Tip on Preventing Blisters

First of all, remember that blisters require three conditions to occur: heat, moisture, and friction. Eliminate any one of those factors and you prevent blisters.

Buy boots that fits

Friction happens when your shoes or boots don’t fit your feet well. Buy them in a store where the staff knows how to measure your foot size. Try on a variety of brands because they all fit slightly differently; find the brand that fits your feet best. If the best boots you find still don’t fit perfectly, try after-market insoles to customize the fit.

Eliminate heat and moisture: Keep your feet dry

This may be the easiest and most effective strategy  employed: Whenever you stop for a break of five minutes or more,  take off your boots and socks and let them and your feet dry out, eliminating or at least minimizing heat and moisture. As simple as that.

Carry extra socks

If your feet get chronically sweaty, change into clean, dry socks midway through a day of hiking. Try to wash and cool your feet in a creek and dry them completely before putting on the clean socks.

Wear lightweight, non-waterproof footwear

Any footwear with a waterproof-breathable membrane is not as breathable as shoes or boots with mesh uppers and no membrane which also dry much faster if they do get wet. If you’re generally day hiking in dry weather, why do you need waterproof boots? It may seem counter intuitive, but non-waterproof shoes or boots may keep your feet drier because they won’t sweat as much.

Tape hot spots

Carry blister-treatment products like Moleskin—but also carry athletic tape, which sticks well even on damp skin. If you feel a hot spot developing,  stop immediately and apply two or three strips of athletic tape to the spot, overlapping the strips, and then check it periodically to make sure they’re still in place.

Tape preemptively

When you’re taking a really long day hike where you exponentially increasing the amount of friction that can occur, tape your heels before starting out, because you may have developed blisters on them on day hikes longer than 20 miles in the past. If you routinely get blisters in the same spots, tape them before your hike.

Use a skin lubricant

Distance runners have employed this trick for ages: Apply a lubricant to areas that tend to chafe or blister, like heels, toes, or even the inside of thighs, to eliminate the friction that causes that discomfort. Numerous products do the job, from the traditional Vaseline to roll-on sticks like BodyGlide.

You Fall Through the Ice, Now What?

 

Even if you aren’t into snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, ice fishing, or other popular outdoor winter activities, it doesn’t hurt to know how to maximize your chances of surviving if you fall through ice.

First, be aware that as soon as your body hits icy cold water, it will experience something called cold shock phenomenon. This phase lasts between one to three minutes, and is characterized by an instinctive gasping response, which can lead to hyperventilation and a huge waste of energy.

As your body experiences cold shock phenomenon, your focus should be to consciously control your breathing. Try to slow your breathing down and know that you have more time than you think to survive. If it helps, remember that many top level athletes experience this scenario almost daily with ice baths following intense workouts.

Once you are relatively calm, try to swim to the point at which you fell into the water and use your arms to grab hold of a solid edge of ice.

For most of us, the natural instinct is to pull ourselves straight out, as we would do in hoisting ourselves out of a swimming pool. According to Dr. Giesbrecht, this is next to impossible.

The most efficient way to get yourself out of the water is to keep your legs as horizontal as possible and kick like you’re swimming, and try to get into a rhythm of kicking your legs and pulling your body forward onto the ice with your arms. Kick, pull, kick, pull, etc.

Once you have kicked and pulled your body out of the water, remember that the ice is probably weak, and that it’s best to roll your body away from this point to an area that looks more solid. Rolling can transition to crawling, and when you are relatively confident that you are on solid ground or ice, you can stand up and walk away.

What To Do If You Can’t Pull Yourself Out Of The Water

If there is no one to help you and you can’t get out on your own, don’t thrash around, as you’ll only lose more heat and get further exhausted.

Try to get as much of your body out of the water as possible to minimize heat loss. Specifically, get your arms up and onto the ice. Keep your arms there and don’t move them. Then relax as much as possible.

If you’re lucky, your arms will freeze to the ice before you become unconscious. If you become unconscious, you’ll stay there a bit longer because you are frozen there – you might get rescued in this state.

What To Do As A Bystander

If you come upon someone who has broken through ice, remember that the most important goal should be to preserve yourself.

We recommends calling for help immediately, be it through yelling at people within earshot, or with a cell phone.

Tell the victim to try to relax and slow down his breathing and emphasize that you are going to help him get out.

Try to talk her out of the water – tell her to get her legs horizontal in the water, her arms up on top of the ice, and to kick, pull, kick, pull.

If the victim can’t get out by himself, find something to throw to him, like a rope, tree branch, or even a ladder from a nearby home, if available. If you throw a rope, try to create a loop at the end of it so that the victim has something to grab onto. If he can, he should try to put the loop around his trunk and elbow.

Please consider sharing these thoughts with family and friends. Always best to be ultra cautious and stay away from frozen bodies of water, but good to know all of this just in case.

Traps and Snares

In a wilderness survival situation, it is imperative to know  your way around trapping and snaring animals and fish to use for food. With a few simple tools, a lot of patience, and a little bit of ingenuity, you can set up traps and snares to capture game animals, fish and birds with relative ease.

Traps and Snares for Game Animals:

Simple snare

To make a ground snare on a game trail, simply tie a “noose” from a line that slips easily, paracord works the best but fishing line also works, either using a slip knot or by feeding the line through a smooth ring. Tie off the end of the line to a tree or other sturdy object, and place twigs in the ground near the “noose” end of the snare. Then, suspend the “noose” from the twigs you placed in the ground, aiming to get it around the head height of the animal you are hoping to ensnare. The goal is to snare the head of the animal as it runs through the “noose,” so that it becomes trapped by its neck, and its attempts to free itself from the line tighten the snare further. Bait can be used to lure the animal to the snare.

Pit trapping


If you are in an area where larger game are plentiful and you have some time on your hands, you can also create a pit trap. Pit trapping can be used for deer or even elk, if you can dig deeply enough. Making pit traps is very time consuming and labor intensive, as you are essentially fashioning a grave from which the animal cannot escape. Begin by digging a hole in the ground wide enough to accommodate the body of the animal you wish to trap, and deep enough that the animal will not be able to escape once it falls in. If possible, shore up the “walls” of the pit with stones, creating a sort of makeshift masonry so that the integrity of the structure of the pit will not be compromised. Cover the pit carefully with thatch-work and leaves in order to disguise it, and wait. Note: be very aware of where you have placed the trap, lest you fall in yourself!

Deadfall

A deadfall trap is just what it sounds like: ideally, this trap makes the animal dead when it falls on top of it. In order to create a deadfall, find a large rock with a relatively flat surface on one side and use a tripod of sticks to hold it aloft. Bait should be placed at the center of the stick tripod. Make sure the sticks aren’t too solidly attached to one another, or the trap will not fall when the sticks are disturbed by the animal. Nor do you want them to be too weakly connected, lest the trap fall with a change of the wind!

Traps and Snares for Birds:

Net trapping

If you have a large net in your survival kit and feel like fowl, you may be in luck. By suspending a net between two trees in the flight path of a bird flock, you can ensnare one or more birds by trapping them in the netting. It is important that you leave a fold of netting down at ground level in case the bird should find its way downward—and since this method doesn’t involve any snaring of a specific body part, it is important to check it often if you are utilizing it just in case the bird should escape given time.

Perch snaring

Another method that can prove useful for bird-catching is a perch-style snare. Take a small stick and wedge it very loosely into the crotch of a tree branch, baiting the stick if desired. Then, tie a “noose” similar to that used in a ground snare, although very thin line is advised for bird snaring, such as fishing line and secure it to the tree, draping the “noose” end over the loosely-wedged stick. When the bird lights upon the stick, the stick should fall under its weight, thus trapping the bird by the feet.

Deadfall for ground birds

Just as you can use a deadfall trap for small game, you can use a similar trap for flightless birds. Using the same technique outlined for the small game deadfall, create a baited tripod of loosely-connected sticks holding aloft a large rock. When the bird disturbs the sticks in an attempt to reach the bait, the rock will fall and crush the bird or at least trap it in place.

Traps and Snares for Fish:

Trapping fish with a net


If you have a net, you can suspend it deep in the water of a river or creek by tying it off to poles place firmly in the ground, either at shore or further into the water. The net should be baited throughout, weighted at the bottom, and checked frequently to see if you have a catch. This is a simple, passive method for catching fish.

Bottle trapping

This method of fish-catching is painfully simple, but it does limit the size of fish you can catch. What you do is take a two-liter bottle such as those used for soda pop and clean it out, removing the label and the cap. Cut the bottle just below the neck, leaving a wide-mouthed container and a “funnel” that the neck has created. Cut off the threads of the bottle, leaving about a two-inch hole in the “funnel.” Place the “funnel” end backwards into the large portion of the bottle, so the neck of the funnel is facing inwards. Affix a line to the bottle, and add weights and bait—then sink your trap and wait for the fish to swim on in.

A line of lines

If you like, you can also make a line of multiple fishing lines in order to catch fish while you attend to other tasks. Here’s what you do: take a strong line such as sturdy rope or paracord and string it across a stream, tying it off securely to poles or trees on either bank, leaving it just above or partially submerged in water. Then, tie off weighted, baited hooks on fishing line to the cord and wait. When you return to your lines, you may find that your line of lines has taken all of the work out of your fishing.

Survival Skills you should know or learn

Disasters and emergency situations are an inevitable part of our life. It is how we respond to such situations that plays a major factor on our survival. You may have all the knowledge about prepping but as we all know a disaster can change everything in an instant and you may be forced to survive without your emergency survival kits. Without the right skills for survival your chances of surviving a disaster or emergency situation will be greatly affected. It is important to understand that because of modern commodities our knowledge for basic survival has greatly diminished.  This will basically have a negative effect to us in an extended disaster survival situation and can mean the difference between life and death. Here are the basic survival skills that you need to know or learn in order to ensure you and your family’s chances of survival:

Learn how to grow food and or find it.

Disasters can change everything in an instant. You may be well prepared to survive indoors but what if you are forced to survive outdoors without any supplies? This is where self sufficiency with acquiring food becomes a necessity. Growing food for your family as well as the hunting and gathering approach are the best skills to learn to keep you and your family from starving when surviving outdoors.

  • Grow your own survival food.
  • Know what wild plants and insects are edible.
  • Ways to fish without the tradition equipment.
  • Hunting with trap and snares.

How to find water and purify it.

This is the most important skill everyone should learn in order to survive. As we all know it is impossible for us to survive without water so it is important to understand the importance of knowing how to get and purify water. You need to realize that unless your water source is a spring chances are your water supply will run out and you need to find an alternative source. Knowing how to purify your drinking water is also very important to ensure that it is clean and potable.

Learn about clothing repair.

You need to master this skill as clothing is one of the most important elements when surviving. From basic sewing to making clothes from bolts of cloths or leather it is important to master this skill to help ensure your chances of survival.

Learn basic grooming skills.

Basic grooming skills are very important to learn to keep your family clean and healthy in a survival situation. Keep in mind that being healthy is one of the most important factors in ensuring you and your family’s survival.

Learn first aid.

During a disaster situation you cannot expect to get medical professional help so it is important to know how to treat yourself and others as it will be your only chance in a emergency situation. Every household or group should have a good first aid manual and kit before and during a disaster situation.

How to start and maintain a fire.

This is one of the most essential skills you need to learn in order to ensure your survival either indoors or outdoors. Learning how to start a fire and have it going when you need it can mean the difference between life and death in a survival situation. Fire can be used to cook food and purify water not to mention keep you and your family warm ensuring your chances of survival.

Learn how to defend yourself and be willing to do it.

Owning a firearm and knowing how to use it is one of the most basic things to learn to ensure that you are able to protect yourself and your family in a emergency situation. It is important to understand that during a disaster or emergency situation there will be a lot of desperate people who will not think twice in harming you and your family just to get to your supplies. Defending yourselves with clubs, knives, and basic hand to hand combat are also necessary skills to learn.

Learn and train your mind to expect the totally unexpected.

Disaster situations can change everything in an instant, but no matter how much we know this actual disaster and survival events will surely freak us out. Training ourselves to prepare and practice all sorts of drills for various horrors is great way to prepare us for such situations. You also have to keep in mind that there will always be a big possibility of something strange, weird, and frightening things to happen when in a survival situation. By doing this you will eventually condition your mind to accept such scenarios.

Understand the world and potential disasters that await.

Keep in mind that timing is everything and knowing how to react and respond properly to disaster or pending disasters can mean the difference between life and death. This can be done by monitoring world and local news and be informed and aware to see a situation developing and act on it before it actually occurs. It is important to understand that knowledge plays a vital part in ensuring your survival.

Learn and condition yourself into a survival mentality.

Everyone has to learn the skill of scrounging around and finding what they need. You must learn to see in your mind that certain items can be very useful for your survival. Having a survival mentality will greatly increase your chances in finding solutions to problems that will surely occur in a survival situation.

Can you Survive a Critical Situation with a Negative Attitude?

