These 5 Items Should Be On Your Survival Kit List

The average human can live up to three weeks sans food, but only three days without water. That said, the items that you include in your emergency survival kit, whether for venturing into the wilderness or for urban readiness, can spell life and death. Fortunately, you don’t have to be in a situation where you are left with no choice. You can increase your chances of surviving in almost any situation, provided that you have the right tools.

Ideally, the more items you have in your tactical survival gear, the easier it will be for you to survive. However, it also means that you add weight or bulk to your pack. While you obviously cannot carry your entire arsenal with you at all times (you’re not The Terminator), you can certainly select specific sets for different scenarios. There are also core tools that should also be present no matter the situation. Here are five of these essentials.

 

  1. Tactical knife

 

In a true survival situation, the chances of you needing to cut something are very high. Thus, you need a reliable knife that’s easy to handle, strong, and razor sharp. You will likely be using it for various purposes, so in place of getting a singular unit, you might want to have a multi-tool that also includes a knife feature.

 

  1. Firestarter

 

Fire in the wilderness or in the evenings is essential to maintaining your core body temperature (or to cook). Remember that it takes only 3 hours for the body to survive outside of its base temp. Having a trusty gadget takes the effort out of rubbing sticks together. Your kit should have three ways to start a fire. One is an automatic Firestarter, two is a regular box of matches, and three is a striker. Don’t forget to pack them in waterproof packs and separately.

 

  1. First aid kit

 

This is a critical kit that should be with you at all times. There are plenty of generic first aid kits at supermarkets, but you can expand them with pressure dressings and probably a compass, too. Study the pocket manual that came with the kit before you even head out, so you know what to do instantly and will not fumble when an actual emergency happens.

 

  1. Water or water filtration

 

No person can survive without water for more than 72 hours. Under non-threatening circumstances, an average human should also be drinking at least 1 gallon of water daily. Having a water bottle or a water filtration system ready ensures that you have access to safe drinking water at all times. It is especially helpful if you’re going on an adventure with a group because water in this setup can easily run out, and you might need to take some from an organic source.

 

  1. Flashlight or torch

 

Let there be light! Whether for venturing into an unfamiliar territory or walking at night, you will need light to navigate. Fortunately, there are many models that offer powerful illumination even with very small and lightweight bodies.

 

Of course, the most important tool you should have no matter where you are going is knowledge. Without knowing how to use any of these items, your chances of surviving are slim. Equip yourself with the ability to read weather signs, where to go and what to do in case of a natural disaster, what areas to avoid to secure your safety, and more.

 

There are plenty of online resources and books that will teach you different tactics on how to protect yourself, whether in the wild, when out in the city, or even when you’re just at home. The monthly gear from TacPack also offers the latest gadgets and innovations that can help make you feel safer everywhere you go, without being heavy on the back and on the budget.

Here’s A Checklist To Check Against Your Emergency Plan

 

Just how prepared are you when it comes to disaster management? You may never experience a disaster, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. If not well equipped, disasters may strike, and you will be left without a contingency plan to curb them. It is highly essential that you come up with an emergency plan for your family.

One of the deadliest hurricanes in history is Hurricane Katrina which left over 1,200 people dead in August 2005. Such occurrences are quite scary. However, as rare and horrific as they might be to ponder, you need to be prepared when they occur. What you need is a disaster preparedness plan to help you get through such periods.

Before coming up with a plan, have a sit-down with your family and discuss some of the ways you can become prepare for this type of situation. Take a critical look at the possible threats to devise a comprehensive plan. Preplanning helps to bring to light some of the resources you may not have on hand. This ensures that you purchase them before anything happens.

Why should people take emergency plans seriously? They prevent possible injuries, damages and help in increasing the chances of survival after an occurrence.  Some of the things that should be in your family emergency plan are as follows.

 

  1. Create a Communication Plan

Contacts are an essential requirement. Analyze all of your relatives and decide on one your family can all share as a common emergency contact. As you choose, ensure that the relative is not likely to be affected by some of the occurrences in your area. Once completed, confirm that each of your family members has the relative’s contact information.

Ensure that your kids have the contact information as well and if possible, leave the contacts with school management. Also, ensure that there is an email attached to the contacts, so they have alternative ways to get ahold of the family member.  Also, keep your documents safe for disaster times.

