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How to Start a Fire in the Wilderness?

This is a great blog written by Brandon Cox about how to start a fire in the wilderness. Check out his site stayhunting. He has some really cool articles and information. Thank you Brandon for letting us share your blog.

How to Start a Fire in the Wilderness?

By Brandon Cox / January 27, 2017

How to Start a Fire

Fire is so crucial for survival in the wild especially when lost or just taking an adventure. Ever wondered why almost every person starts a fire when in the wild whether camping or just taking an adventure? In a short while, I will show you exactly why fire is so important in the world and why you must know how to start one. You can agree with me that most people in the wild who find themselves in a situation where they need fire don’t have a lighter.

Well, I promise to show you exactly how you can start a fire in the wild with or without a lighter but first let’s see why fire is so important in the wild.

How to Start a Fire in the Wilderness?

Why is It Important to Start a Fire?​

Most people think of fire as a luxury only to realize of its crucial importance when in an outdoor visit or a survival situation. In a survival situation, fire can be lifesaving enabling you to do a lot and get through the danger of the wild. Most of the threats that people face in the wild when in a survival situation can easily be solved by fire going to show its importance.

Most common ways people die in the wildness and how fire can help?​

  • Hypothermia due to lack of body heat: Fire warms you.
  • Snake and spider bites: Fire scares them away.
  • Attack from predators: Fire keeps them away
  • Insect bites: Fire again keeps them away
  • Dehydration: Fire helps you melt water in ice regions
  • Hunger: Fire helps cook edible raw food
  • Think of committing suicide: Fire boosts your morale becoming your only friend

Those are just good examples to show you how fire is so important in the wild. In when in places with water sources, you will still need fire to boil the water and kill the pathogens and other bacteria in the water. Fire in the wild at night can be the only difference dying and seeing the light in the morning. It will warm you, give you light to accomplish tasks and scare away wild animals. The smoke from the fire can also act as a signal to the search team.

Do you see the importance of fire in a survival situation in the world?

I know you agree with me on this. Fire in the wild is very important to survival. The discovery of fire is what has changed humanity.​ Even before we learn how to start a fire in the wild, let first see how to prepare the ground for a well-built fire.​

​How to Build a Well-built Fire?

Well build fire

You don’t just gather wood and start the fire as most people think. Starting a fire in the wild requires you to prepare. Even in your home, you have the fireplace nicely set. The very first step in starting a fire in the wild is building a good fire pit.

1- ​Build a Fire Pit

There are no fire rings in the wild, so you have to prepare a fire pit. First, choose a good location as this is where you will most probably spend the night. Doing it under a huge tree or under some cliff will ideal. All the vegetation and grass on the chosen spot must be cleared for a distance of 8-10 feet. Once you have a cleared area, dig several inches into the soil to remove the top layer which is set aside for emergencies. You can even use the loose soil as firewall and mount it around the newly built fire pit. If in a place with rocks, mount rocks on the edge of the fire pit to insulate it.

2- Gather Materials​

What does your hunting backpack have that can help you gather as many materials as possible. You will need different materials that catch fire easily and others that burn for long periods. You can make it in the wild starting fire without enough materials to keep the fire going once it starts.

Scope the area and collect as much wood as you can to help you with the fire. If you’re in the camp where there is tinder, then use to start the fire.

​Tinder

Tinder is among the smallest and easiest materials to get a fire started in the campfire. The following are some of the tinder forms:

  • Wadded paper
  • Wax
  • Wood shavings
  • Cardboard strips
  • Fire starts and commercial fire sticks
  • Dryer lint
  • Dry leaves (works well in the case of wildfire where other materials are not easy to find)

Kindling

The next step is kindling the fire where you size it up by adding small branches and twigs that you collected earlier. Branches and twigs of about 1/8 and inches into the fire to size up slowly but ensure you don’t put it out.​

Tip: Add small twigs and branches and slowly increase their size as the fire grows.

Firewood

Lastly, you can add logs that burn for long to keep the fire going up to the next day. Whole logs or split ones can both work depending on how long you want the fire to burn. The logs and woods must be completely dry to burn and stay lit for long.

Tip: Splitting logs might be impossible in the wild so start by putting them near the edge of the fire and let them catch fire slowly.​

Water

Water is very necessary just in case you need to out the fire in the morning all when finished. Pour water on the fire when done to stop it spreading to other areas. Stir the ashes to ensure there is no fire left and then pour more water. You can always repeat this over and over until the ashes are cool to be held in your hand before you leave the scene. The worst mistake you can do is leave a campfire or a fire in the wild unattended as this can lead to a catastrophic widespread of fire burning the entire area.

Tip: The dirt or dug soil can be used to cover the fire area and prevent any chances of the fire starting on its own.​

Ignition Source

What is the easiest way to start a fire in the wild? If lucky to have a match or lighter in your hunting bag, then you’re good to start. However, what happens when you have nothing that can start fire fast? This is where your fire starting skills are tested. You have to go the old ways our ancestral used to start a fire with any available tools. Did you know your bow can be used to start a fire? If you go hunting with bows and arrows, then your bow can be used to start a fire, but we will get to that in a short while. There are several other ways to start a fire in the wild that will discuss in a little while as you look forward to improving your fire starting skills in the wild.​

3- Six Popular Ways You Can Build a Fire

​Before you build a fire, you need to understand all the six popular ways that people build a fire in the wild to suit specific reasons. The arrangement you choose to build your fire will determine how long it lasts and how fast it burns. You can see why it is important to know the way you will build your fire. I’ll show you some of the most popular ways that people build fires in the wild and the purpose each way serves.

​3.1- The Teepee Fire

The teepee is the most popular arrangement and one you need to know. Build a tepee by arranging the tinder and kindling it in the shape of a cone. Lit the center and let the logs burn from inside falling inward to feed the fire. Building a tepee is ideal when you have wet wood or green wood that does not burn well. The flame is usually hottest at the tip where there is oxygen. The heat generated from this arrangement is very intense and burns out wood quickly but ideal for warming you at night.

The teepee arrangement is probably the one you’ve seen in survival series where one needs to keep warm and have the fire burn until morning. The thicker end of a log or stick should always be placed at the top where the heat is intense so that it burns inward.

Video illustrating the teepee fire arrangement

​Pros

  • Gives intense heat
  • Starts fire faster
  • Can burn wet or green wood

Cons

  • Burns woods quickly

​3.2- The Lean-to Fire

The lean to fire is another great arrangement that does not need a lot of effort if you set it out correctly. Choose a medium sized log and place tinder next to it. The kindling is the leaned across the log as illustrated in the video below. Small dry branches and twigs can be placed after several layers of tinder. Once you light the tinder, you can add as much kindling as needed to grow the fire.

Video how lean fire is built

​Pros

  • Fire will size up without much trouble
  • Once set up, fire starts pretty fast without any additional task

Cons

  • More tinder and kindling are required.

3.3- The Cross-ditch Fire

The Cross-ditch fire is by far the most lasting arrangement for making any wildfires. On a tinder bed, put kindling in a crisscross fashion before you add woods and logs. Once everything is set, light the tinder and fire will slowly size up.

Video how cross-ditch fire is built

​Pros

  • Efficient consumption of fuel
  • Long lasting to see you through the night
  • Suitable for cooking

Cons

  • A bit tedious to build

3.4- The Log Cabin Fire

The log cabin fire simply means creating fire by having a cabin arrangement. This is achieved by first kindling twigs and branches into the shape of a cabin while leaving a space in the middle. Place two sticks in opposite directions 4-6 inches apart. Continue stacking more sticks across each other until a square cabin is created.

Create a reasonably sized box and add tinder into the box. Once tinder is filled in the box, place more sticks on top of the cabin to cover the tinder. When everything is set, go right ahead and light your tinder.

