READING TRACKS WHEN IT COMES TO SURVIVE

by Kyt Lyn Walken

Kyt Lyn Walken is the official European representative and instructor for Hull’s Tracking School (Virginia, USA), and she is a certified Conservation Ranger for C.R.O.W. (Conservation Rangers Operations Worldwide). She has been an outdoors and tracking enthusiast since childhood. Kyt lives and works in Europe even if she often travels overseas, and can be contacted at man-tracking.com

READING TRACKS

Any worst case scenario has its own features and what we can actually define ” rules of engagement “. Prohibitive weather conditions, lack of proper gear, absence of cardinal points or unavailability of connection for mobile phones (or GPS): if we add to that an inadequate preparedness we can easily find ourselves abandoning soon every hope to get out sound and safe.

I am pretty sure that all the readers of YEAR ZERO SURVIVAL have not only the proper skills to face quite any kind of challenge and adversity, but, most remarkable thing, they can count on an ideal mindset to do that.

As I often stress with my Students during Basic Tracking Classes, the starting point is ATTITUDE, which is strictly connected to MINDSET. The vanishing point is to give up. I know no Skills in which you can’t apply this perspective. The Art of Tracking makes no difference in that.

Our choices are always driven by our mindset and we gain benefits from them, if applied in the right moment and in the correct context. Personally speaking, I have been an Outdoor enthusiast all my life, but the needing of learning how to face an ongoing bad situation (and, consequently, how to fix it) came only with my mature age when I understood that accidents in life can easily happen. My approach to the Art of Tracking just crossed the same path, as from a young girl fascinated by those Native Americans in Western Movies I turned to be into an individual who deeply matured in her heart and mind the willing to learn how to read and follow tracks.

Basic Tracking

Necessity plus curiosity can spark, if united. So happened in my very own case, I can tell you. The critical point is: why should a person start to look at the ground, especially in an emergency situation? People who approach my classes often ask me that.

The answer is far away than being.. unphanthomale! Because the ground (and, sequentially, the entire environment you are in) provides us ALL the information we need to get out from a tough situation.

Search and Rescue Teams do know it very well, especially those who can count on the presence of Trackers inside their groups.

Trackers are not special breed persons. They didn’t deal with any Voodoo during their childhood and they are not guided by any Supernatural force when they inspect the ground to gain important information. They just rely on simple facts, and on Science. Their task is to read the ground, interpret what they see and follow the tracks which are of their interest. They collect clues (which are precious data for them) and put all the pieces together. In this manner, they can disclose how many persons passed on a specific trail, at what time, if they were carrying loads and so on.

Again, if they were women and/or men, if any animal passed before or after them, if anything relevant happened. I am talking of an unbelievable amount of information, I know.

If this can sound to you a bit odd, I recommend to do your researches on internet. A lot of cases – murders, mass killings and so on – have been solved applying the Art of Tracking. Yosemite Murders and Oklahoma City Bombing, both occurred in 1995, just to mention a couple.

​Any disappearing in the woods can be handled through the application of the Art of Tracking, which happens to be extremely effective even if she comes straight from Primitive Era. Technological developments, in fact, seem to have no effects in successfully replacing the feasibility of this skill, anytime, any place. And surely I am not the only one who claims that!

becoming a Tracker

Equally speaking, becoming a Tracker can be extremely useful if you find yourself lost, especially if you have no GPS and the connection is totally off.

Being stranded can surely be a good way to test your Survival (and Bushcraft, why not?) abilities, but we can’t ignore our very first instinct: move along before the darkness come, search for help. In few words, come back sound and safe.

Reading the tracks of other people on ground, for example, can lead you to a safe place: a parking area, the next road, and so on. No doubt you need to be almost very good in that, principally if the soil is clearly tough to read to the presence of rocks, gravel, leaves, grass and so on. Sandy and muddy soils are certainly precious aids in locating the trail to follow: on them, in fact, we can clearly see the outline of footprints.

Considering the case you are an experienced Tracker, backtracking yourself will be probably your very first choice. You may be familiar with your stride (the total length of your pace, measured from heel of left footprint to heel of right, or from toe to toe) and you know how to recognize the pattern (the design) of your boots.

proficient Tracker

Sounds easy, right? You can’t be more wrong. In fact, to reach even the lowest level of being a proficient Tracker, you should have gained experiences in years and years of “dirt time on ground” (as defined by Tracking’s terminology).