 

  1. Have a Common Meeting Point

As a family, being in one place after disaster strikes will reduce stress levels and ensure that everyone is out of harm’s way. Determine a drill where you identify one common location scheduled as a meeting point when any disaster happens. Practice emergency situations and have a defined route available, especially for children.

A meeting point will help in reconnecting so that you can plan the next action as a family without the disorientation of looking for other members.  A useful tip would be for every family to note down the specific location for easier tracing.

 

  1. Have an Emergency Supply Kit

When disasters happen, it’s normal to have accidents. It could be just a regular power outage that if not well prepared for, could cause significant hiccups. In such a case, have rechargeable batteries that will provide a temporary lighting solution.  Create an emergency kit that contains a series of first aid supplies as well as other preventive measures. The FAST-ACT Chemical Decontamination products can keep you safe and prepared in the event that a chemical attack was to occur.

There should be a substantial amount of water and food in your kit for survival. Have food supplies that can last you for about a week or even more. The kit should also have enough necessary medical supplies for every member of your family.

 

  1. Include Photos of Your Family Members

Sometimes, during floods or occurrences of seismic forces, a family member may not have reached home and may be in danger. What comes to mind first? Calling them is the first option but what happens when their phone has been turned off? Have a photo of them so that you can ask nearby civilians or emergency crew for increased chances of tracing them.

 

  1. A Power Bank as a Lifesaver

In this modern age, everybody deserves to have a power bank. It does not matter if you have a 10,000 mAh; it will still go off at some point. To make sure that does not happen, always ensure that you have a power bank on hand; it will definitely come in handy to recharge a dead phone.  It will even help in contacting 911 or an emergency response team.

 

  1. Vulnerability Assessment

As much as emergencies are rapid, some events can never be predicted. Research more on the possible hazards around your region so that you have a contingency plan when they occur. This does not necessarily mean you prepare for the specific risk alone. If preferred, consult engineering experts or fire departments for a more precise picture of potential environmental hazards.

A vulnerability assessment will help you feel a level of certainty in preparation. With such an evaluation, your plan is complete as you will have tackled significant possibilities.

 

  1. Communication with Neighbors

It’s possible that due to work and family obligations, you may not often talk with your neighbors. However, it’s important to keep in touch because when a disaster strikes, you will need their help. You may introduce walkie-talkies so that you can communicate in case your phone goes off. Neighbors are an asset in the emergency plan as they are close by and if you get stranded, they may just be the most immediate help available. Contacting neighbors comes in handy when you desperately need help that can’t wait.

Communication is one of the critical essentials of an emergency plan. Keeping everyone informed is necessary so that you all are on the same page. The program devised may involve planning for evacuation in extreme situations. Put that in mind as you come up with the plan. It’s important to keep your verification documents in a waterproof safety box and if possible, make copies too.

32 Survival Uses For Trash Bags

 

Heavy-duty plastic bags, like those meant for trash and yard debris, can be used in a surprisingly wide variety of ways to help ensure your survival during a disaster situation like an earthquake, hurricane, or even Zombie outbreak. These light-weight, extremely low cost, readily available, and incredibly versatile tools should be in every B.O.B. and Emergency kit.

Trash Bags

We’ve listed a few of our favorite survival uses for plastic bags, but keep in mind that this everyday item is only limited by your imagination… and whether or not you happen to have a few on hand.

MEDICAL: While it might be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a trash bag or yard debris bag; a clean, unused bag can be used for a wide variety of medical purposes.

Waterproof bandages – After applying the appropriate bandage to a wound, place a layer of plastic bag over the bandage to protect it from outside moisture and contamination. Secure the protective covering properly, and remove and change the bandage and covering as needed.

Fight hypothermia – The potentially deadly effects of hypothermia can be battled by utilizing a large plastic bag as a “hot box” or additional layer to trap heat next to the body. Simply cut a hole for your head (and arms if needed), and wear the bag as a pullover. You can also simply drape the bag over your body, as you might a survival blanket.

Cold Compress – Fill with snow, ice, or cold water. Fold or tie off bag and apply as needed.