Video showing the log cabin fire

​Pros

  • Rarely collapses
  • Long lasting
  • Provides warmth on all sides

Cons

  • Burns out wood much faster

3.5- Upside Down (Pyramid)

The upside down fire is where your fire starts at the top and burns all the way down. It is quite simple to start. Place two small branches or logs on the ground in a parallel position. Have another solid log on top of the first layer in a perpendicular position. Keep on adding a few more layers alternating their direction each time. Each layer placed must be smaller than the previous layer.

When done, light the top of the layer and leave the flame to travel naturally down. This is another great way to light a fire in the wild without straining.

Video Upside down fire

​Pros

  • Long lasting
  • Fire burns downwards requiring no attention during the night
  • Quite fast to start

Cons

  • Requires several logs that might have to use some power tools like chainsaw to cut and split firewood
  • Does not produce intense heat

3.6- Create a Star

The star arrangement of fire is where you place log from different side meeting in the middle to form what appears like a star. I know woods in the wild can sometimes be in shortage especially if your hunting backpack does not have enough cutting items. Saving the few logs you find can get you through the cold of the night. This arrangement is quite effective at preserving wood where you pull them back a bit when you need to decrease the intensity if the fire.

Video How to build the Star Fire

​Pros

  • Quite effective and long lasting
  • Consumer wood well
  • Conserves fuel

Cons

  • You have to monitor and control the fire regularly

4- Bonus: Tips/Tricks When Building a Well-built Fire

4.1- ​Choosing the Fire Location

Choosing Fire Location

Fire in the wild does not have the comfort zones that come with building fires in the camp or at homes. There is no fire pit, and one has to set a good spot to create a fire pit. You can agree with me choosing a location is very important. You don’t have to be the one burning the forest down. Stay away from trees and bushes that may catch fire and spread it.

A clear area away from dry leaves and other dry twigs is an ideal one. You don’t want to wake up smelling smoke everywhere so carefully choose a location that does not bring smoke your way. Check for the breeze and if its steady, you will know which direction the smoke will be going. Start your tinder where you intend to build your fireplace. Many times I have seen people start a fire somewhere and carry the tinder to another place. If you start your tinder somewhere else, then create a temporary fire there before transferring the fire to your main location.

4.2- Choosing the Foundation​

Foundation

Choosing a good foundation is crucial as poor foundations will kiss fire that as just started. Avoid wet and cold areas if possible and build your fire on a dry foundation. In cases where every part is wet or cold, try and build a foundation for your fire using dry rocks. I REPEAT, DRY ROCKS as wet rocks can explode in your face. I will tell you later on why wet rocks are not ideal for starting a foundation especially those taken from the riverbed area.

The aim here is to elevate your foundation away from the water beneath. Dry dirt can also be used to raise the foundation higher. If possible, try and make air flow beneath the foundation. A good way to do this is have rocks on two sides with two opening instead of having rocks circle your foundation. A good spot with a good foundation and big rocks around it will make it easier for you to start a fire and maintain it. The big rocks act as the windbreaker creating a barrier around the fire pit preventing the wind from spreading the fire.

4.3- Best Time to Start a Fire in the Wild​

When is the best time to start the fire? Do you wait until dark falls to start the fire? When planning to start a fire, timing is very crucial. It is always important to start the fire a few hours before the sun goes down. This can be 2-3 hours earlier as you need the light of the sun to collect materials and observe what you’re doing.​

4.4- Safety Tips​

  • Never Leave Before Putting out the Fire​ – Fire might not seem dangerous especially when controlled but can turn ugly and destroy millions of properties and life. The first rule when leaving the spot of the wildfire is always to turn it off. I have said this before and will say again; ensure you extinguish the fire completely before leaving the scene. Poor water on the fire and cover it wet soil before pouring more water. You must be able to hold the wet ashes in your hand and confirm there is no slightest of burning wood that can start a wildfire once you’ve gone. Most of the fires seen around the world are mostly caused by human error, and you don’t want to be one causing it.
  • Never use Rocks from the River Beds​ – I talked about this earlier when building your foundation using rocks. Wet rocks from the river beds have water in them that will expand once heated. These rocks can explode on your face causing serious injuries when the water expands and breaks them apart. The water in the rocks boils and increases in size exploding the rocks into small pieces. It is simple science that you probably learned in high school that you must be aware of when using rocks to build a foundation.
  • Build Fires Away from Branches and Steep Slopes​ – To avoid the risk of the fire spreading, build it away from overhanging branches, rotten stumps, dry grass, leaves, logs and steep areas. Even the extra wood you set aside must be piled some distance away from the fire.
  • ​Never Leave a Wildfire Unattended – Even the smallest of breeze will spread the fire away and start a wildfire. This is why it is necessary to have every material ready before you starting the fire.​

Pro Tips to Start Fire in the Real Challenge Situations- Advice from the Famous Blogs

You probably have everything you need to start a fire in the wild but what if the situation is challenging? Can you start a fire in a rainy or windy condition? Advice from famous blogs written for the survival men and women out there will show you how to start a fire in the most challenging situations.

1 – Start a Fire When Wood is Wet – From EHow

It seems totally impossible to start a fire when the wood but when that is the only option, you have to do it to see the next day. You must put in some extra effort to overcome the challenges of damp wood. It might be a bit challenging, but the steps from the Ehow should help start the fire easily


2 – Start a Fire When It Raining – From ArtOfManliness

Starting fire is one thing and knowing how to start it in a rainy condition is a whole new thing. You can agree with me that learning the skill to start a fire in a raining place is important for avid campers and frequent hikers. Choosing a good location and collecting dry tinder are among the most important things to do. The ArtOfManliness blog clearly illustrate how to start a fire when it is raining.


3 – Start a Fire  When There is Snow – From OffTheGridNews

Starting fire when there is snow should not be difficult as long as you have a few dry limbs to set the base. The problem is when your wood is frozen. Frozen wood is even harder to start than wet wood as you have to thaw it first. Start by choosing wood from high up the branches where there is no snow. Lay the base of logs in the snow to act as your foundation. The melting snow should not worry you as it rarely melts and if it does it will not affect your fire. You can then pile your tinder and kindle it before lighting the tinder.

If there are rocks around, building a fire pit and raising your spot some levels above the ground is also a good idea. Follow this OffTheGridNews for step by step instructions on how to start a fire when there is snow.


4 – Start a Fire  When it’s Windy – From ModernSurvivalBlog

Well…, Windy conditions create a dangerous situation to start a fire in the wild. In fact, some states even have laws restricting fires in the wild or outdoor spaces when the atmosphere is windy. Windy spreads fire quite faster, and you can have the whole forest to fire in minutes. So, how do you get to start a fire in a windy situation?

The Dakota Fire Hole​

The Dakota fire hole is a method used to start a fire in a windy area and has several advantages over other methods.​

How to build a Dakota fire hole?

  • Dig a hole a foot long and a foot wide
  • Enlarge the bottom of the holes inches wide to accommodate more wood
  • The hole becomes the chamber of the fire pit
  • One foot away from the hole, dig an airway channel that will connect to your Dakota hole at the bottom
  • The diameter of the airflow must be a foot and angle down towards the bottom of the Dakota hole
  • Fill your fire pit with tinder and kindling before lighting it
  • Adds more materials to build the fire
  • The airflow acts as a suction drawing in air and resulting in a hot and efficient burning of wood.

​Pros of the Dakota hole

  • Burns very hot
  • Uses little fuel
  • Creates less smoke
  • Safe when there is the wind
  • The flame burns under the ground shielding it from being seen during the dark
  • Easily supports cookware
  • Easy to extinguish by filling the hole with soil
  • Avoids Detection

Cons

  • Might not be visible to the search team
  • A bit tedious to build

Top 20 Best Ways to Start a Fire Without a Match Lighter

Fire by Friction

1. Hand Drill

The hand drill is one of the simplest and old ways to make fire. Create a V-shaped notch on a board or piece of limb and drill it with a dry stick until the tip glows red and you have your ember collected. You must have your tinder nearby to blow and get a flame.​

2. Fire Plow

The fire plow is one of the simplest methods to start a fire in the wild if your hands ache from the hand drill method. It is simply rubbing two sticks together until heat is generated through friction. Create a groove on a piece of wood and use a stick and move a stick through the grove forth and back until ember is created. Once again, you must have your tinder nearby.​

3. Bow Drill

This is where your hunting tools come into play. In the bow drill, you don’t need your arrows but the bow to create heat on a piece of dry wood through friction. The string of your compound bow is used to tie to a dry wood that is then rotated on a dry board or piece wood to create an ember.​

The bow drill is easy on hands and requires less effort to drill. However, in a real life situation, it can be difficult to set up requiring a reliable cord.

