Posts Tagged With: Survival Skills

27 Basecamp Projects Guaranteed to Elevate Skills and Fun in the Woods

By Todd Walker

The thought of going to the woods for rest and relaxation is a foreign concept to most moderns. Others see it as an oasis. The later enjoy the simplicity of woods life for many reasons. Through experience, they’ve learned to be healthy, comfortable, and relaxed in the woods.

27 Basecamp Projects Guaranteed to Elevate Skills and Fun in the Woods - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Learning the art of “smoothin’ it” in the woods, as Nessmuk called it, is well within reach for even my novice middle school students. If you really want to learn how to camp in comfort, check out The Revival of Classic Camping.

If your camp is an oasis in the woods, you’re more likely to find the unplugged benefits of nature. Not only that, but you’ll gain valuable self-reliance skills in the process.

Below you’ll find 27 projects and skills developed while turning my basecamp into a comfortable personal space in the woods.

Shelter

The Art of 'Smoothing It' in Struggleville

Overhang catches and rolls heat into the shelter

We’ve discussed the importance of emergency shelter here, here, and here. However, a basecamp shelter should be semi-permanent and built for comfort.

My grandson and I hanging out at basecamp

My grandson and me hanging out at basecamp

My shelter design takes advantage of the properties of radiant heat from a fire one step away from the opening. The heat enters under the two foot lip overhang and circulates through the entire structure. This action makes the shelter more efficient than a simple lean-to.

Skills Learned

  • Ax-Manship ~> The ax is the oldest and most under-appreciated, yet invaluable tool which serves, not only as a wilderness lifeline, but, as a simple machine that connects your hands to a forgotten craft.
  • Campsite Selection ~> Consider the 4 W’s.  You need wood… lots of wood… for shelter construction and fire. Standing dead red cedar and a few other saplings were used for my shelter.
  • Knots/Lashing ~> Square, tripod, and diagonal lashing hold my shelter together. Timber hitch, clove hitch, trucker’s hitch, and other useful knots were also used.
  • Simple Machines ~> Here are my top 3 simple machines for shelter construction: Wedges (cutting tools), lever, and pulley.

Camp Tools

In this category, you’ll find ideas to make camp life enjoyable.

  • Saw Buck ~> This tool may be the most used of all the stuff at my camp. The obvious use is for bucking firewood. Max, my grandson, prefers this as a camp chair.

How to Build a Sturdy Sawbuck with Logs and Rope - www.TheSurvivalSherpa.com

  • Camp Maul ~> You’ll use ax and knife skills to craft this woodsman hammer. Watch our video here.
  • Shaving Ladder ~> My newest addition to basecamp. Wish I had discovered this long ago!
  • Takedown Buck Saw ~> A good bucksaw makes life easier when processing wood on my saw buck.
  • Cooking Tripod ~> A sturdy tripod is a multifunctional piece for every camp.
  • Stump Vise ~> A round section of wood used to hold stuff while working with both hands.

Camp Skills

  • Sleep ~> The #1 hallmark of a good woodsman.
  • Fire ~> My favorite skill to practice. You’ll find many articles on fire craft on this page.
  • Cooking ~> Nothing beats the smell and taste of a pan of dry cured bacon sizzling over an open fire. Basecamp cooking affords you the luxury of not eating from freeze-dried bag food. Check out my buddy’s YouTube channel, Feral Woodcraft, for more camp cooking tips. Bring your appetite!
6 Life and Survival Lessons Learned from Backpacking - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Dry cured bacon and dehydrated eggs… not your typical trail breakfast

Camp Crafts

Now that you’ve got tools made and a belly full of camp cooking, it’s time to make some fun stuff!

  • Tree Bark Arrow Quiver ~> Tulip Poplar (Magnolia) bark has been used by indigenous people and traditional craftsmen in Appalachia for thousands of years.
  • Primitive Pottery ~> Not my best skill by far, but making your own containers from clay gives you options.
  • Pitch Sticks ~> This project turns pine sap and charcoal into glue.
A spoon I found growing in a Black Walnut limb on our land

A spoon I found growing in a Black Walnut limb on our land

  • Greenwood Spoon Carving ~> Employ your ax and knife skills to craft eating utensils for camp.
  • Burn and Scrape Containers ~> A primitive skill useful in making spoons, bowls, and even canoes. Watch our video on making a cup here.
  • Leather Ax Sheath ~> Make a hands-free ax carrying sheath for tramping and scouting from basecamp.
  • Ax Handle ~> While I didn’t make this hickory ax handle at basecamp, it’s doable with the above mentioned tools.
  • Plumber’s Stove ~> On rainy days, you need a way to cook in your semi-permanent shelter. It also adds enough heat to knock the chill off.
  • Fire Pit ~> Wooden reflector walls are popular for bushcraft shelters. However, stone is better at retaining heat from your fire. Lay rocks to form a chimney effect to draw air for clean burns.
The large rock in the back acts as a chimney

