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  • January 30, 2014

    Survival Skills: How to Build a Swamp Shelter-0

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    You're in the swamp. The ground is wet. The air is wet. And the vegetation is bloated with water, which makes it a poor building material. As a result, one of the most challenging things to do is erect a dry shelter.

    Step One
    Find a dry spot. Of course, "dry" is relative, but a slight hill should be less wet than areas of lower elevation. It's also a good idea to learn how to spot and avoid run-offs. These sparsely vegetated, eroded spots are prone to flash floods, so they're not ideal for a shelter, especially when rainfall is likely.

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  • January 30, 2014

    Animal Tracking: How to Identify 10 Common North American Species-0

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    Learn how to read tracks, and you’ll learn a new language, one that communicates the hidden stories of the animals that leave the tracks. Our ancestors had to be adept in tracking to learn about the unseen game animals and predators in their vicinity. Today, animal tracking provides an invaluable service to the hunter and trapper, as well as the nature lover and photographer. Tracking can also be a lifesaver in a survival situation, warning you about dangerous creatures in the area and helping you to locate your next meal. Find a few clear prints and you’ll be able to read a few pages from the tale of that animal’s life. Find a trail, and you might just find the animal itself. Polish up your existing skills or learn a brand new one, with these tips on tracking 10 common species.

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  • January 30, 2014

    15 Survival Uses For A Drum Liner-3

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    Drum liners are meant to line 55-gallon barrels and drums, though they can be used for many other applications, too. Hand one of these generously sized plastic wonders to a crafty survivalist, and he’ll only be limited by his imagination. If you weren’t a believer in the utility of drum liners before, here are 15 good reasons to toss a couple in your survival kit.

    1) Solar Still: Use a clear plastic liner it to build a solar still for drinking water production. Cut open the bag and lay it over a hole in a damp, yet sunny, location. This hole should have a container inside to catch water, and the drum liner should be buried around the hole’s top perimeter. The final touch for this solar powered water machine is a small stone in the center of the plastic liner, which should create a cone shape out of the drum liner cover, pointing at the container in the hole. A productive solar still can kick out several cups of water per day.

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  • January 28, 2014

    Survival Skills: Make Balm to Save Your Skin-1

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    As I write this, my palms and fingers are full of little bleeding cracks from another busy weekend in sub-freezing temperatures. Even if I use lotion and gloves during the winter, my hands still end up with painful skin cracks that bleed like cuts. If it goes too far, these wounds can impair movement and even become infected. How do you deal with these small but nagging injuries? I use a penetrating treatment, like a balm.

    A balm is a medicine that is thicker than lotion and greasier than salve. It typically contains more volatile oils than other skin remedies. This type of topical treatment can be medicated or without medicinal qualities. A balm works to restore your skin’s health by replacing the oils and moisture that have gone missing from your skin. The balm provides the oil directly, and your skin generates the moisture underneath that oily coating. Here are two different ways to make balm from a wide range of natural oils, both in the field and at home.

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  • January 25, 2014

    Survival Skills: 3 Great Fire Starters You Can Make At Home -3

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    We all know how critical fire starting can be, especially in cold conditions. Fail to get a fire lit when you need it the most, and that could be the end of you. If you head outdoors in cold conditions, make sure you take gear that can perform. By carrying one or more of the following homemade fire starters, you can rest assured you’ll be able to kindle a blaze in no time.

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  • January 21, 2014

    Field Test: 6 Best Fire Starters-5

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    Photo by Brian Klutch

    Fire is your best friend in the wild. It can make water and food safe to consume, let you signal for help, and provide warmth. But the cold, wet, windy conditions that can cause hypothermia can also hamper fire building. That's why you need a quality ferrocerium fire starter, or spark rod, to back up a lighter or matches. We tested six very different spark rods—and tinder—to determine the benefits and drawbacks of each.

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  • January 21, 2014

    Survival Skills: How to and Why Make Bone Broth -0

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    If I could get back all the wild game skeletons that I have discarded the years, I’d do it in a heartbeat. I’d also have a very creepy freezer that would scare the kids, but that’s what you get when you venture down the path to make broth from bones.

    Take a look at the culinary traditions from distant history, and you’ll find that many of the cultures that had mastered the production of large cooking vessels were also making soup in those pots, sometimes perpetually. Since the cooking fire was both the heat source for the home and the cooking hearth, these fires ran constantly in colder weather and gave the home dweller a never-ending heat to make soup.

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  • January 21, 2014

    Survival Skills: 3 Ways To Get Your Kids “Survival Ready”-1

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    Being both a parent and a survival instructor, it’s easy for me to spot opportunities that will better prepare my kids for emergencies and survival scenarios. There are many ways train yourself and your kids in self-reliance skills. There are also many people who you can pay to provide your kids’ training.

    But no one knows your kids better than you do, and by providing this training yourself you can tailor the skills perfectly to their ages and interests. Let’s look at three areas where you can work on survival with your kids every day.

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  • January 17, 2014

    Survival Skills: 7 Ways Lip Balm Can Save Your Life-2

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    Lip balm, by any other name, is still a useful product in the outdoors. Go shopping for some and you'll see dozens of choices on the store shelves, offering what may be an overabundance of variations. But more importantly, lip balm can be one of those odd little items that help to steer you back on track if your outdoor adventure starts to go sideways. If you think you're too tough to use lip balm, then check out these seven survival uses and carry some anyway.  

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  • January 14, 2014

    Survival Skills: Finding Winter's Wild Onions -1

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    Yes, it's a cold time of year to run around outside, just to forage for wild greens. Yet it's still worth the trouble, if you can find this pungent wild relative to cultivated onions and garlic. Grab your field guide, a small shovel and a bag to hold your greens because we're hunting down one of nature's wild super foods.

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