4. Fire Saw

This method uses a piece of wood that is practically sewed into another wood on the ground to cause ignition.​ You can check this video on how fire saw works:

5. Fire Thong

The fire thing is a friction method that is quite fast and efficient. The method uses a split branch and a split rattan to create friction. The rattan thong is sawed forth and backward against the underside of the board to create an ember.

​6. Flint and Steel

In the flint and steel method, a spark is created from the steel when the two are put under pressure. You must have your tinder ready for the spark to land on it and start the fire. The ArtOfManliness giving you a full explanation of the flint and steel method

​7. With a Dead Lighter

You can start a fire using the dead lighter pretty simple using some deodorant and a piece of tissue. Spray the aerosols all over the tissue. You must have the tinder and kindling ready. Go ahead and flints the wheel on the lighter placing it closer to the tissue of paper. It may take several attempts, but eventually, the fire will start.

​If your lighter is dead, then don’t just throw it away, it can help you start a fire without straining a lot.

Using the Lens Based Methods

8. Lenses (Mirror/Glass/Magnifying)

You probably tried this when you were little children using lenses to focus light from the sun on the same spot for a few minutes. The concentrated watts from the lenses hitting your tinder will start a fire.

​Lenses can be quite effective in a real life situation. You just have to imagine of all the items in your hunting backpack that might be having lenses.

9. Fire from Ice

You will need a clear piece of ice to start a fire. Shape the ice with a knife to create the rough edges or grind it on stone. Use the heat of our body to finish shaping your ice by melting the rough edges. Hold the ice perpendicularly to the sky and move it to focus the brightest light on the tinder. The tinder will first smoke before igniting but be careful not to drip water on it.

​This is a good one if you’re lost in the wild, and there is ice. Make sure you start the fire before the sun disappears as we discussed earlier. 2-3 hours before the sun goes down is ideal.

10. Coke Can and Chocolate Bar

Any can with a bottom similar to a coke can also be used to start a fire. The bottom of the can is used to reflect light and focus it on the tinder, but first, you have to make it shiny enough using a chocolate bar. A chocolate piece can be used to brush the bottom of the can and make it polished.

​You can even try this on your own to know you can do it when in the survival situation. Who knows what comes your way in the wild.

11. A Flashlight

With your tinder and kindling set, break off the glass cover from the touch but don’t damage anything else. Take out the bulb and break it without damaging the filament. Put the remains of the bulb into the flashlight and screw it. Now you can place your tinder into the top of the flashlight and fill it up. Now turn the flashlight on. It has to ignite although sometimes it can fail if the process is not done correctly.

​Next time you get lost in the wild and need some fire, maybe is important to sacrifice that flashlight for warmth during the night.

12. With Water: Five Ways to Start Fire with Water

It a very unusual way but believes me water can start a fire. All the five ways use the same principle where water is used as the lens to focus light on the tinder and start a fire. The following are ways you can use water to start a fire:​

  • ​Water in an empty light bulb where the water in the bulbs acts as a magnifying lens.
  • Water in a plastic bottle
  • Water in a plastic wrap
  • Water and a picture frame
  • Using ice lens as discussed earlier

Using Chemical Combustion

13. Potassium Permanganate Crystals and Glycerin​

The use of chemicals is not the safest ways to start a fire and should only be attempted when it is the last solution. This is a chemical reaction with an explosive effect so ensure there are no kids around. When you mix these two compounds, a roaring fire explodes. Make sure you have your tinder nearby to start the fire.

14. Brake Fluid and Chlorine

Mixing a brake fluid and chlorine is a fun experiment that usually leads to an explosive reaction from which fire can be started. It is quite dangerous, and only a small amount can be used to start a fire.

​With Battery

15. Batteries and Steel Wool​

This one is quite simple and easy to perform. Just buy some batteries and some very fine steel wool. The finer the steel wool, the better it will spark. Rub the battery on the steel wool, and you will see sparks forming. However, you must be careful as the sparks can be quite dangerous.

​16. Gum Wrapper and Battery

The foil gum wrapper and battery does the trick helping you start fire quite fast. Make igniter strips using the wrapper. Shave small bit from the wrapper gum and create a 2mm bridge in the middle. Find a battery like the AAA batteries and hold the igniter to the ends of the battery. Sparks from the igniter will immediately start a fire.

​17. Jumper Cables and Car Battery

Get the jumper cables hooked to your car battery and try to let them touch. The Spark created can start a fire in the tinder.​

The jumper cables and the car battery is an essential one of you get stuck with your car in the cold and need some fire. It is an easier option that will not strain you.

18. Pencil and Car Battery

This is pretty similar to using the jumper cables, but here you don’t need sparks, the pencil connected to the jumper will become red hot and start burning your tinder.

Use Any Simplest Way to Start a Fire

19. Use the Fire Piston​

Fire pistons can also be used to start a fire. The fire piston compresses air rapidly heating it to the extent of igniting a fire. If you don’t have one, here is how you can build one using a few spare tools:

​The use of a fire piston is quite fast but one you might not have with you in the wild. However, it is always good to know what it can do.

20. Using Fire Steel

Fire steels produce molten sparks when scraped, and this can be used to ignite your tinder. A knife or scraper can be used to scrap it and get the ember.


Correcting Common Mistakes When Starting a Fire

​Smothering the Fire

​Most people in a rush end up throwing wood into the fire even when it is not ready. You have to know when to add wood to the fire. Smothering the fire will block the flow of air and eventually kill the fire. Take it slow and kindle it slowly until it is large enough to add small pieces of woods.

Starting Fire Without Enough Firewood Around​

How often have you found yourself looking for more firewood just as the fire starts to size up? You should not start a fire without accumulating enough firewood to see you through the night. This means leaving the fire unattended in search of more fuel. The fire can extinguish, and you start a fresh or even spread when you’re gone.

Leaving the Fire Unattended​

Never leave the fire unattended at any time as this can be the reason for a wildfire. Once the fire is set, you have to be around monitoring and controlling it at all times. There should be water close by or some wet soil in case it starts to spread.

Using Rocks from the River​

Rocks from the riverbed have water in them that boils turning into steam that can explode on your face. This is a common mistake that you should avoid when making a fire bed foundation. The explosion of the rocks can lead to serious injuries.​


Final Verdict

If you’ve gone through the entire article, then trust me you can start a fire anywhere no matter the conditions. Fire is crucial in pour lives and learning to start in any condition can mean the difference between death and life. Most of these techniques might not appear useful as you’re reading them from the comfort of your home but quite crucial in a survival situation.

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What If You Find Out the Zombie Stories Were Real?

OK, I will admit right now that I like a good zombie movie. Call me what you will, but for escapism fun, not much tops a mindless horde of undead walking up on the unsuspecting good guy. As they shuffle slowly, arms outstretched, your body tenses as they get closer to him nearly reaching his back with dirty long fingernails. Naturally, our good guy realizes that a bunch of stinky, usually moaning, rotting corpses, with tattered clothes, are behind him just in time to whirl around with some form of blunt weapon, nicely smashing a skull or 5 before riding off in either an abandoned Hummer or astride a horse. This is the type of movie scenario that just about anyone can see themselves in because you don’t have to have super powers, or physical strength. You simply have to avoid being snuck up on. Oh, and having an axe helps.

