Monthly Archives - September 2016

7 Reasons Why It Is Important To Know How To Build A Fire In The Wilderness

7 Reasons Why It Is Important To Know How To Build A Fire In The Wilderness

Wilderness survival skills are an extremely important asset to have. In the wild, the skill set you have might just save your life. This is why it is important to make sure you have enough information and knowledge before you brave the wild outdoors. The wilderness is essentially land that has been left to exist in its natural state and where the influence of mankind has been kept to a bare minimum. In the wilderness, it is just you and the wildly powerful forces of nature. One of the most important skills to have when you are braving the wilderness is knowing how to build a fire. It is also important to know how to safely build this fire and how to tend to it so that you do not accidentally start a wildfire. Many people do not see this as a necessary skill to have, but when you are faced with a situation that requires that skill, you will understand why it is important. Here are some of the reasons why it is important that you know how to build a fire in the wilderness.

For Warmth

For Warmth

As beautiful and serene as the natural outdoors can be, there are times where the forces of nature are cold and unforgiving. It is important that you know how to build a fire in the wilderness so that you can keep yourself warm at all times. This lowers your risk of catching hypothermia, contracting frostbite, and even contracting an illness. In some cases, you might not need to build a fire for warmth because the temperature is steady and warm, but conditions can change on a dime. There is always the possibility that temperatures might drop or that it could rain, at which point you will most likely be seeking a source of warmth. The skill of knowing how to build a fire will keep you warm and safe, as well as those around you so it is important that you know how to build a fire in the wilderness before you venture out there. Knowing how to build a fire is a crucial part of cold weather survival. Now, it is one thing to know how to build a fire, and another to know how to build a fire in the wilderness.

In order to build a fire in the wilderness, you have to know the right materials to use, and how to use them effectively so that you are not left with a pile of stuff that will not light. To build your fire, you will need to know how to gather and assemble the right material as well as pick out the right location to use as a fireplace. Once you have chosen the location, you will need to get your fire building material, which will consist of fuel, tinder, and kindling.

Purifying Water

Purifying Water

Out in the wilderness, you will not be greeted with the same type of comfort you are used to at home. This means that you will not have reverse osmosis water filters nor will you be able to buy a 24 pack of purified spring water. If you think you can avoid drinking water in the wild by stocking up before your trip, I applaud you for your forethought, but in extreme circumstances you will still end up needing to use water from the wilderness. This is one of the times where knowing how to build a fire will help keep you safe and healthy. One of the best ways to purify water is to boil it, and you cannot boil water without having a fire.

Drying Clothes and Equipment

Drying Clothes and Equipment

As most of you know, nature is amazing, but it can be harsh. If one is battling with the elements, there is always a possibility that they might get soaking wet or extremely dirty. It doesn’t really matter whether you get rained on, or if you wash your clothes in a river, but one of the best ways to get your clothes and equipment dry again is by building a fire. If you need to dry your belongings during the day, then there will be no need to build a fire, but this is not always the case. If you do not properly dry your clothes and equipment, you might put yourself at risk of getting sick or put your equipment at risk of getting damaged.

Safety signals

Safety signals

Fires also come in handy if you need to signal for safety and emergency purposes. Out in the wilderness, there is always the possibility that something could go wrong and you might need to evacuate or have some emergency services locate you. Emergency signal fires come in handy if you are stranded and lost, if someone in your party is injured and requires emergency services or an everyday situation escalates into something else. The brightness of your fire will help draw attention to your location, but the smoke (which rises much higher) will be much more beneficial to help signal your location.

Ward off Animals and Insects

Ward off Animals and Insects

Building a fire in the wilderness is also an effective way to help keep wild animals and insects away from you and your party. There are many elements of the wild that people go up against when they decide to spend time in the wilderness. It is important to realize that these animals and insects have the upper hand on that environment, no matter how much intense training you put yourself through. They were made to thrive in those locations so they will adjust far better than you. This is why it is important to make sure that you stay well away from bears, coyotes, wolves etc. and one of the best ways to ward off these animals is to build a fire. Not only does it help illuminate your surroundings, but it also helps keep these animals from coming closer than they should. Think of your fire as some high-security locks that were installed by a professional locksmith to keep burglars away!

