As we said in the previous post, here are the basic methods to help treat disorders. Prevention goes along way to all of these, so do what you can to stay cool before you need to deal with these issue.
With summertime quickly approaching, that also means increased outside temperatures. A fun situation outdoors can turn into real life survival in a very short amount of time. Here are some indicators for over-exposure to the sun and or heat. Follow up with with the next graphics to determine how to treat these.
We put this graphic together and it is a good one to remember. You can use any sort of signalling device but a whistle is a an excellent choice when available. These whistle codes are pretty standard in all sorts of disciplines. Military, Law Enforcement, SAR and many other governmental agencies use this methodology. Keep in mind that THREE of anything is typically understood as distress and should illicit a response from available resources.
This is our next in the series of survival Q and A with Craig. If you are a member of our forums (if you are not you should be), you will most likely recognize the name Regulator5. Reg5 has a wealth of information that he shares in a humble way in our forums. He “asked me” in a question how to determine direction if you do not have a compass, nor the sun or stars due to cloud cover. This is a pretty tough subject to cover on video but we took a pretty good stab at it.
This subject matter ended up blowing up in the field while I was filming and turned into several different videos in which we had to turn them into three parts.
In this part we took a closer look at whether you can determine direction using moss on trees.
It has been said by campers, survivalists, and other outdoor aficionodos so many times that moss always grows on the north side of trees. To begin with, I want to go ahead and say that is simply not true. I often hear or read things like that and it really makes me wonder if the person who says it has ever spent any time in the wilderness. After a lifetime playing, studying, and teaching in the wilderness, I and many like me know that moss grows on all sides of a tree. There is however a sliver of truth in what people are saying, and it will help you to determine direction. I will do what I can here to help you do this.
As with anything that grows outside, there are a myriad of things that effect when and how it grows. We touched about this fairly well in our last post on determining direction with trees. The natural world (and you if you stay outside much) is greatly affected by many things outside including the sun, wind, rain, nutrients in the ground and in the air, and untold other influences. Moss is certainly no different.
The statement that moss always or only grows on the northern side of trees is false. The suggestion that moss prominently grows on the north side of trees is certainly true. Moss is like many species of plant in the wilderness that is often referred to as shade-tolerant. This means that it grows very well when it does not have a lot of sun. As a matter of fact, moss prefers to grow in indirect sunlight. For those of us residing in the northern hemisphere the sun appears to be in the southern sky. Due to this the northern side of a tree will mostly be shaded throughout any given day. Since moss likes it there, it will take up residence.
The other aspect of moss growth that is important to note is that it likes alot of moisture, as do most plants. The side of tree facing south will dry out more readily than the northern side of a tree. Therefore, you have the good double whammy for a moss to grow on the northern side. It has indirect sunlight and it will also hold moisture longer.
With that said, I would like to remind you that moss does grow on the side of a tree it wants to. As an example, lets assume that a certain deciduous tree finds itself in the shade of another species of tree that is larger and is coniferous. Due to there being a lot of shade there, you might very well find moss growing on that tree all the way around it. Simply because the coniferous trees provides it with with shade, which increases the moisture all the way around it.
I got out and wanted to get on video to show you that moss grows on more than one side of a tree. In this specific case, i am looking at the moss primarily growing near the base of the tree. However this can also be done with moss growing along and higher upon the side of the tree as well.
That is part 2, in part 3 we will take a look at direction finding by looking at a whole hillside. Until then I hope to see you on, or off, the trail!
I was going through the inventory on our website and came across the figure 9 carabiner, I had seen them previously in catalogues, but hadn’t really ever looked at them with any interest. At roughly the same time one of our forum members (Thank you “SafetyDude”) started a thread about this neat gadget that he found at a local home improvement store. Between his description of this gadget, and my curiosity, I decided that this thing might have some use. My first thought of what it might be useful for was setting up a tarp shelter, so I got one and tried it out. Here are the results.