A wilderness emergency could possibly happen to anyone, anywhere. When confronted with an unexpected survival situation man has the potential to overcome many challenges, beat incredible odds, and come out a survivor. But just what is survival anyway? Survival is the art of surviving beyond any event. To survive means to remain alive; to live. Survival is taking any given circumstance, accepting it, and trying to improve it, while sustaining your life until you can get out of the situation. Most important thing to remember is survival is a state of mind.

Survival depends a great deal on a person’s ability to withstand stress in emergency situations. Your brain is without doubt your best survival tool. It is your most valuable asset in a survival situation. It isn’t always the physically strong who are the most effective or better at handling fear in emergency situations. Survival more often depends on the individual’s reactions to stress than upon the danger, terrain, or nature of the emergency. To adapt is to live. Mental skills are much more important than physical skills in survival situations. A person’s psychological reactions to the stress of survival can often make them unable to utilize their available resources. You most likely won’t use your physical skills if you don’t have a positive mental attitude.

One definitely must be in the proper frame of mind to survive an unplanned survival situation. Attitude or psychological state is most certainly number one. It is undoubtedly the most important ingredient of survival. With the proper attitude almost anything is possible. To make it through the worst a strong will or determination to live is needed. A powerful desire to continue living is a must. The mind has the power to will the body to extraordinary feats. Records have shown that will alone has often been the major factor for surviving wilderness emergencies. Without the will to live survival is impossible. Survival is possible in most situations but it demands a lot of a person. Humans can be very brave and resourceful when in emergency situations. The mind is a very powerful force. It has control of the body, its actions, and its reasoning. What affects you mentally affects you physically. If you think that you can’t survive, then you won’t try to survive. A commitment or goal to live, refusal to give up, and positive mental attitude greatly increase chances for survival.

Set goals give motivation and attitude necessary to survive pressures. When placed in an unexpected survival situation you will be forced to rely upon your own resources; improvising needs and solving problems for yourself. If you want to survive then you must ultimately decide to take care of yourself and to not count on others to help you. You must continually strive towards a goal of survival. Picture your goal in your mind and visualize yourself reaching it. A person with a stubborn strong will power can conquer many obstacles. Never give up your goal to live, because without any will to live those lost in the wilderness will likely despair and die.

While in your survival situation you will be confronted with many problems that you will need to overcome. Your brain will be your best asset but it could also be your most dangerous enemy. You will have to defeat negative thoughts and imaginations, and also control and master your fears. You will need to shift mental processes and adopt that positive and optimistic “can do attitude”. You will need to be creative and use your ability to improvise to adapt to the situation. Work with nature instead of against it. You will have the crucial task of solving the problems of staying alive. Your problem solving must be based on recognizing threats to your life, knowing their priority of influence, knowing their severity of threat to your life, and taking actions that will keep you alive. It is important to consider your safety at all times. If you sum up and analyze what you need to combat it will be easier to fight known enemies than if you were fighting something unknown. Loneliness, fatigue, pain, cold/heat, hunger, thirst, and fear are your major enemies in emergency survival situations.

To keep your body alive you must react to your body’s problem indicators and defend yourself against the major enemies of survival. Always remember to keep your positive mental attitude. Don’t add any extra burden to yourself by falling into a destructive mental state like feeling self-pity or hopelessness. Remember the important aspects of your life and don’t let the image fade. Think of being lost as an opportunity to explore a new area. With the proper attitude your experience could be interesting. Enjoy the challenge. You might as well enjoy the outdoors while you’re there and grow stronger as an individual as a product of your survival experience. Your positive mental attitude will help you combat your survival enemies. Most people have more than likely experienced loneliness, fatigue, pain, cold/heat, hunger, thirst, and fear before, but have not had to combat them all at once, and to the extent that they have been a threat to their lives. Any one or a combination of them can diminish your self-confidence or reduce your desire to struggle for life. All of these feelings are perfectly normal but are more severe and dangerous in wilderness survival situations. By learning to identify them you will be able to control them instead of letting them control you.

Loneliness is a survival enemy that can hit you without warning. It will strike you when you realize you are the only person around who you can depend on while in your situation. Nowadays modern society barely gives us a chance to test our ability to adapt to silence, loss of support, and separation from others. Don’t let loneliness gnaw at your positive attitude. Fight it by keeping busy by singing, whistling, daydreaming, gathering food, or doing anything else that will take your mind off the fact that you are alone. Also while in your survival situation, boredom or lack of interest might strike you. It must be cured to maintain a healthy survival attitude. Once again keep busy to keep your mind occupied.

Fatigue is the overuse of the muscles and the mind and is a serious threat. It can cause you to lower your defenses and become less aware and alert to danger. It causes inattention, carelessness, and loss of judgment and reasoning. Take time to refresh and rest your brain and body. Conserve your energy. Rest, sleep, and calmness are essential. Pain is natures signal that something is wrong. When in moments of excitement you may not feel any pain. Don’t let it get the best of you; it can weaken your desire to go on.

Fear is a completely normal reaction for anyone faced with an out of ordinary situation that threatens his important needs. People fear a lot of things. People have fear of death, getting lost, animals, suffering, ridicule, and of their own weaknesses. The thing most feared by people going into the wilderness is getting lost. There is no way to tell how someone will react to fear. Fear usually depends entirely on the individual rather than on the situation at hand. Fear could lead a person to panic or stimulate a greater effort to survive. Fear negatively influences a man’s behavior and reduces his chances for successful survival. The worst feelings that magnify fear are hopelessness and helplessness. Don’t let the idea of a complete disaster cross your mind. There is no benefit in trying to avoid fear by denying the existence of a dangerous survival situation. You need to accept that fear is a natural reaction to a hazardous situation and try to make the best of your predicament.

A more dangerous enemy than fear is panic. Panic is an uncontrolled urge to run or hurry from the situation. Panic is triggered by the mind and imagination under stress. It results from fear of the unknown, lack of confidence, not knowing what to do next, and a vivid imagination. Fear can build up to panic and cause a person to make a bad situation worse. In a panic a person’s rational thinking disappears and can produce a situation that results in tragedy. A panic state could lead to exhaustion, injury, or death. A positive mental attitude is still the best remedy. To combat fear and panic keep your cool, relax, see the brighter side of things, and stay in control. Keep up your positive self-talk and remember your goal of survival.

While in a survival situation you will practice self-reliance. You will only be able to depend on yourself and your abilities. You will have to overcome many challenges that you are not accustomed to. Modern society is conditioned to instant relief from discomforts such as darkness, hunger, pain, thirst, boredom, cold, and heat. Adapt yourself and tolerate it, it’s only temporary. When you first realize that you’re in a survival situation stop and regain your composure. Control your fears. Recognize dangers to your life. Relax and think; don’t make any hasty judgments. Observe the resources around you. Analyze your situation and plan a course of action only after considering all of the aspects of your predicament. Be sure to keep cool and collected. It is important to make the right decision at all times. Set your goal of survival and always keep it fresh in your mind. Never give up. Prepare for the worst but hope for the best.

http://www.backcountryattitude.com/

SIGNALING FOR HELP

There are many ways in how you can signal for help in a survival situation…

GOT A WHISTLE, HORN or GUN?

Three short whistle tweets, three blasts from a horn or three shots fired from a gun and a pause means…HELP! And two short tweets. two horn blasts or two gunshot blasts back means “Hold on Buddy, I Hear Ya and I’m a Coming For You!”

GOT A MIRROR?

A small pocket or vehicle mirror? A flashlight or vehicle light mirror reflector? Some broken pieced of mirror, glass, a shiny tin can lid, aluminum foil, a CD, emergency thermal space blanket? If it’s a sunny day you can use all these items for signaling.

GOT SOME FIRE?

Something to ignite and start a fire with like a lighter, matches or some other type of fire starter? If you build three separate fires (100 feet or 30 meters apart) either in a perfect triangle or a straight line, internationally this means HELP! But if you can’t build them in a triangle or straight line because of the terrain, one signal fire is better than no signal fire at all. But try to build your fire(s) somewhere in an open area and as high up as possible so it can be seen better from the air and ground search parties too.

DID YOU KNOW…during daylight hours a signal fire can be seen a lot further away if you can produce the right color smoke? For example, if you’re in a green environment like a jungle or forest you should try to produce a “white smoke” which can be done by adding some green vegetation to your burning fire. And if you’re in snow white or desert environment you should try to produce “black smoke,” which won’t be easy unless you have some type of petrol like diesel, oil, plastic or rubber tire. 

GOT A STROBE or CAMERA w/FLASH?

You can use’em at night for signaling a long ways off. Ain’t got no strobe or camera but a flint & steel fire starter? Great! If you strike the flint once every 3 seconds the bright white flash from a distance will look like a small battery operated strobe light.

GOT A CELLULAR or TWO-WAY RADIO?

Never use it unless you have a good signal, keep it always turned off to conserve battery power. Turn it on only when you come to any high ground, but if there’s still no signal, again keep it turned off and put it on only when you arrive at some new high ground. If there’s no high ground in sight and it’s all flat, try climbing the tallest tree to pick up a signal. Repeat and keep trying.

GOT SOME BRIGHT COLOR CLOTH?

Though you can attach any piece of cloth to a stick and wave it, but the brighter the color the more visible it is.  It’s best to pack & carry something more compact & lighter like some bright orange duct tape, property marking tape or one of our emergency orange sleeping bag.

SIGNAL KITE

Now think about it, if you were in a remote desert, jungle or forest and you saw one of these flying in the sky what’s the first thing you would say to yourself? Like me you would probably say “..who in the hell would be flying a freakin kite way out here?” Get my drift, so to speak? Yep, I’ll bet you do, and I’ll bet that’s what you would say too, wouldn’t you? Makes finding a needle in a haystack a lot easier to find, don’t it? You can also make these signal kites out of those pocket aluminum thermal space blanket too. Which if the sun’s out it’ll be seen a lot further away than a regular old kite due to the reflection of the sun bouncing off of it like a giant signal mirror in the sky. And if you don’t know how to make a simple kite, no problem, just google “how to make a kite” and dozen websites will pop up. Now it’s entirely up to you if you want to write SOS or HELP on your kite, obviously if your kite is flown way too high up in the air no one is going to be able to read what it says on it. But should it come crashing down and lands in some trees and you can’t get it down, someone from the air or on the ground just might see it and it could still lead to your rescue. But make sure you use a magic marker and NO SPRAY PAINT or it will add too much weight to your kite and it won’t fly. IMPORTANT: Make sure you test fly your kit before packing it away, don’t assume it will fly without testing it first or you just might be carrying “dead weight.” Get it?

Don’t have any of these items with you?

But don’t worry you’re not screwed yet. What you can do to get a low flying aircraft/pilot’s attention is to use the letters S O S or H E L P. How? By constructing these letters out of some rocks, logs, tree branches, stomped down weeds, snow or sketched out in the sand. Preferably in a open areas or along a water shore, the bigger the letters the easier they will be seen from the air.Not enough room for all these letters? No problem, a large “X” is better than no letters at all and will still get a pilot’s attention and indicate someone down below might be needing some help.

When “lost” or “stranded” should you decide to try to find your way out or home, always leave some type of markings along your route of travel. Why? So in the event someone finally does realizes you’re missing and or someone comes across your markings, they will know which way you’re going. Or should you have to back track, it will be easier to find your last known position. Make sense?

 

Survival Skill: Unarmed Combat

In an ideal world when a SHTF scenario takes place you’d be wearing your bullet proof vest and have immediate access to your hand gun and assault rifle. Unfortunately this may not be the case because of several factors. The laws in your country might prohibit you from carrying any weapons or the place you are attending might not allow you to carry weapons, such as universities and hospitals. So how do you defend yourself using unarmed combat skills if you get stuck in such an unpleasant situation? This article will go through the steps involved in defending yourself from the initial assessment of the threat, how to avoid or eliminate the threat with your bare hands or with any improvised weapon that you’re likely to come across in everyday life.

Assess the threat

As with everything else, the first step is to assess the situation. The extent of your assessment will obviously depend on the prevailing circumstances. You can’t take out pen and paper and start drafting an action plan if there’s a hyped up guy slashing with a machete right in front of your face. Each situation warrants a different level of assessment. An imminent threat requires split second decisions that are mostly based on muscle memory acquired through hours of training whilst a hostage situation requires careful planning. Whatever the situation, the aim of your assessment is to identify any weaknesses of your opponent, availability of improvised weapons and escape routes. We’ll cover all these aspects in the sections below.

Basics of Self Defense

When faced with a threat you have two opposing options; fight or flight. Backing off from a confrontation might make you feel like a pussy but it’s better to feel that way for a few days rather than being killed or injured because of your pride. If you decide to run away from a confrontation/threat you have to be sure that you can run faster than your opponent, avoid any weapons he may attack you with whilst you are running (mostly applicable to firearms), and find adequate shelter before he catches up with you. If this is not possible then you’d better stand your ground and fight because once you turn your back on your opponent you’ll become much more vulnerable.