Every skill that can save your life requires that, and the ancient (and still so valuable!) art of reading, interpreting and following Tracks makes no exception.

Top Five Survival Knots That Everyone Should Know

Bundle of brown rope

The most essential survival tool available to you today is knowledge. Expensive, all-weather sleeping bags, weather-proof rucksacks and boots that cost more than your TV are all well and good, but when it comes down to it, survival is about ‘knowing’ how to survive. As the famed survival instructor Mors Kochanski said: “the more you know, the less you have to carry”.

Granted, heading out into the wilderness in just your underpants is not something we’d recommend. But, having the fundamental knowledge of being able to build shelter, find food, start a fire and have access to clean drinking water are all essentials to have stored away in your memory. Part of this fundamental learning process should be for you to understand key knots and how to tie them.

Here, we take a look at five knots that are vital for survivalists to have under their belt!

Bowline

Bowline knot laying on a table
Image Source: NightHawkInLight

One of the sturdiest and strongest knots in the arsenal of a survivalist, the bowline knot is one that everyone should know. Its design means it can hold a lot of weight without the threat of untying, with the knot increasing in tightness the more pressure that is added.

Uses

A bowline can be used for a myriad of things, such as hanging objects and food from trees, or hanging things from your pack if you don’t have space inside, such as spare boots or cooking pots. If you’ve been hunting with your air rifle or a survival knife, you could also hang your catch from a tree to drain the blood and prepare it for cooking.

Additionally, the knot can be tied around oneself, even one-handed, which makes this one a useful style to have nailed down.

Disadvantages

When gravity is the sole force on the knot, such as things hanging straight down, then this is a great knot. However, when the bowline is pulled in a side-angled direction, it can loosen and potentially come undone.

Clove Hitch

Man tying clove hitch knot on wood
Image source: Jason Eke

Have you ever wondered how to make an effective fishing rod in the wild? Well, the clove hitch is what you’ll need. This particular knot is used to attach your rope or cord to another object, such as a long fishing pole. This is an effective knot and is super easy to tie.

Uses

Because the clove hitch can be adjusted without untying the knot, this makes it especially useful for raising or lowering heavy items. It could also be used for anchoring or creating a shelter.

Disadvantages

Much like you would check a tent when you’re camping, we’d suggest inspecting the knots regularly if you’re using them for a shelter for an extended period. Wind and rain may eventually loosen the tightness of the knots, so this is something to bear in mind. It’s also worth noting that the knot works best when there is constant pressure being applied, as this will keep it tight.

Half Hitch With/Without Bight

Man tying half hitch knot around a tree
Image Source: Nature Reliance

Have you ever wondered how to make an effective fishing rod in the wild? Well, the clove hitch is what you’ll need. This particular knot is used to attach your rope or cord to another object, such as a long fishing pole. This is an effective knot and is super easy to tie.

Uses

Because the clove hitch can be adjusted without untying the knot, this makes it especially useful for raising or lowering heavy items. It could also be used for anchoring or creating a shelter.

Disadvantages

Much like you would check a tent when you’re camping, we’d suggest inspecting the knots regularly if you’re using them for a shelter for an extended period. Wind and rain may eventually loosen the tightness of the knots, so this is something to bear in mind. It’s also worth noting that the knot works best when there is constant pressure being applied, as this will keep it tight.

Half Hitch With/Without Bight

Fishermans knot made from blue and red cord
Image Source: Nature Reliance

The fisherman’s knot is very good for a specific purpose: combining two separate pieces of cord or rope together without the risk of them untying. That being said, it serves this purpose extremely well and may help you out in a pinch!

Uses

The knot gets its name from the fact that this would often be the first one that anglers and fishermen would learn, as they would tie any loose pieces of line together and could also use it for attaching hooks to their line.

The knot doesn’t slip under strain either, making it good for climbing and the working ends can be cut close to the knot without the risk of failure, once the cord has been pulled tight.

Disadvantages

This knot is particularly difficult to untie, especially if you have cold or wet hands. In theory, this would be used as a permanent fixture rather than being something you may want to untie in the future.

Chain Sinnet

Chain sinnet knot made with yellow cord
Image Source: Richard Mcleod

The chain sinnet is not necessarily a knot, rather a way to store rope when not in use. But, it does involve arranging the cord in such a way that it becomes easily accessible and doesn’t tangle, so for that reason, we’ve included it.

