Tag Archives: outdoors

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.

Survival kit Component - Tarp

Survival Kit Component: Tarp

Natural and manmade disasters can occur at any time and without warning, so having a pre prepared survival kit ready to use immediately could be the difference between life and death. However, knowing in advance which essential supplies to pack can be difficult. A tarp, or tarpaulin, is one item that almost every survival expert agrees on as a key survival kit component.

What Is A Tarp?

Tarpaulin canvas texture
Tarp texture (Photo credit: net_efekt)

A tarp is essentially a large sheet of strong, flexible, waterproof material that can be used to provide protection from the elements in an emergency. Unlike a standard plastic sheet, tarps are made from super resistant materials like polypropylene, polyethylene, and canvas.

They also feature reinforced holes at their corners to make them more versatile when combined with ropes or supports.

Possible Uses Of A Tarp

Space in a survival kit is precious so choosing tools that have multiple uses is a good idea. A tarp is an ideal item because it is both light weight and compact. Here are just a few of the ways that it can be used in survival circumstances:

1) Shelter

Poncho-tarp-shelter
tarp shelter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In many situations creating adequate shelter is key to survival. The adaptable nature of tarp allows them to be fashioned into a wide range of shelters, including a lean-to, pup tent and tubular tent. They can be adapted to suit almost any space or terrain. They are not limited to protecting you from rain but can also be used as a wind break or for shade.

A lot of people assume that tents are the best choice for emergency shelter. While they do provide a much higher level of comfort, they are heavy and take up a large amount of space in your kit which could be better used for other equipment.

2) Rain gear

A tarp does not only offer stationary protection. By wrapping it around yourself, it will give you personal protection as well. This is an effective way to conserve body heat, and the thick material does not tear easily if you are using it on the move through rugged terrain.

3) Rain catch

No matter how much bottled water your survival kit contains, you are bound to run out eventually. Fortunately, tarps enable you to collect rain water and develop a sustainable way of keeping hydrated. The wide surface area of a tarp means that it is a highly effective method of funneling rain into a bucket or other container.

What To Pack With Your Tarp

If you are including a tarp in your survival kit, it is also worthwhile buying ropes and stakes to help you create a more stable structure.

If you find yourself without these items, then using branches to support the material and stones to pin it down is an alternative solution.

 

Preparing a well thought through survival kit is an ideal way to protect you and your family in the event of a disaster. A small and light weight tarp can provide you with shelter, water and personal protection making it the perfect multi-purpose item to include.

Related Survival Kit articles

 

The Invisible Survival Kit

Your Invisible Survival Kit

Every time you go into the wilderness you should carry a Survival Kit. In general, you think about a Survival Kit as composed by tools that allows you to make a fire, collect and purify water, build a shelter, signalling, and so on.
But there is a nearly unknown kind of survival kit that determines if you’ll survive or not: your mind. Here, I itemize what to put in:

Will to do everything you ought to do to survive. This is probably the most important component in your invisible survival kit. Be ready to do anything to save your own life: cover yourself in mud, eat insects and grubs, kill, and so on. Discover your fears and overcome them.

Desire to know. Even if you don’t know anything about survival you can still learn during a survival situation – if you want to. Observe the animals and learn. Everyday they thrive in the same situation you are in. Gain knowledge from your mistakes. Take note of what’s working and what isn’t. Use your imagination in a productive way.

Knowledge. Start to learn something new everytime you can. Practice your skills until you’re confident that you can use in a real survival situation. Push your limits.

 

Remember: even if you are naked, without any tools and any hope, you’ve always your head and your heart, and that’s all you need.

 

Related Articles

 

Winter Camping

5 Great Camping Videos On YouTube

Camping is an extremely popular activity enjoyed by many across the globe. Surrounded by nature’s vibrant beauty amidst a peaceful, restful ambience, it is no surprise that so many people have fallen in love with this activity. Here are 5 great camping videos on YouTube which provide beginners and advanced campers alike with fantastic tips and showcase the beauty of the outdoors.