Cooking Food

Cooking Food

Sustenance is one of the main ingredients to help people survive in the wilderness. You will be hard pressed to find someone wandering around exploring if they have not had food to eat. In order to keep your energy up, you have to make sure that you are eating right and that you are eating food that provides you with enough nutrients and energy to go about your day. Of course, you can get by with only eating a selection of premade food, but learning how to build a fire in the wilderness will help you survive for the long haul. This skill will give you the ability to cook, clean and eat a much wider variety of food than you would be able to if you did not have the ability to build a fire.

Sterilize Equipment

Sterilize Equipment

Knowing how to build a fire also comes in handy when you need to sterilize some equipment or treat a wound. It is a very common occurrence for people to get injured in the wild, but it is even more common that people’s injuries become infected because of unsterilized equipment. In emergency situations, you can start a fire and use this to help sterilize any tools that you might use to treat cuts or bruises. This can be done by submerging the part of the tool you will use in boiling water, or by holding that same part over an open flame. This allows the heat to kill off any dormant bacteria that is not visible to the naked eye and it also reduces the chance of the wound becoming further infected.

Conclusion

There are may skills that come into play when you are trying to survive in the wilderness and many of them are similar to life saving prepper skills. However, most of them pale in comparison to the importance of knowing how to build a fire the proper way. This skill is extremely beneficial and it will help you through some really rough spots. I hope that this post has helped enlighten some people on exactly why it is important to be able to know how to build a fire in the wilderness.

7 Reasons Why It Is Important To Know How To Build A Fire In The Wilderness was written by Ralph Goodman from United Locksmith. View more of Ralph’s article’s on his Lock Blog.

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Paracord Knots: The ULTIMATE Resource On Flawless Paracord Creations

Have you gotten started in paracord weaving projects and need more paracord knots to make your creations a bit more elegant, or maybe you’re just bored? Well either way we have compiled the most popular paracord creations to help you make some outstanding pieces!

Paracord weaving is something that continues to grow in popularity. Ever since Bear Grylls burst onto the scene with his paracord bracelet, people have made paracord designs the same way they used to make duct tape wallets and purses.

And we’ve put this article together for you so that you don’t have to scour the web for the most epic paracord knots to add to your bracelets, necklaces, or dog collars (I’m sure someone’s done it).

Why Paracord And Not Duct Tape

Well first of all it would be a lot more difficult to make outstanding multicolored 3D shapes with flat pieces of tape. Paracord lends itself to making different shapes much easier and with the added bonus of being a useful accessory.

Unlike duct tape, you can use these paracord creations in life threatening conditions. Like if you’re unfortunate enough to get stranded in the wild without many resources, having this handy cordage can make a huge difference.

Whether it’s using the cord to put a shelter together or make a trap to get some food you’ll not be sorry you decided to use paracord to make some nifty projects instead of sticky tape!

And if you’ve been an active reader of our site for any amount of time you know that we’re all about giving our readers as many ways to be prepared for anything as possible. And with awesome paracord projects like belts, bracelets, and necklaces, adding these extra knots to them is simple and will give you a little more cordage to work with if you need it.

It’s always better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it, right?

Benefits Of Paracord Weaving

Saves Money

First of all this stuff is incredibly cheap, and can be used to make house hold items for a fraction of what they would cost in stores. If you buy a leather belt from a retail shop all you have is a piece of “leather” and a buckle. Whereas if you made this belt yourself you’re looking at a total cost of around $2 for all the materials. But the choice is up to you.

Keeps Your Mind Sharp

With all of the amazing knots out there for different paracord masterpieces it’s hard to imagine learning them all, but the process of learning and practicing new skills will help improve problem solving and keep your mind sharp. If you’re someone who’s later on in life and looking for a new hobby that will help to keep them mentally engaged, then this is the skill to practice!

Improved Motor Skills

We’re not talking about fixing up a Bronco motor skills, but the skills required to handle small objects with precision and accuracy. Weaving paracord and making specialty knots is a practice that will improve this area of your life, and you’ll see immediate returns within a few weeks.

