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Showing posts with label Wilderness Survival. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wilderness Survival. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Dripping Survivalism to Neophytes

I was talking to a friend of mine this past weekend. He knows generally that I am a prepper but he does not know to what extent. He (we'll call him Bill) said that prior to the Presidential election he was concerned about the country falling in anarchy. So much in fact that he bought a gun. Bill told me he had inherited a 12 gauge "bird hunting' shotgun from his father, but never had plans to buy another gun until he got 'scared' - for his family and himself. So he went out and bought as Glock 9mm handgun. He didn't even know what model number.

Bill is some sort of a financial planner, trust funds or something, I really don't remember and could not give a shit less, but I could not pass up the opportunity to educate him and used that angle to get him thinking:

UrbanMan: Well Bill, having a gun, several guns in fact, are a good idea for protection especially when the security situation becomes worse, but you need training and well as have some ammunition stocked up for the time when it gets scarce. Ammunition, as well as food, batteries, water, etc., will be the first to fly off the shelves - and before it flies off the shelves the price will raise dramatically.

Bill: I guess you are right. I have a box of 50 bullets for the Glock.

UrbanMan: Bill, if I were you I would buy another 150 or 200 rounds of ammunition and continue to buy at least a box a month until he have 1,000 rounds minimum. Plus you need to have some 12 gauge bird shot and buck shot, as well as some slug shotgun shells also.

Bill: That's a lot of ammo! Do you really think I need that much? Although you are right about the shotgun. I don't have any ammunition for that.

UrbanMan: Yes, you need plenty of ammunition. You don't want to wait until you need it. At that point it will be expensive, maybe very hard to find and you will expose your safety going to gun shops trying to find it. Go buy two boxes of bird shot, which would be 50 shot shells, five boxes of 00 buckshot (total of 25 rounds) and two boxes of one ounce slugs (10 rounds). Buy a couple boxes of each, every month until you have two to three hundred of each load. Get an old Army metal ammunition can and keep it in your closet. It won't take up much room and it'll give you peace of mind.

Bill: I don;t know. That's a lot of money.

UrbanMan: Jesus Bill, you make a lot of money, so stop buying beer or ice cream or movie tickets of whatever else you don't need every week and invest in your survival insurance. Also what are you going to do if the banks close or the dollar tanks or the ATM stops working or the government says you can only withdraw $100 a day and food prices go up 1000%.

Bill: Well, I think we'll have more problems than money if that happens.

UrbanMan: That's right, hence the guns. And the food you have stocked up in your pantry and garage. And the safe place you have a plan to get to rather than staying in the suburbs.

Bill: I am really uncomfortable planning on the world to collapse.

UrbanMan: Uncomfortable? How about not being able to protect or feed your family? That in my book would be a lot more uncomfortable. All I am suggesting is a modicum of planning and preparation. You deal in the financial world. Is diversification of investments generally a good thing?

Bill: Generally, it is. You don't want to have all your assets in one area, say stock funds.

UrbanMan: Well, consider a little prepping as diversification of your survival portfolio. Do you track the precious metals exchange?

Bill: Yes, I have clients who own gold and silver stocks. And come to think of it, I do field questions from existing clients on adding that to their portfolios. I really don;t recommend too much resources devoted to that investment.

UrbanMan: You are talking about 'paper' gold and silver, which will do you no good if everything collapses. You should think about buying at least some silver each month and put it away as a hedge if the dollar collapse or hyper inflation hits. Silver is about $16.75 an ounce right now, but if you research it, you'll see that U.S. silver production is declining significantly over the past couple of months and expected to decline further. So solely as an investment I'll think you see silver increasingly around $3 to $5 an ounce within the next three months. Just a few months ago it was around $21 an ounce and remember it wasn't too long ago when silver hit $48 an ounce.

Bill: You may be right, but the precious metals market changes from time to time under forces we never fully understand,...everything from price manipulation to large purchases by various countries.

UrbanMan: Exactly. That's why you need to protect yourself. I am not advocating an 180 degree change in your financial planning or monthly spending. I am just talking about small changes, re-directional really, that plug holes in your ability to survive.

Bill: Okay. Well I'll think about it.

UrbanMan: Ok, you think about it. In the meantime, I'm going to send you some website and recommended reading. Don't be the dumb ass left out.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Survival Food Procurement- US Army Style

Here is a US Army video that shows how to procure food in a survival situation. Learning wilderness survival skills is very important should you ever have to bug out of an urban area, or for some other unforeseen reasons.

~Urban Man

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Bear Grylls on Survival Myths and Mistakes

Whenever the discussion about Bear Grylls comes up, people are heavily opinionated about him. I actually like his shows, but I remember it's still a show, however one could learn something from watching. While wilderness survival skills may be a secondary importance to building a survival team, stocking for SHTF and having a Bug Out plan, the benefit of such survival skills is that it can give you the confidence of being able to survive on your own with practically nothing, albeit the point of preparation is to ensure that never happens!

This is an article posted on a Yahoo travel site and also announces Grylls new television show.

