This week I start with THE TWELTH WILDERNESS GATHERING, then the Blizzard Survival 20% Discount Offer, Are Those Around You the Enemy? The Ribzwear 30% Discount offer, The Bug out Week end is coming, What to Tell the kids, The U.K mock SHTF scenario DX w/e (part 3), the Wilderness121 10% Discount offer, Sea Fishing Tips, the Midimax 10% Discount offer, Rock Pool Foraging , the Field-Leisure 10% Discount offer, Out and About, I am Just, the Buggrub 10% Discount offer, Positive Mental Attitude, Wilderness Hygiene, the Hunters-Knives 10% Discount offer, Survival Skills, Forest Fires and What to do.
I have launched my "SURVIVAL BLADE" the Titan
It is with great pride and excitement that I announce that the launch of My "SURVIVAL KNIFE" will on the weekend of the 2nd to 4th May at the CUP Bug-Out weekend.It is designed by me and hand-made by a true craftsman Mr David Tilling from Welsh Knives, his Face Book page is here. https://www.facebook.com/WelshKnives?pnref=story
Titan is an all rounder, built of 8 mm. 01 steel, hardened and tempered with a choice of wood or mycarta scales and a leather or kydex sheath. I think it is "THE" survival blade.
Above is a zippo on the back on the Titan
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THE TWELTH WILDERNESS GATHERING 2015 13th to 16th August
The Wilderness Gathering has over the years become a firm date in the diaries of those who enjoy Bushcraft, nature and wilderness survival skills. The previous eleven years have seen this event grow from a small event in one field with some traders and schools sharing bushcraft skills and knowledge to a festival of wilderness living skills encompassing bushcraft/survival and woodland crafts.
The show has grown into an event with something for all the family with stories and music by the campfire in the evenings and skills workshops and activities throughout the three whole days of the festival.
The Wilderness Gathering has without a doubt become the premier family event for all those interested in bush crafts and the great outdoors.
The show has Bushcraft clubs for all age groups of children to get involved in plus more activities for all including den building and wilderness skills classes for all.
There are hands on demonstrations of game preparation, knife sharpening, basha boat building, bow making, greenwood working, archery and axe throwing and primitive fire lighting to name just a few. There are talks on survival physiology, classes on falconry and wilderness survival fishing. All of these skills are there for everybody and anybody to participate in.
You can probably pick up information on nearly all the skills needed to live in the wilderness and prosper at The Wilderness Gathering.
There is a wealth of good quality trade stands that are carefully selected to be in theme for the show selling everything from custom knives to tipis and outdoor clothing to primitive tools. The organisers have even laid on a free service bring and buy stall where you can bring along your used and unwanted kit and they’ll sell it for you.
There are local scout and explorer groups on site promoting the World Wide Scouting Movement as well helping out with some of the classes and site logistics.
The catering is within the theme of the event with venison and game featuring on the menus plus organic cakes and drinks. The woodland and open field camping facilities (with hot showers) giving you the option to visit for the whole weekend or just to attend as a day visitor.
Check out www.wildernessgathering.co.uk or call 0845 8387062 you really won’t regret it.
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Are Those Around You the Enemy?
Surviving a SHT event is not going to be easy or pleasant, even if you have prepped for it. During a man-made or natural disaster, anything goes. And it’s not even rioters and looters that you should be worried about – its the neigh-boroughs.
When the SHTF and people’s worst fears actually happen right before their eyes, civil unrest and a rise in crime will quickly follow suit.
There’s no telling who is friend or foe. There’s the concern that your neighbours might know about your provisions and would take whatever measures necessary to insure their survival — all is fair in love and war–right?
Never assume that a neighbour won’t target you because you’ve been friendly in the past. In desperation, even good neigh boroughs turn bad, but you can’t help everyone that’ll be knocking on your door for a little slice of that Spam you’ve ingeniously hidden along with the rest of your preps.
The best course of action is to come up with some clever and stealthy ways of prepping, or getting neighbourhoods involved and prepped themselves while there is still no emergency.
While the latter option is the ideal way to get things done, most preppers bet the chances of it happening is quite slim. Most people have their heads in the sand and fail or better refuse to see the need for emergency preparation.
Don’t assume your on your own just yet. Talk to your neighbours when you have the chance and ask them about general prepper stuff like; “hey have you seen NatGeo’s Meet The Preppers?”
You’ll know from their reactions who is likely to take action to ensure the safety of their family when a major catastrophe hits, and work from there. And you might even be surprised that there’s already a community of preppers in your area doing the work.
I don't really think that a cautious prepper would spill all the beans immediately, and you don’t want to do either.
Seeing that somehow the message is getting across, start with “I’m thinking of doing some prepping myself, nothing fancy…” Interested parties would check with your “prepping” progress once in a while and might also tell you about theirs.
Try to make allies out of your neighbours. By prepping covertly, you are able to avoid unwanted encounters in case of emergency. And by knowing them better, you’ll know if you’ve got a fellow prepper or a potential liability.
There is also the prepper mantra OPSEC, and I cannot disagree with this and in fact I operate with it in mind as to weapons, ammo, BOL, and definitely any BOL.
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In all there are unlimited uses for the front pack. Front packs are the best compliment to any outdoorsman’s gear when accessibility, functionality, mobility and simplicity are required. From horseback riding, long distance biking, motorcycling and kayaking.
All sports where fast and easy access of gear is essential, a front pack is your best solution and as you can imagine it is going down a storm within the prepping and survivalist community.