Handle medical waste – Plastic bags can be utilized as gloves for handling medical waste and contaminates such as blood, organs, vomit, and fecal matter… though we’re not sure why you’d handle the last two, unless you’re cleaning up a mess. Check the bag for punctures and/or rips BEFORE you try them on as gloves.

Tourniquet – Like many other flexible materials, large plastic bags can be used as a makeshift tourniquet. While it wont be the best thing for long term use, it can make a world of difference for the short run… remember it’s all about surviving the moment, you can worry about the long-term later.

Sling – Plastic bags can be used to support and immobilize a broken or wounded arm.

WATER: Containers come in handy when you need to collect, transport, and/or treat water, but there’s even more that you can use them for when it comes to water.

Collection/Storage – Lining a trash can, hole in the ground, or other receptacle with a clean plastic bag makes the collection of rainwater safer than simply letting it fill into a potentially contaminated container. Plastic bags can also be used as scoops for collecting water from pools, streams, and other bodies of water.

Solar Still – Fully enclose the leafy green area of a tree branch, securing the plastic bag tightly at the opening. Let it sit in the sun for a few hours as the condensation builds within the bag . Carefully remove the bag when ready, and repeat the process as needed. This method doesn’t typically result in large amounts of liquid, but every little bit counts… especially during a survival situation.

Transport – Creating a sturdy double walled bag for transporting water can be done in just a few steps. Cut or tear open the sealed end of a plastic bag so you are left with a tube. Twist or tie a knot in the center of the bag so you are left with two open ends and a shape like an hourglass. Fold one side over the other and you’re left with a double walled water carrying device.

Filter/Purify – Water isn’t any good to you if it isn’t safe to drink, but a simple plastic bag can go a long way to making water potable. Learn other important tips and tricks for water filtration and purification here: H20 (Water).

Gravity Filter – Gravity filters are simple multi-layer systems that remove the majority of contaminates, and you can easily make one at home. Double wall a plastic bag as seen in the WATER: Transportation portion of this article. Cut a small “spout” hole into the lowest point possible, without destroying the integrity of the bag too much. Reinforce the spout with a bit of duct tape so it doesn’t split when filled. Next, place a coffee filter, bandana, or similar cloth or material for filtering inside the bag and up against the spout. Then carefully pack and layer the following materials into the lower portion of the bag: 2″-3″ finely crushed charcoal, 2″ fine sand, 1″ small stones, 1″fine sand, and 1″ moss, grass, or other porous material. Gently fill the bag with water, tie a knot into the top, hang it up, and allow it to do the job.

Solar Treatment / SODIS – This can be a fairly unpredictable method for treating water, especially during cloudy or winter weather, but when done properly, it can work like a charm. The SODIS method relies on the power of solar rays to purify water; this is only helpful if larger contaminates have first been removed with basic filtration methods like the one listed above. Utilizing a large plastic bag for this method should be a last resort, as not all bags are made from food grade materials. This method is only effective when using CLEAR plastic, tinted or colored materials will not work. 

Solar Shower – Fill a darkly colored plastic bag with water, hang it above head height, let it sit in the sun for a bit to warm up, poke a couple of small holes in the bottom, and enjoy a nice warm shower.

FOOD: Collecting, capturing, and storing food can be difficult during a survival situation, but a trash bag can make the task a whole lot easier.

Collection – Whether you’re raiding the wilds, a nearby farm, or grocery store, containers come in handy… and that’s just what a trash bag is, a container. No matter what you find or where you find it, you’ll need a way to carry your collected goods.

Storage – Just like with water, lining a trash can, hole in the ground, or other receptacle with a clean plastic bag makes the storage of food much safer than placing it into a potentially contaminated or uncovered container. Plastic bags can be sealed by twisting the top and adding a bit of cordage, or simply by tying a knot in the top of the bag itself.

In addition to being a great lightweight container for food items, plastic bags can be tied and hung away from the ground and the prying hands of Zombies, other survivors, and wild animals. A well-sealed bag can offer the advantage of a longer shelf-life of some foods… as long as you store it in a cool dry place.

Trapping – Set them as netting for bugs and fish, or use them as sacks to quickly and more easily bag a bird, squirrel, or other small animal that lends itself to capture.

SHELTER: From additional security to being used as shelters themselves, heavy-duty plastic bags can be utilized in a number of ways when it comes to provide protection from the elements and the undead.

