with fresh supplies, dated with ink or marker.
Place new items at the back of the storage area and older ones in front.
The following list shows the rough expiration dates of many types of food. So make sure to replace the easily perishable food more often.
You should use the following within six months:
Powdered milk - boxed
Dry, crisp crackers
These foods should be used within one year, or before the date indicated on the label:
Canned condensed meat and vegetable soups
Canned fruits, fruit juices, and vegetables
Ready-to-eat cereals and uncooked instant cereals
Hard candy and canned nuts
These foods however may be stored indefinitely (in proper containers and conditions):
Instant coffee, tea, and cocoa
Noncarbonated soft drinks
Powdered milk – in nitrogen-packed cans
Having an ample supply of clean water is a top priority in an emergency.
A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts (half gallon) of water each day. People in hot environments, children, nursing mothers, and ill people will require even more.
You will also need water for food preparation and hygiene.
Store at least one gallon per person, per day.
Consider storing at least a two-week supply of water for each member of your family. If you are unable to store this quantity, store as much as you can.
If supplies run low, never ration water. Drink the amount you need today, and try to find more for tomorrow. You can minimize the amount of water your body needs by reducing activity and staying cool.
If there is an emergency, and you used up all the water you stocked in your home, try the following.
Safe water sources in your home include the water in your hot- water tank, pipes, and ice cubes.
You should not use water from toilet flush tanks or bowls, radiators, waterbeds, or swimming pools/spas.
You will need to protect the water sources already in your home from contamination if you hear reports of broken water or sewage pipes, or if local officials advise you of a problem. To shut off incoming water, locate the main valve and turn it to the closed position.
Be sure you and other family members know beforehand how to perform this important procedure.
To use the water in your pipes, let air into the plumbing by turning on the tap in your home at the highest level. A small amount of water will trickle out.
Then obtain water from the lowest tap in the home.
To use the water in your hot-water tank, be sure the electricity or gas is off, and open the drain at the bottom of the tank.
Start the water flowing by turning off the water intake valve at the tank and turning on a hot-water tap. Refill the tank before turning the gas or electricity back on.
If the gas is turned off, a professional will be needed to turn it back on.
Survival knives are essential items for surviving and thriving in the wilderness.
Since prehistoric times, people have carried knives to protect themselves and to help build shelters, hunt and start fires.
The oldest European mummy, Otzi, was found with a flint knife.
You too should carry a survival knife when engaging in outdoor activities or have one in an emergency pack, such as a 72 hour kit you keep in your home or car.
Survival knives come in different styles. Larger, heavier knives are useful for actions you would use a machete for, such as clearing brush or cutting thick ropes and wood.
However, you may not always have room for something that large. Therefore, survival knives also come in small, lightweight styles.
Whatever size knife you prefer, it is important to choose a knife with a full length tang. The tang is the metal part in the middle of the knife.
A survival knife has to be sturdy and must hold up to real challenges. A thin tang is almost as bad a partial tang and could break when you need it most
Another choice for selecting a survival knife is a smooth or serrated blade. Smooth blades have the advantage of being able to easily be sharpened against stones if you find your blade dulling through usage.
Smooth blades also cut and chop better than serrated blades.
Although serrated blades are difficult to sharpen if you are out in nature, the serrated blades cut synthetic materials more easily.
Most camping gear like tents and sleeping bags, especially winter gear, is made from synthetic materials.
Both types can spark fires and work for defence from wild animals or other people.
Survival knives are not just for accompanying you on planned outings like camping trips or expeditions into the wild.
Survival knives are useful for any type of emergency. They are important additions to 72 hour kits, which are packs that contain the absolute essentials for a few days’ worth of surviving on your own.
If you need to exit your home due to a fire, earthquake or attack, as long as you have a 72 hour kit you have a good chance for staying alive.
A 72 hour kit includes water, meals for a few days, a first aid kit, personal documents, duct tape, soap, a flashlight and basic tools to meet survival needs.
Surprisingly, many experts recommend only pocketknives for inclusion in 72 hour kits. A pocketknife is a handy item, but try cutting firewood or splitting logs with a pocketknife and you will wish you had packed a survival knife instead.
Survival knives are much more versatile and practical than other knives, and they do not have to cost a lot.
An inexpensive knife may go for £20, though you can buy military quality knives for several hundred dollars.
You do not have to be Crocodile Dundee or a Navy Seal to need a survival knife.
You do not even have to be an outdoorsy person.