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What to Tell the kids
Survival can be difficult even at the best of times and can be both psychologically and physically intense; testing you to the limits.
This is likely to be magnified even further if you are accompanied by children, as you’ll feel the added responsibility and pressure to get everybody to safety on an even greater level. There are some things you should do
There is little point in trying to conceal the gravity of finding yourselves in an emergency situation when accompanied by children. They will soon pick up on what’s going on. Therefore, you need to be honest about what’s happening, yet try to remain calm at the same time.
Offer reassurance that the situation is not impossible to get out of, that together you can work things out and that help or rescue is not going to be too far away.
Whilst you may feel like panicking inside yourself, it’s important to maintain an ‘adult’ impression at the same time as children naturally and often subconsciously, think of adults as people who they can rely on to provide shelter, warmth, food and safety.
By coming up with an action plan and enlisting the help of the children, not only will you be able to complete your survival priorities more quickly, but by being occupied, it will take the children’s minds off the worry element of survival.
Take an inventory of all your collective belongings and discuss with the children what each item might be used for.
Because children have such fertile imaginations, they may even come up with creative ideas that you might not even have thought of yourself.
Make sure that they know what each item does and how you are going to use it. Get them to help you erect or find a shelter and get them to gather suitable material for a fire.
Tell them about the importance of food and water in a survival situation and what the priorities are. Explain the dangers of eating poisonous foods and drinking dirty water and what they should and shouldn’t do with regard to both issues.
Then, adults and children should all work as a team in your collection of both food and water provisions and preparing it for consumption.
Encourage a camaraderie and build some time into your survival regime in order to take the children’s minds off the situation by telling funny stories, sharing jokes, having a sing-song and any other general ‘campfire’ games you can come up with.
Just because you are the adult, you must consider the children as equals when it comes to being ‘team members’. They will want to help and will often come up with ingenious ideas. Encourage them to be open with you and with each other.
Discuss their fears and try to allay them but show warmth, empathy and be honest and realistic with them above all else.
Most survival situations do not last too long, perhaps a day or two is a fair average estimate.
Therefore, whilst it might be a scary time for all, with determination and a will to work together to succeed, both you and the children should return to safety before too long and will be able to look back on the situation as an incredible adventure that has only made everybody stronger as a result.
The U.K mock SHTF scenario DX w/e (part 3)
The U.K mock SHTF scenario DX w/e (part 3) will be holding their 3rd year event on June the 27th.
It is an event for preppers and people like minded to get together over the air through CB and PMR for a weekend.
They have chosen CB and PMR as they are license free and simple to work and legal for anyone to use in the UK.
All people taking part get listed on a google map on line and giving a call sign for the weekend.
There will also be a time table so people can find each other over the 2 days and the night.
Most people take part and BUG OUT for the weekend but some just join in from a parked car on a hill or from home if they are not able to get out and about.
On their Face Book page you can see past events at Uk shtf preppers and all so one or two uploaded to you tube.
The idea is as follows.
It’s a SHTF scenario of your choice.... zombie attack, a world war or a flood has took out your town/city and all land lines, mobile networks and the internet is down due to whatever you are prepping for and you need to make a call for whatever reason...
So what do you do????
Grab your BUG OUT BAG and head for the hills!!!!!! Radios normally work better from high ground so the plan would be to bug out to high ground and see who you can find on the radio.
More information will be handed out closer to the weekend.
But there are a few rules......
If you bug out please make sure you have permission to be on that land.
After the weekend please clean up your location before going home (LNT)
The radios used are open for anyone to use in the UK so please be polite and respectful to ALL other operators.
Make sure you are safe, you do not want to call out for help for real.
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Sea Fishing Tips
I love to go sea fishing and my favourite boat is the Rachael K out of Bridlington.
Its skipper Pete really knows the water around that bit of the Yorkshire coast very well.
Last year it was very difficult to get down to the cod as the Mackeral were committing suicide between 4ft. and 10ft. deep so we could not even get through them to get down to the cod.
I would say that cod remain arguably the UK angler’s favourite sea fish, partly because of the rough and tough environment and conditions we fish for them in, but also because they can be caught from the shore and also they put up a decent fight from the shore and taste good on a plate.
The only fish the cod can really be confused with is it’s near cousin the whiting. The cod though has a more blunt head shape, with the whiting being more pointed.
The lateral line on the cod is also more pronounced with an upward curve above the pectoral fin.
Whiting also carry a definite black spot at the root of the pectoral fin, whereas the cod does not. Cod range widely in colour.
Over sand they are a mottled fawn or brown on the back with white underside, but over mixed ground become a mottled green, yet when living around kelp weed beds they can be a dull reddy-orange.
Cod are an eating machine and have a wide diet. They take small crustaceans and crabs, worms and brittle stars when small, but as they pack on weight start to become more predatory favouring small cod, whiting, herring, mackerel, sand eel, pout and poor cod.
The average size nowadays for UK cod is between 1 and 5lbs, but double figure fish are always on the cards and 20lbers still feature off the beaches occasionally.
Cod in excess of 200lbs were recorded in the 1800’s by long-liners over the Grand Banks, and 100lb plus fish are still sometimes caught commercially and taken in to fish factories in Iceland and Norway.
The chance of a monster still remains!
Here are some basic tips that may increase your chances of a cod feast when fishing on rough ground.
LOCATION TIP ONE
If you catch one cod from a certain position in a certain gully, try and cast back to exactly the same position again. Cod are predictable and fish will favour certain specific areas to feed above all others.