Uses

As mentioned, the chain sinnet is perfect for storing rope or cord when not in use and allows you to easily access it whenever you need it, without having to unravel or untangle anything. You can also access as much as you like without having to unfurl all of the cord, meaning that any you don’t need will remain in the chain formation.

Disadvantages

Outside of being useful for storing string, cord and rope, the chain sinnet doesn’t really serve too much of a purpose in the wider survival community. That being said, it will make your life easier, so it’s not one to completely ignore!

For more tips on survival and wilderness skills, including how to fish with basic equipment, check out our survival blog here!

Important Skills Survivalist and Preppers Need

Finding Food

Finding food in the wilderness is just a small piece of the challenge. Some people think that you can find food on bushes or animals roaming around and go back to eat. It’s a lot more difficult than you think it is to hunt down animals or even fishing. You will need to understand and learn the techniques so that you may practice.

You must understand what type of wild animals are actually worth eating in terms of how much energy you are putting in. Then you need to research what is the best way to bait them in and hunt them down.

The truth is that for survival, eating raw vegetables and fruits are better than anything else, but why stop there? You need to know where to find food and how to prepare it in the wilderness, before you will be ready to survive there. It’s no good going back to eat when you are dehydrated or starving because your family will be too hungry and too cold to eat. So what should you eat? Here are some suggestions for food in the wilderness: https://matteroftrust.org/62-edible-wild-plants-that-you-didnt-know-you-can-eat/

Shelter in the Wild

Finding shelter in the wilderness is a challenge that most people do not face every day. Most of the people who leave their homes and try to cross the wilderness are just a little crazy about adventure and have no idea what the right way to handle the situation. If you are in the same boat as these people, then your first step should be to get your mind off the wilderness and focus on yourself and your situation. Here are some tips and suggestions at Survivaltechie.com you can take to help you find a good place to stay in the wilderness.

Learning to identify which areas for building shelter is an essential part of planning. Depending on terrains and weather, it would be smart to know all the options. For example if you know it is going to be in a wet or rainy area; you would want to look for high ground areas with rocks. That way you can keep yourself and your equipment dry.

Finding shelter in the wilderness is a challenge

Are You Ready For Cooking in the Wild?

It is very important that any person considering a move to a remote area seeks out cooking in the wilderness insurance before making this decision. You want to be sure that you have an insurance policy that covers your needs if you become stranded and unable to get home by your own means. This is especially important if you are going to be cooking with your new family and trying to cook with the in-season ingredients that will be available in your new location.

cooking in the wilderness

Hunting Skills

Hunting in the woods is an adventure. It doesn’t have to be. It’s when we can be “wild” and a little off the grid. A hunter has the advantage in that he or she is not just in the woods, but with the weather as well. Some areas are quite hospitable to the hunter who knows how to handle the woods. Hunters are different from fishers, for example, because they don’t usually have a full time job; they get to spend their time hunting year round, and catching fish on the days they go fishing.

Hunting in the woods gives you an advantage over other hunters, and the entire game itself. Deer, rabbits, and even moose can be found in the woods. The best way to begin is to scout out a location. There are many places you can start. They range from horse camps to log homes, off of a creek, and even a hunting lodge.

When you get to the spot, you need to make sure it is safe for hunting. Not all areas are safe. One place you can go and ask is if the area will allow you to use a tractor in hunting in the woods. You’ll probably be told yes, but before you do, make sure you find out what the laws are, and make sure that the area you are hunting is hunting only. If there are animals and they are eating what you are taking, you could possibly be sued for a violation of the hunting laws. So always check to see if you can hunt in the woods. Whether it’s deer, moose, elk, bear, or even bear cubs, you never know what you might encounter.

Stay Prepared, Stay Resourceful

Being resourceful in the woods is hard work. You need to have the right knowledge of how to handle different kinds of situations that come your way.Resourceful in the woods starts with being aware of the weather. Know what it is going to be like before you head out. Being resourceful in the woods, also requires that you have a complete list of medicines, supplies, and equipment that you need to take with you when you go out to hunt. You may need to find emergency cell phone numbers or, even, an area where you can rest while you are out. It is important to know what to do if you get lost. Being resourceful does not just apply to the woods. If you ever find yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere without food, water, or even shelter, being resourceful will allow you to survive. Knowing what to do when you are in the woods will also help you if you ever encounter an emergency situation.

Survival Tips on How to Hunt and Trap Small Game

As you may already know, we can go without food for 3 to 4 weeks. This depends largely on the individual needs of the body. Things like body fat percentage and metabolic rate also come into play here. Without food, internal organs “shut down” progressively due to caloric deficit. It inevitably leads to death.

