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  • August 21, 2012

    Hantavirus: What it is and How to Prevent it-0

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    The staff at Yosemite National Park has been busy disinfecting 400 cabins there after a recent hantavirus scare. Two Californians who stayed in separate cabins in Yosemite’s Curry Village in mid-June contracted hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome, which is an unusual but serious lung disease. The names of the two campers have not been released, but a 37-year-old man passed away from the disease in late July, and a woman in her 40s is now recovering from the illness. It is believed that these two may have been exposed to mice droppings or urine that contained hantavirus while vacationing in the park.

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  • August 17, 2012

    Survival Gear: The Weirdest Stuff That Should Be In Your Survival Kits And Bug Out Bag -6

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    Opinions about survival gear and Bug Out Bag contents are as varied as political views these days. Everybody has their own version of the right stuff to carry and the wrong stuff to carry, and sometimes we just can’t seem to agree.

    But what about the weird stuff? Those bizarre items that you might not think to carry. Most people don’t spend much thought on the unusual things that could be (or should be) in your survival kits and BOBs. Here’s my top five “under the radar” essentials:

    5-hour Energy:
    If you are a caffeine addict like me, then this little bottle of nectar will go down smoother than spinach in Popeye’s throat when coffee isn’t an option. When the chips are down and you are running out of steam, knock back an energy drink and keep plugging away. It also helps to stave off caffeine withdrawal headaches.

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  • August 15, 2012

    Hiking with a Handgun: 6 Things to Consider-2

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    The weapon does you NO good if you cannot reach it. This is the bottom line.

    Maybe you can’t reach it because it is buried in your backpack, or you left it in the truck, or--worse still--it’s sitting in the safe at home. This is the ultimate irony of all ironies: To own something that could save your life and not have it with you in an emergency. The topic of bears, bear spray and self-defense came up in one of my survival classes last week when someone asked if it’s smart to hike and backpack with a handgun. I said yes, absolutely, if they own a handgun that they are experienced with, and if they can safely carry it within easy reach.

    If you are already walking around in your day-to-day life with a concealed handgun in a low-profile holster, then you are already halfway there. All you need to do to add a concealed carry option to your outdoor gear is to simply change the holster.

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  • August 13, 2012

    Survival Skills: Use a Plastic Bag to Collect Water -2

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    In dry climates, it always seems like your need for water goes up as water availability goes down.

    There are many ways to disinfect water, if you can find it on the surface. But all that falls apart when there is no liquid water available in the first place.

    This kind of situation can look fairly grim, but if you have live trees or shrubs and some clear plastic, you can build a transpiration bag to get a sip of water where there was no liquid water before. Another great thing about the transpiration bag is that the water you collect is pure enough to drink right away.

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  • August 13, 2012

    Survival Skills: How to Make Your Own Fishing Net-0

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    Survival fishing has enough problems built into it. Kinked line from storage in a survival kit and hooks that aren’t the right size for the local fish can be just the tip of the iceberg.

    So if you're planning fish for dinner, a simple net can be made in minutes, if you have just a few items and a knife. This basic net will make actually landing a fish a whole lot easier.

    All you need to make this net is a flexible forked stick, 8 to 10 feet of cord, and 2 or 3 square feet of survival netting (this is often sold as a “survival hammock”).

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  • August 8, 2012

    How to Prevent Mosquito Bites: 4 DEET-Free Solutions-6

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    If you read my previous post on the possible hazards of DEET and Permethrin, you’re probably left wondering what you could use to stave off the hordes of mosquitoes that are out to drink your blood in the summer months.

    Here are some DEET-free solutions.

    Cigar Smoke
    Folks who like the taste of cigars may find some relief by sitting in the middle of a cloud of cigar smoke. Any smoke will help keep bugs away, and cigar smoke seems to be more effective than most other smokes. But the big question on this one is whether the cigar smoke or the DEET is more hazardous to your health.

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  • August 7, 2012

    How to Build a Dakota Fire Hole-2

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    Considering that the Dakota fire hole is an obscure fire building tradition, I sure get asked about it quite often. People want to know if it really works, is it worth the trouble, and a whole host of other questions.

    The Dakota fire hole is a Native American fireplace style that burns wood efficiently like a wood stove. It also provides a greater margin of fire safety by keeping coals and flames fairly contained when you must have an open fire in windy conditions.

    By spending some extra effort on the front end to dig the fire hole, you can burn a hot fire with less wood. This can be a huge time and material saver in areas where wood is limited.

    Here’s how to make it.

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  • August 3, 2012

    Classic Survival Gear: 5 Uses for a Candle Nub-2

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    Fans of classic survival books should remember a time when it was encouraged to carry around a candle nub for survival purposes. I don’t know why it’s not on the radar very much anymore, especially with 5 great survival uses like these.

    Emergency Light: In non-windy conditions, a candle can light your way and give you enough light to work. If it is windy, you can rig a wind screen by cutting a piece off an aluminum can or putting the candle inside a clear glass container.

    Fire Accelerant: Light the candle, drip some wax on your tinder or kindling, and then light the fire with the candle’s open flame. If you could afford to sacrifice the candle, you can even build the fire lay around the candle, then light it up and let it burn away.

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  • August 1, 2012

    How to Use Fungi to Start a Fire-0

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    If you have birch or black Locust trees growing near you, then you probably have some very flammable species of fungi also growing nearby.

    A classic fire starting tinder of the northeast is the fungus that grows on Birch trees. The species Fomes fomentarius is also known as horse hoof fungus, tinder fungus, tinder conk, and tinder polypore. The species produces fist-sized polypore fruit bodies that are shaped like a horse's hoof. They vary in color from a silvery gray to almost black, though you’ll usually find them in shades of grey or brown. The dead dry fruiting bodies of this fungus can be shaved into pieces or ground into dust to assist with friction fire spark longevity, or they can be cut into flat chips to be burned as a char cloth substitute in flint-and-steel fire making.

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