LOCATION TIP TWO
Most rocks marks fish best during the flooding tide, especially the rock gullies in deeper water. However when fishing offshore reef ground, fish will often move along the beach with the flood tide, but drop back again over the same ground on the ebb, though they tend to be at longer range.
This means that an ebb tide at night might well out fish the perfect flood tide by day.
The best tip off all is target cod when the sea is rough with a good surf running. Ideal conditions often fall just as a full gale has blown through and the sea is just beginning to lose its full swell.
Cod are powerful swimmers and have no problem feeding in rough surf seas.
BAIT TIP ONE
I have found that a big lugworm bait will catch the bulk of the cod. Make your bait by pushing on two or three worms, size depending up on the hook, then putting two more worms alongside the hook bait splint style and then wrap the whole lot together with bait elastic to form a big sausage shape about 6 to 8-inches long.
BAIT TIP TWO
Worm baits can often be made more effective by tipping them off with mussel and queen cockles, especially after a gale has washed shellfish up on to the shore. Tipping with squid strip is also effective.
BAIT TIP THREE
If the cod lose interest in worm based baits then they should take big mussel baits, again made with multiple mussel pushed up the hook and bound on with bait elastic to form a sausage shape about 4 to 6-inches long.
BAIT TIP FOUR
If the cod become scarcer as they move offshore, those left inshore will have a preference for fresh peeler crab if you can get it.
If a fish is hooked but gets snagged on the way in, give it a few feet of free line and slightly lower the rod tip. Often the fish will swim the lead weight free of the snag as it swims back away from you and you’ll realise this as the line tightens again to the weight of the fish.
Remember all the sea fish you are likely to catch are edible so get catching.
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MidiMax.co.uk is offering 10% off any product by using the code Midi10 so check out www.midimax.co.uk
You are listening to the UK preppers radio network on KPRNDB-UK I’m your host Tom Linden
Rock Pool Foraging
You will be exploring a whole new set of habitats that have a diversity of foodstuffs that is entirely different to what you’ll find elsewhere; shellfish, seaweed, coastal plants, a whole new array of flavours and textures to explore.
Whole books can (and indeed have been) written on the subject of seashore foraging. This short guide does not attempt to replace any of them, and I make no claims as to it being exhaustive.
I have chosen ten that are common, easy to identify, simple to find and easy to prepare.
A Quick Note on Safety
It does, of course, go without saying that you have to be absolutely sure of the identity of any wild food you are about to eat.
But I’m saying it anyway; don’t make me regret writing this by poisoning yourself with something you didn’t identify properly.
There are further risks to seaside foraging that you don’t very often encounter inland.
The first one, the one that you’re most likely to run foul of, is cleanliness.
On our congested little island we have managed to make lots of our beaches somewhat toxic; before gathering shellfish consult with the Environment Agency to make sure that your proposed foraging grounds are clean and safe.
Failing that, at the very least talk with the locals to find out where is safe. Remember that while shellfish are at their best in winter (or any month with an R in it, as they say), you CAN eat them in summer; but the quality during the summer months, when they are spawning, is much reduced.
The second risk is the sea itself.
You may scoff at this, but it is VERY easy to be trapped by rising tides or, worse, caught up in quicksand. If there are signs warning about quicksand or treacherous tides, take note.
Don’t get drowned, don’t get cocky. Take a compass with you down to the beach to find your way home through a sea mist, and make sure you’re not still there as the tide comes trundling in around you.
I remember once going down the beach at Bridlington and turning round and not being able to actually see Brid because of the sea mist.
The final risk I’ll warn you of is cliffs; now this may seem obvious, but if the forage you are after is growing on or near a cliff top (and this often happens, due to the lack of grazing on the cliff itself) then leave it be. It isn’t worth it, no matter how good the forage looks.
Marsh Samphire (also known as glasswort) .
Is a funny looking plant. You find it in mud flats and coastal salt marshes around much of the South of the British Isles, being less common up in Scotland. I guess you’d call it something of a ‘succulent’, having a soft, green water filled body and no leaves as such.
It is now commonly sold in fishmongers and on farmers markets, one of the few really wild vegetables for sale, and it is all the rage in some of the posh restaurants where it fetches a silly price, which is amusing if you know where to pick it for free.
Get your wellies on if you’re looking for this one. It’s a dirty job. Pick the young plants whole in July, ideally, but its edible well into August and sometimes into September. Wash them well, steam them lightly, toss in a little butter, and pick them up by the roots and bite off the soft growth.
Eat it as fresh as you can and you won’t be disappointed. As it ages, it gets a hard, wiry heart, which isn’t the end of the world, just chew the plant off that.
Sea Beet is fantastic and If I lived close to the sea, almost anywhere in the UK, then I wouldn’t grow spinach or chard in my garden, I’d rely on this superb wild vegetable. It grows profusely on cliffs and by dunes near the sea, and it tastes just like spinach, only sometimes it is slightly salty.
It is, in fact, the wild relative of spinach, and you can sometimes spot that there’s been some hybridisation (you find some wild cultivars that have bigger leaves, odd colouration, etc).
And to be honest you can use it like spinach; try the leaves raw first, find out whether the specimen is good enough for salad, but if it isn’t then it’ll cook as well as spinach.
Alexanders are one of the umbellifers we can thank the Romans for introducing, they brought it over as a green vegetable, and a superb one it is too.
You can find it around the coast of much of Britain (being especially common from Anglesey, down and around all the way to Norfolk, sporadically further North on the East Coast being plentiful in places like Scarborough), and also inland by some roadsides and some waste places, where it can almost inexplicably grow to the exclusion of everything else.