Tarp Tent – Just like an emergency blanket, poncho, or tarp, a plastic bag can be used to create basic Tarp Tent style shelters and protective covers. Cutting the bag down the length of one side, and slicing it along the bottom, can double the square feet of material available for your shelter or cover. Make sure to carry a bit of paracord with you to help when securing your shelter.

Tube Tent – Tear or cut open the sealed end of a large plastic bag, duct tape the tube to another bag, slide yourself inside, and rest well. The ambient heat from your body will build and help to keep your body warm… even in wet and windy weather.

Ground Cover – This one is as simple as it sounds, but it’s important too… especially when you’re sleeping in the wild. Keeping your body away from moisture and the cold of the ground can greatly increase your chances of survival.

Window Black Out – Just because you’re home doesn’t mean you have to look like you are. Blacking out your windows is an important step to ensuring you aren’t hassled by outsiders or spotted by Zombies in a post apocalyptic world. Covering your windows with black trash bags can keep the light from getting out, and you from being seen.

Quarantine – Duct tape and plastic bags can be used to create a fairly effective quarantine area, whether at home or in the field. Simply seal off an area with the bags and duct tape, and make sure it isn’t breached. You’ll need to fully cover any potential areas of transmission, such as heating vents, windows, doorways, etc. 

GEAR/OTHER: Beyond water and food collection, medical assistance, and shelter; plastic trash bags can be utilized as a substitute for many types of gear.

Rain Poncho – The only downside to wearing a plastic bag as a rain poncho is that they don’t breathe. This means that while it will hold the rain and snow out, it will also hold your sweat in. Pay close attention to your body temperature and water-loss when wearing a non-permeable covering like this.

Gear Bag / Dry Bag– Twist the bag a few times just above the line of the gear inside. Fold the excess over top of the bag and carry it upside down. This should create a relatively water-tight seal that still allows for somewhat easy access to important gear and supplies.

Water-proof Boots/Gaiters – Applied over boots, and even bare or minimally covered feet, plastic bags make an excellent material for water-proofing and protection from the elements. They can also be wrapped around the shins or legs as makeshift gaiters for travel through swampy or other exceedingly wet areas.

Flotation Device – Filled with air and twisted shut, heavy-duty trash bags are extremely lightweight and buoyant. They can be used to assist in crossing deep water by simply being held onto, or they can be applied to a raft or other flotation device.

Sleeping Bag / Mattress – Similar to being used as a Tube Tent, large plastic bags make great sleeping bags when stuff with materials like leaves, fabric, stuffing, packing peanuts, etc. Fill the bag as full as possible and crawl in, or use it as a sleeping surface for the night. Not only will this method protect you from the cold, it will help to keep away potential contaminates as well.

Washing Machine – Placing garments into a plastic bag that has been partially filled with water and soap, can actually make a world of difference when attempting to get your clothes clean. Once everything is in there, just jostle it around, empty it out, rinse your clothing, and hang them to dry. Remember, proper hygiene can go a long way to keeping you alive.

Restroom – Sometimes the plumbing goes out, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to use the bathroom. Placed into a drained toilet or into a 5 gallon bucket, plastic bags can make dealing with waste, a much cleaner and easier process. These can also be used to line latrines when you’re worried about contaminating a nearby water source.

OTHER MISC USES: Creating smoke for signal fires, lashing, patches for clothing and other gear, And of course… collecting and removing refuse, among about a million other uses.

Because not all trash bags are made with the intent of heavy-duty use, it’s a good idea to grab a few construction grade bags from your local hardware store or garden center. Keep a few on hand in your Bug Out Bag and E-kits and utilize them as needed… though we hope you never have to.

 

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How to Teach Your Kids to be Prepared… For Anything! [INFOGRAPHIC]

Family survival planning is a very engaging and beneficial undertaking. Not only is it important that everyone is on the same page, should disaster strike, it can be a great bonding experience to bring you all closer. In the long run, this gives you the necessary tools to become a cohesive unit of togetherness that can combat any situation, should the worst happen.

There’s such a wealth of activities you can engage in that your kids will love as well, so it doesn’t have to be a monotonous task, but rather real life lessons exploring the outdoors for example.  If you have young children, then you can start these valuable lessons from as early as five years old to really bed in some of the key lessons that can then be expanded upon, right up to their teenage years. Broadly speaking, there are a few main considerations to address as a starting point.

