firecraft: embers, survival  fire

A Fire Starting Primer for the Backcountry

A fire is a critical element in any backcountry survival situation. Should you find yourself in any such circumstance where your safety and survival is dependant on getting a fire going, are you ready and prepared to get the job done? Before heading out for adventures this question has to be addressed. It is always best to be prepared and trained before you find yourself in the bad situation. Take the time to spark up a few practice fires and pack the needed fire supplies before entering the wilderness.

What to Pack, and Where to Pack It

Any wilderness travel should include:

  • a knife or multi-tool,
  • extra food
  • water,
  • extra layers – including a hat and gloves,
  • navigation device such as map and compass or GPS – ideally both,
  • flashlight,
  • space bag,
  • signally device
  • fire starter with a lighter or waterproofed matches.

One thing many wilderness travelers fail to think of is where they pack all this gear. It is too easy to pack it, but then keep it in a dry bag or off the body. It is critical that many of these essentials be kept on the body in the case that if separated from a raft/canoe or method of transport you have the needed supplies. Obviously, any fire starter like Vaseline soaked cotton balls, or magnesium blocks and shavings should be kept in a baggy, then in a pocket.

Start the Fire

Your fire should adhere to the age-old adage of  location, location, location. Anticipate any condition that could occur that would impede the fire’s burn. Examples include:

  • wind tunnel areas in caves,
  • under snow-covered trees, or
  • in exposed areas where heavy rain fall may occur.

Next, dig a small pit and begin collecting small dry twigs, spruce or pinecones and leaves. Spruce and pinecones are some of the best natural fire starter you can use. If no cones are on the ground, find conifers and scrape off any pitch or gum seeping from the bark. Smear the pitch over small twigs. If you can only find green branches, strip off the bark and cut them in half to expose the inner tissues of the wood.

Stack the twigs into a teepee shape and place the spruce cones or fire starter material into the center. Light the starter and let the flames push upward, lighting the teepee. Be prepared with slightly larger twigs and branches, and place them in the conical teepee shape over the flames. It is important not to add too much to the fire as the flames could get smothered out.

As the fire gains strength, begin adding larger pieces of wood. Let the large pieces burn down so the dug out pit has a consistent pile of glowing coals. These coals emit the maximum amount of heat, necessary for survival.

Keep It Going

The coals provide the heat, and the flames provide the needed signal for any potential aircraft searching for you in a lost/survival situation. During prime search times, gather green conifer boughs and place them onto the fire. These create tremendous amounts of smoke that billows up, providing a good visual indicator of your location.

When you find yourself in any situation like this, keep calm, maintain a positive mental outlook and use your practiced fire starting skills to keep you warm, safe and alive.


 

survival shelter location

Survival Shelter: How To Find The Best Location

If you’re planning to make or locate a survival shelter, make sure you choose a proper site. Devote some time to pick a place: a great site can protect you from weather conditions such as rain and wind.
Before starting to search or build a shelter, go through the following rules.

Away from Water

Early morning dew and generally fog stay for a longer time near a body of water because the water gets warm less rapidly compared to the surroundings, as a consequence the air is humid and the land is damp. Remember that wet terrain depletes your body heat easier than dry terrain.

Make sure that your shelter is far from any water sources that could flood. Search for drainage marks. If you can, go for a place somewhat above the adjacent area so that water flows away from your shelter.

Be aware of flash floods, unexpected and violent stream of water that transform a dry river bed into a furious torrent. Watch out for high water signs, including water marks on rocks or plants and flowers trapped by flowing water high in bushes or trees.

Another reason to stay away from water is to avoid pollute water with feces, food scraps and garbage. Also, if you place your camp near water, you’ll have mosquito problems.

In most cases, 50 meters from water is a safe distance to build a shelter.

Away from Hazard

Be cautious about lightning hazards. Despite the fact that you need to make your rescue signals on an exposed ridge, actually building a shelter on such ground is definitely a lightning risk.

Check dead branches or trees that could fall and damage your shelter. Also stay away from other hazards, such as places with potential rock, mud slides or avalanches. A good example of an avalanche area is a strip without trees on a mountain side. An instance of a rockfall area is a loose cone-shaped rocky debris pile at the base of a mountain.

Be sure that the area you finally choose is without any poisonous plants or insect nests, such as ant colony or wasp’s nests.

