How to Start a Fire in the Wilderness?

This is a great blog written by Brandon Cox about how to start a fire in the wilderness. Check out his site stayhunting. He has some really cool articles and information. Thank you Brandon for letting us share your blog.

How to Start a Fire in the Wilderness?

By Brandon Cox / January 27, 2017

How to Start a Fire

Fire is so crucial for survival in the wild especially when lost or just taking an adventure. Ever wondered why almost every person starts a fire when in the wild whether camping or just taking an adventure? In a short while, I will show you exactly why fire is so important in the world and why you must know how to start one. You can agree with me that most people in the wild who find themselves in a situation where they need fire don’t have a lighter.

Well, I promise to show you exactly how you can start a fire in the wild with or without a lighter but first let’s see why fire is so important in the wild.

How to Start a Fire in the Wilderness?

Why is It Important to Start a Fire?​

Most people think of fire as a luxury only to realize of its crucial importance when in an outdoor visit or a survival situation. In a survival situation, fire can be lifesaving enabling you to do a lot and get through the danger of the wild. Most of the threats that people face in the wild when in a survival situation can easily be solved by fire going to show its importance.

Most common ways people die in the wildness and how fire can help?​

  • Hypothermia due to lack of body heat: Fire warms you.
  • Snake and spider bites: Fire scares them away.
  • Attack from predators: Fire keeps them away
  • Insect bites: Fire again keeps them away
  • Dehydration: Fire helps you melt water in ice regions
  • Hunger: Fire helps cook edible raw food
  • Think of committing suicide: Fire boosts your morale becoming your only friend

Those are just good examples to show you how fire is so important in the wild. In when in places with water sources, you will still need fire to boil the water and kill the pathogens and other bacteria in the water. Fire in the wild at night can be the only difference dying and seeing the light in the morning. It will warm you, give you light to accomplish tasks and scare away wild animals. The smoke from the fire can also act as a signal to the search team.

Do you see the importance of fire in a survival situation in the world?

I know you agree with me on this. Fire in the wild is very important to survival. The discovery of fire is what has changed humanity.​ Even before we learn how to start a fire in the wild, let first see how to prepare the ground for a well-built fire.​

​How to Build a Well-built Fire?

Well build fire

You don’t just gather wood and start the fire as most people think. Starting a fire in the wild requires you to prepare. Even in your home, you have the fireplace nicely set. The very first step in starting a fire in the wild is building a good fire pit.

1- ​Build a Fire Pit

There are no fire rings in the wild, so you have to prepare a fire pit. First, choose a good location as this is where you will most probably spend the night. Doing it under a huge tree or under some cliff will ideal. All the vegetation and grass on the chosen spot must be cleared for a distance of 8-10 feet. Once you have a cleared area, dig several inches into the soil to remove the top layer which is set aside for emergencies. You can even use the loose soil as firewall and mount it around the newly built fire pit. If in a place with rocks, mount rocks on the edge of the fire pit to insulate it.

2- Gather Materials​

What does your hunting backpack have that can help you gather as many materials as possible. You will need different materials that catch fire easily and others that burn for long periods. You can make it in the wild starting fire without enough materials to keep the fire going once it starts.

Scope the area and collect as much wood as you can to help you with the fire. If you’re in the camp where there is tinder, then use to start the fire.

​Tinder

Tinder is among the smallest and easiest materials to get a fire started in the campfire. The following are some of the tinder forms:

  • Wadded paper
  • Wax
  • Wood shavings
  • Cardboard strips
  • Fire starts and commercial fire sticks
  • Dryer lint
  • Dry leaves (works well in the case of wildfire where other materials are not easy to find)

Kindling

The next step is kindling the fire where you size it up by adding small branches and twigs that you collected earlier. Branches and twigs of about 1/8 and inches into the fire to size up slowly but ensure you don’t put it out.​

Tip: Add small twigs and branches and slowly increase their size as the fire grows.

Firewood

Lastly, you can add logs that burn for long to keep the fire going up to the next day. Whole logs or split ones can both work depending on how long you want the fire to burn. The logs and woods must be completely dry to burn and stay lit for long.

Tip: Splitting logs might be impossible in the wild so start by putting them near the edge of the fire and let them catch fire slowly.​

Water

Water is very necessary just in case you need to out the fire in the morning all when finished. Pour water on the fire when done to stop it spreading to other areas. Stir the ashes to ensure there is no fire left and then pour more water. You can always repeat this over and over until the ashes are cool to be held in your hand before you leave the scene. The worst mistake you can do is leave a campfire or a fire in the wild unattended as this can lead to a catastrophic widespread of fire burning the entire area.

Tip: The dirt or dug soil can be used to cover the fire area and prevent any chances of the fire starting on its own.​

Ignition Source

What is the easiest way to start a fire in the wild? If lucky to have a match or lighter in your hunting bag, then you’re good to start. However, what happens when you have nothing that can start fire fast? This is where your fire starting skills are tested. You have to go the old ways our ancestral used to start a fire with any available tools. Did you know your bow can be used to start a fire? If you go hunting with bows and arrows, then your bow can be used to start a fire, but we will get to that in a short while. There are several other ways to start a fire in the wild that will discuss in a little while as you look forward to improving your fire starting skills in the wild.​

3- Six Popular Ways You Can Build a Fire

​Before you build a fire, you need to understand all the six popular ways that people build a fire in the wild to suit specific reasons. The arrangement you choose to build your fire will determine how long it lasts and how fast it burns. You can see why it is important to know the way you will build your fire. I’ll show you some of the most popular ways that people build fires in the wild and the purpose each way serves.

​3.1- The Teepee Fire

The teepee is the most popular arrangement and one you need to know. Build a tepee by arranging the tinder and kindling it in the shape of a cone. Lit the center and let the logs burn from inside falling inward to feed the fire. Building a tepee is ideal when you have wet wood or green wood that does not burn well. The flame is usually hottest at the tip where there is oxygen. The heat generated from this arrangement is very intense and burns out wood quickly but ideal for warming you at night.

The teepee arrangement is probably the one you’ve seen in survival series where one needs to keep warm and have the fire burn until morning. The thicker end of a log or stick should always be placed at the top where the heat is intense so that it burns inward.

Video illustrating the teepee fire arrangement

​Pros

  • Gives intense heat
  • Starts fire faster
  • Can burn wet or green wood

Cons

  • Burns woods quickly

​3.2- The Lean-to Fire

The lean to fire is another great arrangement that does not need a lot of effort if you set it out correctly. Choose a medium sized log and place tinder next to it. The kindling is the leaned across the log as illustrated in the video below. Small dry branches and twigs can be placed after several layers of tinder. Once you light the tinder, you can add as much kindling as needed to grow the fire.

Video how lean fire is built

​Pros

  • Fire will size up without much trouble
  • Once set up, fire starts pretty fast without any additional task

Cons

  • More tinder and kindling are required.

3.3- The Cross-ditch Fire

The Cross-ditch fire is by far the most lasting arrangement for making any wildfires. On a tinder bed, put kindling in a crisscross fashion before you add woods and logs. Once everything is set, light the tinder and fire will slowly size up.

Video how cross-ditch fire is built

​Pros

  • Efficient consumption of fuel
  • Long lasting to see you through the night
  • Suitable for cooking

Cons

  • A bit tedious to build

3.4- The Log Cabin Fire

The log cabin fire simply means creating fire by having a cabin arrangement. This is achieved by first kindling twigs and branches into the shape of a cabin while leaving a space in the middle. Place two sticks in opposite directions 4-6 inches apart. Continue stacking more sticks across each other until a square cabin is created.

Create a reasonably sized box and add tinder into the box. Once tinder is filled in the box, place more sticks on top of the cabin to cover the tinder. When everything is set, go right ahead and light your tinder.

Video showing the log cabin fire

​Pros

  • Rarely collapses
  • Long lasting
  • Provides warmth on all sides

Cons

  • Burns out wood much faster

3.5- Upside Down (Pyramid)

The upside down fire is where your fire starts at the top and burns all the way down. It is quite simple to start. Place two small branches or logs on the ground in a parallel position. Have another solid log on top of the first layer in a perpendicular position. Keep on adding a few more layers alternating their direction each time. Each layer placed must be smaller than the previous layer.

When done, light the top of the layer and leave the flame to travel naturally down. This is another great way to light a fire in the wild without straining.

Video Upside down fire

​Pros

  • Long lasting
  • Fire burns downwards requiring no attention during the night
  • Quite fast to start

Cons

  • Requires several logs that might have to use some power tools like chainsaw to cut and split firewood
  • Does not produce intense heat

3.6- Create a Star

The star arrangement of fire is where you place log from different side meeting in the middle to form what appears like a star. I know woods in the wild can sometimes be in shortage especially if your hunting backpack does not have enough cutting items. Saving the few logs you find can get you through the cold of the night. This arrangement is quite effective at preserving wood where you pull them back a bit when you need to decrease the intensity if the fire.