Myth 1: One of the most common myths is that if your car breaks down in the desert, you should walk away and try to find help. That is not a good idea—people die because of it! Thinking it’s only a few miles to the nearest town, they’re found dead two or three miles from their car because they underestimated how brutal and tiring the desert can be.

Stay where you are, make yourself safe, and wait for rescue.

Myth 2: People think that because water is clear and free-running in a mountain stream, it’s fine to drink it. In actuality, you don’t know what’s in that stream. There could be a dead animal upriver!

Clear, clean-looking fresh water isn’t necessarily safe to drink. You should always boil water before you drink it to make sure you don’t get giardiasis, which can make you throw up or give you diarrhea. Clear water isn’t necessarily clean water, and beware of mountain streams.

Myth 3: Another common myth is that if you’re lost for any length of time, you’ve got to find food. That really isn’t true, and you can actually survive for weeks and weeks without it.

Your priorities should be finding shelter and water, especially since in most places you’ll be dead in three days without water. Eating food will also dehydrate you faster, so focus on getting water before food.


I made my first rookie mistake was when I was about 8. I was with my dad in the mountains when a storm came down, and we thought, “Oh, we know the way back down the mountain, we’ll just head down.” But we couldn’t see where we were going and we ended up heading the wrong way.

We spent the whole night wandering around, absolutely exhausted, disoriented, and very cold.Finally, by good fortune, we stumbled across a little trail and eventually found a way back. The lesson there is if there’s a blizzard, don’t try and beat it. Concentrate on making yourself safe and getting out of the wind; find shelter however you can. It’s the same in a desert sandstorm. People push on in sandstorms thinking they can find a way out when in reality they’re never going to beat it and should focus on staying sheltered and safe.

One of the biggest mistakes I see is when people with egos write checks their bodies can’t cash. A classic example is when people get summit fever. They get close to a mountain and when they run out of time and energy, they push on even when the signs are saying they should turn back. They end up stuck in the mountain in the dark or dropping off the mountain the wrong way because they get too tired. Summit fever is a very dangerous problem; it kills people on mountains because they start breaking their own rules.

Often, people make a rookie mistake by going off on their own on what they think is a simple hike, and they don’t tell anyone where they’re going or when they’ll be back. Even a nice, easy hike can turn very ugly if you get lost or twist an ankle and no one knows you’re missing or where to look for you. No matter how modest the trek, tell people where you’re going and when you’re due back. That way, you know that there will be help coming if you don’t return.

(Photo: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)Another dangerous rookie mistake is when people underestimate how debilitating altitude and the effects of altitude sickness can be. Everything is worse and more extreme at high altitude; you’re fighting dehydration, altitude sickness, the cold, and the wind. An action that’s totally straightforward to perform at sea level can become impossible at high altitude. High up in the mountains I’ve seen people—myself included—reduced to crawling on their hands and knees along something you’d just run up at sea level. Survival and even simple actions become much harder at high altitudes.

Sometimes, though, you need to break your own rules and trust your instincts. A good adventurer knows when to do that and when not to. There have been times while we’ve been filming when it was right to push on through a storm, and then there have been times when it seemed right to follow a steep mountain ravine down a path and it actually turned out to be pretty precarious and dangerous.

You have to give yourself a large margin of error, at least in the wild. You’ve got to anticipate the worst, and consider that if you or someone else gets injured you need to be able to still carry out your decision. And take your time to make that decision, because the repercussions of your choices are ones that you’ll be living with for a long time.

Ultimately, though, the best way to learn survival methods comes from seeing and doing. And if you don’t want to go through the experience yourself, you can see rookies learn how to survive by trial and error and deal with the consequences of their mistakes by watching “Get Out Alive with Bear Grylls” on NBC, Monday nights at 9.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Bugging In - Not the Answer?

This was a comment posted on the "7 Day Warning to SHTF" post: "I don't believe "hoarding and stockpiling" are advantageous. It gives you a fixed position, which you must defend. I believe the better path is get as far away from urban areas as possible. Go where you know there's water. Where there is water there are animals. Get a field guide of Edible Plants of North America. Learn to use a bow. Chainsaws, cooking fires, and gunfire will draw unwanted attention eventually. "

UrbanMan's reply:  I agree that being away from the heavily populated areas, have a year round natural water source AND have a heavily stocked survival inventory is obviously the hands down best survival plan for the collapse.

I also agree that wilderness survival skills knowing how to survvie with basically nothing; identifying edible plants in your area; purifying water; building expdeient shelters; building fires; food procurement such as hunting , trapping and fishing, etc., are are basic and necessary skills for short term survival periods,....but it sounds like you are proposing surviving out of pack in the woods. I think the whole idea of survival prepping is not only to live but to live with some type of quality of live as close to normal as you can. Tjat means having stocks of food and supplies,...some sort of infrastructure even if it is just a cabin and a year round stream, and utilemtly a survival group were you can leverage everyone else's skills, expertise and security in numbers.

