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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.

esee izula

How to sharpen a knife

My main knife is small but tenacious as the ant which takes its name: the ESEE Izula. It’s quite comfortable to use and well-balanced for whittling and other delicate tasks for which a larger knife is less suited. I have used it even for more heavy-duty tasks as batoning wood (both cross grain and normal splitting) without any problem.

It’s a carbon-steel knife so it has a good edge retention but sometime it needs to be sharpened. A dull knife is perhaps the most dangerous tool: it slides when you want it to cut and it cuts when it stops sliding, usually when it hits your fingers.

Using a sharpening stone

There are several techniques and many more products to sharpen a knife blade but i like to use the less sophisticated ones. In the woods, simplicity is always the way and so i prefer not to use a liquid on the sharpening stone. Stones have different grits ranging from coarse to extra-fine, but if you keep a close eye on the sharpness of your knife, you’ll need to use only the fine stone to hone the edge and every once a while you should take it back to the medium grit.

  • place your stone on a horizontal surface in front of you.
  • lay the blade flat on the stone at a 45 degree angle with the edge of the blade facing you.
  • grasp the knife by the handle. Raise the blade off the surface of the stone  until the edge side, named bevel,  is at full contact with the stone (around 20 degree angle);
  • keeping the edge of the blade in contact with the stone, firmly and carefully draw the knife towards you. This action will grind the blade from hilt to point. Maintain the 45 degree angle, and the angle that you have raised the blade off the stone.
  • apply medium to light pressure as you’re drawing the edge across the stone. The amount of pressure depends on how old the knife is, how many times you’ve sharpened it, and the current condition of the edge. A very dull edge requires a lot of pressure.
  • turn the knife over, and repeat the process on the other side. If you keep the knife in the same hand, this time you have to push the blade away from you. It’s important to maintain the same angles on both sides of the blade.
  • go slowly and alternate strokes on the stone several times. A very dull knife needs more strokes than a better kept one.

At this point you should have a pretty sharp knife. You can test it by holding a piece of paper vertically, and drawing the blade across the edge and down. A sharp knife will cut the paper.


Once you’ve sharpened your blade, the edge usually has tiny bits of metal still clinging to it. If you move your finger along the side of the edge, you’ll feel them like sand grains. Stropping is the technique used to clean off a blade’s edge after sharpening bending and twisting those clinging metal pieces until they fall off. It’s also done to realign the microscopic teeth created on the edge while sharpening.

Stropping is done by swiping the blade away from edge (the opposite of sharpening movement) on the inside of a leather belt, alternating side each stroke. If a leather belt is not available a smooth piece of wood can also be used.

Blade preserver

You can rub wood ash on a stained blade to remove the stains without scratching the blade. Leaving some ash on the blade, you can prevent future rusting (just remember to blow away the ash before using the knife).