Anyone can be the victim of a natural disaster or even a car accident on a lonely road.
In these situations, would you rather have a good knife and basic survival gear or just take your chances?
Survival Skills in Your Head
People sometimes forget that the smallest 20 Skills You Can Trade After SHTF and most convenient storage space is in their own heads.
If you find yourself in the midst of a disaster and you need to either build or fix something, having the knowledge and experience already in your mind will hugely benefit your ability to survive.
And if there’s something you need from your neighbours but you’re not willing to trade any of your supplies, you could do some work for them in exchange.
But what sort of skills will be the most useful after SHTF?
Knowing Microsoft Excel might not do you much good, but knowing how to make soap could mean the difference between health and sickness.
Or maybe you could trade your soap for more food. The point is, you need to learn a few skills that will be useful in a post-disaster world.
I suggest you take up one as a hobby while you still have time to learn.
Here, then, are 20 skills you can trade after the SHTF, listed in alphabetical order:
Animal Husbandry The ability to raise animals such as chicken for eggs, rabbits for meat, goats for milk, etc.
There is a limit to how much meat and dairy people will be able to store, and there will be a huge demand for fresh food.
Cleaning Not just washing your hands, but the ability to clean clothes without a washer and dryer, make cleaning products to use around the house, and keep your home germ free.
Clothing. If times are tough, people won’t be able to go out and charge new clothes and shoes any time they need them.
They’re going to need to fix shoes, patch torn pants, and mend shirts. This is an important skill that has become very rare in modern society.
Construction Especially without power tools. Is worth knowing, how to properly fix roofs, board up windows or build outhouses using only basic hand tools.
Cooking skills will be very much sought after as people are going to get sick and tired of eating canned soup and freeze-dried food.
If you can cook a tasty meal and dessert without power, people in the neighbourhood will thank you with favours or supplies they don’t need.
Most people live their entire lives without realizing how much misery they would experience if not for the dentist.
A perfect example of this is in the movie Cast Away where the main character has to knock out one of his own teeth.
Someone who knows how to clean and remove teeth could be a great help.
Fire Making will be a great skill to have as people won’t know how to start a fire once they’re lighters run out of fuel. People in your area will be safer and healthier if you can help them get a fire going so they can boil water and cook food.
First Aid/Medical skills will become vital as people tend to take doctors for granted. Without them, they will need help sewing up wounds, setting bones, performing CPR, and deciding which herbs and medications help with which ailments.
Food Storage. Canning, dehydrating, sealing, smoking skills will come into their own as people don’t know how to store food without a refrigerator.
Offer to preserve someone’s leftovers in exchange for help or supplies.
Gardening. Yet another skill that has become more and more rare. Learn to grow fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables, preferably indoors unless you have a secure backyard.
Gathering is great and the main thing here is knowing which naturally-occurring plants in your area have nutritional and/or medicinal value and which ones are useless and/or poisonous.
Gunsmithing will also be a vital skill If you’re facing a long-term disaster, people are going to need guns for hunting and self-protection.
It will help if you know how to repair guns and reload shells. But only help people you completely trust.
Hunting and Fishing. When food supplies get low and gardens fall short, people are going to have to hunt and fish.
If you can provide meat for your friends and family, they’ll have time to take care of other necessities.
Mechanic. Even if the Great Recession turns into Great Depression II, most people are still going to have jobs (remember, unemployment only got up to 25% in the 1930′s), which means they’ll need a way to get to work.
The problem for many people is that they won’t be able to afford to get their cars fixed.
If you learn how to work on cars, or any machine for that matter (lawnmowers, generators, etc.), you’ll have a particularly valuable skill.
Plumbing. People will still need their sinks and toilets, even more so if they’re washing clothes in the sink.
Learn to remove clogs, fix toilets and replace leaky pipes.
Psychology. A lot of people will crack up under the stress of seeing their entire world turned upside down, especially those who lose friends and/or loved ones.
It is important to know how to help these people and keep them from wallowing in despair.
Security. In a world full of criminals and looters, someone is going to need to stand guard when others are busy or sleeping.
This person will need to know how to use weapons and be practiced in hand-to-hand combat.
Soap/Candle Making. If the disaster goes on for long, soap and candles will be in high demand and a valuable trade item.
Even if the schools are closed, it’s still important that children spend part of their spare time reading and learning.
Remember, these are the children that will grow up and rebuild the world.
Water Purification. One of the most important skills of all! In the weeks after a major catastrophe, many people will die from dehydration or from drinking unsafe water.