Video How to build the Star Fire

​Pros

  • Quite effective and long lasting
  • Consumer wood well
  • Conserves fuel

Cons

  • You have to monitor and control the fire regularly

4- Bonus: Tips/Tricks When Building a Well-built Fire

4.1- ​Choosing the Fire Location

Choosing Fire Location

Fire in the wild does not have the comfort zones that come with building fires in the camp or at homes. There is no fire pit, and one has to set a good spot to create a fire pit. You can agree with me choosing a location is very important. You don’t have to be the one burning the forest down. Stay away from trees and bushes that may catch fire and spread it.

A clear area away from dry leaves and other dry twigs is an ideal one. You don’t want to wake up smelling smoke everywhere so carefully choose a location that does not bring smoke your way. Check for the breeze and if its steady, you will know which direction the smoke will be going. Start your tinder where you intend to build your fireplace. Many times I have seen people start a fire somewhere and carry the tinder to another place. If you start your tinder somewhere else, then create a temporary fire there before transferring the fire to your main location.

4.2- Choosing the Foundation​

Foundation

Choosing a good foundation is crucial as poor foundations will kiss fire that as just started. Avoid wet and cold areas if possible and build your fire on a dry foundation. In cases where every part is wet or cold, try and build a foundation for your fire using dry rocks. I REPEAT, DRY ROCKS as wet rocks can explode in your face. I will tell you later on why wet rocks are not ideal for starting a foundation especially those taken from the riverbed area.

The aim here is to elevate your foundation away from the water beneath. Dry dirt can also be used to raise the foundation higher. If possible, try and make air flow beneath the foundation. A good way to do this is have rocks on two sides with two opening instead of having rocks circle your foundation. A good spot with a good foundation and big rocks around it will make it easier for you to start a fire and maintain it. The big rocks act as the windbreaker creating a barrier around the fire pit preventing the wind from spreading the fire.

4.3- Best Time to Start a Fire in the Wild​

When is the best time to start the fire? Do you wait until dark falls to start the fire? When planning to start a fire, timing is very crucial. It is always important to start the fire a few hours before the sun goes down. This can be 2-3 hours earlier as you need the light of the sun to collect materials and observe what you’re doing.​

4.4- Safety Tips​

  • Never Leave Before Putting out the Fire​ – Fire might not seem dangerous especially when controlled but can turn ugly and destroy millions of properties and life. The first rule when leaving the spot of the wildfire is always to turn it off. I have said this before and will say again; ensure you extinguish the fire completely before leaving the scene. Poor water on the fire and cover it wet soil before pouring more water. You must be able to hold the wet ashes in your hand and confirm there is no slightest of burning wood that can start a wildfire once you’ve gone. Most of the fires seen around the world are mostly caused by human error, and you don’t want to be one causing it.
  • Never use Rocks from the River Beds​ – I talked about this earlier when building your foundation using rocks. Wet rocks from the river beds have water in them that will expand once heated. These rocks can explode on your face causing serious injuries when the water expands and breaks them apart. The water in the rocks boils and increases in size exploding the rocks into small pieces. It is simple science that you probably learned in high school that you must be aware of when using rocks to build a foundation.
  • Build Fires Away from Branches and Steep Slopes​ – To avoid the risk of the fire spreading, build it away from overhanging branches, rotten stumps, dry grass, leaves, logs and steep areas. Even the extra wood you set aside must be piled some distance away from the fire.
  • ​Never Leave a Wildfire Unattended – Even the smallest of breeze will spread the fire away and start a wildfire. This is why it is necessary to have every material ready before you starting the fire.​

Pro Tips to Start Fire in the Real Challenge Situations- Advice from the Famous Blogs

You probably have everything you need to start a fire in the wild but what if the situation is challenging? Can you start a fire in a rainy or windy condition? Advice from famous blogs written for the survival men and women out there will show you how to start a fire in the most challenging situations.

1 – Start a Fire When Wood is Wet – From EHow

It seems totally impossible to start a fire when the wood but when that is the only option, you have to do it to see the next day. You must put in some extra effort to overcome the challenges of damp wood. It might be a bit challenging, but the steps from the Ehow should help start the fire easily


2 – Start a Fire When It Raining – From ArtOfManliness

Starting fire is one thing and knowing how to start it in a rainy condition is a whole new thing. You can agree with me that learning the skill to start a fire in a raining place is important for avid campers and frequent hikers. Choosing a good location and collecting dry tinder are among the most important things to do. The ArtOfManliness blog clearly illustrate how to start a fire when it is raining.


3 – Start a Fire  When There is Snow – From OffTheGridNews

Starting fire when there is snow should not be difficult as long as you have a few dry limbs to set the base. The problem is when your wood is frozen. Frozen wood is even harder to start than wet wood as you have to thaw it first. Start by choosing wood from high up the branches where there is no snow. Lay the base of logs in the snow to act as your foundation. The melting snow should not worry you as it rarely melts and if it does it will not affect your fire. You can then pile your tinder and kindle it before lighting the tinder.

If there are rocks around, building a fire pit and raising your spot some levels above the ground is also a good idea. Follow this OffTheGridNews for step by step instructions on how to start a fire when there is snow.


4 – Start a Fire  When it’s Windy – From ModernSurvivalBlog

Well…, Windy conditions create a dangerous situation to start a fire in the wild. In fact, some states even have laws restricting fires in the wild or outdoor spaces when the atmosphere is windy. Windy spreads fire quite faster, and you can have the whole forest to fire in minutes. So, how do you get to start a fire in a windy situation?

The Dakota Fire Hole​

The Dakota fire hole is a method used to start a fire in a windy area and has several advantages over other methods.​

How to build a Dakota fire hole?

  • Dig a hole a foot long and a foot wide
  • Enlarge the bottom of the holes inches wide to accommodate more wood
  • The hole becomes the chamber of the fire pit
  • One foot away from the hole, dig an airway channel that will connect to your Dakota hole at the bottom
  • The diameter of the airflow must be a foot and angle down towards the bottom of the Dakota hole
  • Fill your fire pit with tinder and kindling before lighting it
  • Adds more materials to build the fire
  • The airflow acts as a suction drawing in air and resulting in a hot and efficient burning of wood.

​Pros of the Dakota hole

  • Burns very hot
  • Uses little fuel
  • Creates less smoke
  • Safe when there is the wind
  • The flame burns under the ground shielding it from being seen during the dark
  • Easily supports cookware
  • Easy to extinguish by filling the hole with soil
  • Avoids Detection

Cons

  • Might not be visible to the search team
  • A bit tedious to build

Top 20 Best Ways to Start a Fire Without a Match Lighter

Fire by Friction

1. Hand Drill

The hand drill is one of the simplest and old ways to make fire. Create a V-shaped notch on a board or piece of limb and drill it with a dry stick until the tip glows red and you have your ember collected. You must have your tinder nearby to blow and get a flame.​

2. Fire Plow

The fire plow is one of the simplest methods to start a fire in the wild if your hands ache from the hand drill method. It is simply rubbing two sticks together until heat is generated through friction. Create a groove on a piece of wood and use a stick and move a stick through the grove forth and back until ember is created. Once again, you must have your tinder nearby.​

3. Bow Drill

This is where your hunting tools come into play. In the bow drill, you don’t need your arrows but the bow to create heat on a piece of dry wood through friction. The string of your compound bow is used to tie to a dry wood that is then rotated on a dry board or piece wood to create an ember.​

The bow drill is easy on hands and requires less effort to drill. However, in a real life situation, it can be difficult to set up requiring a reliable cord.

4. Fire Saw

This method uses a piece of wood that is practically sewed into another wood on the ground to cause ignition.​ You can check this video on how fire saw works:

5. Fire Thong

The fire thing is a friction method that is quite fast and efficient. The method uses a split branch and a split rattan to create friction. The rattan thong is sawed forth and backward against the underside of the board to create an ember.

​6. Flint and Steel

In the flint and steel method, a spark is created from the steel when the two are put under pressure. You must have your tinder ready for the spark to land on it and start the fire. The ArtOfManliness giving you a full explanation of the flint and steel method

​7. With a Dead Lighter

You can start a fire using the dead lighter pretty simple using some deodorant and a piece of tissue. Spray the aerosols all over the tissue. You must have the tinder and kindling ready. Go ahead and flints the wheel on the lighter placing it closer to the tissue of paper. It may take several attempts, but eventually, the fire will start.

​If your lighter is dead, then don’t just throw it away, it can help you start a fire without straining a lot.

Using the Lens Based Methods

8. Lenses (Mirror/Glass/Magnifying)

You probably tried this when you were little children using lenses to focus light from the sun on the same spot for a few minutes. The concentrated watts from the lenses hitting your tinder will start a fire.

​Lenses can be quite effective in a real life situation. You just have to imagine of all the items in your hunting backpack that might be having lenses.

9. Fire from Ice

You will need a clear piece of ice to start a fire. Shape the ice with a knife to create the rough edges or grind it on stone. Use the heat of our body to finish shaping your ice by melting the rough edges. Hold the ice perpendicularly to the sky and move it to focus the brightest light on the tinder. The tinder will first smoke before igniting but be careful not to drip water on it.

​This is a good one if you’re lost in the wild, and there is ice. Make sure you start the fire before the sun disappears as we discussed earlier. 2-3 hours before the sun goes down is ideal.

