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Why survival? 3 reasons you need to hone your skills right now

There have been times over the years, as I live in luxury and ease, that I have questioned whether or not it was worth all of the trouble I have gone to in order to learn and live survival. There have also been long periods of my life that I haven’t bothered to hone these skills to their utmost. However, in these days and times I make it a habit to stay on top of these skills because by all signs, children, we are heading for some tough times.

You only need to read the news everyday to realize that we are heading towards a conflict, not only in the world, but within this country as well. With conflict comes hardship, and when society breaks down again, finally, it will be up to you to be able to fend for yourself and I’m here to tell you that you will need to have some survival skills in that time. Here are three scenarios that could throw us into a long term survival situation right now:

  1. War. You think it’s not possible? If so, it’s probably because you are a member of that privileged  generation who hasn’t had to live with the fear of an attack from a foreign, invasive army. The truth is that we as Americans are surrounded by enemies on all sides and there are many others who want what we have.
  2. Cyber attack. Whether you realize it or not, we are under the power of the Chinese and the Russians due to errant practices in the past. We have trusted hostile countries to act as manufacturers to supply the major components to our computers, which now run our power grids, weapons systems, public works, etc…  Who knows what kind of trojan horses they have planted on everything  from motherboards to cellphones.
  3. Far left election. Do you realize that there are political factions whose entire platform is to threaten our very way of life? They desire to take us back into the ages before fossil fuels and who knows if they will be successful or not?
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Finding the beauty: Tactics for Retaining Your Sanity in a Survival Situation

It had been a hard trip. I had started out three days prior, camping out along the paint creek area of southern Ohio, and had made my way through the landscape, ending up at a small tributary called Big Cave Run on the old map I had found at the local courthouse. It was an old property, (at least six thousand years old Biblically)… theoretically. Historically, the property had been documented by a governing source for over two hundred years. I had started out my survival trip with only the clothes on my back. I had made some slate knives on paint creek with the help of a huge block of sandstone that I happened to find sitting at the water’s edge. The wear marks on it told me that it had been a favorite place of others before me to sit and make tools as well.

The rain fell in a persistent patter. Not quite enough to send me to shelter, it was a warm early June, but just enough to keep the blackflies and mosquitos away, and to keep me soaked to the skin. By the time I had travelled the three mile distance to Big Cave Run, I had two knives, some cordage, a fish spear, and a trouser pocket full of frogs legs from the night before. I hadn’t been able to cook them because I couldn’t get a fire going to save me. And it was on Big Cave Run that I finally built a debris hut just so I could work out a fire kit. That night the rain finally stopped and I ate froglegs around a snapping fire while the spirit of an old indian kept me company. I left when he told me in the gathering darkness that this was no place for the living to have to be alone with the dead.

I left for him the spear and two knives to do with as he wished and I walked out of the creek bottoms and back to my car… travelling east.

This  trip lasted only three days, but in that three days I learned a valuable lesson on survival. That is to keep yourself involved in things beyond the plight at hand. The experience is so much more than where you will get your next drink of water or where you might sleep that night. Beyond the basic necessities of shelter, water, fire, and food, the most trouble you will have in a survival situation is keeping your mind occupied. Let it wander and entertain itself. At least that has always worked well for me.

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Scavenging 101: 3 of the best places to get freebies

I’m not a big advocate of  trash picking; however, I must say that I have seen some really good merchandise over the years go into the dumpster and onto the curb. And as much as I am not an advocate of trash picking, I am also not a great advocate of wastefulness. We all are familiar with the old adage: “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. And the fact of the matter is that a resourceful individual can find use for nearly any and everything, while others, I call them “consumers”, are simply lost at the idea of re-purposing or repairing anything. So, the trick is that you as a survival prepper, or merely a thrifty individual, need to find the place where the consumers ditch their gear. Here are three tried and true spots:

  1. College campuses. This has been my best spot over the years. These young kids, their heads and hearts filled with visions of superiority and great wealth, will often leave huge amounts of valuable items right in the trash. Some of the item I personally have acquired from college campuses after graduation are: cellphones, laptops, televisions, household items, liquor, and food, (if you can stand it).
  2. High profile businesses. The really high dollar shops are more likely to put returned or slightly damaged items in the dumpster than they are to try to resell or auction them off. That type of behavior is often beneath such high falutin ideology. Why not take advantage of that fact and get what you can out of it. A word of caution: Be careful off competition at these locations, other scavengers will fight over this these spots. It’s never a bad idea to have someone watching your six… and someone else watching theirs. Remember the trailing gunman theory.
  3. Personal storage facilities. These are good picks because quite often when property is abandoned in units, they are auctioned off and the less desirable items are discarded as trash. A good thing to note; however, is that some person at some time had seen every item in that unit as valuable to some degree… however, they might have been a lunatic too.
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Making do: three things you never pass by in a survival situation

By: Mr. X, survivalist

Whenever you are out and about in the woods you should always have three things with you regardless of the circumstances. These three things are: a good blade, some ample cordage, a way to make fire. Though many of you, depending on your skill level, might find these things to be synonymous, (cordage plus a knife equals fire for example), you’re always better off if you can utilize a shortcut here and there.