It will help a lot if you learn all you can about cleaning and filtering water.
There are several other skills I thought about including in this list such as bee keeping, brewing, and electrical work, but I think the 20 listed above will probably be the most in-demand skills.
My Basic Survival Tip Sheet
The first item in my survival kit is a very basic survival tip sheet.
It is far from comprehensive, as it is meant for someone who is already quite familiar with survival techniques.
It is intended to help clear someone's mind and start them focusing on the right priorities.
State of mind is Crucial to coping with a survival situation. A clear-headed, common sense approach will see you through... panic kills.
Here is what the basic instruction sheet says.
SURVIVAL TIPS –What to do if you suddenly find yourself in that situation.
STEP ONE Stop!…Now take a deep breath, and resign yourself to your current circumstances.
Do not panic, and do not feel ashamed at being in your predicament. Some of the best woodsmen in the world have become lost or disoriented, so set your mind to come through this with your honour intact
People have died of a combination of stupidity and panic. They run frantically, in big circles, through the woods at night trying to find their way out.
The best thing to do is often to find some shelter for the night and find your way out in the morning.
Once you are calm, check yourself over. Your health and welfare are paramount. Address any immediate needs (injuries) as best you can, and then read on.
Take stock of what you have, and what your immediate needs are.
If you are reading this, you have quite a lot to work with, as this kit contains an extensive amount of gear to help in any situation.
Be creative. Most of the items can have multiple uses, and are limited only by your imagination.
As for your immediate needs, here are a few simple rules.
A healthy human can survive for several weeks without food, and several days without water, but in many cases only several hours without proper shelter from the elements.
Evaluate the weather for where you are, and to what extremes it may go. Shelter from the elements or a fire may well be your first priority.
There are multiple items in the kit to help you build a fire.
As for shelter, the clear plastic painter’s tarp and the survival blanket can help.
The survival blanket can also help to reflect the warmth from a fire. Be careful not to damage them or any other piece of gear.
You will most likely need them later.
Example: instead of poking holes in the tarp to tie it off, push a small pebble up from under the tarp, and tie off around it. Try using rocks instead of stakes to hold down corners, etc etc.
Once you have some shelter from the elements, you can take a little time to plan for your other needs.
Step three is water. You must drink plenty of water even if you do not feel thirsty.
An adult should drink at least a couple of litters per day (more in hot climates).
If you spent the night on high ground, then plan on moving camp. In most areas, just continue to walk downhill and you will eventually find water.
Watch animals or follow their tracks.
They will usually lead to water. Birds also tend to congregate near water. In dry areas, you may have to consider other means, such as a solar still.
If you are getting water from streams or ponds, boil before drinking, or use water purification tablets or straw or better still buy a Purificup.
Signal. Some of the signalling items you have are the whistle, the mirror, the blanket, and of course, fire!
Signalling is best accomplished by making yourself as big as possible. Smoke signals work well as does anything that can be seen or heard from a long ways off.
Food, as mentioned above is probably not something you need to consider unless you are reasonably sure that rescue is a good many days or weeks off.
As a general rule, avoid plant life unless you know for a fact that something is edible.
The easiest rule to remember is that if it walks, swims, crawls, or slithers… thump it, and chuck it on down!
Use the knife, hooks and line, make a spear, make snares with the 80lb test cord.
Use your imagination!
The facts are, ALL fur bearing animals are edible. ALL birds are edible with no exceptions.
Grubs found in rotten logs are edible, as are almost all insects with (6 legs).
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
The kit was packed tightly in its container, but once unpacked, figure out where and how you want to carry everything.
Keep the items you will use frequently close at hand (in your pockets if they are free of holes).
You can wrap cords, fishing lines, etc around the sheath to keep them tangle free and ready to use.
Use slip knots or those you can undo easily, and therefore get the most use out of every piece of gear.
Getting a good night’s sleep will make everything easier on you.
Try to build as good a shelter and bed as you can.
The extra time and effort will pay off. Use everything you can think of for insulation.
Crawling inside a big pile of leaves or pine needles is actually pretty warm and comfortable (do not attempt this near a fire).
A large pile of fresh pine sprigs is not only a springy mattress, but is good insulation from the ground.
When starting a fire find dry wood. Look for the dead branches at the very bottom of evergreen trees.
Good tinder will greatly enhance your chance for success.
Take small branches and shred them with a knife or your fingers. You can use dead grass, dried moss or fern, or a strip of cloth from the tail of your shirt.