Some people will decide to Bug In for many diverse reasons:

1. Some people actually live in the big city and do not own their own transportation putting them in a great deficit when trying to Bug Out.
2. Others, maybe hedging their bets, think that although a collapse is unlikely, they prepare in some form or fashion but still think the Government will make things right in short order, so there is only a need to Bug In for a couple weeks. These people may run through their supplies and be left high and dry placing themselves at great risk when planning an impromptu, read unplanned or last minute, Bug Out.
3. Financial reasons plays a large part in what people will do. How much resources (time and money) you can devote to prepping; the need to have a job and bring in income sometimes dictates the location you live. 4. There will undoubtably be people who do not have nor cannot or are unwilling to develop the skills sets necessary to Bug Out.
5. Some people will decide that some things are more important in the short term such as living snormal a life as possible, being close to friends and family, etc. It is simply way too much past their comfort zone to leave behind their lives even when staying in place puts them at great risk. You see this time and time again in natural disasters such like Hurricane Sandy. Maybe something akin to the German Jews who were rounded up for slaughter thinking this cannot be happening. This denial is a key stage for people when death is imminient as in last stage cancer patients.

Bottom line for me is that I'll continue to better my survival chances. I have a chain saw. I have several hand saws to include camping bows. I am no stranger to building fires and using an axe and a wedge. I have quite a bit of experience in wilderness survival. Quite a bite of resources in identifying edible and poisonous plants. I have used many different techniques in fishing - nets, straight poles, flies, trolling, bow and arrow - water source with fish? No problem, here comes dinner.

And I will continue to build my survival stocks. More long range food. Enough ammunition as well. While the straight up Urban areas are going to be death traps in most all cases, there will be suburban areas, off refugee routes, that have a chance of organizing and maintaining a viable chance for survival. I'm planning on Bugging In, but several plans for Bugging Out as well. Good luck to you my friend.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Desert Survival Example

I received this e-mail from William R. "Hey Buddy, Saw this article that may interest you about a guy surviving in the Utah desert for three weeks. Don't know if you saw it, but it was about a retarded fellow who walked about a hundred miles before a helicopter saw him just before he would have died. I was wondering about any comments you have."

UrbanMan replies: William, I found that article here:

Autistic man survives 3-week ordeal in Utah desert

In short the article says a 28-year-old autistic, not retarded,  man barely survived three weeks in remote southern Utah. While he was an experienced mountaineer, he was out of his element in the harsh desert. The man, William LaFever, set off for a 150-mile journey along the wild Escalante River without food or equipment because it was was apparently stolen just before he started his trip.

He was found, clad only in hbis underwear, by a Search and Rescue helicopter, reportedly just in the nick of time.

Desert Survival Do's and Don'ts

Ration Your Sweat and Not Your Water. People have been found dead with water still in their canteens.
If I only had 2 quarts of water with me and I had to walk for consecutive days to find help, I would be drinking 3/4 of that water throughout that first day/nights movement, knowing that I could go a day without water without too badly diminishing my capabilities,...but into the second day on little or no water, then my body would just quit working.  You can last about 48 hours without water,..maybe just a little longer, but that second 24 hour period will bring about a severe degradation of your physical capabilities.  Ration your sweat and not your water also means to conduct most, if not all, of your survival/movement tasks out of the direct exposure to the Sun.  That means moving and doing surrvival tasks at early morning, late evening and at night, holeing up during the day to conserve your energy and bodies water. 
Protect Exposed Parts of the Skin from the Sun.  He made a mistake in not wearing any clothing. When a person is hot, the instinct is to take off clothes, but this increases the evaporation effect, furthering the  dehydration process of that person. Better to wear enough clothes to protect exposed skin from the Sun which rapidly evaporate body moisture and damage the skin (sun burn) further requiring water. The body will send water to the skin, the body's largest organ, to protect and repair the skin leaving less water for maintaining blood volume and major organ function.   The Arab's are not known for their,....well let's just say "sophisication", but they have lived in the desert for hundreds of years and dress in layers of clothing, protecting their skin from the onslaught of the Sun.

Be Prepared with (at least) minimal Kit.  This man's gear was stolen. I get that. But he did not have any kit on his body? No knife, Fire starting items,....canteen or Camel-Bak or anything at all? No poncho?  No survival cords or string?  Speaking of string, I was showing someone the other day the uses of those parachute braided survival bracelets with fastex buckles....they can be used a snap links, hold gear onto your Bug Out Bag, then taken apart and gutted for the white 55 lb test line line of the green nylon outer cord, if/when the need for cordage.  Can be used for fishing line, building survival shelters or traps and snares and many other uses. 

Water before Food.  This individual (William LaFever) lost about 100 lbs in almost three weeks, demonstrating that you can go along way or a starvation diet but you'll be dead in 48 hours or so without water. 

Monday, April 30, 2012

Reggie Bennett, Survival Instructor and High Tech Survival Tools

In my mind's eye I see a person surviving in the wilderness as a short term venture. A person spending all day working on survival tasks such as repairing or improving a lean to or dug out shelter; procuring fire wood; checking and setting traps and snares; maybe laying in fishing lines; repiaring gear or clothing; procuring edible or medicinal plants; constructing hunting weapons and tools.

Again, all of this is short range survival - very few people can do this for even weeks on end, let alone year in and year out, through all sesons and weather conditions. But this does not mean that the well prepared Survivor should discount these wilderness survival skills. Perhaps the main objective of these skills is to give a person confidence for all situations and to orient the survival mindset or what Reggie Bennett calls the positive mental attitude.