The large rock in the back acts as a chimney

  • Frog Gig ~> A sapling and knife skills can have you eating in no time.
  • Camp Table ~> Every camp needs a horizontal surface (table).
Red cedar planks lashed a top two poles between trees

Red cedar planks lashed a top two poles between trees

  • Roycraft Pack Frame ~> A fun project to do with kids.
  • Build Community ~> Now that you’ve got your basecamp equipped and comfortable, invite friends over and burn sticks together. A lot can be learned from each other around a warm campfire. You’ll quickly become the smartest woodsman around.

My basecamp is never finished. There’s always more stuff to do and things to craft to make camping in the woods fun.

Note: This week marks the fourth year anniversary of Survival Sherpa. I started writing here a few weeks before Dirt Road Girl was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. This little blog has provided much-needed clarity on our journey.

Our hearts are always encouraged by the ongoing support from each of you here. We’ve had the pleasure of personally meeting several of you and count it an honor to call you friends. Hope each of you have a merry Christmas and a self-reliant New Year!

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, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Survival Skills | Tags: , , , , , , | 23 Comments

How Busy People Extend the Shelf Life of Survival Skills

by Todd Walker

[Personal Note: I want to thank our online family for the prayers, love, and support after the recent loss of my brother. We appreciate you more than you can know!]

How Busy People Extend the Shelf Life of Survival Skills - www.TheSurvivalSherpa.com

The most able are the most free.
~Wendell Berry

On the journey to self-reliance, we all start with different skill levels, locales, and motives. Some are even convinced of an inevitable zombie apocalypse. As we say in the south, “Bless their hearts.”

The Doing the Stuff Skills we promote here aren’t very flashy or of the “sky is falling” variety. They are, however, practical and useful for common sense living… a cross-fertilization of old and new paths of emergency preparedness, urban and wilderness survival, natural health, homesteading, energy independence, and making stuff to decrease dependence on others.

Skills require action beyond stocking and storing stuff because of these two little words…

Shelf Life

For instance, that extra pair of boots in storage will eventually dry rot without ever touching feet. Like food, leather and rubber have an expiration date. So do your skills.

The problem with skills is that there is no “out of date” label like the one you found on that dusty can of beans in the back of your pantry. But you already know which skill sets you’ve allowed to rust around the edges.

But here’s the good news…

Unlike food, skills are renewable!

Here’s a self-directed strategy to help busy people take survival skills from average to awesome.

Doing the Stuff on the Fly

Your busy. I know. Aren’t we all! Dedicated time for skills training is a luxury for most of us. We have bills to pay, families to feed, and routine responsibilities to fulfill. However, these three strategies keep my skills fresh – even during what seems to be a shrinking 24 hour period. Try them out. Hope they help you, too!

Take Mini-breaks

The skill you’re developing may take hours to learn. And the answer to the proverbial question, “How do you eat an elephant?” is… One bite at a time. Leverage your break times to practice a specific aspect of the skill. I’ve learned to tie several new knots with a short piece of cordage I keep in my Get Home Bag while standing at my desk on break.

Imagine what you’d accomplish if you find five of these 10-minute breaks in your day.

With today’s technology, watch an instructional video and take notes to ensure accuracy in the skill. Caution: YouTube can be a time sink. So be sure to find value adding channels to follow. I regret not watching more instructional videos over the years.

Take Mini-lessons

At times, all you need is a short lesson to keep moving forward. You probably don’t have time to read an entire book or take a full course. Find sources who summarize or curate content from value-adders in the niche skill your pursuing (self-reliance, wilderness survival, wildcrafting, self-defense, homesteading, food preservation, camping, etc.).

Prepper Website is an excellent curator of self-reliance stuff! Also, be sure to check out our Doing the Stuff Trusted Resources Page for a list of virtual hotspots to connect with and learn skills.

Find Mini-mentors

Questions are easily answered when you find a mentor. Local is best. But don’t discount online learning groups. Avoid groups that only post articles without real discussion of skills. I’ve found a couple of online groups where members, of varying skill level, actually engage and learn from one another.

Like I mentioned earlier, a local mentor is ideal. I’ve been fortunate to find knowledgeable local instructors and online teachers.

When time and money permit, take a class or workshop from a teacher who practices the E.D.I. method of instruction… (Educate: teach the skill, Demonstrate: doing the stuff with the skill, Imitate: allow you to imitate the skill). Two things happen with quality instruction: (A) your learning curve is shortened, and, (B) you build micro-communities and connections. These students of self-reliance share your passion and can be your best mini-mentors.