Once you’ve decided to fight, or are forced to fight your way out, there are some basics you have to keep in mind. The fundamental principle of self-defense is to reduce to the least extent possible the damage your body receives in the attack. Key areas to protect are your entire head and face and vital organs in your torso. However do not underestimate the importance of your limbs. You won’t be able to attack with enough force if your arm/s gets injured and you’ll have problems standing and moving about if your leg/s gets injured. How you protect yourself will depend on how you’re being attacked. We’ll go through these in the coming sections.

The next principle is to stop your assailant from what he is doing. This is achieved by hitting a delicate part of your opponent’s body with a tough part of your own body (or any hard object that comes to hand). Your attack should be vicious and aggressive. This is not the time to have sympathy. You want to cause intense pain and damage in as little time as possible in order to neutralize the assailant.

Tough Parts of the Body

  • Knuckles
  • Elbows
  • Knees
  • Sole of the foot
  • Forehead

Delicate Parts of the Body

  • Temple
  • Eyes
  • Nose
  • Jaw
  • Neck/throat
  • Solar plexus
  • Ribs
  • Kidneys
  • Groin
  • Knees (when hit from the sides)

Unarmed Assailant

When your assailant is unarmed it’s a fight on equal par and the outcome will depend on strength, stamina, technique, aggressiveness and as always a bit of luck. Although it’s important to be aggressive don’t forget about defending yourself and protecting your vitals. If you get injured, you drastically reduce your chance of winning that fight. Once into the fight do your utmost to knockout (make unconscious) your opponent or cause an injury that makes him harmless. Do not start throwing useless punches and kicks in the air like a drunkard. Instead aim all your shots and focus on making contact with most if not all your attacks. Hit with all your strength but make sure not to lose your balance. Do not opt for fancy spinning kicks and that stuff unless you’re a professional kick boxer. Aim your kicks to his knees to knock him off-balance and aim your punches to his face and ribs if you get the opportunity. Do not unnecessarily expose yourself whilst attacking and always be ready to block his attacks. Follow these basics and you’re likely to be the one standing next to an unconscious body.

Armed with a Knife

When faced with an opponent with a bladed weapon you must concentrate on that weapon and move in such a way that it never contacts your body. Keep at a distance and let your opponent slash and trust in vain. You have to wait for your opportunity to move in swiftly and grab hold of the hand holding the weapon. Do not grab the weapon from the blade. Your best chance of moving in is when he has swung the blade and is about to slash back. Once you gain hold of his weapon bearing hand hit him with all you’ve got but never let go off the hand. When you feel that he’s become weak enough, grab the weapon bearing hand with both your arms and twist it ferociously to break as many bones as possible. At this point he should drop the weapon or loosen enough his grip such that you can safely take it away from him. Once the weapon is in your hand, it’s up to you how to proceed but keep in mind there might be repercussions, both legal and psychological, if you decide to end his life.

Armed with a Firearm

An assailant with a firearm is much more difficult to disarm due to the extended range and deadliness of the weapon. Here your initial approach will be drastically different in that you want to come in physical contact with your assailant. You’ll have to do this gradually whilst distracting your assailant with conversation or a decoy. Once close enough your objective will be to grab the gun by the barrel and hold the gun pointing away from you and ideally away from other people. Movies and some martial arts experts demonstrate techniques to disarm an assailant with a gun pointing towards your head/torso. I am not judging the capabilities of these individuals but I strongly suggest you do not try this technique. All the assailant has to do is squeeze the trigger. This only takes a split second and your attempt to twist the gun might actually be what causes the trigger pull. The approach I suggest is much safer. Wait for a moment when your assailant points the gun in another direction. This is likely to happen whilst he is shouting instructions and uses the armed hand to point towards what he’s talking about. As soon as the gun is pointing in a safe direction, grab the gun by the barrel (obviously without any part of your hand obstructing the barrel’s end) and hit the assailant with all you’ve got. It’s interesting to note that if the firearm is a pistol it will shoot the loaded round when the trigger is pulled but it will not cycle another round since you will be hindering the slide’s motion. Be careful in the case of a revolver due to the hot gases escaping from around the cylinder. If it is a long firearm, grab the barrel with both hands so that you can exert more leverage. Obviously in the latter case you’ll have to attack with your lower limbs.

Arm Yourself – Improvised Weapons

This article is about unarmed combat in view of situations where you’re not carrying any weapons. This however doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to arm yourself with whatever might come handy. The following are a few ideas of easily obtainable weapons in everyday life.

Sticks such as a broom, billiard or long umbrella-You can swing such sticks to keep your assailant at bay but usually such sticks are fragile and immediately break upon impact dealing very little damage to the target. Instead use ‘weak’ sticks like you would use a lance. They will be less likely to break and will deal a lot of damage due to the low surface area which results in a lot of pressure.

Metal pen-This has a very short reach but you could easily incapacitate someone by stabbing him in the eyes or neck. You can also use a metal pen for pressure points techniques to subdue an assailant. This however requires training.

Stones or any other hard object such as a soda can (full)-These can be used as projectiles especially when you have an ample supply of them. If you’ve got only one it might be better to hold on to it and use it for battering your opponent.

Chair or stool-These can be used as a shield and to keep your assailant at bay as well as for striking. Obviously they can be thrown in the typical western movie style.

Fire extinguisher-You can direct the escaping gas (CO2 will be extremely cold), water, foam or powder in your assailants face. You can also use the cylinder as a battering device or throw it at him. You could even approach the assailant from above and simply drop the fire extinguisher on him.

Stiletto Shoes-If you or anyone accompanying you is wearing stiletto shoes, take them off. You’ll be able to move with more agility (be careful if there is glass or other sharp or hot objects on the ground) and you can use it for stabbing just like you would with a metal pen.

Conclusion

You never know when things are going to turn sour. We do our best to always be prepared to defend ourselves but we might end up in a threatening situation whilst we’re officially unarmed. That doesn’t mean we’re all gonna die. It means that we have to prepare for that scenario like we would for any other. Always be alert of your surroundings and book yourself for a few self-defense classes and keep practicing those techniques. You’ll be glad you have if the need ever arises.

Tips to Prepare For Emergency Situations

Whenever some crisis happens, there is no time heft for pre paration. However, if you are prepared to meet crisis before time, you will feel more comfortable to meet the emergency situations. Being prepared for emergencies or disasters is extremely important in this ever changing world. It is even more crucial for disable persons or people with special needs. The ability to successfully meet emergency situations is mainly dependent on preparedness before occurrence of any disaster. Though, being prepared doesn’t mean you are ready but it greatly enhances chances of your survival from any kind of tragedy. However, you need to have essential items with you to cope with disaster situations. Here is the survival tips to help you in some emergency situation.

Availability of Water

Water is the most essential ingredient to survive for a human being. Humans need water not just for preparing food but also for cooking and staying hydrated and for hygiene. A person requires 1 gallon of water per day to survive and one need to be prepared enough to arrange for water in crisis situations. Every person must have a reserve for at least 3 days for evacuation and a 2 week supply at home. It is of no doubt that a human can live many days without food, but not without water. Even a thirst for few hours can make someone feel terrible.

Availability of Food

Everybody knew importance of food in his life. It is of great importance to have a stock of food for at least 2 weeks to meet some crisis.  However, a person can survive for more than one week without food. Though, at same time, nobody wants to be hungry.  It is recommended that every time we go shopping buy some extra stock of food items. However, it is also essential to check for their expire dates and try to buy items that can last for longer period. Make sure to rotate it to preserve freshness.

Arrange for Shelter

Shelter is a basic necessity of life. Especially, in disaster conditions, everyone needs a safe location. The ideal condition however is to stay at home. But if someone thinks that hisor her home is not a safe place, than he/she might need to find some relative or a place that can provide them shelter in emergency condition. Also, if anybody doesn’t have any relative where he can stay, government or Red Cross usually provides places for shelter. However, in any case, everyone needs to be prepared enough to meet such circumstances. Being prepared to survive in any disaster is best not for you but also for your family.

Emergency Equipment

Along with the food, water and shelter, everybody needs to have some essential items like first aid kit and medicine for at least more than a week. Along with medical equipment, you also need to have some sanitation tools, a camping stove, warm clothing, LED lights and lanterns with extra batteries. Lastly, one must have some kind of self-defense. Anyone can simply figure out what he need with a little online surfing and see what he need for such circumstances.  For self-defense, you need to buy weapons like handgun or rifle with ammunition. Also, do some practice on regular basis to get at least some basic skills.

Time Killing Items

Even if anyone is facing emergency only for a 48 or 72 hour, kids will need to have some books, playing cards, and board games available to help them kill their time. It might even contain some crayons and coloring books. Remember, we can face emergency for longer periods and there is nothing to do in such situations. So, it is very much crucial to have such things that can help them kill their time. However, it could take some extra effort and time to stock up such things, but in the end this will be helpful for your survival.

Life is priceless, provisions saves life. Always be prepared with survival skills to cope with all situations that can happen in your life. Also, it is recommended to keep it simple and go for necessities only. Educate your family and yourself for probable incidents and disasters that can occur in community. Realize the importance of being prepared in advance, make a plan and start working on it.

How to Prepare for a Life or Death Situation

I have no idea why, but fear seems to be a subject that is rarely discussed or addressed when it comes to self-defense training. In a real situation you are probably going to be absolutely scared witless. When it comes to addressing fear, you avoid the subject like the plague. Yet it plays a vital part in our survival.

When it comes to self-defense, the failure to acknowledge fear and its part in survival is preparing for failure. You must understand how fear works, how you react to it, and how you can make it work for you.

Fear is not only natural, but you can guarantee in the emotional pressure cooker of a real situation that you will experience it. Accepting that you will experience fear is an important step to trying to overcome it. The adrenal dump we experience in the fight-or-flight mode of our sympathetic nervous system is a natural part of the process of fear. While the experience of fear and the adrenal dump aren’t one and the same, they certainly show up hand in hand when things go south.

If your body is a loaded gun, then your mind is the trigger. If you can’t pull the trigger, you are in trouble. Teaching the mind to pull the trigger rather than to hit the power switch is a difficult skill to develop and especially hard to implement with a window of opportunity that lasts only a few seconds. Overcoming that fear and having the confidence to act decisively is the name of the game if we want to survive an assault.
Learning to confront fears in day-to-day life and learning to be comfortable being uncomfortable can help us develop our inner strength. Learning to work past your power switch. We are all creatures of convenience and comfort, but gravitating toward doing things that make us uncomfortable and facing other fears rather than putting them in the too hard basket can help us become more confident. It can highlight how we respond to and act in the presence of fear and what we can do about it.
Confidence is often defined as believing in yourself. I think this is absolute dribble. If confidence is a belief, then you could believe (without any swimming lessons) that you can swim, but when you jump in the pool and sink to the bottom, you may find believing in yourself doesn’t work. But if confidence is your actual capacity to employ some tactical, psychological, and physical skills even when you are scared, then I think confidence is one the most important attributes you can develop.
Remember the mind comes first. Techniques are useless unless they can be applied tactically and with intent. People survive deadly assaults every day with no physical self-defense training whatsoever. This is because of instincts, luck, and having some of the tactical, physical, and psychological skills necessary to survive. This indicates to me very much of survival is determined by mindset.

3 Steps in How to Use a Compass

 

Compass

Despite the fact that a compass is a basic tool for getting around, it can be an intimidating piece of equipment for those who’ve never held one before, much less used it to safely navigate an unfamiliar bit of wilderness.

The first step in figuring it all out is familiarizing yourself with the various parts of a compass. Once you’ve got at least a rough understanding of what the lines mean, of which part turns and why, you’re ready to get some basic training under your belt.

A starter compass is a good place to start. The simple instrument can serve as an excellent introduction to orienteering as a hobby, sport, and overall enjoyable activity. The best beginner’s tool comes with only the essentials, so new users from children experiencing their first taste of outdoor exploration to adults rekindling an appreciation for nature can confidently build a foundation on which to build a growing knowledge of navigation.

The Silva System is a straightforward method for learning how to properly combine a compass and topographic map. The system can be boiled down into three easy steps:

Step 1

You may not be able to get from where you are to your ultimate destination in one go. In that case, you should break the journey down into more manageable steps. Set the compass on the map so the edge of the base plate (remember what that is?) serves as a line connecting your current position to where you want to go. You should be able to draw a line along the edge, as if it were a ruler—which it basically is.

Step 2

Set the compass heading by rotating the dial until the letter “N”—for north—lines up with magnetic north indicated on the map. You should be able to find a compass rose indicating which way is which.

Step 3

Pick up the compass and hold it flat in front of you. Be sure that the direction of travel arrow points straight ahead. Then, rotate yourself, keeping an eye on the magnetic needle. When the red end lines up exactly with the orienting arrow, stop. The direction of travel arrow (it’s easy to keep the distinct arrows straight when you actually see them in action) will be pointing in precisely the direction you want to go. Look in the direction of the arrow and find a particular landmark that stands out. Hike to that landmark, at which point you can stop, regroup, and start steps one through three over again.

Even though this is a simplified navigation system, there is one other detail that should be noted: The magnetic needle will always point north, but north itself isn’t a fixed, immovable point. Well, magnetic north isn’t, anyway.