There are literally thousands of zombie movies, games, TV shows and assorted marketing paraphernalia out there and it seems that daily we have yet another zombie product or treatment. Why have zombies become so popular lately and why do Preppers almost universally latch on to this as something to prepare for? People seem to have polar associations with the term “zombie horde”. I have seen some blogs out there devoted entirely to the coming zombie apocalypse. Others, like me mention this in articles and it almost never fails to draw some comment to the effect of “You don’t really believe in zombies now, do you?”

Why it’s fun to use Zombies

Let’s take the Hollywood make-believe theater out of the equation for a while and examine how zombies are used in the prepper community. I think there are two main schools of thought.

The “Believers” – I think there are some people out there that genuinely believe that a zombie future is in store for us and they are planning for that. These people have elaborate systems designed to protect themselves from zombies and play out scenarios for how to evacuate the city should their position be overrun. They have purchased a higher than usual selection of bladed weapons as this seems to be the most efficient way of dispatching the undead.

The “I’ll believe it when I see it” crowd – I think an even greater number of us out there use Zombies as a metaphor for potential states (more on this later) and have fun with the visual. In my articles, I do sometimes use the visual of zombie hordes, or mutant zombie bikers from mars as an illustration to a point I am trying to make. This visual, is for some people easier to see/imagine than a lot of real world scenarios. Additionally, from a macabre standpoint, planning for zombies is more fun for me than planning for real life. I will lump myself in with this group.

Separating fact from fiction

MissingLegs

Zombies don’t even need legs.

When you hear the word zombie, most people form that image I mentioned above almost instinctively. The zombie is usually walking with a limp (why is that), their clothes are tattered and frayed and soaked in the blood of their last victim. They almost immediately have bad teeth and horrible fingernails and walk slowly toward you. For the person who has a little confidence and their wits about them, these creatures don’t seem too hard to beat with all they have going against them.

The thing that I never understood was how they could live forever. I mean, undead doesn’t make sense to me. If you are a machine you need fuel. A body requires something for energy and zombies don’t have to have anything, even organs it appears, to live. They eat their victims you say? Well, that works for some zombies, but if our current zombie movie fetish is to be believed, they can’t drown, you can’t hang or burn them, they could be buried up to their necks for years and not die. How could that even be possible? I guess this is where I have to willingly suspend disbelief and I do, because I want to be entertained.

Now, how could the zombies come true if I believe as I said above that it really is impossible given what we know about the human body? How could some genetic mutation or global pandemic really create a nation of zombies? Why are so many preppers talking about zombies and why are serious, rational adults acting like this is possible? That your neighbors would slowly shuffle toward you with arms outstretched, eyes glazed over, bent on killing you.

Because it is possible.

I don’t mean the Hollywood movie version of zombies, but I do believe that with the right event or circumstances, most of your town, state or country could be wandering aimlessly looking for food. I personally consider the potential of zombie hordes as all of those who didn’t prepare. The people who laughed and mocked preppers and who after a disaster threaten your life because they have to have what you have in order to live. It’s just a metaphor for mindless, killers who you will have to watch out for. If you take away the limp and the movie make-up, the people hunting you could be starving and willing to do anything it takes to get into your home and get to your supplies.

So, what do you do in this type of scenario? I think the better question is why aren’t you already preparing for this type of possible outcome?

I think that you have to seriously consider how you are going to act when someone you know comes to you for help or food and you know that with each cup of food you give away, that your children will eat one less meal. When neighbors are begging you for fuel that you know could power the generator that will keep your mother’s medicine cool and as a result keep her alive. What will you do when your friends from work come beating on your door because they know you have weapons and ammo stored up and they have none?

None of this is pleasant to think about. In fact it is probably one of the worst part of any hypothetical collapse of society. This would be our zombies coming to life. No, they wouldn’t be trying to eat you, but they would be a threat to your survival and you would have to deal with them. Would you plan for charity? What will you do when the amount you have set aside for charity is gone? What if the person banging on the door is your brother with his entire family?

Zombies aren’t real, but they can be used to get your mind thinking about things like this. Have you thought about what you will do if you are forced to choose?

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5 Weird Ways To Get Water

As preppers, we prepare for disaster, which often entails learning about new, weird ways to get water in order to survive a crisis.

After all, when SHTF, you may not wind up in an area that’s close to a body of water. You also may not end up in a situation where you can depend on your long-term water storage for survival.

As such, it’s important to understand how to get water from as many places as possible so that, even if your water storage runs out, you can avoid dehydration and even death.

We’ve got a lot to talk about, so here’s some tips on:

5 Weird Ways To Get Water

1 – Fog Harvesting Method

You can use this method with either foggy or rainy conditions. Simply tie a tarp or plastic sheet to a tree, and lead the bottom edge into a bucket (make sure the entire bottom of the sheet gets into the bucket).

The fog/rain will catch onto the tarp, and then slide down into the bucket, giving you water. You’ll probably want to purify the water, especially if the tarp isn’t extremely clean, but it’s a good resource in a pinch.

Here’s a quick video of a survivalist using this tactic; he’s a bit hard to hear with the wind, but you’ll get the idea.

2 – The Tree Method:

Clean drinking water can be yours if you’ve got plastic bags, paracord or rope, lots of sunshine, and a bunch of leafy plants/trees around. Simply push the end of the leafy branch inside of the bag (don’t let it rip!) and tie it around the branch.

paracord

 

rope

Wait a few hours (maybe seven or so, depending on the amount of daylight left), and you’ll come back to find water collecting in your bag. Use this method with multiple bags at a time for the greatest output.

Here’s a video of how to use this method, as well as why it’s so effective:

3 – The Tank Method:

This is a great method to use if you’re bugging in in an emergency.

Few preppers realize that, because gallons and gallons of water flow through our pipes every day, we can actually use this to our advantage for survival.

Water collects in the pipes within your walls, even if the water is shut off. You’ve also got water in your toilet tank and water heater. You can use this water to filter and drink in a crisis.

Note: To get out the water from the pipes in your walls, you can open the tap from the highest part of your home, and let gravity pull the water out the bottom taps.

4 – The Rooftop Method:

Many manufacturing facilities store water on their roofs in case of fire. When SHTF and you’re in  a life or death situation, it might be a good idea to get to the roof of such a building and collect this water for survival.

You could carry it in our camel back 3L bags http://www.shtfandgo.com/store/survival-gear/177-tactical-hydration-pack.html?search_query=camel&results=1

5 – The Solar Still Method

If  you’re in the bush and you’ve got nothing but dry, crusty soil all around you, you can still get fresh water. All you need is a shovel, some plants, a large piece of plastic sheeting, the sun’s heat, and some salt water. These little resources can help you create what’s known as a “solar still.”

You can use our US military tri fold shovel for this!  http://www.shtfandgo.com/store/survival-gear/54-us-trifold-shovel.html?search_query=shovel&results=2

Now watch this cool video to see how this “solar still method” is done:

As we all (should) know, humans can live for a maximum of three days without clean drinking water; that’s why it’s so important to have water on you as much as possible to avoid dehydration.

 

 

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Drinking sea water to survive?

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Everybody who has accidentally swallowed a bit of sea water knows that drinking a glass of it isn’t possible. Drinking sea water is dangerous and will result kidney failure. This is what everybody thought until Dr. Bombard proved that people could survive on sea water (we are talking about staying alive, not healthy).

Alain Bombard (October 27, 1924 – July 19, 2005) was a French biologist, physician and politician famous for sailing across the Atlantic Ocean in a small boat.

Alain Bombard was born in Paris. He theorized that a human being could very well survive the trip across the ocean without provisions and decided to test his theory himself in order to save thousands of lives of people lost at sea.
On October 19, 1952 Bombard began his solitary trip, after visiting his newborn daughter in France, across the Atlantic for the West Indies.

Bombard sailed in a Zodiac inflatable boat called l’Hérétique, which was only 4.5 metres (15 ft) long, taking only a sextant and almost no provisions.

Bombard reports he survived by fishing (and using fish as source of both fresh water and food) with a self-made harpoon and hooks and harvesting the surface plankton with a small net. He also drank a limited amount of seawater for a long period on his trip.

