I am a firm believer that as preppers and survivalists we have a lot more to learn compared to regular folks. Although I do not consider myself an expert, I like to think that I’ve accumulated enough knowledge to help me survive if it hits the fan. In this article I will share some of the survival tips and tricks I’ve learned from survival experts over the past five years.
Anyone who spent any amount of time developing skills or accumulating knowledge understands how important it is to share this knowledge with like-minded people. We learn from each other and we have the morale duty to pass these teachings to the younger generations. Every book and every real life experience brings something new in our lives and we learn survival tips and tricks that will make our life easier during an emergency situation. I hope the following teachings will stay with you and provide the proper aid when time calls for it.
You should never tie a knot you cannot untie. You will learn to tie various types of knots, but you should be able to untie every one of them if you don’t want to lose your rope or cordage.
If you plan to learn only one knot, make sure it is the bowline. Together with its variants, the bowline knot is one of the most widely used loop knots. It is relatively simple to tie and have a high level of security.
Contrary to popular beliefs, the knot is the weakest part of the rope when is tied and it will make the rope even weaker if you don’t tie it properly.
If you plan to use plants in order to make cordage concentrate on using dogbane, milkweed, stinging needle and yucca. You can also make decent cordage from burdock, cattail and horseweed.
If you’re searching for water sources try to follow birds that feed on grain, such as pigeons and finches. These birds frequently fly toward water at dawn and dusk. They are easy to spot because they fly in a direct and low flight path.
Recommended reading: Ready To Drink Natural Water Sources
If you are thirsty and water is in short supply you should always rinse your mouth for 20-30 seconds before swallowing. The thirst and the discomfort it brings mostly come from a dry mouth.
If you are unable to find water, you can always make a transpiration still. All you need is a plastic bag or plastic trash bag. Almost every environment allows for the use of a transpiration still that can produce a cup or two of water in a day.
When choosing a water bottle for your bug out bag, always choose stainless because it’s a reliable and effective container. It will help you boil unclean water, making it safe to drink, but it can also turn into a signaling device or perimeter alarm.
If you plan to use water filters such as Lifestraw in freezing temperature it is vital to prevent their filtering mechanism from freezing as it could make the filter ineffective. You should store your Lifestraw filter inside a coat pocket near your chest where your body heat will prevent it from freezing.
You don’t need to boil water to make it safe to drink and merely heating the water to 150 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes will do the trick. It will help you pasteurize the water and kill all human disease pathogens.
Every bug out bag and survival kit should have enough water or supplies to get you through comfortably for at least 72 hours. The reason behind this logic is simple and you should know that law enforcement and rescue teams will not start looking for someone until then.
If you need to eat, you should always measure the risk versus the reward of every task. Don’t waste calories and time going on a wild hunt over a long distance that may prove unsuccessful. Most people will go for something big, thinking they will eat like kings, but that’s the wrong approach. Look for easy to obtain food sources close to your camp.
When hunger prevents you from functioning properly, focus on small game. In all areas, small game is more prevalent than large game, regardless if you are in a woodland or urban situation. Even more, you can process smaller amounts of food faster and you don’t need to figure out how to carry or preserve the leftovers or waste.
Suggested article: Survival improvised cooking techniques
Learn how to trap animals by using live traps since live food never spoils. This will help you preserve your food for longer periods of time, especially in warmer seasons.
Making and packaging food for the trail shouldn’t be rocket science and you need to concentrate on foods that provide a quality protein source. For example, rice and beans is considered the ultimate survival food by most survival experts. Make the habit of adding a few teaspoons of olive, corn or canola oil to your survival meals as calorie boosters. Each teaspoon provides between 40 and 50 calories.
When it comes to providing a meal via traps and snares, you need to understand that it’s all a numbers game. The more you set the better your chances of eating some meat. Concentrate on carrying traps that are smaller and take less space in your bug out bag. You can carry one thousand fish hooks that weight less than a single rat trap.
Go for birds as all birds can be eaten and the same goes for their eggs. You should concentrate on capturing ground living birds like pheasants and quails by using snares or a trench trap.
Smell plays an important role when setting up traps and the scent of the actual animal’s scat or urine is the best lure you have for the same species. You can avoid leaving your smell on the snares by passing them quickly over an open fire. Smells also travel and you should know that it drifts uphill in the daytime and downhill at night. Always stay upwind of potential meals.
If you need to neutralize the smell from your clothes, you should avoid burying your equipment as it will make you smell like a ploughed field. You can hand your clothes up on a clothes line to weather for a few days if you need to smell like the environment you are in.
When eating rodents like rats and squirrels that feed of trash, you should discard the head and guts before eating.
To make a loop snare for small mammals, use a slipknot that tightens down when the animal puts his head through it and lunges forward. Place at least 15 for every one animal you wish to catch along den openings and well-traveled trails. The snare loop sizes should be as follows: Rabbit (3 inches in diameter and 4 inches off the ground), Fox (6 inches in diameter and 8 inches off the ground), Boar (8-10 inches in diameter and 12 inches off the ground).
Suggested article: Ten hunting survival essentials
Look for a waterway and stay near it to increase your chances of a good meal. In any given weather conditions, you can find an abundant supply of meat around a water source, regardless the environment you’re in.
You should never eat snow or ice as the energy lost during this process is not equal to the benefit. You should melt the snow or ice first.
If you want to tell if you are becoming dehydrated, you should check the color of your urine. The darker the color the worse the dehydration. People believe that you should drink lots of fluid only in hot environments, but that’s false knowledge. You need to drink lots of fluid in a cold environment as well if you want to avoid getting dehydrated.
