Quick Tip #17

Here are some simple stocking stuffer ideas for the camper, bushcrafter or outdoor enthusiast in your life.

 

Ferocerium Rod (fire starter)
Magnesium block (fire starter)
UCO stormproof matches or any matches you can find
Bandana or Survival Bandana (Survival Tips printed on it)
Cordage (550 or 850 paracord, 1000# Paramax, bank line or even Jute twine which can also be used as tinder for starting fires.
Small lengths of fat wood
Compass
Pocket knife or Hobo Pocket Knife
Emergency Fishing Kit
Pocket Chainsaw
Emergency Whistle
Carabiners
Emergency Blanket
Emergency Candles
Books (Survival, Tracking, Weather Patterns, Edible Plants, Shelter Building etc…)
Trail Maps
Pre-packaged Camp food or snacks (Jerky, Mountain House, Backpacker Pantry ect…)
Mora Knife
Flashlight or headlamp
Duct Tape
Small Pocket or small camp stove
Emergency Rain Poncho
Emergency light sticks
Hand and feet warmers
Water Filter

 

These are just a few ideas for those that are not sure what to throw in their outdoor enthusiasts Christmas stocking. There are plenty of other small useful things that will fit in a Christmas stocking but if you are not sure what to fill that stocking with feel free to use this list to help you out. What outdoor themed things are you putting in a Christmas stocking this year that may not be on this list?

My 10 Survival Items I would take if I were on History channels new show “Alone”

I’ve seen the previews a couple times for this new T.V. show called “Alone” that debuted on the History channel last week. I also got to catch the end of the first episode that was rerun on Father’s Day. Ever since I saw the preview I’ve thought to myself what 10 items would I take if I were on this show and had to survive with only those ten items and the clothes I was wearing. So here are the ten items that I came up with after much thought.

1)            Gransfors Bruks 430 Scandinavian Axe: Having a good quality axe would make my chances of surviving in the wilderness much higher. I would be able to process larger amounts of wood for fires as well as build a more permanent shelter to survive in modest comfort and possibly beat my competition.

2)            SOG Powerlock EOD Multi tool: To be honest I did have a quality bushcraft knife here to begin with but the more I thought about it, it made more sense to have a good quality multi tool instead. To me the multi tool is more useful than a single knife. I already would have an axe and I could possibly fashion a primitive knife out of things in the environment, the pliers alone would be very useful.

3)            Buck Saw (Homemade): Having a saw would make processing wood quicker and easier as well as take some of the wear and tear off of the axe.

4)            Lansky “The Puck” Tool Sharpener: Why have all these quality cutting tools without an easy quick way to keep them sharp and functioning properly.

5)            Fire Steel Rod: For obvious reasons I would want an ignition source to be able to create fire.

6)            Sawyer Personal Water Bottle: As long as nothing malfunctions, this water bottle will filter 1,000,000 gallons of water (should outlast my competition). That alone would give me an advantage over my competition. By being able to purify water right away on day 1 without needing to process wood for a fire as well as spending time trying to get a fire going, I would put myself in a better position of staying well hydrated. By having an easy way to stay hydrated I would be able to use precious energy elsewhere.

7)            Stainless Steel 3qt. Kettle Cook Pot: For cooking as well as collecting and boiling water if the water filter were to fail.

8)            550 cord: I would fill my cook pot with as much 550 cord (one continuous length) as would fit. We’ll just leave it at as many uses as your imagination or skill will allow.

9)            Hennessy Hammock Shelter: Not sure if this is allowed or would be considered more than one item. If allowed, my reasons for taking this shelter system are; Quick setup time, off the ground sleeping, very comfortable, easy to stay dry and should last for a while well building a more permanent shelter to outlast the competition.  If not allowed, I would take a tarp, possibly made out of oiled canvas, ripstop nylon or Cuban fiber.

10)          -15 degree sleeping bag: Obviously the warmer I could stay and more comfortable I could be would help me possibly outlast the competition. With that being said if I couldn’t use the Hennessey Hammock Shelter I would probably go with a high quality wool blanket instead. The wool blanket would more than likely hold up much better over the long haul than the sleeping bag would.