Pick the young stems and steam them gently, perhaps coating in butter when they're done. Or chop them and add them with stock vegetables in a stew, and they'll impart a delicate, herby flavour unlike anything else.
I personally like to use them to flavour seafood dishes; try adding the chopped leaves to moules mariniere, or dressing crab salads with them.
Like any umbellifer, you could do yourself serious harm if you were to mistake one of the poisonous wild relatives of Alexanders for the real thing. But don't let that worry you too much, once you get to know the texture and smell you'll have no trouble knowing the real thing.
Pick it before it flowers if you can; if you miss it in Spring, go looking again in Autumn when it starts growing again to flower next Spring.
The Limpet, The poor old limpet isn’t rated as a food by most people, and I can see why. They’re tough, hard to prise off the rocks, and take some cooking to make them good, but on the flip side they’re plentiful, tasty, and very easy to identify!
The key to limpet hunting is stealth. You may laugh at this, but once a limpet knows you are there then there’s no shifting him.
Don’t try a gentle tap to remove him, all you’ll achieve is that he will grip the rock more tightly, and unless you actually smash his shell (ruining the limpet for nothing) then he’s staying where he is.
One firm strike at an unsuspecting limpet with the butt of a knife or a small rock is all that is needed. Don’t try to pry one off with a knife, I tried that once and the end broke off!
When you’ve got your limpets, you’ll see that they’re basically snails.
There are two good ways of cooking limpets. Either plunge them into boiling water for 5 minutes, extract them from their shells, and then fry with some garlic and herbs (I like alexanders and wild garlic for this), or put them on the rack of a warn barbecue, shell side down, and poach them in their own juices with just a drop of lemon juice.
The latter produces a surprisingly tasty and tender morsel of food.
The limpets head is rather hard, so you might find limpets go down better if you cut the hard part off after the initial boiling.
Winkles are one of my favourite seaside forages. I think that this comes from happy childhood memories of gathering winkles in the rock pools on the coast of Carlingford Lough, and then boiling them for a short while in salty water before sitting and eating them by the sea, armed with a trusty pin to work the unlikely, snot like snails from their shells.
And in all honesty, that’s as good as it gets with winkles.
You’re not going to fill your belly with them in a hurry, but they are tasty and fun little things to eat, and if you’ve got a good patch then you can pick plenty. Never empty a whole pool of them, but rather take a few from lots of different pools; leave plenty of breeding stock.
Common throughout the British Isles, these little grey-black sea-snails are found in rock pools in the littoral, tidal zone.
I cook them for 12-15 minutes in boiling salted water, dress them with a little more salt and vinegar, then sit and winkle them out; you get a pin, flick off the little hard shield, and then carefully twist and pry the meat out.
It takes some getting used to, but it’s well worth it. Pop it straight into your mouth (or save it for a more complex recipe if you prefer), and ideally, throw the shell over your shoulder and into the sea, enjoying the view from the harbour wall…
Mussles, are my favourite shellfish, and perhaps the tastiest, having a flavour that can rival the oyster and even the best scallops I think.
They are really very common, if you have a good spot to go forage on. Best picked from rocky shore lines, and it is extremely important that the shore be clean; really, check this out with the Environment Agency if you are in any way unsure.
Once you have your mussels, put them in a bucket of salty water with some oats, and leave them overnight. This frees up a lot of the grit that might be in them and somewhat cleans and purges them.
If you are starving though cook straight away of course.
Take each one, tap it to make sure it stays closed (if it isn’t closed chuck it, it’s dead and therefore unsafe), scrape off any barnacles, pull out the byssus (the hairs that hold the mussels together and to the rocks) and they’re ready for cooking.
Cook them just as you would for bought ones, but in the spirit of happy foraging, try combining them with other wild ingredients.
Moules mariniere flavoured with cow parsley and sorrel works well, and a wild herb soup with mussels is one of the best things you will ever taste.
Once cooked any that do not open through away.
Bladder Wrack, is the manky seaweed with little air holes on it that makes it float up. It isn’t the tastiest seaweed, but it’s the most common, and it has a pleasant, salty, inoffensive flavour.
It’s a good beginner’s seaweed for all of those reasons; give it a go, it’ll surprise you.
Pick it in Spring, when it is starting to throw up softer growth. Don’t gather the nasty stuff that has broken away on its own, pick it when it is still moist and attached to the rocks, and only pick the softer stuff, leaving the old, tough fronds behind.
I like to chew little bits on the beach, just as it is, but most people think I’m insane for that, it’s far too salty.
For your first seaweed recipe, can I suggest using it in a simple fish stew. Take your bladderwrack and soak it for a couple of hours in clean water, then add it to the stock you’re going to use and boil it for half an hour.
Remove it from the stock, and you’ve imparted a subtle, salty, sea weedy flavour and a kind of slightly thick, almost slightly glutinous texture. Give it a shot.
Sea Lettuce, actually looks like lettuce leaves, a green and leafy seaweed found between the low and high tide marks all round Britain.
I would guess that from talking about eating seaweed with some French friends that this is the one that our neighbours over the channel esteem most.
Really, the leaves are very lettucy in shape. I recommend a recipe I’ve adapted from Roger Phillips wild food book, pick them fresh from the rocks, soak in fresh water for half an hour, and cook lightly in butter for three minutes before dressing with olive oil, vinegar, pepper and lemon juice.
Garnish with chopped spring onions, and you have the nicest hot seaweed salad you’ll ever encounter.
Or try marinating in soy sauce, rice wine and vinegar for an oriental salad, it goes very well with oily fish, like Mackerel for example.
