Posts Tagged With: Dave Canterbury

Best Practices for Your Third Most Critical Survival Priority

by Todd Walker

Using the “B” word will automatically rain hell and brimstone on any online discussion. What’s the Best knife, sidearm, rifle, or water filter? Try it for kicks and giggles. Type that four-letter word in front of any piece of gear and watch the internet explode.

Best Practices for Your Third Most Critical Survival Priority - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Photo courtesy of Iris Canterbury

When it comes to survival priorities, the same spirited debate rages.

In the Pathfinder System, Dave Canterbury ranks water as the third wilderness survival priority. Self-Aid and Shelter take the top two spots respectively. Of course, survival priorities are always dependent on the situation and shouldn’t be written in stone.

Here’s Dave’s full list…

  1. Self-aid
  2. Shelter
  3. Water
  4. Fire/heat
  5. Signaling
  6. Food
  7. Navigation

The subject of this article is the third priority – the substance which every system in the human body is dependent. A dehydrated body can not help you do all the stuff needed to keep you alive if you’re day hike turns into a week-long survival scenario.

Water is easy to find in the eastern woodlands. But it may not be fit for consumption.

That crystal clear stream you’re about to sip from may hold a rotting carcass 100 yards upstream. Also keep in mind that, yes, bears (and other critters) do crap in the woods along rivers and streams… which eventually washes into the pristine creek and into your cupped hands.

Introducing waterborne pathogens to your gut is a sure way to decrease your survivability in the wilderness. You need to assume that every water source in the backwoods contains the following invisible nasties (and more)…

  1. Giardia – A single-celled, microscopic parasite which causes a diarrheal illness called giardiasis. The parasite is passed through the feces of infected animals and humans. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, bloating, gas (not your normal campfire baked-bean induced gas), weakness, and stomach cramps. Symptoms show up within 1 to 2 weeks.
  2. Cryptosporidium – Crypto, as it is commonly known, is a parasite responsible for causing the most waterborne illnesses in the U.S. according to the CDC. Symptoms of watery diarrhea, dehydration, stomach pain and cramps, fever, and vomiting begin in 2 to 10 days of infection and may last up to 30 days.
  3. Escherichia coli (E. coli) – Some E. colia bacteria are beneficial to your intestinal tract. Then there’s the pathogenic, diarrhea kind transferred through water and food contaminated from human or animal feces. Remember that bear fact? Unfortunately, s**t happens. And ignorant humans have the bears beat!
  4. Salmonella – Most folks infected by this bacteria develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps within 12 to 72 hours. Not good for a 72 hour survival scenario. Oh, and it can spread to other body systems causing more long-term damage.

Bottom line… Don’t drink untreated water! … unless you have no other option in an emergency survival scenario. Dying of dehydration is worse than giardiasis after you’ve been rescued. But we’re talking camping not survival, here. Consider all backwoods water sources contaminated. Period. Even when brushing your teeth at camp, use disinfected water.

We’ve established the fact that the human body needs water to function properly. So what are the best (yeah, I used the B-word) practices to make water safe to drink?

Boiling Water

We took our youth group to a Catholic church in the early 80’s as a cross-cultural field trip. The priest met us at the door and invited us in. One of our really, really country boys asked the priest how holy water was made.

In all seriousness, the priest told us that they pour water in a pot, place it on a hot stove, and…

“boil the hell out of it.”

My Basic Class partner, Dave Williams, boiling 32 ounces of water

My Basic Class partner, Dave Williams, boiling 32 ounces of water in under 5 minutes

Boiling Times

There are lots of confusing, un-scientific info floating in the preparedness pool. So how long should you boil water to make it safe to drink?

a.) 10 minutes, b.) 5 minutes, c.) 1 minute, d.) depends on altitude

Answer: None of the above.

I’m not certain how long priests boil water before it becomes holy, but all you need to do is bring water to a boil to render the parasites, viruses, and bacteria harmless. In fact, 185º F for a few minutes will deliver the damage needed to kill the nasties. We boil in the backwoods because thermometers aren’t convenient to carry. Bubbles tell us when it’s done.

Research from the Wilderness Medical Society states that keeping water temps above 160º F for 30 minutes kills all pathogens through pasteurization. Bet you don’t carry a cooking thermometer in your pack. Even at high altitudes, once your water reaches the boiling point of 212º F,  you’re done. Boiling past zero minutes is a waste of fuel and life-giving water via evaporation.