There is always more to learn on our journey to self-reliance. Finding the time to practice and learn skills is the challenge. Hopefully these tips will help.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

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

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: Doing the Stuff, Survival Skills | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

5 Lessons on Self-Reliance at The Pathfinder School

by Todd Walker

For two years I’ve tried to attend a class at Dave Canterbury’s The Pathfinder School. Finally got the chance this weekend after a lot of penny-pinching and saving. Was it money well spent? You bet!

Iris and Dave Canterbury being gracious as usual.

Iris and Dave Canterbury being gracious as usual.

Investing in knowledge and skills is a no brainer. Books, videos, and blogs, depending on the source, can be a value adding resources. I wanted to test my skills, in a somewhat controlled setting, before having to do the stuff to survive! My buddy and I, Dave W. (DW), drove 10 hours, slept and trained in the rain, cold, and sleet to hone our 72 hour wilderness survival skills.

E.D.I. (Educate, Demonstrate, Imitate) is a method used to teach every skill at the school. This takes the guess-work out of each task you’re asked to perform.

Jamie Burleigh demonstrating the 5 minute emergency shelter

Jamie Burleigh demonstrating the 5 minute emergency shelter

The Pathfinder System is built around the Triangle of Survivability: Knowledge – Skills – Resources. Each side of the triangle is designed to maintain Core Temperature Control (CTC) in a 72 hour wilderness survival situation.

Here are the key lessons learned…

Your kit (gear) is a resource. Every time you venture into the woods, your kit should contain the 10 C’s of Survivability. Each of these 10 pieces must have at least 3 multifunctional uses. The first 5 C’s (Cutting tool, Combustion device, Cover, Container, Cordage) directly affect your CTC the most. This gear is the hardest to reproduce in a wilderness survival situation.

Lesson 1: Get the Best Gear You Can Afford

I’ve written about and logged many hours of dirt time practicing with the 5 C’s, but not at the intense level DW and I experienced this weekend. A lot of gear marketed in the survival/preparedness community will fail when you need it the most. Not all my gear came from the Pathfinder Store. However, let me say this, if you choose to purchase their stuff, be assured that these items have been tested in the real world.

For instance, my knife came from Red Barn Forge. I brought two back up knifes just in case. These spare cutting tools never left my pack. The “Beast” curled fine feather sticks, batoned through 4 inch logs with ease with only a light stropping of the blade from the original two month old factory edge. [I wanted to wait until after this class to give this knife a full review. Stay tuned!]

There are common man options for gear that won’t break the bank. My homemade bed sheet tarp (Cover) rocked in the rain, sleet, and cold! I slept dry and warm in my wool blankets and hammock.

I intended to use my Swiss Army Bread bag as my haversack for the class. Realizing that it was too small for the job, I improvised and used my $10 yard sale backpack. It proved functional and easy to carry.

Lesson 2: “If it ain’t raining, you ain’t training”

Fire. Over twenty fires in three rainy days with wet wood. Your pack should always contain a sure-fire method of combustion.

selfreliance-lessons-pathfinder-school

Dave and me making fire… Sherpa hat and all.

When you’re wet and cold and have marginal tinder material, a Bic lighter will ignite duct tape. Make a loose bundle of Gorilla tape about the size of a golf ball and light it with your Bic. This burning ball of tape will extend your fire (10-15 minutes) to dry and ignite wet tinder material. If processed correctly, you can even ignite the tape with a good ferro rod.

Duct tape ignition with a ferro rod

Duct tape ignition with a ferro rod

In the real world, it rains. Stuff gets wet. In your fire kit, always carry dry tinder material. Jute twine, Gorilla tape, and fatwood are excellent ways to start a fire in wet conditions. You’d be smart to carry a commercial sure-fire back up or make and test your own.

Fire is life out there! Fire effects your survivability in many ways:

  • Self-aid
  • Shelter
  • Water
  • Fire/heat
  • Signaling
  • Food
  • Psychological comfort and morale booster

Practice Doing the Stuff with fire in controlled conditions before your life depends on producing a flame in the wild. A sustainable fire, like all things survival related, can be condensed to the input/output paradigm. The resources you put in determines your outcome.

Collecting “smalls” for fire is crucial. I’ve never collected so many pencil-lead size and pencil size twigs in a three-day period in my life. The students who produced chest-high, body-wide 5 minute fires (output) were the ones who took the time to gather 55 gallon drum liners full of smalls (input) from dead hanging trees and branches… and of course, paid attention to the instructor’s demonstration of building a proper fire lay before imitating. Practicing fire craft before attending the school also helps. 😉

Carefully control the input factors to reach a perfect outcome (survival). Practicing wilderness self-reliance skills in all-weather conditions. What works in dry conditions will likely fail when wet.

