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How to Make a River Cane Fish Trap

by Todd Walker

Give a man a fish and he eats for a day… teach him to make a fish trap and he feeds himself and his tribe!

How to Make a River Cane Fish Trap - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

On the heels of our last post on river cane, I thought you may be interested in how to build a traditional fish trap. The beauty of any kind of trapping device is its ability to passively gather protein while you spend valuable time doing other stuff. Set it and forget it.

This funnel trap is not a “survival” trap. Your time would be better spent in a short-term survival scenario than burning calories collecting resources and lashing cane. However, for a long-term, consistent fish-catcher, take your time and build it to last.

Admiration and many thumbs-up signs go out to all aboriginal people who built one of these from scratch. The sheer amount of cordage needed is daunting enough using modern bank line. If my only lashing option was natural cordage, I’d choose to make a woven basket to eliminate the cordage requirement. Raw hide may have been used by our ancestors. I had enough bank line, so I used it.

Building a River Cane Fish Trap

Before you get your taste buds riled up, check your local game laws regarding fish traps. In my state of Georgia, you must have a commercial fishing license and traps have to be built to meet certain standards with respect to materials, size, and use. This trap fails the state standard. Chicken wire is required and does not grow naturally in the eastern woodlands. River cane does and was used to construct this self-reliance experiment for educational purposes only.

Our video tutorial is up for those who like this format:

Material and Tools

  • River cane of various lengths and diameter (thumb-size to pencil-size and at least 6 feet long). Non-native bamboo is a good substitute.
  • Cordage ~ Bank line, jute twine, or raw hide and natural cordage for the purists.
  • Knife or pruning shears

You’ll need lots of time, patience, and knots once you gather the river cane.

Build 3 Hoops

Either use freshly cut cane or other flexible branches. In my experience, cane cut over a week ago won’t bend for the hoops without heating. All I had was older cut cane at my shelter when I began this project. I improvised and tested two pencil-size species: Tulip Poplar and American Beech. Tulip poplar worked for the largest hoop (15 inch diameter) but was too brittle for the medium (12 inches) and smallest (8 inches). All three of the hoops on the larger funnel are beech limbs.

River Cane- 25 Self-Reliant Uses for -Cherokee Plastic- - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Cut lengths for your desired diameter. Overlap the ends and lash together. I started the lashing with a bowline knot and terminated the lashing with a clove hitch. Apply gentle pressure to the hoops to create round supports for the river cane ribs to be attached.

Harvest and Prepare Cane Ribs

Harvesting river cane has inherent risks. Snakes, chiggers, and ticks make canebrakes home. Prepare accordingly.

River cane has two leaf types: Clum leaf and branch leaves. Clum leaves form a protective sheath which hug the clum upward from each node. The branch leaves grow from the end of the new branches coming off nodes.

To remove the clum leaves, grip and twist the sheath-like leaf at each node. It’s not necessary to remove these leaves if you’re pressed for time. Then again, if you’re pressed for time, this project may not be for you. The branches protruding from the upper nodes are easily removed by pulling them down towards the base of the clum.

Trim and blunt the ends of the cane to avoid accidental puncture or cuts while building and using your trap.

Attach Cane Ribs

Use four of your more robust canes to start framing your trap. It’s not that important which knots/lashings you use. They just need to hold the ribs securely to the hoops. I used square lashing with bank line on most of the ribs initially. However, as more cane is added to the frame, space becomes limited. Get creative with knots.

How to Make a River Cane Fish Trap - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Attach the larger ends of the tapered cane to the largest hoop at 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, and 9:00 with about a couple of inches overlapping past the hoop. Repeat the process about halfway down the four canes with the medium hoop. I found that laying the frame on the ground to attach the remaining hoops speeds up the process.

Lash the smallest hoop about 18 inches from the middle hoop. With the three hoops attached to the four canes, you have a steady framework on which to add the remaining ribs. Don’t worry about cutting all the ribs to the same length at the onset. They can run wild and be trimmed even at the end of the project.

Add more cane ribs… Add more cane… Add more… you get the picture. This labor of love eats up most of you time. As the spacing between ribs narrowed, I began tying a modified diagonal lashing. On tight spaces, I simply wrapped the cordage around the cane and hoop and tied a square knot.

The spacing between canes at the opening of the trap are naturally wider than those at the tip end. After testing, I may have to weave cordage between the ribs to add rigidity to the funnel and lessen the chance of smaller fish escaping. I’ll update you after the field test.

Build the Inner Funnel

On this day, I had freshly cut river cane. I used it to make two hoops. I can say that it is better and more flexible than the beech used in the larger funnel.

How to Make a River Cane Fish Trap - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

The interior funnel hoop is slightly smaller in diameter than the opening of the large funnel. The small hoop of the interior funnel was about 7 inches in diameter.

Build the frame of this funnel in the same manner as the larger one. Use smaller diameter cane with the large ends attached at the larger hoop (opening end). Allow the smaller, more flexible ends to run past the smaller inside hoop by 6 to 7 inches.

In theory, doing so will allow fish to swim through the flexible funnel end but prevent them from leaving. Kinda like a line from the Eagles hit song, Hotel California… “you can check in anytime you like, but you can never leave.”

Connect the Two Funnels

Once the interior funnel is complete, insert it into the larger funnel opening. Lash the two hoops together so that the inside funnel is somewhat straight and even with the large funnel. Secure the hoops at several points around their circumference in a permanent fashion.

How to Make a River Cane Fish Trap - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Inner funnel secured

You’re almost done!

Close the Trap Tip

Gather the cane at the tip of the trap at a point with about 6 inches of cane remaining. Lash this point with a knot that is secure but can be easily untied. This is the end you will untie and empty your trap of all the fish you’ve caught… fingers crossed.

How to Make a River Cane Fish Trap - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Once the tip end is lashed, trim the wild ends. One whack from a machete on a chopping block and your done.

One last detail you’ll need to take care of if you use nylon bank line. Cut and melt the ends of all those tag ends of cordage. If you have a soldering torch (not very primitive, I know), simply burn the tag ends so they don’t unravel. Take care not to melt the lashings or set the cane on fire. Melted nylon is no joke on your skin. Be careful.

Bait the Trap

Wrap your bait of choice in panty hose or cheese cloth and suspend it from the inside of the trap. Catfish like stinky stuff like chicken liver, dead fish, and commercial blood bait.

Attach a sturdy line(s) to a larger rib/hoop junction for lowering and raising the trap. You’ll also want to attach an anchor to sink the trap as river cane floats. Use a jug at the end of the line to mark your trap in deep water. Near the bank you can tie the line to a tree or limb. My experience with chicken wire traps in my childhood was that I caught more turtles than catfish in shallow waters.

Leave the trap submerged for several hours or overnight. Check the trap regularly and follow local game and fishing laws.

 

An update will be coming on the functionality of the trap. Max and I didn’t have time to get it in the pond. If it’s anything like the chicken wire traps we used years ago, we won’t go hungry if we ever have to depend on this river cane trap.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook… and over at the Doing the Stuff Network.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there… 

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, DIY Preparedness Projects, Doing the Stuff, Primal Skills, Self-reliance, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

How to Build a Carving Bench from a Log (Rope Vise Plans Included)

by Todd Walker

My uncle Emmett introduced me to woodcarving in grade school. He taught me to carve a “ball in a cage” from a single block of balsa wood in the church basement. Years pasted as did my interest in wood carving. It’s funny how our interests come full circle in life.