10. Coke Can and Chocolate Bar

Any can with a bottom similar to a coke can also be used to start a fire. The bottom of the can is used to reflect light and focus it on the tinder, but first, you have to make it shiny enough using a chocolate bar. A chocolate piece can be used to brush the bottom of the can and make it polished.

​You can even try this on your own to know you can do it when in the survival situation. Who knows what comes your way in the wild.

11. A Flashlight

With your tinder and kindling set, break off the glass cover from the touch but don’t damage anything else. Take out the bulb and break it without damaging the filament. Put the remains of the bulb into the flashlight and screw it. Now you can place your tinder into the top of the flashlight and fill it up. Now turn the flashlight on. It has to ignite although sometimes it can fail if the process is not done correctly.

​Next time you get lost in the wild and need some fire, maybe is important to sacrifice that flashlight for warmth during the night.

12. With Water: Five Ways to Start Fire with Water

It a very unusual way but believes me water can start a fire. All the five ways use the same principle where water is used as the lens to focus light on the tinder and start a fire. The following are ways you can use water to start a fire:​

  • ​Water in an empty light bulb where the water in the bulbs acts as a magnifying lens.
  • Water in a plastic bottle
  • Water in a plastic wrap
  • Water and a picture frame
  • Using ice lens as discussed earlier

Using Chemical Combustion

13. Potassium Permanganate Crystals and Glycerin​

The use of chemicals is not the safest ways to start a fire and should only be attempted when it is the last solution. This is a chemical reaction with an explosive effect so ensure there are no kids around. When you mix these two compounds, a roaring fire explodes. Make sure you have your tinder nearby to start the fire.

14. Brake Fluid and Chlorine

Mixing a brake fluid and chlorine is a fun experiment that usually leads to an explosive reaction from which fire can be started. It is quite dangerous, and only a small amount can be used to start a fire.

​With Battery

15. Batteries and Steel Wool​

This one is quite simple and easy to perform. Just buy some batteries and some very fine steel wool. The finer the steel wool, the better it will spark. Rub the battery on the steel wool, and you will see sparks forming. However, you must be careful as the sparks can be quite dangerous.

​16. Gum Wrapper and Battery

The foil gum wrapper and battery does the trick helping you start fire quite fast. Make igniter strips using the wrapper. Shave small bit from the wrapper gum and create a 2mm bridge in the middle. Find a battery like the AAA batteries and hold the igniter to the ends of the battery. Sparks from the igniter will immediately start a fire.

​17. Jumper Cables and Car Battery

Get the jumper cables hooked to your car battery and try to let them touch. The Spark created can start a fire in the tinder.​

The jumper cables and the car battery is an essential one of you get stuck with your car in the cold and need some fire. It is an easier option that will not strain you.

18. Pencil and Car Battery

This is pretty similar to using the jumper cables, but here you don’t need sparks, the pencil connected to the jumper will become red hot and start burning your tinder.

Use Any Simplest Way to Start a Fire

19. Use the Fire Piston​

Fire pistons can also be used to start a fire. The fire piston compresses air rapidly heating it to the extent of igniting a fire. If you don’t have one, here is how you can build one using a few spare tools:

​The use of a fire piston is quite fast but one you might not have with you in the wild. However, it is always good to know what it can do.

20. Using Fire Steel

Fire steels produce molten sparks when scraped, and this can be used to ignite your tinder. A knife or scraper can be used to scrap it and get the ember.


Correcting Common Mistakes When Starting a Fire

​Smothering the Fire

​Most people in a rush end up throwing wood into the fire even when it is not ready. You have to know when to add wood to the fire. Smothering the fire will block the flow of air and eventually kill the fire. Take it slow and kindle it slowly until it is large enough to add small pieces of woods.

Starting Fire Without Enough Firewood Around​

How often have you found yourself looking for more firewood just as the fire starts to size up? You should not start a fire without accumulating enough firewood to see you through the night. This means leaving the fire unattended in search of more fuel. The fire can extinguish, and you start a fresh or even spread when you’re gone.

Leaving the Fire Unattended​

Never leave the fire unattended at any time as this can be the reason for a wildfire. Once the fire is set, you have to be around monitoring and controlling it at all times. There should be water close by or some wet soil in case it starts to spread.

Using Rocks from the River​

Rocks from the riverbed have water in them that boils turning into steam that can explode on your face. This is a common mistake that you should avoid when making a fire bed foundation. The explosion of the rocks can lead to serious injuries.​


Final Verdict

If you’ve gone through the entire article, then trust me you can start a fire anywhere no matter the conditions. Fire is crucial in pour lives and learning to start in any condition can mean the difference between death and life. Most of these techniques might not appear useful as you’re reading them from the comfort of your home but quite crucial in a survival situation.

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Some Tips for Every Hiking Trip

If you’re planning on going hiking sometime soon, that’s terrific it’s a great way to get exercise, push your limits, and connect with the natural world. But like any outdoor activity, it comes with its share of dangers: weather, wild animals, poisonous plants, and so on. So if you want to get into the great outdoors and make it home again, brush up on these hiking safety tips.

For starters, tell people where you’re going, and mention when you expect to be back, whether you’re alone or in a group. In the event you don’t make it back, because you’re injured or lost, someone will notice, and search parties can be sent out right away. It really helps if they know where you were headed there’s a lot of nature out there, and only one you to find.

If you were hoping for a great weather weekend of hiking but hear there’s a storm approaching, postpone your trip. Nature does not care about ruining your weekend, it doesn’t care whether your get hurt or make it home. Remember that turning back isn’t admitting defeat, it’s respecting the wild world you so enjoy.

A pocket knife, compass and map are at the top of the list. Make sure you know how to use them.  Don’t forget a first aid kit, whistle, matches or a lighter, and plenty of food and water. If you’re hiking in a cold climate, bring warm clothes. If you’re staying overnight, bring what you need for camping.

One of the best parts of exploring nature is encountering the creatures that share the planet with humans. Remember that they’re called wild animals for a reason. Bear attacks are rarer than you might think, but they still happen.  And just because an animal strikes you as harmless, exercise caution; even mountain goats have killed hikers on occasion.

What if you are lost, stay calm. It’s easy to panic when you realize neither you nor anyone else knows where you are. But the most important thing to do is stay calm: Acting predictably will make it easier for a rescue team to find you. Sit down. Decide whether you’re going to get food or water, or build a shelter or a signal fire first, and then stay the course.

Make the job of whoever’s looking for you as easy as possible. If you have bright clothing, put it on. Stay in open, high ground. Blow a whistle at regular intervals.

In addition to staying in sight, try to signal your position to potential rescuers. Build a fire where it will be visible and won’t start a wildfire. Make a signal on the ground that will be visible from the air. Skip the classic “Help” in favor of three piles of anything (e.g., three piles of leaves) arranged in a triangle shape, the international wilderness symbol for distress.

It’s getting very cold out, again stay calm. Unless you’re very experienced yourself, you’re going to feel the pangs of fear setting in. Don’t let emotion take control, keep your head and think clearly. Use that fear and adrenaline to motivate yourself to do everything that needs to be done. If you can do that, you’ll find yourself moving quickly and efficiently, and not running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

If you find that your one day hike has turned into an open ended situation, you’ll need to find more water. Don’t waste time looking for possibly edible berries; you can go a month without eating, but only three days without drinking. Know where to look for water: dew on plants, banana and plantain trees, and tropical vines are good places to start.

Make sure to purify any water you find before drinking it: with purification tablets, a filter or by boiling it. If you’re truly lost, chances are it’s going to take a little while to find you. Making a shelter to spend the night in should be a priority. It can protect you from rain, wind, snow, insects, and sun during the day. It doesn’t have to be big, just large enough to fit you.

No matter the daytime temperature, it can get cold at night. Insulate your shelter with leaves, grass, and even snow. Insulate yourself as well. These tips may save your life during your next hiking trip. Always be prepared for the unexpected . You never know what may happen.

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?

 

Camping and Don’t have Soap…..Try Wood Ashes

wood-ash-uses

Have you ever found yourself in the wilderness or camping and realized you were without soap, don’t panic. It’s still entirely possible to clean your gear with…wait for it…wood ash. Wood ash actually makes a fantastic alternative when suds aren’t available or you decided to skip bringing bars of the stuff entirely to make room for other things. Wood ashes have been used as a source of lye in soap making for years upon years.

Here are a few tips for making the most of your wood ashes:

Hardwoods Vs. Softwoods

When choosing between hardwood and softwood, go for hardwood tree ash over their softwood counterparts, as hardwood trees are better for making soap.

No Residue

First and foremost, it’s essential that your wood ash be free from assorted residues. These include food, plastic, or any other trash, as they could easily make the ashes toxic. Use pure wood ash instead, which may require building a new fire at a different location and letting it burn uninterrupted until you can extract the ashes without issue.

Super-Greasy Pots

Use the greasiest pot you have to make your ash-tastic soap. Add a little olive oil or fat to ease the soap-making process, then add a few cups of ashes. If some of your ashes contain charcoal, fear not, as it will only aid the scouring process.