True north is a fixed point that never changes. Magnetic north wanders, due to the ever-shifting nature of the Earth’s magnetic field. The two different norths sit about 800 miles apart.

Mapmakers typically consider true north when creating their maps. Many topographic maps will, however, also include information on “declination,” which is the difference between true north and magnetic north from a given point.

The difference between true north and magnetic north can be so minimal as to not really matter, or it can be significant enough to prevent an unaware hiker from ever arriving at the intended destination.

Cold Weather – Basic Survival Tips

army

It is more difficult for you to satisfy your basic water, food, and shelter needs in a cold environment than in a warm environment. Even if you have the basic requirements, you must also have adequate protective clothing and the will to survive. The will to survive is as important as the basic needs. There have been incidents when trained and well-equipped individuals have not survived cold weather situations because they lacked the will to live. Conversely, this will has sustained individuals less well-trained and equipped.

There are many different items of cold weather equipment and clothing issued by the US Army today. Specialized units may have access to newer, lightweight gear such as polypropylene underwear, GORE-TEX outerwear and boots, and other special equipment. Remember, however, the older gear will keep you warm as long as you apply a few cold weather principles. If the newer types of clothing are available, use them. If not, then your clothing should be entirely wool, with the possible exception of a windbreaker. You must not only have enough clothing to protect you from the cold, you must also know how to maximize the warmth you get from it. For example, always keep your head covered. You can lose 40 to 45 percent of body heat from an unprotected head and even more from the unprotected neck, wrist, and ankles. These areas of the body are good radiators of heat and have very little insulating fat. The brain is very susceptible to cold and can stand the least amount of cooling. Because there is much blood circulation in the head, most of which is on the surface, you can lose heat quickly if you do not cover your head.

There are four basic principles to follow to keep warm. An easy way to remember these basic principles is to use the word COLD–

C – Keep clothing clean.
O – Avoid overheating.
L – Wear clothes loose and in layers.
D – Keep clothing dry.

C – Keep clothing clean. This principle is always important for sanitation and comfort. In winter, it is also important from the standpoint of warmth. Clothes matted with dirt and grease lose much of their insulation value. Heat can escape more easily from the body through the clothing’s crushed or filled up air pockets.

O – Avoid overheating. When you get too hot, you sweat and your clothing absorbs the moisture. This affects your warmth in two ways: dampness decreases the insulation quality of clothing, and as sweat evaporates, your body cools. Adjust your clothing so that you do not sweat. Do this by partially opening your parka or jacket, by removing an inner layer of clothing, by removing heavy outer mittens, or by throwing back your parka hood or changing to lighter headgear. The head and hands act as efficient heat dissipates when overheated.

L – Wear your clothing loose and in layers. Wearing tight clothing and footgear restricts blood circulation and invites cold injury. It also decreases the volume of air trapped between the layers, reducing its insulating value. Several layers of lightweight clothing are better than one equally thick layer of clothing, because the layers have dead-air space between them. The dead-air space provides extra insulation. Also, layers of clothing allow you to take off or add clothing layers to prevent excessive sweating or to increase warmth.

D – Keep clothing dry. In cold temperatures, your inner layers of clothing can become wet from sweat and your outer layer, if not water repellent, can become wet from snow and frost melted by body heat. Wear water repellent outer clothing, if available. It will shed most of the water collected from melting snow and frost. Before entering a heated shelter, brush off the snow and frost. Despite the precautions you take, there will be times when you cannot keep from getting wet. At such times, drying your clothing may become a major problem. On the march, hang your damp mittens and socks on your rucksack. Sometimes in freezing temperatures, the wind and sun will dry this clothing. You can also place damp socks or mittens, unfolded, near your body so that your body heat can dry them. In a campsite, hang damp clothing inside the shelter near the top, using drying lines or improvised racks. You may even be able to dry each item by holding it before an open fire. Dry leather items slowly. If no other means are available for drying your boots, put them between your sleeping bag shell and liner. Your body
heat will help to dry the leather.

A heavy, down-lined sleeping bag is a valuable piece of survival gear in cold weather. Ensure the down remains dry. If wet, it loses a lot of its insulation value. If you do not have a sleeping bag, you can make one out of parachute cloth or similar material and natural dry material, such as leaves, pine needles, or moss. Place the dry material between two layers of the material.

Other important survival items are a knife; waterproof matches in a waterproof container, preferably one with a flint attached; a durable compass; map; watch; waterproof ground cloth and cover; flashlight; binoculars; dark glasses; fatty emergency foods; food gathering gear; and signaling items.

Remember, a cold weather environment can be very harsh. Give a good deal of thought to selecting the right equipment for survival in the cold. If unsure of an item you have never used, test it in an “overnight backyard” environment before venturing further. Once you have selected items that are essential for your survival, do not lose them after you enter a cold weather environment.

Sourced from http://army.com

How To Test Your Family’s Survival Skills

Are you looking for a challenging way to put your family’s survival skills and teamwork to the test?  Nothing will assess the grit and endurance of your loved ones better than leaving behind all electronic devices, cellphones, modern conveniences, electricity, the roof over your head, and your under–appreciated toilet seat.  That’s right, head out on your very own backpacking expedition and venture out with only the supplies you are able to carry on your shoulders.

When my husband first proposed a family backpacking trip, I thought he had finally flipped his lid.  He wanted to take our family, myself and our children included, on a backpacking adventure for two nights and three days.  Not only did he want us to trek through miles of secluded forest with all our food, shelter, and clothing needed for survival firmly attached to our own bodies, but he wanted us to go to the most secluded spot he could find within driving distance at a time of year when it would have the least number of other campers to give us aid or hear our desperate screams for help if the need arose.  We would be descending from 3400 feet down to 1200 feet to the river below, hiking a grueling ten miles and ascending 2200 feet on our return.  This would prove to be a challenging physical and mental feat for our children and me, but we accepted his dare.

As a family, we had car camped before at a lovely campground with showers and other amenities.  In my mind, that was hard-core survival of the fittest.  And that was as far as I imagined our family going with being one with nature.  However, I was coerced by my husband and our children had been enticed by him with the promise of extreme adventure.

Starting Off

Before setting off we had some purchases to make.  Mainly, the backpacks and the tents.  My husband did a lot of research and found that Cactus Jack Tactical Ops Bag with Modular Waist Pack backpack were highly rated for the money.  Upon purchasing you should pay close attention to proper fitting of the pack; it will alleviate back pain or possible shoulder injury.  The tent you need doesn’t require bells and whistles, but rather your focus should be on weight and ease of set-up.  Some backpackers like to sleep in a hammock with a tarp stretched overhead.  We chose tents because with children, you don’t want them spread all over the woods hanging in hammocks chattering loudly to one another late into the night.  Other purchases are listed below to help guide any fellow explorers.

He had researched everything from how to hang a bear bag to how to splint a broken bone.  Once we had all our supplies, we had to pack the bags and weigh them, keeping in mind that a person can only reasonably carry 25% of your total body weight.  I tried to claim I only weighed 75 pounds, but my husband wasn’t buying it.  Each of us carried our own sleeping bags, padding and clothing.  Carrying your own clothing definitely quells the temptation, as a woman, to pack more than I needed.  The only toiletry I afforded myself was deodorant and a toothbrush.  The weight of our tents and padding obviously had to be distributed to the adult packs.  We tried making the kids carry their own, but they kept falling backwards so we relented and took the bulk of the weight.

Some important things we learned from backpacking: 

  1. If you think you have enough toilet paper and there are girls in your group, think again.  Pack more.  It doesn’t weigh much, but it is much more enjoyable than a leaf.
  2. Take a water filter with water bottles that can screw onto them. We had four H20 1.0 water straws which fit our canteens and bladders perfectly.
  3. Don’t pack a 5lb bag of Costco trail mix.  It sounds like an appropriate food choice, but it is too heavy for one person to carry. Break this out into individual bags and let each person carry their own serving. We suggest eating Wise Food camping food. Each pouch has 2 serving in it. They also make a camping kit for 72 hours.
  4. If you have a bad back, suck it up and purchase ample inflatable padding.  My husband had purchased the simple military style foam padding roles and they weren’t enough to block out the rocks and roots on the trail. An inflatable mattress costs more, but it is lightweight and will keep you from aches and pains that could impede your progress and make you a miserable companion.
  5. Pack a GPS and a map encased in a Ziploc baggie.  Even if you are an expert ninja tracker, it is an excellent time to teach others in your group how to navigate. We let our children take turns getting us to the next camping spot (with our guidance) and this allowed them to learn how to read a map and recognize their surroundings.
  6. Your camp stove can make life easy or very difficult. We used the back pack rocket stove for quick cups of coffee and effortless boiling of water (usually under 2 minutes) for our freeze-dried food. As an added bonus, this handy dandy invention will allow you to boil water if your filters go out, too. We took one canister of fuel and a spare, but didn’t even use 1/2 of one canister.
  7. Lastly, but not least, first-aid is crucial.  Pack a light and basic kit. We took the tactical trauma kit.  You will need to play through every possible scenario in your mind and be prepared to make do with the supplies you are able to carry. We also packed a couple of extra trauma bandages and cut out some band-aids.

Into the Woods

The trek into the place where we wanted to camp took a lot of effort and teamwork.  It was a steep incline and the small rocks under our feet proved treacherous; especially with the extra weight on our backs.  We strongly advise anyone taking children on backpacking exploits to go over all the details and safety guidelines weeks before the trip.  I have always found that if you prepare them for the worst it will pay off with fewer accidents and aggravations.  We additionally drove home the well-known fact that whiney kids will attract vicious wild animals because any high-pitched exasperating sounds can be incorrectly mistaken for injured prey.  We recommend that you build multiple breaks into your destination time because smaller children need to stop more often to rest.  Our site was near a beautiful river with rocks that the kids could climb on.  Our tents were easy to assemble and set up and it was glorious to finally peel the packs off and devour a hot meal.

That night, we listened to nothing but the sound of the forest and the roaring river as we drifted off to sleep.  And let me be clear, you will not sleep as well as in your own bed on a Tempur-pedic mattress, but you will be comforted by the fact that you don’t have to sleep with the pack on.  After awaking early in the morning and having coffee by the campfire (is there anything better?) we set off for the next site.  Along the way, we prattled about everything under the sun, sang some ridiculous songs, admired nature, and discussed the effort it took to survive without the luxuries of home.  There were moments where we crossed over dangerous narrow paths, stepped dangerously close to venomous snakes, and we had to help another up after they took a nasty spill.  Our kids also learned invaluable lessons about survival, such as, how to make use of what nature provides, work together, and follow directions.

If you ask any of our children what one of their favorite family vacations was, they will always fondly recall our first backpacking trip and we can be somewhat assured that if push came to shove, our family could thrive when thrown into any unknown circumstance where we depended on one another for survival.

Top 10 Safest Countries In The World To Visit Or Settle Down

As natural disasters, terrorism, robberies and massacres made our planet a hell, everyone are in the urge to settle down in one of the safest places. But unfortunately when it comes to preparing a list of top 10 safest countries in the world, it becomes extremely hard to find such countries that satisfy all the criteria an individual has in mind. Throughout the years everything changes, there isn’t a perfect place to live, but this is just to get an idea of some places that are interesting to look into. Anything can happen, but just prepare yourself for anything to happen.

So now, how would you picture a safest country? Is that the one which has

  • Low crime rate?
  • No natural disaster?
  • Low corruption?
  • Immunity to economical crisis?
  • Or is it fast solving cases?

It is nothing wrong, if you expect all the above factors from the typical countries that are entitled as “The safest countries in the world”. While the increasing high prevalent crimes make all of us lose hope on finding such countries, strict laws, culture and few good qualities continue to make few countries as perfect places to live, raise kids and happily retire. You are right ! We have exceptions in everything. That’s the universal law.

10. Czech Republic

GPI Score: 1.341

  • This fairly new European country attracts tourists from all over the world with its magnificent city “Prague” and its breathtaking nature.
  • It mainly concentrates on creating a most favorable climate for investment. As a result, It has a built a robust economy in a relatively short span of time (1989 to 2015). In 2009, HDI declared Czech Republic as “A Country With Very High Human Development“.
  • Rate of crime is very low here. Helpline number 112 is available for people who don’t know the local language.
  • If you are a U.S resident, you wouldn’t require any VISA to enter into this country for business or tourist purposes for the first 90 days. However, having a passport that is valid for at least 90 days beyond your period of stay is mandatory.
  • Cost of living in this country is much cheaper. For example: Though Prague is located at the center of culture and all other main spots ( historical spots, palaces,museum etc.), apartments here cost much lesser than in any other European nations.
  • Transportation system of Czech Republic is so punctual and well managed. You can take a month around public transit pass with just $29 USD. It can be utilized in tram, subway and buses.
  • When it comes to entertainment, here everyone will find something according to their age, gender,and ethnic preferences. So in no way, anyone can feel bored at this country.
  • If you love outdoors, without any doubt, you will love the Czech Republic too. Situated at the border of mountains, it has so many well preserved deep forests. If it’s summer, you can go hiking or just cycle around the countryside. If it’s winter, there is downhill skiing is awaiting for you.