 

1- Keeping Warm at Night

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBc8gDTPbOo

For campers ready to venture deep into the wilderness, this video provides great tips on keeping warm. There is nothing worse than shivering throughout the night, desperately craving the comforts of home. This video will prepare campers for their outdoor experience, ensuring that they stay warm, dry and comfortable whilst camping. From tucking trousers into socks to wearing a woolly hat, these basic tips are essential for campers wanting to keep cosy. Also supplying viewers with handy little tricks, such as laying leaves under the mattress for extra comfort, this video is a must for those ready to brave the unknown!

2-  Family Camping

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sk0EzM7DH7U

Families wanting to try out camping for the first time should definitely watch YouTube’s Family Camping clip. Informing beginners on the in’s and out’s of camping, this video shows parents exactly what to think about when planning a family camping trip. From buying a tent with a single large sleeping compartment (so that the whole family can sleep together), to looking at what facilities campsites offer, this video breaks down the basics of braving it under canvas. Less than six minutes long, viewers will be left with a much better idea of what camping consists of after watching this short, direct video.

 

3-  The Beginners Guide to camping

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuZDH4_hCvU

Told in a comedic fashion, this light-hearted camping video provides beginners with a few, simple tips. With information on how to set up a tent and even create a fire The Beginners Guide to Camping is perfect for those ready to depart on their first camping experience. Addressing essential issues such as who will make each meal, this video gets a camper thinking about every single detail so that they are well and truly prepared for their holiday.

4-  Camping in Comfort

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sJfLzX94Ys

Providing advanced camping tips, this video is ideal for regular and experienced campers. For those familiar with life in the bush, this video dives into greater detail, such as pointing viewers towards the best forms of insulation whilst camping. From using real fur to taking a carry mat, many options of to stay insulated are discussed. The video then goes on to discuss the best fabrics and materials that can be used to ensure campers stay warm and dry, day and night. Filmed from his tent, narrator Andrew Price shows great knowledge and insight into the camping life.

 

5-  CAMPING TIPS! CAN.. YOU.. DIG IT?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDSdWM4lHRQ

Filmed by a first-hand camper, this video shows viewers exactly what the camping lifestyle is like. From showing viewers his means of drinking water to providing tips on how to make a fire, this video allows ambitious campers to get a great feel for this outdoor activity. Visually showing viewers the intense beauty of nature that surrounds the camping life, the video radiates an exciting and adventurous ambience, which is felt by the viewer. A great video to watch, this short, YouTube clip will have campers feeling ready and excited in a matter of minutes.

 

These five, great camping videos on YouTube, provide campers with both basic and advanced tips. From learning how to get a fire started in the wilderness to supplying tips on camping with children, these videos are great for campers of all abilities. After watching these videos, campers will be prepared and ready to enjoy their camping experience!

 

An article by Maria Hubbard, a keen outdoor blog writer and travel enthusiast. Maria enjoys travelling, camping and hiking and writes on behalf of Outdoor World Direct, a specialist camping website who have many different tents for sale including those from Vango.

Image Credits:  AlphaTangoBravo/Adam Baker and Britanglishman

Backpacker Safety – The Essentials

The following post was written by +Sarah Clarke who blogs for Al Fresco Holidays, specialists in camping holidays in France. For more information, visit the blog

Backpacking can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. It can be a great workout as well and be a way for friends and family members to spend quality time together. For this to be the case, there are a number of essentials to pack and some safety considerations to keep in mind.

Planning

Before heading out on any trip, it is necessary to do some degree of planning. This is true for a simple weekend trip just like it is necessary for a month long backcountry excursion. In this planning phase, maps and information about the area should be reviewed. Take into consideration the ability and skill level of other backpackers and the type of hiking and adventure that is desired. A basic route for each day should then be planned along with alternative routes and options for leaving the area in an emergency situation. Knowing the nearest hospital, access points and other areas of civilization is critical as well. Once everything is well planned out and any necessary permits acquired, it is wise to leave a copy of this itinerary or schedule with a friend, family member or neighbour. In the event of an emergency, this person will know an approximate location of the backpacking group.

Supplies

The right equipment is important when it comes to the safety of everyone in the group. This would include things such as camping stoves, adequate food and water, and a decent first aid kit. All members of the backpacking group should be relatively familiar with all of these supplies which includesknowing how to use and cook on stoves and be able to take care of minor first aid emergencies that might arise. The more knowledge people have, the better. Everyone on the trip should be able to contribute in some manner.

