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  • August 27, 2012

    Survival Skills: Avoid These 5 Shelter Mistakes -2

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    A good shelter with a few fatal flaws isn’t a very good shelter at all. Over the years, I have seen some awful blunders (and made a few myself) in the art of shelter building. Here are five of the most common mistakes.

    Improperly Secured
    This one stems from a modern-day affliction: the inability to use one’s hands effectively. So many people no longer do any significant manual labor in their daily life, that most of the world has forgotten how to build or make anything, tie knots, or do much else that is actually productive. Thankfully, this is a problem that can be resolved. Learn to work with your hands and learn to tie some knots. Check out our Knot Gallery for tips and instructions if you are short on knot tying skills.

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  • August 27, 2012

    How to Sharpen a Knife: 10 Tips for at Home and in the Field-3

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    It has been argued by more than a few outdoor enthusiasts whether a sharp knife or a dull knife is more dangerous to the user. The logic has always been that the dull knife might not plunge as deeply into you as the sharp blade, but the more jagged wound may take longer to heal (not to mention that you have to push harder to even use the dull knife, increasing the likelihood of a mishap).

    So let’s take the dull knife issue off the table by learning some sharpening tricks that work at home AND in the field. 

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  • August 23, 2012

    How to Avoid Bee Stings and Wasp Stings-9

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    There’s nothing quite like stumbling across a bee hive, hornet colony, or wasp nest at the end of the season when their ranks have swollen to the maximum from a productive queen.

    These venom-slinging sharp shooters kill 50 to 100 people worldwide each year, which is greater than the number of people killed by all the other venomous creatures combined.

    If that wasn’t bad enough, the end of the season makes many wasps extra feisty. The queens are usually the only wasps and hornets that hibernate through the winter, which means that all the worker hornets and wasps get kicked out as the hive disbands at the end of the summer. These pissed-off, displaced insects know their time is short and always seem most aggressive just before the first frost.

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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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