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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Knowledge Is Power

Knowledge Is Power

As I wrote in an earlier post, studies show that survival is 80% mental. If this is true then the most important thing you can have with a survival kit is your knowledge. The more knowledge you have the better. So to help with this I've included an incredible find that I think anyone would want:

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See you on the trail,
--Greg

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Tarp Shelters

Tarp Shelters

Tarp Shelters are the quickest and easiest way to make a shelter. Which means savings of energy and/or calories, which we all know are key factors in any survival situation. If you can carry one with you, you can't beat the convenience.

Now what's the key to these shelters? Well, you should still follow the shelter criteria principles, along with the bedding, etc... But as for the best style, the lean-to design seems to be the quickest and best.

So what do you need? Basically a standard blue tarp will work fine, but there are fancier styles like the ones with reflective material on them, tube styles, or even ponchos. Even a big trash bag will work. You should also have some twine or parachute cord and you're ready to go.

Knot tying is always a good skill to know for any outdoors person (I'll have to do a future post on it) and it sure makes tying them easier, but you can just about tie anything.

Here's a good picture of different variations from Brad Bradley.Now, how you don't want to do it is like this one where it's all open and the wind can just blow right through the bottom and the sides. True it would stop the rain a little from above and beats nothing at all but let's learn how to do it better.


Now you can always combine the dubree hut with the tarp such as here in this photo, where you build a frame and then cover it with a tarp. But the point of a tarp is quick and easy, so why not make it easier? Besides, if you're going to build a dubree hut, you might as well finish it because they're way warmer with the insulating value that the roofing materials provide. Note: the botom is open on this one too.

So here's an example of a quick and easy one. A lean-to design with pine bows for a bed and a reflection fire to keep you warm. The key being a reflection fire, where the heat of the fire is reflected into the shelter. Because tarps have almost no insulating value, you almost always need a reflection fire to make them warm. All I did here was lay a few logs in a "V" in front of the shelter and built a fire in front of them. Man...was it warm. (I'll have to do a future post on reflection fires also)

Now for the the king of tarp shelters! Again the lean-to design, but with a few modifications. I built this one in the trees, with an over hanging of tarp, blocked on one side, and a reflection fire in front. The roof helps to trap the heat from the fire, along with the fact that you can only enter from one side. I also built it in the trees which creates a little micro climate. Wow this one was warm!

I told you trap shelters are simple and quick. Next time I need to write on reflection fires and then knots.

See you on the trail,
--Greg

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Do Your Research on Survival Sites Before You Head Out

By Steve Thibeault


If you are in a position where you are worrying about how you are going to survive, you are very unlikely to have Internet access and to be able to look for information on survival. As such, it is very important for you to be searching for survival sites online before you set out into a potentially dangerous situation. Always be prepared and conduct a lot of research so that you are best equipped for any eventuality.

To help you get ready, a number of qualified survival sites exist on the Internet. You will find a great deal of information, techniques and resources at your fingertips. If you are a true outdoorsman you know that this makes sense, but if you are planning a first time camping trip or expedition you should realize that something untoward may happen at any time. You may be unfortunate enough to be injured, restricting your movement or could come across sudden bad weather conditions.

The United States is a great place to live but it is prone to some major weather events and natural disasters from time to time. Almost everyone can be affected and the challenges include fire, floods, earthquakes, ice storms, tornadoes, hurricanes. If you think about it, every single state can face one or other of these threats. As you never know when one may affect you, you too will need survival knowledge and should consult specialist survival sites for this information.

While it is true that the odds of being severely impacted by a natural disaster are somewhat low, if you are an avid outdoorsman, or like hiking or fishing or any kind of activity that takes you into the wilderness, you must research all the implications at survival sites online. Don't leave anything to chance.

When you are in a wilderness survival situation, immediately assess the situation by considering your physical safety first and foremost. If there is any chance that you will be in the area for the medium to long term, you need to find sources of food and water and start to construct shelter. Fire is your friend and you must be able to build one.

Survival sites online will be able to equip you with a kit containing vital elements to help you meet the challenges you will likely find in isolation. Your primary considerations are covered including warmth and shelter, a specialized first aid kit and appropriate signals such as a light or a whistle to attract people's attention.

From day to day we do live pampered lives and seldom have to dig deep to find that in built will to survive which we all have. When the chips are down, however, our common sense will really help us and to make sure that you prepare yourself with this knowledge before you set out on your trip, go to survival sites to read up on the variety of articles therein.