I stumbled across this article on Reggie Bennett, Virginia based wilderness survival instructor, from a Yahoo! article by Marc Istook:

If you want to learn survival skills, be it low or high tech, Reggie Bennett is the man. Friendly and unassuming, at first glance you may not realize that he is the quintessential survivalist. But with U.S. military training that taught him how to brave some of the globe's harshest conditions, and his time spent instructing Air Force pilots on how to survive, he is uniquely equipped to teach others at his Mountain Shepherd Wilderness Survival School in Catawba, Virginia.

On a sprawling 100 acres, Reggie and his wife Dina host everyone from housewives to schoolkids, CEOs to active-duty armed forces, and one lucky Yahoo! News host — yours truly. You don't mess around with Reggie.

The open spaces in Virginia make a great location for this kind of training. It's close enough to Roanoke that it's easy for guests to fly in. But it's remote enough that you feel at one with nature — even if that does mean I spent hours searching in vain for a cell phone signal. To sum up Reggie's vast knowledge in one training session would be impossible. So he makes his survival tips simple, boiling them down to seven key priorities. They involve the basics, like finding food, water and shelter.

A bit more complicated — starting a fire, signaling for help and providing first aid. But the most important aspect according to Reggie: maintaining a positive mental attitude. It's a perspective that's accessible to anyone braving the elements. And without it, he says, surviving becomes significantly more difficult. Reggie's training taught him how to make it out of the wilderness with nothing but the most primitive tools.

But with the help of a little technology, we can increase our odds of survival in almost any situation. Modern water purifiers use advanced filtration methods to keep us hydrated. Cell phone and GPS technology can help us find our way, or help rescuers locate us more quickly than ever. Today's compact, efficient batteries and solar power units keep our gadgets charged, long after the power — and cell phone signal - has gone out.

Don't forget to keep a positive mental attitude! Low tech or high tech, Reggie has found a way to make the idea of surviving fun. His school takes all comers, from those wanting to learn simple camping tips to mountain men looking to conquer the wild. I highly recommend meeting Reggie and checking out his survival school. Maybe I'll even see you there… just keep your eyes peeled for the slightly lost Yahoo! host, desperately seeking a cell phone signal.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Survival: Mountain Man Style

While I heavily believe everyone should have wilderness survival skills, I am not relying on these to survive the collapse. They are a last ditch tool kit. The whole idea behind SHTF preparation, in my mind, is to not only survive a collapse, but to do so with a quality of life - not living in a dug out on the side of a mountain,....having cold camps,.....relying traps, snares, fishing and edible plants for sustainment.

However and again, you should at least a modicum of these skills. What would happen if you found yourself running for your life and you had to drop kit to get away? Or you were taken captive by some thugs then escaped with nothing on your back?

In any case, it is possible to survive even pro-longed periods in a wilderness. Remember the newspapers from decades past where Japanese soldiers were found on islands 30 years past the end of World War II? These soldiers, some in their 60's and older, not only survived but they evaded the detection of their presence for several decades.

There is a recent, and on-going, example of someone surviving and evading capture. This time not the jungles of New Guinea but in remote Utah wilderness. It should be clear that his individual is a criminal, it is also clear that his survival skill sets are pretty robust.

It seems like this modern day mountain man in the wilderness areas of Southern Utah, is robbing cabins and eluding authorities. This is an example of someone surviving in the wilds, albeit with assistance from what he can scavenge and steal, that no doubt will fuel some people prepping for SHTF to believe it is a viable plan for them as well. While there is no doubt everyone needs to have wilderness fieldcraft and survival skills, living like this apparent fugitive does in the story below presents little attraction to me. I think the whole prepping for TEOTWAWKI is planning and preparing an existence with a quality of life. Anyay, the authorities have an idea of who this individual is and some actual pictures taken from hidden game cameras that provide a pretty good quality side profile of this "mountain man". Which proves the validity of owning gamera cameras,...I have several and have written about their use to surrepititiously place to record what kind of activity, two or four legged or even vehicle, may be occuring in a specific area.

The summary of the news article on this individual: Troy James Knapp is a wanted man, a survivalist, modern day mountain man and recluse that authorities say is responsible burglaries in the remote southern Utah wilderness. He is armed and considered dangerous and has been on the loose for more than five years. Until recently he has been virtual ghost in the woods, until his image was take on a game camera and authorities have now identified him. See picture from game camera.

He has been tracked across hundreds of square miles of wilderness near Zion National Park in Utah but Knapp has always been able to elude capture. His camps, along with guns and supplies he has stolen from cabins, have been discovered but yet he still is on the loose.

In this undated photo provided by the Iron County Sheriff's Office in January, a man is seen walking past a cabin in the remote southern Utah wildness near Zion National Park. Authorities believe the man in the photo, captured by a motion-triggered surveillance camera sometime in December, is a suspect responsible for more than two dozen cabin burglaries over the past five years.

Now that authorities believe they know who he is, they're honing in on everyone who knows him. According to court records, detectives are tracking telephone calls to his family members in Moscow, Idaho, trying to determine if he is using a cellphone.