9. Australia

GPI Score: 1.329

australia

  • Whether you want to spend your retirement days or want to bring up your children in a much peaceful and happy environment, Australia certainly be a suggestible choice.
  • People of this country are more welcoming, and they enjoy the multiculturalism. Equalitarianism, Ideal climate, and outdoor pursuits are few of the many factors that attract expats from all over the world.
  • Australians respect the value of friends and family more than anything. It provides a broad range of schooling options, and there are more chances for children to spend their time in recreational outdoors. These all factors often make it as a perfect place to raise children.
  • Australia is being the most desirable destination for young students and professionals all over the world.
  • It offers a high quality of life and excellent healthcare facilities to its all citizens through both private and public systems.
  • In short, Australia offers a fair new beginning for anyone who has skills and energy. It is one of the main reasons for why people adore Australia than any other country in the world.

8. Japan

GPI Score : 1.322

japan

  • The next country in our list of safest places to live in the world is Japan. The Crime rate in this country is really low.
  • Japanese respect their culture, and it is one of the main reasons as to why people honor this country. I am sure you must have heard how well disciplined Japanese are and therefore, they will never involve in activities, which brings shame to their country.
  • Possession of firearms is strictly prohibited according to their laws. Firm gun control, strict laws and wealthy economy make sure that the one living there is 100% safe.
  • According to the 2010 GPI (Global Peace Index) framed by IEP (Institute for Economics and Peace) report, Japan has also been ranked as the 3rdpeaceful country in the world.
  • With homicides, terrorism and violent crimes highly unlikely in Japan, this place becomes extremely safe for one to reside.

7. Canada

GPI Score: 1.287

  • Canada is the 2nd largest country in the world and its 20.6% of total population is built only with foreigners. Not to mention, it is claimed to have the highest immigrants rate per capita in the world. Though this factor alone is more than enough to claim it as the safest country in the world, it has a lot more. Read on.
  • Healthcare system of Canada is one of the most debated hot topics worldwide. It offers “universal public health Insurance” to all citizens and permanent residents at much cheaper prices. By using this Medicare, one can have access to the universally high standard treatments at both private and public hospitals.
  • This system has inspired many people who suffer from chronic conditions move to this country for healthcare purposes. Anyhow, people with temporary residency can’t avail the same benefits.
  • When it comes to employment, it offers an enormous scope with many open positions in energy sectors, communications industry, real estate and financial services.
  • Though winter of Canada covers the ground with freezing cold for more than 6 months, people who settled here claim that their quality of life has been improved dramatically.
  • So, if you have the plan to visit or migrate to this country, you can expect to have a calm, peaceful and high-quality life.
  • Canada has never been a target of the terrorist activities. These all make this country be listed as one of the most livable countries in the world.

6. Finland

GPI Score: 1.227

  • Being one of the Nordic-style countries, Finland is mainly known for its high regard for the civil liberty, democracy, and human rights.
  • With low crime rate, nature-friendly environments, and stable economy, it never fails to rank high in all the lists that talk about the national performance metrics. (Side note: Finland is ranked as the 11th best country to live in the world in our official list).
  • Since the end of world war -II, the government of Finland has adopted the neutrality policy and so avoided the wars. Most common punishments given to the people who involve in crimes are probation, fines and community services.
  • Although people of Finland are perceived as the quiet & reserved nature people, the young Finns has changed this perception completely. Anyhow, If you move to Finland, it may take few months to       get adopted with their cultural differences.
  • In Finland, the majority of healthcare services are managed by the local municipalities itself and are offered to the general public through local healthcare centers.
  • The literacy rate in Finland is 100%. It is achieved by providing the compulsory education to all its citizens and expats who have got residency in Finland. Almost all major cities in Finland have excellent quality local and international schools.

5. Switzerland

GPI Score: 1.275

  • Switzerland has four official languages and is divided into 26 independent states known as cantons. Each one of them has their own laws and regulations.
  • Switzerland’s well-functioning government is renowned for keeping the violence, political issues and the unemployment rate at a record low.
  • Its robust economy and strict laws continue to attract the highly skilled International investors to this country. It’s home to the world’s most famous banking Institutions and businesses. In fact, one third of total Switzerland population is made of people who have born outside of this country.
  • Besides to the diversities found among the local population, Switzerland welcomes the outsiders with open arms. Not only their chocolates are sweet but also the people here are sweet enough to give you the pleasurable experience.
  • The transportation system of Switzerland is punctual by seconds. They value time!.
  • Not to mention, bustling cities, diplomatic relationship it has with the neighboring countries, low crime rate, strong economy everything makes this country rank higher on the list of most peaceful countries in the world.

4. New Zealand

GPI Score: 1.221

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  • Global Corruption monitoring entity, Transparency International‘s recent report says, New Zealand is “The country with the most transparent political status“.
  • New Zealanders are leading a very satisfied life with their calm and easy going nature. Generally these people want keep themselves free from community strife and personal violence. Its strict laws and tough punishments are yet another reasons for their low crime rate.
  • Cities of New Zealand are culturally rich and are worth visiting. Grandiose mountains, green meadows, frozen glaciers all these wonders decorate this Island like a heaven on earth.
  • In 2013, Corruption Perception Index ranked New Zealand as the “Least corrupted country in the world“. Unlike in other countries, here you can expect the government officials to do their job without charging any extra cash. Collecting the hidden or unadvertised fee on goods and services is considered as illegal here.
  • Since it boasts the safe and secure environment, you can freely move around, explore the bush, climb mountains, play, picnic, catch the public transports, discover the beaches or enjoy anything to your heart’s content without any fear.

3. Austria

GPI Score: 1.198

  • By providing the high level of security and peacefulness, this country continues to rank in all the lists boasting the “safest countries and best countries” in the recent years.
  • Population of this country is low, and it possesses a rich folk culture. Cities are clean, mostly covered with the snow covered Alps.
  • Austria is popularly known as “The land of Music“. It has produced many timeless musicians to the world.
  • Austria is one of the most scenic and richest countries in the world. Its ever growing tourism sector contributes greatly to this country’s economy. Expats who move to Austria looking for jobs in the tourism industry are sure to be successful. Other areas of employment include research and engineering.
  • To help the locals and tourists easily move around the places, Austria maintains a well managed Integrated public transportation systems. Railways connect the major cities while the bus routes connect most of the smaller towns with major rail networks.
  • Everyone can enjoy down skiing during the winter. You can get all necessary kits for ski sports for both experts and beginners.

2. Denmark

GPI Score : 1.150

denmark

  • Despite being a small country, at a certain point of time, Denmark had faced many serious issues due to crime and terrorism. However, it has successfully tackled all those problems and today it proudly stands on the list of safest countries in the world.
  • Starting from the year 2012, Denmark regularly reserves its spot on the list of the happiest country too.
  • Denmark is comprised of more than 400 small islands, and it is well known for offering equal opportunities and individual freedom. The gap between that exist among the higher officials, and floor workers are remarkably low than in all other countries.
  • Government of Denmark is keener on the concept of internationalization that makes this country as one of the most popular destinations for expats.
  • Since Danish and Swedish languages are closely related to each other, it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see a Dane and Swede conversing so happily in their own tongue. English is taught as the compulsory second language in secondary schools. So almost all people here can speak it well.
  • Irrespective of its small size, Denmark has many things to offer in terms of outdoor, sports, coastline and culture.

1. Iceland

 GPI Score: 1.148

iceland

 If you ask what is the most peaceful country in the world, your answer lies here. By securing the Best Global Peace Index Score 1.148, Iceland wins the title of the most peaceful country in the world in 2015.

  • This country is well known for its frosty climate, impressive attractions, glaciers, hot springs, and of course for the crime rate.
  • Iceland does not have any standing army. Instead, it has the rescue teams moving around. Even the pettiest crimes like pickpocket, wallet snatching are nonexistent in this country.
  • According to the “Global Study on Homicide,”, Iceland’s homicide rate has never exceeded over8 per 100,000 to date.
  • Icelanders love the peaceful state of their country more than anything else. For example, in 2013 when police force killed a man, the whole nation gathered and grieved like losing a member in their own family.
  • Iceland is a country with full of continuous volcanoes eruptions. So are you are interested in seeing the volcano eruptions? Pack your bags to this safest country in the world. Don’t worry. Peaceful ride is guaranteed!.

Orlando Shootings: More To Come, What To Do

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Active Shooters: What to Do

In the sad aftermath of the Orlando shootings that killed or injured more than 100 people, it has become clear to me that we’re in for a rough ride for the foreseeable future.

You might think that the “success” achieved by Omar Mateen in executing his terror event was a fluke. The sheer number of casualties was the most ever on American soil. The complexities of Mr. Mateen’s relationship with the community, having apparently visited the PULSE nightclub on multiple occasions, must make this a rare circumstance, right? Wrong.

nightclub

Pulse Nightclub, Wikipedia

The shooter’s assessment of his target as being a “soft” one was deadly accurate. A crowded venue, maybe all in one large room with limited exits, some allegedly padlocked. At 2 o’clock in the morning, many club goers must have had some drinks, and weren’t exactly in a condition to be situationally aware. Likely, no one was armed. It was a massacre and, worse, a blueprint for massacres to come.

Those who support Mr. Mateen’s philosophy will look at this event and marvel at how much damage a single gunman can do. This can only encourage others of like mind to do the same. How many nightclubs are there, gay or straight, that’ll be crowded on a Saturday night in the average city? How many club goers will be ready for the next gunman? How many establishments will act to boost security in the face of this horrible tragedy? I’ve answered these questions myself, and I am saddened.

The Islamic State giving credit to this terrorist will seem like a badge of honor to those who wish us harm. They see cowardly acts as courageous. They see mayhem as morality. They know that most Americans have gone soft, and that’s a hard truth.

We now know that mass shootings can occur anywhere, anytime. They can occur in churches, schools, nightclubs, and at holiday parties. They can occur at 2 in the morning and they can occur in the middle of the day. What would be your response if confronted?

The natural response for most people is to do nothing. You’ve heard me talk about “normalcy bias” before. That’s the tendency for people to believe everything follows a pattern and that the day will proceed normally because it always has. When a terrorist event breaks that pattern, however,  the unprepared brain takes time to process the new situation. People will think that the sound of gunfire is fireworks, or anything less threatening than an assassin out to kill them.

A person without a plan of action typically follows the herd. If fifty people around you drop to the floor, your natural tendency is to do the same. Cowering in fear under a table in plain view of the shooter isn’t a recipe for a good outcome. But having a plan will give you a better chance of getting out of there in one piece.

During an active shooter event, what you do in the first few seconds may determine whether you live or die. Give yourself a head start by always knowing what’s happening around you. We call this situational awareness. Know where exits are. Know where the gunshots are coming from. Know who appears nervous or suspicious in your immediate area.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But in this era of people immersed in their smartphones, few are situationally aware and become easy targets for the active shooter.

Run, Hide, Fight

run hide fight

If you find yourself in the middle of a terrorist event, you should remember these three words: Run, Hide, Fight. Just as “Stop, Drop, and Roll” can save the life of someone on fire, “Run, Hide, Fight” might save the life of someoneunder fire. This is the order of the actions that you should be taking in an active shooter scenario.

Run

Most people will hide as their first course of action. You, however, should run away from the direction of gunfire immediately, leaving through those exits you’ve been mentally marking. This will make it less likely you and the shooter will cross paths. Forget about collecting your stuff, it will only slow you down and, let’s face it, it’s just stuff.

A kind of paralysis may occur when you first realize what’s happening. This is normal, but running away from the shooter increases your distance from them, and makes it difficult for them to hit a moving target.

A good citizen would yell for others to follow and prevent others from entering the kill zone. Don’t try to move or otherwise help the wounded, however. You have to get out of there; becoming the next casualty does no one any good. Even the police will leave the injured for after the shooter has been neutralized.

(One very important note: If you see law enforcement, don’t run up and hug them. Get your hands in the air, fingers spread, where officers can see them. They need to know you’re not the threat. Follow any instructions given and leave in the directions the officer came from.)

Once you’re in a safe area, call 911 if rescuers have not yet arrived.

Hide

hide

If there’s only one exit and the shooter is standing in front of it, running might not be an option. Your next choice is hiding.

You have to get out of the shooter’s line of sight, but hiding under a table in the same room as the shooter is a very bad idea. Get into another room, preferably one with a door you can lock. If there is no lock, put together a barrier with desks and chairs. Turn off the lights, silence your cell phone, and stay quiet behind an additional barrier like a table or in a closet. If you can quietly alert authorities, do so.

By accomplishing the above, you’ve just made yourself a harder target to acquire for the shooter, and he wants to do his damage as fast as possible. He’ll likely pass you by to find easier targets.

Fight

fight

What if you can’t run, and there is no reasonable hiding place? You just might have to fight your way out of there. This strategy isn’t always doomed to failure. You still might be able to drop an attacker even if unarmed. Three unarmed men were able to do it to a shooter on a train in Paris. It’s a last resort, but it can work; it did there.