How to Build a Carving Bench from a Log - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

After 40 years, I was reintroduced to the traditional skill of greenwood carving. Local, sustainable trees are used to make objects for everyday use while learning old-world skills. Handmade spoons, cups, and bowls are hidden within these renewable resources.

For over a year now, I’ve been whittling on wood to create something more than a camp pot hook. It’s all part of my addictive journey of self-reliance and…

Freedom from Electricity

Do I love and use electricity? You bet!

However, my personal space in the woods is my favorite location for carving… or doing most anything else. Dependence on electricity is not an option. Out there I’m transported back to a time of Doing the Stuff with cordless-tools held by hands, my hands. My collection of simple hand tools overshadows my skill level. I’ll keep Doing the Stuff until my skills catch up.

One tool my semi-permanent shelter was missing is a dedicated carving bench. Add this to my Paring Ladder, and a future pole lathe, and my no-electric-power shop in the woods will be fully functional. The forest provides the raw building materials. It’s my job to collect them.

I’ve included a video tutorial for those who prefer moving pictures.

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own…

Carving Bench from a Log

Material and Tool List

  • A hardwood log about 2 to 3 feet long and 10 to 12 inches in diameter
  • 4 poles for legs and a few other sticks along the way
  • Wooden pegs for the peg holes – again, more sticks
  • Cordage – something for the rope vise and smaller stuff for lashing
  • Chainsaw or crosscut saw – depending on how vigorous of a project you desire
  • Ax and knife – a drawknife is optional but really useful if you’ve built a paring ladder
  • Auger – 1 inch minimum

Ideas for this design came from photos of two Facebook groups of which I’m a member:

I highly recommend both groups if you’re on Facebook and pursuing self-reliance.

Step 1: Cut a Log

The reason I carried my chainsaw to the woods that day was to cut some dead cedar for a couple of sitting bench projects. Another heavy cutting project was a huge dead pine, not within reach of my shelter, but adjacent to a spot boy scouts camp. It needed to be felled. I also needed a hefty log for a carving bench.

How to Build a Carving Bench from a Log - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

The pine widow maker is down. Talk about a fat lighter’d resource!

I cut a limb off a red oak downed by a storm a year ago and hauled it back to base camp. Whatever tree you use, it should be hardwood and about the dimensions given above.

Step 2: Cut Notches

Make three perpendicular cross cuts almost halfway through the log. The first cut will be about 5 inches from one end. Now cut at a 90 degree angle from the end of the log to the base of the first cut to remove this section of wood. This will be the end shelf of your bench and platform for the rope vise.

Make the second cross-cut 5-6 inches from the first cut. The third cut goes in about 18 inches (depends on how much flat work space you want) from the second cut. The space between the second and third cut will become your middle bench area.

How to Build a Carving Bench from a Log - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Save the half-moon sections for spacer blocks… or firewood.

Score a line connecting the bottom of the second and third cuts along the sides of the log. Make several cuts about 2 inches wide on the middle section of the log down to the scored lines. Strike the 2 inch sections with the butt of your ax or maul to break them loose. Remove and save these half-moons as spacers for wedging stock on the bench.

How to Build a Carving Bench from a Log - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

A good smack with an ax usually removes the half-moon blocks.

The base of the middle section will be uneven after removing the half moons. Use your ax to hew this section of your bench smooth. Use a wooden maul to hammer the ax through hard-to-reach sections until the surface is relatively flat.

How to Build a Carving Bench from a Log - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Hewing the work surface.

How to Build a Carving Bench from a Log - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Ready for holes.

Step 3: Bore Holes

Use a timber framing auger or brace and bit to bore a hole all the way through the center of the end shelf. This hole will serve as part of your rope vise. My auger is a vintage 1-1/4 inch timber frame tool DRG and I found at an antique store. I’d say one inch holes would be the minimum for this kind of project.

How to Build a Carving Bench from a Log - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Two parallel logs work well to hold the bench steady when crafting.

Lay the bench down on two other logs as supports. Bore 4 to 6 holes in the middle section of the bench. Make these peg holes about 2 knuckles deep. I marked my auger bit with duct tape at the two-inch mark as a depth gauge. Two holes should be about 4 inches from one wall in the middle section and about 4 or 5 inches apart crosswise. Repeat the hole spacing on the other interior wall of your bench. I added two more peg holes in between these four holes for added adjustability.

How to Build a Carving Bench from a Log - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

The best shot I had of the peg holes.

Debark the log with your ax. Turn the bench over with the work surface parallel to the ground on top of the support logs. Bore holes at each of the four corners to accept your bench legs. Use the same depth gauge for these holes you used for the previous holes. However, you need to angle these leg holes out from the center line and middle of the log.

How to Build a Carving Bench from a Log - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

A leg for each corner.

Here’s a tip for keeping the legs in line with one another. After boring one leg hole, cut and prepare a leg and insert in the first hole. Now you have an angled leg to visually line up the opposite leg hole as you bore the remaining holes. Move the leg to another hole as needed to sight your angles.

Step 4: Make Legs

Since I have a good supply of standing dead cedar, I used 2 to 3 inch diameter poles for my legs. Plus, cedar is rot-resistant. I cut my four legs longer than I thought was needed and trimmed them to proper length later.

How to Build a Carving Bench from a Log - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

I used my paring ladder and my new foldable draw knife to taper the narrow end of each leg. An ax and/or knife is all you really need, though. The tapered end should fit in your leg hole snugly at the one inch mark. You’ll drive the legs into the holes later for a secure fit.

Step 5: Cut Legs to Height

When your satisfied with the final leg length for your bench height, pound the legs into the holes with an ax or maul. Chamfer the ground-end of the legs to help prevent “mushrooming” as your strike these ends.

I cut my legs so that my bench is about waist height. This may prove to be too high. I can always trim the legs but can’t add wood back to the legs.

Step 6: Build the Rope Vise

I had originally thought I’d use a loop of rope held down with my foot to secure stock on the end shelf. However, the tensioning device for my take down bucksaw came to mind as I kneeled on the ground measuring my rope.

Ah ha!

Cut a cross brace and attach it to the two end legs under the end shelf. Tie the two intersections with square lashing  about a foot off the ground. Tarred mariners line works great for this application.

How to Build a Carving Bench from a Log - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Fully assembled rope vise holding stock on the end shelf.

Feed a loop of rope through the end shelf hole from the underside of the bench. Place a stick in the loop on top of the end shelf to prevent it from dropping out of the hole. Tie the loose ends of the rope around the cross brace. I used a fisherman’s knot. Leave enough slack in the loop for spoon blanks to fit in the loop on top of the end shelf.

Next, cut a stick that will serve as a winding paddle in your rope. The paddle needs to be long enough catch on the bench legs, but not so long that you can’t twist it between the legs. Insert the paddle in the middle of the rope with stock in the loop on the end shelf. Now wind the rope tight and allow it to rest on one or both of the legs.

If the stock on the end shelf is loose, twist the rope a few more times. This rope vise allows you to hold down wood very securely. This vise is not a quick release system but it will hold what needs to be held.

