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Survival Gear

The Bug Out Bag

What if you had only three minutes to grab whatever you could take from your home, and the...

Survivalist Wish List

A roundup of the best and most innovative survival gear ever introduced.

Water Filtration Test

Aron Snyder hiked into the backcountry to test water filtration systems.

Survival Skills

Hypothermia Warning

Even though the weather is warming up, most people forget just how cold the water can be....

Tornado Survival Tips

Tornado season is here and several cities around the country have already been...

Flood Survival

Statistically, floods are the most devastating natural disasters.

Survival Videos

Daily Blogs

  • August 8, 2012

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

    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. [ Read Full Post ]


  • August 7, 2012

    How to Build a Dakota Fire Hole - 2

    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. [ Read Full Post ]


  • August 3, 2012

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

    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. [ Read Full Post ]


  • August 1, 2012

    How to Use Fungi to Start a Fire - 0

    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.

    [ Read Full Post ]


  • July 30, 2012

    Survival Skills: Drink Dew When Water is Scarce - 0

    What happens when you need water and you’re in an area with very little rainfall, or worse yet, you get caught in a remote area during a drought? Fresh rain water can be one of your best drinking sources during an emergency or after a disaster, but it’s not the only trick you have up your sleeve. There’s another form of precipitation that occurs very often, and that is the morning dew.

    Dew occurs when humidity condenses in low areas due to cooler nighttime temperatures. Dew, and its chilly brother frost, are both forms of precipitation that can be collected for water. But a word of warning: Dew is only as clean as the surface it collects on, which is usually dirty. With this in mind, your drinking water collected from gathered dew should always be disinfected. [ Read Full Post ]


  • July 27, 2012

    How to Make Rope from Natural Fibers - 0

    Our ancestors made cord, twine, and rope from a diverse number of fibrous plants throughout the world. Often, this cord would find its way into every facet of life, from clothes and tools, to fishnets and bow strings. Try going camping without cord and see how well you do.

    All is not lost, however, if you come up short. Luckily for us, there is plenty of plant fiber out there that can be turned into rope. The fibers of many different materials can be used in strips or ribbons, in the same condition as they are harvested.  Fibers can also be separated and cleaned, and then twisted into traditional, multi-ply cordage. [ Read Full Post ]


  • July 26, 2012

    No Power Part 2: Communication And Sanitation Without Utilities - 0

    In the first part of this two-part post, we looked at ways to cook “off grid” and ways to store food without electricity. Today we’re going to look at sanitation in emergency situations, and how to communicate when the power is down.

    Communication
    No power and no phone can be a scary situation for modern folks. We are not used to being cut off, and it makes most of us feel vulnerable. The event that takes out your power may or may not also smack down the phone lines. If it doesn’t, you can still use a landline phone with a hand set (not a cordless, which requires power). But if a major storm knocks out your land lines and the local cell phone towers too, then your communication with friends and family will not be as easy as it normally is. [ Read Full Post ]


  • July 23, 2012

    No Power Part 1: Cooking and Food Storage Without Utilities - 3

    On the night of Friday, June 29th, a destructive complex of thunderstorms known as a “derecho” swept from Illinois through the Washington D.C. area. The unexpected storm delivered wind gusts up to 80 mph and hail almost 3 inches in diameter, and produced extensive damage, leaving more than 1 million Virginia residents without power, many for a week or more.

    With grocery stores and restaurants closed, your ice cream melting, and your electric stove down, how do you feed the family after a disaster like that? This unusual summer storm ended up being a wake-up call for many folks I know. The best advice I can give them is to have supplies and plans in place for natural disasters just like this storm. In the first part of this two-part post, we’ll look at ways to cook “off grid” and ways to store your food without electricity. (Part two, coming Wednesday, will address sanitation and communication when the power is down.) [ Read Full Post ]


  • July 23, 2012

    Survival Gear: How to Use a Tactical Pen - 3

    These days, it seems like there is a tactical version of everything we buy. That one word—”tactical”— informs us that someone has put a combative spin on an everyday item like a flashlight, a key chain, or even a ball point pen. These ruggedized, intensified, or weaponized items can provide us with one more way to defend ourselves and our loved ones. So having tactical versions of different kinds of gear is not a bad thing at all.