In a perfect world, you whip out your metal container. Fill it with water and bring it to a boil. Take it off the heat immediately and allow the water to cool. Now you have potable water.

Water boiling challenge

Water boiling

What I carry is the Pathfinder Stainless Steel Cook set. The 32 ounce bottle nests inside the 25 oz. cup for easy storage in my haversack or backpack.

If you’re ever in a situation without a metal container, ask yourself this question…

What would MacGyver do?

Creative Containers

There may be resources in your pack which you’ve never considered could hold water for boiling. These items will help channel your inner MacGyver.

Dave Williams' duct tape water bottle at the Pathfinder School

Dave Williams’ duct tape water bottle at the Pathfinder School

  • Duct tape
  • Emergency space blanket
  • Trash bag
  • Backpack cover
  • Tarp
  • Rain suit or poncho
  • Dry bag
  • Hat

These pieces of kit will melt over a fire quicker than the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz. But the important thing is that they hold water and you can make fire… and rocks litter the ground. Now you’re ready to boil water.

Stone Boil Method

Hot rocks from your campfire will boil water. Be sure to not use river rocks in the fire. The trapped moisture inside these stones are prone to explode when heated sending hot, sharp shrapnel flying. Use dry rocks.

Below are a few fellow YouTubers I respect demonstrating the stone boil method with improvised containers.

Hats off to IHatchetJack for this one…

Master Woodsman using a trash bag to boil water with stones…

Larry Roberts using a burn and scrape wooden container…

No-Boil Methods for Clean Water

You can’t boil water without a heat source. This fact places urgency on the need to carry at least 3 different methods to start a fire. We covered my favorite methods here.

However, even without fire, potable water is available in nature.

Water from Trees

Here are 4 trees found in the eastern woodlands that can be tapped in the same manner as our northern neighbors harvest sap for maple syrup. This hydration source is available when the sap is running in early spring.

tree-hugger-self-reliance-uses-american-sycamore

A young Sycamore (Right) and River Birch (Left) growing near the roadside

Sap from the trees contains sugars and clean water that can be consumed without filtering or boiling. Collect the sap by boring a hole or notch about a 1/2 inch into the tree. Insert a 4 inch spigot made from a hollow stick or river cane as a conduit for the sap. Use a container underneath the spigot/spile to catch the runoff.

Use your Possum Mentality and collect any plastic water/soda bottles you come across. They can be used to collect sap without ever tapping the tree with a spigot. Darin from East Woodland Survival has an interesting technique I really like…

Water from Plants

Another great seasonal (spring, summer, and fall) source of clean water is found in wild grape vines. Sever the end of a large diameter vine near the ground over a container. It’ll start slowly dripping water into the container. Speed up the process by reaching as high as possible up the vine and cut a notch in the vine. The notch breaks the vacuum in the vine to increase the water output.

Don’t forget that your mouth is a container. Lay under the vine and drink directly from the plant. Be sure you can accurately identify grape vine from poison ivy and oak!

Rain Water

Rainy weather is a two-edged sword. It makes fire craft difficult but can provide needed emergency hydration.

With access to a tarp or rain gear, configure a “V” shape to collect rain and funnel it to a container.

John McCann of Survival Resources shows you how to do this in a homesteading situation easy enough. The same can be done in a survival scenario with sticks and ingenuity. His contraption collects and amazing amount of rain water!

A more primitive rain catchment technique is to harvest tree bark in half-pipe sections set up like a bicycle rim configuration with a collection device positioned at the axle. Tulip poplar, willow, and other non-resinous tree bark can be used.

Water Filters

Modern water filters are convenient and effective for removing parasites and bacteria but not viruses or chemical contaminants. I personally carried the Sawyer Mini on our recent backpacking trip on Eagle Rock Loop. It’s lightweight, easy to use, and effectively removes 99.9% of pathogens and is rated to clean 100,000 gallons of water.

sawyer squeeze water filter

DRG’s new squeeze! This is the larger Sawyer filter pictured.

Filters can be constructed from natural materials in the backcountry. My friend, Joshua Shuttlesworth, has a tutorial on building a Tripod Water Filter you should check out.

Remember to always assume wilderness water sources are contaminated. Drink without disinfecting water in the woods and you could pay a hefty price. Don’t trust what you read here or watch on YouTube videos. Get out and develop the skills needed to quench your thirst!

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, Potable Water, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Survival, Survival Skills, Water | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

A DiY Survival Sling Shot with Big Game Capabilities

by Todd Walker

Could you survive in the wilderness with only a sling shot as your weapon?