Step 7: Cut Pegs

Cut two to four pegs measuring about 4-5 inches above the work surface when inserted in the peg holes. Taper each peg end as you did the legs. The only difference is that the pegs are smaller in diameter. 

How to Build a Carving Bench from a Log - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Pegs with wedges shimmed to hold a large block of cedar firm. I started gouging a bowl on this stock. 

The adjustable pegs on the middle section gives you options for a variety of wood sizes. Simply move pegs to fit the width of your work piece. Cut a few wooden wedges and shim the stock tight between the pegs and end wall. You could also shim pieces between any configuration of pegs on the work bench surface. This center section will be an excellent way to hold larger projects like bowls and kuksas. Plus, I now have another flat, horizontal surface which always comes in handy around camp at supper time.

Your bench is ready for work!

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook… and over at the Doing the Stuff Network.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there… 

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, DIY Preparedness Projects, Doing the Stuff, Self-reliance, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 14 Comments

3 Skills that Cover a Multitude of Survival Sins

by Todd Walker

From the biblical perspective, sin is “missing the mark.” In wilderness survival, not hitting your target in one skill doesn’t have to mean certain death. However, fall short in these three critical survival skills, and, dude, you’re screwed!

3 Skills that Cover a Multitude of Survival Sins - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

You won’t get a second chance to see your family again if you can’t stay warm and hydrated. Core Temperature Control (CTC) is the redeeming factor.

Cold and Wet: The Perfect Storm

Your body does a remarkable job regulating core temperature. However, add moisture to the equation, drop the temperature slightly, and you’ve got a perfect storm for hypothermia.

Water saps body heat 25 times faster than air. And 70 to 80% of your body heat is lost through your head and neck. The remaining heat loss goes through your fingers, hands, and feet. The simple act of breathing in cold air and expelling warm air will chill your body.

A slight change in core temp, even by a degree or two, will affect your bodily functions. Shivering, lack of coordination, slurred speech, and numbness in the extremities are signs of hypothermia. Decrease to 91.4ºF (33ºC) and you lose consciousness. Complete muscle failure occurs at 82.4ºF (28ºC).

Core Temperature Equipment

This article is not addressing wilderness living skills or long-term self-reliance. We’re talking about surviving. You can’t very well pursue long-term stuff if you’re not equipped to survive the a short-term storm. And, by storm, I mean – when you need immediate help and none is available – in the wilderness or urban setting.

The first step to being equipped is to always carry equipment. No matter how many debris huts you’ve built, you’d be a stupid survivalist, and possibly a dead one, to not pack some sort of emergency shelter option, fire kit, metal container, cordage, and a knife.

Below is my emergency kit I carry no matter how long I plan to be in the woods.

  • Emergency Space Blanket ~ The best 12 ounce item in my kit for core temperature control. I also carry two contractor grade garbage bags – too many uses to mention here.
  • Fire Kit ~ Three different ignition sources – open flame (Bic lighter), spark ignition (ferro rod), solar ignition (magnifying lens), sure fire (diy and commercial), duct tape, and a bit of dry tinder material.
  • Knife ~ There is no such thing as “The Best Survival Knife”. However, your cutting tool should have multipurpose attributes and be hair-popping sharp.
  • Metal Container ~ A metal water bottle can be used to boil water, make char cloth, cook meals, and perform self-aid duties.
  • Cordage ~ I carry both 550 paracord and tarred mariners line.

These items are my bare bones kit and go with me camping, hiking, backpacking, and hunting. Don’t think you’ll ever need these kit items? Think again. Read this real-life survival story of an injured hunter in the Idaho wilderness.

Core Temperature Control Skills

Conserving body heat is the key to survival. Your body produces heat from biochemical reactions in cells, exercise, and eating. Without a furry coating like lower animals, insulation to maintain a body temperature at 98.6 degrees F is critical.

It all starts with…

Skill #1 ~ Shelter

Sins of Sheltering: Not carrying an emergency space blanket and wearing improper clothing.

While having an emergency space blanket is important, your shelter is built before you ever step over the door sill of your warm and cozy home. Your clothes are your first layer of shelter.

Ever see men with Sasquatch hair at the beach. No matter how thick it appears, that rug won’t insulate when wet and cold.

To trap body heat, layer your clothing. Layers create dead air space much like the insulation in house walls and attics. Layering is activity-dependent. But the basic concept applies to any outdoor cold weather activity.

Here’s my layer system…

A.) Base Layer ~Your base layer should fit snuggly to your body. Long sleeve shirt and underwear made of polyester blend for wicking perspiration away from my body. Sock liners go on first before wool socks. Thin wool glove liners are worn inside my larger leather mittens.

B.) Insulation ~ Yes, I wear cotton, and sometimes fleece, on top of the base layer. This is dependent upon my activity. If I’m really active in really cold weather, I wear a wool sweater. Wool is my favorite insulation layer. Here’s why…

  • Wool fiber absorbs up to 36% of its weight and gradually releases moisture through evaporation.
  • Wool has natural antibacterial properties that allow you wear it multiply days without stinking up camp. Not so with synthetics.
  • Wool wicks moisture, not as well as synthetics, but better than cotton.
  • Wool releases small amounts of heat as it absorbs moisture.
  • Wool contains thousands of natural air-trapping pockets for breathable insulation.

Remembering the importance of dead air space, your insulation layer should fit loosely and be breathable. Apply the acronym C.O.L.D. to your insulating layer…

  1. C – Keep CLEAN
  2. O – Avoid OVERHEATING
  3. L – Wear loose LAYERS to create dead air space
  4. D – Keep DRY

C.) Outer Layer ~ Waterproof is not your friend. Yes, it will keep rain and wetness out, but it will also seal perspiration in eventually soaking your insulation. Wear a weather-resistant shell that allows moisture to escape. The main concern for this layer is to block wind.

Your head, hands, and feet are included in this layer. I’m partial to wool hats to keep my bald head warm. In subzero temps, I wear my shapka, a Russian red fox winter hat, I bought in Siberia in the early 90’s.

Cold feet are deceptive. Frostbite can happen before you know the damage is done. Wear polyester sock liners with wool socks inside your footwear of choice.

Jamie Burleigh under an emergency space blanket shelter with garbage bag bed

Jamie Burleigh under an emergency space blanket shelter with garbage bag bed at The Pathfinder School.

D.) Waterproof Shelter ~ Again, for emergency essentials, you can’t beat a good space blanket to block wind, rain, and reflect heat back to your body. Combined with a plastic painter’s tarp, a Kochanski Super Shelter can keep you warm in subzero condition in street clothes.

Use two large contractor garbage bags filled with leaves, wet or dry, for an insulating ground pad. They don’t add much weight or take up much space in your kit.

There are many more options for waterproof covering. The above list is for your emergency kit.

Skill #2 ~ Fire Craft

Sins of Fire Craft: Not carrying multiple ignition sources and all-weather fire starters.

Fire covers a multitude of ‘sins’ in your survival skills. Even if you deliberately commit the offense of not packing emergency shelter, fire forgives your lapse in judgement. Scantily clad in the wilderness? Fire covers your wrongdoing. No matter how you “miss the mark” in skills or equipment, fire can redeem you.

If you’ve spent any amount of time in the woods I’m sure you’ve heard Mother Nature humming these classic lyrics…

“… Like it always seems to go, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

Are you a fair-weather fire crafter?