Investigators say family members have had little contact with Knapp, an ex-convict they believe is still roaming somewhere across roughly 1,000 square miles of wilderness.

He is believed to have set off on a solitary life some nine years ago after his release from a California prison.

His family, originally from Michigan, has offered little help -- "the ones that will acknowledge having anything to do with him," Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Michael Wingert told The Associated Press. "He's just kind of out there on his own. I don't know if he's fed up with civilization."

A recent court order allows marshals and sheriff's detectives to track calls made to and by a couple in their 60s -- Bruce and Barbara Knapp of Moscow, who are relatives of the 44-year-old fugitive. The Knapps haven't returned repeated telephone calls from the AP. No one answered the door at their home Wednesday.

Detectives in Utah's Iron and Kane counties announced late Tuesday that Troy Knapp was their long-sought suspect in dozens of cabin burglaries, aided by recent surveillance photos captured of him outside one cabin and fingerprints lifted from another that authorities say finally were matched to him in January.

A Kane County arrest warrant charges Knapp with three burglaries and a weapons charge. Knapp has a lengthy criminal record that includes assault with a dangerous weapon, Kane County prosecutor Robert Van Dyke said Wednesday. He did not elaborate.

As a teenager, Knapp was convicted in Michigan of breaking and entering, passing bad checks and unlawful flight from authorities, according to court records in Kalamazoo County.

The Utah arrest warrant says Knapp was charged with theft in 2000 in California. Court records indicate he pleaded guilty to burglary and was sentenced to two years in prison.

Utah authorities are calling Knapp armed and "possibly dangerous if cornered." He is using remote cabins for sustenance and warmth during winter -- "burning up all their firewood, eating all their food," Iron County Detective Jody Edwards has said.

In summer, the suspect retreats to makeshift camps deep in the forest. "This guy is probably about as true a survivalist as Davy Crockett," Wingert said.

Knapp "dropped off everybody's radar in 2003 and nobody has heard from him since," he added. "He just dropped off the face of the earth."

"That's wonderful that they know him," cabin owner Bruce Stucki said Tuesday. "Now they need to get him in custody." While there have been no violent confrontations, detectives have called him a time bomb. Over the years, he has left some cabins tidy and clean, while others he has practically destroyed, even defecating in a pan on the floor in one home.

Lately, he has been leaving the cabins in disarray and riddled with bullets after defacing religious icons, and a recent note left behind in one cabin warned, "Get off my mountain."

In a Jan. 27 court filing, Kane County authorities said Knapp had left behind even more threatening notes aimed at law enforcement. "Hey Sheriff ... Gonna put you in the ground!" one note said.

From the beginning, the suspect's lore grew, leading to theories that he might have been two separate men on the FBI's most-wanted list or possibly a castaway from the nearby compounds of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the polygamous sect run by jailed leader Warren Jeffs.

They now have a name, but the man remains in the mist. "He's scaring the daylights out of cabin owners. Now everyone's packing guns," said Jud Hendrickson, a 62-year-old mortgage adviser from nearby St. George who keeps a trailer in the area. "We feel like we're being subject to terrorism by this guy."

Friday, February 10, 2012

Another Wilderness Survival Example

Another Family Stranded in the Wilderness, Found Alive were recent headlines as a
A side line news story came out last weekend about a family of three who were lost for six days in an Oregon forest, finally rescued by a search helicopter.

The family went mushroom hunting without food, water or warm clothing. Parents Belinda and Daniel Conne and their 25-year-old son, Michael, survived by drinking water from streams and taking shelter in a hollowed-out tree.

After six days of being lost a search helicopter spotted them in a clearing where the family managed to crawl to.

Local Law Enforcement, volunteers and the Coast Guard were all involved with the search which reported only covered a 4-square-mile area. The family was in the search area but their routine of moving often and the heavy, dense trees and brush made the search very difficult. The family of three could from time to time see helicopters above them but could not signal.

Authorities said that the family was in an area where water was plentiful by food scare. The family said they considered eating their dog at one point.

This is yet another example of someone entering the wilderness, or just going through life, without rudimentary survival skills and a lack of adequate planning which would has necessitated carrying some survival tools with them.

Whenever I go practically anyway on foot I am carrying a knife, some water, a fire making capability and generally dress much warmer than needed knowing that is easier to take off clothes then it is to get warm.

Most of us have Bug Out Bags and a lengthy list of equipment, but how many of us carry the most basic kit each and every day? Such as a very small rendition of the the Bug Out Bag like a small camera case with survival items?

While I always have a knife, some water, and fire making tools I also have a small camera case that I can put on my belt just in case that route I am walking takes some unexpected twists.