Hot Water

Add hot water to your concoction–enough to make a nice paste. This results in potassium salts, which will mix with the fat or oil to create your soap. It may not be the prettiest soap ever, but darn if it won’t clean the heck out of your pots and pans.

Let the mixture to cool before slathering your pots with it, and allow the soap to stand for a few minutes before scrubbing. Rinse pots with water to complete the process.

How to survive in the wilderness and mountain-military techniques

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Necessary elements of life

One of the most important things to survive is water.

The human body contains 70% water, and the loss of 15% of this amount causes death. Without water you can not survive more than 4-5 days, the body loses fluid due to heat, stress, colds and fatigue, fluid to be topped up. Even in cold places you need at least 2 liters of water a day to be effective. Almost anywhere in the globe there is water in one form or another (snow, ice, dew, etc.)

Do not substitute water with the following liquids:

Alcohol – dehydrate the body even more

Urine – contain substances hazardous to organisms

Blood – is salty and is considered food, but require additional liquid to be digestible, can transmit diseases

Seawater – accelerates dehydration, can cause death

There are many ways to acquire water (meaning the cases when there is a river, stream, lake or other natural source of water) depending on the city where you are in the wilderness act one way in jungle otherwise, etc. I will describe several methods of gaining water in forest areas or where there are trees.

Sweat method

You need a plastic bag that you dress a twig with leaves (make sure the tree is not poisonous otherwise water is not drinkable), the bag must be tightly tied with a rope or you around the branch, after several hours leaves sweat and water accumulates in bag.In  hot summer day you can gather up to 300-400 from a bag. You must to use your bags to accumulate the required amount of water

Dew gathering: early morning or late evening tie a piece of cloth clean on foot, walking or on a stick and walk through iarba. Cloth will gather water (dew) from grass, periodically drain into a bowl, certainly is the slowest way, but safe.

Food = ENERGY

30 days is the maximum period that can withstand a man without food.

In an extreme situation you will need every drop of energy, food being the only source. Natural resources can save in any case only have to know how to use them. I have several recommendations in this case, some more important than others but the main rule is:

Do not eat if you do not have WATER

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Human digestive organism needs water, if water is a problem eating you will become dehydrated and harder, which can cause death. Few are places on earth where you have to go more than 30 days without going to civilization .Calculate the distance and time to the place where you arrive, the food divided as follows: 1/3 2/3 in the first half and in the second half of the road.

Make a regular habit to eat every day  (lunch at noon ex.o), chew food well as the organisms they support it.

In the wild can eat what nature gives mushrooms, nuts, fruits, herbs and roots of edible plants, small animals or large (if you manage to catch them), fish, lizards, snakes, snails and will advise if you have insects. If you have not experienced hunter I will advise you not to try to catch animals, you spend useless energy.

Careful with mushrooms and fruits, if you are not sure do not eat, the result can be fatal.

Shelter

The shelter must protect you from rain, sun, wind, help to survive; -in some parts of the world you need to shelter more than food or water.

For example prolonged exposure to cold can cause fatigue or weakness and a weak person has no desire to survive.

The most common mistake in the construction of the shelter is that you do too much body heat and fails to heat it;

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Shelter should be large enough to protect you but also the need to be small enough to preserve your body heat, especially in cold climates.Different types of shelter after the place where you are for example, the arctic or desert, jungle or forest, every time you build something else.Different also the seasons, winter snow or summer heat are so many types of shelter types cite season.

The importance of fire. Types of fire. Methods and tools for fire ignition

Modern man does not like fire. Fire historically has become more of a tool than salvation.In dawn of human civilization killer fire was the most important thing in human life, loss of fire was a tragedy for the tribe and punishable with death who had to take care of the fire, and fail.

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The principle of ignition-fire is to start with small twigs and slender, gradually passing on higher. began ignite paper, dry bark, moss or fir branches on a short time they give a strong flame to ignite the branches of 3-5 mm thickness and then the thickest. The secret is to put the wood gradually from the smallest to the thickest. Paper or branches are lit from the bottom up, not vice versa, because fire spreads from the top down hard.

Fire with fire is used for drying clothes, heating and preparing food; the flame for light and food preparation and the smoke is used for signaling. Division is relative, you can turn any fire in fire smoke if you throw him green grass and branches, if a fire with embers increase the distance between him turn wood fire flame converts into large, etc.

Weapons

The knife is king arms without knife is no survival with a help of a good knife can do everything or almost everything, can build shelter, can make weapons, you can defend yourself or you can hunt without it you’re dead in the wild, so if you have not – the important thing to know how to do one of the materials that are found around you.

Glass, tins, hard stone, bone, pieces of metal – are all possible materials to your future personal knife. Personal I would not go anywhere without one in my pocket …

I could not tell you the exact name of it ideal knife, but there are a few requirements; a knife to be:

RESISTANT

BIG

SHARP

If you go into the mountains for a long time you need two knives. One to be great, the type layout, replacing the ax and one smaller for peeling potatoes, etc.

Each of survival as on the website or its praise his wares or merchandise company that has a contract to report. American and options in Bowie until you can tangle easily mock. A high price does not always look good quality. There are several criteria in choosing a knife: blade length, knife or blade stable miner, double tais or not, it is made of metal (steel, titanium, nonferrous metals, etc.)

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The knife that you take with you in the wild is the most priceless object that you possess. Regardless of the nature of the trip that you always need to have a knife on you. It can be used in different situations, not only in extreme situations.

Sun tracking, star tracking and compass tracking

The simplest way of finding the direction is sit back to 12 day in the sun, the north is exactly the direction that shows your shadow.

There are a few rules that must be remembered:

Winter sun rises southeast

SOUTHWEST sets in

Summer sun rises northeast

sets northwest

Spring sun rises at EST

sets in the west

Of course these rules are valid if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere.

If you have good sense of observation, then you know that: more snow melts in the south, all in the southern part of the tree is more pitch. Ants make their anthill in the south of trees or house. Birch bark is darker in the north and more open to the south. Tree trunks, stones, rocks in the north are covered with moss.

Survival in mountainous terrain

Survival in the mountains involves techniques and procedures characteristic.

Mount, as we know and the people, has its unwritten laws, which if not respect them, pay, and the price in such a situation can be even life.

Preparing to survive in the mountains must focus on that mountain environment is extremely unpredictable.Weather has special features: in a single day, the mountains may fall several types of precipitation (rain, drizzle, sleet, snow); temperatures are much lower and rainfall more abundant than in other areas; the higher the altitude, the colder temperatures. Therefore, when such actions envisaged in the village, the soldiers must have their protective equipment against the cold and rain, even if they are planned to take place in summer. An extremely important piece in the mountain environment is sleeping bag. A good sleeping bag will give the military the necessary comfort for rest and strength to take it to an end the next day. If there is a sleeping bag, it can be improvised from dry leaves, pine needles, Parachute material. survival are necessary: a waterproof jacket, a knife, matches kept in a bag not to wet a quality compass, a map, a flashlight, rations for emergencies and signaling means (mirror, smoke grenades etc. ).

Nature term is another important factor that influences the chances of survival of the military in the village. Large level differences, rugged terrain covered with dense vegetation, specific mountain environment, hinder much movement. Moving the mountain environment requires permanent existence of the risk of injury. Sprains, fractures, sprains could and limbs are the most common. Also, observation and orientation are more hampered. This could cause delays in movement military and fallacies. Lack of landmarks for orientation can cause frustration and irritation, and these negative feelings contributed to the worsening military situation. Therefore,  to survive in the mountain, the military must observe a few rules:

– “Equip yourself properly” in the mountains !: survival requires appropriate equipment;

– “Do not go in the dark” means !: If you do not have night vision do not move in the dark because it will increase the risk of injury;

– “You do not build shelter the valleys‘ !: As I mentioned, the weather in the mountain environment can change very quickly and after rainfall forming torrents may surprise you;

– “Moving up the line share ‘!: Try to stay on the same altitude to ease your moving.Any survival situation involving the purchase of food and water. Characteristic mountain environment temperate and tropical areas offer plenty of opportunities for procuring food and water. However, the military must be cautious when choosing a certain plant or animal to feed. Most nuisances disappear once boiling or cooking with their fire. However, there are no toxins that disappears with cooking (see mushrooms) and they can endanger the life and health of the military. A plant consumed by animals is not necessarily an indication that it would be edible and humans. To be sure food is edible, it should be cooked very well. Before you consume, the military must taste the food and wait a few minutes to see if any side effects, then you can proceed to power. Water is preferable to be boiled before being consumed.

Linked from: http://www.blacklistedprepper.com/survive-wilderness-mountain-military-techniques/

22 Absolutely Essential Diagrams You Need For Camping

From survival to s’mores, here’s everything you need to know to ensure a flawless camping trip.