Do not underestimate the potential stresses and strains that a major expedition into the backcountry may bring. You should ensure that you are not only physically fit, but mentally able to cope if things go wrong. You won't be able to rely on cell phone towers or emergency rooms so be prepared to innovate.



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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Call on Your Resources For Survival

By Steve Thibeault


If you like to get it away for a weekend, or if you are a hunter, an outdoorsmen or a trekker, for example you should never leave things to chance and make sure that you have all your skills available if something should go wrong. Whilst we never like to think that it could happen, you never know when you will need to draw on all your resources for survival if you get lost or stranded.

If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself lost or stranded in a remote place, one of the first things to remember is that you must not panic. You will need to control the thoughts that are racing through your head, remain calm and compile a list of the necessary resources for survival to help you out.

In an emergency situation, a wilderness shelter should be one of your first tasks when calculating resources for survival. Pick a great location in a safe position away from potential hazards. Consider the risk of flooding and look for an area that has building materials to make your task easier. Keep your shelter away from nasty crawling or flying insects.

Understand that when you're building a wilderness shelter you do not need to go overboard. Your own energy is one of the greatest resources for survival and you should make sure that you do not expend too much by building some kind of palatial shelter when all you need is something just large enough to fit your body.

Experts who have been in your situation -- getting lost and living to tell the tale, will always advise you to get as much cover and insulation as you can, wherever you are forced to stay. You will find that an inbuilt will to survive and common sense are your principal resources for survival in this situation. It doesn't matter if you are in a cold and wet environment or a hot one, you must protect yourself from outside elements. Prepare your survival shelter so that it is well insulated and you don't have to lie on a cold wet floor Prepare your bedding out of leaves and small branches.

In a really hostile environment, such as one where roaming animals at night could pose a danger, you will need to light a fire. For centuries now man has been relying on fire as one of his greatest resources for survival. Whilst lighting one used to be quite a task, these days don't forget to travel with your supply of fire sticks to get it going.

You may well be an experienced adventurer, but even so before you set out on any expedition remember to study and research all the resources for survival that are available on the web. Websites exist that are specifically made for the outdoors man and will provide a great source of information on outdoor survival so that you leave your home well prepared.

The construction of an adequate shelter will be your first job if you find that you are stranded and/or lost and realize that you must stay in place, possibly overnight, to either await rescue or to allow the bright light of day to help you plan your escape.



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Monday, September 21, 2009

5 Outdoor Survival Questions To Ask Your Fellow Wilderness Adventurers

By Stephen Hobbs


It goes without saying there are more than 5 important survival skills to know and apply. Given the many outdoor-related television shows and YOU Tube videos available, everybody is offering up what they think is important for surviving the wilderness.

While all these presentations help, it is still the time you take to answer the following 5 questions that can make or break your level of preparation and prevention for your next adventure.

Therefore, can you answer these questions with a resounding YES? More important, can you prove the answer before you leave on your next adventure?

Remember it is one thing to learn about wilderness and outdoor survival skills; it is yet another to be conversant and practiced in the skills.

1) Can you build a shelter in less than an hour to minimize effort and conserve energy "for the seasonal activity?" Take into consideration the equipment you have available and the surroundings in which you find yourself. And you have to decide when is enough, enough? The balance of shelter versus effort needs your attention.

2) What does it mean to stay found if assistance is needed along the trip? Everyday, stories are heard and read where lost people kept moving and became ill/injured. Unless where you are is dangerous, stay in one place, stay found! Think through ways to alert rescuers from this base of operations. That is of course "your friends or family have set in motion your rescue if you do not report in according to plan.

3) What is the best signalling device for the location in which you are travelling should you need help immediately? The old stand by is blowing your whistle. However, what if you need to signal an aircraft? Of the various devices available take some time to learn which one or two would work best for your next adventure. Remember not all days are sunny, and help can arrive at night.

4) Can you start a fire within 30 minutes based on the conditions you will encounter along your trip? There are simple supplies you can bring with you to help. Check out how cotton balls, lint and petroleum jelly can be combined to sustain a flame upon which you build a fire. And be aware of the resources around you!

5) What is the best way to obtain clean water along your trip, if the water you are carrying was consumed? There are many ways in which to collect water. Break out your survival books and scan the ones linked to where you are going. Copy the ideas and carry them with you. And don't underestimate the importance of water. Considering the conditions and your effort you will need to replenish your body to keep you alert to what is happening within you and around you.

If you wavered in any way answering these questions and you are about to leave on your next adventure trip get yourself to the next available survival workshop and learn and practice, and practice and learn answers to these questions.