A DiY Survival Sling Shot with Big Game Capabilities

A DIY Survival Sling Shot with Big Game Capabilities

Lots would depend on your survivability. Having a means to harvest protein and animal fat would surely increase your chances.

In a perfect world, the sling shot would not be my first choice. But having options makes one more robust.

When Dave Canterbury first talked about hunting big game with a sling shot, I thought he’d lost his mind. But then again, I’ve seen him do amazing things with common, everyday items. [Note: Check your local hunting regulations before hunting with a sling shot.]

I first saw his video on his pocket hunter over three years ago before he was co-starring on Dual Survival. I was impressed. So much so that I turned my wrist rocket into a DIY version of his now patented Deluxe Pathfinder Pocket Hunter Kit

My version is rough, but functional. I have three points on arrows for my sling shot: fishing tip, broadhead, and judo points. Here’s a look at a judo point on a wooden arrow.

A DiY Survival Sling Shot with Big Game Capabilities

Judo point ready to slay a spud.

The purpose of the judo point is to snag on brush, grass, or the ground and flip the arrow up to make finding a missed shot easier. It’s used for hunting small game animals.

The smallest game I could legally hunt today was Mr. Potato Head. Dirt Road Girl offered up a sacrificial spud. The hunt was on!

A DiY Survival Sling Shot with Big Game Capabilities

Use the same draw technique as you would with a traditional bow.

A DiY Survival Sling Shot with Big Game Capabilities

Dead spud at ten yards!

Both field points and broadheads penetrated this target about 5 inches at ten and 15 yards. Just like finding your anchor point in archery, shooting sling shots are no different. I anchor at the right corner of my mouth and aim instinctively.

Back when I built my pocket hunter, I secured a Whisper Biscuit between the arms of my sling shot with wire ties. I can fold the arrow rest down to shoot ball bearings or pebbles.

My arrow with the fishing tip is carbon. I secured a piece of nylon bank line to the arrow. This line is attached to the line spool on the PVC pipe on the wrist rocket. I mounted the pipe on a piece of aluminum plate screwed into the base of the wrist rocket. When shot, the line peels off the spool perfectly.

A DiY Survival Sling Shot with Big Game Capabilities

Bow fishing set up.

The main drawback of my pocket hunter is carrying full length arrows. Dave fixes that issue with take down arrows.

You can check out his kit at his Pathfinder Store. The Three-Piece Take Down Arrows are sold separately. I’ve added them to my wish list. This allows you to carry a silent, but deadly, weapon in your survival kit – all in one self-contained bag. Brilliant!

A DiY Survival Sling Shot with Big Game Capabilities

I use an old military surplus medic IV bag to store and carry my pocket hunter. Just need those break down arrows to complete the kit.

As I said in the beginning of this article, I would prefer to have a long gun for wilderness survival. But the pocket hunter is another option for redundancy in harvesting game quietly in a survival scenario. Options are good!

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, equipment, Self-reliance, Survival | Tags: , , , , | 39 Comments

The Science of Fire

This was originally published by Norseman (Gunny) at his site Survivology 101 and reprinted here with his permission. I discovered Norseman via Wilderness Outfitters, Dave Canterbury’s site, about two years ago. I became a fan of Gunny for two reasons: A.) He’s not an armchair survivalist, and B.) He wears kilts! That sealed the deal for this fellow kilt-wearer. How many folks do you know that does bushcraft in a kilt? In a recent email, he informed me that he’s retiring from the Marines in 6 months and intends “to be all over the survival and prepping scene.” I’m looking forward to it! Check out his YouTube videos here. I think even non-science geeks will enjoy…

The science of fire

Many of you are aware of the fire triangle and the fire pyramid (yes they are different) but how many of you REALLY understand the science behind these catchy terms?

A quick review: The fire triangle is heat, fuel, and oxygen or sometimes referred to as air.  Picture a triangle and if you remove any one of the sides the triangle loses support and collapses.  Remove any piece of the fire triangle and the fire goes out.  This is a fortunate effect as you will understand soon, if you don’t already.

And the fire pyramid which is tinder, kindling, and fuel not to be confused with the pyramid fire that is unrelated to this article.  A pyramid is unlike a triangle in that it is built on a stable platform and can support itself.