1. How to Build a Campfire

2. Tent Tips

3. Everything You Need to Know About the Technicality of S’mores

4. How to Estimate Remaining Daylight with Your Hand

5. Snacks to Pack

6. What You Can Do to Repel Mosquitoes

7. How to Sleep Warm

8. How to Survive Hypothermia

9. Backpacker’s Checklist

10. How to Rig a Tarp

11. How to Get Your Dutch Oven to the Right Temperature

12. How to Identify Animal Tracks

13. Know Your Stargazing Events This Summer

14. 10 Easy Fire Starters

15. Kayak Camping Checklist

16. A Guide to Hammock Camping

17. Guide to Spider Bites

18. Checklist for Car Camping

19. How to Make Shelters in Survival Situations Using Nature

20. How to React to a Wildlife Encounter

21. Tarp Tips

22. Know Your Poisonous Plants

16 Uses of Sticky Pine Sap for Wilderness Survival and Self-Reliance

Scavenging resources in a wilderness survival situation can turn up life-saving stuff. That’s why developing a possum mentality is vital!

Our ancestors walked our woodlands and learned to use the resources most modern outdoor enthusiast overlook. Essential woodland resources seem to be invisible to the modern eye. The stuff you’ve got packed in your woodcraft/bushcraft kit or bug out bag are consumable. You’ll eventually use up that roll of duct tape… or, more than likely, you forgot to pack it.

Not a problem. Pine trees produce a sticky substitute with superior benefits!

Learning to identify and use natural resources has gotten me out of many sticky situations in the woods. Pardon the play on words as we explore the many uses of this tacky, amber-colored pine sap I call Jewel of the Woods!

Collecting Sappy Jewels

Pine trees secrete resin as a defense to close wounds from insects or other forces. The sap provides a protective layer or sealant over the injury . The sap hardens forming an amber glob which turns dark in color over time. On fresh wounds, you’ll notice a whitish layer of sap covering the damaged area. With time, large clumps form making it easier to harvest.

Harvesting fresh resin can become a sticky situation. The fresher the glob, the more sticky and pliable. On dedicated Jewel of the Woods harvesting trips, I carry a grub knife, one I don’t mind getting covered with resin. To remove sap from my good blades in the woods, I use a bit of Everclear (190 proof) from my flask on a piece of cloth.

For hardened resin, poke a sharp object (grub knife or sharp stick) into the base of the glob and pry it loose. It’ll break off and fall into your hand or container underneath. That’s when you’ll notice the crystalized form inside which resembles a beautiful piece of amber stone.

For hard-to-reach spots high in trees, my friend Joe at  Feral Woodcraft shares his clever resin harvesting tool.

Now that you’ve gathered a fair amount, what’s this sticky stuff good for?

A.) Self Aid

  • Pine sap properties include: antiseptic, astringent, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial
  • Treat wounds – apply it to cuts like you would super glue. Follow first-aid protocol for cleaning/flushing first.
  • Stop bleeding – apply a soft glob (heat if necessary) to help stop bleeding.
  • Treat skin rashes and eczema with ointments,tinctures, and salves. For tinctures, use 190 proof Everclear since resin won’t dissolve with watered down alcohols.
  • Chew softer sap straight off the tree like a gum for sore throats and colds. You could pre-make “gum” with these ingredients: bees-wax, pine sap, and honey.

B.) Glue/Epoxy – Pine Pitch

  • Turn pine resin into pitch sticks. Jamie Burleigh has a great tutorial of his method on Primitive ways.
  • Hafting arrowheads, fletching arrows and gluing other primitive tools and weapons.
  • Waterproof boot seams, canoes, and containers.
  • Patch holes in tents and tarps.
  • Pretty much any thing you need to glue or patch in the woods, pine pitch is the product.

C.) Candling Device

  • Place globs of dried resin in a fatwood torch to extend its burn time.
  • Pitch sticks, described above, can be used as a makeshift candles.
  • Melt sap and soak a cotton bandana or rag wrapped around a stick for a torch.
  • Melted or liquid sap poured over a dried mullein stalk works as candle/torch.

D.) Fire Craft

  • Fire is life in a wilderness survival scenario. Even on weekend camping trips, fire offers core temperature control, cooking, and hot cocoa! Resin is your secret weapon to starting and keeping a fire going in wet conditions. Anyone who’s used resin-rich fatwood in rainy conditions appreciates its important role in fire craft.

  • Resin is highly flammable. Once lit, you can dry marginal tinder and small kindling.

  • Harvest liquid sap into a container from a fresh cut in a pine tree to add to a makeshift torch. Secure the container under the exposed bark to collect the sap. Use this liquified sap as torch fuel.

Once you learn to identify this sticky life-saver, you’ll find it difficult to walk past a pine tree without scanning for this Jewel of the Woods!

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance.

How to Survive With Just the Clothes on Your Back

Prepping by definition means taking proactive steps to get ready. We prepare for situations to happen. We prepare to have food for our family if the grocery stores are closed or sold out due to shortages or looting. We prepare to provide water for our family if the tap water is undrinkable due to pollution. We prepare for economic collapse by having precious metals and cash stored in places we can access even if the banks close. We prepare so we have what we need when we need it.

But some disasters catch you off guard. There are some cases where we don’t have our Bug Out Bags with us at the moment. There are times when we don’t have our EDC gear because as much as we hate to admit it, sometimes we walk out the door unprepared. This could be for all manner of reasons and I want to stress that we should limit this type of oversight as much as possible, but it still happens. Survival isn’t only guaranteed to those who have the latest prepper gear . Your mindset will take you further than the coolest survival knife in the world and today we are going to talk about how to survive with only the real everyday items you have with you. When you roll out the door and go out for a walk, the stuff you’re wearing can still assist you. It could be the difference between life or death in a survival situation. Here’s how to make the most of what you’ve got when SHTF.

Watch

It’s important to stay connected and maintain access to valuable information. A smart watch like the Samsung Gear 2 can do just that. It can also guide you in the right direction when disaster strikes because it can give you access to GPS navigation.

Even if you don’t have a smartwatch, your regular watch can help you in the wild just as well. You can use your wristwatch as an orienteering device to find your way. Hold your watch horizontally and point its hour hand at the sun. Bisect the angle between its hour hand and the 12 o’clock mark to get the north to south line. If you are doubtfully determining which end of the line is actually north, remember, the sun rises in the east, sets in the west and is south at noon.

Shoelaces

The laces on your shoes can be used when you need rope or string. They also can be used to create a fire, a lifesaving essential in the wild. Using nothing but your shoelaces, sticks and some wood, you can start a fire with the bow-and-drill method. Use your lace to create the part of the bow that’s used to be tied around the drill. It will help keep everything in place while you’re sawing to create a hot fire.

Flashlight

Having a good tactical flashlight on your person can save you if you get lost in the woods, and it sure makes for a great signaling device. When SHTF you probably won’t be using your flashlight to signal for help, but you can use it in other ways.

Animals are typically scared away with a flash in the eyes from a flashlight. And in a disaster situation like a fire or earthquake, you can find your way out of a dark building. Choose a LED flashlight to add to your everyday carry. They are much better than the cheap incandescent ones and the battery life is much longer.

Belt

Your belt can come in handy when you’re braving the wilderness in more ways than one. Use your belt to bundle firewood, making it easier to carry from point A to point B. If you get injured, use it as a tourniquet. The small metal prong or buckle can be put to good use if you need a weapon or hook because it can be sharpened and molded.

Shirt

You need water to survive, but safe, drinkable water may be in short supply when the apocalypse hits. It’s not likely that your water purification system is part of your everyday carry, but your shirt can make a good substitute. Filtering water through fabric is actually more common around the world than you might think. Use your shirt or other piece of clothing (woven fabrics work the best) to remove the color and particles out of water. However, this will not eliminate viruses or illness, so always boil your water after filtering it.

So while I think we all can agree that nobody should be going for a hike into the wilderness without the proper preparation, sometimes you have to use what you have. I try to have my EDC with me every single place I go, but sometimes, my outfit choice doesn’t allow it. If I am in athletic attire, I don’t have my concealed firearm on my hip, my multi-tool and large flashlight. I don’t have a bandanna either just to name a few. I do have a source of fire and a light on my key-chain and my car, which is always near has a full selection of gear including my Get Home Bag.

Stepping out the door without the tools you count on is taking a risk, but we weigh those with the situation. Even if you have nothing but the clothes on your back, you can survive. As long as you keep your head.

Snake Bite Smarts For Wilderness Survival

For people venturing outdoors to hike, backpack, camp, hunt, or just enjoy the wilderness, snakebites are a scary possibility, and yet more people die each year from being crushed by vending machines than from snake bites.

Now, that’s not to say that snake bites rarely happen.  About 37,500 are reported each year, but it’s more important to take preventive measures than to spend time worrying about death by snake.

Snakes will bite whatever body part is easiest to strike, and that’s usually a foot, ankle, hand, or arm. Wearing hiking boots and a pair of thick socks that extend above the ankle can protect those vulnerable spots as will a pair of loose, long pants.

Keep in mind that snakes are more active in warmer months. They also like to cower under rocks and in dark holes. I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but don’t stick your hands in those types of places without looking first. This is something that kids, in particular, like to do, so warn them ahead of time of the dangers.

And, it’s not just hands that are a problem. Poking under rocks and in dark cubby holes with a stick can be equally dangerous if a sleeping snake is awakened. They can move surprisingly fast and if they aren’t in a good mood, who could blame them?