Prevention is Queen, Preparation is King!

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Accessorize For Life With A Pocket Survival Kit

By Steve Thibeault


Many people have nightmares about being stranded in the wilderness, lost or possibly injured or incapacitated. Many of the largest cities in the United States are very close to wilderness areas. This does not mean that they are in very remote areas, such as the Rocky Mountains, as you can find a wilderness area in a large variety of different environments, and in the majority of counties in each state.

When venturing out into the wilderness, a pocket survival kit is essential. This kit contains a collection of important survival tools to help you in an emergency. You might be a casual backpacker, somebody who hunts as a hobby, someone who enjoys hiking, or an adventure snowmobiler in the winter. Even pilots of one or two seater aircraft should make sure that they are prepared for every eventuality.

A pocket survival kit can be carried on your person for any and every eventuality. As its name suggests, you can carry it in your pocket or on your person. The kit is waterproof and can float. It can be easily opened and easily re-sealed.

One of the great things about a pocket survival kit is that it contains a variety of versatile and robust components, designed specifically to help you in almost every eventuality. You will find tools designed for specific functions, but also a variety of instruments that allow you to improvise if you absolutely must, to survive.

Two key components of a pocket survival kit are stainless steel utility wire and a scalpel blade. Like the wire, the blade is made of stainless steel and comes sealed in foil. Stronger than brass, the utility wire measures up to 6 feet.

Sometimes you will need to make a camp should you be stuck in the outback overnight. In this case, should you need to make a fire, a lens magnifier is included within the pocket survival kit. When you need to put a shelter together, a braided nylon cord is included and heavy-duty aluminum foil will help you to cook, boil water or to reflect heat.

Unfortunately, some people get stranded in the wilderness for a long period of time. In this case, your pocket survival kit has a number of useful items to help you catch fish -- hooks, sinkers and swivels. Other items will help you expedite repairs and keep everything together, such as a sewing needle or a safety pin.

In an extreme situation, you may become incapacitated, in which case your companions can quickly and easily view the contents of your pocket survival kit, clearly visible through the packet. In addition to its contents, the kit contains complete survival instructions to help you all get through your nightmare.



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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wilderness Survival Tips Help You To Get Through

By Steve Thibeault


Always be prepared, especially if you are planning a trip into the great unknown. In the case of a prepared trip into the wilderness, most people undertake a great deal of preliminary work, but sometimes an innocent traveler can take the wrong turn, during bad weather for example, become disorientated and end up lost. In these cases, they could end up in need of some wilderness survival tips.

When you find yourself in a threatening position, or maybe lost in the outback, the US Army recommends that you remember the words of an appropriately named moniker -- survival. This memory device should be firmly implanted in your mind.

When you are looking for wilderness survival tips, just think of the word " survival.
S - stands for size up your situation.
U - stands for use all your senses.
R - stands for remember where you are.
V - stands for vanquish fear and panic.
I - stands for improvise.
V - stands for value living.
A - stands for act like the natives.
L - stands for live by your wits, but for now, learn basic skills.

The US Army and other specialists give us many wilderness survival tips, amongst these being to size up your situation. Look at your current condition, don't panic and assess what tools you might have to help you out in your immediate surroundings. Once you have completed this step, you will be able to go on to the next.

Real adventures are never far away when it comes to living in a diverse country such as the United States. Rugged and remote countryside is often close to major cities. For example, in California the Angeles National Forest is only a few short miles away from the sprawling city of Los Angeles. It is possible to access the forests within minutes from this vast conurbation. It should come as no surprise that people find themselves in trouble, lost in the outdoors and in need of wilderness survival tips.

"Live by your wits" is a wilderness survival tip given to us by the Army. This may be difficult for some, who are used to living a pampered life, but you can find a lot of online resources to help you learn. The Internet gives us a lot of information, tips and tricks and ways to help you train yourself to deal with unexpected conditions.

Should you find yourself lost in the wilderness, or immobilized when hiking, it is important not to panic. Plan wisely and value living. You should assess the situation and understand that you might be in the position for the long haul. If you plan correctly you can make sure that you do not subject yourself to knee-jerk reactions.