The minimum amount of water considered necessary to stay in good shape is 1.3/4 pts (1 litre) per day. It is possible to survive with 2 to 5 oz (55 to 220 centiliters) per day.

Many experts still disagree with Bombard’s theory, but the fact that he has survived 63 days on drifting raft without any other food and water than what the ocean could provide him gives a lot of credit to his research on sea survival. Bombard doesn’t disregard the danger of drinking sea water. During his testing periods he got sick when he tried to drink more than 32 oz of sea water per day for more than five days.

After numerous tests and various castaway experimentation (drifting at sea for weeks), he came to the conclusion that people could safely drink sea water in quantities not exceeding 32 oz per day. Safely here doesn’t imply healthy, it is rather the maximum amount of sea water a man could drink without experiencing major health complication or life threatening conditions. Of course all his tests were limited on himself (although many other people like the crew of La Balsa expedition and the Incas themselves were known to regularly drink sea water). If you must drink sea water, follow Dr. Bombard ‘s advice.

DRINK MAXIMUM 32 oz PER DAY and start as soon as possible (don’t wait to be dehydrated). Of course adding fresh water would improve your physical condition; but how to obtain fresh water in the middle of an ocean?

Rain water

 

Depending on your location, it might rain daily or very sporadically. In the tropics, one short rain storm could dump much water. Often the unprepared castaways have not been able to take advantage of those strong sporadic rain storms (if it rains daily you don’t need to be too concerned). Many have died of dehydration in areas of heavy rains. Don’t wait for the rain to be prepared.

Any large surface of fabrics such as canvas or plastic are great to catch rain water. If you have sails, make a giant bowl with them (make sure you rinse them before). In heavy sea make sure you protect your water collection plant from the waves. You don’t want the ocean to spoil your precious drinking water. If you don’t have any sails or not enough tarps, use anything from rain jackets and pants to garbage bags, wetsuits, life jackets, etc. Cans and bottles make great containers to store water but are not very efficient to collect it. You might also collect water from the gutters of your dinghy. Pockets of rain water might also form in various places (which you can lap if difficult to transfer into a receptacle).

Drink all you need from the rain, but if you have been on a rationed diet, drink very slowly as to not vomit (a normal reaction after forced drinking following dehydration).

Store as much rain water as possible. The first water collected might still contain a bit of salt (save it separately. You can use it to wash wounds and moisten lips and eyes. When you run out of containers, think of anything that can be made into a container (plan this beforehand). To not mention the obvious, fill up your diving BC, and everything that is inflatable. If you are on a raft. You can partially fill up the tubes of your raft. It won’t sink (rafts are extremely buoyant) but it will even stabilize it more in heavy seas (you can then pipe the water out when needed (for example with a snorkel or diving hose). Even condoms (never leave home without them!) can be thoroughly rinsed and after fully inflated, they can contain and preserve much water.

Condensation
In some dry places (little to no rain), nights might bring much condensation (a good example is Baja in Mexico). You can collect the drops of condensation with a canvas or plastic tarp (or sail) set as a bowl (to cover the maximum surface area, make sure the water collected gets funneled the proper way to be stored.

 

Saline and foul water

When the water is first collected it might contain too much salt to be drinkable, but it could still be used to clean wounds, humidify lips and rinse the skin (especially where rashes, dryness and soreness have developed).

Foul water collected on a raft is usually safe to drink but because of the taste it might cause vomiting. To avoid vomiting is can be absorbed rectally by means of a water retention enema!

Another beneficial use of water enema: After a long period of dehydration (and diet)the stomach shrinks and can’t hold much water. During a strong rain storm, if you don’t have much container to store water, you want to fill yourself up. You can absorb up to one pint rectally.

In case of severe dehydration the body will more quickly be hydrated with an enema. It is a method that has saved knowledgeable survivors. But careful not to use salt water (sea water is as dangerous absorbed rectally as it is orally).

Fish
Fish can provide a source of water. You can drink the aqueous liquid found in the eyes and spine bones. Those are almost free of salt and a good source of drinking water (especially if you catch large fish or in large quantities).

To extract the liquid, cut the freshly caught fish in half. Break the vertebra’s apart and suck them (no water in shark spines). Also suck the eyes.

You can also suck on barnacles and similar shellfish which are often found on hulls, ropes (or even whales). Taste first to make sure it isn’t too salty. If it taste too bitter you might want to discard it as well.

The Incas were believed to chew on fish to obtain water. Later, members of La Balsa expedition also survived by twisting pieces of fish in clothing to extract the moisture (after removing all the blood). They also suck on the waters from the eyes and bones. Dr. Bombard even made a machine to press fish and extract the precious fluid they contain.

It is believed that indigenous people were the pioneers in ocean navigation and survival at sea. They too might have drunk sea-water. Two famous expeditions tried to prove that the Incas and Huancavilcas could have migrated on balsa rafts from South America to the south Pacific islands. Their experience also forced them to drink sea-water over extended period of time. The Kon-Tiki raft was an exact replica of the Incas crafts. Lead by Thor Heyerdahl and his crew of four, the Kon-Tiki traveled 4,300 miles from Peru to Ranoia Reef (South Pacific) in 101 days. A later expedition called La Balsa, followed the route of the Kon-Tiki with a similar raft. In 1972, they left from Ecuador and covered 8,600 miles to reach Australia.

If prepared, man can survive at sea, even in a castaway situation! We have distillers that will also help with making sea water drinkable.

 

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How to Survive a Hurricane

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After Hurricane Katrina took over 1,800 lives and left a trail of devastation, you’d think that people would have learned their lesson. But, when Hurricanes Ike, Irene, Eresto, and Sandy struck (amongst the many other hurricanes and tropical storms which have hit the United States in the past decade), the local residents and governments were overwhelmingly unprepared. Take a lesson from history and learn how to survive a hurricane – before it is too late!

Truth: You Aren’t As Prepared As You Think

Many people of coastal towns think that they have done a good job of preparing for a hurricane. But, in reality, they often haven’t done more than stock up some non-perishable foods.

Unless you plan on making a floatation device out of your boxes of Cheerios, this isn’t going to save your life!

Disaster planning requires a multifaceted approach. If you want to really be ready to survive a hurricane, then you need to ask yourself questions like:

  • How will my family and I evacuate? Where will we go?
  • What will we eat and drink during and after the hurricane?
  • How will we go to the bathroom? (the plumbing won’t be working during a flood!)
  • How will we treat injuries?
  • How will we stay clean?
  • How will we pay for cleanup and restoration after the hurricane?

If you can’t answer all of these questions, then you aren’t prepared to survive a hurricane!

Truth: You Don’t Know What to Expect

When hurricane winds of 75+ miles per hour hit, you can expect broken tree branches, downed power lines, and large tidal waves. But, with any disaster, there is a lot that we can’t predict.

For example, 6 unarmed people were shot by the police at Danziger Bridge in New Orleans as they looked for food and supplies. The police said they were protecting the community from looters. But, in the chaos, the police were strained and opened fire on civilians – the very people they were supposed to protect.  This is just one example of how disasters can spiral out of control and create other disasters.

Truth: You Are More Vulnerable than You Think

If you live on the coast, then you are probably aware of the risk of hurricanes and have taken some effort to prepare. But it is actually the people who live inland who suffer the most casualties from hurricanes. Yes, that’s right: 60% of hurricane deaths occur inland and away from the ocean!

The deaths occur because of flash flooding, mudslides, and tornadoes which are caused by the heavy rainfall and winds. So don’t think you are safe just because you are away from the coast.

Truth: Most Hurricane Deaths Occur Are Avoidable

Even though hurricane winds are above 74 mph, it isn’t the wind which kills most people. It isn’t even drowning which kills most people.

The majority of deaths from hurricanes occur because people did something careless.

Or they did something downright stupid. Like taking a “walk” to the coast to see how big the waves are.