In The Margin

Search for a location on the edge of two distinct environments. Between a forest and a field is an ideal position. Thick forests are shady areas that shield the heat of the sun’s rays, even on warm days. If you choose the center of a field to place your shelter, you’ll miss natural wind protection.

Near Resources

To be able to build a good shelter, your chosen location should have an adequate amount of building material. If you have to transport the resources a long way, you are going to deplete more energy than you can afford.

Remember: a great location can enhance a survival shelter even if improperly built while an inadequate location diminish the quality of a wonderful shelter.


survival-shelter

The Reasons Why You Must Build a Survival Shelter

Why You Need a Survival Shelter

If you are lost in the wilderness and have decided to stay there, your main concern is to discover or build a survival shelter. In general shelter is overlooked, or at best sacrificed on the scale of priorities. In a survival scenario it’s good to keep in mind the Rule of 3:

“You Cannot Survive
Longer Than Three Minutes Without Air
Longer Than Three Hours Without Shelter
Longer Than Three Days Without Water
Longer Than Three Weeks Without Food.”

Without being absolute these pointers are practical guidelines and correctly emphasize the necessity for shelter. Proper protection from weather conditions comes second only to breathing.

  • Enhance Morale. A survival shelter helps to give you and your fellows a more positive mood and a good night’s sleep.
  • Offer Protection from Animals. Despite the fact that animals aren’t usually dangerous, you wouldn’t like them running over you while sleeping.
  • Prevent Insect Bites. Nasty flying bugs such as mosquitoes and black flies, in big amounts, might drive you nuts, degrading your outdoor experience.
  • Protect from Sun and Slow Down Thirst. A shelter protection decreases the water usage and lowers the risk of heat illnesses and dehydration. You can build a cooling shelter in the sand on a beach or desert or perhaps be offered by a tree.
  • Shelter from Rain or Snow. Staying wet can make you actually feel cold and can result in hypothermia and feeling hopeless.
  • Make You Stay Warm. A shelter assists you to preserve your body heat, decreasing the consequence of wind and air currents. Body heat isn’t lost as quickly by the body in motionless air.

To sum up: a survival shelter gives you protection. Defense against climate and wildlife. Without having a shelter chances are you’ll freeze in cold weather, fall victim to heat illness in hot climate or become meal for a predator. Shelter may come in a variety of types, for instance caverns, trees or man-made constructions.

The kind of survival shelter to construct varies according to the gear and materials accessible, the season of the year, as well as the duration of the stay. Using the available materials, a good solid shelter may be built during any time of year and under any circumstances.
Your ease and ability to construct a survival shelter will be based upon your effort and skill at improvising a framework using the obtainable materials. In future posts I’ll describe an array of survival shelters, with various degrees of required skills, for virtually any period of the year.


paracord

Survival Kit Component: Paracord

A paracord, or a parachute cord, is a kind of lightweight nylon that was first used by american paratroopers during World War 2. Out in the field, it was typically used to fasten equipment to a harness, tie knapsacks to roof racks, attach camouflage nets to trees, and as a lanyard for small items.

Early Usage of Paracord

Soon after the war, it was made available for civilians – as military surplus in the beginning, then as a retail product later on. Due to its durability and versatility, it didn’t take long for the paracord to hit the mainstream. Back in the 70s, and even to this day, it was the material of choice for whip making.

Paracord Usage in Recent Years

In the recent years, the paracord has gained widespread popularity for its countless survival uses and also as a fashion statement. In fact, it has become rare to find a hiker or an outdoor activity enthusiast who does not own a paracord bracelet or any other kind of paracord gear.

Since they are so cheap and easy to make, paracord projects have also become popular among handicraft hobbyists – in some cases, as a way to raise funds for a charity or a cause.

Different Types of Paracords

There are 6 types of paracord, namely: I, IA, II, IIA, III, and IV.

Their minimal breaking strengths range from 43 to 340 kilograms. The most commonly used type for bracelets and also in general is Type III, otherwise known as the 550 cord. With 7 to 9 core yarns or a total of 32 yarns, it has the minimum breaking strength of  249 kilograms.

However, not all paracords are made to U.S. military specification, even if the labels say so. A lot of brands that differ from the standard type in terms of construction, strength, and quality have recently come out in the market. Finding an authentic brand can be a little tricky, especially now that China has jumped on to the paracord bandwagon. These brands may not be very reliable in survival situations, so make sure that you pick a good brand when purchasing a paracord.

Personally, I buy paracord from The Bushcraft Store.