Lesson 3: Discover Redundancy in Your Kit

Never pack an item in your kit that can’t perform at least 3 functions to effect your survivability. With the proper resources, skills, and knowledge, your 10 piece kit should be able to meet these seven survival priorities…

Priority #1: Self-Aid

If you’re injured, you’re chances of surviving a 72 hour scenario are decrease without performing self-aid.

  • Cutting tool – ** used to effect all 7 survival priorities but not listed **
  • Combustion device
  • Cover
  • Container
  • Cordage
  • Cotton bandana
  • Cargo tape (get Gorilla brand)
  • Cloth sail needle
  • Candling device (flash light, head lamp, candle, etc.)
  • Compass

Priority #2: Shelter

Creating a mini micro climate for CTC (Core Temperature Control)

  • Cutting tool
  • Combustion device – heat
  • Cover – clothing, tarp, tent
  • Cordage
  • Cargo tape

Priority #3: Water

  • Container
  • Combustion device
  • Cover – make shift container
  • Cotton material – filter
  • Cargo tape – DIY container in case metal container is lost
Water boiling challenge

Water boil challenge

Priority #4: Fire

  • Cutting tool – processing wood, spine used to produce sparks with flint
  • Combustion device – obvious, right?
  • Container – used to make char cloth
  • Cotton material – char cloth to create next fire
  • Cargo tape – fire extender
  • Candling device – illumination
  • Compass – magnifying lens on a good compass for solar ignition
Fire on the hill

32 fires on the hill

Priority #5: Signaling

  • Combustion device – smoke generator
  • Cover – a reusable emergency space blanket (reflective side) or orange on the outside
  • Cotton material – contrasting color from natural surroundings
  • Candling device – flashing light
  • Compass – with a mirror to reflect sun light
Smoke generator for signaling

Smoke generator for signaling

Priority #6: Food

  • Combustion device
  • Container
  • Cordage
  • Cotton material
  • Candling device

Priority #7: Navigation

  • Cloth sail needle – magnetized for a DIY compass
  • Candling device – night navigation
  • Compass – investing in a quality compass should be your 2nd priority after a knife

Lesson 4: Pre-Planning and Teamwork

You won’t always have a partner with you while in the great outdoors. On solo trips or with a group, leave a written plan with a friend or family member describing, in as much detail as possible, where you’re going, when you left and plan to return, who is with you, and how you plan to get there (car camping, hiking, etc.).

Part of "Team Wisdom" - The Bragg clan from PA and two Georgia boys on the right

Part of “Team Wisdom” – The Bragg clan from PA and two Georgia boys on the right

The importance of teamwork can’t be overstated. My buddy, Dave W, covered my weaknesses in the navigation course more than a few times. Even after watching and listening to our instructors, Brian Manning and Matt Mahoney, I wasn’t able to get my bearings on the compass until Dave W. demonstrated the technique on our first trial in the woods. He saved us on the night navigation course more than once.

If you happen to be out with a friend or group, know each other’s strengths and learn from them. Iron sharpens iron.

Lesson 5: Pass on the Knowledge

Dave Canterbury taking time for an interview with Tommy Bragg for his high school career project.

Dave Canterbury taking time for an interview with Tommy Bragg for his high school career project.

Mastering the basics in any craft takes time and knowledgable mentors. The staff at The Pathfinder School are students of self-reliance. They don’t know it all. Who does? They’re not self-appointed experts. They learn new stuff with every class… and pass on this knowledge.

One of Team Wisdom's, Brain Manning, hamming it up on the last day

One of Team Wisdom’s instructors, Brain Manning, hamming it up on the last day

As students, we should all stay curious, hungry, and humble. The best way to learn a new skill is teach it. Decompressing after the trip, Dirt Road Girl and I sat and talked in our living room about the many fire deliverables Dave and I performed.

“Let’s build a fire!” she said.

DRG collected smalls, processed tulip poplar bark for tinder, made fatwood scrapings, a fatwood feather stick, and started her first 5 minute sustainable fire with a ferro rod in the backyard! Her input produced the desired output… a sustainable fire!

Self-Reliance Lessons Learned at the Pathfinder School

DRG's burning it down!

DRG burning it down!

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

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

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, Doing the Stuff, Self-reliance, Survival | Tags: , , | 18 Comments

Plans Fail → Skills Endure

by Todd Walker

All the Survival Blogs in the world… cannot save you!