For example, during Hurricane Sandy, 8% of deaths were due to carbon monoxide poisoning. This occurred when people used generators in their homes, but without proper venting or a carbon monoxide detector. Use of propane heaters and lamps can also cause carbon monoxide.

Some common “careless” causes of death in the aftermath of hurricanes include:

  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Electrocution from touching downed power lines
  • Drowning in car because attempted to drive through flood water
  • Falling off roofs during cleanup

How to Survive a Hurricane: What You Should Do

FEMA has a decent guide on what to do to survive a hurricane. However, here is the more in-depth guide on how to survive a hurricane so you can be ready. Click the links to learn more about the steps.

Preparation Steps before the Hurricane

  1. Stockpile emergency food and water
  2. Stockpile emergency supplies
  3. Gather evacuation documents
  4. Make an evacuation bag
  5. Learn how to turn off the gas, electricity and water safely (and teach everyone on the family)
  6. Create an emergency communication plan with your family
  7. Create an evacuation plan (plan where you will go and map out routes)
  8. Get a generator and learn how to use it safely
  9. Get flood insurance if you can afford it
  10. Install a flood water pump
  11. Put equipment higher up in your house (such as moving breakers from the basement to the first floor)
  12. Reinforce your doors and latches
  13. Install wooden storm shutters on windows
  14. Install sturdier shingles on roofs
  15. Buy an reliable inflatable raft and life jackets

Steps When a Hurricane Watch is in Place

  1. Bring in all outdoor furniture
  2. Check your survival supplies. Fill up more water if you need to.
  3. Listen to the news of the hurricane.

Steps When Hurricane Warning is in Place

  1. Evacuate! Do NOT wait until it is too late. And do not wait until an evacuation order has been issued. By then, the traffic will be very bad.
  2. Board up windows and doors with plywood. Tape will not protect windows.
  3. If you cannot evacuate, then get into a safe room in the house.
  4. Turn off the electricity and gas at the mains.
  5. Do not look out windows or go outside
  6. Do not drive. If you must drive, do not drive through water. Just 6 inches of water can carry away a vehicle.
  7. Do not use candles or unprotected flames during the hurricane

Steps After the Hurricane Has Passed

  1. Do not exit until authorities say the threat is over. The sudden calm might just be the eye of the storm.
  2. Stay out of rooms which could be hit by falling branches
  3. Do not drink water without sanitizing it first. Sanitation facilities don’t work during power outages. Listen to hear if “boil alerts” are in place.
  4. Use text messages only to contact loved ones. Do not tie up the phone lines as these are needed for emergency calls.
  5. Do not walk through flood water in your home. Many drowning deaths occur from slip-and-fall accidents.
  6. Do not walk through flood water outdoors. It is often contaminated with sewage, or may be electrified from downed power lines.
  7. Do not perform any repairs unless you are 100% you can do it safely.

Linked from: http://www.primalsurvivor.net/how-to-survive-a-hurricane/

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12 Rainwater Collection Tips

rainwater-collection-tips

Why is it important to learn rainwater collection methods?

Living in such a modern world nowadays, most people don’t worry about much at all. They can mostly get what they need at home with just a push of a button or a flip of a switch. Even going camping outdoors is more like “glamping” these days, with food, water and even internet easily accessible.

But what if you run out of water, either at home or while spending time outdoors? What if there’s no way to get water elsewhere? Even if you were able to collect water, how would you make it safe to drink?

The following rainwater collection tips are for those who may find themselves in dry spell conditions, or even those who might like to save some money on their water bill.

Rainwater Collection Tips for Preppers

1. Check State Laws Before Collecting Rainwater

state laws rainwater collection

 

Are rainwater collection systems legal in your area? A water permit is required for some states in the US, while others don’t allow you to collect any rainwater at all. Better safe than sorry.

 

2. Collecting Rainwater At Home Using Food Grade Rain Barrels

rainwater barrels

Place the barrels beneath your downspouts. You can use cheesecloth, a coffee filter or a screen trap will help filter the water from sediments.

 

3. Make Your Own Rain Barrel

This tip will help you go through the Do’s and Don’ts in making your own rain barrel.

3. DIY Rainwater Collection System

five gallon bucket

This tip will help you collect rainwater mostly using materials that can already be found lying around your house. It may take a few hours of your time every day but it will surely put your power tools to good use. Plus, you don’t spend much for by paying someone else to do it for you.

 

4. Make An Emergency Water Filter

Using an ordinary bucket, you can fill it with different layers of certain materials that probably won’t cost you a cent. Just don’t forget to place a hole at the bottom.

 

5. Build An UltraModern Rainwater Harvesting System

rainwater collection system

Collecting and transporting a rainwater barrel outside your home can be tiring and time-consuming. Installing a system with a more complex design may help. Some systems have an overflow pipe that releases excess rainwater to a designated location in your property.

 

6. Install A Greywater System

If rain is scarce in your area and you’re just trying to save on your water bill, you might want to consider installing this system. You can recycle water from dishwashers, sinks, showers, and washing machines for use other than drinking.

 

7. Make A Belowground Still

This would increase your chances of survival for outdoor enthusiasts. This is a very basic way of collecting water if there isn’t any fresh water source for miles.

 

8. Make A Solar Still

solar still infographic

This is another ingenious way to collect drinking water in the wilderness. Just choose an inclined surface then dig a trench. With a stick, plastic bag and a few rocks you’ll quench your thirst in no time.

 

9. Plant Condensation

plant condensation

If there are a lot of plants nearby you can collect water through the process of condensation. You will need a plastic bag and a 550 cord or anything similar to that material. Wrap the plastic bag around the end of the plant or a branch of a small tree then wait for the water to condense at the bottom of the bag.

 

10. Use Rags To Collect Dew

wringing out rag

Dew is most heavy right before sunrise or shortly after that. By tying rags on your ankles and walking through grass covered with dew you can wring the now wet rags into a container. It may not be enough but it will get you through a couple of more hours.

 

11. Purify Water Taken From Unreliable Water Sources

water purification tablets

Purification tablets or 2% tincture iodine can come in handy when you need to purify water to make it safe for drinking. Make sure you purify water taken from swamps, lakes, streams, springs and ponds.

 

12. Use Tiny Zinc Oxide Wires Made In The Form Of  Spiny Cactus

cactus

These cacti spike inspired design was able to collect water from the air five times more efficiently than its original counterpart. This will work wonders for those that run out of water in the desert. If caught unprepared, collecting water from miniature cactus spines can suffice.

Just surf the web and you can find a lot more tips in collecting water from a variety of sources. Regardless of your location or type of environment you are in, knowing how to collect water in different ways is crucial for everyday living and survival.

Linked from: http://survivallife.com/rainwater-collection-tips/

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11 Survival TV Shows Worth Watching

survival-tv-shows-worth-watching

Plague, nuclear holocaust, and alien invasions! Whatever end-of-the-world / post-apocalyptic theme you can think of is on TV right now. But in the fray of TV shows for preppers, a lot of good shows have come and gone. If you feel like all of the best shows are canceled prematurely, no one shares your pain like we do. In this list, we want to focus on 11 survival TV shows (past and present) that we think are worth checking out.

1. Jericho (2006)

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This apocalyptic drama which aired back in 2006, was based on the story of a group of people in a little town in Kansas calledJericho as they struggle to survive the affects of nuclear fallout in several major cities around the U.S. The interesting twist to this show is that there is an underlying tone suggesting the government might have actually been complicit in the explosions. The town’s citizens come together to try to restore resources such as power and water and war with neighboring towns over debatable local resources. The writers did a great job with the story line and keep you hooked with the strength and vulnerability of each character. They also manage to sprinkle in some humor for good measure – not to mention the amazing soundtrack.

Jericho was suddenly canceled after the first season and was met with a barrage of complaints to CBS from the shows loyal fans. After launching a grassroots internet mega-campaign to revive the show CBS agreed to bring it back for one more season and at least wrap up some of the unanswered questions.