If you don’t fight, the shooter will have a clear shot to your head and death is likely. If you fight, you’ll be harder to hit with a fatal shot. Any type of aggression against the gunman would disrupt their “flow” and possibly put you at an advantage. If you can, approach him from the side or rear, and go for his weapon.

If you have help, all should attack at the same time from different directions while hurling objects that he has to dodge. At the PULSE nightclub, there were probably drinking glasses and bottles handy, not to mention hundreds of cell phones.  The gunman is probably not James Bond: he’ll duck or flinch and not be able to handle multiple threats at once. Imagine a half-dozen people charging you while throwing stuff at your head. Makes for a pretty nervous terrorist, I’d say.

If you’ve disrupted the shooter or, better, gotten the weapon out of his hands, inflict damage on him until he is out of the fight. Tough, I’ll admit, but these are tough times; commit to your actions.

Luckily, few people will find themselves in the midst of a terrorist attack like the one in Orlando, but you can bet more are coming. Having a plan for active shooter situations is galling to some, but it’s part of life in the New Normal. Those who are prepared will have a better chance to survive terror events and many other disasters in the uncertain future.

Linked from: https://www.doomandbloom.net/orlando-shootings/

How to Conceal Your Weapons | DIY Gun Safes

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Make your own gun safes out of household objects. Knowing how and where to conceal your weapons at home in case of an emergency is very important. What’s the point in owning a gun if you can’t access it in an emergency? What happens if the predator finds your gun before you do. You’ll find the answer below.

The best way to conceal your weapons so they’re safe day in and day out, but readily accessible in an emergency.

Hiding Your Guns

Why Guns Are More Important Than Ever It’s easy to make fun of disaster movies, but events like Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of New Orleans are proof that as a culture, we really are only three hot meals away from anarchy. We can’t help the fact that sometimes, systems break. Tornados take out power plants, earthquakes level buildings, floods erase entire city blocks. When that happens, survival instincts kick in. People collect food, water, medicine, and whatever else they think they’ll need to make it through the disaster. It sounds so civilized when described that way. In reality, it means looting. Most people don’t stock more than 4 days of food at home. Water comes from a tap. Medicines are things we buy as needed at Walgreens. When that security is taken away, people don’t neatly line up outside a shop and wait for the manager to fill out a disaster insurance claim while his employees fairly distribute the goods within. The first wave of people show up with money and buy everything they can fit in their cars. The next wave shows up with weapons and takes whatever is left. If emergency supplies aren’t brought in from an outside source, once well stocked stores are looted, people will turn to preying on their neighbors. When an armed group of hungry thugs turns up at your door, you want to be able to greet them with a gun. Preferably, you want everyone in your family to greet them with guns. In an emergency situation, having a gun on hand isn’t just self defense. Guns can diffuse a potentially violent situation. Imagine your home town has suffered a devastating natural disaster. You’re well prepared and holed up. Desperate people, a little crazy from both hunger and fear, break into your home. If you’re defending yourself with a mix of baseball bats, a rock in a sock, and broken glass bottles, someone is going to get hurt—probably both you and them. On the other hand, if someone breaks in and you level a gun at them, they stop. If all goes well, you can now talk them into leaving. If it goes badly, you can shoot them from a distance without giving them a chance to injure you. People who would cheerfully club you over the head with a broken pipe will back away from a gun. Being armed protects both you and your potential attacker.

learn to make this DIY wall gun safe at http://guncarrier.com/conceal-weapons-diy-gun-safes

hiding your weapons at home  [image via]

Hiding and Storing Your Weapons at Home

A gun safe is a wonderful thing for houses with children. However, if a burglar breaks into your house at 2 in the morning, you won’t have time to scramble through the dark, feed it the combination, then find and load your gun in the dark. For self defense purposes, you want your weapons where you can access them at any time. A gun safe is incredibly convenient. It’s also a good place to store your more valuable guns, any collector items, or weapons your family hasn’t trained with yet. That last part is the most important. Before you strategically hide your guns in your home, you need to make sure every single person living there knows where to find them and how to use them. If you don’t take that precaution, you might as well be arming potential attackers. A gun in the hand of someone who doesn’t know how to use it is a gift to the person they’re defending themselves from. Before you start storing your guns outside a gun safe, take everyone in your household to a firing range and make sure they know how to use, load, clean, empty, and safely store any weapon you’ll have secreted about. Once everyone in your household is trained up, you want to hide your guns where they’re easily accessible to you but not obvious to strangers. . .

But wait – where do we hide them? How do we hide them? …under the couch? Behind a frame?

So… where do you hide your guns? My secret? A box of fiber one in the cupboard… My kid’s won’t go near it, and the burglars don’t expect it.

Linked from: http://guncarrier.com/conceal-weapons-diy-gun-safes/

Types of Campfire

Having a campfire is a big part of camping. But do you know what type of campfire to make?

Don’t believe everything you watch on TV or see in the movies. There are different types of campfire. Some are best for heat and light, others are best for cooking over.

TV shows and films often have a roaring fire with pots and other items cooking over the flames.

Whilst it’s not impossible to cook that way, you’ll usually end up with burnt andundercooked food.

Hot coals and embers are actually much better to cook over as they give out a good steady heat, and it’s easier to control the temperature by adding or taking away hot coals.

Flame tends to burn yet not get that hot, at least not hot enough to cook the inside of your food before it scorches the outside.

If you want to do a lot of campfire cooking for your family, I recommend you get a Dutch Oven.

Dutch Ovens and other cast iron cookware work really well with hot coals, as the heat from the coals transfers to the iron, making it ideal for frying, baking, and roasting.

Let’s look at a few different types of campfire.

The Tepee is the classic looking campfire and is ideal when you want to create a quick fire to warm up with.

Pile up dry tinder kindling and set it alight. Then start placing sticks around it in a tepee shape, making sure that you don’t smother the fire.

As the fire gets bigger you can use larger sticks and logs.

This is a good fire that puts out a tall flame and heat in all directions, making it an ideal campfire to sit around in the evening.

You will need plenty of fuel close to hand as this type of fire burns quickly.

However, the tepee campfire is not a good choice if you want to cook food.

If you want a campfire to cook over, then you need to build a Criss-Cross fire.

You build this by simply placing a criss-cross of logs, stacked on top of one another.

I find it easier to light by creating a small depression in the ground and start a small fire with dry kindling first, then start adding more small twigs to the fire, and then build the crisscrossed logs above the fire.

Although the fire’s shape does provide a flat platform to cook things over, eventually the logs will collapse in on themselves.

This is not a problem, as it’s the hot embers and coals that this sort of fire makes that you then use for cooking with.

So what if you want to sit around a campfire and cook? How can you have a good campfire that does both?

Well, the ideal solution is a Keyhole Firepit.

You cut a keyhole shape in the ground and start a Tepee fire in the round part of the keyhole.  This fire provides light and warmth.

Now you can either wait for the Tepee fire to create enough hot embers or start a second fire for cooking with.

If you decide to wait, then rake hot embers from the main fire into the slot where you can cook food.

Alternatively, start a small criss-cross fire in the slot to create some embers while the tepee fire is warming everyone and lighting up the camp.

The Swedish Torch campfire is very popular on the internet. After all, using this design, a single log can burn for hours.  Sounds amazing, right?

The concept is quite simple.

You cut some slits into a log. You stand the log on its end and start a fire in the top. As the fire embers fall into the slits the log starts to burn.

Air is drawn into the slits and the log burns down from the top and the inside.

We’ve created something like this before, and although you can have a log burning for a long time, it doesn’t give out as much heat or light, so a group of you at a campsite won’t be keeping warm by this fire, unlike a tepee fire. Though if there’s just one or two of you and don’t have much wood, the Swedish Torch could be a good choice.

You’ll also want make sure the log is firm. You don’t want it falling over, especially with kids around.

If the top of the log is also flat you could place a small pan or pot on the top and use the log to cook on. The Swedish Torch does put out a lot of heat at the top of the log.

Here’s a video from the internet on making a Swedish Torch campfire.

So there you go, a couple of different methods of creating a campfire.

Here’s a handy summary:

How To Survive Without Your Glasses

In the classic dystopian novel “Lord of the Flies,” one of the main characters, Piggy, is virtually incapacitated when his spectacles are broken and stolen by the other boys stranded on the island. For those of us who wear glasses, Piggy’s plight is one that strikes close to home. If you are a glasses-wearer, you have no doubt included optometric equipment in your emergency inventory. Many of you may recall previous articles on SurvivalBlog that have addressed this issue at length, encouraging all wearers to look into Lasik and stockpile extra prescription glasses, contacts, and contact solution. These are excellent, practical strategies that we should all consider while optometric health care abounds around us.

However, the true worst-case-scenario would be a situation where, for whatever reason, you find yourself devoid of all the above preparations. If disaster were to strike this instant, how many of us have proactively invested in Lasik or some alternative, such as gentle cornea molding? And even if we have stockpiled plenty of optical supplies, there may come a fateful day when our supplies are used up, lost, stolen, or separated from us.

This article addresses the true worst case scenario for glasses-wearers: finding yourself in a blurry apocalypse with no optometrists for another hundred years. In the following pages, I will lay out a survival plan that goes beyond stockpiling and instead focuses on adaptation and coping strategies in case these preparations fail.

To provide my personal background, I am nearsighted/myopic/have-trouble-seeing-objects-at-a-distance person. Without disclosing my actual prescription, I cannot see the numbers on the standard-size wall clock a few feet away from my desk without my glasses. The information below mostly applies to people who share my particular vision difficulty of nearsightedness. However, those who are farsighted, or have other vision conditions, will be able to adapt the strategies below to their own personal situation. Even if you are not a glasses-wearer, there is likely someone in your group or family who can benefit from this information.

Preparing for a Glasses-Bereft World

In this first section of this article, I will outline the three things I do right now to prepare for an optical worst-case-scenario. In the second half, I will explore the four methods I would rely on to regain my vision in a glasses-bereft world.

To begin, here are three things you can start doing today to prepare:

1. Practice Without Your Glasses

First, practice daily activities without your glasses on. This has a two-fold purpose. At once, it will condition you to learn to rely on vague shapes and colors instead of clear outlines. Secondly, this is a confidence building exercise. After you’ve successfully completed a task without your glasses, you will begin to see that you can and will cope with your natural vision. For me, personally, there have been times when I don’t remember what life looks like without glasses. My glasses are the first things I put on in the morning, and I don’t take them off until after dark, so it is very possible for me to forget what the world looks like without glasses. It is precisely this forgetfulness that I attempt to combat. I want to be comfortable without my glasses now, so that I can be confident if lose them in the future.

Some other suggested activities include cooking meals, cleaning the house and garage (a great exercise in trying to find small or misplaced objects without glasses), doing light work, taking walks, running, and working out. I work at a large company, and one activity I practice regularly is walking around my office building without my glasses, trying to see how quickly I can recognize people just from their dress, walk, height, and overall vibe, even though I can’t make out their faces until the last minute.

Please note that I would strongly discouraged practicing any dangerous tasks without glasses. It is not advised that you attempt driving, shooting, or operating any heavy machinery without your glasses.

2. Learn About Blindness

Secondly, for those who are serious about overcoming any dependency on their glasses, I would advise taking things one step further– practice being blind, either by closing your eyes or blindfolding yourself for a period of time. This exercise will help you to appreciate the limited vision that you do have and also help you learn to rely on your other senses for support. Studies show that blindness increases your brain’s attention to the other senses, and you can begin to cultivate that awareness to sound, smell, and touch. For this exercise, it’s important to start small. Begin by trying to walk around your own house with your eyes shut or covered. Then try to do simple tasks. Work your way up.

I would also advise studying how other people have dealt with vision impairment. Read a biography of Stevie Wonder or Louis Braille. Talk to friends and relatives you may know who are blind or vision impaired. You will be amazed and inspired by how these people have survived, and what they have been able to achieve.

Right now, before the good times are over, develop and embrace the appropriate psychology about your vision enhancements. For those of us who wear glasses, it can feel like glasses are everything! However, take some time to remind yourself of these truths: You CAN survive without your glasses. Many animals have poor vision but are wary through their other senses. You may need to become that kind of animal, and you can. Recall stories of people who have overcome physical limitations, injuries, and setbacks, and know that you share the same indomitable human spirit. Resolve that you will not let the absence of glasses hold you back.

For those who enjoy or benefit from reading post-apocalyptic fiction, I would strongly recommend that you read Blindness by José Saramago. This novel explores a world ravaged by an inexplicable epidemic of vision loss, and it provides a raw account of the collapse of society through the eyes of the last person with eyesight. This book pulls no punches in wallowing in the filth of the human condition and the misery surrounding an epidemic, but it also accurately details the struggles blind survivors would face as they attempt to find food, build a semblance of structure, and even engage in vicious fighting.

As an interesting literary device, the book is written without quotation marks. Initially disorienting to the reader, this lack of syntactic clues quickly mirrors the confusion felt by those who cannot see who is speaking or acting.