That said, it is critical to have survival skills in procuring food to stay alive in the wilderness. Edible wild plants can be of great help but they aren’t enough. In survival situations, it is very important to find and eat animal source foods that give more energy. This usually involves trapping and hunting.

Ungulates (such as moose, deer, and elk) and other big animals are difficult to hunt. What’s more, big-game hunting will considerably increase your caloric expenditure and make you even more fatigued. Small animals are a more reliable food source. That’s why you should hunt small game for survival rather than pursuing large animals.

hunting small prey

Learn More About Your Prey

Try to find out what kinds of animals and birds are most common in the area you will be hunting. Pay particular attention to small critters like squirrels, rabbits, packrats, chipmunks, raccoons, waterfowls, and doves.

You should also learn about their habitats, habits, and food choices. Since small game animals usually use the same tracks to travel, you should have a good understanding of how their trails look like. These animals tend to travel along the shores and edges of the open ground, clinging to places covered by dense vegetation.

Sharpen Your Stalking Skills

Here are a few tips for stalking small game:

  • Go slowly and walk fluidly, especially when stepping over an obstacle.
  • Avoid sudden, fast movements.
  • Relax and take breaks often.
  • Scrutinize the entire area – from the forest floor to treetop.
  • Look for the animal tracks along creek banks and muddy paths.
  • Listen to the animal sounds like squeaks, scraping, and chirping noises.

Select the Proper Ammunition and Firearm

A firearm is no doubt the most powerful tool for small-game hunting. Yet you must choose the right weapon and ammo. For example, the air rifle is considered the best option for squirrel hunting. Check the Gun Forest review for the best air rifles for squirrels.

The .22 rimfire rifle is also very popular when it comes to survival hunting. If you opt for this rifle, then you will need .22 long rifle ammunition for best results. Besides, a 12 gauge pump-action shotgun is useful for small-game hunting as well.

trap your prey

Make Small Game Traps

As a passive hunting method, trapping allows you to deal with other chores while waiting for the animals to get caught up. It is always a good idea to make a lot of traps for small game. From wooden rat traps to cable snares, there is a wide range of ready-to-use traps available. Many adventurers prefer making traps on their own, though.

Be Prepared for a Wilderness Hunt!

Planning to go into the wilderness? Be sure to prepare yourself for such a challenging adventure. Aside from getting mentally and physically ready for the great outdoors, you also need to learn how to trap and hunt small game before heading into the wilderness. This will increase your chances of surviving in the wild.

How to Prep for Your Survival

Surviving in this harsh world takes courage, resilience and shrewdness. As Nikita Khrushchev once said, “If you live among wolves you have to act like a wolf.” If you’re keen to thrive in this modern era, it’s important to equip yourself with vital survival skills that can stand the test of time.

related article: How Do You Store Water Long Term?

How to prep for your survival - yearzerosurvival.com

Here are 4 ways you can prep for your survival:

  1. Learn some new skills

It’s important to practice some essential life skills if you truly desire prepping for survival. Sadly, most people desire to learn new skills but they procrastinate. We are all guilty of taking a raincheck on important things, rather opting to engage in entertaining activities such as watching films. However, learning is a continuous process that shouldn’t end after completing formal education. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “learn as if you were to live forever.” If you’re interested in learning a skill, simply start practicing it. Some crucial skills that might help include:

  • Starting a fire
  • Shooting game
  • Performing basic first aid
  • Playing your favorite instrument

2. Have sufficient food and water supply

Food and water are essential elements of human survival. When you’re prepping for survival, ensure that you have plenty of food and water in stock. Your supply should last you for at least one month. Try to get a balanced diet consisting of the three macros (proteins, fats and carbohydrates). Also learn how to prepare and store food properly. To ensure that your water is free of impurities, study how to decant and purify water. If push comes to shove, practice the art of rationing your meagre food supply to prevent it from running out too quickly.

3. Equip yourself with defensive gear

Society today has evolved from a supportive social pillar into an egocentric community. Urban living is often governed by the rule of the jungle: every man for himself and God for us all. Surviving in this harsh environment will require you to hone some defensive skills. Learn how to defend yourself from dangerous people who might try to harm you deliberately. For instance, you can learn karate or join a boxing class. In addition, it might help to purchase a few survival gear to keep yourself safe in ugly situations. Invest in a good survival kit that will come in handy when an unexpected natural calamity, war or doomsday event happens.

