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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

1000+ Military Survival ManualsClick Here!

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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

1000+ Military Survival ManualsClick Here!

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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


1000+ Military Survival ManualsClick Here!

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