Quick Tip #14

You know that shiny emergency blanket you have tucked away in your backpack or emergency kit? It’s got so many more uses than to be just used simply as an emergency blanket. One use we will be talking about quickly today is as a heat reflector near a fire.

Find yourself two fairly straight sticks that are about an inch or so thick and will be about two feet longer than the shorter side of the emergency blanket. Sharpen one end of each stick to a point. Now lay your emergency blanket out on the ground stretched out flat. Take one of your sticks and lay it across the short side of the emergency blanket. Leave about 1 ½ feet of the sharpened end sticking out passed the blanket and about ½ foot on the other end. Start to roll the emergency blanket around the stick about 6 or so times. Now do the same thing on the other side of the emergency blanket with the other stick.

You are now ready to setup a heat reflector by your fire. Choose whether you want the heat reflector across the fire from you or behind you. If you choose to place the heat reflector near the fire across from you, make sure, depending on the size of your fire that the emergency blanket is a reasonable distance away from the fire so that it doesn’t melt or get holes in it from sparks flying around.

Once you have chosen where you want to place the heat reflector find a thick stick or something else that can be used as a hammer. Push the pointed end of each stick into the ground as far as you can well keeping the emergency blanket in between the two sticks as tight as possible. Now hammer the blunt end of each stick, making sure not to hit so hard you break the sticks wrapped in the emergency blanket, so that the pointed end goes further into the ground. Make sure to leave 2-4 inches in between the ground and the emergency blanket so that it is less likely to get damaged. You should now have a nice heat reflector that will help you capture some of the lost heat from your fire. If you set the reflector up behind you it will help remedy the issue of having a cold backside.

As always get out and enjoy nature at your own risk and have fun doing it. Thanks for taking the time to read and feel free to leave a comment or let me know some of the extra ways you use emergency blankets.

Quick Tip #13

When putting together an emergency fishing kit try using braided fishing line instead of mono. If you’ve ever tried to straighten out that emergency fishing line in any of the small kits available on the market today you know it’s a feat in itself to get it untangled and to try to ever get it straight again. Braided fishing line can take being wound up tightly unlike mono line can. Also the braided line is thinner in comparison to the mono for the same pound test line. If you ever need that emergency fishing kit you made you’ll be happy (jumping for joy) that you chose to use braided fishing line over mono. Which fishing line do you prefer, braided or mono, for an emergency fishing kit and why?

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.

Finding Water in a Survival Situation

These are just a few ways to find and purify water if you find yourself in a survival situation in the wilderness. Obviously if you find yourself in a true survival situation you’re going to first want to assess your situation. Make sure you and whoever else might be with you are okay. Next you will want to take stock of what supplies you might have and what could possibly hold water. Once you have completed everything you needed to, such as cleaning and patching up wounds, gathering supplies and building a shelter you are going to want to find a good source of drinking water.

When looking for water start by just looking around the area you are in. If you can’t see anything nearby then stand quietly for a bit. If there is a fast moving river nearby you will most likely be able to hear it. You can even hear small bubbling brooks pretty well if there is one nearby and you really listen for it. It helps sometimes to close your eyes when you’re listening because you’ll actually be able to hear better than when your eyes were open. I know it sounds crazy but it works.

If you can’t see or hear any water then you will have to start searching to find some. If you have them, take a pen or pencil and paper or something else you can write on and draw a map as you are walking or mark your path. This way if you find water you’ll have a map of where it is in relation to your camp. If there are others with you, you’ll be able to send them for water without having to go with them.

Well searching for water look for lush green plants, swarming insects and animal tracks. If there are lush green plants around there is most likely a water source somewhere nearby. Animals need water just as much as we do. Look for multiple species of tracks converging and heading in one direction. They are all probably drinking from the same water source. If you are high up on a mountain head down hill towards a valley or low lying area.

If you still are not able to find a good source for water there are a few ways that you can collect water if you have a few supplies. One way to collect water is to make a solar still, but you will need a piece of plastic and a collection container. Find a shallow hole in the ground with some vegetation in it and place your container in the center of the hole. Place a piece of plastic over the hole and cover the edges of the plastic with small rocks and some dirt or sand to make it air tight. Place a small stone in the middle of the plastic so that the plastic dips a little towards the inside of the container. It will take a bit of time before you collect a decent amount of drinking water but it will work. You can also “pull” water out of leafy green trees and shrubbery buy placing a bag over the end of a branch with leaves on it and closing off the open end of the bag tightly around the branch. Make sure to place a small rock in the bottom of the bag so that it stays lower than the branch. This way water can collect in the bottom of the bag.

Another easy way to get water is to collect as much rain water or dew as you can. Of course it will have to be raining for this to work. If you have a tarp, make low spots where water can collect. You can also divert water into any containers you might have. If you find yourself in an area where there is snow, you can just melt the snow with a fire or with body heat. When you are active during the day you can eat snow and this will also help you regulate your body temperature so that you aren’t sweating when you are exerting a lot of energy. Do not eat snow when you are not moving or exerting any energy. It will lower your internal body temperature and cold mean death.

Another area where you can sometimes find water is in a dry river bed. Sometimes there will be small pools of water in shaded areas, under rocks or on the inside bend of the river bed. If you find ground that is damp or moist, dig a hole and see if it begins to slowly fill with water.

If you did by chance find a decent water source you are going to want to make sure it is drinkable as best you can. Whether it is a small brook, large river, lake or pond, look around the water source. Make sure it is not near any pastures or farm land because of contamination. Make sure there is no human waste or garbage all around or in the water source. See if there seems to be a lot of life around this particular water source. Check for animal tracks to see if they are using this as a source for drinking water. You want to start with a healthy looking water source if at all possible. You also want a water source that is moving and not stagnant.

If you have containers and a bandana or some sort of piece of cloth you can place the cloth on top of the container to pre filter the water. It will help filter out large objects as well as some sand and sediment. Next you will want to boil the water in whatever container you may have. You can boil water in plastic if it is done properly and watched closely. I don’t recommend it unless you don’t have any other option. If you have a clear plastic container and can get fairly clear water you can use the sun to purify the water. Preferably you want a sunny day. Fill the bottle completely full and lay it on its side on a rock or a piece of reflective metal for four hours. If the sky is cloudy or the water isn’t clear you will want to let it sit for 24-48 hours.

Every survival situation is different and it could be as simple as you forgot your water filter well out hiking or camping. I have drunk water without any filter or purification but I was up high in elevation and it was a spring flowing out of a rock face. Everyone has to make their own decisions about what chances they are willing to take but it is a good idea to practice primitive water collection and purification to be better prepared for a survival situation. You can get water from some plants and vines as well but you must learn ahead of time what those plants and vines are. It’s all about knowledge and practicing what you have learned. How do you purify or filter your water now when you are out in the wild? Have you ever thought about what you would do if you didn’t have a water filter or some form of purification? Water is too important to our bodies to not know and learn as many ways to collect it as possible in a survival situation.