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Archive for November, 2012

PostHeaderIcon Cattail Fluff Tinder for Survival Fire Starting

Cattail fluff is the brown part of the cattail on top of the plant. This is the seed head. Cattail fluff is very light and makes great fire starting tinder. When the cattail seed head dries out it sends off little floating seeds on fluffy parachutes like dandelions do. These parachutes are the part that makes good tinder.

You can collect the cattail head in the fall, after it has dried out. They are very light so you can keep a bunch of them in your tinder box. You can see some cattails in the photo below. They stand about 3 – 5 feet high and have brown cigar looking heads on top. These can be pulled apart easily as shown.

Using Cattail Fluff As Tinder For Fire

To start a fire with cattail fluff, take our your cattail head and pull some of the fluff out. Put it into a pile. Fluff it up very well. It expands as you pull on it. Spread it out into a nice fluffy pile.

Cattail Fluff For Fire Starting Tinder

Next add your small tinder such as dried grass, leaves or small twigs on top of the cattail fluff. Leave an opening so you can reach the fluff with a match, lighter or spark. Cattail fluff burns very fast, so you should practice this method before your life depends on it. When it is hit with a spark, the fluff ignites and burns out quickly. If you built your tinder pile well, you should have a fire.

Cattail Fluff Survival Fire Tinder

Watch the video demo:

During the recent Do It Yourself World survival weekend we headed into the mountains with our survival camper to simulate a bug out situation. We had only the gear that was packed in our camper. We practiced many survival skills. Check out the full story here:

The Do It Yourself World survival weekend
Scroll down to see all the articles.

PostHeaderIcon Setting Up Camp During Survival Training Weekend In The Wilderness

During The Do It Yourself World’s survival training weekend, four of us headed out into the wilds with our survival truck camper fully loaded with our food and survival gear. We were simulating a bug out situation where we had to head for the mountains and start a new life with just the gear that we had in our camper. This is our story.

After clearing out a space in a depression, we had to set up camp. This was to be our common area for the duration. In a real bug out situation, this would be our permanent camp. We had to clear out all the wild brush and growth first. Then we cleared out a fire pit and set up stones around it. Some logs were used for seats and tables while sitting around the fire or having meals.

Breakfast around the fire during our survival weekend

We have some comfort items to begin with but these will wear out with time and need to be replaced with homemade items. Our camp chairs are a good example. These things help us ease into our new life with less stress. You should take comfort items with you in your survival shelter or bug out vehicle in order to reduce the stress of moving out into the wilderness to start a new life. Leaving behind all of your normal comforts and fast food life will be stressful enough.

During good weather all of our meals would be made over the camp fire outside. A truck camper makes the perfect survival shelter, but with four people you cannot stay inside all the time. Meals can be prepared or served indoors during rainy weather but will be outdoors most other times.

Camp in the wilderness during survival weekend

This weekend also gave us a good idea what it would be like to live in such cramped quarters together for a long time. People may get along well when they all have their own homes, but in a survival situation, we are all working together as a small community. There will be awkward moments and disagreements. Therefore staying outdoors as much as possible helps out a lot.

Our little survival group has one single truck camper for now. Later we will be getting more truck campers so each family or single person has his/her own place. But if the SHTF now, we will have no choice but to head for the mountains in the survival camper and make the best of it.

We also got a chance to try out some new tools on this survival weekend such as a folding wood saw. Remember there will not be any fuel left after a collapse, so you will be back to basics. People will be using hand tools just like in the old days. You will use an ax and hand saw to cut wood for fires and building things.

Here are some of our other experiences during the survival weekend:

The Do It Yourself World survival weekend – full list of activities

Spending the night in the survival truck camper

Inside The Survival Truck Camper

PostHeaderIcon The Best Survival Bug Out Shelter In The World

When the SHTF and you need to bug out and head for the wilderness, you need a good survival shelter with you. Some people plan to bug out on food with just the clothes on their back. Others plan to get out of Dodge with a backpack and a rifle. I would strongly suggest some sort of permanent, hard shelter for long term survival. This is the best survival shelter in the world.

The ultimate survival and bug out shelter

A slide in truck camper is the ultimate survival shelter you can have. Read on to see why.

If you have just a backpack and a tent, you will have some miserable wet and cold nights in the future. And a tent wears out pretty fast when its used every single day. You may also get tired of carrying it all over the world on your back. If you find some sort of permanent long term camp, then a tent will be useless after a short time. Winter in a tent is fun for a night, but miserable for long term survival.

Some people plan to make a log cabin out in the forest. This is long, hard back breaking work. Some people have a motor home, others have a tow behind camper of some kind. There are problems with each one of these.

A motorhome or RV with its on motor is prone to break downs on the road. And most motor homes are really heavy and use a lot of gas. A motor home requires extra registration, insurance and plates, which add costs during normal life. Forget having a popup camper. They have canvas sides and can be very cold in winter. Popup campers are also not at all durable due to the canvas leaking or getting punctured sometimes.

A tow behind trailer requires extra registration and plates in order to make it legal.

All of the above mentioned campers also need extra tires and other various parts.