Even if the situation should appear to be impossible, a healthy dose of common sense, some research, adequate planning and application of the wilderness survival tips given to us by the US Army and others will enable us to take advantage of our raw survival instinct.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Don't Leave Home Without Your Outdoor Survival Gear

By Steve Thibeault


If you come across a life-threatening situation, you will want to provide life-saving and life sustaining support until rescue, and this is where outdoor survival gear will come into its own. A situation could arise anywhere -- being injured or lost during an outdoor adventure, affected by a natural disaster, or simply being stranded on the roadside. Load yourself with the necessities needed to protect you from the elements and keep you alive, by investing in a prepackaged emergency survival kit.

Whether camping, hiking, boating, cross country skiing, or fishing, outdoor survival gear is of utmost importance. No one can predict when a situation might call for you to survive on your own outside for a length of time. Perhaps you get lost and need to wait in the cold for help to arrive, or you become injured and need temporary supplies until you reach a hospital. Whatever the outdoor activity may be, being prepared is critical to your survival.

When planning an outdoor adventure, you should carry with you a pack of supplies that cover the five basics of survival. They are water, food, shelter, warmth and medical supplies. Websites that specialize in survival carry a large variety of wilderness and emergency survival kits, from pocket-size ones to backpack kits.

Make sure that you have enough emergency supplies to cover all of your family members for a minimum of three days. You just never know when you'll have to leave your home, your workplace due to a fire or another weather event or even become stranded on the roadside somewhere. For emergency planning purposes, your car, your home and your workplace should be equipped with outdoor survival gear kit.

There are certain tools that you will find very important when you have to survive outside your home. One of these is a multifunction tool, which includes a variety of useful things like pliers, screwdrivers, wire cutters, can and bottle openers, knife blades, or vice grip teeth. Other items to include in an emergency kit are folding shovels, rope, sewing kits, matches, hammers, compass, lighter and work gloves.

Just think about it -- in an emergency or rescue situation, you will need to signal for help. Part of your outdoor survival gear kit should include signaling equipment, whether it be composed of mirrors, lights or whistles, as all these methods are effective in attracting help.

Water, food, shelter and warmth are all essentials that should be covered in any outdoor survival gear kits. Consider everything from an insulated sleeping bag up to a tube tent, for shelter gear, whilst ponchos and blankets can provide you with personal warmth. For fire starting materials, pack fire sticks, tinder or windproof matches and make sure they are in a waterproof container. Food and water essentials can include canned foods, water parks, straw filters and power bars.

Injuries are possible during an outdoor emergency, so for medical needs, your outdoor survival kit should contain supplies to care for burns, fractures, sprains and bad cuts. Within your medical supplies, you should see gauze, splints, duct tape, bandages, pain relief medication, first aid cream, safety pins, non-latex gloves and don't forget the bug spray.



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Friday, September 11, 2009

Doctors vs Gun Owners

Doctors vs Gun Owners

I got a good laugh at this one, so I thought I would share it.

Doctors
(A) The number of physicians in the U.S. is 700,000.
(B) Accidental deaths caused by Physicians per year are 120,000.
(C) Accidental deaths per physicianis 0.171.
(Statistics courtesy of U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services.)

>>>>>>>>>>>Now think about this:

Guns
(A) The number of gun owners in the U.S. is 80,000,000.(Yes, that's 80 million)
(B) The number of accidental gun deaths per year, all age groups, is 1,500.
(C) The number of accidental deaths per gun owner is .000188.
(Statistics courtesy of FBI)

>>>>>>>>>>So, statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners.

>>>>>>>>>>Remember, 'Guns don't kill people, doctors do.

FACT: NOT EVERYONE HAS A GUN, BUT ALMOST EVERYONE HAS AT LEAST ONE DOCTOR.

>>>>>>>>>>Please alert your friends to this alarming threat. We must ban doctors before this gets completely out of hand!!!!!

P.S. Out of concern for the public at large, I withheld the statistics on lawyers for fear the shock would cause people to panic and seek medical attention!


See you on the trail,
--Greg

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Monday, September 7, 2009

Downed Log Wilderness Survival Shelter

Downed Log Wilderness Survival Shelter

Here's a dubree hut that was built over a downed log. What a great wilderness survival shelter using what you find (i.e a downed log).

Step 1 - Lay a couple of long poles across the downed log. Then start laying branches across the poles like an A-Frame.



Step 2 - Finsh laying branches along the A-Frame and a few to close up the doorway. Look at that header for the doorway. I've never seen a stronger doorway.



Step 3 - Cover the shelter with pine bows and pine needles, etc...


Step 4 - Now lay down some pine bows for bedding and climb in and plug the door.


Now that's a nice shelter.

Note: Remember to take a look at the posts on "wilderness survival shelter criteria" and "3 components of a dubree hut" to see all the steps and check if this student followed them.


