Survival Skills

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Video - Quick-Release Bowline Knot

This video shows how to tie a Quick-Release Bowline Knot.

Urban Survival - Things To Avoid

Urban survival can be very different than wilderness survival. It is an entirely different environment with a lot more people. There is much more crime, and chances are you will not know many people.

My Day Pack Revealed

I am often asked what I carry in my day pack, so I thought I might might do an article revealing the contents. Although I call it my day pack, I would be comfortable spending a couple of days in the woods if it became necessary. The pack only weighs 14-3/4 pounds, so it is easy to  carry.

Have Basic Survival Kits Become Passé?

I ask this question because I don’t hear much today about “survival  Kits” in general. I seem to hear a lot about Bug-Out Bags, Inch Bags, and Get-Home Bags. I hear about Bushcraft Packs and Haversacks, some of which require canvas tarps and wool blankets.  

Spring Poles & Triggers

If you are in an area where you are competing with other animals for food, you will want to use a means to raise the animal you caught in a snare, up and off the ground.  These types of snares have been called "Twitch-Ups", "Spring Poles", "Spring Snares" and "Branch Lifts".  For the purpose of this article, when I talk about the engine that raises the caught animal, I will call it a "Spring Pole".

Making A Can Whistle

This is a whistle that can be made from any old can found in the field. This technique was originally in Boys Life, a Boy Scout magazine, back in the 1950's. My father, who was an Eagle Scout as well as my Scoutmaster, used to have our troop make these.

Measuring Width Without Tools

Many years ago my father showed me a way to measure the width of something like a stream, without tools, and without getting wet. I thought I would share the technique so others could use it in the field.

Signal Mirrors For  Rescue

One of the most important signaling devices you can have in your survival kit is a signal mirror! It is often underrated as a signaling device, but is a very valuable tool for daytime signaling, and can even be used at night with a full moon.  During the day, with a good sun, the flash from a signal mirror can be seen for more than ten miles.

Suspending Pots Over A Fire

Once you have  bails on all your   cups and pots, you need a way to hang them over a fire.  There are more than a dozen ways that have  been devised for doing this.  However, I  have found four basic Pot Suspension Systems that are easy to make in the field, and I will discuss them one at a  time.

Natural Tinder

Natural tinder is any dry tinder  you can find in the outdoors, has a low flash point, and can be easily ignited with a minimum of heat, including a spark.   Many books list the various types of natural tinder available in the  outdoors, but without knowing what they look like, many people have a difficult  time identifying them when they see them.   Therefore, I will make an effort to show various types available, in the  Northeast U.S., where I am located.  Of  course there are many more types of natural tinder in other areas and  countries, and it is up to you to learn those indigenous to your area.

Transpiration Bags For Water Collection

Most people who write about solar stills can be divided into two camps.   Proponents and opponents. The first group usually are those that talk about the in ground solar still, borrow diagrams from old military manuals, and tout their effectiveness.  Many of these people have never built one.  The second group, usually have built one, and not only have determined they don't work very well, but you lose more water from your body through sweating, than you gain from the still.  However, the Transpiration Bag IS a solar still and IS an effective way to collect water, with very little effort on your part!  All you have to do is carry some large, clear plastic bags and a small amount of cordage in your kit or pack.

Free Thinking For Survival

I believe in free thinking in all aspects of my life and survival is no different.  I often hear people in the survival community discuss various aspects of priorities during a survival situation, the proper way to perform a specific task, and even what type of equipment you must carry.  I don't believe this is necessarily a bad thing, as long as it doesn't prevent people from thinking outside of the box, or hamper their ability to think for themselves when a situation changes. Inflexibility, especially under stress, can thwart logical and reasonable judgment.

One Handed Fire Starting Technique - Video

This is a short video which  demonstrates a practical, simple, and easy technique for starting a fire with one hand using a Ferrocerium rod and a knife.

Backyard And Camping Survival

The worst time to find out that some of your survival kit components, or other gear, is not what you expected, or that you can't operate your components or gear properly, is during an emergency situation! I have always been a big advocate of, what I call, Backyard Survival.