That’s a good place to start. Nothing wrong with learning in the most fire-friendly conditions. You’ve got dry tinder, kindling, and fuel to burn. This may not be the case when your life depends on making fire in the wind, rain, and snow.

Cheating is NOT a Sin

There is absolutely no such thing as cheating when it comes to building a life-sustaining fire. Who cares what Bushcraft purists think! Your loved ones aren’t worried about style points in fire craft. They want you home alive. So cheat!

For the weekend camper or woodsman, carry these foul weather fire cheats…

Fire Cheat #1 ~ One of the most overlooked fire starters that should already be in your pack is duct tape. Loosely wad up about 2 foot of tape and ignite it with an open flame. A ferrocerium rod will ignite duct tape. However, you have to shred the tape to create lots of surface area. This isn’t your best option if your fingers are losing dexterity in freezing temperatures.

Fire Cheat #2 ~ DiY fire starters made of wax-soaked jute twine or cotton makeup remover pads. I also carry commercially made sure fire that will burn on water.

Fire Cheat #3 ~ Always carry enough dry tinder material to start a fire in sucky weather.

Fire Cheat #4 ~ Know where to find the best possible tinder material and how to process it to create surface area. Dead hanging branches, pencil lead size to pencil size, provide kindling even in the rain.

Fire Cheat #5 ~ Fat lighter’d (aka – fatwood, resin-rich pine wood) is my lifesaver in the south. Discover your best natural fire starter wherever you’re located or plan to travel. I keep this stuff in all my kits. It’s abundant where I live.

Fire Cheat #6 ~ Dry wood is available in all weather conditions if you know where to look. Standing dead Tulip Poplar (Magnolia) is one of my go-to fire resources. The trick to getting to the dry wood is splitting the wood down to tinder, kindling, and fuel size material. The inner bark makes excellent tinder bundles!

Post #500: The One Stick Fire Challenge

One 2 inch diameter stick of tulip poplar made all this: L to R: Thumb, pencil, pencil lead, and bark tinder

And that brings us to the next skill that forgives survival sins…

Skill #3: Knife Skills

A knifeless man is a lifeless man.

The “survival” knife market is full of gadgetry. Gadgets are for gawkers. You don’t need a Rambo knife to survive. You just need a solid knife and some skill. 

Carry a good knife and practice with what you carry. Your knife may become your one-tool-option. Here are a few characteristics I look for when selecting my main knife…

  • High carbon steel blade that is non-coated. Coated knives can’t be used to create sparks off the spine with a rock to ignite charred material. Carbon steel is easier to sharpen in the field than stainless steel.
  • Blade length between 4-5 inches.
  • Full tang (solid metal under the entire handle) lessens the chance of breakage when an ax is not available to split wood and you have to resort to the baton method.
  • A 90 degree spine is useful to strike ferro rods, process tinder, scrape wood shavings for fire, and many other uses.
  • Most importantly, your knife should feel right in your hand as you use it. The best “survival” knife is the one you have on you and are proficient with.

Knife Sins: Carrying a knife but never becoming competent with your blade.

You’re not going to be carving spoons and bowls in a short-term survival situation. Your cutting tool will be used to make shelter and fire to control core temperature. Knife skills can be easily developed and honed in your backyard.

Since fire is the most forgiving if you “miss the mark” with proper shelter, we’ll cover the cutting tool’s use in fire craft first.

Have Knife, Will Burn

Even if you’ve committed the first two survival sins, your blade can save you. A knife in skilled hands can create fire from scratch. I don’t rely on friction fire as my first choice but do practice the skill in case I run into unknown unknowns.

With my buddy Bic in my pocket, I still need to process sticks to make fire quick. Both the cutting edge and spine of your knife are used to create surface area needed for ignition.

Remembering that you’re cold and wet, your fine motor skills are probably suffering. Pretty feather sticks are for style points. Style won’t save you. Fire will!

Split a dead wrist-size stick with a baton and knife into thumb size pieces to get to the dry stuff. Split a few of those pieces into smaller kindling. Grip your knife with a reverse grip (cutting edge facing up) and use the spine of your knife to scrape a pile of fine shavings off one of the larger split sticks. If you’ve got fat lighter’d, scrape off a pile of shavings the size of a golf ball. Ignite this pile with a lighter or ferro rod and feed your fire its meal plan.

Here’s a demo of a one stick fire in the rain…

Knife and Shelter

Debris shelters can be built without a knife. Sticks can be broken to length between two trees without a cutting tool. Keep in mind that this type of shelter will take a few hours and lots of calories to construct correctly.

The role of the knife in emergency shelter building is secondary compared to its importance in making fire. You won’t even need a knife to set up a space blanket shelter if you prepped your emergency kit ahead of time.

Blades are expedient in cutting cordage, notching sticks, harvesting green bows for bedding, making wedges to split larger wood without an ax, and a number of other self-reliance tasks.

Basic emergency knife skills every outdoors person should practice include…

  • Safely handling a knife ~ cut away from your body, avoid the triangle of death (the triangle between your knees and crotch), cut within the blood circle when others are nearby (an imaginary circle made with your outstretched arms as you turn 360 degrees), never attempt to catch a falling knife, keep it sheathed unless in use, and keep your blade sharp.
  • Creating surface area for fires ~ splitting sticks, feathering sticks, and shavings.
  • Grip and body mechanics ~ standard grip, reverse grip, chest lever, knee lever, and thumb assisted grip for push cuts in fine carving tasks.
  • With a piece of quarts, chert, or flint, use the spine of your high carbon steel knife for spark ignition on charred material.

Forgiveness

All three of these survival skills are needed for emergency core temperature control, but I’d place fire on top of my forgiveness list. Fire can make water potable for hydration, warm poorly clothed pilgrims, cook food to create body heat, smoke signals, illuminate darkness, and comfort the lost.

What’s your top skill for controlling your core temperature? Share if you don’t mind.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook… and over at the Doing the Stuff Network.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there… 

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, Doing the Stuff, equipment, Gear, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Survival, Survival Education, Survival Skills, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Trayer Wilderness Handcrafted Christmas Giveaway

On the heels of yesterday’s post on the MultiFlame Tool, here’s your chance to win one… or any of combination of their handcrafted items valued at $75.oo. You can enter to win using your Facebook account. If you aren’t on FB, you can enter via an email account. Just click the Rafflecopter link at the bottom of this post to enter.

As I said yesterday, these guys are Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance on their off-grid homestead in the northern Idaho wilderness. They add value to my life. Check them out, and my other blogger friends participating in this give away, and I hope you win!

Here’s the details…

Trayer Wilderness Handcrafted Christmas Giveaway

Trayer Wilderness Handcrafted Christmas Giveaway

Trayer Wilderness is offering

(1) $75.00 gift certificate

usable on their website towards any combination of their handcrafted items!

Who is Trayer Wilderness?