Sweet Oar Weed, This is kind of brownie green, with straight but frilly fronds up to 3m long.
You need to get your waders on for this one; you find it right at the low tide mark, extending into the sea. Pick it in spring, when it is at its best.
This is the one you want to pick for real crispy fried seaweed.
The stuff you normally get in Chinese restaurants is cabbage, and that’s nice, but it isn’t a patch on real fried seaweed.
Gather a frond or two, hang them in a warm place until kind of dry and leathery; you aren’t looking at totally dried out here, but you want it dry to the touch.
Cut it into squares about 1-2cm across, and drop the squares a few at a time into hot (not boiling) fat, taking great care because they do spit terribly. They will quickly expand and go crispy.
They will need no salting, but a little pepper does no harm.
Kind of like seaweed crisps, and surprisingly sweet.
Lastly is Laver rather like sea lettuce, but much darker, almost black, kind of purplish sometimes. In truth, you’re likely to pick a wide variety of very similar species, but it barely matters, they mix together just fine.
A traditional foodstuff in some parts of Wales, I’d go so far as to call it an ‘acquired taste’. But if you find some, try cooking it to a puree (takes a while; an hour or more sometimes), and keep in the freezer till breakfast time. Then heat it in a pan, spread it on toast, and serve with bacon.
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Out and About
Here are three survival tips that are free, and won’t cost you anything.
There is a caveat though, that is you may need to force a slight change in your behaviour and habits.
In today’s world of increasing economic woes, more individuals are turning towards criminal behaviour as they become angrier, looking for someone to blame, and may be downright desperate.
You, as a ‘normal’ person, may be walking among them from time to time and you don’t even know it or recognize it.
To a large extent, the key to avoid being victimized is to simply be aware. Awareness consciously (and subconsciously) changes your own behaviour such that you will be more likely to avoid dangerous situations that could escalate into violence.
Define ‘awareness’ in the context of your self-security:
Know what is happening or has happened in your field of travel
Look around you (and behind you) while moving (walking, driving, etc) outside your home
Make eye contact while scanning in crowded public places
Whether by paying attention to the news or ‘hearsay’, understand the history of the area you are about to travel in.
Most people over time will come to understand where the ‘bad’ areas are in their local region – areas especially vulnerable to crime.
If you are new to the area, or if travelling outside your own area, make an effort to discover where these ‘bad’ areas are. A great tool to look for crime reports is on CrimeReports.com, which shows maps dotted with crime reports in Canada, the U.S., and the UK.
Look around you (and behind you) while travelling
This simple behaviour is more effective than you may imagine.
The reason is that so many people do not do this, They are ignorant to their surroundings, and are the first to become victims.
Predators look for the weaker prey.
Someone who is looking down, or who appears to be in their own little world, they are prime targets for criminals.
Instead, scan around you from time to time, with your head up straight, as you walk with purpose – shoulders back, and confident.
Not only might you avoid an unruly-looking gang of troublemakers, but they might avoid targeting YOU.
Make eye contact while scanning in crowded public places
Making purposeful, but quick eye contact is another very effective deterrent to a criminal.
Here’s the reason… Most people purposely avoid eye contact in public places. They want to remain in their own little world and by looking down or avoiding eye contact, they are convinced that they will remain in that cocoon. The reality is that they are entirely wrong.
Sure, that type of behaviour may avoid unwanted conversation that otherwise might initiate from a stranger, but that’s about it… By occasionally scanning and making quick eye contact with others, tells any potential criminal that you are not afraid. ‘Quick’ eye contact simply means don’t stare.
Staring will provoke a stranger.
Is this type of behaviour simply a bunch of paranoia? Do you have to walk around being paranoid to avoid being in the wrong place at the wrong time? No, of course not.
Granted, for some people, learning to do these simple things will feel uncomfortable at first – and they may feel as though they are being paranoid.
However, after awhile, this will become part of you, just like being able to carry on a conversation with someone while driving a car. It’s no big deal…
Show some confidence while you’re out and about. It may unknowingly ward off a pick-pocket, purse-snatcher, or worse criminal, without you even knowing it happened
I am Just
Lots of things get people in trouble when they go into the woods including lack of preparedness, not paying attention to the weather, accidents etc.
More commonly, it is the attitude toward our safety that is the precursor to a life threatening event occurring.
How many times have you said to yourself or have heard others say, “I am just………” as in “I’m just going to walk up the ridge and see if I can see a deer,” or “I’m just going to be out for fifteen minutes,” or perhaps “I’m just going to run down to the shop.”
I believe these three little words “I am just” get more people into trouble than any other three little words I can think of!
Except I LOVE YOU Ha, Ha,
Most commonly you don’t say these words out loud, but say them to yourself, silently─ which is even more dangerous.
Many times you are not even conscious of your decision to leave your gear behind.
Unconsciously you already have made the decision to leave it because “I am just…….” When spoken out loud there always is the chance that someone, upon hearing you say, “I am just……….” will step in and remind you of the importance of always taking your emergency clothing and equipment with you ─ even though the possibility of having to spend an unplanned night out is remote.
When nothing looks familiar, and every direction seems to be the same, STOP and think about what to do next!
It is easy to convince yourself that nothing life threatening will happen ─ after all you are “just……………” When you use the word “just,” you are convincing yourself that the weather will remain pleasant, that no accident will happen, that you will not get lost, or that you will be able to get back before dark!
You are saying to yourself that you don’t need to carry your day pack with your emergency gear and warm clothing because you won’t need it ─ you are “just…………….”
