Tagged: Survival Skills
March 26, 2014 at 6:49 pm #3652
Fear – For anyone faced with a wilderness emergency survival situation, fear is a normal reaction. Unless an emergency situation has been anticipated, fear is generally followed by panic then pain, cold, thirst, hunger, fatigue, boredom and loneliness. It is extremely important to calmly assess the situation and not allow these seven enemies to interfere with your survival.
Pain – Pain may often be ignored in a panic situation. Remember to deal with injuries immediately before they become even more serious.
Cold – Cold lowers the ability to think, numbing the body and reducing the will to survive. Never allow yourself to stop moving or to fall asleep unless adequately sheltered.
Thirst – Dehydration is a common enemy in an emergency situation and must not be ignored. It can dull your mind, causing you to overlook important survival information.
Hunger – Hunger is dangerous but seldom deadly. It may reduce your ability to think logically and increase your susceptibility to the effects of cold, pain and fear.
Fatigue – Fatigue is unavoidable in any situation so it is best to keep in mind that it can and will lower your mental ability. Remember that in an emergency situation this is often the bodies way of escaping a difficult situation.
Boredom & Loneliness – These enemies are quite often unanticipated and may lower the mind’s ability to deal with the situation.
Building a fire is the most important task when dealing with survival in the wilderness. Be sure to build yours in a sandy or rocky area or near a supply of sand and water as to avoid forest fires. The most common mistakes made by those attempting to build a fire are: choosing poor tinder, failing to shield precious matches from the wind and smothering the flames with too large pieces of fuel. The four most important factors when starting a fire are spark – tinder – fuel – oxygen.
1. Waterproof, strike-anywhere matches are your best bet. Matches may be water-proofed by dipping them in nail polish. Store your matches in a waterproof container.
2. A cigarette lighter is also a good way to produce a spark, with or without fuel.
3. The flint and steel method is one of the oldest and most reliable methods in fire starting. Aim the sparks at a pile of dry tinder to produce a fire.
4. The electric spark produced from a battery will ignite a gasoline dampened rag.
5. Remove half of the powder from a bullet and pour it into the tinder. Next place a rag in the cartridge case of the gun and fire. The rag should ignite and then may be placed into the tinder.
6. Allow the suns rays to pass through a magnifying glass onto the tinder.
Dry grass, paper or cloth lint, gasoline-soaked rags and dry bark are all forms of tinder. Place your tinder in a small pile resembling a tepee with the driest pieces at the bottom. Use a fire starter or strip of pitch if it is available.
Before building your shelter be sure that the surrounding area provides the materials needed to build a good fire, a good water source and shelter from the wind. It is important to keep in mind that smaller pieces of kindling such as, twigs, bark, shavings and gasoline, are necessary when trying to ignite larger pieces of fuel. Gather fuel before attempting to start your fire. Obviously dry wood burns better and wet or pitchy wood will create more smoke. Dense, dry wood will burn slow and hot. A well ventilated fire will burn best.
A small shelter which is insulated from the bottom
Wilderness shelters may include:
1. Natural shelters such as caves and overhanging cliffs. When exploring a possible shelter tie a piece of string to the outer mouth of the cave to ensure you will be able to find your way out. Keep in mind that these caves may already be occupied. If you do use a cave for shelter, build your fire near its mouth to prevent animals from entering.
2. Enlarge the natural pit under a fallen tree and line it with bark or tree boughs.
3. Near a rocky coastal area, build a rock shelter in the shape of a U, covering the roof with driftwood and a tarp or even seaweed for protection.
4. A lean-to made with poles or fallen trees and a covering of plastic, boughs, thick grasses or bark is effective to shelter you from wind, rain and snow.
5. A wigwam may be constructed using three long poles. Tie the tops of the poles together and upright them in an appropriate spot. Cover the sides with a tarp, boughs, raingear or other suitable materials. Build a fire in the center of the wigwam, making a draft channel in the wall and a small hole in the top to allow smoke to escape.
6. If you find yourself in open terrain, a snow cave will provide good shelter. Find a drift and burrow a tunnel into the side for about 60 cm (24 in) then build your chamber. The entrance of the tunnel should lead to the lowest level of you chamber where the cooking and storage of equipment will be. A minimum of two ventilating holes are necessary, preferably one in the roof and one in the door.
Clothing must provide warmth and offer protection from the elements. Layers of light, natural fibers are best. Hats are a must, as they offer protection from both the heat and cold. Water proof outer layers are necessary.
Equipment must be easily manageable and promote survival in any situation. Items to carry in your pockets may include a fire starter, waterproof matches and/or lighter, a pocket knife, goggles, compass, small first-aid kit and some sort of trail food.
Items for your survival kit should be packed in a waterproof container that can double as a cooking pot and water receptacle and be attached to your belt.
In addition to a survival kit, a good, comfortable backpack is mandatory. Loads of about 18 kg (40 lb.) are average. Items to include are; flashlight, extra jacket, socks and mittens, a pocket saw, gas camp stove, first aid kit, emergency food, and a tent and fly.