The small camera case includes these items:

o Waterproof matches, cotton balls and dyer lint, a mini butane lighter all wrapped in tin foil. The tin foil can be used to create a wind break to help start a fire using the cotton balls and dryer lint as well as can become an improvised cooking pot or drinking cup.
o A couple one quarter zip locks bags that can be used to collect water or used to store tinder such as tree pitch or edible plants.
o Six or eight small salt packets taken from a restaurant used to help flavor anything cooked or to replace electro-lytes lost.
o Two small envelopes of bullion powder - also to flavor food and replace lost electro-lytes.
o Small button compass.
o Small small flashlight. I actually have two. One that uses a single AAAA battery and a photon light that uses a camera battery (120 hour life). Useful for signaling at night or for illumination to work at night.
o Four 30 foot lengths of gutted parachute line. The white strands of nylon inside paracord are very small and can be used to build a shelter; make a fishing line; improvise a snare for small game; secure a sharp rock to a straight stick for an improvised spear.
o In my older and slightly larger survival kit, I used to carry a nylon sleeping bag cover sack which folds up small and could be used to create a flotation device; a pillow; a forage bag and since it was bright orange in color - a signaling device.

I have a similar kit on each and every vest I own, using several different types of pouches such as single pistol mag pouches or utility pouches. In decades past we used to use the old military first aid kit pouch to carry a small survival kit. Some guys actually used the larger individual first aid or a NBC decon kit, both came in plastic containers, to hold their individual survival kits. Lots of good ideas out there, fact way too many for anyone not to pickup on one and never enter the wilderness without some type of kit.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Winter Survival - Stranded in a Snow Storm

I recently had a question from Robert B., based on a story he read in the newspaper, about what would I do in a similar situation. Apparently two college kids traveling on a seldom used road became stuck in a snow storm. Robert’s questions were would I stay in my vehicle? How long would I stay waiting on help before I would trek out towards civilization? Would I take the shortest route or would I follow the roads? What if I didn’t have any survival gear with me in my vehicle?

My reply to Robert:

It would near impossible for me to be caught in any vehicle oriented situation without my traveling Bug Out Bag holding various pieces of kit depending where I am going; the season (hot or cold weather); whether I am flying or not; and what purpose I am traveling for.

But for the sake of argument let’s say we ventured out without any kit, without any knowledge of impending adverse weather, cell phone went dead or no signal, traveling a remote road with long distances between any infrastructure, and, became stuck in our vehicle in a snow storm.

Your first priority is not to become a cold injury. I would not sit in my car running the motor and heater as it will eventually run out of fuel. I would use it to get warm between bouts of survival work. I would build a shelter outside of the warm for two reason: one - to have a fire (for signaling and warmth) and, two – the vehicle becomes a refrigerator without the motor and heater running....two plys of sheet metal do not insulation make.

Shelter. Even in the desert location, there are natural materials to build an overhead cover or lean to type shelter. Maybe not enough to provide decent cover from a rain, but if you make it sturdy enough you can stop snow even if you have to clear the snow off from time to time (to reduce the weight and maintain the survival shelter’s integrity).

Vehicle seat covers, floor mats and trunk carpet can be used as a tarp for your overhead cover. All these materials as well as removable seat(s) can provide insulation from the ground as well.

I would build and maintain a fire. If you do not have lighter, the vehicle’s cigarette lighter (until the Government outlaws them) can be used to ignite tinder. One of the vehicle’s battery cables can be loosened and touch connected to the other cable to produce a spark to ignite tinder.

The vehicle’s fuel supply can be used to provide an accelerant. Stuffing a piece of string, root or vine down into the gas tank with a piece of cloth wrapped on the end can collect enough fuel to help start a fire. Maybe you can stuff some paper or cloth down into the carburetor or fuel injection system then pump the accelerator to collect the fuel onto the rag or paper.

Everyone has a owner’s manual or vehicle registration, or scrap paper,…or maybe even a pile of traffic citations or parking tickets in their glove compartment. This paper source combined with small twigs, scarps or torn pieces of clothing or insulation material from your coat provide the tinder. Most vehicles have a paper air filter. The paper filter can be used as a tinder sources as well.

Don’t start your fire until you have an adequate amount of tinder, bigger tinder, small pieces of fuel and even larger pieces are collected and ready to be added to your growing fire.

Water. Don’t pile the snow into your mouth to drink. Instead collect snow in a cup, water bottle or makeshift canteen and melt it by placing it close to the fire. If you have a used water bottle you can pack with snow and put in your coat pocket or under the vehicle’s heater when you run it, to melt. Hub caps and removable vehicle cup holders all can be used for improvised canteens.

Signaling. Keep the vehicle roof, trunk and hood clear of snow so that any aircraft can more easily spot it. You can take two, 2 or 3 inch diameter sticks and fashion an “X” on the roof. You can find an open area on the ground and create a larger “X”. If and when you decide to walk out, leave a note in the vehicle on the dash or steering wheel articulating your intent and direction.

If your vehicle ran off the road, making a signal on the road where passers by can see it is a good idea.

Decision to Walk Out. The decision to walk out has to be made considering your physical condition,.....what your condition will be in a day or two. How far you have to walk…if it is within your capabilities. I would probably walk the roads, as it is much easier and in case there is other traffic on the road – you can access help. If you have no land navigation skills and are in poor condition, there is no other route but staying on the roads. Other considerations are what gear you have on you in order to build shelters and fire if the trip will take more than one movement. A final factor is if anyone knows what route you took and will be missing you therefore reporting you as missing.