Shelter, food and spotting early warning signs are great kick off points for any discussion or activity and can be a recurring theme throughout your lessons. After that point, your judgment and intimate knowledge of your kids will dictate how you move forward.

With that in mind, check out the below infographic provided by MIkesGearReviews to get a better understanding and ideas of how to prepare your kids for anything life throws their way.

Teach kids to survive

Source: https://www.mikesgearreviews.com/teaching-kids-survival-preparedness/

Sticky Stuff: 15 Ways Duct Tape Can Save The Day

Original Article by PartSelect Blog

Written by Alison Hudson

No matter what the seasons is, a trip in the backcountry requires a few essential items: food, shelter, and duct tape. For some people, the list could be whittled down to simply duct tape. Its adhesive capabilities and waterproof exterior make it one of the most dextrous tools you can carry; in a pinch, it can be used to build a shelter and create snares to catch food. Try turning a freeze-dried meal into a tent or vice versa! If you aren’t sold on the wonders of duct tape, here are fifteen reasons to bring a roll on your next wilderness expedition (and a few tips for how to keep your stash of tape organized and safe from the elements).

 

How to Pack It

On a backcountry trip, you won’t be happy carting around an entire roll of duct tape, replete with the inner cardboard roll: it’s heavy, it’s bulky, the cardboard will disintegrate when it gets wet, and the roll takes up an inordinate amount of space. Here are a few techniques for efficiently packing duct tape to bring on your next trip.

 

Flat Wrap

A little time consuming, but with a nice, compact final product. Simply start unrolling a little of the tape. When you have about 4 inches unspooled, fold the tape back on itself so you have two sides that are not sticky. Keep folding the tape on top of itself until you have the amount you need for your trip. Pack the duct tape in a ziplock bag to keep it from sticking to other things in your pack.

 

Spool

This is a common trick used by people who hike with trekking poles. Start by holding the trekking pole sideways so that it’s easier to work with the tape. Then wrap the duct tape around the trekking pole until you have the desired amount. If you don’t like a thick roll of tape, consider wrapping half on one pole and half on the other.

 

Half Spool

For little fixes, it’s nice to have a thin strip of duct tape, rather than the bulky width of the tape on the roll. To create a half spool, find something round, like a tent pole splint or a pencil. Using a sharp blade, slice the duct tape on the roll so that you have either two or three equal widths of tape; if you score all the way around the roll, it’s a lot easier to pull off. Start rolling one strip around the pencil until you have enough.

 

Mix it Up

Duct tape now comes in a variety of colors and patterns, all of which have the same strength and stickiness of the original silver tape. If you’re hunting, pick up some camo-colored tape (or hunter orange for making yourself visible). If you’re wrapping tape around trekking poles, having two different colors of tape can help differentiate the two poles. If you anticipate using the tape to mend clothing, tents, or other wearable items, black, blue, or dark green make more discreet patches than the bright silver. Neon shades work especially well for marking trails because they show up so much better than silver or dark colors.

Fix Things

The original purpose of duct tape was to make repairs. This is one of its best applications in the wilderness, where supplies are limited and multi-purpose items are priceless.

 

Fix Your Gear

Broken Ski

A broken ski can be a huge hindrance, especially if you’re far from your car. Duct tape can be used for an easy fix, whether it’s a nordic or downhill set up. Using a thin tree branch as a splint, tightly wrap duct tape around the stick and both pieces of broken ski.

 

Repair a Tent (pole)

A broken tent pole can be detrimental to an extended camping trip. Even if your tent came with a splint for a broken pole, duct tape is a lot easier to use. Place the broken ends side by side, so they overlap, and wrap them tightly with tape.

 

Inflatable Mattress

Nothing is quite as pernicious as a leaky inflatable mattress. In a pinch, a circular duct tape patch will keep the air from escaping while you sleep through the night. Be sure to clean the area around the patch before placing the tape to make a better seal.

 

Repair Clothes

Rips, tears, shredded cuffs, all of these can easily be fixed with some masterfully placed duct tape. For rips, use a round piece of tape because the lack of corners makes it more likely to stay in place. For cuffs, fold a piece over the edge and press it smooth.

