nature is happines

Avoiding Survival Mistakes

When it comes to survival skills, the smallest of mistakes could have a huge impact on your ability to stay safe. However, there are a few things which can help to avoid making such mistakes, and will ensure that your survival skills are as effective as possible.

If you find your survival skills being put to the test unexpectedly, then the natural reaction can be to panic. However, this is often the worst thing you can do, as you need to be thinking as clearly as possible in such situations. You might not be able to simply google ‘survival techniques’ whilst checking your facebook page and playing cheeky bingo, but if you have done your research, then you will already be well prepared. You simply need to keep a clear head, and remember all the skills which you have learnt. Often, people panic the most when it comes to putting up a shelter, and tend to rush the process. In actual fact, it is worth spending extra time making sure that your shelter is safe and secure, and unlikely to collapse without warning.

If you are keen to return home, then don’t make the mistake of refusing to stop searching for the right route back. If you are lost, it is usually far safer to stop before nightfall and step up camp, even if you’re almost certain that you do not have far to go. After all, being out in the wilderness can be more dangerous after dark, but even more so if you have not organised a place to stay for the night. If you are travelling as a group, then never split up in order to try to find help more quickly. It is always much safer to stick together, and make sure that all members of your party stay safe.

Always learn a skill before you need it: practice, practice, practice!

 

fishing equipment

Survival Kit Component: Fishing Equipment

Whether it is for leisure and adventure, preparing for brutal wilderness areas or steeling yourself for TEOTWAWKI, an appropriate survival kit may mean the difference between life and death. The basic stuff usually come in handy in emergency scenarios, especially if it is in dire situations. You may have warmth, safety and direction but without food, these items don’t mean much if you cannot fend for yourself. If and when your food supply runs out, fishing gear such as fish hooks, lures, and split shot leads will go a long way in keep you alive and healthy.

The best way to acquire the necessary survival skills is to appreciate Murphy’s Law that “anything that can possibly go wrong, will go wrong“.

Real expertise comes from knowing how to use each item in the kit and learning all there is to know about fish and fishing. Most people know how to use a hook with live bait; but the conventional miniature kit usually catches few small fish that may not make a sufficient meal. Only strong reliable yet lightweight fishing equipment will help in an actual survival situation.

Fishing Line

A superior line catches sizeable fish without breaking or losing hooks. An 800-meter line weighs about 200 grams and reels up to the size of a tennis ball. Before you compromise on quality, you should know that strength is the essence of the line. A single-thread line cannot hold bass or catfish without snapping, whereas smaller fish are startled by thick lines. Fluorocarbon lines with 20-plus breaking strength form a multipurpose alternative because they are virtually obscured in water. A braided line is tougher and supports more weight than fluorocarbon with constant abrasion.

Hooks

Survival kits contain excellent fishing hooks with diverse strength, styles, sharpness, and applicability. Straight and treble hooks are extremely effective and reliable. If you find yourself without a hook, handcraft a few from wood, wire or bone. In a future post, I’ll explain how to make primitive but reliable hooks.

Lures

Most commercial kits are complete with fish hooks, lures, and split shot leads but very few people know how to use lures or how to improvise if you have none. Enticing prey towards the snare has excellent bonuses; fish are no different.

Without worms, bugs or raw meat for bait, proper use of artificial lures can efficiently fool fish. Using nylon with frayed edges at the hook and constantly tugging the line usually resembles several fish delicacies. Also, paperclips are very effective lures. Learning how to pitch the lure now when your life does not depend on it, is a sure way to survive when the tables are turned.

Sinkers

Split shot leads for fishing in survival situations are invaluable when there is no raft. Sinkers have multiple uses, mostly renowned for providing weight to the end of a trot line being tossed into the water.

A substantial length of a strong line tied to a tree on the bank and securely fastened hooks with bait or lure, sank into the water catches fish in no time. It is not only easy but also allows you to complete other tasks as food streams in.

In Summary

You may have an all-inclusive fishing kit but if you haven’t got the first clue how to use it, you are certainly a sitting duck. Nothing can be more precious than understanding fish behavior, practical experience in using fish hooks, lures, and split shot leads, and more importantly how to improvise if need be.

hunting with a rabbit stick

Survival Skill: Hunting With a Rabbit Stick

It’s a fact that meat gives a greater return of calories and energy than plants. One of the most effective hunting weapon is the throwing stick, also known as the rabbit stick. The stone and the throwing stick are the simplest of all the meat harvesting tools to obtain but the rabbit stick is larger than a rock and more likely to hit the target with a little of practice.