The bottom line is that winter survival, as described in the scenario, above can be made much easier if you carry wilderness survival kit in your vehicle. A simple bag in the trunk or cab containing a blanket or two, a couple small tarps, fire starting material, some long stay food, a couple of bottles or tins of water, a flashlight,…even better if you add candles and chemlights. These are all simple and inexpensive items to keep in your vehicle just in case.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

More on Solo Survival

Prepper Website left a new comment on the post "Planning to Survive Alone",.......:When I think of someone going solo, I think of staying fast and mobile. I would think that the hope would be, in a SHTF situation, to stay low until some sort of normalcy came back to society, then join the living. I picture a heavily forested area with plenty of moving room and maybe several areas to hold up in...some caches along the way etc...."

UrbanMan's reply: Prepper, I agree - fast and mobile,.....or, stationary and hidden in a well stocked safe location. About anyone with decent survival training and a modicum of preparation can survive. I've done that in small increments for training. Ten days with nothing other than a fixed blade knife, 2 one quart Army canteens and one canteen cup, a small survival kit with snare wire, para cord, matches, button compass, a lightweight poncho and a map. It sucked. I lost about ten pounds. Learned much about isolation and being bored as well. And as stoic and tough as we think we may be, humans are not made for isolation.

I think the idea is to not only survive but live with some decent standard of living. The only way to do that is to have planned ahead, prepared well, and most likely be part of a larger survival group.

I'm not advocating some type of "survival commune" living, but planning and preparing with an alike minded group of individuals and families for mutual support.

Caches are always a good idea. To support the Bug Out plan, either at or near the safe location, or along the way supporting long range movements. I have written several posts on caches. And my student Jim (from Survival Chronicles of Jim) emplaced a couple near his family cabin which is his Bug Out location.

I hope not, but cannot help but think there are people out there thinking that if a severe enough collapse comes, they will survive on their own in a minimalist fashion.  Great to have those skills, but better yet to be prepare across the spectrum of needs and do so with a focused plan and a team.     

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wilderness Survival - Boy Scout's Example

With the good news being reported about the 12 year old Boy Scout from Utah being found alive after surviving in a cold wilderness environment by using his fieldcraft skills and building tree-branch shelter, I was asked my two people, what would I have done if I was lost.

First, the Boy Scout's story: The 12-year-old Boy Scout, however scared, kept his wits about himself and still knew what to do when he got lost during a Utah wilderness outing: He built a shelter made of tree branches and wood to get through a cold night and he covered himself in dirt to stay warm.

Scout Jared Ropelato's lean-to — a crude structure the Boy Scout manual advises Scouts to build if they become lost — kept him warm enough so he could sleep after the overnight low in Utah's Ashley National Forest dipped to 31 degrees in the area. The boy was wearing only jeans and a shirt, and had no food or water, when he went missing around noon Friday. He had gotten lost while on his way by himself back to camp from a nearby lake, walking a total of eight or nine miles before searchers on ATVs found him Saturday morning some four miles from where he started.

First of all, preparation is the key to survival. This comes in two forms: Knowledge and Skills about the environment and fieldcraft/survival skills; the second being Equipped. A knife, folding or fixed blade,...a lighter or waterproof matches,...and a canteen are essential to any outdoor outing or hike. If you are even better equipped then your chances (and comfort) are much better.
Having a simple Butt Pack or Day Pack with those above items, plus a flashlight, ground cloth or survival blanket, a section of parachute cord, maybe 50 feet, and, some food such as granola or survival bars would be the minimum in my book.

Knowing how to build a fire, build a shelter, procure and filter water would be key. If I was lost and looking to help people find me, a fire, then a shelter, then a ground to air signal in a nearby cleared area would be my first priorities as long as I had water. Sure you can go maybe up to 48 hours without water, but throughout that second day your mental and physical skills will start to wane. In a colder environment, such as this Boy Scout was in, you could stretch that to maybe 72 hours, and this is depending upon how hard you are working; how much sweat you have lost; if you avoid exposure to the Sun; and, if you have food to eat.

Hats off to the Boy,...other than breaking the two man rule, which is his Scoutmaster's fault, he did good.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

WIlderness Survival - Sword of Survival website

For those of you interested in wilderness survival, there is a site on the web, called Sword of Survival, that has a lot of Wilderness Survival type field expedient solutions mostly through videos.

It looks to be a new site, maybe a couple of months old, with the demonstrator seemingly doing all the videos himself. Really informal, but the information is good. I’ll be looking at this site from time to time, to refresh myself with old and mostly forgotten wilderness survival skills. Good reference for those who have never been trained in wilderness survival.

Go to:

In fact, everyone, whether they are planning to Survive a Coming Collapse in an Urban Environment or from a lavish and well protected Survival Compound in some remote part of the country, should still develop skills for surviving with minimal equipment in the wilderness. published an article on what we considered a basic list of wilderness survival type skills, go here to see this article. One could print the list of skills from this article and “work them off” as you train on them.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Wilderness Survival - Heimo's Artic Refuge

Since we have talking about Wilderness Survival on, we opted to post this VBS.TV video on Heimo Korth, called the Omega Man of America's Final Frontier, the last of six families of settlers who was grandfathered in and allowed to stay when President Jimmy Carter (remember that Buffoon?) established the Arctic National Wildlife Refugee.