Various Uses for Paracord

If you’re wondering about paracord uses, well, there are probably countless. It can be used for virtually anything and everything – in outdoor activities, fishing, first aid, and a bunch of other practical, everyday situations. The paracord can be used for:

  • tying things down on the roof rack of a vehicle
  • mending torn or broken fabric or equipment
  • making a perimeter line
  • hanging objects
  • stringing up  a clothesline
  • replacing broken shoe laces
  • lowering yourself or an object  from a height
  • building a shelter
  • lashing logs together or other materials to build a raft and other things
  • making a fishing line and stringer
  • tying up an animal
  • securing your boat or raft
  • making a snare
  • making a splint or sling in case of a broken limb
  • sewing up a wound
  • making a stretcher

These are just some of the most common uses for paracord; the list goes on and on with your imagination as the only limit.

Aside from its utility functions, paracord can also be made into bracelets, key fobs, lanyards, belts, and dog collars, among a bunch of other things. Among these products, paracord bracelets are perhaps the most popular.

Paracord Bracelets with Side Release Buckles

Aside from looking cool, paracord bracelets can save your life in a survival situation. Once unraveled, the cord used in each bracelet typically range from 3 to 7.5 meters – that’s 3 to 7.5 meters of very useful cord!

Paracord bracelets come in various colors/color combinations and are made using various weaving techniques. A regular bracelet would take a couple of minutes to unravel, but there are also quick deployment types that would only take seconds.

Most are fastened using a simple knot, but for quick deployment in a survival situation, bracelets with a side release buckle or a stainless steel shackle would be more ideal to have. There are side release buckles that are equipped with a whistle, compass, and even a handcuff picker. Stainless steel shackles, on the other hand, are sturdy enough to support 1,180 kilograms of weight, and may also have the extra feature of being adjustable.

If you want an accessory that is both stylish and practical, you can’t go wrong with a paracord bracelet. With its remarkable durability and versatility, it is no surprise that paracord can be found in almost all survival kits nowadays.

 


 

The Importance of Fire for Survival

6 Reasons to Learn Fire Making Skills

Fire, what a magical thing. It pulled man out of the primordial mist, and it can keep your butt alive when things go south in the 21st century. Fire making is arguably the most important survival skill you can learn.

Warmth

Most people who die in a survival situation die from complications of hypothermia. Hypothermia is where you body temperature drops far enough that it can no longer keep itself warm. You then get all kinds of bad stuff happening to you, including hallucinations.

The famous rule of threes says you can live for three hours without shelter. Shelter keeps your body warm and fire can be your shelter. If you get a good fire going you can warm yourself back up and stay warm in just about any weather.

Cooking /Purification

Fire also lets you cook any critters you might be lucky enough to catch. Eating raw meat is no picnic. Fresh meat roasted on an open fire can have a calming effect on someone who is lost or misplaced.

Fire can also purify your water by boiling it. All kinds of little bugs live in wild water and getting one of them is bad news while you are trying to survive.

Protection

Wild animals do not like fire or smoke and will tend to avoid them. Many people are afraid of the woods, it is even worse at night. A fire gives a sense of security and protection that people can cling to when they are in a scary place. The peace of mind you get from having a fire going is worth a lot in a survival situation.

Signalling

Fires are also very good for signalling your position with smoke so searchers can find you. The old accepted practice was to start three fires in a triangular formation so searchers would know what to look for. This has proven to be a lot of extra work running between three fires not to mention having to collect three times the amount of wood.

Nowadays a single smoky fire should suffice to signal anyone who is looking for you.

Toolmaking

Assuming that you are without any tool (knife, hatchet), it is easy to use your fire as a tool or as a tool-maker. A few examples are listed here:

  • straighten arrow shafts
  • burning containers using coals
  • shaping wood, bone and even stone
  • hardening and densifying the points of wooden weapons and tools

Sense of well being

Have you ever sat by a fire and just stared at the flames? The sense of peace and tranquillity that usually come from this practice is a useful thing when you are lost and panicked. Fire has a calming nature to a panicked mind.

Staying calm and keeping your head is probably the most important thing to remember in a survival situation. Right behind that will be getting yourself a fire started. Learn and practice several ways to make a fire and you will have a good chance at keeping yourself alive in the woods.


 

dehydration

How To Fight Dehydration

Scipio is just arrived here in Italy. Scipio is a heat wave, an extended period of extremely hot weather associated with high humidity. Heat waves are for sure by far the most deadly type of weather phenomenon, leading to heat illness. With this particular kind of weather phenomenon your first aim is to remain in shade and stay hydrated.