4. Have a medicine reserve

If you take medication on a regular basis, then you definitely need to have a medicine reserve. Diabetics, epileptics and patients with heart conditions must take medicine every day. However, if pharmaceutical firm workers or drug distributors decide to strike, there would be a severe shortage of essential medicines across the country. Such an unfortunate scenario would create a temporary drug deficiency – and patients who lack a medicine reserve would be hit first. Therefore, ensure you have a small reserve of medication you take frequently. It should be enough to last two weeks or more.

Precaution is better than cure. These insightful tips will help you to prepare sufficiently for survival.

 

Is the End Closer than We Thought? The Latest Apocalyptic Predictions

Is the end close? Or is it a new Golden age?

Scientists calculate that the Earth is a whopping 4.54 billion years old, causing many to wonder when it will come to an end. And, while you might recall the infamous 2012 end of the world prediction by the Mayans, there are some newer theories and predictions out there regarding the future that are worth knowing about. From a psychic’s controversial predictions to a higher-tech apocalyptic future, here are some of the latest end of the world theories and how to survive them.

A computer program predicts the end

Developed in 1973 by MIT researchers, the computer program World One was originally created to simulate global sustainability, though has offered much more when it comes to apocalyptic predictions of the future. In fact, it predicts that the world will collapse in the year 2040, with 2020 being the “first disaster milestone” due to environmental conditions. Because of the environmental conditions, experts of the Club of Rome say that such a future may be preventable if resource consumption is dramatically decreased by high consuming nations like China and the United States.

When it comes to surviving, however, there are many ways that humans can individually attempt to lessen environmental damage. For example, leading more sustainable lives through reducing plastic, going zero-waste, and cleaning the planet can all help to preserve the environment and prevent further damage.

A psychic’s wisdom

Perhaps one of the most well-known psychics in history, Baba Vanga of Bulgaria has made several predictions throughout the years and is said to have successfully predicted monumental events such as the 9/11 attacks, the 2004 Thailand tsunami, and Brexit. In the near future, she has also predicted that President Trump will fall ill with a disease, and that Vladamir Putin will survive an assassination attempt.

However, the notable blind psychic has also predicted the end of the world to take place in the year 5079 in the 51st century – though without any context at all as to how or why making it near impossible to know if there is a way to survive. While Baba Vanga’s predictions are said to be correct 85% of the time, many may remain skeptical about her visions – especially when it comes to the end. 

Baba Vanga passed away in August of 1996 and predicted events well beyond her time. While impressive by any psychics standards, getting a second opinion from another psychic can bring a more modern and greater insight on an apocalyptic prediction, thus allowing you to prepare accordingly for survival. As a doomsday prepper or just a survival enthusiast, a quick search for psychic readers near me can easily help you to find someone who can help in giving those much needed answers, personal insight, advice and peace of mind on the controversial subject of the end of the world.

An AI apocalypse 

While robots taking over the world has been a popular theory in regards to the apocalypse for years, the latest in technological innovation has kept the specific predictions of the theory new each year. With that said, recent predictions seem to lean heavily towards an artificial intelligence takeover. Often used to help humanity in forms of Siri, Alexa, cybersecurity, and even self-driving cars, a potential artificial intelligence apocalyptic event remains an ever-present threat to humans.

Whether it comes in the form of bots generating impactful fake news, or something bigger – like a robot takeover, a report done by 26 experts concluded that an AI takeover is something to fear due to its possibility of becoming a reality. In fact, AI is already outsmarting humans, such as when it won against pro video game players of the popular game DOTA 2. While many try to avoid AI in their day to day lives by disabling smart assistants like Alexa or turning off their microphones out of fear of misuse, others may try to keep an AI apocalypse at bay by taking a break from electronics completely or by learning to hack. And, in the event that an AI apocalypse does happen, creating a new language and ditching electronics altogether may become prime survival techniques.

While nobody knows the true date or form that an apocalypse will present itself, many are sure that it’s bound to happen someday. With many predictions over time, the latest ones present ideas such as a technology takeover, environmental destruction, or just a simple date with no context at all.

17 Life Hacks Camping Tips that Will Save You Time and Money

Camping trips take a lot of organizing.

Storage space, unpredictable weather, and food supplies are just some of the things you have to consider when preparing a trip to the great outdoors.

This list of 17 life hack camping tips from GuideCool will tell you exactly what materials you need and how to put them together for the best trip possible.