See you on the trail,
--Greg

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Water Purification

Falling Water FallsImage by dbarronoss via Flickr
Water Purification

Water is essential to life and all living things contain it. On an average, people lose 2-3 liters of water every day and can only survive for approximately three days without water.
The concern for the wilderness traveler comes from the quality of the water available in the backcountry. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that 90% of the world’s water supply is contaminated in some form. After drinking contaminated water, there is an increased risk of illness and can result in potential fluid loss due to diarrhea and vomiting. The answer - Purify Your Water.

There are three types of waterborne pathogens to eliminate from your water supply: viruses, bacteria, and parasites (such as protozoa, amoebas, tapeworms, and flatworms).

3 Methods of Water Purification.

1. Boiling - Boiling is considered the safest and most complete method of purification, eliminating all forms of pathogens. All that is required is to bring the water to a boil. If you feel the need or the water source is highly questionable, let the water boil for one minute to be extra safe.

2. Chemical Treatment - Chemical treatments such as iodine have been shown to be effective against viruses, bacteria, and the protozoa Giardia (considered the most common cause of water borne illness in the backcountry), but are ineffective against the protozoa Cryptosporidium ("crypto"). When using a chemical treatment you should follow the directions on the bottle, but when in doubt, allow the chemical to dissolve and sit for one hour before consumption.

It should be stated that iodine treatments do have an undesirable taste and can be neutralized by adding vitamin C or a drink mix containing vitamin C, after the treatment protocol has been followed, not before.

For people allergic to iodine, there are chlorine treatments available. If you’re a women over fifty, pregnant, have thyroid problems, or taking prescription drugs you should consult your physician before use.

3. Filtration - Although filter’s can be expensive, they are considered quick and easy to use. Filtration is considered very effective against protozoa like Giardia and Cryptosporidium. To be effective against bacteria, filters must remove particles down to at least four-tenths of a micron. The problem with filtration is that by it’s self, it is ineffective against viruses. In North America, viruses are usually not a concern, but in third world countries, viruses like Hepatitis A and B are of great concern. To address the problem with viruses, you can either chemically treat the water before filtering or buy a model, which includes an iodine chamber that the water passes through. Different models even come with a charcoal element to clear the taste, which ever features you want, be sure to find one that is lightweight, easy to use, and clean. Also, be careful not to drop the filter, a crack can eliminating its effectiveness.

Method Pro’s and Con’s

Boiling
Pro’s - Effective against all pathogens
Con’s - Slow, requires fuel, and inconvenient.











Chemical
Pro’s - Effective against bacteria, viruses and Giardia. Can be combined with filtration.
Con’s - Ineffective against Cryptosporidium. Slow and tastes bad.











Filtration
Pro’s - Effective against parasites and bacteria (depending on filter size). Quick and easy to use.
Con’s - Ineffective against viruses. Expensive and may break or clog.










See you on the trail,
--Greg

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Monday, August 31, 2009

Examples of Dubree Huts in 2 Different Climates

Examples of Dubree Huts in 2 Different Climates



Example 1 - Here's a dubree hut in an area of Ponderosa Pine and grass (a little more dry of an area). This student was a technical guy, I think a computer programmer. Look at the precision of his frame work (it doesn't have to look that nice).



In this area there wasn't alot of pine bows so he used bark mostly for the roofing. Usually in an area where's there Ponderosa Pine there's lost of bark. He saved what pine bows he could find mostly for his bedding.


Example 2 - Here's one built in a more wooded area with alot of Douglas Fir.


With more trees, this student used pine bows and pine needles for the roofing and bedding.


If you noticed both shelters where built as an A-Frame design.

Note: Remember to take a look at the posts on "wilderness survival shelter criteria" and "3 components of a dubree hut" to see all the steps and check if this student followed them.


See you on the trail,
--Greg

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Lean-to Dubree Hut 2

Lean-to Dubree Hut 2

What if you don't have something to lean against? Here's a good dubree hut using the lean-to design while making your own wall to lean against.

Step 1 - Find a good spot with plenty of material and them take a rock and pound in some stakes to hold the logs.



Step 2 - Lay thick branches or lean them up against the wall you made between the stakes.


Step 3 - Cover the logs with pine bows to make water tight.


Here's a look at the back of the wall.


Step 4 - Lay down some bedding like pine bows and climb in for a good night. Remember to cover the opening with your pack or pine bows.


If you do leave the doorway open, a reflection fire would go nice with this one, we'll talk about those in a later post.