Coming from a fellow survival blogger, this may seem a bit strange. Hang with me as I explain.

plans-fail-skills-endure

My good friend, Daisy Luther – owner and writer at The Organic Prepper, wrote an article recently about reality checks in the prepper world. My favorite line in her article came from someone who is all too familiar with punches in the mouth…

Everyone’s got a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.

~ Mike Tyson

Like him or not, Tyson lands a stiff right hook in the mouth of every person who has ever attempted to plan for the unknown. You don’t have to be a professional boxer to understand that when life punches you in the mouth, Plan A goes bye-bye.

The self-reliant skills you, your family – and ultimately – your community possess will get you through the unknown unknowns. Your Plan B of getting out of dodge with your bug out bags loaded – children and pets in tow – is sound on paper. Have you actually put it to the test? Do you have a pre-determined destination besides the remote National Forest “teaming with wildlife and wild edibles?” No worries, there will be other desperate “like-minded” people in the hills willing to “lend” a helping hand.

Not so fast!

This popular SHTF survival plan has refugee written all over it.

Dirt Road Girl and I both have bug out bags and vehicle kits packed just in case. But we’re also realistic about our survivability if we ever need to get to our retreat on foot. And we don’t have young children tagging along for the hundred mile hike – just our two rescue mutts. Our Plan B only goes into action when a true SHTF scenario prevents us from staying put.

Young children changes the plan. Immediately. This point was driven home on my recent bushcraft trip with my second grade grandson. What you think might be a 72 hour trip would likely turn into a week or more. Packing enough food for that length of time would be prohibitive. You’re best bet would be to have several pre-planned, well stocked pit stops (friends and relatives) along the way and…

a fist full of skills!

We’ll cover two today – one for each fist.

Plan B Skills Go Beyond Your Bag of Stuff

The less you know, the more you need. No slam here. Just stating the facts.

In the early stages of my journey to self-reliance, I packed so much shiny survival stuff that I needed a pack mule for conveyance. Funny thing is, as my skills increased, my pack weight shrunk like it was on a late-night infomercial diet.

Plan B Skills transcend your stuff. You’ll never regret spending more time watching YouTube tutorials, reading how-to articles, and practical preparedness books. But here’s the catch…

You must practice the skills for yourself. That’s how trading theory for ACTION becomes personal!

Here are two essential skills that go beyond your bug out bag…

Fire Craft

Yep, I listed it first. Fire is life. So is water. Prioritizing your self-reliance skills is like playing the game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. You throw paper and Mother Nature throws scissors. You lose.

It’s simple. You can’t physically carry enough water on a physically demanding  journey. Water weighs over 8 pounds per gallon. A Bic Lighter weighs nearly nothing. Fire creates potable water.

Plan A for water is a commercial water filter. It’s in my bag of stuff. Plan B relies on fire craft skills and a container.

Fire is beautifully redundant. With fire, you now have the ability to…

  • Purify water
  • Cook food
  • Stay warmth
  • Add comfort and security
  • Keep bugs and wild critters away
  • Signal rescuers if you want to be found
  • Boost morale – an overlooked commodity
  • Make stuff
  • Brew coffee – arguably its most important use 😉

If you’ve hung out here for any length of time, you know I love fire craft. If fire is life out there, carry modern fire tools (Plan A) – but Practice Primitive (Plan B) fire craft. Plan B is not for the faint of heart. But every self-reliant man, woman and child can – and should – have fun building primitive fire skills.

Plan A Fire Craft Kit:

Plan B Fire Craft Skills:

  • Friction based – Bow drill, hand drill, fire plow are a few options
  • Flint and steel – char material needed to catch a spark

Shelter Craft

Develop and practice the skill of creating cover. A dry cover protect you from the elements to prevent hypothermia and hyperthermia.

Many options are available in the shelter category. Buy, make, or barter for a durable Plan A covering for thermoregulation. Consider space, weight, quality, and redundant uses for your shelter.

  • USGI poncho – This poncho is military issue and very tough. It can be used as a tarp shelter, cover your body and pack, and can even be made into a mini canoe.
Think Outside the Tent for Shelter

Poncho and hiking poles for a quick shelter

  •  Silnylon – a lightweight covering that is water and wind proof
  • Contractor Trash bags – Good for emergency shelter and collecting resources
  • Waxed canvas – a more traditional shelter which weighs more but bomb proof
  • Oilskin cloth tarp – cotton fabric treated with oil and wax
  • Walled tents
  • Space blanket
  • Proper clothing offers shelter
  • Natural rock ledges, caves, and hollow trees
  • Build your own shelter – hone your cutting tools and build a shelter
DSCN0480

A roll of tarred bank line, used billboard, natural material, a saw, axe, and knife were used to build my Trapper’s Shelter

The importance of setting up shelter – especially in the dark – shouldn’t be overlooked. If you’re a hammock sleeper, do you remember how to tie the knots to hang your tarp and hammock in the dark? Practice tying a few useful knots until they’re automatic.