Clothing

Even in warm summer weather, having the right type of clothing is necessary. Dressing in layers will help to best regulate the body temperature. If a person does not have appropriate backpacking clothing, it is best to borrow some items or make a trip to an outfitter to purchase the appropriate clothes. When possible, cotton should be avoided. Clothes that wick away sweat and moisture will keep a person dry, comfortable and safe from problems such as hypothermia. Well-fitting boots will be needed as well. These should be comfortable and broken in before the trip begins. Otherwise, a person can quickly get painful blisters and find out the boots do not fit correctly.

When backpacking, safety should always be thought about. By having the right gear, making an appropriate plan and dressing correctly, everyone is sure to have a safe and truly amazing and memorable time backpacking in the wilderness.

spring snare - survival skills

Everything You Ought To Know About Spring Snares

Spring snare components

Manmade and natural disasters, such as floods, earthquakes, pandemics, and terrorist attacks, can occur at any time, so learning the vital survival skills necessary to protect you and your family is very important. Food, unlike water and shelter, is not a critical concern for the first few days of survival, but if you find yourself in a survival situation for an extended period of time, knowing how to find your own food is essential. However, without significant experience, hunting game can often expend more energy than it gives back, so most survival experts suggest using traps and snares instead.

What is a Spring snare?

Spring snares are among the most basic of snares setups, and because of this they are also one of the most effective. Once you have set up your camp and collected enough water, you can begin setting up your snares. The more you set, the more likely you are to catch something. You can use the time waiting for a catch to do other important tasks like foraging for edible plants or strengthening your shelter.

What Animals Should You Target?

The best animals to target depend both on your level of experience and the resources you have available. Small game, such as rabbits, squirrel, quails, and geese, are a more realistic target for relative newcomers. You can also set up many small traps instead of one large one with the same resources.

Where To Place Your Snare

The placement of a trap has a significant influence on its success. To maximize your chance of catching an animal, place your spring snares across game trails and the entrance to burrows. These can be spotted by looking for footprints, droppings, scratches, and nearby water sources.

Materials Needed For Spring Snares

The materials you are most likely to need when creating spring snares, are a knife and some wire. Fortunately, these tools are staple components in most survival kits because they have such a wide range of uses in addition to snaring. Here are the materials you will need for the various components of the snare:

  • Noose – Strong but flexible string, cord, or preferably wire, it should be about 50-60cm long
  • Hook and base – Carved from two separate pieces of hardwood to form the trigger mechanism
  • Engine – Bent over sapling
  • Leader line – Any sort of cord, the length will depend on the engine

If you find yourself needing to make the snare without these materials, there are a lot of natural and manmade alternatives available. Consider using shoe laces, fishing wire, headphone wire, or natural cordage for your noose and leader line. A weighted rock strung over a tripod setup can replace a sapling.

Step-By-Step Guide To Creating Your Spring Snares

To create the noose:

  1. Tie a small loop, about the diameter of a pencil, at one end of your wire.
  2. Thread the other end of the wire through the loop to finish the noose.

To create the trigger:

  1. Cut a notch out of one hardwood stick near the top to create the ‘base’
  2. Carve a notch near the bottom of the second stick to create the ‘hook’. This should slot into the notch in the ‘base’ when the two are held end to end.

To assembly the spring snare:

  1. Drive the bottom of the ‘base’ into the ground
  2. Tie the ‘leader line’ to the top of the ‘Hook’ and tie the ‘noose’ to the bottom.
  3. Bend the sapling over so that its end is directly above the ‘base’
  4. Tie the free end of ‘leader line’ to the top of the bent over sapling
  5. Slot the ‘hook’ and ‘base’ together
  6. Position the ‘noose’ in the game trail

After setting your traps it is wise to check them regularly. Not only does this reduce the suffering of the animal, but it will also reduce the chance that your catch is eaten by another predator.

There are many variations on this snare, so if you need to, experiment and think outside the box to suit your surroundings.

 

Suggested spring snare variations. On the left: use a natural base. On the right: create a hook using a pin or a fishing hook.

Some expertise and skill are needed to create a spring snare so it is a good idea to practice making them before you get into a situation where your life may depend on them (check that this is legal in your area before you begin). Pre making some triggers and packing them into your survival kit is also a time saver.

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