You should check the clouds if you want to predict the weather because the clouds that look worrying usually do exactly what you expect them to do. I wrote in a previous article how to tell weather by looking at clouds.
You can insulate your body and your clothes with cardboard, bubble wrap or crumpled up newspaper. This is a trick learned from the homeless and it’s frequently used by those without an address in order to raise their body temperature.
Temperature falls at a more or less constant rate with increasing altitude at about 1 degree F for every 300 feet in elevation. Wind is forced by the mountain to rise and cool, causing higher precipitation on windward mountain slopes.
If you have to travel during a lighting storm you should avoid being the tallest object or even near the tallest object. The traveler should avoid solitary trees, high ground, hilltops or open spaces. Try to find a ditch or a low area, or even a group of trees with equal height and wait for the storm to pass.
Insulating your footwear with aluminum foil can help prevent hypothermia. Cut out the patter of your foot and place it inside your boots with the shiny side up so that the heat from your feet can be maintained and add extra warmth.
If you carry a map and a compass you should learn at least simple navigational skills, otherwise you’re just carrying dead weight. Most people don’t know how to use these two items to triangulate their position.
When traveling in the wilderness you should slow down to a natural pace in order to avoid attracting attention. The animals that are moving erratically and quickly in nature are usually the ones in distress or the ones fleeing from some imminent danger. You don’t want to give away that impression in areas populated by big predators.
Wear several layers when you travel for thermo regulating vita the adding and removing of layers as needed. You should keep sweating to a minimum in cooler temperatures.
If you need to run to catch up a distance or save time, you should exhale when your left foot hits the ground. This will help you avoid cramps while running.
When crossing a creek during the winter time, loosen your pack’s shoulder straps and undo your waistband so you can quickly remove your pack if you fall in.
When traveling in mountainous terrain, try to stay high on the ridge line as much as you can. It is better to travel a little farther than to deal with the constant up-and-down travel associated with frequent elevation changes.
Before you chose a camp site make sure all the four Ws are covered: wood, water, wind and widow maker. You will need wood for campfires and constructing your shelter, water for drinking, cooking and sanitation. You also have to pay attention to the wind direction and speed, but also for overhead dead branches or trees.
Position your shelter so it has a southern exposure (if you’re north of the equator). This allows for optimal light and heat from the sun throughout the day. Face the door east so you get the best early morning sun.
Suggested article: Planning a shelter in the wild
Bring some sort of cover or shelter with you while traveling and a tarp is the ideal choice. It will help you block wind, snow or rain, besides having a multitude of other tasks.
Natural resources should be carried as you go if you plan to build a shelter. Don’t wait to find a campsite to gather water and fire making materials as the time or weather may work against you.
If you sleep in a sleeping bag you should avoid covering your mouth and nose with it if you want to avoid inner-bag condensation.
If you travel with a large party of people and you need to build a shelter, you should concentrate on building multiple smaller shelters for two or three people each. This is an easier task all together because a smaller shelter can be built much easier and faster, but it can also be easier to heat.
Sugar and honey are ideal topical antibiotics to treat a wound. Sugar sucks water from bacteria by osmotic shock, killing the bacteria. Make sure the wound has clotted first before applying the sugar.
You can apply a cut onion to a bee sting to reduce inflammation and pain.
Mouthwash can be used to disinfect medical equipment when nothing else is available.
Tampons can stop a bullet wound from bleeding if inserted into the wound. They have many applications in a survival situation.
If you suffer from upset stomach you can eat the following foods: bananas, plain yogurt, ginger, applesauce, white rice, oatmeal, papaya or chicken broth.
You can make a good splint from a rolled up pillow or blanket and support it with sticks.
To make homemade icepacks use one part of rubbing alcohol to three parts of water and freeze. The icepacks will get cold but will not harden and you will be able to place them easily on your body.
To anesthetize a sore tooth rinse with hydrogen peroxide or use a cotton ball soaked in Tabasco sauce.
To remove spines from your skin, pour a small blob over each embedded spine and let the glue completely dry. You can then peel it off and the spine should come with the glue.
If you find yourself in a situation that makes you nervous you can chew gum in order to calm down. Your brain will associate the eating sensation with a peaceful scenario as you wouldn’t be eating if you were in danger.
When you’re in pain during or after an attack you can curse in order to raise your pain tolerance. Cursing it is known to release encephalin, causing you to hurt less.
If you need to wait or park in a rough neighborhood do so in front of a bank. You will be in a well-lit area and there are usually lots of video surveillance near a bank.
If you are attacked and you have to throw a punch, you should clench your fist only at the last second to maintain power and momentum. If you clench throughout the swing you lose a lot of power and the punch will not have the same effect.
You should always maintain a safe distance between you and your attacker. A safe distance is the minimum distance you need to maintain in order for the attacker to take two steps towards you before he can strike. The safe distance is between four to eight feet and it should give you enough time to evade and escape or counter-attack.
Recommended reading: Body targets to exploit in self-defense
If you suspect that someone is following your car, there’s an easy way to find out. Just take four right turns to make a circle and if the car is still being you, you are being followed.
If things get serious and you need you call 911, you should start first by saying your location. This is something you need to do in order to save time as they will send the police when they have an address.
These survival tips and tricks should become common knowledge for those who wish to be prepared for the worst. It is just a fraction of the survival knowledge that one can gather and the learning process never stops. Feel free to use the comments section if you want to share your survival tips and tricks with the rest of the world.
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