3. Master Vision-Independent Defense

Third, practice some form of in-your-face close quarters combat. If the apocalypse finds you without your glasses, let’s face it, you may not be the world’s future long distance marksman. However, being visually impaired does not mean that you are defenseless. For you, any combat you engage in is going to have to be up close and personal. You will need to learn how to steal close to your opponent, how to choose a battleground where natural cover or darkness eliminates everyone’s ability to see a threat far off. You will need to learn how to stay very still to wait for your enemy or prey to come close, within your field of vision, for you to ambush them.

Regarding actual techniques, it doesn’t take good eyesight to be effective at grappling, wrestling, and ground fighting. Because these forms of combat are so tactile focused and indifferent to your one weak sense, you should work on mastering them. If you’re close enough to throw an elbow, the fact that you don’t have your glasses won’t matter. Remember, rattlesnakes have pathetic eyesight, but this is of no comfort to their victims.

I participate in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). Before I started wearing contacts, I had to take off my glasses to spar. I never felt disadvantaged as a result. There’s too much happening too fast in a sparring match for your brain to worry about specific details, and even if you have terrible vision, your brain will notice the movement that you need to respond to. All the MMA matches I’ve ever been in were a blur of motion, whether I was wearing contacts or not, and I have not noticed any personal improvement since I started doing MMA with contacts. The lack of overall detail you will observe during a sparring match will be all the more pronounced in an actual violent encounter. Take the time now to train in whatever martial art or combative sport you feel that you could comfortably do without your glasses.

Survival Strategies When Separated From Your Opticals

In the next part of this article, I’d like to share four survival strategies for practical things to do when you’ve lost or been separated from your optical cache, did not get Lasik while the world was still working, and/or just broke your last pair of glasses. As stated before, these are strategies for a true worst-case scenario, not a partial worst-case scenario, where you might still have access to your five-year stockpile of Acuvue and Opti-Free.

1. Salvage Existing Eyewear

The first thing you should do is salvage any remaining parts of any remaining glasses. Are the frames intact but the lenses cracked? Then, save the frames; you may be reunited with lenses at a later date. Is one lens unbroken? Wrap the edges in tape and attach a cord or wire to it, and convert it into a monocle. Remember, before Benjamin Franklin invented the spectacles, this was the norm. Even save the screws that hold the frames together, as these are highly unique. At a later date, you may be able to rebuild a pair of glasses from the pieces or find someone who can help you do so in exchange for some other good or service. If you come across discarded glasses, even reading glasses or sunglasses, take them with you.

2. Substitute Optics

Secondly, see if you can substitute any other optics, and designate them as your “eyewear.” Do you have anything else with lenses or magnification ability? If you have a rifle scope or binoculars, they can be adjusted to compensate for your poor distance vision. You may need to become “joined at the eye” with this piece of gear. Take your scope off your rifle, tie it around your neck, and develop a habit of frequently raising it to your eye as you walk around. I know, to many survivalists, what I just said is tantamount to saying “Tear out the pages of your bible and use them for kindling,” but while this is definitely not ideal, it may be the best you can do.

Cameras won’t work long after electricity has failed, but the viewfinder of most professional cameras can be focused manually to accommodate inferior eyesight. If the camera does not have a viewfinder that works without electricity, take the camera apart and see what you can do with the lenses inside. Have you taken apart your dead cellphone yet and harvested the lenses from your cellphone camera? Consider that, in the present environment, your role is that of an early scientist in the Renaissance age: one of your tasks of survival is to “invent” something that will help you see. Fortunately, in a post-consumer-electronics world, there will be many discarded devices that contain lenses and optics. Regardless of your vision restrictions, you may be able to find something that works for you.

3. Build a Telescope

Along the lines of the above point, building a telescope should be at the top of your to-do list. In its simplest form, a telescope captures an image on the “objective,” which is either a mirror or a lens (in a “refractor” or “reflector” telescope, respectively), and then uses another lens to enhance the captured image.

In our worst-case scenario, a telescope will be a valuable tool, enabling you to see objects in the distance clearly, and even scan middle distances routinely. If you are like me, you probably tried to build a telescope as a kid, with varying degrees of success. Below is a description of a simple reflecting telescope that I have been able to build many times. When properly focused, it has enabled me to see distant objects clearly without my glasses.

This crude telescope consists of only two things– a mirror that captures the image and a magnifying glass, which enlarges the image from the mirror. To build this telescope, direct the mirror towards the object you want to see, at an angle, so that it is partially facing the object and partially facing you. Mirrors will be plentiful in a post-apocalyptic world. Since every abandoned vehicle automatically carries three, you should have no trouble finding one that works for you. Once your mirror is in place, move your magnifying glass towards the mirror until the object comes into sharp focus as you look at the mirrored image through the magnifying glass. If you do not have a magnifying glass, try finding a curved piece of glass. If no glass is available, you can use a clear water container (a water bottle or clear bag of water) as a magnifying glass, although the performance will degrade or increase according to the quality of your materials.

You will need to do a lot of experimenting until you find the perfect distance and angle, but with a little work, you will soon be able to see an object in the distance clearly. The better your mirror and magnifying glass, the better this telescope will function. While not a mobile solution, this telescope set up could function at an observation post or for surveillance. It could be placed at a choke point leading to your retreat where you could stand sentry.

A more mobile solution would be a refracting telescope, consisting of parallel lenses in a tube. This is the stereotypical hand-held telescope that we are all familiar with. I have not successfully made one of these, so I will leave this up to the reader’s ingenuity. The essential point is that, if you can get your hands on a few lenses and mirrors, you will be able to make something to help you see better. Making a pair of glasses may be beyond your skill level, but making a telescope should be within everyone’s grasp.

4. Make Pinhole Glasses

Lastly, build yourself a pair of pinhole glasses. Wikipedia provides a concise explanation of pinhole glasses, reproduced below:

“Pinhole glasses, also known as stenopeic glasses, are eyeglasses with a series of pinhole-sized perforations filling an opaque sheet of plastic in place of each lens. Similar to the workings of a pinhole camera, each perforation allows only a very narrow beam of light to enter the eye which reduces the size of the circle of confusion on the retina and increases depth of field. In eyes with refractive error, the result is claimed to be a clearer image.” “Pinhole Glasses,” wikipedia.org, published on the World Wide Web

As a lay person, what I get from this description is that pinhole glasses reduce the amount of light entering your eye, and thus partially correct the fault in your eye’s mechanics. These makeshift glasses are incredibly easy to make. Simply fashion a piece of cardboard, plastic, or paper into the shape of a pair of glasses, and then poke one hole or several holes directly in front of where your eye would be. You will find that, while your vision is darkened and a lot of peripheral vision is lost, the image you see through the pinhole will be clear and in focus. I would advise experimenting with this a lot, until you’ve figured out what iteration of the pinhole glasses works best for you. You may find a single hole works best for you, a grouping of three, or an array of holes. The holes should actually be pin-pricks; if you make holes any larger, the effect will be lost. Please note that the perforated surface needs to be closer to your eyes than a glass lens would be, to prevent much light from reaching your eye at an angle.

While pinhole glasses are not as effective as traditional glasses, I cannot overstate their simplicity and usefulness in a pinch. I have made a pinhole monocle in two seconds with a sticky note and paper clip. I have even found that a perforated saltine cracker, when held up close to your eye, has the same vision improvement properties. This is definitely a tip you will want to share with anyone you know who wears glasses in your group.

Summary

These are the things you can do to prepare for life without glasses, and to survive if you find yourself in such a world. The plan outlined above is free and does not require you go purchase any additional gear or supplies. While those of us who wear glasses should either seek vision correction or stockpile against a shortage, if we are unable to do so, the end of the world as we know it does not need to be the end of the world, when it comes to our vision. Should you find yourself in a bad place, these strategies will help you, unlike Piggy, make it without your “specs” in a true worst-case scenario.

Survival Tips: Prepping with Pets

At Survival Life, survival tips are not exclusively for humans; we also have some for your pets. Domesticated animals make life much better, happier and more fulfilled. It’s hard to say just how much our pets mean to us. For many of us, they are truly like family.

If you love your pets like I do, then you want to do everything in your power to make sure they are safe, healthy and protected in an emergency. This story about Bailey, a dog who recently fell into frigid Lake Michigan, really tugged at my heartstrings and got me thinking about what I would do to protect my pets in this kind of situation.

Bailey, a golden Labrador, escaped her family and ended up jumping into a semi-frozen Lake Michigan. Luckily for Bailey, she jumped in right next to some Coast Guard members, who immediately ran to the dogs rescue.

The rescue took 20 minutes, precious time in which hypothermia could have set in, but the brave crew was able to pull Bailey out and get her to a local animal shelter, where she received treatment and was returned to her family. A heroic story that highlights just how important it is to make sure our animals are safe during difficult weather.

Many pets aren’t so lucky, and sadly many are lost to the elements when a disaster strikes and their owners are not prepared to take care of them under such circumstances.

So I wanted so share some survival tips for prepping with pets. Following these tips will help you make sure your pets are safe, healthy and happy — no matter what.

Survival Tips: Prepping with Pets

One thing is for certain: in a survival situation, you don’t want your furry friends to be left behind. Whether you choose to bug out or stay put, you want your pet to be as safe as the rest of the family.

As preppers, we also need to include pets in getting ready for any emergency. In a previous post, we talked about having a plan for your beloved critter when SHTF. Now we have put together some survival tips for prepping with pets. Feel free to share your ideas in the comments section.

1. Start getting ready now: ID your pet

Make sure that your cat or dog is wearing a collar and identification that is up to date and visible at all times. You’ll increase your chances of being reunited with a lost pet by having him or her microchipped.Ifyour pet is adopted from a shelter or rescue organization, make sure the registration has been transferred to you and is not still with the adoptiongroup.Put your cell phone number on your pet’s tag. It may also be a good idea to include the phone number of a friend or relative outside your immediate area—in case you have had to evacuate.

2. Arrange a safe haven

Arrange a safe haven for your pets in the event of evacuation. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND. Remember, if it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets. They may become trapped or escape and be exposed to numerous life-threatening hazards. Note that not all Red Cross disaster shelters accept pets, so it is imperative that you have determined where you will bring your pets ahead of time:

Contact your veterinarian for a list of preferred boarding kennels and facilities.
Ask your local animal shelter if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets.
Identify hotels or motels outside of your immediate area that accept pets.
Ask friends and relatives outside your immediate area if they would be willing to take in your pet.

3. Shelter in place

When sheltering at home with your pet, make sure the room chosen is pet-friendly in the following ways:
Select a safe room, preferably an interior room with no (or few) windows.
Remove any toxic chemicals or plants.
Close off small areas where frightened cats could get stuck in (such as vents or beneath heavy furniture).

4. Keep their health in check

Make sure you take them to the vet every year prior to a state of emergency. Doing so will keep them current with their shots and ensure that they’re in good health. 

5. First Aid supplies

Some basic first aid supplies (e.g. gauze, sports tape) could be used for pet first aid, other items might need to be more pet specific. Pick up a pet first aid kit which includes items recommended by the Red Cross.

6. Supplies: Pet food

This is just an opinion and I’m sure that we’ll have a lively discussion about it, but you may want to consider storing foods such as tuna or low-sodium beef stew that you may find on sale BOGO (or even free with coupons) in place of part of your pet food. That way, your pet food is also edible by people, and frankly will cost less than buying canned dog or cat food. It may not be ideal now but if SHTF, it’ll do!

7. Supplies: Water

Water, especially here in Texas, is a top priority as well. We store water in 2 liter bottles for humans to drink. You should store a week or so for ALL your pets to drink from just in case, separate from the human supply.

We have a filter for our use to obtain water on the go, but there is no reason you can’t use the same filter to replenish water for your pets. Just like us, pets have about 3 days without water to survive. It would also be a good idea to have a bowl for drinking and feeding with your supplies.

8. Pet-proof security measures

The first step you should take when incorporating pets in your survival plans is to make sure that your home’s defenses do not pose any risk to your pets and that your pets do not threaten to compromise the efficiency of your defenses. If traps are part of your defense plan (something I neither recommend or condone), it would be wise to make them unaccessible to any pets in your household. Barbed-wire or electrified fencing can be a serious hazard to pets in particular. However, many elements of traditional security systems do not pose any kind of physical threat to pets unless they’re hazardously mounted.

9. Train them to serve

Train your animals to be of use. Dogs can pull people or small carts, carry backpacks and act as protectors. Horses, mules or donkeys can be ridden or used as plow animals and can pull the sick or wounded. Pigs can be trained to defend the house or even carry items. Birds can even be trained to protect you or to act as an alarm. Train your pets to serve a purpose if at all possible; otherwise they’ll just be extra mouths to feed.

10. Prepare a pet emergency kit

Whether you stay home or evacuate, keep a pet emergency kit with your family’s emergency kit. Use plastic zipper bags to protect the items. Items should include:
Collar with ID tags and sturdy leash
Two-week supply (or more) of each pet’s medication
Photocopies of health records and a recent photo taken of you with your pets
Two-week supply of pet food and bottled water, and bowls for each.
First-aid supplies, including bandages, tape, tweezers and antibacterial ointment (Ask your vet for recommendations)
Secure, covered carrier/crate (large enough for your pet to completely turn around)
Flashlight and radio, with fresh batteries for each.
Favorite toy or bedding (to help reduce the stress of unfamiliar surroundings)
Cleaning supplies and disposable trash bags or newspaper for cleanup.