Plan B Skills are Your Knock Out Punch

I’ve been punched in the mouth many times – literally and figuratively. Both jabs hurt. But at the end of your bout, in the flurry of flying fists, the skills you’re Doing, not the stuff you’ve read about, will keep you from tapping out when your life is on the line.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

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

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, Doing the Stuff, Self-reliance | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

7 Tips to Keep You Alive and Found in the Wilderness

by Todd Walker

Get out there!

Spend enough time with Mother Nature and you’ll likely experience emergencies.

7 Tips to Keep You Alive and Found in the Wilderness

Things went right this trip.

Even the most innocent outings are potential survival situations. That fishing trip can turn nasty for all the wrong reasons. Your day hike may find you sleeping under the stars with a busted knee.

Always carry a minimal what-if emergency kit. With these tools, a survival mind-set, and Doing the Stuff skills, you increase your odds of staying alive and being found.

A.) Mindset Training

No matter the crisis or survival situation, your ability to come out on the other side alive is largely dependent upon your attitude. Recognizing that there will be added stress – mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual – is your first step.

Let us train our minds to desire what the situation demands. – Seneca the Younger

All your other skills will be affected by your mindset. Obviously, the more skills and knowledge you have, the more comfortable you’ll be when starting a fire to stay warm when your lost in the wilderness. Being collected enough to start a fire not only provides physical life support but boosts morale.

The more you practice skills, the more you’re attitude improves. Doing the Stuff beforehand keeps panic at bay.

B.) There’s No “I” in Team

This clever slogan adorns team t-shirts and locker room walls in the world of sport. Unfortunately, the saying won’t work on surv”I“val. There it sits, smack dab in the middle of the word!

In some cases, “I” is all you have. This scenario requires you to be a team of one – without a camera crew filming or emergency personnel standing by. You’ll have to survive on your wits and create your own ‘luck.’

C.) Resilient First Aid

Injuries happen. A scrap becomes infected. A misstep twists your ankle. Now you’ve become the doctor. All the more reason to pack a basic first aid kit. Learning basic first aid builds resilience.

The larger threat in wilderness survival situations is hypothermia and hyperthermia. Getting cold and wet leads to hypothermia. You’re ability to make sound decisions is reduced when your body’s core temp drops.

D.) Improvised Emergency Shelter

I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. Mother Nature is temperamental. She likes to see how much hell you can handle while visiting her “house.”

Humans aren’t built for prolonged exposure to nature’s elements. We require shelter. We may stumble upon a cave if one is available. But one advantage we have over our furry critter friends is our ability to use logic and reason to survive.

Any crisis over a couple of hours in wet, cold conditions will likely escalate into a life-threatening setting. Shelter is more important than water in this case. Humans can only go three hours without shelter. Having experience in building emergency shelter can save your life. If you’re caught without a piece of plastic or a tarp, you’ll have to improvise and use what nature provides.

Here’s some ways to build a temporary ‘home’ in the wilderness…

E.) Fire

7 Tips to Keep You Alive and Found in the Wilderness

The fire triangle

The ability to make fire is everything in the wilderness. This skill aids in cooking, purifying, heating, signaling, security, and comfort. Fire affects all your other physical and emotional steps to survival and rescue.

Fire is life!

F.) Signaling Rescuers

This one doesn’t get much attention but may be your best hope of being found alive. A series of 3 of anything (sound or visual) let’s search and rescue know you’re in distress. Three whistle blasts, rocks, logs, and/or fires. Use fire at night and smoke during the day. Be sure not to set the surrounding forest ablaze.

If you want to be found, leave a trail or signs for search and rescue. Leave a bandana or strip of cloth hanging from branches if ground rescue is involved. Also build arrows with natural or man-made material to indicate your travel direction.

For ground-to-air rescue, find an opening or clearing and create large signals with straight lines and 90 degree angles or circles. Use logs or rocks that contrast with the background. Build a log cabin fire setup with dry tinder and fuel in the bottom and green leafy material on top that will produce lots of smoke. Fire it up when you hear airplanes or helicopters.

Number Message Code Symbol
1 Require Assistance V
2 Require Medical Assistance X
3 Proceeding in this Direction
4 Yes or Affirmative Y
5 No or Negative N

The above chart indicates to rescue how to proceed. Use any available contrasting material to make these symbols a minimum of 3 feet wide and 18 feet long to alert aircraft.

