Tag Archives: survival kit

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 But while these old survival tools are outdated, they can still be one’s saving grace when technology becomes out of reach.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 firecraft vaseline cotton balls

Survival Kit Component: Magnesium Stick & Vaseline Cotton Balls

my fire kit - ferrocerium rod and magnesium bar

Fire isn’t more useful than when you find yourself in a survival situation. Perhaps you believe lightning fire won’t be a problem as you always carry a lighter or matches. Lighters run out of fuel, get wet or perhaps stop working. Matches may become useless by staying in your pocket or if exposed to rain, snow or submerged in water. Never depend on matches as your exclusive method of fire starting.

Bring alternative ways of starting a fire like a magnesium stick with a sparker. The magnesium stick is straightforward to use and is great at starting fires even if the tinder is damp because it generates a flame source of over 2500°C. Believe it or not, magnesium stick is my primary fire starter even if i absolutely love primitive methods such as the bow drill.

In order to start a fire you can even use cotton balls which were soaked with petroleum jelly (vaseline). Collect dry tinder, break up the cotton ball somewhat, and put close to the tinder. Hold the magnesium fire starter stick block in one hand and the knife in the other. Scrape small shavings off along one side over the cotton ball. The scraping puts small particles of magnesium on the cotton ball.

petroleum jelly (vaseline) cotton balls on fireUsing the striker strip and the back of a fixed bladed knife apply pressure and push the knife blade along the striker toward the cotton ball. One or two sparks will ignite the cotton. A 2×2 cm ball will burn 5 to 10 minutes, long enough to ignite even a damp tinder.

Never use the back of a folding knife blade unless it has a locking mechanism. The blade can fold up on your fingers.

Remember: it’s essential to train with the magnesium stick wherever possible so during a real life emergency, you’ll start a fire faster.

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

 

curly birch handled fire striker  steel ferocerium rod

Survival Kit Component: Ferrocerium Rod

Many of us go on trips far away from the comfort of civilization without always thinking about how to correctly prepare ourselves should the worst happen. But nobody ever plans to be in a survival situation, so we should always carry a basic survival kit with us on these types of excursions.

A basic survival kit means just that. It’s a basic kit, separate from the normal provisions you would carry, because it’s something you will hopefully never use. You should consider the basic things you would need to keep yourself alive.

You should carry something to transport water (condoms without spermicide work well), something to catch or trap food, something to help keep dry (a tarp will do) and something to start fires with.

One of the hardest, yet most essential skills in survival situations is to start a fire. There are numerous ways to start fires without equipment, yet many of these methods take many years to perfect. They also often rely on you being in an environment which is suitable. For example; you could be in an environment where the ground is sodden, after many days of consecutive rain. Even after many years of practice with fire-starting techniques, you are not guaranteed to be able to start a fire in these conditions.

How to always guarantee a fire in a survival situation with a ferrocerium rod.

Two of the best items you can pack into a survival kit is a ferrocerium rod and some kind of kindling. The ferrocerium rod will give off a number of very hot sparks when struck with an object such as; a knife or a sharp stone. You should ensure that these sparks then land on your kindling. Cotton wool will work well as kindling and packs easily into a small survival kit.

Once the kindling begins to ignite, you should then try and spread the fire to the smallest and driest twigs and fauna you have been able to gather. Eventually you will be able to start burning logs and keep the fire going. Sheltering the fire and surrounding it with stones can help keep it going for many days, in all conditions.

 

So why is fire so important?

There are several reasons why it ranks so highly on the list of things to consider in a survival situation. The first, is obviously warmth. In a cold environment, the effect of the cold can quickly accumulate, with your core body temperature staying low throughout the day, even with the sun in the sky, from the night before. As night falls this may leave you prone to hypothermia. Which is one of the biggest killers in the great outdoors.

Secondly. It’s important for cooking food. In winter months, it may be that the only food you can find is that which you have trapped, or fished for. You should obviously cook meat before eating.

It’s also important because passing aircraft, or someone a few miles away may be able to see the smoke and come to your aid.

Amongst the other benefits are for hygiene (smoke cleanses the clothes and the body), allowing you to boil water (which can kill some harmful bacteria) and also as a moral booster.

All of this can be achieved by packing a small ferrocerium rod and a bit of kindling. Which is light to carry and only costs a few dollars.

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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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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.

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.

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.


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.