Welcome To Trayer Wilderness

Trayer Wilderness is a family of three homesteading traditionally off-grid in northern Idaho with 100% solar power. Their family consists of the Mountain Man, Glen Trayer, his Mountain Woman, Tammy Trayer and their Mountain Boy Austin. They utilize the land and their God given talents to earn an income while living their dream. All their items are handcrafted on their homestead offering a little bit of something for everyone with their girly homemade goats milk soaps, candles and melting bricks by the Mountain Woman, the elk hide leather moccasins and paracord survival items such as gun slings, belts, bracelets and more made by the Mountain Boy and the Mountain Man’s hand forged tools, survival fire tools, paracord items, decorative metal art and decorative metal horse shoe art. The Mountain Man also invented and fabricated three different tools for fire making called the Trayer Fire Tool, the MultiFlame Tool and the MultiFlame Mini Tool for the outdoor enthusiasts and survivalists. The Mountain Woman also has several e-books soon to be released at their website TrayerWilderness.com which will educate on solar living, building a traditional cabin, building a traditional smokehouse and more. Additionally, they will be adding e-courses in the new year offering more in depth education and training on blacksmithing, brain tanning, canning, soap making, etc. They offer a weekly newsletter that will keep you well informed on all they offer.

Here are some reviews on the Mountain Man’s Fire Tools:

Trayer Fire Tool

MultiFlame Mini Tool

MultiFlame Tool

They not only handcraft items in the wilderness, but they also educate on homesteading, natural health, healing and essential oils, wilderness survival, traditional and primitive skills, autism, whole foods and a gluten free and casein free diet, living off the land, off-grid and solar living and so much more. The Mountain Woman has a weekly radio podcast on the Survival Mom Radio Network and they share their information on many social media platforms and on YouTube. The Mountain Woman also writes for the New Pioneer Magazine, American Frontiersman, Prepare Magazine, Self Reliance Illustrated, Backwoodsman Magazine and Cabin Life Magazine. Be sure to connect with them below and check out their website to see what items you would purchase if you were the winner of their $75.00 gift certificate!

#TrayerWilderness

email trayer wilderness Trayer Wilderness on Facebook Trayer Wilderness on Google+ Trayer Wilderness on Twitter Trayer Wilderness on Pinterest Trayer Wilderness on YouTube Trayer Wilderness on Instagram Mountain Woman Radio from Trayer Wilderness on iTunes Tammy Trayer of Trayer Wilderness on LinkedIn Trayer Wilderness RSS Feed

 

Meet the Participating Bloggers

The bloggers listed in the Rafflecopter form below have come together to purchase this prize for one lucky contestant. As you click “Like” on the form, visit their pages and get to know them. Every time you like, comment on or share one of their posts, you are supporting their page. We all appreciate you so much.

Enter to Win

This giveaway is open to residents of the United States only. Entrants must be age 18 or older to enter. Giveaway runs from 12:00 am MST October 27th to 12:00 am MST November 3rd. Winner will be drawn November 3rd and emailed. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to the email before another entrant is chosen, so check your spam folders too!

Good luck!

prodseparator

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Categories: Uncategorized | 3 Comments

A Bomb Proof Mod for the Pathfinder Bottle Cook Kit

by Todd Walker

I love my Pathfinder 32 oz. Bottle Cooking Kit… except for one thing… the bag.

A Bomb Proof Mod for the Pathfinder Bottle Cook Kit

The bag is such a useful piece of kit and I hated its one glitch.

The nesting cup caught on the interior of the nylon bag when storing or removing the set. I filed the bat-wing handle attachment but the cup still snagged the bag liner. Oh well, I thought I’d have to live with it. 

Christian C rescued my bag by making a simple, yet brilliant, modification on his YouTube channel which saved me the gnawing frustration each time I used my cup in the field. You can check his video out at the bottom of this post. 

As many of you know, I’m a container freak! And this mod not only fixes the bag snag but also adds yet another metal container to my cook kit. I’m a redundancy freak too. 

All you need is a #3 Tall can from the grocery store. I stopped by our mom and pop grocery store on my way back from some quality dirt time yesterday and bought the cheapest can of tomato juice on the shelf. I walked in with my tape measure to make sure the can would fit my PF bag. 

The can’s dimensions are 4 1/4 inches in diameter by 7 inches tall and holds about 45 oz. I paid $1.55. 

Remove the lid with a can opener and discard the juice… or drink it if you’re into cheap, watered down fruit juice. Check the rim for any sharp edges. File them smooth if you have any. Mine had none. 

Wash and dry the can. Drill two holes on opposite sides of the top rim of the can. File the holes smooth. Make the holes large enough to accept the fish mouth spreader (bottle hanger) that comes with your PF Complete Bottle Cooking Kit

A Bomb Proof Mod for the Pathfinder Bottle Cook Kit

A Bomb Proof Mod for the Pathfinder Bottle Cook Kit

Bottle hanger attached to my new container

Insert the can into the bag. It’s a tight fit but will slide in creating a nesting sleeve for the cup, 32 oz. bottle, and pack stove ring. 

A Bomb Proof Mod for the Pathfinder Bottle Cook Kit

27 oz cup nesting inside the 45 oz can

A Bomb Proof Mod for the Pathfinder Bottle Cook Kit

A Bomb Proof Mod for the Pathfinder Bottle Cook Kit

Perfect fit!

Disclaimer: As you know, I don’t advertise on our site. I receive no compensation for any of the stuff I promote on our blog unless it passes the Doing the Stuff test. If you’re interested in ordering this kit, you can do so by clicking here: PF Complete Bottle Cooking Kit. The newer model comes with a strainer lid for the cup, an item I’m ordering soon. 

You never want to be caught without a way to stay hydrated or make fire to regulate your core temperature. That’s why I carry this bomb proof kit with me on all my adventures in the wild – day hikes, camping, dirt time, hunting, and fishing.

I can’t thank Christian C enough for his brilliant idea! Watch his video below…

<iframe width=”640″ height=”390″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/rC0zJcKWpbg” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

Keep Doing the Stuff!

Todd 

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook pageReady to trade theory for action? Join us in the Doing the Stuff Network on these social media sites: PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook. Use the hashtag #DoingTheStuff when sharing your stuff on Twitter.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, DRG and I would appreciate your vote on the Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding Prepper sites while you’re there…

Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, Doing the Stuff, Gear, Self-reliance, Survival, Uncategorized | Tags: , | 15 Comments

SafeGuard Armor Giveaway

Want a chance to win a set of Level II covert body armor valued at $476? Check this out!

A few of my blogger friends have gotten together to give away 2 sets of body armor! My friend John (Geek Prepper) organized the giveaway for our group and put in the leg work to give you a chance to win.

By the way, all of these fine folks are a part of our DTS Trusted Resources. Be sure to check them out after you enter!

Legal Stuff

NOTE: Please be aware, it may be unlawful for you to own body armor. For instance, if you’re a felon, you’re not eligible to win. In most cases, law-abiding citizens may purchase (except in Connecticut where it has to be a face to face sale), but if you have a felony conviction, federal and state laws may prohibit you from owning body armor. Please check your local regulations before entering this giveaway as we cannot do that for you.

Here’s how to enter…

safeguard covert body armor giveaway

You could win one of 2 SafeGuard Armor covert body armors!

We have both the Ghost or the Stealth, that offer some great protection, while being subtle and concealable!

Each one is valued at $476, as configured

Act Now!

This is your chance to get some free covert body armor.

Enter to win!

Continue reading

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 6 Comments

Top 5 Reason to Stock Silly Juice for SHTF

by Todd Walker

Regardless if you consume alcohol personally or not, silly juice has a place in your SHTF preps… And not just as a barter item.