2. Falling Skies (2011)

In a world where civilization has been incapacitated by alien attack, we follow the story of a group of rag-tag survivors in the Boston area. In this post-apocalyptic world, there are no more electronics, military’s or major cities left, leaving only a handful of the world’s previous population to fight off the ongoing invasion. The odds are steep and survival is difficult when every day is is spent protecting and caring for the people, while also waging an insurgency campaign against an occupying alien force.

3. Survivors (2009)

Survivors is a British post-apocalyptic fiction drama that follows a similar premise as a lot of the other survival shows; the pandemic wipes out most of the population, society breaks down, people try to figure it all out. But what I really liked about this one is that they kind of make hero’s out of normal, everyday people who didn’t really even know they had it in them until it really came down to it. They were just normal people until things got crazy and forced them to rise to the occasion, which is what I think we’re going to see a lot of in the E.O.T.W.

4. The Colony (2009)

The Colony is a reality show on the Discovery Channel that originally aired in 2010. The show is basically a controlled experiment where a group individuals are placed in an isolated urban setting, where a hypothetical global catastrophe has occurred and the group has to try to rebuild with whatever they can find. They have basically an entire city to themselves and they can take over any property or resources they wish, but there are hired actors who act as thugs and looters to threaten and terrorize the members of the group to test their boundaries.

5. Out of the Wild: The Alaska Experiment

This is another Discovery Channel reality show where they pluck a group of city dwelling, urban professionals right out of their comfort zone and drop them by helicopter into the Alaskan outback smack-dab in the middle of winter. There are given limited supplies, a carry pack and a map to help them find their way to shelters along their route. If, at any time they sissy out and want to go home, all the have to do is hit their emergency GPS signal and a rescue helicopter will come get them out of there. I have to admit this show has taught me some really uniquesurvival skills that you might not see anywhere else like how to hunt for and prepare some rather unusual game like squirrels and porcupines. The show has just premiered for a third season which will take place in Venezeula. It should be interesting to see how the cast members fare in their new environment this time around.

6. Extreme Survival

While it only lasted 3 seasons, Extreme Survival with Ray Mears was an excellent wilderness survival show. Ray traveled to a diverse set countries all around the world, immersing himself in the culture and native survival techniques. Ray travels through the US, Canada, Italy, Brazil, India, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Russia, Australia and New Zealand. In addition to focusing on the native techniques, Ray also shares inspiring and sometimes horrifying survival stories that occurred in each area. There are dozens of shows and movies that Ray took part in, but this one should not be missed.

7. Man vs Wild

What makes Bear Grylls show so unique is the fact that he is willing to demonstrate some of the more strenuous or difficult survival techniques that most others would shy away from. He isn’t afraid to get down to the more nitty gritty aspects of survival that most of us would rather not have to think about like drinking your own urine to prevent dehydration or crossing a freezing cold river in the middle of winter. While it may seem a little over the top at times, I can’t help but think that there might be some point in our lives when we have to make a choice to do something disgusting or even painful in order to stay alive. You can’t help but respect the man for that.

8. Les Stroud “Survivor Man”

Les Stroud brings a humble quality to the realm of survival TV shows in Survivorman. Without any support staff or even a camera crew, he shows what it really takes to survive in the wilderness by yourself and with less than ideal supplies. From desert and swamp to the arctic mountains, Les has to survive for seven days, all on his own. But the difficult terrain doesn’t bring spirits down, Les keeps a positive and comedic attitude throughout each situation, making it feel more like a camping trip than a survival experience. You’ll come away from every episode with ancient survival techniques passed down from the natives of each area.

9. Surviving Disaster (2009)

What will you do when disaster strikes? Spike TV’s new original series Surviving Disaster, led by Navy SEAL Cade Courtley, vividly takes viewers through catastrophic scenarios and arms them with the knowledge needed to survive the unthinkable. Courtley tackles worst-case scenarios and equips viewers with the practical information needed to save their own lives and the lives of their loved ones. Whether the threat is natural or man-made or on a national or personal level, Courtley speaks directly to the viewers and guides them through a comprehensive, step-by-step process to not only survive the big picture disaster, but endure the many dangerous obstacles that may occur within each catastrophic event. While leading viewers out of danger, Courtley not only provides helpful tips and hands-on instruction, but swiftly points out common misconceptions and fatal mistakes. Unlike any other series, Surviving Disaster may actually save lives by providing actions that anyone can perform.

10. Jeremiah (2002)

This show is set in a post-apocalyptic future where all of the adult population was wiped out by a pandemic, leaving only kids to rule the world. We follow the main character “Jeremiah” played by Luke Perry as he tries to find out the real goal behind the pandemic and who is at fault. He partners up with a couple more hard core survivalists as they commandeer resources, discover hidden government bunkers and try to rebuild a broken nation.

The series ran from 2002 to 2004 on Showtime, but production stopped in 2003 when creative differences among the production companies couldn’t be resolved. The show wrapped up it’s second and final season in 2004 after a long hiatus off the air and resolved most of the plot threads from the first season.

11. Dual Survival (2010)

Wilderness survival takes on a new twist in Dual Survival when naturalist Cody Lundin and military-trained Dave Canterbury tackle tough terrain as a team. Each expert has experience in different types of survival situations, which exposes that classic question; how would a survival expert who’s never attempted this fair? It’s almost like seeing how you might respond in that extreme situation, which brings humanity to the show. You will also get to see how polar opposites might approach the same problem and be able to overcome it in completely different, yet successful, ways.

There are other TV shows like Naked and Afraid, Survivors, The Walking Dead, Storm Chasers, Combat Zone, and many, many more.  These are also all worth watching!

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Herbal Wound Care Options

Wound care should be an important part of your first aid preparedness training. After all, what may be a harmless paper cut by today’s standards could set the stage for infection in a less sanitary environment. Furthermore, if access to higher medical care were interrupted, there would be no ambulance or life flight, and maybe even no emergency room, to provide care for more serious wounds and injuries.

First aid for wounds covers many different aspects. Especially in a SHTF scenario, you would need to know how to safely control bleeding, assess the injury to gauge extent of the damage, and be able to clean the wound and prevent infection. Wilderness first aid or first responder training can be invaluable because there is so much to learn on this topic. Being able to learn from an instructor in these courses is also extremely helpful- they will correct any errors you might make and often have a great deal of  personal experience to make the material more relatable.

In long term scenarios with no higher medical care, the prevention of infection becomes a crucial step in the healing process. By using herbs to encourage healthy wound healing and support the immune system, you have a back-up plan in case medical supplies run short.

There are five basic types of herbs to keep in mind for herbal wound support: Hemostatics that curb excessive bleeding; anti-inflammatory herbs for healthy inflammation response; proliferative herbs that help with scabbing and the formation of new skin; anti-pathogenics that help minimize contamination of the wounds, and lymphatic herbs that support a healthy immune response. We will also briefly cover helpful pain relieving herbs.

Let’s take a look at the five main groups of herbs for wound care:

Herbal Hemostatics

Most herbs that have hemostatic properties are classified as astringents in traditional herbalism. These are herbs with a reputation for drawing up and tightening tissues, and drying up excessive fluids of all types. Traditional wound herbs utilized for their hemostatic properties include the leaves and flowers of shepherd’s purse, oak bark, wild geranium root, yarrow leaf and/or flower, raspberry or blackberry leaf or blackberry root, and chaparral leaf.

White oak and English oak are the two “official” oak species used in herbal medicine, but all oaks exhibit a high level of tannins and can be used interchangeable for their astringency. These herbs may be prepared as an infusion or decoction and applied as a wash, or if an extract is available it can be diluted in water and applied equally well. These herbs are also beneficial for oozing or weepy wounds or sores.

Herbal Anti-Inflammatories

These herbs may be applied topically alone or as part of a formula to encourage excessive inflammation to return to normal. Inflammation is a natural part of the healing process, but if the wound is large these herbs can help with comfort during the healing process, and help the tissue recover from pain and swelling. Several of them can also be found under the antipathogenic category, and under pain relievers. Examples of herbal anti-inflammatories include willow, meadowsweet, chaparral, lobelia, self heal, comfrey, plantain, birch, alder, aspen, poplar, and turmeric.