This may give some people a more realistic look at life in the wilderness. However, after a collapse I doubt you will be able to get to "civilization" for supplies every once in a while.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Urban Survival - The Goal is not Literally Surviving, it's Surviving with Quality

One of our buddies reported having a recent conversation with a older gent the other night. They were discussing Urban Survival versus Wilderness Survival, the main difference being having a permanent shelter, or not. Yes, you could be surviving in a remote part of the country in a log cabin or barn and that would be different from literally Wilderness Survival. By Wilderness Survival, we mean bare bones survival,…procuring all your foods from animals or edible plants, living in a dug out or lean to, having no survival aids but want you can carry with you.

This may be survival but it certainly is literally survival and not decent living – although the first rule IS to stay alive. The whole reason to prepare with Survival Food, Material, Gear and Equipment, not to mention a re-location or Bug Out Plan to a safer location, is to ensure that we can maintain life under some level of quality.

Almost all Urban Locations will require a Bug Out plan to a safe location, as Urban locations are dependant upon city/county water supplies which will dry up once the infrastructure collapses. Water is your number one concern. However you won’t be able to drink the water that you stockpile if you can defend yourself,…….this takes a rifle,…nor if you starve to death. Long term stay in Urban locations would require a teamwork approach and a water supply – community pond or lake, several swimming pools, etc. This would eventually dry up and again we’re looking at a re-location to a Safe Location.

Urban locations because of the density of structures, lack of usable open land for growing food and bigger population will be problematic for Urban based Survival. You’ll have a hard time seeing threats coming unless your neighborhood is organized (a la “Lights Out”) as well as feeding all of the unprepared families. “What are you gonna do when the neighbor comes over begging for food for his children?” We think personalities, standards of conduct, work ethic, maybe even religious beliefs will be so diverse that long term Urban Survival will be simply too difficult to maintain in a an Urban environment.

There is the chance of a large segment of the population in your Urban environment would move on, leaving a smaller percentage of the population and therefore a better chance of organization for the better good of all. This may well open other resources such as water,……think water heaters, swimming pools and polluted sources of water that you can purify. Even then unless you have a full time water source and ability to grow food for yourself, and, maintain security this will be iffy.

So back to the conversation between my buddy and the older guy. They discuss the older gent’s plan to move to an unpopulated stretch of river were he would have a water source and where he could hunt and fish for food. This will rapidly turn into literal survival scenario,…..scratching an existence out of nothing, as opposed to decent living. A camper, six months or more of stored food, seeds and a small group of alike minded and supplied people would make this much more viable.

This all boils down to preparation. Everybody be safe and prepare well.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Urban Survival Skills – Wilderness Survival

I am often asked for recommendations on wilderness survival training courses and references on back country survival.

I was a Wilderness Survival Instructor for a military course where we presented two days of hands on round, robin type instruction on various desert survival related subjects including: Survival Sheltercraft; Building expedient weapons; Traps, Snares and Hunting; Water procurement and Purification; Edible Plants and Medicinal Uses; Poisonous Plants; Poisonous Dwellers (predominantly Rattlesnakes); Fire Starting; Navigation without mechanical aids; and, Recognizing and treating Dehydration and Heat Injuries. We then placed these individuals in small teams into a desert environment where they had to move 60 miles in 8 days to a pickup point for recovery. They were not given anything other than 2 one quart canteens and knife and some parachute suspension line, and, only eat or drank what they found or caught.

Anybody going through this training will have the skills and understanding to survive not only in Desert environments or also other wilderness’ as principles and techniques are essential the same even as some of the environmental concerns, animals and plant life changes.

But understand that being stranded in a wilderness and surviving until recovered is much different is living in degraded society after a collapse. To put it another way, anybody with sufficient training and skills can survive like an animal but living with any quality in an environment without packaged foods, services provided electricity and greater threats such as overtly operating gangs of criminals and lack of medical infrastructure is going to take a lot of planning, preparation and the acquisition of Survival related Gear, Equipment and Supplies.

Having said that, learning about surviving in the wilderness is something for the Urban Survivalist to consider especially if the Bug Out plan following a collapse may include transiting rural or remote areas, and possibly moving overland on foot. The Survival Bug Out Bag, which consists of essential Survival Gear and Equipment, should ensure you have the tools to survive until you get to your prepared Safe Location, but your movement may be much slower than you anticipate and you may run out of essential supplies and/or lose some of all of your kit.

So it pays to have the Wilderness Survival training and skills. Barring that the next best step is to have some decent reference material on Wilderness Survival.

For General Wilderness Survival there are three excellent books among many that we recommend: Tappan On Survival, by Mel Tappen; US Army Field Manual on Survival; and, John Wiseman’s SAS Survival handbook. These are available through the Recommended Reading link to the left and also on the bottom of this page.

For specific topics such as Edible Plants, three of the best resources we have found are; Wild Cards: Edible Wild Foods, by Linda Runyon; Edible Foods Master Class (book and DVD); and, an old time classic, Stalking the Wild Asparagus, by Euell Gibbons. Other good edible plants book are a available as well.