Build Your Rabbit Stick

Essentially, you can grab any sturdy stick, from 2.5 to 5 centimeters in diameter, that you can throw with ease and which is long from 30 to 60 centimetres. It will definitely be all you need. This length is a just a guideline. Keep in mind that the smaller the stick, the faster you are able to throw it but with lesser accuracy. A larger stick can be thrown with higher accuracy although not as fast. To find what is best suited for you, play with different size and weight.

Many modifications can be made to improve the performance of the rabbit stick but you can refine the stick to a more effective tool choosing between two different design:

  • the evenly weighted aerodynamic stick
  • the hammer stick

The Evenly Weighted Rabbit Stick

The best thing about this aerodynamic rabbit stick is that you can throw with more power thanks to the leverage created by its angle, and that means you transfer more energy to the target.

Use any green sampling or branch naturally bent at about a 45° angle. You can use a heavy hardwood such as oak or a stick of softwood like cedar. Remove all the bark and cut any branches.

A stick with an elliptical cross-section or flat like a boomerang fly faster and more silently giving less warning to your prey. Shave off two opposite sides.

Also, you can sharpen the two points of the stick to increase the damage by cutting or piercing.

All these tweaks take very little time by using a knife or by abrading the stick on an abrasive rock.

The Hammer Rabbit Stick

Choose a branch that features one end heavier than the other. Remove any side branches and bark it.

This hunting weapon is perfect for short distances because it can penetrate through low-growing plants, saplings, and shrubs to hit your prey.

Final Touches: Hardening and Camouflage

After you have reshaped your wooden weapon, you can fire harden it to increase its life span: Fire hardening is the process of driving out moisture from wood using the heat of a fire. The best way to do it is by burying your stick into the sand close to, but not in, the fire. If the stick is too close, it will burn; if it is too far from the fire, nothing will happen. Without sand, you can keep the stick above the fire or simply near to it, however you must keep an eye on it and rotate it almost continually or you may burn and damage the weapon.

You should camouflage the carve scratches making it more difficult for the animal to notice the stick’s motion as it comes near. You can either darken it with smoke or rub it lightly with charcoal to conceal any bright marks.

How To Throw The Rabbit Stick

You can throw a rabbit stick overhand, from a sidearm position, and anywhere in between. A sidearm throw is effective in open fields or any other place where there is plenty space between trees to allow for unobstructed flight. Overhand throws are useful in areas in which there is modest space between trees.

To throw the rabbit stick, extend the non-throwing hand toward the target, then propel the stick either side-armed or overhand. Train both the techniques for accuracy, precision and speed. Try to generate power with your whole body.

The challenging part is getting ready to launch your weapon. You simply can’t stalk your target and then, when you are in range, move the throwing arm back and prepare to whip your rabbit stick – you will alert your prey. Instead, you should slowly and gradually rotate your body and the throwing arm into the launch posture while you move toward your quarry.

Remember: the evenly weighted type should rotate like a frisbee while the Hammer type should go straight like a comet.

The Sidearm Throw

Move your rabbit stick behind your neck and rotate to the right until your fully extended left arm is aiming at your target. Then, in a fast and smooth movement, move your body forward, and release the weapon as your hand comes to point at the target. Pay attention to adjacent trees with low branches.

The Overhand Throw

First of all, aim at the target by extending the left arm. Move your rabbit stick back over your shoulder. Shoot the right arm until it’s just a little above and parallel to the left arm. This will be your release point. Train slowly and regularly.

It’s easy to learn how to use the rabbit stick. Just practice, practice and practice. Throw your stick frequently at targets until you become effective in acquiring food.


survival kit checklist

Camping in the Woods Using Survival Gear

Campers and hikers all across the country buy millions of dollars worth of safety equipment and field supplies every year. This provides a protective edge if the ultimate challenge arises. Being stranded, lost or injured in unfamiliar territory can be very disturbing not to mention life threatening.

It is obvious that we cannot carry everything we own but a true list of essentials is a must any time you are in-country. Camping survival depends on it.

Light weight and dependability is the most important part of your survival kit.

