You might not know it yet, but there are some easy tricks to sheltering yourself in an emergency. Wilderness lovers and people in many traditional societies use these simple survival techniques. You can, too! Your Bank Account Whether you are in the outback or in an urban environment, you need to understand your body’s “bank account” and how to save your body’s resources for important withdrawals. In an emergency, you should keep your body’s account of heat, stamina, and water safe. If you don’t conserve them, you might not have them to withdraw when needed to make better shelter, get food, or do other essential actions. Quick Shelter What I call “quick shelter” is a deceptively simple idea: if you want to reduce loss in your body’s bank account, do simple things to quickly stop losses of water and energy. Whatever it takes, become very protective of the body temperature, stamina, nutrition and water you have in your body when you don’t need to work. I’ve seen many people deplete their resources by exerting themselves or staying out exposed to the elements for no good reason. Save it for when you build, travel, get food, etc. In cool climates, put on head and hand gear, pile leaves on yourself, sit against a rock that reflects warm sunlight. Zip up your coat and sit on the leeward side of a tree to protect against cold and wind. Wipe snow or water from your clothes. In hot areas, lying in shade, avoiding activity, and enjoying a cool breeze does wonders. Deserts can be broiling hot in the day but turn cold at night. When heat starts to drop, gather any easy insulation, from plants to clothing, in case it’s needed at night. Strong wind can deplete your stores in any environment, too, [...]
Browsing Modern Survival
Without much fanfare or news, Earth continues to get showered with an ever-increasing volume of solar radiation caused by a significant increase in large solar flares. This is due to the fact that the sun is currently reaching the peak of its 11 year solar cycle. That peak is known as the “Solar Maximum”. This period marks a major increase in the number of sunspots and solar flares that blast a huge volume of electromagnetic and particle radiation out into space – which of course eventually directly impacts the little blue marble we like to call our home – Earth. For the most part, the only significant effects to our planet are solar storms in the outer atmosphere (lots of charged particles colliding with our magnetosphere and affecting our outer atmosphere), as well as degrading or damaging the sensitive electronic systems in the artificial military and commercial satellites orbiting the planet. (1) With the increase in sun activity last year and this year, satellites have seen the brunt of the negative activity, but not much on the ground itself has been impacted – not yet at least. We’ve covered a lot of stories about the solar maximum in 2013, and more recently about how the sun’s magnetic poles are about to flip, but is it possible that any of this will affect any of us on Earth? Is it already?
…or dinner, if you’re just not a morning person. Bears are found in many parts of the world. If you like the idea of having a really “up close and personal” experience with one, let’s look at how to do it. Good Things to Have Around Keep things like bird feeders, pet food, salt licks, bee hives, and dirty barbecue grills. Use lots of smelly things including items like perfumes and fragrant shampoos. Oh, and citronella seems to bring in the bears sometimes. Also, bears enjoy snacking on ant larvae and pupae. Ant colonies give off formic acid. So, things made with formic acid (Hot tub covers, bike seats, insulated snowmobile seats, and many other items) have been attractants. Surprise! Sneak up on the bears – they like being startled! Don’t sing or clap or talk loudly, keep your flashlight off while hiking at night, and make sure to walk quietly on the trail. (Note: In case it’s not obvious, for your safety, you should not follow the advice in this article. Plus, remember, like many potentially dangerous situations I’ve written about, prevention is the easiest and most effective tool.) In Bear Country, Keep a Really Messy, Smelly Camp or Home Go ahead – live it up! Keep your food and trash lying around, especially near where you’re going to sleep. Don’t use canned or dried food. Leave containers open and out. Forget wasting money on Ziploc bags, and don’t even think about hoisting your food way up a tree. Stay Below the Radar Whenever you head out into nature, you’re probably trying to leave the shackles of civilization behind, right? Ditch the cell phone, and don’t tell people where you’re going or how long you expect to be. That’s a great idea for anything outdoors, bear country or not. [...]
An old TV, junk food, Brillo pad, plastic bottle, condom, battery, ice. These might save your life. (When did you ever hear that junk food could save your life?) Impress your spouse and friends. Even more important, keep yourself alive! Learn how to start fires without a lighter, matches, or store-bought survival equipment. Any readers familiar with my writing know that I promote being able to work with the materials at hand. If you have great equipment, it makes your job really easy. Unfortunately, that’s not often the case. So, you’re in a situation where you need a fire but don’t have a lighter or matches? No problem. Just start looking around.