Disclaimer: Be smart. I you are an alcoholic and know you’d abuse your body or others by taking this advice to stock booze, stop reading and get help with your addiction! If you’re a teetotaler you can’t handle the idea of liquor being in your home, skip this article. Never ingest the toxic stuff – methanol, rubbing alcohol, denatured alcohol!

Liquored-up-to-barter

Liquored up?

To get liquored up properly, purchase hard liquor with high alcohol content. The two numbers to look for are percentage and proof. The first number (percentage) tells you how much ethanol is in the container. The proof number of alcohol is double the amount of actual ethanol in the bottle. 100 Proof means your hooch has 50% ethanol… and will ignite and burn a blue flame.

A heavy hitter for your stash is Everclear®. Here are the stats on this 100% grain alcohol:

  • EVERCLEAR ALCOHOL 151 PROOF LITER
    Size: LITER
    Proof: 151 / 75.5%
  • EVERCLEAR ALCOHOL 190 PROOF 750ML
    Size: 750ML
    Proof: 190 / 95%

For long-term storage, buy in glass bottles. Keep your stash in a dark, cool, dry place under lock and key to prevent kids and crazy uncles out.

In a true collapse scenario, moonshiners will still the market. Prohibition taught us this lesson: people will find a way enjoy an adult beverage.

Even if you can’t legally brew the hard stuff now, making shine would be a Doing the Stuff skill worth learning… only after law no longer exists, of course.

Booze may be a vice for some, but having a well stocked cabinet of silly juice will be a bonanza after the SHTF! Here’s the thing though, your stash will eventually run dry in an extended break down. The same goes for your other consumables. Hooch will be in high demand.

Here’s why…

1. Medicinally

  • Herbal tinctures
  • Pain reliever – has worked for many broken hearts over the years😉
  • Antiseptic – avoid using in deep wounds
  • Moderate consumption lowers risk of heart disease – caveats
  • Sterilize medical instruments
  • Sore throat (liquor and honey concoction)
  • Clear sinuses – it’s called Everclear® for a reason
  • Treat swimmers ear

2. Sanitizer

  • Eating surfaces
  • Hands
  • Scraps and surface wounds
  • Mouth wash and tooth pain – swish around and swallow for added relief
  • Straight razors
  • Gear – knives, butchering equipment, spork, everything else touching your mouth, etc.
  • One shot per liter of water helps kill nasties – give it time to kill the stuff (20 minutes or so)

3. Fire

  • Starter fuel for engines
  • Alcohol stoves – redundant uses for high-test alcohol if your DiY beer can stove is filled with Everclear® vs. denatured alcohol
  • Flambéing over the camp fire😉
  • Accelerant – cocktails of the molotov persuasion
  • Once empty, use the clear glass vodka bottle to start a fire via magnification – then flint nap the bottom of the bottle into an arrowhead once you sober up

4. Barter value

  • The small mini-bottles may make the perfect barter size when things go sideways
  • Keep a supply of smaller containers to refill from your larger vat
  • The demand for alcohol after a SHTF event will be high
  • Escapism – folks don’t want to face reality and look to drown their sorrows

5. All purpose uses

  • Insect repellant
  • Removes poison ivy oil
  • Degreaser for guns and gear
  • Light source

What’s you’re top reasons and uses for storing high-test silly juice?

Keep Doing the Stuff,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook page. The Doing the Stuff Network community can be found here: PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook. Check out the good stuff and trade theory for ACTION!

P.P.S ~ If you find value in our blog, DRG and I would appreciate your vote on the “Top Prepper Sites“! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding Prepper Sites while you’re there.

Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 8 Comments

A Waterproofing Hack That Guarantees Fire

by Todd Walker

What’s the best tinder material when making a fire is essential?

The best answer is dry, fibrous material which catches a spark even in wet conditions. Fire starting woes are compounded when the dry stuff isn’t available. Every bushcraft, camping, hiking, or emergency kit should include redundant layers for making fire.

A Waterproofing Hack That Guarantees Fire - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

The usual suspects for combustion tools include:

  • Lighters
  • Ferro rods (ferrocerium), AKA firesteels
  • Flint and steel
  • Magnesium bars
  • Fire pistons
  • Plain ol’ matches or storm matches

A flick from your Bic doesn’t guarantee fire. It may produce a flame (depending on conditions) but you’ll need dry tinder in your fire lay to get warm. Preparing a fire kit ahead of time will help you avoid a freezing night or worse.

Commercially produced fire starters are available. Why pay 8 to 10 bucks for a pack of waterproof fire starter tabs when you can make your own? I’ve been making my own out of jute twine and wax for years.

A 500 foot roll of jute twine cost less than $10. Plus, you can never have enough cordage. The same goes for wax. If you don’t have wax on hand, poach a few crayons to melt from your child’s school supplies. Just so you know, peeling paper sleeves is tedious and time-consuming. Save time and buy paraffin wax from the canning isle at your grocery store. I used soy wax I have for candle making.

Here’s how to make your own waterproof emergency tinder bundle…

Gather the Stuff

  1. Jute twine (10 to 12 feet) – find the thicker twine if possible
  2. Wax (half-handful)
  3. Double boiler and stove (heat source)
  4. Nail or metal pin like a door hinge pin
  5. Variable speed drill (not necessary but I like power tools)

Step 1

[Skip this step if you’ve ever melted wax in a double boiler] Set up your double boiler with enough water in the bottom container to make the top container float. In my shop, I use an old camp stove. Your kitchen stove will work. To avoid igniting the wax, don’t use open flames or high heat directly on a pan with wax in the bottom.

A-Waterproof-Tinder-Bundle-Hack-That-Guarantees-Fire

Double boiler set on a camp stove

While bringing the water to boil, prep you twine.

Step 2

Measure and cut about 12 feet of jute twine… about 2 arm spans for me. Roll it around 3 of your fingers to make a loose bundle. Place the entire bundle in the melted wax. Flip it over to completely saturate the jute. The twine is very absorbent and won’t take long to soak up the liquid wax.

A-Waterproof-Tinder-Bundle-Hack-That-Guarantees-Fire

Your coated bundle should look something like this

Set bundle aside and prepare your drill.

Step 3

Don’t attempt this step unless you have variable speed drill. You don’t really need a drill to make the bundle. You could wind the twine around a nail or metal pin by hand. But it is way more manly to do it with power tools!

A-Waterproof-Tinder-Bundle-Hack-That-Guarantees-Fire

A door hinge pin chucked in my drill

Place the drill in a vise. Tie one end of the twine to the head end of the pin with a basic slip knot. Do this fairly quickly after removing the bundle from the wax. The longer you wait, the more stiff the waxed twine becomes.

With one hand on the trigger of your drill and one holding the tag end of the twin, slowly squeeze the trigger to begin winding the twine around pin. You’re trying to coil the cord almost to the drill bit opening on your first pass. When you reach that point near the drill, guide the twine back towards the other end. I make my bundles oblong – skinny on the ends and fat in the middle.

Step 4

Remove the pin from the drill. Hold the bundle in your hand and press it gently down on a hard surface causing the head end of the pin to emerge from the top of the bundle. Grab the head end and pull. If you used a smooth metal pin, the bundle will slide off with no resistance.