Wilderness snake bite help tips

In spite of these precautions, let’s assume that you are, indeed, one of the unluckiest people on the planet. You’re far from a medical facility and you’ve been bitten by a poisonous snake. What do you do? First, don’t panic. As the venom enters your blood stream, you can slow down its spread by staying calm and moving as little as possible. Learn now my “16 Second Survival Breathing” technique to help with this.

I’m not going to lie to you. The pain is going to be intense, but it’s important to not take any pain medication without a doctor’s advice.

If others are with you and have a cell phone with the Red Cross first aid app, or a similar app, it wouldn’t hurt to look up “Snake Bites”, but otherwise, follow these instructions:

1.  Clean the bite wounds with water and soap and then apply a bandage to keep bacteria out. A glob of pine tree sap is a good alternative to a bandage, if that’s all you have on hand.  Use a pen to draw a circle around the wound and write on the skin the time the bite occurred. This will provide a gauge for tracking the reaction to the venom as well as any possible infection.

2.  Expect some swelling in the bite area, so remove rings, watches, and any tight clothing. Next, use a length of cloth or an Ace bandage to create a compression wrap starting about 4 inches above the bite wound and continuing down toward the hand or foot.

Rule of thumb: If you see swelling and the skin around the bite changes color, the snake was most likely poisonous.

3.  Next, if you are  move slowly and steadily toward the closest medical facility, hopefully with the assistance of other people. If you’ve brought along a cell phone, call Poison Control as soon as you have a clear signal, 1-800-222-1222.

At no point should you try to suck out the venom with your mouth, unless you really want to experience the effects of a snakebite without the actual bite. More than one person has died from ingesting snake venom in this manner. You also shouldn’t waste time looking around for the snake in an attempt to kill it and take it to the medical facility. Just do your best to remember as many details as possible of its pattern of color and size. If you do see the snake nearby, take a quick pic with your cellphone for later identification.

Supplies to carry with you:

  • Soap or small bottle of waterless soap
  • Small roll of Ace bandage
  • Ink pen or Sharpie
  • 4-5 adhesive bandages
  • Snake bite kit — Be sure to read the instructions before heading out into the wilderness.

32 Survival Skills Your Child Should Know And Be Able To Do ASAP!

Knowledge is something that takes time to develop, so we need to start teaching the next generation now.  In case God forbid, our children are left to fend for themselves or we are injured or even just to make your family more apt to survive, every child must learn these survival skills so they can pull their own weight and contribute as much as they can.

It’s not just physical survival we need to teach them but mental, emotional, and spiritual survival as well. If your family learns now to be a well oiled machine, you will be more likely to survive any type of collapse.

  1. Grow vegetables from seeds
  2. Have local edible and medicinal plant foraging skills
  3. Knowledge of dietary needs and how to meet them using wild plants and game
  4. Make a fire and know fire safety
  5. Cook on an open fire
  6. Open a can of food with and without can opener (rub can lid ridge on cement and then pry open with knife)
  7. Be able to tell if food is too spoiled to eat
  8. How to safely use a knife
  9. How to shoot a sling shot
  10. How to hunt small game with snares, traps and sling shot
  11. How to fish and hunt, using  a bow & gun when old enough
  12. How to clean fish and wild game
  13. Find water and identify if it’s safe to drink
  14. Filter and boil water to drink
  15. Basic first aid
  16. Basic hygiene practices
  17. Find or build a shelter in the wilderness
  18. How to stay warm, cool and dry in the elements
  19. How, Why and When to stay hidden
  20. Self Defense
  21. How to make a basic weapon and how to use it
  22. Be able to run and walk a good distance and be in generally good shape
  23. How to climb a tree to get away from predators, get directional bearings, and hunt
  24. How to read a map and use a compass
  25. How to read the sky for directions, time and approaching bad weather
  26. Know where family and friends live if they need to find them
  27. How to sew so they can mend clothing or any fabric and even make things such as bags or scrap quilts
  28. How to barter and trade (Kids naturally do this with their toys so teach them at garage sales.)
  29. How to be responsible for themselves and to be aware of their surroundings at all times
  30. Have a natural curiosity and good problem solving skills
  31. Be hard working and a self starter and a family helper not a complainer!
  32. Have a strong heart and remember to stay calm in any situation

What is a Comprehensive Wilderness Survival Kit and Why Should You Have One?

We all carry survival kits whether we realize it or not. The contents of a man’s pockets or those of a woman’s purse are nothing more than survival kits for a populated technological society. You have all the things you’ll likely need to fill your needs throughout your day. Keys, cash, identification, credit cards, membership cards and other items all serve to fill your needs as they arise. Luckily for us, most of our human needs are filled by technology and the remainder can be filled as you go with cash or credit.

We all carry survival kits whether we realize it or not. The contents of a man’s pockets or those of a woman’s purse are nothing more than survival kits for a populated technological society. You have all the things you’ll likely need to fill your needs throughout your day. Keys, cash, identification, credit cards, membership cards and other items all serve to fill your needs as they arise. Luckily for us, most of our human needs are filled by technology and the remainder can be filled as you go with cash or credit.

So how does a ‘wilderness survival kit’ differ from the items we carry every day? In a wilderness setting, we don’t have quick access to emergency medical care. We don’t have a roof over our head or a climate controlled environment. We don’t have sinks and water fountains bubbling with potable water or edible food everywhere we look. Therefore, we’ll need to carry most or all of these things with us. The ‘best’ wilderness survival kit is probably a backpack full of quality camping gear. However, most of us aren’t willing to carry that load when day hiking, mountain biking, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, riding ATV’s, hunting, horseback riding or any of the myriad other activities that carry us away from civilization.

The goal of a practical wilderness survival kit is therefore to address as many of our needs as possible and to do it in a format that we don’t mind carrying on our person while conducting outdoor activities. For some, this might be a small tin carried in a pocket, but these micro-kits don’t really address a lot of the most critical needs. For me, a belt pouch based kit is unobtrusive enough that I’m likely to carry it during outdoor activities. It is also big enough to really address human needs in the wild. I have several types of kits that I carry. Some are rudimentary, while some are very comprehensive. It really depends on where I’m headed. All of them are simple belt pouch based kits.

compresive-wilderness

At this point, let’s define what your critical needs really are and why. The easiest way to do this (and to prioritize the order in which you should address them) is by using a simple maxim known as the “rule of threes”.

The rule of threes says:

  •    It takes as little as 3 minutes to die of severe injury.
  •    It takes as little as 3 hours to die of exposure.
  •    It takes as little as 3 days to die of thirst.
  •    It takes at least 3 weeks to die of hunger.

Your very first priority in a survival situation is to address immediate first aid needs. If you or a companion cannot breathe, or are bleeding profusely, death can come in as little as three minutes. You aren’t likely to carry a comprehensive medical kit everywhere you go, but a wilderness survival kit should have at least the basics of first aid such as bandages and the ability to make a tourniquet. If you travel far and wide on a regular basis, it’s a very good idea to learn the basics of first aid (establishing an airway, dealing with profuse bleeding, CPR, etc).

Next, we have to deal with the number one killer in wilderness survival situations: exposure. When people become lost, stuck or injured in wilderness settings, they might have been well dressed for a leisurely day in the woods, but when night falls or unexpected weather blows in, they find themselves in a very dangerous situation.

Television shows about survival like to show people building rudimentary brush shelters and other forms of shelter using materials at hand. However, building a weatherproof shelter from scratch is incredibly time consuming. It takes 18-24 inches of brush overhead to effectively shed rain. This means it might take many hours (and a lot of energy) to build a decent shelter. If you’re lost, night is fast approaching and a freezing rain starts to fall, you don’t have that many hours!

This is why my survival kits include a tarp made of very thin plastic. This can be draped over a line strung between trees to form a small tent or simply draped over a bush in a pinch. That means that you can erect a waterproof, windproof shelter in minutes, not hours!  As mentioned, it’s incredibly thin plastic, so I can fold a 9′ by 6′ tarp into a packet about half the size of a deck of cards.

Beyond simple shelter, you’ll likely need a fire. Those same survival shows often portray various methods of primitive fire starting (bow drills, hand drills, ploughs, etc). However, if the weather has come in hard and things are becoming ‘wet ‘n’ wild’, you’re NOT going to get a fire going using primitive methods. These may be fun skills to practice as an educational exercise in your back yard, but relying on these methods to make fire in an actual emergency is stupid and it’s a great way to wind up dead.

A good survival kit should have multiple means to quickly build a fire. There should be a lighter, not matches. There should be easily-lit tinder that burns for a long time. In essence, if you can’t use a kit’s fire starting materials when it’s cold, wet and windy, it’s a useless kit!

Once you’re settled into a shelter and have a sustainable fire going, you’re going to eventually need water. In a desert environment, death from dehydration can come in a few days. In most environments, it takes nearly a week. Again, you don’t want to rely on a single source or method here. A good kit should have multiple means of gathering water, and multiple means of purifying it for drinking. My kits are packed in metal cook pots which can be used for boiling water. They also contain a water purification kit that can treat many gallons of water even if you can’t boil it. Finally, they have re-sealable water bags to transport water should you need to bring it with you.