It also is easy to rationalize away the need to always carry your back up clothing and emergency equipment.
As the years ago by, one hunting season follows another, and you have yet to spend that unplanned night out, the temptation to reduce the weight of the day pack you are carrying by leaving your survival kit at home, can be very attractive.
As you look to the mountains in anticipation of having to ascend on foot and hunt at higher altitudes, it is natural to want to lighten your load and leave behind those pieces of equipment that you have seldom, if ever, used.
Sometimes it is “space” or the lack of it, which causes you to decide to leave items behind that you should take.
Most often, it’s the short trips that get you in trouble! After all, “I was just………” You get complacent.
Nothing life threatening ever has happened in the past and so it is easy to convince yourself that it won’t happen in the future and if it does you can handle it ─whatever “it” is!
Ignoring the possibility of finding yourself in a survival situation is like playing Russian roulette.
Falling victim to the “I am just” syndrome is like playing
Russian roulette with five out of six chambers loaded!
History is replete with examples of those finding themselves in trouble who, after being rescued from some horrendous situation, said “I was just……..”
Several years ago in the US an older man left his camp one evening ─ he was “just” going to walk down to the end of the ridge and see if he could spot a stag.
The following morning was the opening day of the shooting season. He never returned and despite an extensive search he was not found alive.
Ten days later his body, partially buried under snow, was discovered by other hunters.
His emergency gear consisted of a .357 Magnum pistol and thirty seven rounds of ammunition, which he had used to try to signal his hunting partners.
Thirty-six of the thirty-seven cartridges had been fired, but were never heard by either his partners or those that searched for him.
He had tried to shelter himself by drawing two log ends together and laying slabs of bark on top of the logs to provide a crude roof.
His clothing, a mixture of cotton and wool, failed to provide the protection he needed from the environmental conditions he encountered.
Physiologically he died from hypothermia, but it also could be said that he died because he had rationalized away the need to carry any additional emergency gear.
Equipment that might have prevented the situation from developing in the first place – a map, compass or a GPS Receiver.
Equipment that he could have used to increase his protection from cold temperatures, precipitation and wind-chill.
Equipment that he could have used to attract the attention of the rescuers that were looking for him – a mirror, whistle, mobile, warm clothing, survival bag.
He was “just going to walk to the end of the ridge, to look for an elk and then return to camp!”
The words “I am just” when spoken out loud or silently should be considered a red flag warning!
When you say them yourself or hear others say them ─ STOP! The trap is being set!
Continuing on only will spring the trap and once you are in it, there may be no escape.
Without adequate clothing, without basic survival equipment (reliable fire starting devices, waterproof, windproof sheltering materials, a signal mirror and whistle), without the ability to build a fire or signal to others, survival depends on an individual’s tenacity to live, their ability to improvise what they need and luck – but sometimes that’s not enough!
As you contemplate what you should have with you as you begin a trip – even a short one, don’t use the words “I am just…….
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Positive Mental Attitude
The benefits of maintaining a good attitude in the wilderness seem implicit.
Daily experiences have taught us that mood influences outcomes. But just how does this "Pollyanna principle" affect your brain in survival situations?
A little positivity goes a long way when you're calling a handmade hovel miles from civilization "home."
While it may sound like a page ripped from a self-help book, positive mental attitude (PMA) is an integral part of survival.
In general terms, PMA combats your unconscious stress, allowing you to think more clearly and make better decisions.
For example, remember how the fight-or-flight response limits the amount of things you observe around you?
By improving your attitude and, consequently, lowering your stress, you reinvigorate your awareness of your surroundings.
Imagine how vital that would be when sharing habitats with unfriendly neighbours.
Now I know that looking at the glass half full can increase our chances of survival, but how exactly does that happen?
Why can positive thoughts breed positive results?
The study of positive psychology that analyses the effect of positive thinking and emotions on people sprang up a relatively short time ago.
Research revealed a link between positive thinking and emotions and successful survival.
That's because it opens up global thinking capacities in the brain, allowing for more innovation and creativity.
In the wilderness, once your initial needs are met, you will require new ideas and prioritization of tasks to keep yourself alive for the longer term.
Physiologically, PMA reverses the toll of stress on our bodies. Think about your body language when you watch a funny movie.
You're often more relaxed than when you see a nail-biting thriller. This loosening up will help you conserve precious energy.
Proper wilderness preparation and training also contributes to positive thinking because you will better know how to fend for yourself. That, coupled with PMA, can help you cross the bridge to survival.
Mate you Stink! - a common phrase heard in the woods.
But beware of the pot calling the kettle black. “Camping sanitation practices” - “personal hygiene” – whatever you want to call it, it’s about more than just smell.
Your health and the health of fellow hikers; the aesthetics of the wilderness; avoiding fines; and your personal comfort are all at stake as well.
It’s all about the bugs – bacteria, viruses, and other various nasty’s. Keep them at bay through better personal and environmental cleanliness, and you’ll feel better, smell better and be less likely to end up gut-wrenching sick.
Survivalists and Preppers are usually knowledgeable about water contamination and proper treatment, but are less cautious about other sources of germs from food and waste - witness a trio of survivalists or preppers all sticking their grubby hands into a bag of trail mix at break time.
But just because you don’t have a gold-trimmed taps, a bidet and a rubbish disposal at camp doesn’t mean you can’t keep yourself and your trail area reasonably clean when out in the woods.
I’ve put some suggestions together on the subject so you can be a friend to the woods - and to your tent mate.