A truck camper on the other hand is the perfect long term survival shelter. Due to its permanent hard walls and insulation, it is warmer in the winter. Due to its smaller size it is easier to keep warm in winter as well. A truck camper needs no registration, plates or insurance. There are no tires or spare parts needed for repairs.

A truck camper is rugged and durable for long term survival. A truck camper is made to take the beating of riding in the bed of a standard pickup truck going down the road or driving off road in the woods. Slide in truck campers have enough room for 4 to 6 people to sleep. They have all the comforts of home, but in a smaller package. You can get some deluxe models that have indoor and outdoor showers, toilet, air conditioning, stove and oven, double kitchen sink and everything else a larger full sized camper has. But a truck camper sits on the bed of your truck.

See the video review:

If you are bugging out a truck camper sitting on top of a 4 wheel drive pickup truck is the best bug out combination you can have. You can go literally anywhere an off road truck could go. You cannot go off roading with a normal RV or tow behind camper.

PostHeaderIcon Starting a fire with wet wood during survival training weekend

Starting a fire in a survival situation is necessary to maintain life. Especially in a cold environment, you need the warmth of a fire. But add wet weather on top of it and you have a problem. Wet wood does not burn well. It is nearly impossible to get a fire going with wet wood. The experience we recently had during The Do It Yourself World survival weekend taught us how.

The first thing you need to start a fire with wet wood is dry kindling. Hopefully you have some with you. If not, then you need to search for something dry that can be used for kindling. A bit of dry cotton from some socks or underwear will do in a pinch. The inside bark of a birch tree burns nicely. Maybe you can get some cattail fluff that is not soaked through.

Find some dried grasses. Tall, standing grass works well. Otherwise, try to find pine needles underneath a tall standing tree. You need to find something that will burn once the kindling catches fire.

The next thing you will need is dry twigs and branches. This part gets tougher if it is raining out. Try to find dead twigs and branches on standing trees and use them.

Place your kindling down on an upside down piece of tree bark to keep it off the ground and keep it dry. If it is raining, do this inside your shelter to keep the kindling dry. Next place the grass, twigs, dry leaves or pine needles on top of the kindling, leaving enough room to catch a spark on the kindling.

Now take some twigs and build a sort of pyramid on top of the pile you have collected. Try to get dry, dead wood if possible.

The last step is to get some larger sticks and break them up and add them on top of the twig pyramid. Then keep on going larger, adding material on top of the pyramid.

Once you have a decent pile of wood, light the kindling inside the pile and blow gently on it to keep it burning. This may take some time, especially if everything is wet.

With care and patience all of the kindling, twigs and sticks will be burning. The larger wet branches will start to dry off and will eventually ignite.

Wet wood drying on a fire

Watch a video demo here:

Admittedly our fire did take quite a long time to get going. It actually took over an hour to get the wet wood going well. But with perseverance, we did get a fire going and got ourselves nice and warm.

Having the proper skills in a survival situation can save your life. Practice survival skills now while you have time.

Read more about the Survival Weekend

PostHeaderIcon Wild Foraging Series – Wild Garlic (also called chives or onion)

The wild garlic is a common herb found all over the US. It can be found in forests, fields and people’s yards. The wild garlic plant very much resembles the common form of onion in that it has long green tube like leaves and round bulbs. Wild garlic has many healthy benefits and can even help fight against cancer.

Note: Although many people identify these plants as wild onion, even in books, these are wild garlic. The big difference is in the hollow tube shaped leaves.

Finding wild garlic in the forest

The wild garlic is easy to identify. It normally looks the same green color as grass, but is usually taller than the grass in your lawn. It also seems to grow faster than grass when it has been cut. You can easily recognize the long hollow tube shape of the leaves. They grow in clumps, often with many tube leaves growing from every single bulb. When you break open a wild garlic leaf you get a very strong onion smell.

You can eat the whole plant. The leaves are great fresh or as a garnish for meals. Some wild garlic leaves are very strong flavored. The younger, shorter leaves always taste better. The bulb itself can be dug up and eaten just like an onion.

The Wild Garlic Bulb

Some call these chives, some call it wild garlic, while others call it onion. They are all related and in the Lily family.

Wild garlic grow best in cooler weather and can be found in abundance through the spring on into early summer. In late summer when it gets cooler they come out again and can often be found right into winter until it starts snowing heavily.

Wild garlic grows and spreads like weeds and are normally treated as weeds. This is a very healthy food that people try to eradicate from their lawns. I prefer to let them grow naturally wherever they want and keep them down by eating them by the handfuls as I walk through the yard and property.

Wild garlic has just about the same nutritional value as the common garlic. They are high in vitamins A and C as well as others. They contain zinc, copper, sulfer, iron and many other minerals.

Wild garlic has many similar medicinal benefits as normal garlic. They can be used to fight colds, cough and asthma. They have natural cancer fighting properties. They can help boost your immune system. Wild garlic is antibacterial and antimicrobial and can help your body fight invasion and infection. Onions are good for the heart and can help control blood pressure.

See the video:

These little herbs should be cultivated and eaten instead of poisoned and eradicated.