We will come to food procurement, but there’s something else that falls outside the rule of threes. It’s not really a survival ‘need’, and doesn’t fit neatly into the rule, but it is at least as important. This is signaling. If you’ve been a responsible adult when it comes to your outdoor activities, you’ve informed responsible people of exactly where you were headed, and exactly when you should return. This means there will be people looking for you!

Signaling means making your profile in the woods into something bigger, louder, brighter, and the more obnoxious the better! A good survival kit contains whistles, flashlights, strobe markers, bright and/or reflective items, mirrors, etc. If you were smart and told people where you were going, your survival situation will likely last a matter of hours, or maybe an uncomfortable overnight stay before you are found.

Forget about the survival shows on television where they portray wilderness survival as some kind of bug-eating contest. As I’ve pointed out, food is really your last priority. You’d have had to really screw up to be in any real danger of starvation. For most of us, skipping a few meals might not be a bad thing when all is said and done! I make this the last priority when constructing a wilderness kit. I have some fish hooks and line, some snare wire and some slingshot bands that can be used to quickly construct a variety of small game hunting tools (you can make a slingshot, a propelled fishing spear, or use as the ‘spring’ for a trap/snare). Some kits even contain a spearhead that can be quickly and securely mounted on a shaft and used for fishing and/or small to mid sized game.

compresive-wilderness-2

In conclusion, I hope I’ve imparted some common sense into this subject. That means informing folks of your intentions. It means having at least a basic fundamental understanding of wilderness survival and how to prioritize and fulfill your needs should you find yourself in trouble. Finally, it means maintaining at least a basic level of preparedness when heading into untamed regions. When buying or building your own kit, make sure it fills your needs and that it’s something you’ll actually carry. As with other essential day to day ‘carry’ items… it’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it!

11 Survival TV Shows Worth Watching

Plague, nuclear holocaust, and alien invasions! Whatever end-of-the-world / post-apocalyptic theme you can think of is on TV right now. But in the fray of TV shows for preppers, a lot of good shows have come and gone. If you feel like all of the best shows are canceled prematurely, no one shares your pain like we do. In this list, we want to focus on 11 survival TV shows (past and present) that we think are worth checking out.

survival-tv-shows-worth-watching

Plague, nuclear holocaust, and alien invasions! Whatever end-of-the-world / post-apocalyptic theme you can think of is on TV right now. But in the fray of TV shows for preppers, a lot of good shows have come and gone. If you feel like all of the best shows are canceled prematurely, no one shares your pain like we do. In this list, we want to focus on 11 survival TV shows (past and present) that we think are worth checking out.

1. Jericho (2006)

survival-tv-shows-worth-watching2

This apocalyptic drama which aired back in 2006, was based on the story of a group of people in a little town in Kansas calledJericho as they struggle to survive the affects of nuclear fallout in several major cities around the U.S. The interesting twist to this show is that there is an underlying tone suggesting the government might have actually been complicit in the explosions. The town’s citizens come together to try to restore resources such as power and water and war with neighboring towns over debatable local resources. The writers did a great job with the story line and keep you hooked with the strength and vulnerability of each character. They also manage to sprinkle in some humor for good measure – not to mention the amazing soundtrack.

Jericho was suddenly canceled after the first season and was met with a barrage of complaints to CBS from the shows loyal fans. After launching a grassroots internet mega-campaign to revive the show CBS agreed to bring it back for one more season and at least wrap up some of the unanswered questions.

2. Falling Skies (2011)

In a world where civilization has been incapacitated by alien attack, we follow the story of a group of rag-tag survivors in the Boston area. In this post-apocalyptic world, there are no more electronics, military’s or major cities left, leaving only a handful of the world’s previous population to fight off the ongoing invasion. The odds are steep and survival is difficult when every day is is spent protecting and caring for the people, while also waging an insurgency campaign against an occupying alien force.

3. Survivors (2009)

Survivors is a British post-apocalyptic fiction drama that follows a similar premise as a lot of the other survival shows; the pandemic wipes out most of the population, society breaks down, people try to figure it all out. But what I really liked about this one is that they kind of make hero’s out of normal, everyday people who didn’t really even know they had it in them until it really came down to it. They were just normal people until things got crazy and forced them to rise to the occasion, which is what I think we’re going to see a lot of in the E.O.T.W.

4. The Colony (2009)

The Colony is a reality show on the Discovery Channel that originally aired in 2010. The show is basically a controlled experiment where a group individuals are placed in an isolated urban setting, where a hypothetical global catastrophe has occurred and the group has to try to rebuild with whatever they can find. They have basically an entire city to themselves and they can take over any property or resources they wish, but there are hired actors who act as thugs and looters to threaten and terrorize the members of the group to test their boundaries.

5. Out of the Wild: The Alaska Experiment

This is another Discovery Channel reality show where they pluck a group of city dwelling, urban professionals right out of their comfort zone and drop them by helicopter into the Alaskan outback smack-dab in the middle of winter. There are given limited supplies, a carry pack and a map to help them find their way to shelters along their route. If, at any time they sissy out and want to go home, all the have to do is hit their emergency GPS signal and a rescue helicopter will come get them out of there. I have to admit this show has taught me some really uniquesurvival skills that you might not see anywhere else like how to hunt for and prepare some rather unusual game like squirrels and porcupines. The show has just premiered for a third season which will take place in Venezeula. It should be interesting to see how the cast members fare in their new environment this time around.

6. Extreme Survival

While it only lasted 3 seasons, Extreme Survival with Ray Mears was an excellent wilderness survival show. Ray traveled to a diverse set countries all around the world, immersing himself in the culture and native survival techniques. Ray travels through the US, Canada, Italy, Brazil, India, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Russia, Australia and New Zealand. In addition to focusing on the native techniques, Ray also shares inspiring and sometimes horrifying survival stories that occurred in each area. There are dozens of shows and movies that Ray took part in, but this one should not be missed.

7. Man vs Wild

What makes Bear Grylls show so unique is the fact that he is willing to demonstrate some of the more strenuous or difficult survival techniques that most others would shy away from. He isn’t afraid to get down to the more nitty gritty aspects of survival that most of us would rather not have to think about like drinking your own urine to prevent dehydration or crossing a freezing cold river in the middle of winter. While it may seem a little over the top at times, I can’t help but think that there might be some point in our lives when we have to make a choice to do something disgusting or even painful in order to stay alive. You can’t help but respect the man for that.

8. Les Stroud “Survivor Man”

Les Stroud brings a humble quality to the realm of survival TV shows in Survivorman. Without any support staff or even a camera crew, he shows what it really takes to survive in the wilderness by yourself and with less than ideal supplies. From desert and swamp to the arctic mountains, Les has to survive for seven days, all on his own. But the difficult terrain doesn’t bring spirits down, Les keeps a positive and comedic attitude throughout each situation, making it feel more like a camping trip than a survival experience. You’ll come away from every episode with ancient survival techniques passed down from the natives of each area.

9. Surviving Disaster (2009)

What will you do when disaster strikes? Spike TV’s new original series Surviving Disaster, led by Navy SEAL Cade Courtley, vividly takes viewers through catastrophic scenarios and arms them with the knowledge needed to survive the unthinkable. Courtley tackles worst-case scenarios and equips viewers with the practical information needed to save their own lives and the lives of their loved ones. Whether the threat is natural or man-made or on a national or personal level, Courtley speaks directly to the viewers and guides them through a comprehensive, step-by-step process to not only survive the big picture disaster, but endure the many dangerous obstacles that may occur within each catastrophic event. While leading viewers out of danger, Courtley not only provides helpful tips and hands-on instruction, but swiftly points out common misconceptions and fatal mistakes. Unlike any other series, Surviving Disaster may actually save lives by providing actions that anyone can perform.

10. Jeremiah (2002)

This show is set in a post-apocalyptic future where all of the adult population was wiped out by a pandemic, leaving only kids to rule the world. We follow the main character “Jeremiah” played by Luke Perry as he tries to find out the real goal behind the pandemic and who is at fault. He partners up with a couple more hard core survivalists as they commandeer resources, discover hidden government bunkers and try to rebuild a broken nation.

The series ran from 2002 to 2004 on Showtime, but production stopped in 2003 when creative differences among the production companies couldn’t be resolved. The show wrapped up it’s second and final season in 2004 after a long hiatus off the air and resolved most of the plot threads from the first season.

11. Dual Survival (2010)

Wilderness survival takes on a new twist in Dual Survival when naturalist Cody Lundin and military-trained Dave Canterbury tackle tough terrain as a team. Each expert has experience in different types of survival situations, which exposes that classic question; how would a survival expert who’s never attempted this fair? It’s almost like seeing how you might respond in that extreme situation, which brings humanity to the show. You will also get to see how polar opposites might approach the same problem and be able to overcome it in completely different, yet successful, ways.

There are other TV shows like Naked and Afraid, Survivors, The Walking Dead, Storm Chasers, Combat Zone, and many, many more.  These are also all worth watching!