A-Waterproof-Tinder-Bundle-Hack-That-Guarantees-Fire

Slight pressure needed to remove the pin

 Tie the loose tag end at the middle of the bundle leaving a 1 inch tag to hang free. This loose tag end is where you’ll start unrolling pieces from the bundle. 

Step 5

While the wax is still liquified, hold the knot end of the bundle and coat with the remaining melted wax on all sides. Hang it from the knot with a clip to dry. Once dry, repeat this step two times.

A-Waterproof-Tinder-Bundle-Hack-That-Guarantees-Fire

Use something other than your fingers if you don’t like hot wax on your skin. Some do😉

Now, to make your time productive between dipping, create a Paracord-Duct-Tape-Lighter. I know, it’s a bonus DiY Preparedness Project for you. You get 2 for 1 today… No extra charge!

Bonus DiY Tip

A-Waterproof-Tinder-Bundle-Hack-That-Guarantees-Fire

Remove that pesky child-safety thing from the lighter

Grab the child-safety strip that runs over the striker wheel with a pair of needle-nose pliers. Twist up and out of the lighter housing. Bend the housing back down flat. This step makes it easier to get flame when your fingers and hands are numb from cold.

A-Waterproof-Tinder-Bundle-Hack-That-Guarantees-Fire

Create a loop of cord at the base of the lighter

Cut a piece of paracord a little over double the length of the lighter. Burn the ends to prevent fraying. Make several wraps of duct tape (Gorilla Tape) around the lighter.

DSCN0324

A-Waterproof-Tinder-Bundle-Hack-That-Guarantees-Fire

Use a carabiner to attach the lighter to your kit

Add a whistle or other useful emergency items and attach it to your kit. No more fumbling around for fire when you need it!

Waterproof Tinder Bundle continued…

Your bundle will resemble a honeycomb with three layers of wax.

A-Waterproof-Tinder-Bundle-Hack-That-Guarantees-Fire

The finished product

Step 6

To use, find the short tag end at the middle of the bundle from Step 4. Untie and roll off a 2 inch section. The wax will crumble but won’t affect the waterproofing. No worries, the whole bundle is waxed.

Process the piece by pulling and fraying the individual strands to create a fibrous, hairy looking nest. This only takes a few minutes. Time well spent if using a ferro rod or other sparking device. Of course, if you’re lighter works, you can simply light the cord and make hot chocolate.

A-Waterproof-Tinder-Bundle-Hack-That-Guarantees-Fire

Below is a comparison of waxed and non-waxed jute. They both ignite immediately by a ferro rod but the waxed version will extend your fire. You need all the advantages you can get when building fire.

A-Waterproof-Tinder-Bundle-Hack-That-Guarantees-Fire

Non-waxed fibers burned in less than 15 seconds… like flash powder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A-Waterproof-Tinder-Bundle-Hack-That-Guarantees-Fire

The waxed twine had to be extinguished to prevent burning a spot on my board

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Build it… and it will burn!

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook… and over at the Doing the Stuff Network.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there… 

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, DIY Preparedness Projects, Doing the Stuff, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Survival, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 42 Comments

Trading Theory for ACTION!

by Todd Walker

“But they said it ought to work…”

Ever been exhausted, terrified, paralyzed, and barely alive by assuming what ‘they’ said was true.

Maybe not yet. But a sure way to experience the above statement is to trust armchair theorists on equipment, skills, and knowledge!

Dangerous theories float down the preparedness river like a redneck flotilla on the 4th of July. Trusting theory without verifying will capsize your rubber inner tube faster than Bubba can drain a 12 oz. can of PBR. Preppers read theory and buy stuff, boatloads of shiny stuff and the latest must-know survival strategy.

Knowing and doing are two different animals.

We know we need water to live. A loud wake up call blared in West Virginia when a chemical spill contaminated the area water supply. Storing emergency water is smart and recommended.

Here’s the thing though…

Stored water runs out.

Learn how to produce potable H2O. Water distillation systems are popular among third world countries for creating clean drinking water.

“They said it ought to work…” – Distillation works. But…

Distilling water only removes chemicals with a higher boiling point than water. Contaminants with a lower boiling point end up in your ‘distilled’ batch. Chlorine, insecticides, and pesticides vaporize at lower temperatures than water and wind up in your ‘distilled’ container also.

I’ve read that distilling water removes radiation. Chime in if you know. I’ve not done enough research to make that call. Here are some options in this article.

trading-theory-for-action

Build redundancy in your water plan. We have three 55 gallon food grade barrels full of rain water that can be filtered in our Big Berkey. If your budget won’t allow a factory made, solid carbon water filter? Build your own…

Build your knowledge base. Knowing enough stuff to talk intelligently at a dinner party is fine. But what you’re preparing for falls short of a dinner party atmosphere.

DRG and I attended our first meet up with a group of like-minded preppers yesterday. One lesson stuck in my mind. The more I know about preparedness, the more I realize how much I don’t know … and need to learn. And practice!

You must start Doing the Stuff to test theories and develop real skills. I know the science behind making a friction fire. To date, primitive fire has eluded me. Even on my bow drill on training wheels!

trading-theory-for-action

The completed kit after the first trial. Notice the black punk at the base of the hole.

That’s the main reason we started the Doing the Stuff Network. Members trade theory for action by committing to learn a minimum of one new skill this year. Of course, most won’t settle for just one new skill. Doing the Stuff becomes a lifestyle.

We act, analyze, and adjust. Don’t assume you know how to do the stuff! You’re familiar with the saying, “When you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME.” In good times, this applied to me more than I want to admit.

When you’re in the furnace, the crucible of life, you need to know what works and how to come out alive. But some of you want more than just survival? Doing the Stuff can help you thrive – even if your world as you know it doesn’t end.

Preparedness is not accidental. Make the choice to live deliberately. Acquire skills. Start Doing. Trade theory for action!

Keep Doing the Stuff,

Todd

P.S. To join the Doing the Stuff Network, read this first before joining. Also, if you find value in our blog, consider voting for us by clicking on the Top Prepper Website icon on the left sidebar.

Categories: Doing the Stuff, Preparedness, Uncategorized | 10 Comments

The Prepper’s Exhaustive Guide to Sleep Saboteurs

by Todd Walker

Catching enough zzzz’s can be difficult. A hungry infant, tomorrow’s big presentation at work, blogging, paying bills, TV, a novel you can’t put down, catching up with visiting relatives, or little Johnny’s science project – good or bad – all serve as sleep saboteurs.

The Prepper Exhaustive Guide to Sleep Saboteurs

Image source: Mommasgonecity.com

These all happen in ‘normal’ times and leave us feeling half-baked! I still remember being a sleepless zombie for a year after our first daughter was born. Will she ever sleep through the night!?!?

Now imagine the nightmarish effect a wide-scale disaster scenario will have on our physiological need for quality sleep. Being sleepless in Seattle or anywhere else for an extended period of time will only increase your chances of not making it out alive.

Not getting enough sleep makes us sloppy. We can cope with some sloppiness when times are good. Our modern medical systems are in place to cover our mistakes.

However, you need to be functioning on all cylinders in the crunch. No matter how much stuff, skills, and knowledge you’ve acquired, fatigue makes cowards of us all.

Have you thought about how you plan to get enough sleep WTSHTF?