    Consider the tactical pen for a moment. In its most basic form, it is simply a rugged pen that both writes on paper and serves as a spike that could be used in hand-to-hand combat. Any pen or pencil could stab an attacker; but a tactical pen can be used to fight back with a surprisingly sharp point, and without the fear of the thing bending or breaking in half. [ Read Full Post ]


  • July 18, 2012

    5 Games To Make Survival Training Fun - 0

    There are many ways to train yourself, your friends, and your loved ones in the skills of wilderness survival. It’s usually easiest if the training is either a little scary (to make it memorable) or simply fun. If giardia water bottle roulette isn’t your idea of a fun game, then consider these five training games for your next camp out.

    Ten-Minute Fire Drill

    Tell somebody that they are in a remote location in the wintertime with little Timmy, and he has fallen through the ice, down a well, or in some other way has come down with hypothermia. You alone can save him, by lighting a sustainable fire within 10 minutes. [ Read Full Post ]


  • July 17, 2012

    The Gear You Need for Hurricane Season - 0

    With the 2012 hurricane season already underway, if you’re not yet ready, we’ll help you finalize your preparations.

    The season officially began on June 1 and won’t end until November 30. So far, we’ve already had Tropical Storm Alberto, Tropical Storm Beryl, Hurricane Chris and Tropical Storm Debby in the Atlantic. The forecasts for this coming storm season are conflicting, and at the end of the day they are simply predictions, not certainties. [ Read Full Post ]


  • July 13, 2012

    Lost Autistic Hiker Found Alive After 3 Weeks In The Desert - 1

    Have you ever been outdoors with someone who was in over his head? No skills, in terrible shape, or simply overconfident. Or perhaps he had a health issue, or even a mental health issue, that put him at greater risk of getting hurt or lost than the average outdoorsman.

    A young autistic man was at great risk for the past three weeks, when he got in over his head and became lost in the backcountry by himself. And yet, he somehow survived. William Martin LaFever, 28, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, went missing around June 6th while attempting to walk from Boulder, Utah, to Page, Arizona, a distance of about 90 miles. [ Read Full Post ]


  • July 11, 2012

    How To Keep a Campfire Under Control - 3

    The wildfires and resulting damage in Colorado and New Mexico have been horrific over the past few weeks. Over 600 homes have been destroyed, and 5 lives were lost. It is bitter irony that such a useful tool as fire can stray so far from its beneficial state and cause such havoc and loss as we have seen in recent days. (2012 Colorado fire data.)

    Obviously, there are times and places where fire building is not a safe activity. There are even times when fires are illegal to light. But what happens when you get caught in a dry environment and you must have a fire? How do you keep the beast under control to boil your water, cook your food and signal for help? [ Read Full Post ]


  • July 10, 2012

    The Importance of Having Rehydration Salts in Your Survival Kit - 2

    There are plenty of off-the-wall survival items that can make or break an emergency, but few are as important in hot weather as rehydration salts.

    This simple mixture of sodium chloride, potassium chloride, trisodium citrate and glucose won’t win any awards for taste, but the mix does give your body the nutrients that it desperately needs when you are suffering from dehydration. These salts can also be used in smaller doses to keep you going in hot climates and during intense work that causes significant sweating. In a way, you can think of these salts as a Gatorade concentrate, which can also be vital in cases of flu or dysentery, when you are losing fluid through vomit and diarrhea. What do these salts actually do for you? [ Read Full Post ]


  • July 9, 2012

    How to Build a Tarp Shelter to Stay Cool - 0

    It’s usually pretty easy to find ways to warm yourself up when things turn cold outside. Build a fire. Build an insulating shelter. Put on another layer of clothes. The list goes on and on. One of the real tricks in the outdoors is cooling down when the weather turns hot and there’s no shade to be found.

    If you have two tarps, a few yards of rope, four poles and some anchoring material, you can build a shade shelter that can cool you down in hot, dry climates and in conditions with no shade and little chance of rain. [ Read Full Post ]


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