Coal Burning A Spoon

I am often asked how to make a spoon using a coal from a fire. Therefore I thought I would provide a short tutorial on the process.  First, get a good fire going and make some good coals.

The Survival Mentality

It  has become a survival axiom that your most important survival tool is your  mind.  I agree of course, but that mind  must be working properly in order to be an asset.  Unfortunately, the onset of a survival  situation throws the mind out of equilibrium.   In other words, the mind is thrown out of balance.  The mind controls the body and the body  automatically reacts.  The psychological  situation often triggers a physiological reaction. It is like the feeling you  might get in your stomach when you hear a pilot announce "Brace For Impact".  Not a good feeling, but  one you can't control.

Heat Loss Mechanisms

There are five ways that the heat from your body can be transferred to the environment, and they are called Heat Loss Mechanisms. In a cold environment, they can all be detrimental, but in a hot climate, some of these mechanisms can be to your advantage.

Quadripod Water Filter

Many of the military manuals show using a tripod, on which to attach the material, and this technique is shown in many other books on survival.  Why not build a Quadripod, using four long sticks, using a sheer lashing at top. You can now use three square pieces of material, such as bandanas. Just tie a knot in each corner of the three bandanas which makes them in the shape of a container, or dipped pocket.

Weaving In The Field

Oftentimes in the field, it might be handy to make a straw mat, a windbreak for a survival shelter, or other type device from dried grasses, reeds, etc. A simple way is by hand weaving or loom weaving.

Handgun Training For Survival

Today, the world has become a much more dangerous place to live. We have  terrorism, civil unrest, increased criminal violence to include armed  robbery, and in some cases, because of the direction of some in society,  violence simply for purpose of violence.  Because of this, many more  people are arming themselves with a handgun for personal protection.

Improvised Signaling

There are all kinds of signaling devices available to carry  in a survival kit or a pack.  But sometimes  you might fail to have all of these devices with you when an emergency  situation occurs.   However, as long as  you know that you must let people know where you are and that you are in  trouble, you can come up with some interesting ways to signal your position to rescue  personnel.

Christopher Nyerges - School of Self-Reliance

Over the years I have seen many survival schools come and go, yet a few have stood the test of time. One of these successful schools, owned by Christopher Nyerges, is the School of Self-Reliance. Many people are not aware that the School of Self-Reliance is possibly one of the oldest survival schools in the United States.

Be Prepared To Forage

I have often found that when you are out in the  woods, you can't always find something when you need it. So what I normally  recommend is that you should always be looking for those things that you might  need later, especially in a survival situation.   If you do this all the time then it becomes routine.  Even if you are just out hiking or exploring  the woods, make it a habit to always be looking out for things that might be  useful later, and will become second nature to you.

Ferrocerium Vs. Mischmetal - Video

This video explains both the terms "Ferrocerium"  and "Mischmetal" as they relate to Fire Starting rods.

Survival Needs - Grab It When You Can - Video

This video explains how to look for survival needs, before you need them, and Grab It When You Can.

Natural A-Frame Shelter - Adirondack Style

While on a 10 day trip to the wilderness canoe area of the Adirondacks in New York, I though it might be fun to build a Natural A-Frame Shelter. Normally, I would use saplings to weave between the side uprights, however, it is illegal to cut saplings in the Adirondack Park. Being there are so many birch trees in this area, I though birch bark might make an interesting substitute for weaving the sides.

Snow Trench Shelter

A shelter that is very practical is the Snow Trench. They are easy to make, require the least amount of effort, and are ideally suited for emergency use. Another advantage of making a Snow Trench is the minimal contact you have with the snow, decreasing your chance of getting wet while building it. Each Snow Trench shelter should be made for one person.

Teaching 6th Graders Survival

We were asked by a grade school English teacher in Saugerties, NY if we  would be willing to come to her school and do a class on survival for  her 6th grade class.

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