  • A survival knife should be sharp and strong.
  • 15 to 20 meters of high strength nylon cord, 1/4 inch in diameter is easy to carry and could come in handy.
  • A 3×3 meters plastic tarp helps keep you dry even in wind driven conditions. Night time is the part of any camping survival adventure that will truly test your skills. And if you haven’t perfected them, you could be in a real life-threatening situation.

A safe place to sleep, out of the elements, and protected from the creatures that inhabit the woods is a must. Locating an area that can provide protection on at least 2 sides should be a top priority. Stones and rocks can be turned into a hearth for survival cooking and warmth, and should be stacked at the entrance of your shelter. Limbs cut from green pine trees can be woven into an almost water tight roof system and the tarp can be added for further weather proofing. A heavy layer of boughs will create a reasonably comfortable and dry bed.

Begin building your bed toward the back of your shelter. The fire ring will keep you warm and provide important light if done correctly, and will also discourage the wild life from wanting to share your sleeping arrangements. At this stage of the game getting through the first few hours is the most important part.

Your survival kit should include:

  • a compass,
  • medium first aid kit, and
  • small mirror. Signals with the mirror can be seen for miles.

Hopefully preparations for your excursion into the wild included some form of food. Survival cooking can be accomplished if you have a survival knife to work with.

Natural springs and streams supply water, but it should be filtered and made safe with a convenient water purification kit; this is a must for the outdoor adventurer.

Camping survival must begin with a good plan. If you are really prepared you charged your cell phone and made sure your GPS was accurate, and of course you notified your party or family as to the general area where you intended to hike. Never go into the woods without informing somebody of the time in and the time you should be returning. Be sure to stay in that general area. If you are lost, moving from place to place can only compound the problem.

Finally, pick a safe large area where you can build a large smoky fire, don’t start a forest fire, but do build a good signal fire by first clearing the area of any debris that could ignite the surrounding area. Remain calm, and don’t let yourself get hurt. Listen for any sounds of man, and if your survival gear included a loud whistle start using it at first light. If the beginning of this adventure was well planned, you will have some great stories for the grand kids.

sausage tortillas

Camping Meals and Recipes

If camping is one of the activities that your family loves, then you will certainly want to make sure that you serve them a great meal on your next camping adventure. Cooking and eating in the great outdoors can make your camping trip so much more enjoyable.

Recipe #1: Sausage Tortilla

To help get their day off to a delicious start, scramble 500g of breakfast pan sausage in a skillet. You can add chopped onions and green onions to the sausage while it’s browning if you’d like. Once the sausage is done, add enough eggs that have been beaten up for everyone. Scramble the eggs and the sausage together until the eggs are done. Wrap the egg and sausage mixture in a flour tortilla and sprinkle grated cheese over the egg and sausage mixture. Roll up the tortilla so that it resembles a burrito. Now you can serve your family homemade breakfast burritos.

This is a great camping recipe because you only need one skillet to prepare it and it’s great for eating on a paper plate or even a paper towel.

Recipe #2: Ground Beef Gravy

Another great recipe that you may want to try on your next camping trip is to take enough ground meat for everyone and brown it in a skillet with some chopped onions. Once the meat is browned, sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of flour over the meat and continue to cook it until it becomes a rich brown color. Add a cup of water at a time to the meat so that gravy forms. If the gravy is too thick for you liking, you can add a little more water. Add salt and pepper to taste. Once it has cooked for a few minutes, it is ready to serve. You can serve it over plain white bread. You can toast the bread if you have the means or you can use it right out of the package whichever you prefer.

S’mores

There are a lot of great meals that you can prepare while you are camping besides the same old hot dogs and sandwiches. You can just about prepare anything on a camping trip that you would prepare at home. However, you may want to continue to bring all of the ingredients that you normally bring on your camping trip to make those must have smores that everyone craves. After all, a camping trip isn’t the same without the great taste of smores being included. To jazz up your smores, bring along a little coconut or peanut butter to spread or sprinkle on your smores to create a great new taste.

Your family is going to love these great new camping recipes that you have prepared for them. It is going to be just what they need to make their camping trip a great adventure. You may find that they will be asking you to prepare these meals again once you have returned home.