Camping Hack #1 – Keep Your Keys Safe with Cork

Camping Hack #1 Keep Your Keys Safe with Cork

If you plan on being near the water on your camping trip then get on board with this simple but effective trick.

Gone are the days of watching your keys fall to the bottom of the lake.

Plus, attaching an old wine bottle cork to your key ring takes less than a minute.

What Do You need?

A screw eye

A cork

How Do You Do It?

Simply twist the screw eye into the cork. Then attach your key-ring and you’ve got a buoyant set of keys.

Camping Hack #2 – Light up Your Tent with a Water Bottle Lantern

Camping Hack #2 Light up Your Tent with a Water Bottle Lantern

A water bottle lantern will easily light up your camping tent or camping area with minimal fuss.

What Do You Need?

A head torch

A water bottle

Clear tape

How Do You Do It?

Firstly make sure the water bottle is full of water. Then point the torch into the bottle.

Once you have the best angle that gives you the lightest, attach the torch to the bottle with clear tape.

Camping Hack #3 – Use a Bowl Speaker to Increase the Volume of Your Music

Camping Hack #3 Use a Bowl Speaker to Increase the Volume of Your Music

Most camping fans listen to music or podcasts through our phones from time to time, but the sound is never loud enough for a group. Luckily, this simple hack changes that.

What Do You Need?

Smartphone

Camping Bowl

How Do You Do It?

Place your phone with the music or podcast playing into the bowl.

The key here is to point the phone’s speaker towards the bottom of the bowl.

The sound waves then reverberate around the bowl as it acts as a speaker, filling the air with sound.

Camping Hack #4 – Use a Watering Can Shower to Wash off the Day’s Activities

Camping Hack #4 Use a Watering Can Shower to Wash off the Day’s Activities

Smelling fresh and staying clean on a camping trip can be tricky, especially if you spend a few nights in the wild.

However, this homemade shower means the beauty of adventure doesn’t have to mean sacrificing hygiene.

Watering cans can take up valuable packing space, so it’s a good idea to use them for storage while they aren’t being used.

Packing them up with your bathroom products or plastic-wrapped foods like pasta works perfectly.

What Do You Need?

A good-sized watering can

Bungee Cord

How Do You Do It?

Fill the watering can full of water and put it out in the sun.

You can even leave it by your camp in the morning before you head out for the day.

When you get back your warm shower will be ready.

Your challenge is to find a place to hang the watering can at an angle so it pours the water evenly.

Loop the bungee cord through the handle. Then find a tree branch above head height to attach it to.

As the water slows down, simply move the bungee further along the handle to create an angle so the water keeps on flowing.

Camping Hack #5 – Keep Your Clothes Fresh with a DIY Washing Machine

Camping Hack #5 Keep Your Clothes Fresh with a DIY Washing Machine

Camping trips are almost always full of activities. And, while long hikes and kayak trips down river create amazing memories, they also create dirty clothes.

Luckily, this simple washing machine will have your t-shirts and shorts feeling home washed in no time.

What Do You Need?

A standard bathroom plunger

Water Container (Size varies on storage space)

Knife

How Do You Do It?

The water container can be of any size.

Big18 liter water buckets are perfect because the water really gets to move around.

However, standard plastic washing up basins also works well.

It all depends on how much space you have for storage.

Once you have the container, fill it up halfway with water and some laundry detergent. (Baking Soda is a great camping substitute for detergent).

Let your clothes soak for 10 minutes while you prepare the plunger.

Using the knife, cut six evenly spaced holes in the plunger.

They should be the size of the top of your thumb. About half an inch around.

Then start sloshing around the water with your plunger washing machine! The average item of clothing takes about 10 minutes to clean.

Camping Hack #6 – Eat Like a King (Even if it’s wet) on this Swedish Fire Stove

Camping Hack #6 Eat Like a King (Even if it’s wet) on this Swedish Fire Stove

The Scandinavians know their fair share about surviving outdoors. This Swedish Fire Stove can be premade and then used if the weather takes a turn for the worst.

What Do You Need?

Six logs of wood

Strong Wire

Wood Shavings

Fire Lighters

How Do You Do It?

You can either buy the wood before you go or go out looking for it once you’re at your campsite.

Either way, you will need six logs of a similar height.

Place the logs together so they make a circle and bound them with wire.

The key here is to leave enough space in the center of the logs to place your firelighters and wood shavings.