When you are overheated, the body dissipates heat by dilating the capillaries close to the skin to make sure that more blood may arrive at the surface. If you’re not properly hydrated, the capillaries will tighten, and you will struggle to cool off. Even more important, dehydration decreases the ability of the body to perspire and evaporate heat.

In this article i’ll describe dehydration and how to prevent it.

The Reason Why You Need Water

Water is a key concern for life. Water is necessary for each and every physiological process occurring in your body. The following are some functions that water performs:

  • water brings oxygen, nutrients, vitamins and minerals around the body.
  • the renal system employs water to flush out toxins and waste matter via pee.
  • water helps to regulate body’s temperature.
  • the respiratory system uses water to moisten air to make sure that it doesn’t inflame the sensitive lung linings.
  • water helps transmit nervous signals around the body.
  • water protects the organs and supplies lubrication to the joints

How Much Water Do You Really Require?

  • During an ordinary day you need to consume around 3 liters.
  • During a hike, it’s possible to sweat away 1 or 2 liters of water every hour.
  • In an extreme climate an average person can lose 2 to 4 liters of water per hour.
  • During cold weather, enclosed in several layers of clothing, you are probably not aware that you are losing water. Your heavy clothes absorbs the sweat that evaporates in the air. Paradoxically your need for water is as great in a cold environment as it is in a warm environment.

Dehydration Defined

Dehydration is a negative balance between fluid intake and water loss

How Does Your Body Lose Water?

Your body loses water by sweating, breathing, urinating, defecating, vomiting, crying and talking. To stay healthy, this water must be replaced.

When physical activity is minimal, nearly all fluids are lost via the urine. When activity levels are higher or the temperature is high, almost all of the water is lost through sweat.

Sweat

Sweat is a mix of salt and water. It is a normal physiological process that provides a cooling effect as moisture evaporates from the surface of the skin.

Urinating

It Is also a normal physiological process. You should hold it as long as possible to reduce this fluid loss from the body. For no reason ingest urine unless it has been distilled. You can rub it on the skin with a sponge, or you can piss on your shirt to help to lower your body temperature.

Vomiting

It can generally be avoided paying attention to the food you ingest.

Crying

It should be prevented, but it’s difficult to persuade a child of this.

Issues That Lead To Dehydration

  • Not consuming adequate fluids daily.
  • Drinking alcohol, urine, blood, or salty water.
  • Working in a hot climate – humid or dry.
  • Working in a cold climate – humid or dry.
  • Hiking to high altitudes.

Dehydration Consequences

Consider the following results of body fluid loss:

  • A 5% loss of body fluids causes thirst, weakness, irritability and nausea.
  • A 10% loss results in headache, dizziness, inability to walk, and a tingling sensation in the limbs.
  • A 15% loss results in painful urination, dim vision, swollen tongue, deafness, and a numb feeling in the skin.
  • A loss greater than 15% of body fluids may result in death.

Dehydration Symptoms

The main issue is that, the body’s dehydration alarm is not very receptive. It holds back until you’re already 2% to 5% dehydrated before ringing the thirst bell, and then shuts off too rapidly, as we have ingested only 2/3 of the fluid deficiency.

The typical indications of lack of fluids are:

  • Dark urine with a strong scent.
  • Low urine production.
  • Headache
  • Fatigue.
  • Dark, sunken eyes.
  • Emotional instability.
  • Loss of skin elasticity.
  • Thirst.

Dehydration Degree

The level of dehydration can be determined from specific indicators:

  • Minor Dehydration (3% to 5% weight loss) Thirst; tacky mucous walls (lips, mouth); normal pulse; dark urine.
  • Moderate Dehydration (5% to 10% weight loss) Thirst; dry mucous walls; small amount of dark urine; weak and rapid pulse; sunken eyes;.
  • Severe Dehydration (> 10% weight loss) Sleepiness; very dry mucous walls; no urine; no tears; sunken eyes; shock (rapid pulse or one that is very weak and difficult to feel).

Your Hydration’s Barometer

The main way of telling if you’re hydrated is the color of urine:

  • clear like gin to pale-yellow urine indicates that you’re drinking enough fluids.
  • dark, yellow-colored, odoriferous urine indicates dehydration.