Make a point to carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your pocket and use it frequently – after toilet use; before grabbing a handful of trail mix; before cooking dinner.
This cuts down on the prospects of ingesting bacteria that can make you sick – a doubly unpleasant experience when on a survival exercise let alone the real thing.
Carry a small bottle of rubbing alcohol and some cotton balls.
Soak the cotton with the alcohol and give yourself a rub down at night under the arms, feet and groin area.
You’ll be amazed at how dirty the cotton becomes – yes, that all came off you - and how much better you feel afterwards. A light weight to carry with big benefits.
Whenever you can, don’t pass up the chance to dip your feet in a creek.
A quick 5-minute stop a couple of times a day to clean your feet, dry and move on does wonders for eliminating bacteria and relieving hot spots that may have been developing into blisters as you hike.
Better still, rotate your socks in use while you’re at it.
Speaking of socks, if you camp near water, wash out your socks and hang out to dry overnight.
Just make sure you have one dry pair for in the morning, as sometimes they won’t dry out completely at night. Tie outside your pack to finish drying the next day.
Carry a bandanna and a small bottle of biodegradable soap to give yourself an occasional sponge bath of sorts – at least your face, underarms, groin, buttocks and feet.
This reduces chafing, odours, and bacteria, and you’ll sleep better if not so sticky everywhere.
For minimal impact on the environment, carry water away from the source to take this bath if you are using soap – one way is to include in your pack a container cut from a 1-gallon jug, or buy a collapsible bucket.
Carry a small container of body lotion or muscle rub and use it on your feet at night after cleaning.
Try to sleep in something other than what you hiked in, and hang those hiking clothes to air out overnight when possible. If near water, rinse them out when you can.
Maintaining dental hygiene while camping is comforting and healthful. Include dental floss and a travel-sized travel toothbrush and toothpaste in your pack.
Don’t rinse out your mouth right near your tent though. As with dishwater, either dispose of it well away from your sleeping area or in running water that will quickly dilute it.
An alternative to bathing with water is using wet-wipes you can remove a lot of grunge from your body with one or two of these alcohol-soaked cloths, when used burn them.
I’ve heard of survivalists and preppers going as long as a week without “going” because of either being uncomfortable with the process, or too bashful of sorts to let nature take its course.
No point getting your colon all up in knots over it; just emulate your cat, as explained below.
First, on urination – not a problem for us blokes; the world is our bathroom. Do relieve yourself away from camp sites as the urine odour can remain for some time.
Ladies have more difficulty, but are encouraged to either drip-dry, carry out the TP, or bury it where allowed by using a backpacker's trowel.
Second, There’s actually a good-selling book titled “How to S#!+ in the Woods”, but I’ll try to condense that issue down to a few points:
Go off trail and at least 200 feet from any water source, including springs and streams.
Always carry a lightweight plastic backpacker's trowel when you hike for toilet purposes.
Like your cat tries to, dig a hole 4-6 inches deep. If the ground is covered with snow, be sure to dig through the snow and create the cat hole beneath the topsoil – this can be quite hard work if the ground is frozen.
Then just squat above it. This is the part novices fear the most, but actually results in much more natural and healthful elimination than sitting at a 90 degree angle on your home toilet.
There are a couple of pointers – make sure you’re really out of sight; squat with your rear downhill; hang on to a tree for balance; and make sure your shirt or coat is lifted up in the back.
After wiping with TP, get yourself even cleaner back there with wet wipes this will reduce the chances of chafing and later discomfort.
After using the cat-hole, cover it and the TP with the soil you removed. Revert the site to its natural look by re-scattering leaves, rocks or pine needles over the top. Place a rock on top so the next person along doesn't step in it or animals try dig it up.
Always follow with a good hand cleaning with hand gel or soap and water.
Keep your trowel as clean as possible - wipe off on grass or sand or wash off after each use. Keep it and your roll of TP in a plastic bag and carry in or on your pack away from your food.
According to many countryside polls rubbish left on the trail and at camps – wrappers, toilet paper, plastic jugs can distract from the wilderness experience. Here’s how you can be part of the solution.
Plan ahead and pack consumables with minimal wrappers. Use Ziploc re-sealable baggies to package individual meal servings instead of their original containers, then use those bags to hold your rubbish coming out.
Avoid cans and other containers with metal – you’ll have to carry those in and out.
If fires are permitted where you camp, you can burn some trash items, but beware of paper not burning all the way to ash, or you still have a rubbish problem.
Cigarette butts can hang around for years, and don’t easily burn up – if you’re going to smoke, carry out the butts.
If you see rubbish on the route – be a trooper and pick it up; don’t wait for “someone to do something about it”.
Bring a heavy duty black bag with you – it has many potential purposes such as water protection, ground cover, or sleeping bag protector while you are out there – and then put your unburned rubbish in it on your way out.Nigel at www.hunters-knives.co.uk has offered you dear listener 10% on all his products simply by using the code PREP10.
Survival skills are the combined knowledge and abilities of methods and techniques that will be used in situations where modern conveniences and infrastructures don’t exist or have been damaged.
Survival skills are typically thought of in the context of wilderness survival.
The term is a very broad and general one, and applies to many ‘levels’ of survival, from the simple ability to cook your own food, make your own bread.
Shutting off the electricity-gas-water to your home, successfully build a fire, build your own shelter, purify drinking water, all the way to identifying outdoor wild edible plants, trapping, hunting, evasion, field dressing game, building a fence, preserving foods, growing a successful garden, and on and on.
I would say that the underlying theme is the general ability to be self-sufficient.