Did I mention that it’s spring in KY? I realize that the setting isn’t very “Wilderness”, but I enjoy the beauty of nature in many forms. Back to the task at hand, the figure 9 comes with clearly written and illustrated instructions that detail three ways of using it. I will probably find more ways to mis-apply this thing, and I’m sure you can too. It’s rated for 150 lbs. I think this applies to a vertical load. I don’t intend to ever try that figure for accuracy, the packaging also clearly says “Do not Use for Climbing!” which (I hope) is obvious. That aside the figure 9 is very handy for rigging tarp shelters. I tried it with a diamond shelter, and the lean-to configuration above. Using it allowed me to provide a ridgeline and to tension the tarp. As you can see (check out how bowed out the tarp is) there was a pretty stiff breeze blowing, and after I got everything rigged, the figure 9 held quite well. Providing tension to the lines with it is simple and easy.
I used nylon tape here to make a better contrast in the picture, you can use cordage from 1/8” to 3/8” with the figure 9, paracord works well with it.
Here is another picture of the same configuration above. It’s oriented 180 degrees opposite the other knot. What I found was that the shelter set up, time wise, consisted of 10 minutes of positioning the tarp and anchoring the lines and about 10 seconds of bringing everything to the correct tension with the figure 9. Oh, as a side note when you use stakes to fasten down the corners of your tarp on a windy day, make them about 12-18 inches long and angle them against the tension on the tarp.
My stakes were angled, but they should have been longer and possibly thicker, oh well live and learn.
Conclusion: For my money the figure 9 is hard to beat. True you can use knots to do the same thing, and I recommend knowing how to use both. But for quick and easy, you can’t beat the figure 9.
If you haven’t downloaded a copy of our new, “Dan’s Plan For Getting Prepared” yet please go to http://www.dansdepot.com/gear/ and check it out. We have had a great time putting it together for you and hope you will find it helpful.
We’d also like to know what you think of it and would appreciate any ideas you might have to help us make it better and more effective for you. I’m happy to say we’ve already thought of some additional things to add to it and we’re also putting together a video with Craig and his family to show you some ideas on how you can use it. Your feedback will help us make sure our plan and new video are as useful and helpful as we can make it,
so you can be prepared.
For your convenience, we highlighted many of the items we carry here at Dan’s Depot
in the checklists we created for the Dan’s Plan. For more information or details on the
gear we pictured, please check out our website or feel free to call us. We also demonstrate
how to get prepared in our DVD’s, videos, forum and other blog posts.
I appreciate you and truly care about making sure you and your family are as prepared as
possible with all the latest survival gear, training and food. I also appreciate your feedback
and look forward to hearing your thoughts on our new “Dan’s Plan For Getting Prepared”
We wanted to take a look at some of the basics of a survival/preparedness scenario in which you and your group, particularly a family unit, would need to be on the move. We often get asked questions in this regard and thought it best to go ahead and put a blog post together about it. I can summarize the rest of this post in three words: knowledge, sharing, and mules.
Please note that the ideas of running from trouble may be the best option for your group. It is definitely not going to be easy. Quite frankly it is going to be much harder than you think and you will need to have lots of knowledge to make it. Gear simply makes certain aspects of such an event much easier, but lets be clear, the proper mindset and knowledge is what allows us to continue to survive. I have a friend who was living within a few short miles of Chernobyl when it exploded and caught fire releasing large amounts of radioactive material into the atmosphere in 1986. She was forced to immediately leave with two children and no supplies. Both her children died from exposure, and she nearly so, despite her doing an excellent job of making the best of the situation. She has been basically running and moving from the effects of those dark days ever since. I say this to you as a sober reminder that it is not going to be easy, it will be hard. Prepare your gear and practice with it now, to be as ready as possible.
You will want to share both skills and gear with those in your group. One of the comments we regularly get is that one of the members wants to carry the brunt of the weight. While this is certainly noble, it is not realistic and not sound planning. You must plan for the eventuality that someone’s gear may be lost or otherwise gone. If someone in the group is carrying all the food, and that person’s pack is lost for some reason, then you will have to procure food from the environment in which you are making a go of it. So it is best to divide the gear evenly among the group. So that if someone is lost, or their pack is lost, you do not also lose a vast amount of gear.