Remember: thirst is not a valid indication for water needs. An individual who utilizes thirst as his guide will ingest only 75% of his daily water need. The sensation of thirst declines with age.

Prevent Dehydration

Maintaining yourself well hydrated demands a consistent and aware effort. The loss of performance caused by dehydration is not really something you aim for in a survival situation. In a hot climate, water becomes a life-threatening issue in just few hours, but in most temperate climate, you generally have 3 days before the deficit of water completely incapacitate you. The moment you believe you are in trouble, apply water discipline: minimize water usage in everything you do.

Tips

  • Drink plenty of water to keep a urine production of at least 0.5 liter every day.
    • Below 38 °C, take in 0.5 liter of water every hour.
    • Above 38 °C, consume 1 liter of water every hour.
  • Substitute the water as you lose it
  • Consume small quantities of water at regular periods of time to fight dehydration. Consuming water at short intervals aids your body stay cool and reduces perspiration. Even if your water stock is minimal, sipping water frequently helps keep your body cooler and lower water loss through perspiration.
  • In case you are under mental and physical pressure or perhaps at the mercy of extreme conditions, raise your intake of water.
  • The body functions more proficiently in extreme conditions when acclimatized. Never try to do heavy work the 1st hot day that arrives or during the initial cold days.
  • Spare perspiration not water. Limit sweating activities but drink a lot of water.
  • Preserve your fluids by limiting the activity during the heat of day.
  • Eat foods with high-water content such as fruits and veggies.
  • Always drink plenty of water while eating. Water is required as an element of the digestive process and can cause dehydration. If you have little or no water to drink, consider minimizing your current protein consumption, as protein requires a lot of water to digest. If you have no water, you must not eat at all.
  • Stay away from alcohol consumption as alcohol increases fluid losses.
  • Minimize caffeine intake as caffeine raises fluid losses.
  • Stay away from salty meals as salt increases fluid demands.
  • Do not ration water: keep water in your belly where it is readily available for employ when necessary.
  • Make the most of all rest stops to drink water. Take in slowly, drink small sips and keep the water inside your mouth for a little before ingesting.
  • Fill up your water containers at virtually any chance.

What To Drink

Cool water, without any artificial additives, is the perfect beverage to replenish yourself. Cold fluids tend to be easily absorbed from the digestive system.

Overhydration

With higher deficits of water you begin to have difficulties since you are losing the salts called electrolytes more rapidly than you are taking them in through fluids and meals. While a normal diet regime usually can replace these losses, in extreme heat extra resources must be supplied.
One fix for this problem is to dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a liter of water. This will make a concentration that the body can easily absorb. Nevertheless, a healthy diet is crucial to supply other electrolytes; eating well is vital whenever you are losing excessive amount of water.

Remember, water and electrolytes are lost during sweating, so both must be replaced.

Help Others

When curing someone with dehydration, moist his lips first and check if there is a gag reflex (swallowing). Dispense exclusively small sips. When providing treatment, be sure that the person is resting in any available cover from the sun.

Headache is often an early indication of dehydration. The pain is experienced on both sides of the head and it is generally worsened when the person stands up from lying down. Sleeping and consuming a minimum of 1 to 2 liters of water should alleviate the pain.

 

You have to be very intense in your quest for water while you have the energy. Heat stroke and dehydration are not a joke.


survival skills: rule of three

Prioritizing Survival Needs Using the Rule Of 3

Life must be prioritized and priorities are never more important than when you are in a survival situation. Decisions have to make quickly and they must be the right decisions. To prevent panic and to keep from making the wrong decisions you need to prepare and prioritize.

The Most Commonly Accepted Survival Rule Of 3

You Cannot Survive:

  • Longer Than Three Minutes Without Air
  • Longer Than Three Hours Without Shelter
  • Longer Than Three Days Without Water
  • Longer Than Three Weeks Without Food

Three minutes without air is accurate. However, there have been cases where people have survived longer than three weeks without food and longer than three days without water.

Shelter is subjective; it can be a hollow spot under a log or burying yourself in a pile of leaves. A lot depends on what you call shelter.

Remember your priorities: you must escape the vehicle within three minutes if submerged, or find the shore if dumped out of your canoe in the middle of the rapids. You need air and it is your first priority.

Begin Prioritizing Survival Needs Using the Rule Of 3

Assume for a moment that you have plenty of air, so your next priority is shelter and water. The reason you need to focus on shelter first is you will become weaker from lack of water and calories. Therefore, build your shelter first. Keep in mind this must happen within a matter of hours. You must also soon be hydrated, it will help keep you warm at night and hydration will keep your energy level high enough to forage for food.