What You’ll Need To Handle These Knots

You can use a paracord jig if you want to, we’ve done articles that include how to make one yourself in a short afternoon, or you can purchase a ready made one here. We’re not going to be making bracelets with this jig like in the other article, however, you’ll want something to hold the cord steady as you work with it.

Paracord

And while it does work to just drive a nail into the wall or floor to hold the cord, I doubt that it would be very visually appealing to have random nails stuck in the walls and floors. Or maybe that’s just me…

Tips To Make Weaving Easier

Our buddies over at Survival Mastery have a post that addresses the topic of what not to do when you’re starting on your paracord journey. But since you’re not starting on this journey, this is merely a refresher course, you can just breeze through these.

And if some of them happen to help you then you’re welcome 😉

Don’t Buy Paracord In Small Batches

The goal of this hobby is to keep the budget as minimal as possible, and the one way to destroy that is to only buy the amount of paracord you need. If you know that this is a hobby you’re going to really dive into then go ahead and get a decent amount of paracord.

Improper Fusion Of Paracord

Nothing will spoil your awesome paracord design like a weird looking bulge from shady paracord fusion. When you fuse two cords together it’s a fantastic opportunity to add an extra pop of color, so don’t mess it up with shoty paracord fusing.

Take the time to improve your basic skills so that you’ll be able to move through these knots and  projects with the greatest ease!

Paracord

Melting The Ends, Less Is More

You know that cheap yellow nylon rope you can buy at Walmart right, and how the melted ends of this rope look like a thick flat club? Well that’s not at all what your paracord needs to look like after you’ve cut it and melted it!

You’ll quickly learn that less is more when it comes to melting the ends of the paracord.

And you do need to melt the ends to make sure that it doesn’t come unraveled after you’ve cut it, because it most certainly will.

Most Amazing Paracord Knots

This extensive list of knots and braids are a compilation of amazing resources from around the web like fusion knots, paracord guild, and survival life. It’s a bit difficult to go back and forth between sites to find the one knot you’re looking for, so we’ve taken that step out and put them on this page just for you!

Please enjoy!

Ashley’s Flower Knot

Cliford W. Ashley, author and illustrator of the Ashley Book Of Knots (ABOK), created many original knots alongside the multitude of historical knots he presented. One of those original knots is shown on page 391 and referenced as #2445 in the Ashley Book Of Knots.

A magnificent design, ABOK #2445 is effectively a simple modification of the flower knot. Still many refrain from tying it, on account of Ashley’s illustration shows all except how to hold and tie the knot in hand. As a nod to Ashley and the knot he created, this video shows how to tie the knot while in hand.

Ashoka Chakra Knot

The Ashoka Chakra Knot is a fusion knot based upon the “Wheel of Law” edict depicted on the pillars of King Ashoka (an ancient emperor from India).

The Basket Weave Knot

The basket weave knot is deceivingly similar to the prosperity knot, with two major exceptions, it’s easier to tie and adjust. Our hope is that you’ll find the knot an elegant addition to a necklace, bracelet, or any other item where a decorative flat knot might be appropriate.

Celtic Heart Knot

The Big Celtic Heart Knot is a video instruction in response to calls for a larger Celtic Heart Knot. Just as attractive as the original design (only bigger), the knot makes an excellent centerpiece to a necklace given to someone you love. Video production by J.D. Lenzen of Tying It All Together.

Bloody Knuckle Knot

The Bloody Knuckle Knot is what happens when you fuse a row of half hitches with the Blood Knot. The hitches make knuckles and the Blood Knot (or Barrel Knot) pulls the tie together, resulting in an unusual but attractive design.

The blood knot was so named on account of the fact that it was historically tied in to the cat of nine tails floggers.

The Bumblebee Knot

The Bumblebee Knot (ABOK) is listed on page 373 of The Ashley Book of Knots. But, regretfully, only a line drawing is provided for instruction, with no over-under instructions included. The following video provides over- under instructions, with the knot tied in hand. Video production by JD of Tying It All Together.