Note: Remember to take a look at the posts on "wilderness survival shelter criteria" and "3 components of a dubree hut" to see all the steps and check if this student followed them.


See you on the trail,
--Greg

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Friday, July 17, 2009

If you’re lost in the outdoors - Part 3 (Night Travel)

If you’re lost in the outdoors - Part 3 (Night Travel)
 
So if you don’t have a compass, how do you figure out direction of travel during the nighttime? Here’s 4 different methods for you to try:
 
Cresent Moon: Draw a line from tip to tip in a straight line and where the line hits the horizon is roughly South.
Big DipperImage via Wikipedia

 
Big Dipper Method: Draw a straight line through the two stars that make up the end of the pot (opposite the handle) and continue this line away from the opening of the pot until it intersects a star known as “Polaris” (the North Star) and you have North.
 
Latitude Method: Look at the North Star and hold your 1st arm straight out and parallel with the horizon, now point your 2nd arm straight at the North Star. The angle between your arms is roughly the degrees latitude (i.e. 45 degrees).
 
Latitude Stick Method: Put a vertical stick in the ground, align a 2nd stick with the 1st stick and the North Star, then place it vertical in the ground. Now, slide your thumb and eye down the 2nd stick until the North Star is aligned with the tip of the 1st stick. Mark the spot and measure the angle from a parallel line with the ground and the line you created from the tip of the 1st stick to the spot you marked on the 2nd stick. This is your latitude and the 2 sticks are pointing in a North/South line, which means perpendicular to this line is the Easy/West line.


See you on the trail,
--Greg

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

If you’re lost in the outdoors - Part 2 (Direction of Travel)

If you’re lost in the outdoors - Part 2 (Direction of Travel) 
So if you don’t have a compass, how do you figure out direction of travel during the daytime? Here’s 3 different methods for you to try:
 
Shadowless Stick Method: Place a stick in the ground and then move or adjust it until the shadow disappears completely, soon it will reappear with the shadow running roughly East/West.
 
Shadow Stick Method: Place a stick in the ground and mark the tip of the shadow it casts with a small stick or stake in the ground. Then wait 10 minutes and repeat, after 30 minutes or longer, you’ll have a row of small sticks marking the East/West line (North/South is perpendicular to this line).
 
Watch Method: Take a fine stick and place it in the center of the watch hands (not a digital watch), hold the watch level and rotate the whole watch until the sticks shadow is parallel with or falling over the hour hand. ½ way between the hour hand and 12 o’clock is North/South.

(Digital watch version: Just draw a basic watch pattern on paper, etc and repeat the steps above based on the correct time).

See you on the trail,
--Greg

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Monday, July 13, 2009

If You're Lost In the Outdoors - Part 1

If You're Lost In the Outdoors - Part 1

If you’ve ever been lost or turned around in the outdoors then you know what I mean about panic. And, if you haven’t been turned around and you spend any significant amount of time in the outdoors, then it’s only a matter of time before you do know wh
Blowdown Lake, Stein Valley Nlaka'pamux Herita...Image via Wikipedia
at I mean.
Psychologists have studied this mental state and found that in a survival situation without a known reference point the mind will begin to race in order to find one and if not found quickly then panic sets in.
 
So, if you’re ever lost in a survival situation, use the S.T.O.P. acronym (Sit, Think, Observe, Plan) and ask yourself these questions:
  • What was the last point you recognized?
  • Can you retrace your steps? (In most search and rescue case studies there was a point at the beginning or just prior to panic, when the victim could have retraced their steps, but they failed to do so.)
  • Is there a place, trail, landmark you can focus on that gives you direction?
  • If NO to all these questions, then begin a slow systematic approach…
Slow Systematic Approach
When lost in a survival situation, one of the survival skills to learn is the slow systematic approach. Here’s a break down:
  1. Analysis of the terrain around you:
  • Landmarks (peaks, fire towers, power lines, lakes, human structures, etc…)
  • Stream Flow (which way is it flowing, what side of the stream were you on)
  • Ridgelines (which side of the ridge were you on)
  1. Start a terrain feature search, by traveling short distances to locate landmarks or familiar terrain and/or trails.
  • Travel 10 minutes in the best guess direction, marking your trail back.
  • Return to your original position and try another direction.
  • In a dense forest use the prominent object method: Walk to a prominent object, marking direction of travel or the trail along the way and then repeat. If, your efforts do not turn up a known location, then return to original starting place.
    Note: make sure to mark your trail with something that is easily seen and cannot be removed or washed away.
NOTE: Sometimes it’s just best to hunker-down and wait for a change in the weather, morning or a rescue. Having the survival skills to build a shelter and wait is one of the basic survival skills everyone who ventures into the outdoors should have. Also, remember that most trained searchers will assume that streams, roads, trails, power lines, and lakes are barriers. So, if an organized search is expected, stay at the barriers.