11. Leave your pet with a friend

What happens if disaster strikes and you cannot get back home right away? Have a trusted friend or neighbor you can call to look after your pet until you can back home. This is something that must be planned well ahead of time however. Any friends or neighbors must be introduced to the animal and get to know them over time, know its feeding and bathroom schedule and know where the animal’s food, leashes and harnesses are located. Of course, any caretaker would need to have a key or access to a hidden key

12. Get pet insurance

Accidents and illness against your pets while you are gone are always a possibility, and the resulting veterinarian bills can put you in a financial bind, especially while you’re out of the country. Put your mind at ease by protecting your pet with pet insurance.

5 Survival Skills You Can Practice While Camping

Have Fun While Honing Your Survival Skills

There is no better way to practice your survival skills than to practice these life saving skills while you are camping – anything from building a shelter to identifying edible plants.

Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned survivalist, I believe in always staying on top of your game with these 5 survival skills which can literally save your life in a survival situation.

1. Building a Fire

Learning different methods of how to build a fire is important. The easiest way, of course, is to use matches or a lighter. It is important to remember, however, that you should never rely just on these 2 methods alone – your lighter could run out of fluid or your matches could get wet. Primitive methods are important for EVERYONE to learn. The following methods are great to practice while you are camping:

Ferro Rod – Check out this great video on different ferro rods you can use.

Hand Drill – Check out this video tutorial for step-by-step instructions.

Bow Drill – Check out this video tutorial for step-by-step instructions.

2. Building a Shelter

Learning how to build a shelter is another must-know skill for any survivalist. While you’re camping, you most likely will have a tent and a air mattress with warm blankets. However, one day you could be in these same surroundings without these luxuries therefore, building a shelter is a skill that you will need to learn to protect you from the elements and quite possibly – predators.

The following article, written by Ruth England (co-star of ‘Man, Woman, Wild’) gives detailed instructions and viable information on how to build different types of shelters.

3. Water Purification

Another must-have skill is water purification. Purifying water is so important. If it looks clean, purify it anyway. Water that has not been filtered or purified can lead to serious illness and sometimes death due to bacteria and other waterborne pathogens.

4. Different Methods of Fishing

When you’re a survival situation, food is important to keep your energy levels up – preferably a food source that has lots of protein. The following video, Survival Fishing Tips & Techniques, shows you how you can fish in a true survival situation. This video is extremely informative — a must watch!

5. Learning to Identify Edible and Medicinal Plants

Sometimes, in a survival situation, food that contains protein is hard to find. Learning how to identify edible plants (some of which also provide medicinal properties as well) is a must REMEMBER this important rule: Every edible plant has a look-alike, so please be absolutely certain that you are picking the right plant as your food source! I can’t stress that enough! Keeping a book on edible plants with photo identifications is a great addition to your survival gear.

Wet and Wild Survival Challenge

“Despite only getting three hours of sleep, I jump out of bed before my alarm clock goes off. I’m always so excited for survival outings that any sleep the night before is a blessing. Like a kid on Christmas Eve, I can’t help but run through my plans over and over in my head. The ironic part is that all those plans go right out the window once the challenge begins. I know I am ready. I’ve studied and trained to prepare for this kind of situation. However, it’s impossible to keep my head clear knowing how Mother Nature may slap me around. “

I gear up and head out to the woods. There is a heavily wooded area on the North side of our pond that is ideal for a shelter. I know of a large birch tree adorned with a natural ‘Y’ in the trunk, ideal for shelter and for the bed design in my mind. As I hike that way, I notice that even at 6 am it is already starting to get warm. I had planned to do this challenge back in late March or April to avoid the heat, but I didn’t have the right weather conditions to get steady rain. That’s the premise of this challenge: dealing with wet weather conditions, particularly thunderstorms, in a survival situation. Last September, during one of my challenges, cooler temperatures and a thunderstorm almost forced me to tap out the first night due to hypothermia. Based on that difficulty, I decided to center an entire challenge on wet weather conditions and hypothermia. For this current challenge, the twist is that there is a chemical in human sweat that lowers body temperature. Unfortunately, sweating through my clothes could cause hypothermia as well.

As I approach the area where I plan to build my shelter, I stop dead in my tracks. A vast blanket of knee high poison ivy covers the entire hillside. I keep thinking to myself “leaves of three, let it be” like I was taught as a kid. I happen to be highly allergic and have had instances where my reaction was severe enough for me go to the hospital. Against my better judgement, I trudge on and find my birch tree. After looking over my area, I decide that it would be impossible to make it three days without getting poison ivy on my skin. The plant has an oil called Urushiol that causes the irritation, and it can be transferred from clothing to your skin days after the initial contact. This is why many people think that the rash can be “spread.” I know that I already have it all over my pants, so I will have to be careful not to touch them. I move on and scope out several other potential sites. Finally, I find an old apple tree with the same natural ‘Y’ in the trunk. This will be my home for the next three days.

The four pillars of survival are Shelter, water, fire, and food.

Keeping the storms in mind, I set up my shelter to handle the wind and rain to come. First, I cut down two long maple poles with my hatchet. Each is about nine feet long and about four inches in diameter at the thickest point. I am able to prop them up in the crotch of the tree about three feet off the ground. Then I wrap climbing rope around the two poles to create a kind of hammock or stretcher design. This will keep me up off the ground, which most certainly will be a mud puddle by morning. I then take a branch about three feet long, sharpen one end with my hatchet, and hammer it into the ground at the foot of the bed. I find another maple pole and tie it to the trunk of the tree and the branch in the ground. This will serve as a ridge pole to provide support during the strong winds to come. Next, I tie two corners of my emergency blanket to the bed. I stretch it over the ridge pole and tie a third corner to the tree trunk. I then fashion a stake out of a tree branch by sharpening one end. I stretch paracord from the final corner to the stake and my roof is secure. Finally, I take two small sticks about one inch long and used them to further stretch the blanket. To create a raised roof, I put one in the center, tie paracord around it, and tie it to an overhead branch. This will allow water to run off instead of pooling up in the center. I do the same with the other stick on the side closest to the ridge pole, and stretch it to another stake I had driven into the ground. Thunderstorm winds typically come from the South, so I put my ridge pole on that side. I hope that this design will withstand any severe weather that decides to head my way.

Now that my shelter has been established, avoiding dehydration is my next priority. I brought a water bottle with a filter built into the lid, so this makes purifying water easy. I simply attach some paracord to the bottle so I can lower it into the pond. I would have to find an area where the water was clear. Dense algae and fallen branches are blocking most of the areas around the bank, but I find a small window. Pond water always has a funky vegetation flavor to it, even when purified. Nonetheless, the water is welcomed and needed to replenish my hydration. In all of my previous challenges, I have allowed myself to get dehydrated to the point that my hand cramped into a useless fist while building my shelter. I will not let this happen again. I drink about two full bottles and am ready for fire wood.

With a storm headed this way, I need to get as much wood protected from the rain as I can. There is a nice cubby between my bed and the ground, which will keep my wood dry. After looking at the trees in my area, I notice that several have low-hanging, dead branches. This is always the best place to get dry firewood versus gathering fallen sticks or cutting green wood. The hardest firewood to find is always the large logs and the tiny tinder. The medium sized kindling, on the other hand, is easy to find. Finding logs that you can cut efficiently without a chainsaw is tough. I have a hatchet with a small saw built into the handle, but cutting anything too large will completely wear out my arm. I find several logs about three and a half inches thick that are the perfect size. Finding tinder can be tough because small material often falls off in the wind before you can get to it. I do find lots of pencil sized sticks and medium sized wood, which was about one inch thick. After stacking it all under my bed, I am ready for the storm.

Now that I have constructed my shelter, gathered water, and found my firewood, I move on to the fourth pillar of survival, food. First, I go after the wild edibles. This is typically the easiest source of nutrition, if you know how to identify the right plants. Near a large maple tree, I find everything I need. I see broadleaf plantains, which have a large wide leaf the size of spinach and also taste a bit like spinach. There are dandelions, which have a peppery flavor. The whole plant is edible including the bloom. I also find oxalis, which is my personal favorite. Oxalis has heart-shaped leaves, small yellow flowers, and it carries a rich lemony flavor. When in a survival mindset, you quickly broaden your idea of what tastes good. As a snack for later, I collect a pocket full of Maple tree seeds. These are easy to identify and are commonly known as the helicopter seed pods. The seed in the pod is not very tasty, but it has carbohydrates and protein that make it a good snack. There is plenty of mouse-eared chickweed, but it is too close to the poison ivy for me to take a chance on it. I know I don’t want survive on leaves and seed pods alone, so I decide to do some fishing.

Fishing can be a challenge even with the proper gear. I didn’t have a rod and reel, but I did have my Pocket Fisherman. Despite it only being about nine inches long, I hope that the Pocket Fisherman will be effective. A small rod extends out doubling the length. It actually has two separate rods built into one to allow more strength for bigger fish. It has a standard reel built-in. There is also a small compartment in the handle for lures. During my challenge prep, I had rigged some plastic worms with hooks so the compartment came in handy. In my prepping, I read that right before a storm, the low barometric pressure allows a fish’s stomach to expand and make them feel hungrier. This makes them more apt to feed during this time. Fish are also more likely to feed following a storm, because of all the insects and worms that the rain washes into the water. In the first few casts, I know the fish are active. After about 30 minutes, I set the hook in a monster bass. It doesn’t put up much of a fight, and I pull it in easily. At about four and a half pounds, it will make for a good meal. I don’t plan to build a fire until just before dark to preserve wood, so I put the giant on a makeshift stringer through his bottom lip and throw him back in the water. Recently, I learned that running a stringer through the lip instead of the gills will keep the fish alive for several more hours. Finding any meal is a win, but finding protein is a game changer.

All I have left to do is rest, hydrate, and wait for the storm. Unfortunately, my afternoon shower is anticlimactic. It rains, but not the storm I am hoping. I am able to tell that the shelter will keep both the firewood and myself dry, so that is a victory. I clean my fish, cut it in two big pieces, and put it in a pot with water. I bury the head to preserve it for a little fish head soup for the morning. Burying meat eliminates the oxygen and warm temperatures that cause bacteria to grow. I need to use every part of the fish while also being cautious about predators that may come after my meal.

While starting my fire, I test out several inexpensive fire-starting products which I have never used before. Fire Cubes and Wetfire operate exactly the same way. Both are waxy cubes off of which you can make a small pile of shavings. With one strike of my ferro rod, the pile lights and I am able to put the rest of the cube directly into the flame. These products are awesome and only cost a few bucks. I try out Livefire, and while it lights after one strike the flame is fairly small. Finally, I hold Firesticks over the flame. This product will not light with just sparks, but has its purpose. After about 20 seconds, it is lit and stays lit long enough for me to pile large wood on top of it and get a roaring fire going. I am able to skip right over the small sticks, and I do all of this on wet ground. In most cases, you never want to try to start a fire on wet ground. Once the fish is cooked, I scarf down the meat and drink the broth. This is always the best way to cook to get all the nutrients out of your meat. Fish in particular has a lot of fats and oils that end up in the broth and add another level of nourishment. It’s also a great feeling to have some warm broth in your belly.

I don’t get much sleep overnight, but by morning I am out like a light and get a few hours of rest. Sleep is so important to keep you focused and productive in a survival situation, so you have to take it as it comes. Once you figure out how to survive in any given situation it becomes more about routine than anything. For the next two days, I stay hydrated, munch on plants, fish, and do what I can to stay dry. It continues to rain on and off the whole time. Finally, I get my nasty thunderstorm on the second night, and it is exhilarating. In spite of the crazy winds, flashing lighting, and pouring rain, my shelter holds up nicely. I don’t get wet, and I never have to adjust or rebuild my shelter in any way. I catch another large fish on day two, and am thrilled to get the calories. Medically, this challenge has been pretty uneventful. I never approached hypothermia, and the worst thing that happened was getting a piece of bark in my eye. Still, I am ready to return home at the end of the three days.

This challenge felt more like a camping trip than survival, but I have to remember how far I have come. I spend on average about three hours a day studying survival techniques, some of which have become second nature. This challenge was so much more difficult by design than my September challenge, yet if felt so much easier. I took this on without a gun, a bow, or a standard fishing rod for the first time, but had no problem finding food. I dealt with rain every day of this challenge, but never got wet or cold. My bed design was my own invention, and it worked perfectly. I stayed hydrated the whole time, and got plenty of rest. I did all of this with a torn rotator cuff in my left shoulder, and I was still recovering from a previous case of pneumonia. However, any survival situation will take its toll on your body. I gathered more food in this challenge than any previous challenges, but still only consumed a total of about 500 calories and lost 13 lbs in just three days. I still feel that in the last eight months, I have gone from barely surviving to thriving. It just reinforces how important knowledge and practice is when your life is on the line.