Celtic Tree Of Life Knot

The Celtic tree of life symbolizes strength, longevity, and wisdom. It further marks the connection between earth, the spirit and the universe. Often portrayed in illustration, it’s rarely if ever shown represented in rope…until now.

Although the Celts are known as people who predominantly populated the British Isles. Their customs, beliefs, and religions were shared by people throughout the 1st millennium BC Europe.

Chinese Clover Leaf Knot

Effectively a miniature version of the Pan Chang Knot, it’s cloverleaf pattern is as much a symbol of good luck in China, as it is in the west.

Cloud Knot

The Cloud Knot branches off the Double Coin Knot in an innovative and seldom realized way. In short, the knot is created via a weaving technique that can be applied to a variety of knots, making them appear more elaborate and decorative.

Cross Knot

The two knots you’re about to see are the Cross Knot and the Ladder Wrap. For most, these two knots couldn’t be more different. Still, in truth they’re more similar than they may at first appear. The only difference in the two knots is the number of vertical wraps that traverse the horizontal bight.

Diamond Ring Knot

The Diamond Ring Knot is the fusion of an Overhand Knot and a tying technique called circling. Surveyed separately these two (knot) components might not inspire much interest. But together they inspire so much more, as the following video hopefully shows.

Double Celtic Medallion Knot

The Double Celtic Knot Medallion can be made as a gift for a loved one or for a dear friend. Now on this day, Valentine’s Day (here in the U.S.), tying it together share how to make that gift…with you. Best to you all, and keep tying!

Paracord Knots: The ULTIMATE Resource On Flawless Paracord Creations was written by SurviveTheWild.net and can be viewed here:

http://www.survivethewild.net/paracord-knots-ultimate-resource-flawless-paracord-creations/

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Survival Gear: Setting Your Group Standard

Survival Gear: Setting Your Group Standard

Everyone likes to think they are unique and many people even go to great lengths to show the world just how special and creative they are. You have seen these types of people, maybe you are one yourself. Those who have tattoos all up one side and down the other (no judgement), who have multiple piercings and giant gauges in their ever expanding earlobes. They wear all manner of fashion that seems to be designed purely for shock value and their hair is carefully combed into their eyes.

Now before I get anyone upset, I am not advocating anyone dress any differently. I am a firm believer in the philosophy of if you want to let your freak flag fly, go right ahead. You aren’t bothering me at all. Except maybe the hair thing on guys today… I just want to cut that mop out of your eyes because it would drive me insane…And stop with the hair products maybe…

Seriously, I love variety and if you feel that you are expressing yourself, go right ahead. More power to you! However, in a survival situation there are times when being the only round peg in a room full of squares could be a disadvantage so today I want to talk about conforming.

The importance of the group standard to preppers

Now when I mention conforming, I am not talking about conforming to my version of society, your morals or style of dress or personal hygiene habits. I am talking about the decisions you will make regarding the survival gear and equipment that your larger mutual assistance group is going to use. It is important to formalize a group standard on several major pieces of gear if you want to function cohesively as a unit.

If each person is unique, their own purple flower with magenta ombre highlights, and does their own thing – you aren’t a group at all. You are just a bunch of individuals hanging around together and believe it or not, that could be a drawback. Let’s imagine a SHTF scenario for example. It’s bad, really bad and you are huddled together with your survival group, trying to get by and taking each challenge as it comes.

Choosing standard firearms

One of our posts that has had the most discussion back and forth has been The AK-47 vs AR-15: Which Rifle is Better? I wrote this back in March of 2014 but debates about the best firearm in a SHTF scenario have probably been raging since men were carrying around flintlock pistols. We are unlikely to find consensus as a whole prepper or survivalist movement, but your own survival group needs to come up with one choice and stick with it.

Why can’t I have my AR15 and Bob have his FN SCAR? Why can’t Julie carry her KRISS Vectorwhile Mary rocks the tried and true AK-47?