Shiny Object Signaling

A signaling mirror or any shiny object will work to alert pilots. Reflected sunlight can be seen for several miles. For more details on signaling with shiny objects, Creek Stewart shows you how to improvise here.

Always leave the 3 W’s with a trusted friend or family member:

  1. Where you’re going
  2. When you plan on returning
  3. Who’s in your group.

[I intentionally left water and food out of this post. Well, to be honest, I’m running short on time and don’t have the energy to cover these in this post. 🙂 We’ll chew on these later.]

Keep Doing the Stuff!

Todd

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Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Bushcraft, Camping, Survival, Survival Skills | Tags: , , | 8 Comments

50 Ways to Build Resilient Wealth Before and After a Collapse

by Todd Walker

“Lordy, we’s got to have a doctor! I don’t know nothin’ ’bout birthin babies!”

That’s when Scarlett says, “You told me you knew everything!”

“I don’t know why I lied!”

Pinned ImageDoes this famous scene from “Gone With The Wind” sum up how you feel sometimes? You feel you don’t know nothing about escaping the caged wheel inside your cubicle.

That may be true, but you do know enough to turn your knowledge and skills into extra income.

The best place to succeed is where you are with what you have ~ Charles Schwab

Conventional prepper wisdom tells us to get our beans, bullets, and Band Aids in order. This strategy, which I embrace, begs the question(s): What then? What do you do after you have squirreled away this consumable stuff? Is it enough? How long before your stuff runs out? How long before the rubber seals on your buckets deteriorate?

These questions nag you like a loose tooth.

Once you come to the un-Pollyannic conclusion that your survival cache will run out,  you have to ask the main question, “Is survival enough?” Maybe it is – for the short-term.

Survival skills and stuff are necessary after any disaster. Merely surviving is not what I signed up for in my preparedness contract. You probably didn’t either. You’d like to have your post-SHTF coffee and drink it too – with heavy whipping cream! Could I do without? Sure, for short periods of time.

This requires an outside-the-bunker mindset (unless you enjoy bunker living). If you plan is to hunker down in a remote, hidden hole somewhere, you’ll have to eventually come up for air where the zombies and biker gangs rome. Stuff runs out.

Adopting a non-survivalist mentality may fit the bunker-less among us – present company included. What’s that mean? This is the Survival Sherpa blog, right? Correct. But there’s more to us than mere survival. We promote a lifestyle that would be worth living both now and after economic collapse.

I’ve read that during the Great Depression, the deficit was 40% of our total US GDP. Today it’s 105%. I’m on the tail end of the baby boomer generation. I don’t have plans to retire. I’m not dreaming of eating crumbs from the Social Security Ponzi scheme.

What’s our strategy? Build resilience physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, and spiritually. This is our long-term strategy. It takes time. But it’s worth the effort and investment.

When our fiat dollars become useful only in the outhouse and fireplace, you’ll be ahead of the herd. The key to producing resilient wealth now and after a collapse is to find a way to add value and improve the quality of life for others.

Here’s a few ideas that will help you build resilient skills that produce wealth before and possible after the illusion explodes.

[I’ve designated each with ‘Pre’, ‘Post’, or ‘Both’. The transfer of some ‘Pre’ items to a post-collapse world will be dependent on things like technology and available resources like electricity or the internet. Make use of these modern conveniences while we’ve got them. Many on my list will transfer to ‘Post’ seamlessly. I hope ‘Both’ is self-explanatory.]

1. Pre: Write an e-book and self-publish.

2. Pre: Publish instructional videos and tutorials.

3. Both: Nanny for kids and elderly

4. Both: Food buyers club. The relationships you build with food producers would carry over into a post collapse environment.

5. Pre: Freelance writing

6. Both: Blacksmithing and metal work

7. Both: Seamstress

8. Both: Carpentry

9. Both: Plumbing/Electrical – especially for installing alternative energy systems.

10. Both: Cooking. People have to eat. We enjoy good food. Market your recipes. Tess Pennington over at Ready Nutrition has done just that with her new book, “The Prepper’s Cookbook.”

11. Both: Medical skills. After the SHTF, the free market will determine who’s capable in the field of medicine – not a framed piece of paper on an office wall.

12. Both: Wild food foraging. Learn more on this here.

13. Both: Education/tutoring service

14. Both: Musician/Entertainer

15. Both: Build a barter network

16. Both: Animal husbandry

17. Both: Gardening/permaculture

18. Both: Gunsmith

19: Both: Mechanic for diesel and gas engines

20. Both: Biodiesel production

21. Both: Well boring. Having the equipment to bore water wells makes you a valuable asset.

22. Both: Portable sawmill. People will always want and need lumber. In a post collapse world, energy to run a mill might be a challenge. Explore steam power and biodiesel as alternative fuel.