 

hiking-dangers

Common Hiking Dangers and How To Prevent Them

Hiking is a summertime activity enjoyed by families and individuals all around the world. Even an activity as casual and seemingly harmless as hiking in the woods has its dangers though. Below are three of the most common dangers encountered while hiking and tips on how to prevent them.

Dehydration

It might seem like common sense, but it really is surprising how many people forget to bring an adequate amount of water when they go on a camping trip. Many campsites have water spigots these days, but it is always smart to bring along an extra jug or two. In addition, it is always a good idea to bring a water bottle (or maybe even two of them) along if you venture onto the trails for a day hike. The human body can become dehydrated in as little as 3 hours in the heat so it is essential to have something to constantly sip on.

Getting Lost

It’s all too easy to get lost when you’re in the woods. If you’re hiking with children, then it is especially important to teach them to recognize area landmarks. It is also a good idea to never leave a marked trail. Urge your children not to wander around if they become lost and to stay in one spot.

Carrying a whistle is also an intelligent thing to do as it can lead rescuers towards you if you wander off on your own.

Proper Clothing & Equipment

Weather can be a fickle thing, especially in the wilderness. Oftentimes, nighttime is much colder than people expect. In addition, even the sunniest of summer months can bring on unexpected rainstorms. It is always smart to be prepared for all sorts of weather conditions while on a hiking trip. Warm clothes, waterproofs, and a rain cover are essential even for a summertime foray into the wilderness.

Hiking trips are all about fun and that is why it is so important to be prepared and prevent common hiking dangers. The above three tips will help ensure that your hiking trip remains fun while staying safe.


mosquito bite

How to Treat Insect Bites with Household Items

If you enjoy spending time outdoors, then you’re probably tired of insects spoiling your fun. Insect bites are not only uncomfortable but can be dangerous if left untreated. You can treat insect bites with commercial products, but home remedies may work just as well. If you prefer natural treatments, then a quick check of your refrigerator or cupboards is usually all it takes.

Rubbing Alcohol

While several household items such as toothpaste or banana peels will relieve the itching associated with insect bites, rubbing alcohol has the added benefit of being antibacterial. If you don’t have any rubbing alcohol, then vinegar also kills germs and is a good substitute. To reduce swelling, use an onion or an ice pack, but be sure to call a doctor if the swelling worsens. This may indicate an allergic reaction.

Baking Soda

Combining vinegar or water with baking soda will not only relieve itching but can help to remove stingers. If you’re squeamish, then this method is also much less painful than using tweezers.

Whether you’re camping, hiking or just hanging out in the backyard, insects can ruin your day. Learning to treat insect bites will help to ensure your outdoor activities are as fun and safe as possible.


duct-tape

Survival Kit Component: Duct Tape

When feces hits the fan, it’s best to be prepared. While it’s a good idea to have plenty of supplies at your disposal, few are as ubiquitously handy as duct tape. This semi-miraculous invention has been a mainstay in the tool kits of do-it-yourselfers for decades. Here are some of the ways that you could use duct tape in a survival situation.

1. Crack Sealant

If you’ve got radiation or biohazards to contend with, they will easily seep into your home through the spaces around your doors and windows. Using duct tape in these trouble spots can keep you and your family safe by keeping airborne threats sealed out.

2. Wound Dressing

In a survival situation, your chances of running into a skilled doctor with large bandages and iodine are slim. Large, gaping wounds can easily become infected or cause you to bleed to death if not dealt with. Fortunately, you have duct tape! It’s wide, durable and sticky enough to secure even the most grievous of injuries and keep out marauding insects and bacteria.

3. Food Safety

Many people who are prepared for emergency situations have food tucked away in plastic totes. However, these containers have a limited ability to protect food from radiation, moisture, biohazards and bugs because they’re not airtight. By applying a few layers of duct tape around the lids, food is kept safer and fresher.

4. Restraints

In an emergency, it’s every man for himself. In desperate times, there is a high chance that someone else will come along and try to take what’s yours. If you catch someone in the act of trespassing or trying to loot from your home, they can be incapacitated with a generous helping of duct tape.

5. Repair Materials

No matter how rugged and sturdy your clothes, tents and packs are, they will still wear out with heavy use. Duct tape is the perfect way to fix these things quickly.

6. Repair Tools

Tools are an essential part of a survival kit, but like anything else, they are susceptible to damage. Blades can come loose from knives, axe handles can split and ropes can fray at the ends. A little bit of duct tape might be all that is needed to make these tools usable once again.

