Do Not Just Have A Plan Practice

You may have read many books on different approaches to survival and also have viewed YouTube educational video clips. But until you really take the time and get out into the field with your survival gear and practice those skills yourself, all you will really have is a false sense of security that you would know what to do in a survival situation.

If you have not mastered these outdoor survival skills there is no time like the present to start practicing and learning those skills, and get to know all about your survival gear and what it can do for you. Bring with you a friend or family member that does have some of these outdoor skills along for some instruction and guidance. Do not forget to let someone like a friend, family member, park ranger know exactly where you are headed before you take off to your learning adventure.

Look for a suitable location for a campsite, You want a place that to stay high and dry. Avoid valleys and areas where water may flow toward you if it rains. Choose a site free from the natural dangers like insect nests and widow-makers, dead branches that may fall down with the wind, as well as areas that may have falling rocks. You will want to be close to resources like running water, dry wood, and resources from which you can build your shelter, and a fire. An area that has a rocky wall or a formation that can shield you from the elements can be a bonus.

In a prolonged survival situation building a shelter will be very important as hypothermia is the number one killer in cold weather conditions outdoors. This means that a well-insulated shelter should be your top priority. To make a simple lean-to find a downed tree resting at an angle, or set a large branch securely against a standing tree, and stack smaller branches close together on one side, then layer smaller branches, leaves, and moss, across the angled wall. Insulate yourself from the cold ground, which will draw heat from your warm body, by layering four to six inches of branches, leaves, and moss to lie on.

Building a fire has four key ingredients: a tinder bundle of dry fibrous material such as cotton balls covered in Vaseline or lip balm are an excellent choice, also a selection of wood in three sizes such as toothpick, Q-tip, and pencil size. Then use a forearm-sized log as a base for a windscreen for your tinder. When the tinder is lit, stack the smaller kindling against the larger log to allow oxygen to pass through and feed the flames. Then add larger kindling as the flame grows. Then add larger pieces of wood as needed.

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You should have found a source of clean water. There are two kinds of water in the wild, potable water that is already purified and clean, and then there is the water that can kill you. When it comes to questionable water which is essentially anything that has been on the ground long-term, such as puddles and stagnant small streams, your best option is to boil the water, which is 100 percent effective in killing pathogens. Sometimes boiling is not an option especially if you have no container to boil the water in.

Rain, snow, and dew are reliable sources of clean water you can collect with ease, and they will not need to be purified. With a couple of bandannas, you can collect two gallons of water in an hour by soaking up dew and ringing out into a cup. You can also squeeze water from vines, thistles, and certain cacti. If there are any maple trees around you can cut a hole in the bark and let the watery syrup flow, nature’s energy drink.

Plants “sweat” throughout the day, a process called transpiration. To take advantage of this clean, pure source of water put a clear plastic bag over a leafy branch and tie it tightly closed. When you return later in the day the water will have condensed on the inside of the bag and ready to drink.

You should learn about and know how to identify the various edible plants, as well as small critters like fish, frogs, and lizards that are safe to eat. Separating the plants you can eat from those that will kill you is a matter of study and memorization. Buy a book to familiarize yourself with plants in different environments. Do not take any chances if you are uncertain. A few common edible plants include cattail, lambs quarter (also called wild spinach), and dandelions.

Use a multi-pronged spear to catch animals. Hunting with a multi-pronged spear is the simplest way to catch anything from snakes to fish. Cut down a small tree or branch of about an inch in diameter, and then split the larger end with a knife (or sharp rock) into 3 to 4 equal sections ten inches down. Push a stick between the tines to spread them apart, and then sharpen the points. You now have got an easy-to-use 3 to 4 pronged spear. This method is much easier for catching food than one single sharp point.

Navigating By Day. If you ever find yourself without a GPS (or a map and compass) you can still utilize  the sky to find your way. The easiest method to get your bearings by day is to look at the sun. You can also use an analog watch to find the north-south line. Just hold the watch horizontally and point the hour hand at the sun. Imagine a line running exactly midway between the hour hand and 12 o’clock. This is the north-south line. (On daylight savings time, draw the line between the hour hand and one o’clock.)

Navigating By Night. Find the North Star, which is the end of the Little Dipper’s handle. If you can find the Big Dipper, draw a line between the two stars at the outer edge of the constellation’s dipper portion. Extend this line toward the Little Dipper, and it will line up with the North Star. Face the North Star, and you’re facing true north. If there is a crescent moon in the sky, connect the horns of the crescent with an imaginary line. Extend this line to the horizon to indicate a southerly bearing. Once you determine your direction, pick a landmark nearby or in the distance to follow by daylight.

Tying a Bowline knot. Knots come in handy for a slew of survival scenarios, tying snares, securing shelters, lowering equipment or yourself down a cliff face. You should have a good knowledge of tying knots, from hitches to bends to loops. But if you learn only one, learn the bowline. It’s the number one, go-to rescue knot, particularly when the rope will be loaded with weight: the harder you pull, the tighter the knot gets. The Bowline is also the easiest knot to undo.

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Signaling for help. When you have a debilitating injury, your only hope of getting saved is to maximize your visibility so that rescuers can find you. Two methods to help guarantee that if someone is looking for you that they will see you are the Fire, and the Mirror.

First a signal fire built out in the open for visibility. That means hilltops or clearings in a forest where nothing will disperse the smoke so the smoke and fire can readily be seen. Create a platform to raise the base of the fire off the ground so moisture doesn’t saturate the wood. Save your absolute best combustible material for your signal fire to guarantee a quick light. Once the fire is lit, pile on green branches, like pine boughs in winter, to produce thick smoke. You will need about 15 seconds of smoke, as that’s about all you’ve got when you hear a plane before it flies out of sight.

The second is a signal mirror. A flash from signal mirror, even at night, by moonlight, can be seen for miles. Improvise with any reflective surface you may have, from rear-view mirrors, headlights, to a cell phone screen. Aiming the reflection is the key, and it is simple. Hold out your two fingers in a peace sign and place your target, be it plane or boat, between your fingers. Then flash the reflection back and forth across your fingers.

Plan, prepare, protect, get through, hold on, hold out, make it, and keep body, soul and family together. You need a plan to prepare and to protect yourself and your family. Survival is the Strategy!”

Thanks for reading this. We would love to hear what your ideas are and what you have done to better prepare to master survival in the outdoors and how you practice and why, so please leave your comments below and share your thoughts.

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