23. Both: Draft animal trainer. This skill might be more valuable in a post world.

24. Both: Timber frame construction. In the past, raising a barn or home with primitive tools within a community was common place. Having the skills and tools to do so would ensure place you at the top of the producer list in your group.

25: Both: Alternative energy expert – solar, hydro, wood gasification, etc.

26: Both: Make charcoal. It’s mainly a hobby in our pre world. I can see it being value adder after a collapse.

27: Both: Heavy equipment operator. Barter with the guy making biodiesel to keep the machines running.

28. Both: Lumberjack. Post world lumberjack tools will look much different from today. Axes, crosscut saws, draft animals and sleds, files, wedges, and sledgehammers come to mind.

29. Both: Preserving food – smoking, pickling, canning, etc. Practicing more primitive techniques now would be useful in a post world.

30. Both: Building chicken coops/tractors for backyard poultry.

31. Both: Unconventional housing – cob, bail, rammed earth, earth homes, etc.

32. Both: Mobil butcher and meat processor. Instead of hauling livestock to a distant location, this local option might be welcomed by farmers. This would bridge a gap from farm to dinner plate.

33. Both: Marketing and distribution of products. This service bridges the gap between the producers and the consumers. Start small and keep it local. Look for bigger opportunities to grow your business. It’s a win-win-win for the producer, consumer, and you.

34. Both: Distilling spirits. If you don’t think alcohol will be in demand after TSHTF, think again. Its role won’t be just consumption either. Think medicinal and sanitation.

35. Both: Water purification. Essential to life.

36. Both: Appliance repair man/woman. Fixing stuff that breaks is a skill worth knowing.

37. Both: Dumpster diving. A friend of mine rescues ‘trash’ that he finds in dumps. His most recent find was a 18 volt Dewalt drill. He tinkered with it and now uses it in his construction business. Trash into treasure.

38. Both: Soap and candle maker. Handmade soaps and candles are very popular now. Could you become one of these local artisans?

39. Both: Shoe repair/leather work. My mama has the shoe lass that her daddy used to make and repair shoes for her and her nine siblings during the Great Depression.

40. Both: Herbalist. Healing with herbs and homeopathic methods.

41. Both: Luxury items. Even in a post collapse world, we will want our creature comforts to make life seem more normal. Small things like chocolate or a steaming cup of coffee would brighten things up.

42. Pre: Sell stuff on eBay, Craigslist, and other online sites.

43. Pre: Blogging. The vast majority of blogs don’t make big money. Successful sites make lots of money. The conventional approach is to produce great content which draws high traffic. You would then sell advertising on your site. I made a decision to not use advertising on this blog. I’m getting lots of requests from vendors to advertise here. But I want to stick with my no advertising policy.

44. Pre: Photography. Sell your stock photos online.

45. Both: Own land. They don’t make anymore of this stuff. Productive farmland has doubled in price since last year. Even with small acreage, people are able to produce supplemental income. Our local farmers market has several vendors that use limited space to grow and sell organic vegetables.

46. Both: Lease your skills. Offer your knowledge through classes. Build authority in your field and teach others the skills you’ve honed for a fee.

47. Both: Sell seeds. We take for granted that we can run to the garden center and buy seeds for our garden. Heirloom, open-pollenated varieties are hard to come by locally. You could start a seed swap if your area doesn’t have a community of seed savers. Here’s a rare seed company you might be interested in checking out.

48. Consulting. This list alone could go on for pages. For our intent here, we’ll stick to the realm of sustainability, survival, prepping, and resilience: Water, energy, security, food, etc. There are few limits to the list. Be creative. Build authority. Add value.

49. Pre. Retreat and relocation service. Survival Blog has several examples of everyday folks who have developed niche markets to serve Mr. Rawles’ vision of moving to sparsely populated areas. He has promoted the American Redoubt on his site for people wanting to and are able to relocate. You can read Pastor Chuck Baldwin’s reasons for moving to Montana here. A son of Mr. Rawles operates SurvivalRealty.com aimed at helping find survival retreats. Todd Savage started Survival Retreat Consulting to help serve this niche market.

50. Both: Midwifery. How valuable would it be if Prissy possessed these skills? I don’t know nothing about birthing babies. Do you?

This is a simple list to get you thinking. More came to my mind when compiling this list. But I figured 50 was a good, round number to get us started. What would you add? Add yours in the comment section.

Keep doing the stuff,

Todd

 

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Categories: Lost Skills, Preparedness, Resilience | Tags: , , | 12 Comments

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