 

Repair Sunglasses

Broken ear piece, loose lenses, snapped nose bridge: these are just some of the ways in which sunglasses can break at the more inopportune time. Duct tape can be used to fix all of these problems, whether it means wrapping the nose bridge in a thin strip, wrapping the ear piece with a wide piece, or carefully outlining the lens with tape to keep it from falling out.

Fix Yourself

Band Aid

It may not have the same padding, but duct tape will keep a wound dry while keeping dirt and other detritus from causing an infection.

 

Ankle Wrap

Though not as flexible as athletic tape, duct tape will make a useable ankle wrap in a pinch. Wrap the tape with the sticky side out to prevent tearing skin away when the wrap is removed.

 

Prevent Snow Blindness

Forgot your glacier glasses in Base Camp? Duct tape can be used to make improvised sunglasses that will help prevent snow blindness and other eye injuries from bright sun on snow or water. Simply cut a width of duct tape (or two) that will extend across your face and make two very narrow slits where your eyes line up with the tape.

 

Tick-proof

In deep weeds or grasses where ticks are prevalent, it’s vital to seal all entrances to bare skin. Wrap duct tape around the bottom of your pants and tops of your socks to keep ticks from slipping through while you walk.

 

Cover Bug Bites

Some bug bites react well to being covered with tape, especially chigger bites. If you’re getting plagued by bug bites, use duct tape to cover the itchy bites and prevent worse damage.

Prevent Things from Breaking

Duct tape is perfect for preemptive use on gear that could get damaged.

 

Pants Cuff Care

How many pairs of hiking pants or rain pants have you seen with blown out cuffs? It’s easy to ruin a pair of expensive pants by walking on the cuff. To prevent fraying, use a piece of duct tape to reinforce the hem. This is especially useful for rain pants, which are expensive to replace.

 

Waterproof Map Case

Duct tape is an inexpensive way to waterproof papers and other items that need to be protected from the rain. To make a map case, start by cutting two pieces of cardboard to match the size of your map or other papers. Once you’re created the template, cover the cardboard with stripe of duct tape. Be sure to overlap the edges of each piece to make it extra waterproof.

 

Dry Bag For Electronics

Using the same process described above, you can easily create a waterproof case for your electronics (everything from a smart phone to a satellite phone).

 

Hide-a-Key

It’s the last day of your wilderness trip and you’re back at the trail head exploding your back in search of the car key. Next time, use a piece of duct tape to secure your key under the car. That way you don’t have to worry about losing it in the woods or a lake.

 

Mark a Trail

Bright strips of duct tape can be used to flag a trail through the woods so that you or others can follow the path without getting lost.

 

A roll of duct tape and some creativity will go a long way toward relieving a stressful situation in the wilderness. Always pack more tape than you think you’ll need and don’t be afraid to experiment with bold ideas; when duct tape first came out on the market it was used on weapons, military vehicles, and boots. There is no situation too sticky for some duct tape.

 

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How to Survive Your First Night in the Forest

Surviving in the wilderness on your own doesn’t resemble much TV shows you’ve watched, though there are some tips from them that you can use. Everything looks easy and achievable from the comfort of your home, but when you find yourself in a sticky situation, your perspective changes dramatically. To keep yourself alive and well if you get lost somewhere in the woods, mountains or any other type of wilderness, you need to be as calm as possible at all times, and this will be one of the biggest challenges you will face.

All is good and grand when we’re watching some pore sap fight his way through rough terrain and we can root for him from our comfy chairs, but how well would we cope with difficult survival circumstances? Let’s take a closer look at what you can do to make sure you get through your first night in the forest unscathed.

 

Have Some Basic Tools with You at All Times

Maybe you’re not much of a camper, but you still love to be in nature from time to time, which is great. What’s not great however is your lack of survival skills that can be a significant problem if you wander off while no one’s looking. You’re probably thinking that you aren’t that thick and you know how to find your way around, but you would be surprised at how little is needed to get lost in the woods. This is why it’s always a good idea to carry some tools with you at all times while you’re in the wild. You can find an easy-to-use fire-starter in the form of a key chain, which won’t take any room in your backpack and it fits in your pocket, so there’s no reason not to take it everywhere you go. Also, taking a multipurpose knife with you is a good idea, seeing that you never know what you will need on the go, and it’s even more so when you’re left to your own devices. There are knives that come with a built-in compass in the handle, and though a high-quality knife might be an investment, it’s well worth buying it. Get a small flashlight that can be a lifesaver in the complete darkness of the forest, it will make you feel safer. Water canteen is another great idea, particularly if you can find those made of stainless steel that can also be used for water purifying.