If you became lost on a day hike, for example you probably have a water bottle to get you through the night. It typically takes rescue operations 72 hours to find you or be close to finding you. Your pack should have:

  • a knife to help you in building a shelter,
  • fire starting tools,
  • water purification tablets or 2% liquid iodine for water purification,
  • protein bars,
  • a full quart canteen or water bottle. The average person requires 4 liters of water a day for drinking and hygiene.

For now, your priority is shelter and fire to survive the night. Get a fire started for your comfort and moral. Fire is needed to signal rescue personnel, as well. If you are lost, stay put. If you knew how to get out you would not be lost, so wandering around lost is dangerous and makes it harder for rescue personnel to find you.

If you are hiking to a campsite, you may have a tent or canvas. If you do not have any type of shelter material in your pack you need to put a shelter together using what nature provides. The ground next to a fallen log can be scooped out. Pick the south side if you are in a cool climate. Prop pine boughs and saplings against the log and ground. If you do not have a knife or small ax or hatchet you will have to break the limbs. If you have to break limbs use dead ones, live saplings will bend but not break easily.

Leave one side open; the opening will face along the log and not away from it. Build your fire close to the entrance but not inside. You will be overcome with smoke if it is too close. If you have rain gear or a poncho set the gear so it collects the morning dew. Dew is simply the condensation of air that has been heated by the sun during the day. Once the air cools down it allows moisture to settle on surfaces typically, in the very early hours. The moisture will collect on foliage and your poncho. Create depressions in the poncho for water to pool. Begin the process of gathering water regardless of your current supply. You can never have enough water.

Start another fire in a clearing if you are in the deep woods. The fire can be spotted from the air and ground. Do not wander at night but stay in the shelter and maintain the fire.

In the morning, consume the water from dew and save what water you may have brought with you. Work on enhancing your shelter and begin looking for a stream, natural ground springs or fissures in rock faces that seep water.

Gather pine cones and place in the fire to split open for the pine nuts and if you find a stream look for fish. Other animals will need water so there will be game trails. Set snares or wait for rabbits, squirrels, wild turkeys and other game to come by. Spear or stone the game.

If you do not panic and begin running in circles you will survive. Stay calm and rely on your common sense.

 

Remember prioritizing survival needs using the rule of 3.

 


Survival Skills Four Fundamental Elements

The Four Basic Survival Elements

If you find yourself in a survival situation where you’re cut off from help for any prolonged period with limited resources, don’t panic. Your first move is sorting the four basic survival elements:

  1. Shelter. A shelter is built to offer protection from weather conditions and from high temperature or cold temperatures (depending on when/where you’re). Hypothermia and hyperthermia are 2 of the greatest hazards in a survival situation. An appropriate shelter can protect you against these situations. For instance: in cold weather, the shelter insulate you from the cold while in the hot months, your objective is to stay shaded from sun’s rays.
  2. Water. Water is the most crucial source of nourishment for the human body. Having an adequate quantity of water along with a shelter, you can easily survive for weeks.
  3. Fire. Fire gives you heat and light, purifies water, makes the meat edible, it allows you to build tools and finally you can use fire to make signals.
  4. Food. If you’re in good shape, you can go for up 3 weeks without food. Your objective in a wilderness survival situation is to be found in a short amount of time, so typically you will be found well before food becomes a survival problem. Obtaining food includes knowledge of edible plants, tracking, stalking, trapping, hunting and fishing.

Do you have to be concerned first about fire, shelter, water or food? To determine in what sequence you must deal with the basic priorities of survival, you should use the survival rule of 3:

  • 3 minutes without air
  • 3 hours without shelter
  • 3 days without water
  • 3 weeks without food
  • 3 months without hope

Remember: the survival rule of 3 is just a mnemonic aid, you’ve to adapt it to your specific situation.

2 final tips:

  • Assemble your survival kit using the four basic survival elements as your compass.
  • Learn and practice few basic techniques for each of the four basic survival elements: shelter, water, fire and food.

 

 


survival skills: raw meat

Eating Raw Meat. Is it Safe?

Have you ever seen Bear Grylls eating raw meat in his TV shows? Generally, he’s lost in a wild place and  he chooses to hunt and set some traps or he finds an already dead animal.At this point, all he has to do is eating this food. He could set up a fire and prepare food but this act could take him one hour or more, so he decide to consume it uncooked. Is it a savvy move?