Along the same line of thought there are three things that I almost never walk by in the woods without harvesting them, or at least caching them somewhere safe should I ever need them. These things are: a deer shed, a good grade of workable flint, and a fluffy dry birds nest, (unoccupied of course).

The reasons for wanting to have these things are various and I will give you a brief outline below:

  1. A deer shed. The antler of a deer is like a gift from God in survival situation. It has many functions in and of itself. For instance, it was initially designed for use as a weapon by the deer that grew it, and can be used as one by you. It also serves as a variety of tools, digging or napping flint for instance, and even has great use as handles for knives and spindle sockets for fire making.
  2. Good grade flint. Flint was the precursor to brass and then iron as far as tool making goes. A good flint knife or axehead can give you a workable implement indefinitely.
  3. A fluffy, dry birds nest. These things are worth their weight in gold as tinder bundles. Just the slightest spark will set them ablaze.

As I stated earlier, I make caches all of the time, many of which I’ve never had incident to go back to; however, they are most likely still there if I ever do need them. Caching allows you to protect necessities from animals and the elements, and they don’t have to include store bought items.

Winter Survival: 3 tips that could save your life

We have recently gotten hit with one of the harshest winter storms that I can remember. I was eight years old during the blizzard of 1978, and this past week I was having flashbacks to then as I tried to drive a stranded motorist home in a complete white out. I was forced to turn around and go back, but it occurred to me how easily I could end up in a snowbank with the responsibility of keeping my very civilized, non-survivalist passenger in tow who only had a very thin windbreaker on and thin pants with no thermal undergarments to speak of. The temperature was around 12 without taking into account the wind chill factor. So here’s the question, what would he have done if we ended in the ditch? No problem, right? You just keep the car running until you’re rescued, right? Well, maybe; but, what do you do if you get snowed in beyond the time that it is going to take to get rescued? The vehicle is your best bet, as it is certainly shelter, but there are three things you can do to better your odds of riding the storm out in the event that you have nothing but the thin clothes on your back and you’re snowbound in your car.

  1. Consider the sacred order of survival. Specifically you need: shelter, water, fire, and food in that order. Shelter you have in the form of the vehicle, and water is plentiful in the form of snow. However, you must realize that you have to melt the snow to drink it, don’t just eat the snow because you are lowering your internal temperature when you do. As a matter of fact you should drink your pee immediately in a situation like this, simply because it is already 98 degrees and you don’t have to waste energy having your body reheat it.
  2.  Use the insulation at hand. Never forget that your car seats are made out of great insulating foam. Don’t be afraid to cut this out and line your clothing with it, creating dead air space between your skin and your clothing will keep you warmer as your body heats that dead air that is trapped.
  3. Keep the door closed. Your shelter is only going to have one source of heat when the engine runs out of gas… you. Keep your body heat inside as much as possible and if worse comes to worse then consider making a nest in the snow and trying to build a fire in it from flammable parts of your car for warmth. However, never burn what can be used as personal insulation, and make sure any smoke you create has an escape vent so you don’t breathe toxic fumes.
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Survival poaching: 3 things you have to know to make meat in an emergency

Though I don’t in any way, shape, or form advocate the practice of poaching, I will tell you that in a survival situation you have to resort to any means necessary in order to get the nutrients that you will need to live.

That being said, you should understand that if you use some of the tricks I’m going to share with you today, you could very easily face charges in a criminal court if they’re ever discovered. The old adage “I’d rather be tried by twelve than eaten by worms” comes into play here though, and if your very existence depends on it, then the laws of nature and the writings of John Locke demand that you take the life of whatever you can in order to save yourself. Here are three ways to do it.

  1. Hook snares. Anything is susceptible to a hook snare. They are just what they sound like, a hook tied to a cord of some kind, with bait on it for an animal to gulp down and get hooked in the gullet. This is a very cruel technique and should never be used except in a life or death situation. Small hooks can be baited with kernels of corn and placed just below the surface of a lake at the bank for ducks and geese. Pieces of meat can be suspended with treble hooks from green branches for coyotes, fox, etc… Nasty bit of business and you should be in real trouble before you resort to this.
  2. Wire snares. Wire snares are effective as well, and can be set to trap and strangle anything up to a moose. For smaller game you can use old electric wire with the insulation stripped off to make a stout copper wire strand that keeps its form nicely, and which is strong enough to strangle anything up to a fox. You will need something more substantial than twisted copper wire for coyote, bear, deer, or moose. Basically set a wire snare wherever your desired animal may stick its head or foot. Attach the end to a sapling strong enough to hold it, or to a log big enough to eventually get tangled.
  3. Night shooting. Animals are largely nocturnal, and their eyes glow in light. This is a no-brainer if you have a gun with you, either build a fire or use a flashlight. When you see two eyes glowing in the darkness, shoot between them.
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RDDUSA product review: the heated groundcloth

I was recently excited to see this new concept for outdoor cold weather sleeping, that of the “heated ground cloth”. This concept is not really new, we have all seen it put into play in movies such as Jeremiah Johnson, that 1980’s era movie which depicted our hero Jeremiah digging a hole and filling it full of ember from the fire to sleep on; however, if any of you survivalists out there have ever tried to dig a hole to sleep on, then you know what kind of misery it is to have such a task after a day spent hunting, camping, or surviving in the wilderness.