How To Navigate In The Wilderness

Whether you’re on a casual hiking trip or suddenly stranded in the middle of woods far away from civilization, you need to know where you’re going or risk losing valuable time, effort and supplies going around in circles. Dense woodland, lush vegetation, fast moving streams and wet ground can present challenges that could prove fatal for the unprepared and you will have to move in and out of them quickly.

navigate-the-wilderness

Whether you’re on a casual hiking trip or suddenly stranded in the middle of woods far away from civilization, you need to know where you’re going or risk losing valuable time, effort and supplies going around in circles. Dense woodland, lush vegetation, fast moving streams and wet ground can present challenges that could prove fatal for the unprepared and you will have to move in and out of them quickly.

You might also need to avoid trails that are too risky and dangerous as you circumvent them by going around easier terrain as it takes more time, yet you also need navigation tools to determine how long a stream runs or how far a hill can slope downward or upward.

The most simple and powerful tool for navigation in the wilderness is the compass. As these are relatively small and inexpensive, there is no reason why you shouldn’t have one in your gear. Remember that the red part of the needle always faces north and if you want to travel in a different direction, simply rotate it into your path.

While you may or may not have a map, you can take a guess at where your desired destination is: south, west or east and follow it rather than if you were moving about with no sense of where you could be headed. Do not put the compass close to metallic and magnetic objects as these may disorient it and align its pointer in the wrong way, effectively compromising your ability to accurately direct your path.

If you have no compass, or if you left it behind during an emergency situation, you will have to make do with the materials at hand. Remember the old saying that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west and look towards it at sunrise and sunset to reassess your travel path. In the Northern Hemisphere, the sun is due south when it is at its highest point in the sky.

If it casts no shadows on objects below, it is at its highest point. To ascertain your position in sunlight, you can use the shadow tip method. Find a straight stick or branch at least 3 feet long. Set it standing on the ground and clear any growth to get a better reading and mark the tip of its shadow with a stone or twig. This mark always represents west anywhere in the world.

Wait about 15 minutes for the shadow to move, and mark its tip as well. Draw a line between the two points, and you have the east-west line. Stand with the first mark on your left and the east mark on your right, then you will be certain that you are facing north. While this method is not 100% accurate, you can use it at any point in the world. You can also use the moon if you need to figure out where you are as if it rises before the sun has completely set, the illuminated side will be the west.

If the night sky is bright and illuminated with stars, a little textbook knowledge will help you move around at night. It is simply a matter of locating Polaris, also called the North Star. Be sure you have seen pictures of the Big Dipper and Cassiopeia as these constellations never set and can be seen easily in a clear night. These two constellations are located opposite each other and rotate counterclockwise around the North Star.

Look for the two stars forming the outer lip of the Big Dipper and imagine an imaginary line between them. Extend the distance by 5 times its length and it will determine the position of the North Star. Cassiopeia’s 5 stars form a “w” shape in which the center star is pointed by the middle, which is also the North Star. Uses these two constellations together to reduce the margin for error and determine true north.

Staying lost will inevitably deplete your resources and expose you to dangerous situations like predator attacks and fickle weather patterns. Without any idea of where true north is, you would never find your way out. If you know how to look to the sky for guidance, you can truly see hope in the stars.

5 Survival Tips From the USMC Survival Course

Few people know more about being tough and surviving like the United States Marines. Half of their toughness comes from being a special breed of soldier, and the rest comes from their training. U.S. military training is easily the best in the world, which is why our soldiers are prepared for just about anything the world can throw at them.

We can all learn a lot from the Marines, especially when it comes to survival. While we would rather not go through their summer survival training course, we did read their guide to learn some of their tips and tricks, five of which we provided below.

Few people know more about being tough and surviving like the United States Marines. Half of their toughness comes from being a special breed of soldier, and the rest comes from their training. U.S. military training is easily the best in the world, which is why our soldiers are prepared for just about anything the world can throw at them.

We can all learn a lot from the Marines, especially when it comes to survival. While we would rather not go through their summer survival training course, we did read their guide to learn some of their tips and tricks, five of which we provided below.

1. Get your priorities straight – the first 24 hours

One of the biggest keys to survival is setting your priorities. The first 24 hours of a survival situation are vital and can easily mean the difference between success and failure. The top of your list should always be shelter. Sure, water and food are pretty important, but even the most basic shelter can protect you from wind, rain, and even animals.

After securing shelter for yourself you should build yourself a fire. Fire should be your second-highest priority, even if it’s warm out and the middle of the day. Trust me, it’s far easier to build a fire when you don’t need it than when it’s dark and cold. Start by collecting wood at varying sizes and stages of the fire building process, collecting as much as you can in the time you have. Once you have enough wood to get you through the night you can start building the fire itself. Keep it small while you don’t need it, and build it up when you walk away so it keeps burning.

After your fire is taken care of, you should look for a clean source of water. If you can’t find a clean source, find the best quality you can and start the purification process. In a perfect world you should drink around a gallon of water every day. Add in extreme heat, cold, or activity and this number goes up. Thankfully, you built yourself a fire already, so you have a way of boiling water before drinking it.

With the basics of shelter, fire, and water under control, you should look into a way to signal anyone looking for you. The best way to signal is something shiny like a mirror or mirror-like object. You can polish the back of a watch, the blade of a knife, or use a signaling mirror if you’re extra prepared. Another great way to signal is with smoke and fire. Live leaves and greenery burns with a thick white smoke, and while this isn’t ideal for cooking, it’s perfect to draw attention to yourself. Have some lying next to your fire, ready to be set afire at a moment’s notice. The moral of the story here is to have your signaling tools ready before you need them and within easy reach. You may only get one chance to signal a plane or helicopter, and you don’t want to miss it because you can’t find your mirror.

2. Even more priorities – the second 24 hours

With the preparations in section one complete, you’ll probably want to get some rest. Build your fire up and take it easy. The first 24 hours of survival are often the hardest for even veterans of survival. When darkness comes the reality that you’re not being rescued that day really sinks in. Thankfully you already have a fire, water, and shelter to bide you over.

The second 24 hours, while far from a party, can be slightly easier. It’s this day that you can start focusing on the tools that will keep you alive until you can be rescued or the emergency you’re avoiding is over.

You want to start your second day of survival off by making some tools and weapons. These can include makeshift shovels, saws, and utensils. You can also work on fishing equipment and hunting implements like spears. You also want to prepare yourself against running into any less-than-friendly people, too.

Once you have a few tools and weapons made or sourced, it’s time to get some real food. Hopefully you already know how to make traps and snares for hunting, as this is the time to put that knowledge to use. Look for animal tracks and set your snares there. You can even build yourself a fish trap and catch fish the easy way while you’re out doing other tasks.

Finally, once you have food and protection, you need to set yourself a few path guards around your camp. These help you know when people and animals alike come too close to your camp for comfort. Even if the alarms never go off, their presence alone can help you get a good night’s sleep without the worry of someone or something sneaking up on you. Use anything that makes noise or trips someone for best results. Rigging weapons around your camp isn’t recommended. You want to be alerted of their presence, not kill them; you don’t know if the person or animal in your trap is friend or foe.

3. Have a proper survival kit

The old saying goes that the best offense is a good defense. In the world of survival this means being prepared for survival before you need to actually survive. The best way to do this is to have a proper survival kit. A good kit should include fire starters, a length of 550 cord, a candle wrapped in aluminum foil, knife, fishing line and hooks, a sewing kit, and basic first-aid items.

Keeping a survival kit with you can help ensure you have the basics of survival if something bad happens and you need to “get out of Dodge” in a hurry. When building your kit, keep three key ideas in mind. First, make it small enough that you’ll actually keep it with you. A backpack-sized survival kit is great, but not so easy to carry with you when hiking. Second, customize the kit to fit your needs. Extra medicine and necessities like epi-pens for allergies are a very good idea. Finally, the kit should be enough for you to survive for 72 hours. You can always stretch it to last a little longer, but it should comfortably work for 72.

4. Forage

While trapping food is a very good idea, much of your food will come from foraging in the wild. Fruits, nuts, and even bugs can provide a great and very much needed source of nutrients. The key to foraging is to NEVER EAT ANYTHING YOU CANNOT 100% IDENTIFY AS SAFE. The last thing you want to do is eat something that’s poisonous when you’re cut off from society and emergency help.

When foraging for survival, never take more than you can eat at that time. Accidents happen and extra food sitting around attracts animals and bugs, in a bad way. If you’re eating items that you don’t commonly eat but are sure is safe, only experiment with one new item each day. This way, you can pick out items that might not agree with you without limiting yourself too much.

5. Evasion

Finally, once you have food, water, fire, shelter, and protection all lined up, you should start paying attention to evasion tactics. Take different paths and cover your trail whenever you can. If you believe there may be enemies in the area, you don’t want to stay in one place for too long. The shelter you use should blend into the ground around it, basically disappearing into the woods.

The key to proper evasion is planning ahead. Know escape routes from where you are, as well as from where your snares and traps are located. What you don’t want is to be surprised and run in a direction you’re unfamiliar with. Explore around you and know where you’ll run if need be.