Mix the firelighters and wood shavings together before you push them into the center of the six logs. This way, when you come to light them you won’t have any trouble starting a flame.

You can also store the fire starter mix away from the logs until you use them together.

Once the flame is lit you can expect your stove to be ready in around 30 minutes. During this time you may need to gently blow into the logs to stoke the fire.

The logs will start burning within the center and create an enclosed heat perfect for cooking on. So just place your pot or pan on top of your stove and enjoy your meal!

Camping Hack #7 – Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth with this Banana + Mars Bar Dessert

Camping Hack #7 Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth with this Banana + Mars Bar Dessert

After a long day in the woods, there’s nothing better than a sweet bite of this campsite dessert. Plus, the banana offers a great source of magnesium to help with muscle recovery.

What Do You Need?

Bananas

Tin Foil

Mars Bars

How Do You Do It?

Make a cut in the banana from the top to the bottom. Do not cut all the way through.

Slice the Mars Bar into slivers. Then push the slivers inside the banana.

Wrap the Mars Bar filled banana in tin foil and then place into the fire. Try not to eat in 2 seconds!

Camping Hack #8 – Save time and Boost Energy with Pre-made Oats

Camping Hack #8 Save time and Boost Energy with Pre-made Oats

Oats are an amazing carbohydrate packed full of B-vitamins that help to metabolize your energy so you can keep going way past lunchtime.

It can be tiresome preparing them every day, however, so follow this guide for a tasty and convenient breakfast.

What Do You Need?

A Ziplock Bag or Jar

Rolled oats

Your favorite dried berries and fruit

Your favorite nuts and/or seeds

A dollop of honey

How Do You Do It?

There are two options. You can either make a large batch and store it all in one container, or make separate daily rations.

In both cases, you mix at a ratio of:

1 cup of rolled oats

Half a handful of berries/Fruit

Half a handful of Nuts/Seeds

A teaspoon of Honey In the morning, add two cups of water for every cup of mix. Heat gently and stir until your desired consistency is reached.

Camping Hack #9 – Take Corn Chips for Food and Fire

Camping Hack #9 Take Corn Chips for Food and Fire

Corn chips are cheap and, like all good camping hacks, are useful in more than one way.

We all know they are great for a trail snack on a long hike, but actually they make a decent backup for firelighters as well.

What Do You Need?

Corn Chips of any variety

How do You Do It?

The eating part is pretty straightforward, obviously. And actually so is the fire part.

Corn chips will burn a little slower than matches if you put a flame to them. Perfect for using inside your Swedish Wood Stove or tucked under some kindling in a traditional fire.

Camping Hack #10 – Throw Your Beans in the Fire, Get in the Cowboy Spirit

Camping Hack #10 Throw Your Beans in the Fire, Get in the Cowboy Spirit

This little camping hack dates way back to the American frontier, because cowboys didn’t much like washing plates either.

A tin of beans will go straight in the fire and start bubbling when they’re ready.

What Do You Need?

An open fire

How Do You Do It?

Peirce the top of the can with a knife. This gives the heat inside the can somewhere to go and stops the contents inside from burning.

It also acts as a whistle to let you know when they’re boiling.

Place your can of beans on the edge of the fire and wait.

Also, remember to use a wet cloth or a pair of tongs when you take the can back out of the fire.

Camping Hack #11 – Pack Vinegar for the Ultimate Multi-Purpose Cleaner

Camping Hack #11 Pack Vinegar for the Ultimate Multi-Purpose Cleaner

Vinegar is one of those special substances that can do everything.

First and foremost it’s a great cleaner because of its acidity.

It’s perfect for camping because it’s non-toxic, so you can freely clean with it without having to worry about your effect on the surrounding environment.

The same cannot be said about most generic cleaning agents.

What do You Need?

White vinegar is best for cleaning because it doesn’t have much of a smell.

Darker vinegars still work great but if you don’t like the smell of vinegar you may want to avoid them.

How Do You Do It?

If your cool box or any cooking equipment starts to smell, empty it out and soak it in undiluted vinegar.

After an hour or so wash it out with water and the bad smell will be gone.

If you have a propane lantern you can soak the wicks in vinegar for half a day and expect your lantern to burn brighter and longer that evening.

Camping Hack #12 – Use Candle Wax to Un-Jam Zips

Camping Hack #12 Use Candle Wax to Un-Jam Zips

There are few more irritating things than a jammed up sleeping bag zip.

Apart from maybe a jammed up tent zip.