Your natural circadian rhythm can be ignored, but not for long – and not without consequences. When all hell is breaking loose around you and your family, your body and mind need sleep to survive. Not the one-eye-wide-open variety. But the deep, dead-to-the-world type that restores the body, mind, and soul.

When the crunch arrives, sleep as we know it will change – suddenly.

The Sandman cometh

Off the top of my well-rested head, here’s the science on how insufficient sleep will sabotage your health and survival:

  • Accelerates aging and may increase age-related pathologies like cancer. Have you ever heard this line before. I used to say it myself. “I can sleep when I’m dead.” Insufficient sleep will oblige and speed up your journey.
  • Associated with chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression.
  • Heading over the river and through the woods to grandma’s house for Thanksgiving? Just realize that 1 in 10 of your fellow travelers have fallen asleep at the wheel in the past year. Drowsy driving is responsible for 16.5 percent of deadly crashes.
  • You want to consolidate and use all those new survival skills you’ve been learning, right? A group of researchers in Switzerland found that sufficient sleep was the key to good memory and increases our ability to perform new skills.
  • Group cohesion is likely to come unglued if your tribe doesn’t have enough people to pull graveyard guard shifts for those who are sleeping. The stressors in survival situations take a toll on our bodies, minds, emotions, and overall health. Add sleep deprivation to the mix and the attitude of your group will likely take on a more negative tint.
  • Poor sleep disrupts metabolic function. That’s right, sleepless nights are linked to obesity and diabetes. This study shows data supporting the role of sleep in the regulation of glucose homeostasis and the hormones involved in the regulation of appetite. For preppers wanting to lose weight and build lean muscle mass, get quality sleep before the reset.
  • Reaction time slows. Instead of responding alertly to a threat, sleep deprived individuals are slower to react than those who are well rested. This could be costly when seconds count.

The main occupational hazard of survivalists is dying. When our sleep equilibrium is out of whack, nature finds a way to balance the equation. Our body stops functioning at peak capacity in an effort to restore and rebuild. That’s not something you can afford in the coming collapse. You need to be strong to be useful.

Sleepless nights will abound in an extended SHTF scenario. Food, water, shelter, security, and personal hygiene are top priorities in the preparedness community. If you’ve got these basics taken care of, congrats! However, you’ll be reeling in regret if you neglect sleep hygiene.

Sleep hygiene simply means getting proper amounts of quality sleep.

This photo shows an owl perched at a tree bran...

In case it hasn’t dawned on you yet, a scheduled sleep plan is one of the most important, yet most neglected, parts of long-term survival with the added bonus of chronic good health!

To turn your dream of quality pillow time into reality, here’s my Sherpa tips for creating a Survival Sleep Hygiene Plan.

Tips for a Survival Sleep Hygiene Plan

A.) Listen to your biological clock

It becomes more important to follow our natural sleep cycle as we age. Over the last four years my sleep patterns have changed. It may have something to do with following a Primal/Paleo lifestyle. I get sleepy and go to bed around 8 to 9 PM and get up between 4 to 5 AM – without an alarm clock. I stare in silence at my lunch table buddies when the conversation turns to who won American Idol or Dancing with the Stars. They know not to include me since I’m in dreamland at that hour. I’m sure I didn’t miss any significant stuff.

B.) Schedule your sleep

As much as possible, stick to a regular bedtime and wakeup schedule. If you have children, you already know the importance a sleep schedule.

If you can’t sleep with the thought of missing your favorite TV show, record it and watch it later. Better yet, unplug it during the work week. Your body will thank you the morning after! In a crisis, mindless entertainment won’t be on your immediate list of priorities anyway.

C.) Find your balance

The average person needs 7-9 hours of shut-eye each night. Too little or too much sleep adds oxidative stress.

D.) Light discipline

This one may be easy to come by if our fragile power grid goes bye-bye. Until the lights go out, sleep is best had in total darkness. Even the glow of LED lights on an alarm clock can interrupt sleep. Cover your alarm clock or just ditch it. Your rooster will let you know when it’s morning time.

Outdoor security lights can be blocked with blackout window shades – useful to keep light inside your house when the need arises.

E.) Avoid the blue glow after dark

Bright light is linked to a decrease in melatonin, the hormone that helps control your natural sleep-wake cycle. Filling your eyes with bright lights before bedtime will have you counting too many sheep.

A word of caution: Melatonin supplements are sold as a natural, safe sleep aid. It’s a hormone – not a vitamin – and can cause damage if miss used!

Blue light emitted from your computer and TV mimics sunlight. Consider installing Flux to make your screen match the light in your room.

For night-time TV viewing, try wearing a pair of orange tinted safety goggles to filter out the blue light. Since I don’t watch much TV, I haven’t tried this geeky trick.

F.) Get more natural blue light

Our primitive ancestors spent lots of time outdoors in the sunlight. Natural light can help regulate your circadian rhythm. Escape your artificially lit cubical and step into the sunlight on work breaks for a natural shot blue light and fresh air.

G.) Room temperature

Dirt Road Girl and I sleep best when it’s cold in the bedroom. We open a window for cold air flow in the winter. Of course, make sure you have security measures in place for open windows.

My best sleep happens at our off-grid cabin in cold weather. No lights and cold sheets. Snuggling under wool blankets is a valid heat source! In the spring/summer/fall, I like to take a deep dive into the spring-fed portion of the lake to cool down before jumping in bed.

H.) Physical exertion before bed

Regular exercise is great for optimal health. But working out just before hitting the sack without giving your body time to cool down can hamstring quality sleep. A few minutes of light stretching before bed should be okay.

I.) No big meals before bedtime

J.) Burn a candle

Lighting candles not only adds a romantic mood while eating Meals Ready to Eat in your survival lair, fire light doesn’t emit artificial blue light. Plus, you might get lucky with this added sleep aid.

K.) Read a book before bed

Nothing new here.

L.) De-gadget your bedroom

Get rid of TV’s, phones, electronic devices, and any other potential sleep saboteurs in the bedroom. That includes pets.

M.) Take a short nap

A 20 to 30 minute power nap has been shown to increase productivity. Maybe your boss will catch on.

N.) Does your city ever sleep?

Mr. Rawles of SurvivalBlog.com may be right about the American Redoubt.

Map of Sleep Insufficiency:

The map below depicts age-adjusted* percentage of adults who reported 30 days of insufficient rest or sleep† during the preceding 30 days. Data is from the 2008 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, United States.‡

A map of the United States displaying the Percentage of Adults Reporting 30 Days Insufficient Rest of Sleep During Preceding 30 Days
* Age adjusted to 2000 projected U.S. population.
† Determined by response to the question, “During the past 30 days, for about how many days have you felt you did not get enough rest or sleep?”
‡ Includes the 50 states, District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands.

Map Source

Sleep has been viewed as a passive event and a waste of time by some. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sleep is vital to your survival! Find a way to let melatonin do its night-time job of restoring and repairing your body tissue and cells. 

Are you sick and tired of being exhausted? Get ahead of the herd by starting your Survival Sleep Hygiene Plan before the next crisis erupts.

Stop yawning and let us know your thoughts in the comments. Life is short – sleep hard!

Keep Doing the Stuff!

Todd

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Categories: Preparedness, SHTF, TEOTWAWKI, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments

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