I can give you a lot of reasons:

Standard firearms behave the same way. One you learn the mechanics of your AR15, every other AR15 behaves the same way

Standard firearms behave the same way. Once you learn the mechanics of your AR15, every other AR15 behaves the same way

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magazines: Each of your battle rifles should use the same magazines so that if needed, you can grab a spare one from your buddy, lock and load and keep going. You never want to find out that you are under attack and nobody around you has the same magazine, or that two people do, but they aren’t with you at the moment. Try telling your buddy to just hold them off-while you reload a few more magazines.

Spare Parts and Accessories: Let’s say someone has a rifle that has a part malfunction that renders that rifle inoperative. You could either let that sit on the shelf or you can use the spare parts to fix other rifles that may need it. Yes, you should always have spares but it’s far less trouble to buy three of one thing as opposed to one different part three times. You won’t have to learn how to pull apart three different weapons either although knowing how would be a good skill.

You can also look at accessories the same way. I have at least 3 different sets of scope rings I got for 3 different scopes. If I were to have the same scope as my buddy and mine went bad, if needed, I could simply swap his out with mine. The alternative of strapping that nice Vortex Strike Eagle down with duct tape isn’t a good option.

Operation and features: Standard firearms behave the same way. One you learn the mechanics of your AR15, every other AR15 behaves the same way. Learn how to disassemble one, you know how to disassemble all of them. Have a misfire? You know how to quickly clear one AR…I think you get the point.

Reliability: I will also add this minor factor in there. Assuming you buy comparable quality firearms, the make of your rifle and the reliability will be comparable to the other rifles so your lifespans should work out close to the same period of time assuming proper care and maintenance. I know I had an M-16 from the 70’s when I was in the Army and it worked just fine. I did get some new hand-grips though.

Choosing standard calibers

This one should be in the same category but I wanted to break it out because we could be talking about Shotguns, Rifles and Pistols above with your standard firearms. Your ammo should be the same for all firearms as well. So if you have standardized on Glock for example for your pistol, everyone should have the same caliber. This can be .45 or .40 or .357 or .9mm but everyone should carry the same ammo. Same point as above for magazines. When you run out, someone else’s magazine and the ammo naturally will slide right back into your pistol. Which pistol caliber is the best? That is a different argument and a completely different post.

Choosing standard camouflage

Uh, yep! I think camouflage is very necessary in a survival situation.

Uh, yep! I think camouflage is very necessary in a survival situation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is camouflage necessary? It really depends on what you envision as being possible in your survival group. Do you see this as the end of the world as we know it? Do you imagine hostile refugees coming down your street to demand food or the use of your women? Do you expect to be fighting traitorous UN forces who are marching across town? Do you think you will need to hide? Do you think you will need to hunt?

Having the same outfit can prevent someone from easily sneaking into your perimeter unnoticed. Granted, they could be wearing the same old Woodland Camo fatigues I wore in service and if that is what I chose for my group I would be in trouble. There is a case to be made for selecting something a little more novel like German, Australian or British camo. I prefer the easy options available at any hunting store in the US made by RealTree. They match your local foliage and if you are caught in them, you can easily say you were hunting. No need to look like a paramilitary type and gain unwanted attention if you don’t have to.

Choosing standard communication equipment

Baofeng makes a great, affordable radio for preppers.

Baofeng makes a great, affordable radio for preppers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am referring to shortwave radios here. Radio frequencies are the same no matter what equipment you have so why do we have to purchase the same radios? I will give you two reasons. The first is batteries and the second is operation. I have yet to see two HAM radios that were programmed the same way. I know there is software that can make this easier, but to my mind if everyone has the same radio, everyone will know how to use it the same way. Less problems, fewer mistakes. You can choose from a lot of manufacturers and spend a little or a lot of money, but radios should also be the same for your group. My personal choice is Baofeng’s BF F8HP model.

Conclusion

There you have a few of my reasons and rationale for setting a group standard and in these instances at least, not trying to be a purple unicorn with sparkles. I am sure there are those out there who have different opinions so let’s hear them!

Survival Gear: Setting Your Group Standard was written by Pat Henry with Prepper Journal and can be viewed here:

http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2016/06/02/travel-like-prepper/

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