Proliferatives

Herbs that encourage the growth of healthy tissue during the growth process are also important. Chaparral, comfrey, horsetail, plantain, calendula, and aloe are great examples of this type of herb. It’s important to use proliferatives judiciously over deep wounds, as they can promote healing of the top layers of the epidermis before the wound has healed completely underneath. This could set the stage for infection. Be sure that the wound is clean and has started to heal well internally and that there is no chance of infection before using them.

Comfrey and calendula can promote healthy tissue growth when there is a concern that scar tissue could be damaging. These herbs have a traditional reputation for helping a wound to heal with minimal scarring. Elecampane root can be beneficial when there is “proud flesh,” meaning the wound is having difficulty forming a healthy scab (7). Stinging nettle can be taken internally as a tea, or eaten as a steamed green, during the healing process as this herb supplies micro-nutrients and protein that support the healing process (2,4).

Anti-Pathogenics

Antipathogenics are herbs that help keep the wound clean from bacterial contamination. Note that these are not going to behave in the same manner as an internal, systemic antibiotic. They need to be applied topically. Chaparral, plantain, acacia, aloe, echinacea, goldenseal, and sida are examples here. Even though goldenseal is listed, it’s important to understand that the berberine content in goldenseal does its best work topically. It’s not well absorbed into the bloodstream from the gut.

Learn More: If you would like to read more about the few herbs that do seem to have a systemic anti-pathogenic effect, you can visit my blog to read this article on Herbal Antibiotics: What You Really Need To Know. But you also need to learn about herbal lymphatics.

Herbal Lymphatics

Because there are very few herbs that have a systemic action approaching modern antibiotics, we turn to another staple in the prepared herbalist’s medicinals kit: Herbal lymphatics. These herbs work with our bodies to support the effectiveness of our immunity through our lymphatic system. If you’ve ever experienced swollen lymph glands during a fever or infection, you know first hand how hard these glands work during an immune system challenge.

Herbal lymphatics promote the movement of lymph and the ability of the body to drain off and process the byproducts of infection. Poke root, blue flag, echinacea, red root, boneset, and cleavers are herbs in this class. Alteratives, or blood purifiers, such as burdock and red clover, can support lymphatic herbs. Lymphatics can be applied as compresses over swollen lymph glands, but it is usually more practical to take them internally. Poke and blue flag are generally used in small amounts, even only a few drops at a time, due to their potency and potential toxicity. Cleavers is a very safe lymphatic that may also be eaten as a steamed green.

Herbal Support for Pain

The last topic we need to cover for herbal wound care is the problem of pain. Everyone has a different pain tolerance, but the topic of pain should be taken seriously during wound care in a SHTF scenario. Pain places more stress on an already stressed system, and can interfere with sleep and appetite. Adequate rest and nutrition are important for healing in any scenario, but especially in an emergency situation where no higher care is available. The same can be said for managing stress in what is most likely a very stressful environment to begin with. Herbs that have a tradition of use for pain include Jamaica dogwood (1), meadowsweet, willow, and black cohosh (5).

Applying Herbs in a Wound Care Scenario

In addition to knowing first aid skills and what herbs to use, you also need to know how to use the herbs. Now that you have a basic understanding of the types of herbs that could be used for wound care, you may still be curious about how the herbs would be applied.

As a general rule, the two most practical herbal preparations in any SHTF scenario are going to be extracts (sometimes called tinctures); and infusions or decoctions. Extracts are made by soaking herbal material in alcohol (if made at home, it’s common to use Everclear mixed with water or vodka), which preserves the herbs and pulls the beneficial components into the liquid. Teas made with herbs are known as infusions (for fresh or dried leaves and flowers) and decoctions (for fresh or dried roots, barks, and seeds). Both types of preparations have the flexibility of either external or internal use (depending on the herb). Extracts are most commonly used internally, but may be diluted in a small amount of water to create a wash or applied without dilution if needed.

Some of the herbs listed above, like Jamaican dogwood, poke root, and chaparral, are at one end of the herbal safety spectrum and are called for in only small amounts at a time. Herbs like burdock and cleavers fall on the opposite end of the spectrum and are safe enough to be foraged as food. Most fall somewhere in the middle, but it’s important that you become familiar with each herb you plan to use during emergency situations so that you understand the plant’s unique profile as well as how much to use.

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Which Bug-Out Region Do You Live In?

The feasibility of any bug out plan depends a lot on your starting point.  Obviously, some regions of the country have more to offer than others in terms of places to go.  But every part of the Lower 48 has its share of potential bug out locations.  The map below shows eight major regions as I’ve divided them for the purposes of my book: Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It’s Too Late.

There is some crossover between the regions shown here, but the illustrator has done a pretty good job of placing the demarcation lines approximately the way I have divided the bug out locations described in the book.  Note the page numbers that will correspond to the beginning of each regional chapter.  The first four chapters are on general information and planning, including gear and methods of transportation.

My reasoning for these divisions is that these specific regions offer distinct variations in terrain, climate and plant and animal communities.  Again, there is some crossover in some areas, but anyone familiar with all these areas of the U.S. will see how survival skills and gear can be different from one region to the next.  Natural hazards including everything from weather to dangerous wildlife vary according to these regions, as do resources such as the availability or lack or water, edible plants and game animals.  It is this variation that made working on this book such an interesting project for me over the past several months, not to mention the real time I’ve spent out there backpacking, canoeing and kayaking in all of these regions at various times during the past 25 years.  Writing each chapter made me reminiscence about past trips and long to load up a canoe or backpack and go again. 

My home base is in the Gulf Coast region, and I stay here because of family ties as well as my love of the water – both the rivers and the Gulf itself.  I’m lucky to have a large number of bug out options close by because I live in one of the least populated states east of the Mississippi River.  Those of us living in small towns or rural areas are the least likely to need to bug out to begin with, but each region on the above map has its share of densely populated cities where the residents would do well to have a working knowledge of where to go if the SHTF and they have to get out.  Keep in mind that the vast majority of the populations of those cities are not going to have this knowledge and most will not even try to leave, but will instead wait for outside help that may or may not come.  Out here in the small towns and rural areas of America, most of us would pull together in such a situation and help each other out, as has been proven time and time again when the big Gulf hurricanes have hit the nearby coast.  In the aftermath of Katrina, the media covered the chaos and violence going down in New Orleans, while people along the even harder hit Mississippi Coast quietly rolled up their sleeves and went to work digging out of the rubble and rebuilding. 

So it’s obvious that where you live has a lot to do with how you should formulate your survival plans and can be a big factor in your chances of success or at least the degree of difficulty you would face.  But one thing we are blessed with here in the U.S. is plenty of undeveloped and uninhabited lands.  It may not seem so when you’re driving past mile after mile of strip malls and suburban sprawl, but compared to so many other countries in the world there is a lot of unused land here – both public and private.  Have you explored all the potential bug out locations near you?  What if you travel a lot for your job or for pleasure?  Do you know where the big uninhabited areas are in other regions you frequent?  If not, you should think about it.  I hope that this kind of information detailed in my new book will be of use not only for bug out planning, but to encourage readers to get out and explore the great wild places available their own region and other parts of the country.  

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Is this the Best Personal Bug Out Vehicle?

The folks over a Motoped have been building motorized bicycles for a while.  They have recently released a product that places itself somewhere in between a standard mountain bike and a performance dirt motorcycle.  These bikes have a range of 125-150 miles on gas and as far as you’re willing to pedal on human power.  This is definitely a take you anywhere vehicle.

Motoped Survival with optional 1 gallon gas tanks. Motoped Survival with optional 1 gallon gas tanks.

check out their video below.  I’ll be placing my order with them.  At just over 100 pounds this bike could be the answer to getting you home or getting away.