Fire is a chemical process known as oxidation: In this process oxygen combines with hydrogen and carbon, together the atoms rearrange and form water and carbon dioxide.  This energy causes heat, the same process takes place when metal rusts but the apparent lack of heat is due to a much lengthier time involved.

Read the rest here

Categories: Bushcraft, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Survival | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

5 Shiny Objects Every Prepper Should Buy

by Todd Walker

SOS – Shiny Object Survival lures preppers into a false sense of preparedness. You see it. You even lust for it. You gotta have it. You start imagining how cool it would look strapped on your back. You save up to buy that SHTF-proof bug out bag with a built-in Rambo Night Vision Navigational System. Congratulations! You’ve got your fist in the coconut.

I remember telling the story of hunters in Africa using shiny objects in a coconut to capture monkeys to Sunday School class years ago. The hunter would drill a hole in the anchored coconut large enough for the monkey to fit an open hand in and grab a shiny trinket. With the object clinched in his fist, he hears the hunter approaching, but is unwilling to escape to safety with an empty hand. His unwillingness to let go lands him on the dinner table.

I have no clue if they hunt monkeys this way. But it paints a parable of many modern preppers suffering from SOS.

Shiny objects use to reek havoc on my attention like a kid with ADHD in Ms. Higginbothom’s 45 minute lecture on the importance of participles. It is hard not to want the latest gadgets shimmering on your computer screen. In the midst of Great Depression II, I ask myself and the reader, does it make sense (cents) to buy shiny objects?

Five Shiny Objects Every Prepper Should Buy or Make

Here are five areas where buying shiny objects makes survival sense and cents. Dave Canterbury has a video on his 5C’s of Survivability here. His system is based on the ability to conserve hydration, core temperature, and calories.

1.) Cutting tool: In any survival situation, a cutting tool is on top of the list. It can be used to make the remaining four C’s listed below. When buying, find the best you can afford. The “best” doesn’t always mean the most expensive. I own several knives in a variety of price ranges. My go to blade while camping and hunting is my Mora neck knife. I paid under $15 for it a few years ago. You can spend more on a knife, but my Mora has held up to the dirt-time-test (actually doing the stuff).

Don’t mind the toes inserted. It’s how I roll.

Love this inexpensive knife!

2.) Combustion: You don’t have to be a pyromaniac to appreciate the importance of fire. Boiling water, cooking, controlling core temperature, and signaling rescue are just a few uses. Making fire for survival burns lots of calories without modern combustion devices. While you could go all hardcore pure-primitive and stick to only bow drills, I think you’d be making a big mistake to not buy fire starters.

I have the Sparkie Fire Starter Orange in a couple of my kits. I like this fire gadget because it allows me to start a fire with one hand if I had to. Pack several different fire starters for redundancy: strike-anywhere matches, butane lighter, fire steel, etc.

 

Don’t forget to pack quick starting tender. I’ve used cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly, but prefer my DIY tender: jute twine saturated in melted wax or crayons. Fat wood (called fat lighter’d where I came from) is a great fire starter. It’s the resin rich heart in dead pine trees. The key is having something that lights YOUR fire with ease in crazy conditions.

Cordage: I can make my own cordage. But it makes sense (time, energy, and money) to stock up on commercial cordage for emergencies. So I keep copious amounts of paracord in all my kits (BOB – bug out bag, GHB – get home bag, hunting bag, car kits, and survival bracelets). The many uses of cordage include, but not limited to: traps, tarps, medical slings, water procurement, DIY hammocks, lashings, sutures, climbing, and for the fashion conscious – matching survival bracelets :). Buy it!

Covering: I’m a tarp man. You may be a tent woman. Whatever you choose, it must be something that offers weather protection. Controlling your core temperature is priority. “But I could build a debris hut,” you say. That’s a fine skill to have and practice. However, building shelter from scratch burns a great deal of calories that could be conserved if you packed a tarp in your kit. In hot, humid climates, dehydration is possible in your prized debris hut. Plus, they aren’t mobile. Buy covering!

Container: It’s just a cup! Taken for granted, the humble container is in Dave’s five C’s for good reason. His TV partner, Cody Lundin, notes that entire civilizations have been built around containers. Again, you could make a container for cooking in the bush after you finish your debris hut using natural cordage you cut with the flint-knapped knife you crafted, but only if you didn’t pack this essential shiny object.

It’s great to be able to make all of these items if you have the skill and time. If not, go buy these five essential shiny objects! You’ll be glad you did.

Doing the stuff,

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, equipment, Preparedness, Self-reliance | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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