The process of delicately trying to move the zip without breaking either your sleeping bag or tent door can be a painful one.

Luckily, that spare candle you packed can get rid of this problem forever.

What Do You Need?

Any candle, preferably unscented. You want the wax to be as pure as possible.

How Do You Do It?

Gently rub the wax onto the jammed area.

Then gently move the zip up and down. The wax will act as a lubricant and help you to slide the zip to safety. Do not use too much wax initially. This can lead to the wax itself jamming the zip.

Camping Hack #13 – Stop Stifling Hot Mornings with an Emergency Blanket

Camping Hack #13 Stop Stifling Hot Mornings with an Emergency Blanket

Waking up in a hot, sticky tent can take the fun right out of camping.

There is a really simple way of making life a lot more bearable when the sun beats down through the trees, or if you’re staying in an open campsite.

What Do You Need?

An emergency blanket (Foil Wrapped)

Reflective blanket

How Do You Do It?

Place the blanket over the tent where you expect the sun to hit in the morning.

You can use more than one although consider the weight and how it may affect your tent’s structure.

Well placed, the reflective blanket will keep the sun at bay until you’re good and ready to start your day.

Camping Hack #14 – Keep the Mosquitoes Away by Burning Sage

Camping Hack #14 Keep the Mosquitoes Away by Burning Sage

Burning sage is an effective and natural alternative to keeping mosquitoes away from your campsite.

The plant has also been found to clear almost all bacteria from the air, creating a much cleaner and hygienic living area.

What Do You Need?

Sage leaves. Bundles of sage are available to buy online for less than $4.

How Do You Do It?

Light the sage and blow gently so it begins to smoke.

Then place your bundle near to where you are sitting so the smoke wards off any mosquitoes.

Camping Hack #15 – Stop the itching from bug bites with household items

Camping Hack #15 Stop the itching from bug bites with household items

It’s never fun getting bitten by a mosquito, especially when you forgot to pack a soothing gel and the itchy pain won’t go away.

Interestingly, there are loads of household items that will help to soothe the irritation. Below is a list of the most effective ones.

What Do You Need?

Vapour Rub – The Eucalyptus extract helps to soothe.

Aspirin – Salicylic Acid is an anti-inflammatory

Thousand Island Dressing – This really works! How? It’s just one of life’s big mysteries.

How Do You Do It?

Crush the aspirin down with water to make a paste and then cover the bite.

The vapor rub and dressing can be gently applied to the area.

Camping Hack #16 – Store Your Seasoning in Tic Tac Boxes and Make Your Campfire Food Taste Great

Camping Hack #16 Store Your Seasoning in Tic Tac Boxes and Make Your Campfire Food Taste Great

Slow cooking on a campfire is one of the best ways to eat food.

So it makes a lot of sense to bring your favorite spices and seasoning with you.

The problem is that they often come in odd-shaped bottles and are prone to spill.

That’s why those refreshing little mints provide excellent storage cases for travel-size seasoning supplies.

What Do You Need?

Empty tic tac boxes

A marker pen for labels

Elastic band

How Do You Do It?

Fill the little boxes with your chosen delights and label them.

Store them by tying them together with an elastic band.

Camping Hack #17 – Use an Old Tool Belt to Keep your Camping Essentials Organized

Camping Hack #17 Use an Old Tool Belt to Keep your Camping Essentials Organized

It’s so easy to forget where you put the torch when you need to leave the tent at midnight.

An old tool belt is a brilliant camping hack when it comes to storing your essential items.

Plus, it’s a reusable item that’s just been sitting in the garage collecting dust in its many useful pockets.

What Do You Need?

A multi-pocketed tool belt.

How Do You Do It?

Make a list of the items you think you will need the most during your trip.

That will depend on the type of trip, but in most environments, you’re going to want a torch, a knife and some rope tucked into the conveniently place pockets of your new storage system.

Conclusion

Little improvements to your camping experience can make a huge difference to your enjoyment and safety in the great outdoors.

Preparation is everything.

We hope these 17 Lifehack camping tips will set you up for a great trip and remember to share them with other people on the trail.

Bio

I am Jacob, the man behind GuideCool. I’m an incredibly enthusiastic (my friends would say nigh-on fanatical!) outdoors person and spend a lot of my time either in the mountains or planning my next trip. And my wife? She is passionate about seeing new places, meeting the people who live there, and immersing herself in another culture. We create GuideCool to share our travel life with others. I hope you enjoy our 17 life hacks camping tips.