This doesn’t mean that you might have one or multiple people in your group that can carry extra weight. By all means use them for this purpose. I refer to these people as mules, in that they are the ones that will be carrying heavier loads than everyone else. For example, everyone should have their own knife, but a mule might be the one carrying a bow-saw, or shovel, or extra food, etc. etc. I often suggest to family groups that they all divide their supplies but that the mule of the family carry an extra pot for the group, or the larger amount of rope, etc.
These are just a few ideas for preparing your family or other other group unit for being on the move. For more ideas check out our forums, and/or leave a comment question here so we can help you.
Until next time I hope to see you on, or off, the trail!
The Fold-A-Cup is one of those pieces of kit that you look at and aren’t really sure you need. It kinda looks gimickee and sort of like one of those all-in-one, buy it before their all gone, once in a lifetime deals (that is advertised Every week) that fast talking guys with hair transplants and braces sell on the home shopping network. Let me assure you though, this cup is a great piece of gear. It holds 6/10ths of a liter/quart, and folds roughly in half. (Which allows you to fit two, yes two, in the space a normal cup would take up……ok I’ll stop now.) Seriously it is a great way to carry a cup, large enough to double as a bowl, in your pocket.
What impressed me about the cup was its ability to insulate your hand from very hot liquids (AKA hot coffee/tea). Unlike some of the products you see on the previously mentioned TV boredom factory, this one shows real thought and effort in the design and materials. It gets a “Dan Rating” of 5 out of 5 stars.
In this review I want to explore the Sawyer .01 water filtration system. Sawyer took a different approach to water filters than most companies do. They don’t use a ceramic or charcoal filter; they use membranes with a micro-pore system. The system they use is based on technology used in kidney dialysis. They guarantee their filter for 1 million gallons. That guarantee really caught my eye, as I prefer gear with a long lifespan. Because of the style of filter they use, their system doesn’t need a pump like most long term water filters use. I’ve found that their filter does well with just a gravity feed. The kit I bought included three ways to use the filter; a setup that uses a bucket or other container as a reservoir, a setup that connects the filter to your faucet, and one that uses the water bladders that sawyer includes.
This is the stock photo of the kit I bought.
This is my bucket rig; sawyer includes all the hardware including a drill bit! (but no bucket)
This is the faucet rig.
I bought three extra two liter water bladders as well.
And here’s a shocker, sawyer included spare parts….what an amazing concept! And of course the included syringe for backwashing.
Pros; the filter has an Awesome lifespan! , it is simple and easy to use, comes with a syringe to backwash the filter (the key to the long life), very compact, no moving parts.
Cons; only one so far the output side of the filter has a cap where you have to pull on it to open it, my opinion is, it may be easy to contaminate if you’re not careful or washing your hands regularly.
Final Thoughts; this is an awesome personal water filter. At 60 bucks (or less for a smaller kit) this filter is a wise investment, especially considering the potential lifespan. If you establish a routine when you use the filter you could avoid ever contaminating the pull cap. Something as simple as Always opening it in a certain way Every time, and making sure that the method you choose is easy and easy to keep clean.
One of the questions we get asked the most is, “How do I make a fire after a long rain, when everything is wet?”. We took advantage of a night in which it rained for several hours and went out and made a video on the subject.
In this particular video we focus our attention on using a cedar tree. This is the species that works well for us here in our “neck of the woods”. You will have others where you live and the only way to discover them is to go out and practice your skills. Cedars and spruce trees are very similar in their flammable qualities. They both have oils in them that make them more flammable than other species. These same oils make the fire from them burn very hot. So once you have the tinder bundle going and you add in the sticks. You have the beginnings of a really hot fire.
This is important in a damp situation. If the fire does not burn hot enough, it will not get the added materials going due to everything being wet. In this situation your prep work is vital and takes time, you must be patient in your preps.
One of the portions that gets skipped over the most is the prep work on the sticks themselves. It is entirely difficult to get the sticks going from the tinder bundle unless virtually all of the moisture is off of them. Take your time in scraping the moisture off the sticks. It actually does not take that long. Patience in this portion of the firebuilding process will pay off big dividends later.
This video and blog take you through all the preps of getting ready. In part 2, which will come out in two days, will take you through the process of getting it going. As you will see, we did have some trouble, made some adjustments, and then got us a fire going….please come back then to see the final.
Until then, I hope to see you on, or off, the trail!