See you on the trail,
--Greg


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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lean-to Dubree Hut

Lean-to Dubree Hut

Here's a good dubree hut using the lean-to design.

Step 1 - Find a good spot with plenty of material. Notice how there's a nice natural "V" shape notch between these trees to pile some logs for the backside of the lean-to.



Step 2 - Lay logs or lean them up against the wall you made.


Step 3 - Cover the logs with bark to make water tight. Remember to build from the bottom up just like laying shingles.




Step 4 - Lay down some bedding like pine bows and climb in for a good night.



A reflection fire would go nice with this one, we'll talk about those in a later post.

Note: Remember to take a look at the posts on "wilderness survival shelter criteria" and "3 components of a dubree hut" to see all the steps and check if this student followed them.

See you on the trail,
--Greg

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Dubree Hut Step-by-Step Construction 2

Dubree Hut Step-by-Step Construction 2


1. Step One - Locate a good spot. Seeing how there wasn't very many trees around, here's a spot that has logs and a few sticks to use as a frame and bark for the roofing.

2. Step Two - Build the frame. Logs make a good main frame and the sticks fill in the rest. It's hard to see but there's a good slope to the left for the roof to allow rain to run off.


3. Step Three - Cover the roof with bark using the shingle method.


4. Step Four - Put down some bedding like pine needles or pine bows, then make a small doorway and climb in and enjoy.




This shelter was a good example of building in an area with fewer trees and using bark instead of pine bows.

Note: Remember to take a look at the posts on "wilderness survival shelter criteria" and "3 components of a dubree hut" to see all the steps and check if this student followed them.

See you on the trail,
--Greg


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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Can You Deal With Panic? Your Personal Survival Depends On it.

By G. E. Rouse


The first time I was put in a survival situation, I remember it was like my mind began to spin like a rolodex trying to find a familiar point.

In modern society we can almost always find help. Landmarks are everywhere and getting permanently lost or turned around is rare.

So what do we do in an emergency, when there's no help around the corner or just a phone call away? Research shows that when an individual can't find help, they begin to PANIC.

To control panic use the STOP acronym:

The S T O P acronym:

S - Sit

T - Think

O - Observe

P - Plan

When panic begins to set in the first thing to do is sit down. Most people have a tendency to run or hurry, which usually results in more trouble.

Next, you need to think about the situation and remain calm. Along with observe the situation to make rational and informed decisions. Many times a simple pause to think and observe can show a way out of our predicament, that most will not see.

Lastly, plan how you're going to deal with this emergency and then systematically do it.



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Monday, May 25, 2009

Step-by-Step Construction of Dubree Huts - 1

Step-by-Step Construction of Dubree Huts -1

Note: Remember to take a look at the posts on "wilderness survival shelter criteria" and "3 components of a dubree hut" to see all the steps and check if this student followed them.

1. Step One - Find a good location and build the frame. This student found a great spot that had losts of material readily available, along with the main frame already there from the downed logs.




2. Step Two - Finsh the frame and door. She finished piling sticks on for the frame. Almost overkill, but they were there and easy to thrown on. Nice door header.


3. Step Three - Cover up the frame. In this case she used tree bows as the were plentyful.

4. Step Four - Put down bedding. More pine bows will work fine here, now climb in, pull the packpack in the doorway and enjoy.
By knowing and following the basic shelter criteria, this student was able to pick a good spot and build this shelter in a quick and easy way. We'll take a look at some more shelters in future posts.

See you on the trail,
--Greg


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Friday, May 22, 2009

Basic Survival Kit

Basic Survival Kit
 
Here’s a list for a basic survival kit that you can build on your own. The biggest problem is what to carry it in, you want something small that can hold water. That brings up a key point, make sure your survival kit is not to big or you won’t carry it with you. The smaller and lighter it is the higher the probability that you will take it with you.
 
Big and heavy survival kits get left at home. Another key point is that as your survival skills grow your survival kit shrinks, the more you know the less you need or the more you can improvise.
 