Everyone has their own unique interests and abilities, and really, no one person can know it all. People will gravitate towards the skill set that they find natural or enjoyable for them.
However, it is also a very good thing to challenge yourself and get outside of your comfort zone.
People usually need to be pushed to get into that zone, but the sesame somewhat stubborn people (I’m one of them) will often find it very rewarding after having conquered a new skill.
The thought of being able to survive and make it on your own, is just that… a thought.
In reality, it would be highly unlikely that even the best could succeed for long. OK, maybe the best could… but you know what I mean. We will always need support from others.
After all, this is how we built ‘civilization’.
Having survival skills will allow you peace-of-mind. They will also allow you to enjoy the outdoors to a further extent than others (except for the foolish).
They will enable you to adapt to situations without panicking and enable better decisions during times of crisis.
Survival skills are a valuable commodity during times of disaster.
Having survival skills, even if not ‘required’ in real life, will make you a different person, one who knows that they do not need to fully rely on the system.
Survival skills also include those that aren’t necessarily primitive.
Having an open mind, a logical mind, a mind with experiences, will enable you to adapt. Adapting, or adapting successfully, is probably the greatest skill of all.
It’s a very general term, but the ability to do, go, change, or make something else with the resources that you currently have, is a great asset.
So, in summary, to have survival skills doesn’t require that you necessarily learn how to go off and live by yourself in the woods.
You might say that ‘modern survival skills’ could be defined a little differently –having the skills to work outside of the system while still functioning in the modern world.
Start small. Examine what it is that you are ‘chained to’, the things that are holding you down. Figure out ways to break the chains.
Become slightly more self-sufficient by growing some of your own food – even if it isonly seasonal. Learn some of the basics like how to read a map and navigate without a GPS receiver.
Learn how to ‘tin’ and preserve foods. How about stepping out of the ‘comfort zone’and considering working for yourself instead of ‘the company’.
Think about the skills that you have now, at your current job. Are they something that you could do on your own?
Maybe you have other skills that could be utilized in a side business for yourself – something you enjoy, part time on the weekends. That’s where it starts…
Survival skills… think, ‘self-sufficient’, and go from there.
Forest Fires and What to do
From now on here in the UK more and more of us will be heading for the woods, and why not.
There is one danger that we should all be aware of and that is a forest fire.
A forest fire can cause an incredible amount of devastation in a very short space of time and wildfires have been responsible for killing many people over the years.
One of the most common mistakes people who are trying to escape a forest fire is to try to out run it. However, even in less dense forests, forest fires travel so quickly and faster than you can run.
By having a good knowledge of the way in which a forest fire travels and by having some awareness of the terrain you are in, these two things combined give you the best opportunity of surviving a forest fire.
One of the first things to remember is that a forest fire travels uphill far quicker than it travels downhill.
Therefore, if you see an opportunity, you might be able to keep in advance of the fire by moving downhill as quickly as you can.
Knowing your terrain and your current position in relation to it can help too.
Think of any roads, or stretches of water such as a lake, river, stream or pond that maybe close by and head towards them where it’s practical to do so.
Anywhere there is little or no vegetation which is able to burn such as the examples I have mentioned can buy you valuable time.
Knowing your trees can also help. Evergreen trees, such as conifers and those which have needles burn far more quickly than deciduous trees.
Therefore, if you’re presented with the option between the two to try to escape, choose an escape route through a deciduous thicket of trees.
If you’re completely trapped and the forest fire is in such close proximity that an immediate escape is not possible, you should try to find or even dig a ditch into which you should climb and keep yourself as low down as possible.
Curl yourself up into a ball and, where possible, cover yourself up with a blanket or a coat if you have to these with you.
If you’re able to, soak the blanket or coat in water first.
By making sure you’re low down and covered up, this will give you the best chance of minimising the effects of the suffocating heat and smoke as so many people die in forest fires each year due to excessive inhalation of the smoke as opposed to being burned alive.
If you’re lucky enough to survive the fire, then once it has passed through, move upwind where the fire will have already burned out the vegetation.
If you’re in a remote woodland area where a forest fire is about to take hold, the likelihood is that if you’re not aware, it will be upon you in no time at all.
Buying you extra time can mean the difference between life and death.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to be aware of the signs of fire approaching.
Obviously, this is likely to begin by you having a vague sense of smelling smoke.
If that occurs, look at any cars, awnings and tents that may be in the area. A sure sign that fire is approaching is where you can spot fine particles of ash which will settle on these kinds of surfaces.
Look up into the sky and see if you can spot any hazy areas which don’t seem in keeping with the rest of the sky.
Obviously, if the ash thickens and the smell of smoke becomes more pungent, then the approach of fire is imminent.
Many forest fires often begin due to someone’s carelessness or negligence - a discarded cigarette end being the most obvious.
Therefore, it’s important to beaware of the safety procedures with regards to fire when out in the woods and to follow any rules, regulations and signs which are in place.
Pay particular attention to safe cooking procedures at camp as well as ensuring that any campfires you build are permitted, are within the regulations and that they are closely monitored at all times and extinguished properly.
Also, pay attention to any instructions you may receive from fire fighters that might be trying to stem the blaze.
If a fire is burning out of control around you, it’s easy to panic and to do the wrong thing.
However, where fire fighters are present, they will have been professionally trained to deal with all manners of fire fighting and all members of the fire fighting team will be working in co-ordination to ensure that the fire is extinguished as quickly as possible and to get people to safety.
Therefore, if they tell you to do something, don’t question their judgement – just do it. It could save your life.