Make an Improvement TodayJanuary 29, 2016
Knot CraftMarch 18, 2016
Let’s talk a little about some other basics. Similar to the basics I’ve mentioned before. One of my primary objectives is to help prepare and be a training aid, or provide a word of advice that can help the skilled and the novice. It can be difficult to cater to both, but I’ve found that if I stick to simple truths there will be something to learn for the person open to learning.
I’ve prepared another list of things to think about and prioritize as we move into our survival situations. We all have to start somewhere and now is as good a time as ever to acquire a new skill, refresh or evolve.
- Finding a campsite – You’ll want to keep three things in mind when you are scouting campsites; terrain, dangers and resources. Avoid valleys and paths where water may flow toward you. Choose a campsite away from dangers like insect nests and widow-makers (dead branches that may crash down at any time) as well as falling rocks. You want to be close to resources like running water, dry wood and formations that can shield you from the elements.
- 2.Building shelter – Hypothermia is the number one outdoor killer in cold weather. A well-insulated shelter should be a top priority in a prolonged survival situation. To make a simple lean-to, find a downed tree resting at an angle, or set a large branch securely against a standing tree, and stack smaller branches close together on one side. Layer debris, like leaves and moss, across the angled wall and insulate yourself from the cold ground (it will draw heat from your warm body) layering four to six inches of debris to lie on should do a great deal to help.
- Build a fire – Try to think of fire building in terms of four key ingredients: tinder bundle of dry, fibrous material (covered in Vaseline or lip balm are an excellent choice) and wood in three sizes—toothpick, Q-tip, and pencil. Use a forearm-sized log as a base and windscreen for your tinder. When the tinder is lit, stack the smaller kindling against the larger log to allow oxygen to pass through and feed the flames. Add larger kindling as the flame grows.
- Clean water – You will come across two kinds of water in the wilderness. Potable water that’s already purified, and water that can kill you.When it comes to questionable water, anything that’s been on the ground long-term, like puddles and stream, your best option is boiling water. Boiling is 100 percent effective in killing pathogens. Use it whenever boiling and fire is an option.Rain, snow, and dew are reliable sources of clean water you can collect fairly easily and they don’t need to be purified. With a couple of bandannas, you could collect up to two gallons of water in an hour by soaking up dew and ringing out the bandannas. You can also squeeze water certain plants (be cautious). If there are any maple trees around, cut a hole in the bark and let the watery syrup run. It is an excellent source of natural energy.
- Navigate without a compass (day) – When you find yourself without GPS technology or a map and compass you can use the sky to find the way. The most obvious method to get a general bearing by day is to look at the sun, which rises approximately in the east and sets approximately in the west anywhere in the world. But you can also use an analog watch to find the north-south line. Hold the watch horizontally and point the hour hand at the sun. Picture a line running exactly midway between the hour hand and 12 o’clock. This is the north-south line. Pay attention to daylight savings time. During this time draw the line between the hour hand and one o’clock.
- Navigate without a compass (night) – Look forPolaris, or the North Star, which is the end of the Little Dipper’s handle. If you can find the Big Dipper, draw a line between the two stars at the outer edge of the constellation’s dipper portion. Extend this line toward the Little Dipper, and it will line up with Polaris. Face Polaris, and you’re facing true north. With a crescent moon in the sky, connect the horns of the crescent with an imaginary line. Extend this line to the horizon to indicate a southerly bearing. Once you determine your direction, pick a landmark nearby or in the distance to follow by daylight.
- Learn knots – There will be a whole post on knots in the future. For the time being learn a Bowline. It is widely used and one of the primary “rescue knots”. Keep an eye out for this future post. There is way too much material to cover in just a few sentences.