7. Hand Protector

When you have to use your tools a lot, it’s easy for your hands to become sore and blistered. Wrapping the handles of your tools with duct tape provides not only a better grip but also superior padding. Duct tape can also be wrapped around your hands if you have to climb things like rocks or trees that can easily injure you without protection.

8. Water-Resistant Sticky Notes

Occasionally, people get separated from their loved ones in an emergency. If you want them to have a chance at finding you or your path, you can use duct tape as a sort of makeshift sticky note, especially if it’s fluorescent or very shiny. It will stick to smooth rocks and can be wrapped around trees and plants to mark where you’ve been and leave notes as to your whereabouts and plans.

fire making methods

6 Fire Making Categories

There are numerous ways to light a fire but you can categorize them in 6 classes.

1. Fire By Friction

Friction methods create fire rubbing linearly or rotationally a surface against another surface.

Fire Plow

In this method a stick is rapidly rubbed against the groove of a long piece of wood to produce hot dust. Then the hot dust is transferred to the tinder, and blowed until it ignites.

Fire Saw

The fire saw method produces friction by using a piece of wood as a saw over an other piece.

Fire Thong

A strong piece of wood is kept in position with your foot, and a narrow thong of cane or other appropriate material is looped around it. The friction is generated by pulling the ends of the thong alternately so that it is sawn across the stick or post producing a fine hot dust.

Hand Drill

The hand drill method requires a thin stick to be quickly rotated with the hands against a fire board. The fire board is simply a flat piece of wood with a notch. The prolonged rotation combined with downward pressure generates a black hot dust in the nick of the fire board. The dust is properly transferred on a tinder nest and blown gradually until a flame starts.

Strap Drill

To make the hand drill method easier you can add more pressure by looping cordage between two thumbs and over the top of the fire drill

Bow Drill

The bow drill method uses a bow to rotate a spindle against a fire board. The Bow drill requires less effort because the bow transforms the linear movement of your arm in a powerful rotation, and with the free hand you can apply much more pressure downward.

Fire Pump

A fire pump is enhancement of the bow drill. A rope is coiled around the spindle to create friction on a fire board.

 

2. Fire By Compression

This methods uses the heat of compression to ignite a tinder. In modern days, the same principle has been used to develop the Diesel engine.

Fire piston

A fire piston is a device composed by a tube with one sealed end and a piston that can run inside the tube. The piston has a small depression where the tinder is placed. When the piston is swiftly pushed into the tube, the air is violently compressed igniting the tinder.

 

3. Fire By Percussion

Percussion is a kind of friction that happens in an instant.

Flint & Steel

Flint is a family of very hard rocks (8 on the Mohs hardness scale). When a flint is stricken against a piece of steel (5-6.5 hardness), it peels a tiny piece of steel off and ignite it.

Ferrocerium rod fire starters

This method is definitely the modern version of the Flint & Steel method. The flint is replaced by a hard scraper while the steel is replaced by a ferrocerium rod. Ferrocerium consists of an alloy containing Cerium, Lanthanum, Iron, Magnesium, Praseodymium and Neodymium. When it’s scraped it produce very hot (1650 °C) sparks.

 

4. Fire By Sun

This class of methods employs a condensing reflector to focus sun’s rays to a single point, producing an intense heat. The condensing reflector can be:

  • a lens (solid or liquid filled) such as magnifying lenses, a plastic bag filled with water or a very clear piece of ice.
  • a concave mirror such as a pop can bottom

5. Fire By Electricity

Electric Resistance

This method employs electricity on an object with electric resistance. When the object is red hot it ignites the tinder.

Spark

Electricity is used to generate a spark to ignite a gas or a fluid.

 

6. Fire By Chemical Reaction

There are few ways to produce fire by chemical reaction:

  • potassium permanganate and glycerin (few drops of water can accelerate the reaction)
  • acetone, sulfuric acid and potassium permanganate
  • sodium chlorate, sugar and sulfuric acid
  • ammonium nitrate, zinc and hydrochloric acid

Modern Mixed Methods

Modern fire methods as matches o lighters fall in more than a class (friction/percussion and chemical classes). Matches are small piece of woods coated with chemicals and ignited by friction. Lighters employ ferrocerium or electricity to spark butane or gasoline fuel.