If you told someone 300 years ago, that you had a little machine that created light when you cranked a handle, and this light made water safe to drink – you would have been burned at the stake as a witch.
If you told the same tale 100 years ago, you’d probably be locked up as a lunatic.
But in this age of modern marvels, it should not be too much of a shock that a device can make UV light which purifies water – and do that task without batteries.
The new SteriPEN Sidewinder is a hand crank water purification device that disrupts the DNA of illness-causing microbes in mere seconds. Other SteriPEN products provide the same UV light DNA disruption on bad bugs, and have been field proven across the globe. But those devices require batteries.
A story coming out of Alaska this weekend really hits close to home for me, as both a parent and a professional survival instructor. A brown bear and her large cub mauled a group of teenage boys on a survival trek in the Alaskan wilderness, forcing a harrowing rescue early Sunday morning to help those who were so severely injured.
Two of the teens suffered life-threatening injuries, while two others suffered injuries that were labeled "serious, but non-life-threatening." The group was participating in a National Outdoor Leadership School course in a remote area of deep wilderness about 120 miles north of Anchorage.
A spokesperson for the Alaska State Police, said those four are in critical condition, while three others had minor injuries or exposure-related issues. Seventeen-year-old Joshua Berg of New City, N.Y., and 17-year-old Samuel Gottsegen of Denver were the worst injured.
I have always practiced primitive survival skills for two reasons. The first is that it is very satisfying to be able to provide for yourself using only things found in the wild.
The second reason is that it provides a back-up plan for modern-day survival. You may lose your man-made gear, but nature always provides replacement gear, if you know how to make it.
Take shelter for example. The leaf hut is a wilderness shelter that requires no sleeping bag or fire to provide warmth, just your body heat. The best part is that you can construct it with your bare hands from materials like sticks and leaves; no tools or rope are required. A leaf hut protects from the cold, wind, rain and snow. It can be made from wet or dry materials, and when properly built it can hold in most of your body heat.
Some remarkable photos and a video have surfaced of a snarling leopard as it fought locals and forest officials as they tried to drive it back toward a wildlife sanctuary in West Bengal, India, on Tuesday.
It was in the Prakash Nagar village, on the outskirts of Siliguri, that this adult male cat mauled 11 people in the settlement before being captured. In one video, the announcer says that the leopard was released back into the forest.
But later reports claim that the cat died a few hours after being captured from knife wounds it received during the attack.
Forest official Dharma Dev Rai said that the locals used knives, stones and sticks to beat back the cat. The leopard injured six villagers, four forest guards and a policeman, before a forest guard finally shot the cat with a tranquilizer dart.
The kind of sweltering conditions seen across much of the country right now can cause people to fall victim to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
As your air conditioner works overtime, your electric bill becomes obscene and crops and gardens wither, make sure you monitor yourself and those around you for signs of heat-related illness. High humidity makes these types of illness come on fast, as your sweat doesn’t evaporate very quickly in humid weather. It’s the evaporation of sweat that cools you down, not just sweat pouring off of you.
We're looking for stories to be used in the new Outdoor Life Survival Manual, coming to bookstores everywhere in 2012. If we use your story, your name will appear in the book and you'll win a new set of Buck knives. The book is currently being written, so write your story in the comments section now! If you don't have a good story on one of these topics? Don't worry! We'll be asking for more stories on different topics every month.
Contest 1: I Foiled a Home Intruder!
Tell us how you handled a home intruder, burglar or home invasion situation. The story can be funny (maybe you hit him over the head with a frying pan), scary (you were tied up but managed to escape), or somewhere in between.
Write your story in the comments section below for your chance to win.
In several recent survival classes, I have observed my students using the new Ultimate Knife from Gerber’s line of Bear Grylls equipment. I decided to run it through the paces myself to see how it operated for some typical survival chores, and here’s what I found out.
The Chopping Test When I was first handled the Ultimate Knife, I was pleasantly surprised that it was lighter than I expected. But it was no lightweight when it came to chopping.
I started with a test that medium to large survival knives should be able to accomplish – chopping green wood and dead wood. A 2-inch diameter medium hardwood sapling under a little tension chopped cleanly through in 6 seconds for me, which is the speed you’d expect from a much larger, heavier knife.
A dead and dry medium hardwood branch at 2 inches in diameter took 13 seconds to cleave, but that was still a good time, as dry wood is harder to cut than greed wood, especially when cutting across the grain.
The Black Widow spider can be found throughout most of North America, and my home county in Virginia is no exception. These vile little arachnids produce a protein venom that affects the victim's nervous system. There are worse spiders and more venomous animals in the world, to be sure. But they aren’t hanging around in my woodpile, or trying to nest in my gloves.
My grandfather almost died of a Black Widow bite many years ago. My grandparents had an outhouse, and a favorite haunt of spiders is under the seat in these quaint commodes. A bite on the butt led to a severe reaction that almost killed him. Some people are only slightly affected by the venom, but others can have a severe response.
What gear do you have in your pockets right now? Seriously, what do you have on your person that can be used for self-preservation?
The idea behind Every Day Carry gear, also referred to as EDC gear, is to have simple, useful items with you at all times in case of an emergency. It's not about fear mongering, just some good old common sense. Don’t get caught empty handed.
I always carry my cell phone, the Casio G’z One, which has a built in flashlight and electronic compass. I also have a back-up light on my keychain. I carry a CRKT folding blade knife, and a lighter as well.
Yes, there really are three ways to get fire from a flashlight. For the first one, we need to stack the deck in our favor with a simple trick. Put a book of paper matches inside the flashlight housing on large bodied flashlights.
The next two of the methods of fire starting are based on useful properties of flashlight components, namely an electrical fire with the battery and an optical fire using some tinder and the flashlight’s mirrored cup. Here are the specifics you need to know for each method.