Useful items to include on your trek are:
1. A map and compass.
2. A large, bright plastic bag will be useful as a shelter, signaling device or in lieu of raingear.
3. A flashlight with extra batteries.
4. Extra water and food.
5. Extra clothing such as raingear, a toque and gloves, a sweater and pants.
6. Sun protection such as sunglasses, sunscreen, a hat and long sleeved clothing.
7. A sharp pocket knife.
8. Waterproof matches, a lighter and/or a flint.
9. Candles and fire starter.
10. A first aid kit.
11. A whistle, flares, a tarp.
Before venturing into the wilderness check weather forecasts and hazards.March 26, 2014 at 7:14 pm #3660
Gypsy Wanderer HuskySurvivalist
Great list instructor!!
Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.
George S. PattonMarch 26, 2014 at 7:33 pm #3664
That is very kind of you GWH, thank youMarch 26, 2014 at 7:37 pm #3665
Good info Tom.March 26, 2014 at 7:43 pm #3668
Thank you Selco.March 27, 2014 at 4:19 pm #4049
Take “strike anywhere” matches and dip in wax. Keeps them ready and also enhances the first attempt to light
Simple fire starter: take an egg carton, paper only, and stuff each egg section with dryer lint. Pour wax into each
holder. Break into separate pieces. When needed to start a fire light the paper part of the starter. Can also be used
to heat up a small item such as cup of soup.
RobinMarch 29, 2014 at 10:00 pm #5198
Wilderness Survival… A few years ago, I saw a documentary called The Story of Dick Proenneke ~ Alone in the Wilderness. It is a very good example off going back to basics… Treat yourself and see how he builds a log cabin, but listen close to all his wise words.
When I, myself now go walking somewhere high up in the mountains, looking at where it is safe to put my hiking boot, I think about his words. He said that one tends to be more careful when you are all by yourself. When you are two people, you tend to relax, loose concentration and then get hurt.
The bigger the group, the bigger the risk that the individual relies on other people to keep him safe.
Just a thought…March 31, 2014 at 2:32 am #5684
You can make a walking stick basket to carry some things in that you gather. (its called a mushroom hunters basket); You use a long enough limb with a smaller branch or two off the side of it and curve the smaller one or two in a circle and weave from there to fill in. You could use spruce roots, grapevine or willow for example for the weaving. It makes a nice walking stick basket. You have to fill in more later as when you use fresh material it shrinks. Sorry I don’t have a picture of one (I sold the one I made and it isn’t the season here to make another.)
You could also make a fish trap basket. Seems to me that basketry is one more skill good to have.
EunoApril 2, 2014 at 12:55 pm #6281
I’ve got a basket handbag that was made in Ghana – Africa, that is 25 years old and still in use. They are so strong, http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-5CVU9rv3rH0/TzVRZNgRw9I/AAAAAAAABX4/hSq4Ox17t5g/s1600/3+Recycled+Storage+Pots.JPG Mine made from all natural grass. This picture is a good example, just made from plastic bags.April 4, 2014 at 4:20 am #6740
Great list of basic survival, instructor. One thing I would disagree with: light natural fiber clothing. Cotton is known to be deadly in wet winters. I know in the Alaskan Interior, which was dry and extremely cold, we wore synthetic fleece most of the time. Light and very warm, dried quickly if wet. Of course when things got really bad and windy, furs were good (but heavy.)April 4, 2014 at 6:09 pm #6840
Thanks so much!
HannahApril 4, 2014 at 8:43 pm #6874
Thank you instructor, I have almost all of your list but have never used them all in a real wilderness survival so that maybe a problem.April 14, 2014 at 3:33 am #8518
Instructor, thanks for sharing. Very good.May 11, 2014 at 4:00 am #13304
Better than wax over strike anywhere matches is to spray or dip the matches in varnish. Wax can rub off, but varnish impregnates the wood, making the matches permanently waterproof. Before I started doing this, I had matches just smoke and go out because they had absorbed moisture thru the stick.
As well as these matches, I carry a Bic lighter and a metal match in my survival kit. You just can’t have too many ways to start a fire. Also try a plastic film can full of calcium carbide (for miner’s lamps in the old days). Put a t-spoon of this in a small can with some water and build your fire over the acetylene gas it releases. Works even in the pouring rain.
I swear that I will defend the Constitution against all enemies - foreign and domestic. SargemsbJuly 22, 2014 at 5:39 pm #19638
If you rely on matches or a lighter to start a fire, you will be cold. Lighters have problems below about 40 degrees and matches get wet at the worst possible times.
I use flint and steel about 90% of the time, but do use a firesteel during heavy downpours. I do get a wild hair every once in a while and use a bow drill, but it is more to show off than anything. Cotton balls coated in Vaseline work even after they have been soaked, so a firesteel will light them in the worst weather.
All in all, you should get comfortable with all the gear and techniques you like to use so that you don’t end up cold and dead when things don’t work.
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