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  • May 15, 2014

    Survival Skills: Make String — And Cloth!-0

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    I’ll bet the majority of the contestants on Naked and Afraid kick themselves for not picking up some textile skills before shipping out. I don’t know about you, but I was raised with a little modesty, and enough smarts to avoid the casting calls for exploitation TV shows. But if the money was right, and I decided to display my bare buttocks to the world while attempting to survive in a harsh environment, you can bet my hind end wouldn’t be exposed for long. I’d find the best local materials to twist into string, and then weave the string into some clothing and footwear. Here’s how to do it.

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  • May 12, 2014

    Survival Skills: Make Some Emergency Vehicle Repairs -1

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    After a disaster, or in the middle of nowhere, it may fall on you to patch up your own damaged vehicle. In addition to some hand tools and basic survival supplies, you should carry in your vehicle some specialized tools and materials to be more self-reliant and able get the job done. This is where a little forethought and planning can make all the difference. Consider learning the following tricks and carrying these items for emergency roadside repairs that will keep your vehicle running, no matter what.

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  • May 9, 2014

    The Times I Almost Died, Part Three-1

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    For the third and final installment of this week-long series, I have saved the worst for last. If you caught Part 1 on Monday and Part 2 on Wednesday, you saw things go from bad to worse. This final tale is sobering and hard to explain in logical terms, so I’ll just present the story as it happened and let you decide how I’m still here to write about it.

    It was a cold and drizzly morning, Nov. 2, 1999. I was working at a refinery that processed fuel-grade ethanol—essentially, a giant moonshine still. One of my duties was to measure the liquid levels in the tanks in the tank farm, which was an excavated area holding eight large tanks containing tens of thousands of gallons of flammable liquid—everything from low-proof alcoholic waste product to gasoline and 198.6-proof alcohol (nearly water-free). The chill and mist of the morning had me bundled up more than normal for November, and as I scaled the ladder on the side of a 40-foot-tall rusty metal tank, I had no idea how valuable those layers of wet clothing soon would be.

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  • May 7, 2014

    The Times I Almost Died, Part Two-0

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    In case you missed Part 1 on Monday, this week I’m writing about three near-death experiences I’ve had in my life, and taking a look at the psychology and physiology that dictate the way we react when we’re staring the reaper in the eyes.

    In this installment, I’ll share the story of an ill-fated hot air balloon ride, an experience that, somehow, was more life threatening than my last story of nearly being skewered by a fire truck’s drive shaft.

    I’ve had a lot of bizarre and disturbing things happen to me over the years—being bitten by a zebra at a drive-thru safari and being pulled up on stage by clowns at a circus leap to mind (I still don’t like clowns after that, and I’m not sure I ever liked them before the incident). But today’s tale of aeronautic error was truly scary, not merely humiliating. I am beyond fortunate to be sitting here with an opportunity to share this piece of my personal history.

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  • May 6, 2014

    The Times I Almost Died, Part One-4

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    I can say with confidence that I am truly blessed to be alive today after some of the misadventures I’ve endured throughout my life. While I often use these blog posts to share how-to information related to the vast field of survival, this week I’ll tell you about the three times I should have died. And to add a little service to these episodes, we’ll also talk about the psychology and physiology of survival that can that either keep us alive or cost us our lives.

    My first brush with death came during my teenage years. I must have been 15 or 16, just a bald-faced lad who had only recently become interested in survival skills. My parents and I were on a trip, driving down a busy interstate in the family minivan. I remember being quite bored, until an odd sight caught my eye.

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  • May 5, 2014

    Southern Fried Survival: Make Deep Fried Dandelions And Creasy Greens -1

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    If you’ve been wondering  what to do with all the dandelions sprouting up in your yard, I have a savory solution for you. Use this abundant wild food resource in a way that actually tastes good: Enter deep fried dandelion flowers and bacon fat wintercress.

    First, let’s make the wintercress, or creasy greens, as they’re often called in the south. Collect a grocery bag of wintercress from a field or wild place that has not been sprayed with anything harmful. Make sure you positively identify the cress (Barbarea vulgaris) or similar wild mustards (Brassica rapa), which can be used, too. The plants should have four-petaled yellow flowers, the leaves should have a “mustardy” smell when bruised, and the plants should be 2 to 3 feet tall.

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  • April 29, 2014

    Survival Tip #229: Build Your Own Blowgun-3

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    Editor's Note: This tip comes from our new "Prepare for Anything Survival Manual."

    Cultures around the world have used blowguns as hunting tools for thousands of years, and there is no shortage of modern fans in the sport of blowgun target shooting. This particular plan doesn’t include poison, but with these instructions, you can go after small game with your own homemade blowgun and darts.

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  • April 28, 2014

    Prepper's Anonymous: 4 Signs That You Might Be Too Prepared  -3

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    Are you hardcore about emergency preparedness, while your friends and family are less so? Have you noticed them raising their eyebrows when they come to visit and see yet another pallet of supplies in your garage? Of course, to folks who don’t prepare for emergencies at all, a 72-hour bag might seem extreme. But how do you know if your prepping is really becoming a problem? I’ll help you identify some red flags that indicate it might be time to dial back your prepping practices a bit.  

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  • April 25, 2014

    Survival Skills: ID the Morel, Spring's Best Mushroom -0

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    CC image from Flickr

    With spring gobbler season and shed hunting in full swing, you’re probably spending a lot of time in the woods looking at the ground for antlers and turkey sign. Something else you ought to be on the lookout for is a weird little pitted thing that looks like a small, lumpy, brown brain. This time of year, that organism is most likely a common morel mushroom, a popular item of spring foragers. Here’s how to properly identify this delectable fungus.

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  • April 23, 2014

    Survival Gear: 5 Ways Your Cell Phone Can Save You -1

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    Mobile communication has become so commonplace in our modern lives that we often don’t recognize it for its tremendous value in an emergency. A cell phone with at least some battery juice can be absolutely priceless in a survival situation. Here are five ways it can save your life.

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