 

Now, I have spent many nights camping out in the elements, shivering and experiencing cold sleep which usually involves sleeping thirty minutes and then getting up to put more wood on the ash pit that I had somehow managed to waller into seeking the remaining warmth of the dying campfire. Luckily, this new product might offer some relief into future excursions.

 

The design is fairly simple, basically it is a minute water heating system that is designed to circulate your heated water through channels built into the fabric of the ground cloth. I am deeply impressed with this concept because I’m all about being comfortable even when I’m out in the bush. This device is fueled by a can of sterno; however, there has to be a way to bring this concept into bearing in the wilderness. The plus to this scenario is the fact that the hot water you are using to keep you warm all night will be utilized when not sleeping on it to make coffee, grits, oatmeal, and whatnot.

 

So now I have to go out into the shed and see what I can work out to accommodate this concept in the wilderness; however, these items are available on the online marketplaces. Just look up heated camping mat and you will soon be sleeping quite comfortably out under the stars.

 

In the meantime I will be conducting scientific experiments out in my garage…

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THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL; USING MILITARY SURPLUS FOR THE ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME

Photo By: romanticasheville.com

If you’ve ever dreamed of testing yourself to the fullest, and you haven’t hiked the Appalachian Trail, you should consider all or a portion of it as one or more of your coming summer adventures. Though the trail is roughly 2180 miles long and it encompasses 14 states, it has many numbers of accommodations available for travelers. Many travelers along the Trail have found that used military surplus and tents have come in quite handy while traversing the trails. It stands to reason that military equipment would be quite well suited to travelling the Trail. Military backpacks and clothing, not to mention wool blankets and portable cots were designed to offer the best comfort and greatest mobility. In the summer months, there are thousands of volunteers who commit thousands of hours of community work to the trail. This includes upkeep on the more than 250 three sided shelters which are available to those who do not want to pack the weight of a tent around. If you are a novice hiker, then Maryland and West Virginia offer the easiest parts of the trail to hike, and if you are a hard core adventurer with granite thighs and stainless steel sinew you should jump in at Maine or New Hampshire, where the hard parts are. Those who have traversed the Trail from Georgia to Maine are said to have at some time or another been in the company of black bears, Moose, porcupines, snakes, woodpeckers, salamanders, foxes, chipmunks, bobcat, and whitetailed deer. You’ll meet plenty of other hikers too. Two to three million hikers walk a portion of the Trail every year, and there are literally hundreds of access points. Of those that try to hike the entire trail from Georgia to Maine, (usually about a six-month journey), only one in four make it, (no, they don’t die, they just give up). You could be that one in four, especially if you give yourself the advantage of gearing up with used military equipment before you start out. The time is nearly upon us as we start planning our coming Summer endeavors and this one is a dandy.

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HAMMOCK CAMPING; 3 REASONS THIS COULD BE THE WAVE OF THE FUTURE

One of the newest fads in the camping industry is actually a spin off from the newest methodologies of management in the business world, that of LEAN enterprises. While many people believe that the LEAN enterprise mindset is one of doing more with less, they often miss the forest for the trees aspect of LEAN, which is actually a philosophy of doing more with less waste. And the truth is that the exclusion of one word in a phrase can speak volumes in the form of missed opportunities. Take the example of hammocks for camping. The idea wasn’t to get rid of the tent as an icon of the camping experience, but rather to expand upon the concept of a tent and to take the tent to a new depth and breadth of having a home away from home. The truth of the matter is that with the extra space of the tent, which is not utilized, comes extra waste as well. Here are three reasons why:

  1. Most modern campers are opting for the light and move quickly aspect of camping. Things such as the hiking of the Appalachian Trail, and other camping and tent adventures bring the need to travel light and to be quick on your feet. Even if for nothing else than the wear the weight difference saves on your back, the hammock over the tent makes sense.
  2. The comfort that you gain from sleeping suspended in air as opposed to having to deal with the heat sapping, bumpy ground under the floor of the tent is second to none. Let alone the fact that this relieves the need for a ground cloth, severe weather sleeping bag, (which can be built right into the hammock), and repair kits for holes made while wallowing the floor of the tent.
  3. No need for supports. These things rely on already existing supports to offer the stability that they need to give you shelter. This does not have to be trees, supports can be rock faces, buildings, etc… might not be viable in Kansas, but these should do great anywhere else.
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