fire

2 Biggest Mistakes When Building a Fire

From time to time, it happens that you do not devote enough time to set up a fire and this lack of focus and effort will result in issues to keep the fire burning.
A fire survives thanks to the fire triangle (oxygen, heat and fuel): when one of these elements is missing, the fire goes out shortly.

If you’ve collected the right amount of tinder, kindling and well dried fuel wood, all you need to do is to obtain the right balance between air and heat. And now i’ll tell you the secret: you can find the right balance by leaving enough space (but not too much) between the logs.

Mistake #1: The Wood is Too Tight

If you’ve packed the wood too tight, it does not have sufficient oxygen to support the heat, therefore the temperature drops and the fire will go out.

Blowing air would keep your fire burning however it is a very inefficient way of managing your fire.

To correct this problem, try to create more space by pushing away the pieces with a green stick. To avoid completely the problem, make your fire over a green wood grid leaving an air space beneath the burning pieces.

Mistake #2: The Wood is Too Far Apart

If you place the logs too far apart, the heat is lost and the temperature is not sufficient to keep a fire burning.

To fix this issue, add kindling between the fire wood. As the kindling gets fire, put more kindling and then add wood fuel.

Sometimes you start with the appropriate distance but just because the wood is burning, the space will increase. Stoke the fire by moving the remaining wood closer or by adding more fuel.

 

Paying attention to the space between wood fuel before starting a fire and during its lifespan, you’ll avoid to waste your energy to light it again.

Remember: maintaining a fire is lot easier than starting a new one.

 

Nature_relaxion

Nature Observation & Relaxation – Take Some Time To Be You

Have you ever gone camping for the weekend, and didn’t really start to slow down until the weekend was over? For the average adult– that is one who has a job, bills, family, stress, or simply life wearing them down—it can take up to 2 days of being in the woods before you really begin to enjoy it.

You can throw out as many excuses as you want. Unpacking and setting up a tent can be stressful? You forgot something important at home? You have a deadline or due date looming over your head? Maybe you feel guilty about taking a break from life to go into nature and relax.

Unfortunately, that transition period can interfere with your whole purpose of going camping. You need to get away from it all and unwind because that’s how you reconnect. That’s how you return as the best you that you can be. If it takes you two days to get there on a weekend camping trip… what about a hike that only last a couple hours?!

Physical and mental relaxation goes hand in hand with nature observation. When you bring your troubles into the woods with you, you will not be able to get the intended results out of your nature observation experience. In the worst possible scenario, you may leave feeling even more stressed than before you began.

To Achieve Full Relaxation, You Must Let Those Thoughts Go!

Before entering a natural environment, you must free your mind and body of all tension. Study common meditation practices, because that is the most effective way to reach the right state of mind so you can concentrate on seeing more, feeling more, and experiencing more of your surroundings.

A natural environment is no place for the worries of civilization, and people go into nature observation to get away from it all… so it is counter-productive to bring all that garbage with you!

Simple Meditation Exercise – Do Try This At Home!

Lay down on your back, or sit in a very comfortable position, and relax your body starting with your feet then working up to your head. Massage if necessary. Once your body is relaxed, close your eyes and quietly count backwards from 100 down to one.

This simple meditation exercise works because it concentrates your mental efforts only on the numbers you’re counting and does not allow any other thoughts into your mind. Whatever meditation exercise you use, the concentrated state of mind should be brought into the woods so you can continue to focus completely on nature observation… to see, feel, and experience as much as possible in a natural environment.

wigwam

Comfort Inn Shelters

The thought of living in a long term shelter may not bring up an image of comfort, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to live comfortably in a long term shelter. (Pardon the triple negative.)

First, consider which type of shelter you’ll be residing in. Details such as the shape of your shelter will strongly affect how comfortable it will be.

  • “Tee-pee” shelters are ideal for areas with frequent storms, cold weather, and low pressure fronts because they allow you to keep warm with a fire in your shelter, and keep the smoke level high. The catch, however, is that the extra space requires a larger fire (and more fuel) to keep the floor temperature comfortable.
  • “Wig-wams” or shelters with a dome shape have lower ceilings and keep heat closer, but smoke can fill the interior and that’s not safe or comfortable. Some steps can be taken to prevent this from happening, such as having a smoke flap open into the wind and by using smaller logs in a tee-pee shape to keep your fire burning clean and evenly.