Did you ever dream of being able to start fires like early explorers, ancient royalty, traditional societies, early authors, or your great-great-great-grandma? These techniques, and more, have been used for campfires for millennia. However, they were also used in homes, kitchens, and anywhere else you needed heat and light. Here’s a peek at skills that pretty much everyone knew before safety matches came into widespread use in the mid-19th century. Hand Drill The hand drill is one of the earliest methods people came up with to start fire. And, it’s one of the most difficult ones, too. I’ve watched Maasai warriors of East Africa do this on the wide blades of their spears. They, of course, made it look easy. After all, they’ve probably been doing it all their lives. It’s not easy for most of the rest of us. –> You’ll need a straight spindle of harder wood perhaps 1 ½- 2 feet long. –> Make tinder out of anything that catches fire readily-dry grass, leaves, bark-and form a little nest. –> Cut a V-notch in a piece of wood called a “fire board” or “hearth board”, making a small depression next to it. Cottonwood, cedar, and willow are some of the options. –> Put bark or something similar between the spindle and the fire board. Fir or horsetail wood are a few possible materials. –> Put the spindle into the depression on the fire board. Keep pressure on the board, rolling the stick between your hands. You run your hands up and down the spindle again and again and again until an ember is glowing on the fire board. –> As soon as that ember shows up, drop it into the bark and shove it into the tinder, gently blowing to keep it alive and coax it into [...]
Fire? Me? Make a fire? Where’s the microwave? Whether keeping the family happy with an autumn blaze and marshmallows, traveling in any climate or country, or keeping yourself alive in an emergency, knowing how to make a fire is crucial and easily learned. Even if you live in a city, knowing how to set up a fire could be useful in an emergency situation for heat, light, signaling, or cooking. This article discusses campfires, but the same principles apply to your grill, fireplace, or urban emergency. You might just need to use other items. It’s Not That Tough Mom grew up on a mountain ranch, and Dad spent lots of time riding the Rockies on his horse before heading off to hunt treasures. They know how to make fires. We made fires in two fireplaces in the old house, a fire-breathing stove in our cabin, on camping trips and during expeditions. So, I was expected to learn fire building from an early age. When your parents are able to conjure flame quickly from almost anything, it can be a little intimidating. Why did I need bundles of paper and a box of matches when it took just a little tinder and a quick touch with one match for my folks to be fanning flames? But, I learned that it’s really not that hard to do.
I sincerely hope that all people in the world live a peaceful life. Regrettably, shootings do happen on the street, in the school or office, and even in the Washington Navy Yard. Knowing a few basic tactics might save your life and/or the lives of your family and friends.
In my last piece on this subject, Bugs: A Cheap, Nutritious, Sustainable Way to Eat, I introduced the idea of eating insects for survival or as a regular source of food. In this article, you’ll find ways to do that. First, in survival, then in the comfort of your kitchen. Insect Foods for Survival Here’s one way to save yourself a lot of time and energy gathering and preparing food. Yes, you can hunt, fish, and look for fruits, but just remember that there’s a good chance you’re surrounded by food right where you are: insects. After all, they’re 4/5 of all the animals on this planet. Any place that you normally find bugs is open season. Look for shady spots, protected areas and moist locations. Take a peek under rocks as well as in, and underneath, trees and shrubs. Caves and cracks or crevasses in the earth and rock are also likely spots; but, remember that you need to keep yourself safe while surviving. Be cautious not to get involved with a snake, unstable rock, or other safety issues. Collect crawling insects in whatever you have: a can, bag, or any other container. The better it seals, the more food you’ll be able to keep from walking or falling away. Grasshoppers, beetles, worms, grubs, termites, crickets and larvae can be good finds, but other bugs are good food, too.
Billions of people around the world are taking advantage of a food source that is cheap, healthy and environmentally friendly. Are you missing out? It can be a high source of protein; provides vitamins, minerals and fiber; requires little space to produce, and replenishes rapidly. In addition, it is reported to have about 20 times higher food conversion efficiency than other meats. In other words, a better feed-to-meat ratio than beef, pork, lamb or chicken. Great for survival situations or everyday dining. And it’s now being spotlighted in international circles. What is it? Eat Bugs Bugs? You want me to eat a bug? Okay, maybe you’ve never eaten an insect. Or, have you? The United States Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition produces a publication called “The Food Defect Action Levels: Levels of natural or unavoidable defects in foods that present no health hazards for humans”. This volume details acceptable levels of food contamination including how many bugs you can have in your dinner. In it, you’ll find, among many other examples, peanut butter has to have an average of less than 30 insect fragments per 100 grams, wheat flour has to have an average of less than 150 insect fragments per 100 grams and ground cinnamon has to have an average of less than 400 insect fragments per 50 grams. So, pretty much everyone’s eaten bugs already. The thought of eating sushi or even tofu used to disgust many people in the United States; now, however, sales of these food items are doing well. Why not the same for tasty termites and gastronomic grasshoppers?
Every year, worldwide, about 100 people are victims of unprovoked shark attacks. In perspective, you have far, far greater chance of a problem from an auto accident, heart attack, or many other issues. However, if I could reduce my chance of being in that small percentage of shark victims, I think I’d learn how to do it. After all, the chances of your house blowing up from natural gas are low, but they stay low through prevention and attention, right? Be Aware Just like my discussions with people about how to avoid or avert terrorist attacks (see Improving Your Safety from Terrorist Attacks), your best way to avoid shark trouble is not to be there. You can use your powers of observation to help you with that. If you see conditions that indicate the likelihood of sharks in the area, the most effective way to avoid a bite is to stay out of the water.