Use anything that will ignite quickly. Place this in the centre. Around this, build a tee pee of small dry twigs.
Once this is burning, slowly feed your fire with larger and larger pieces of wood.
Always making sure the fire is burning freely before you progress to a larger piece of wood.
Once this fire is burning DO NOT let it go out.
A fire is man’s best friend in the wild. It provides heat, protection, a good signal, etc etc.
Do not make the mistake of trying to construct a large shelter.
Make it just large enough to accommodate you and not much else.
This is important, especially in cold climates, because your body heat may well have to heat it.
Be extremely careful if you are going to use fire to heat the shelter, as most natural shelter materials are flammable! Plan ahead, and use common sense.
Do not even think about looking for food until you have a good (and plentiful)water source, and your signals are set up.
Once you have these, and are ready to go in search of food, small animals, fish and insect life are always your best bet (remember, do not eat spiders or anything else with more than 6 legs).
Setting multiple snares and fishing lines in ways that you do not have to baby-sit them is a good idea.
Check them from time to time for a catch.
This allows you to “hunt” without expending much energy. If you must eat plant life, stay away from mushrooms and any plant that has a milky sap, except Dandelions.
Common edible plants include cattail roots, acorns, clover, dandelions, almost all grasses that are seed bearing and the inner bark of trees such as Poplar, Willows, Birches and Conifers.
The Survival knife
There are so many different kinds of knives available and as survivalist’s we will carry one or even several knives depending on the kinds of activities we are pursuing.
However in a survival situation a knife has to serve a number of purposes and be able to handle things like chopping, cutting, slicing and when out hunting and fishing.
A good, practical knife will usually be made out of high-carbon, spring tempered steel.
Not only can this withstand heavier and more intense use, it also tends to keep its sharpness for longer.
A good survival knife can serve many useful purposes. It might be used to cut cord or rope to manageable lengths for things like helping with shelter erection or to set a snare for trapping and it can even be used for cutting things like bandages to size in a first aid situation.
You can use it for making other make shift tools out of wood, for example an arrow to act as a spear whilst out hunting.
It can be used to help cut through thickets and branches if you’re trying to navigate your way out of a particular dense area of forest or for splitting wood and making shavings to start a fire.
It’s also invaluable if you intend to go out hunting as you might wish to skin an animal you’ve trapped or need to gut a fish.
A knife will form a crucial part of any survival kit but you need to ensure that you use it safely.
You should always cut away from your body, never towards it and if you should drop your knife, let it fall to the ground as trying to catch it could cause you serious injury.
You shouldn’t run whilst carrying a knife and never point it at anybody. If you trip and fall suddenly, you could be in danger of harming yourself or others nearby.
If your knife is of the folding variety, you should keep it folded away when you’re not using it or keep it in a sheath.
Ensure that you only use your knife when you can clearly see what you’re doing. If there is no daylight, make sure you have a torch positioned nearby so you can carry out your task without running the risk of injuring yourself.
More injuries are caused and more damage is inflicted on a knife by incorrect use.
It’s important to remember what your knife is designed to do. It’s not designed to pry open lids off tins.
That can not only be dangerous to you but will also damage the tip.
Neither is the handle or butt designed to be a hammer. Your knife can assist you greatly during a survival situation but it is no use if you break it by using it as a substitute for another tool.
It’s important to keep the edge of your blade sharp, as a dull knife can be more dangerous than a sharp one.
You shouldn’t have to exert too much pressure or use force to make a blade cut through something.
Buy a sharpening stone to accompany your knife and keep your knife clean and dry.
Knives come in all shapes and sizes so it’s important to buy one in person and to test holding it to see if it feels comfortable in your hand.
With its multitude of uses, it certainly ranks high on the list for items that will help you cope better in a survival situation.
Primative Peoples and how they Survive
I/we live in an era of survival gadgets, equipment and solutions that can be bought off the shelf online from the comfort of our homes, in fact it is only the amount of money we have that limits the quality and proficenly of the kit we choose to purchase.
I have become intrigued by primitave civilisations alive today in the remoter parts of our world and how they SURVIVE, as 4th world low tech citizens of our planet.
I know that I cannot try their foods at source, or trap and hunt as they do for the animals they share their forests with.
BUT, surley I can learn from them when it comes to fire lighting, shelter building, cooking, hunting methods, blades and tools and I want to try and learn these skills and then pass this knowledge onto others.
I understand that this path will not be easy but even as preppers we will eventually run out of certain supplies if not all of them. --