Think Carefully About Your Next Step

When you realize you’ve wandered off much further than you realized and now you have no choice but to spend a night in the forest, stop for a minute and think carefully. What should your course of action be? Do you feel well? What time of the day is it? How well do you know the terrain? What kind of wildlife can you expect? Do you know of any body of water nearby or a place that you can use as a shelter for the night? These are all valid questions that need to be answered quickly and without panic, so that you can continue to your next step.

Shelter, Water, Food

It’s paramount to secure your basic needs in this order – shelter, water, food. I know that food is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think about how you’ll survive in nature, but water and shelter are far more important. Finding a cave or a hidden place where you can spend the night more or less safely is vital, as you really don’t want to scramble through the forest in the middle of the night, even with your flashlight on. Building an impromptu shelter is also a good idea, supposing that you know how, you can do it while there’s still daylight, and there are many different types of shelter you can make. If at all possible, find shelter near a river, stream or a lake, so that your water needs are taken care of because you can survive without food for a lot longer than without water. Finally, when it comes to food, you should do your best to at least have some energy bars with you or any other kind of non-perishable food and if push comes to a shove, look for berries and plants that you recognize and you know are good to eat. Don’t experiment with plants, as being lost in the woods is the worst possible time to have a food poisoning.

Light a Fire and Don’t Panic

When you’ve managed to find your shelter, get a fire going, it’s essential to keep you warm throughout the night, which can be very cold in the woods. Lighting a fire will make you feel much better and calmer about the situation you’re in and it will give you time to gather your bearings about what you should do next. There’s never place for panic when you’re in survival mode, so think as clearly as possible what you can do to be found and how you can find a way out yourself. Do your best to leave marks and signs where you’ve been and when a new day comes, climb a tree to get a general sense of where you’re at and if there’s a smoke from a fire anywhere near you. Your brain will be in overdrive constantly, but once you decide that you’re not going to panic, ideas will surface and then you can use them to get back to civilization. – Howard Scalia

 

Howard Scalia is 37-year-old former scout leader from Austin, Texas, and one of the best and most trusted blog writers at www.prosurvivalist.com. When he’s not working on some new interesting article, he enjoys taking long walks in the woods with his dogs.

 

How To Build Your Own Solar Thermal Panel From Recycled Trash

The guys at the Sietch have a great little idea here, making their own solar thermal collector with spare parts and trash readily available in any scrap yard  worldwide. This would be good if the SHTF and we had to live off the grid. Enjoy. Let us know if you build your own.

Materials needed:

Water
2 buckets
Drill (with both drill bits and screw bits)
Some scissors
A saw (a simple hand saw will do)
Some wood
A pane of glass.
The back of a small refrigerator.
12 feet of air pump hose used in fish tanks
Backing material (we used an old door mat)
A box of wood screws
Aluminum Foil
Role of duct tape
Angle Cutter (or hack saw)
Time:This project took about 3 hours of constructions time. It took a couple weeks to find all the parts.

Now onto the project. The first thing we did was collect all of the parts.

Our local dump has a coolant removal program that has refrigerators and dehumidifiers that they remove old freon from. With this in mind I found the perfect heat collector. The back of a fridge is basically a heat dispersal system, with a slight modification is can be used to collect large amounts of heat.

Make sure that the freon, or other coolant has been removed, and cut the grill off at the base, near the large coolant holder.

There was an old couch that had been run over by one of the large dump plows, the inside wood was the perfect size for the frame.

I found a pane of glass and an old rubber door mat that made the perfect backing and front.

The glass was a real find, and may be the only part of the panel that may need to be purchased. Make sure your glass is big enough to fit over your collector and have enough room to attach it to the frame.

The door mat was HUGE, so I had to cut it in half. Funny thing seems there was a lot of nasty black goo, and a metal sheet in the middle. Who knew. Remove the metal plate (or cut it in half as well) and leave the goo.

