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  • February 15, 2014

    Step-By-Step: How to Tie the Fisherman's Knot-0

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    Got two short ropes, but need a long one? A fisherman's knot can join the short ones together.

    Step One

    Loop one rope's end around the other rope, then bring it over both ropes.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • February 14, 2014

    Survival Gear Review: Zippo Outdoor 4-in-1 Woodsman-0

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    Feeding your campfire and pitching your shelter are major chores for both recreational camping and survival scenarios. The new 4-in-1 Woodsman from Zippo Outdoor was built to handle many outdoor tasks with just one easy-to-modify tool. So how did it work in my camp?

    Right out of the package, the Woodsman was easy to handle and had enough heft to chop respectably. The entire tool weighs 2 pounds 13 ounces, making it a little heavy for backpacking, but plenty light enough to take to deer camp or for strapping onto a Bug Out Bag. The ax handle seemed a bit long, but the 20-inch length is necessary to accommodate a saw blade of decent length.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • February 13, 2014

    Survival Skills: How to Find and Use Birch Tinder Fungus-2

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    Birch tinder fungus (Inonotus obliquus) is a woody type of fungus that grows on a variety of species of birch trees. You’ll find this crusty, black growth primarily on yellow birch and white birch trees, often at higher elevations. And if you’re looking for something raw from the wild that catches sparks like char cloth, this is it.

    Although birch tinder fungus (also known as clinker polypore and chaga) is often used for alternative medicine treatments, its value for survival fire starting really puts it on the map. This punky material is better than traditional char cloth, even without being charred. Here’s where you’ll find it, and how to make it work.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • February 10, 2014

    How to Make Sycamore Syrup, Easy And Cheap-0

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    If you’re familiar with the practices of maple sugaring, then it’s an easy transition to the sycamore tree as a sap source. The act of collecting sap for drinking water and syrup dates back centuries, and it is still a valid way to get some calories and clean water, whether you’re in survival mode or tapping your backyard trees for fun.

    The native range of the American sycamore tree covers much of the eastern U.S., although you can purchase seedlings from tree growers and plant them virtually anywhere in the lower 48. Sycamores can be found growing wild in all states east of the Great Plains, except for Minnesota. Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) is very easy to spot in winter, even at a distance.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • February 7, 2014

    Winter Survival Tip: Hole Up in a Tree Well-0

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    Snow is not necessarily an enemy in a blizzard. It's a great insulator, and if you build a proper snow shelter, it'll keep you safe and warm for a short period.

    You can quickly make an effective snow shelter in a tree well (the depression in snow around a tree trunk formed by the protective canopy of branches above it).

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • February 7, 2014

    Survival Gear: Make a Fire Piston from a Maglite-0

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    For those who are unfamiliar with the use and action of a fire piston, it really is a fascinating device. The basic operation of this fire starter involves a piston slammed down into a sleeve, which generates heat and ignites some tinder imbedded at the piston’s tip. This compression ignition system should sound familiar to anyone who’s familiar with the diesel engine. Legend has it that German inventor and mechanical engineer Rudolf Diesel got the idea for his famous engine by watching a fire piston in operation.

    A few weeks ago, my friend Roger showed me his repurposed Mini Maglite, which is now a fully functional fire piston. It only required a few steps and it’s a really neat project, for kids and grownups alike. Here’s how you can make your own fire piston this weekend from an old Mini Maglite body and a some basic materials from the hardware store.

    The Materials

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • February 6, 2014

    Survival Skills: Be Ready for Ice Storms-4

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    CC image from Wikipedia

    You have to laugh at the irony that life hands you. As I write this piece on ice storm preparedness, my area is in the midst of an ice storm. Good thing I planned ahead. Winter ice storms can be a tricky natural hazard to navigate. At best, an ice storm leaves you cooped up in your home with a full pantry and all utilities operating normally. On your worst day, utilities are out, supplies are low, and you can’t even step out the door without slipping and busting your skull. Your best bet is to hunker down and ride it out. But you’ll need some supplies for that. Here’s what you need to have in order before the next batch of icy weather hits your hometown.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • February 4, 2014

    Survival Skills: How to Make Waterproof Matches-1

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    When it comes to matches, waterproof ones are best, especially in dire circumstances like a flood. Since they're much more expensive than their pedestrian cousins, you might want to make your own.

    Use the Candle Technique
    Burn a candle long enough for a pool of wax to form around the wick. Blow it out, then dip the head of your match into the wet wax, about of an inch (3 mm) up the stick. Remove the matchstick and allow the wax to dry, pinching it closed to form a water-tight seal.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • February 3, 2014

    Man Spends Over a Year Adrift at Sea, Or Maybe Not?-1

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    Could you survive at sea for a year, by yourself, in an open boat with no fishing gear? Last Friday, a strange tale of unlikely survival began to circulate. This story revolved around a man who was reportedly rescued after being adrift in the Pacific for more than a year, according to the AFP.

    The man, who initially identified himself by the name Jose Ivan, was rescued by two locals last Thursday near Ebon Atoll. This tiny coral island is in the southernmost part of the Marshall Islands, roughly 8,000 miles from the purported beginning of this man’s journey from Mexico. During his debriefing with local officials, he admitted that his name was Jose Salvador Albarengo, and he began his shark fishing voyage with another man, a teenager known by the name of Xiquel. After strong weather blew their 24-foot fiberglass boat off course, they were soon lost in the Pacific. Albarengo claimed that the teen had starved to death after only a few weeks, refusing to eat the raw birds and other food they were catching.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • February 3, 2014

    Survival Skills: How to Make Improvised Snowshoes-0

    by

    Walking through deep snow is tough work that will drain you of crucial energy. These snowshoes will help you glide across—not plow through—the snow's surface.

    Step One
    Start by cutting two pine boughs with ample foliage to about 3 feet (1 m) long.

    Step Two
    Tie a string near the base of the branch, where you cut it. Then flip the branch over and tie an overhand knot on the opposite side.

    [ Read Full Post ]
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