These are the 10 items I would take if I were to be on this T.V. show. This is not the perfect list by any means but it’s the list I put together if I were going to try to survive and win the show. Making the early days and weeks as comfortable and “easy” as possible would help keep me in a better frame of mind. That was my thinking when I put this list together. By having an easy way to stay hydrated and an easy dry shelter that would also keep me warm and off the ground, would be huge on the very first night and days to follow. With a very short setup time I would be able to have a comfortable shelter and water, all without ever doing very much work. That would leave me free to set snares and process firewood.  Your list would probably look different than mine so let me know in the comments section what you would take and why. Thanks for reading and as always get out and enjoy nature.

550 Para Cord 101

In the last 3-5 years 550 para cord has gained mainstream popularity. With a lot of survival gear designed out of 550 cord or incorporating 550 cord somehow, a lot more people are carrying it. Since the invention of 550 cord, which was originally made for and used in parachutes for the military, many outdoor enthusiasts have carried this cord for building shelters, lashing things together as well as many other things. Many people that were familiar with its strength have always kept some in their garage as well. 550 Cord is useful for so many applications that it is considered the duct tape of cordage. It wasn’t until “survival bracelets” became popular and became very fashionable, that many people became familiar with this type of cord. Many veterans that were familiar with 550 para cord because of their military service continued to carry and use 550 cord after they left the military just because of its usefulness.

I as well as many others have always carried some 550 cord in their packs well outdoors. 550 para cord is great because it is made of a synthetic material (nylon or polyester) and because of that it does not rot or mildew. This is great for water applications. Since I like to Kayak it’s great to be able to not worry about my cordage deteriorating because of water contact. 550 cord is affected by UV rays and will weaken with prolonged exposure to the sun. Dirt and oils, like the oils from your skin do affect synthetic materials as well. That is why climbers take very good care of their robes. After each climb they are washed, dried and stored in a dark place. This helps any synthetic cordage to last longer. I’m not telling you that you have to wash your para cord bracelet every time you wear it but remember the dirtier and older it is the higher the chance the cord will not be as strong when you use it. You also want to be careful around open flames or intense heat because 550 cord will melt. That is one of its weaknesses.

If you are buying 550 cord or any gear made out of 550 cord make sure that it says that it is made in America. All of the American cord is tested to meet the 550 lb limit and some of the cord even surpasses 550 lbs. The stuff coming from china is not tested to meet the 550 lb limit even though it is labeled as 550 cord. One of the local companies that I order my 550 cord from, they make 550 cord for our military, has tested Chinese para cord and most of it is failing around 150-200 lbs. You can use this cord if you want but don’t expect it to hold 550 lbs.

The great thing about 550 para cord is that, say you only have a two foot piece of cord, you can take that short piece, cut the melted ends and pull the seven inner strands out and now you have eight cords, two feet long. You will now have enough cord to tie the frame of a shelter together. You can also take one of the inner strands that you just took out of the outer sheath and unwind it so that it can be used for fishing line. There are tons of uses for 550 para cord. Here are just a few:

Making a Shelter                                              Attaching gear

Fishing Line                                                         Snares

Knife Lanyards                                                  Neck Lanyards

Bow Drill                                                              Shoe Laces

Making a Hammock                                        Fishing Lure

Lashing a Knife to a Spear                             Hanging Things around Camp

Tourniquet                                                         Gun Slings

Belts                                                                      Repairing Failed Gear

Equipment Handles                                        Color Coding Gear

 

I could go on and on about how useful 550 para cord is and all of its many uses but I’ll stop here.  550 cord will only be limited by your problem solving skills and or imagination. If you do not have or are not using 550 para cord I suggest that you get some and keep it in your bug out bag, backpacking bag, hunting bag, garage or anyplace you may be able to use it. I always carry 100 feet of cord in my backpack no matter what I’m doing. It is to useful not to have some on me at all times. What things do you use 550 cord for? Are you familiar with its strengths and weaknesses? All of the 550 cord gear in my store is made in America by Americans out of American made parts. You don’t have to buy from me but make sure you are buying quality para cord gear that is made in America out of American made parts.