Once The backing was cut to size, it was time to start building the frame.

As you can see I sort of built the frame around the collector, leaving enough backing to hold it all together.

The frame is held on by building a similar frame on the back and driving large wood screws through the front frame, the backing and into the back frame.

I added some foil to the backing. The reason for this is that counter to what you would think, you do not want the backing to warm up. You only want the collector to absorb heat (it was so nice of the fridge company to paint it black for us). The foil will take any sun that was not absorbed by the collector on the first pass and bounce it back over the collector for another try at absorption. The glass cover will keep all the heat inside the panel for further absorption.

Light can pass through glass, but heat can not.

Notice how duct tape was used on the inside to seal all cracks, you could use caulk but I didn’t have any so I used the cheapest option. It worked well, and held the foil in place.

Next we cut some notches for the entry and return ports to the collector.

Note again the use of duct tape to seal cracks.

I got some air pump hose from the local fish store and attached them to the end of the entry and return ports.

The duct tape was applied to make sure it was a tight fit, it was later removed as it was not needed.

Next we attached the collector to the backing, using the mounting brackets that came on the fridge and some duct tape. If you wanted you could use some screws and wood, but I found the tape and the natural tension of the construction to be enough to hold it in place.

Lastly we attach the glass to the top. This serves to trap all the infrared radiation from the sun inside our panel where our collector will absorb it. Again light can pass through glass, but heat can not.

As you can see simple duct tape is enough to hold it on. I would recommend using some sort of mounting bracket however as after a couple days in the sun the tape started to droop allowing the glass to slide off. A few screws would solve this, but I am cheap so I just put new tape on.

Set your panel up at an angle so that it catches the most sun.

Here is the gross part, put one end of the hose into your bucket of cold water, and make sure it is at the bottom of the bucket, next grab the return hose and start sucking. That’s right, unfortunately you have to prime the panel by getting some water into it. This can be done without getting water in your mouth, but inevitably I sucked just a little too hard and ended up with a mouth full of nasty water. I would recommend having a friend do this part. 🙂

Set your cold water bucket (source) up higher than your warm water bucket (return) and the whole thing will gravity siphon. Due to the design of this collector (both ports return to the same location on the panel) it will not thermo siphon. For that to happen I would need to cut the long return pipe and have it exit at the top of the panel.

A word of warning, this panel works VERY WELL. We tested it on a very sunny day and within seconds the water coming out of the panel was hot enough TO SCALD. I burned my fingers. This very hot water is only formed when the water inside the panel is allowed to sit for about a minute without moving. If the water is moving (do to the gravity siphon) the water exiting the return pipe is about 110 degrees, and while hot, will not burn you.

The water does not flow through the panel very fast (as the pipes are very small) but that is sort of a good thing as it allows the water to heat up a lot on its journey through the collector. It does take a while to heat up a 5 gallon bucket of water, I ended up building an insulated return bucket that was all black and sealed on the top except for the port where the water tube enters. This kept the returned hot water hot long enough to be of use.

I let this guy run for a couple of hours one hot sunny day and heated up a five gallon bucket of cold water (measured at 70 degrees F) to over 110 degrees F. The temp that day was about 76 degrees F. If the water is allowed to sit in the panel for several minutes and then forced out (by blowing in one of the hoses) the water was measure at 170 degrees F. All in all we are much happier with the performance (and cost) of this panel. It performs much better than the previous one.

Our next modifications to this design will be to alter the return port so that it will thermo siphon, in this way the return hose can be fed into the source bucket and the water will continually circulate in the panel getting hotter and hotter. We have also talked about adding mirrors to the panel to concentrate more heat. Our goal is to boil water. This entire project cost less than five dollars, as I already had the screws, and the duct tape. The only thing I purchased was the air hose, which cost $3.76.

Enjoy the hot water.

 

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Learn How to Tie 12 Useful Knots with This Visual Guide

If the only knot you know involves tying your shoes, then this infographic provides clear, step-by-step instructions on tying some of the most useful knots out there. This is a great little chart to keep around for reference and it explains the best uses for each knot.

Do you know of some great uses for these knots that aren’t mentioned? Let us know in the comments!

how to tie knots for survival

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