Dome shelters are ultimately more comfortable for one person or a group of people. A practical (and cozy) interior focuses on specific areas, including:

Doorways

Doorways that are extended a meter or more away from the shelter allow for two doors. The outside door can be well sealed to preserve interior warmth; and an interior door or flap will further minimize drafts. Also, the space between is a good place to keep muddy or icy shoes.

Fire Pits

An effective fire pit should be approximately 15 centimeters deep at the center, and slope up to floor level. When building a fire on flat ground, a ring of rocks or dirt can help contain coals and ash but this is not necessary with a fire pit and it may reduce the heat you’ll feel at floor level.

Beds

A comfortable bed can be made by creating a rectangle of logs or stakes and filling the inside with pine needles, grass, or dry leaves. The filling should be at least 20 centimeters thick after compression, and this will keep you well insulated from the ground.

The best beds can be built at least 30 centimeters off the floor by pounding stakes into the ground, lashing a frame onto the stakes, and making a solid platform on top of the frame which is covered by the previously described bedding materials, then stuffing the same into the space underneath the platform. The filling underneath does not need to be compressed, but it will hold heat better and lead to a cozy nights’ sleep. (Alternatively, you can use the space underneath your bed for storage.)

Tables & Workbenches

Using the same steps (without the insulation) you can build tables and workbenches for preparing food, storing materials, or working on skills.

Cooking

If you have the choice, cooking is best done over a fire outside, and should always be done over coals or hot rocks instead of flames.

 

 

Silva Orienteering Compass

Survival Kit Component: Orienteering Compass

In the advent of cutting edge navigating mobile phone apps and high-tech GPS units, maps and orienteering compass seem to have existed from the dinosaur era. But while these old survival tools are outdated, they can still be one’s saving grace when technology becomes out of reach. GPS, after all, may be another useless junk when it runs out of batteries in the middle of a jungle.

Having ample knowledge in orienteering can help individuals navigate their way around a point towards their destination. Given that this survival strategy necessitates knowing directions, an orienteering compass should always be kept at hand. This becomes vital for those who are about to venture out in the wilderness with the risks of having electronics dying out. Compasses after all, can help individuals locate terrains and walk towards the right direction.

Orienteering compass was first introduced in the 1930s. Since then, it has been used widely by soldiers and scientists. What makes it highly reliable is the durability brought by the base plate that eliminates the need to carry a protractor around. It is also built with a cover that protects the needle, along with a mirror that allows explorers to see objects easier.

In terms of survival skills, an orienteering compass can be used with a topographic map that can lead anyone to safety. It is thus important to be in the know-how when it comes to using an orienteering compass.

Before using the compass, it is vital for the users to determine the difference between the actual North and the magnetic North. This should be easy, as the needle of the compass always points to the magnetic North. Then again, it is important to keep all metal objects at a distance to avoid having these disrupt the compass magnet. Set key chains, flashlights and knives far enough.

Lay the map flat on a surface, and place the compass on top of it. Make sure that the arrow is pointing to the direction of the travel. Turn the housing of a compass like how a dial is turned. Do this to make sure that the arrows at the base are pointing to the same North in the Map.

Carefully lift up the compass without disturbing the housing and lay it flat on the hand. Hold it steady and towards the direction of travel. Turn around slowly until the needle of the compass lines up with the arrow pointing to the North at the base of the housing.

Walk towards the direction pointed by the orienteering compass.

In this sense, the compass can be used to go around possible obstruction without losing the explorer’s bearing. But this is just one of the ways on how this tool can be used for survival.

Note that orienteering compasses also come with magnifying mirrors which can be used to see objects from afar. This can be used by travellers stuck in the wilderness to see what they are about to deal with.

With this knowledge stored, even Hansel and Gretel could find their way back without leaving bread crumbs along the way.