Now, the key to a good survival kit is that you always have an “heir and a spare“. The saying comes from the old days when a king would always try and have two sons, so that if one died in battle or from disease, he would still have an heir to the throne. What that means to us is to always have a back-up for every item, for example, more than one way to light a fire (i.e. matches and a flint).
 
I’ve included the survival use with each item. Well, here’s the survival kit list:
  
BASIC SURVIVAL KIT
  • Heat & Attitude = Flint and steel + fire-starter / Lighter + candle
  • Rescue = Whistle / Signal mirror
  • Food = Fish hooks and line / Snare wire
  • Location = Map / Compass
  • Light = Photon light / Light stick
  • Cutting = Small Knife / Flexible saw
  • Weather Protection = Survival bag or blanket / Poncho
  • Shelter/1st Aid = Parachute cord / Duct tape (on pencil)
  • Food = Hard candy / Power Bar
  • Storage = Condom (for water) / Survival gear case
  • Water = Water purification tablets / Filter Straw
  • It beats pine needles = Toilet paper or paper towels in a zip-lock bag
The last one is pure convenience, but its lightweight and doesn’t take up much space, besides you can always use it for fire starter.

Also, a good choice for the food is something you don’t like (the nastiest food bar you can find), otherwise people have a tendency to snack on it when those outdoor munchies hit and then when you really need it its not there. One trick is to wrap the food bar in duct tape so it’s harder to get to and then you won’t eat it out of convenience, but in a survival situation you’ll cut that baby out.
 
Finally, another reminder to KEEP IT SMALL, if the kit is to big you won’t take it with you.

See you on the trail,
--Greg

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Survival Shelter Roofing

People always ask what you cover a dubree hut with and my answer is always the same, “whatever is available“. I've used everything from an old piece of tin I found to pine bows and even sod, if you layer it, you would be amazed at how waterproof they are. Here's a few examples of different survival shelter coverings.


You can use pine bows.



You can use grass.


You can use bark


Make sure you lay it like shingles, working from the bottom up, so the water will run off.



OR you can use a combination of more than one.


In the end it doesn't matter what you use as long as you can cover it and keep it warm and dry.

In my next few posts, I'll show you some step by step photos of building different shelters.

See you on the trail,
--Greg


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Monday, May 11, 2009

3 Components of a Dubree Hut

Dubree huts are basically where you pile dubree (branches, sticks, rocks, etc...) into a pile to make a shelter. You use what's available in your immediate environment and make a shelter out of what nature provides.

The benefit is that you don't have to have any gear to do it and so if you learn this method, no matter where you find yourself or what you have, you can always build a shelter. That said, there are a few things to learn that will make this method a whole lot easier.

3 Components of a Dubree Hut:

1. Frame (strong, natural & easy): In the winter we used the arch, but in the other climates we use the triangle, besides the arch, the triangle is one of the strongest shapes and can be easily made.


You also want a strong frame made of solid sticks.


Natural means using things that already exist, so you can save time and energy. Taking a few minutes to walk around and find a better spot can save a lot of time and energy (calories) in the long run.



And when it comes to easy, you want to find an area that already has all the material you need. Dragging logs and dubree around is not a wise use of calories in a survival situation.



2. Door (small, header & plug): For the door you want the opening as small as you can get it and still climb in, so as not to let out all the heat.


Header is so that the door doesn't collapse everytime you go through it.


And the plug can be a branch, backpack (as seen in the photo) or anything that will plug up the door and trap in heat. you're not looking for air tight, just something to stop the heat loss and wind.


3. Bedding (level, insulating & dry): One of the biggest mistakes I see is when shelters are built on uneven ground, then the person rolls downhill and blows out the whole side of their shelter in the middle of the night.


Studies show it's more important what you have under you, then on top of you for staying warm through the night. If you build a great shelter and then lay on the cold ground and lose all your body heat through conduction, it's a waste. Remember your body will conduct heat to a cold surface in order to warm it up to your body temperature 98.6 degrees (a losing battle with the ground even in warm weather).

Below is a picture of a student using pine bows. One trick is to lay them down before you build, which makes it alot easier. You can also use grass (like above), pine needles, a backpack, the foam seat off your ATV, etc...


Finally staying dry from above and below is important, if you're wet you're cold.
To recap the 3 Components of a Dubree Hut are:
  1. Frame (natural, easy & strong)
  2. Door (small, header & plug)
  3. Bed (level, insulating & dry)

These 3 Components are the components of a good dubree hut, if you learn and follow them you will be dry and warm. In my next post I'll talk about diffrent coverings or roofing material for your dubree huts.

See you on the trail,
--Greg


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