Eating Parasites and Bacteria!

Even if meat you procure in the great outdoors may seem better compared to what you purchase in the supermarket, that does not mean it’s sufficiently safe to eat uncooked due to the presence of parasites and bacteria.

Here a short list of bacteria and parasites that may be on your wild menu:

  • Trichinella worms can be carried by numerous wild mammals
  • Brucellosis
  • Sarcoptic mange (Sarcoptes scabiei; Notoedres douglasi) Meat is edible but heavy infestations can result in secondary bacterial infections. Avoid skin contact with carcasses as transient infections by Sarcoptes scabiei is possible.
  • Escherichia coli
  • Larva migrans (Baylisascaris procyonis). Avoid exposure to fecal material and intestinal tract contents because larvated eggs are infectious for humans if accidentally ingested.
  • Tularemia can be passed while you’re butchering the animal. It’s common in rabbits.
  • Prions. They are like the infectious agent that provokes mad cow disease. Squirrels carry prions in their bones and their brain, cooking them can’t completely destroy the prions so NEVER eat brain and marrows.
  • Lyme Disease is trasmitted by ticks (sometimes called deer ticks). You’ll get it dressing the game while eating meat is safe.

External Analysis

Inspect the outer layer of the carcass, using gloves or a stick to turn it. When performing external analysis, it’s fundamental to understand that the unhealthy look of an animal may be induced by other means, not only by transmittable disease. Aging, poor or lack of nutrition, physical injuries, and physical defects that hinder food gathering and consuming tend to be the other variables that can be responsible for this sort of appearance.

  • Do the feathers, hairs, shell or any other body coverings seem in good health?
  • Is the animal in good shape or is it rather emanciated or skinny?
  • Are unnatural issues present, including abnormal growths, deformities, or traumas?
  • Does it have other sorts of symptoms of sickness, for instance proof of diarrhea?

Internal Analysis

After the external analysis, you’ve to inspect the interior of the animal while the carcass is skinned and processed.
Make use of all senses when inspecting a carcass. Bad smells commonly arise from decaying tissues, it’s possible that come from an old injury which has abscessed. Nevertheless, the spilling of intestines content into the animal cavity in the course of extraction or from cutting during harvest can be the origin for such smell. The food eaten by the animal may even cause strong smells which are not a sign of illness. For example, mussels or sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) are meals eaten by animals that cause them to smell strange, but do not indicate potential human health risks. The look of organs and flesh is frequently damaged during the hunt and may be hard to judge. However, if you find the presence of tumors, fungal growth or abscesses in the interior, you should reject the carcass.

  • How does the animal interior smell?
  • Do any of the organs or tissues seem abnormal or irregular in appearance or color?
  • Do any of the tissues or organs seem to have abscesses or infections?
  • Are there any tissues or organs that contain what appear to be parasites?

Always Cook Raw Meat

The simple reason to cook the meat you harvest in the wild is because heat can destroy the majority of the harmful infectious agents.

Remember: in the event you discover a sick or an already dead animal, never eat its meat.

Every signs and symptoms of infections, abscesses, tumors and fungal growth outside or the carcass also suggest that you must discard it.

Another reason is that humans are genetically predisposed to eat cooked food. Uncooked meat is much more difficult to masticate and uncooked plants have too many fibers to be easily digest. Our small teeth and sensitivity to raw foods are physical proof of this adaptation.

Remember: bacteria prosper and reproduce between 4°C and 60°C. To kill bacteria you must cook meat taking the internal temperature up to 65°C.

Cooking Methods

  • Roast: Cut meat into slim strips and put them on a flat rock placed near the fire.
  • Grill: Build a spit placing two green forked twigs on both sides of a fire. Spear a piece of meat with green, thin branch then rest it in the forks just over the fire.
  • Bake: Wrap meat in green, non-poisonous, leaves. Put the package in a shallow hole and cover it with mud. Build a fire just over the mound and let the heat bake it.

Meat Storing

For any uncooked meat remains, use natural refrigeration technologies. If you’re in a snowy place, you can merely wrap up them in snow.
In a more warm place, insulate the meat with leaves and clay and submerge it in a stream or put it in a hole near a water source. This storage technique is temporary.

In future posts, i’ll describe in details methods to preserve meat with salt, by drying and by smoking.