How to Preserve Meat In the Wilderness (Without Refrigeration)

how to preserve meat in the wild without refrigeration

Preserving meat in the wilderness is not an easy task, but if you want to be able to live off the land like your ancestors did, then you need to learn how to preserve meat in the wild without refrigeration. 

Otherwise, it’s practically pointless to hunt for big game. If all of your meat is going to go bad in less than a day without refrigeration, then you might as well stick to hunting small game such as squirrels and rabbits. 

And if you’re anything like me, that’s not going to happen. I plan on being able to provide my family with a good source of protein for more than a meal at a time. But what is the best way to preserve meat in the wild in order to stop it from going bad?

Preserving meat in the wilderness without refrigeration is going to require something that can extract moisture from the meat while simultaneously killing the bacteria at the same time. Smoke, salt, and heat can all be used to accomplish this. With these three ingredients alone you can successfully preserve your meat without refrigeration through the methods known as salting, smoking, and drying. 

Are you still confused?

If so, don’t worry. When I first began the process of learning how to preserve meat without refrigeration, I was confused too. Fortunately for you, I’m going to make this whole process as simple as possible. Everything you need to know to preserve meat in the wild without refrigeration is laid out below.

What Do You Need to Preserve Meat in the Wild?

While it may seem complicated to preserve meat in the wild, it’s actually quite simple. The only tools you’ll need are the following:

  • Knife – The first step to preserving meat in the wild is to properly butcher your animal. Then cut its meat into thin strips so that it can be quickly dried. This will require a sharp knife.
  • Water – You may need water to wash any dirt off the meat.
  • Fire – A fire will be used to create smoke and heat. Both are needed to preserve meat in the wild.
  • Sunlight – Sunlight will be used to extract moisture from the meat and to dry it out over time.
  • Smoke rack – A smoke rack is used so you can lay out strips of meat on the rack. Place or build your smoke rack over a small fire and let the smoke do its thing.
  • Time – One of the most important tools you’ll need to preserve meat in the wild is time. The whole process of preserving meat in the wild is going to take a while so be prepared and have patience.

Something else that’s required to preserve meat without refrigeration is good weather. If there’s not enough sunlight, or too much rain in the forecast, then you’re going to have trouble keeping your meat dry and not full of moisture. 

How to Preserve Meat in the Wilderness (3 Best Methods)

The three best methods for preserving meat without refrigeration are smoking, drying, and salting.

The goal of all three of these methods is to remove moisture from the meat so that the growth of bacteria will be dramatically slowed down. The slower the growth of bacteria, the slower your meat will spoil. It’s as simple as that.

Remember, the optimal growth zone for bacteria is between 41° to 135° Fahrenheit. In this temperature range, bacteria can actually double in just 20 minutes. And once the bacteria has  reached infectious levels, it simply cannot be reversed.

The main types of bacteria that you’re trying to stop from multiplying are e-coli, salmonella, shigella, staphylococcus, and listeria. Ingesting any of these five strains of bacteria will result in food poisoning and lead to symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pains, fever, and chills.                                                                                                                                                                                      

To help you avoid these symptoms, let’s discuss the three best ways to preserve meat in the wild.

Salting

Before the invention of refrigeration, meat was primarily preserved through a process known as salting – also referred to as curing or corning. Salting is essentially the process of covering meat and vegetables with a thick layer of dry salt (dry cure) or a salt-water mixture known as a brine (wet cure). 

A brine can also be mixed with sugar, herbs, and spices to help add flavoring to your meat and/or vegetables. Sugar is also used to help reduce the harsh taste of salt and to promote the growth of the good bacteria Lactobacillus.

The reason salt is so effective at preserving meat is because it slows down the growth of microorganisms by extracting water out of the microbial cells of the meat through a process known as osmosis. This lack of moisture helps to create a less hospitable environment for bacteria.

The only downside of using this method to preserve your meat in the wild is that you’re going to have to carry a lot of salt to make it possible.

Drying

The easiest way to preserve meat in the wild is to simply use the heat from the sun to dry it out. Just make sure to cut your meat into thin strips so that it can dry itself out as quickly as possible. Thicker cuts of meat will take much longer to dry out. 

If you do plan on drying your meat out in the sun, then you need to set everything up in an open area where there’s nothing that can block out the sun. Once I find the perfect location to dry out my meat, I then build a rack (typically made out of wood) so I can lay my thin strips of meat out to dry. 

You could also dry out your meat on something such as a flat rock, just make sure to flip your meat over halfway during the drying process. The entire drying process will typically take somewhere between 12 to 16 hours. 

You may also want to invest in some meat bags (bags made out of fine mesh) to help keep the flies and other annoying insects away from your meat.

Smoking

While smoking can be used to help preserve meat, it’s typically done in combination with the other two methods (salting and drying) to achieve the best “shelf life” possible. It’s also a great way to add some flavor to your meat.

The two different types of smoking are known as hot smoking and cold smoking.  Hot smoking is the quicker of the two variations (1 – 24 hours), since it uses heat in conjunction with smoke to both dry and cook the remaining moisture out of the meat. Cold smoking, on the other hand, takes a lot longer than hot smoking does (12 – 48+ hours), since there is no heat used to cook the meat.

To ensure that you’re cold smoking your meat the proper way, you want to make sure the temperature surrounding your meat never goes above 100° Fahrenheit. When hot smoking, however, the temperature around your meat can easily reach between 200° to 300° Fahrenheit. 

You also want to make sure to use the right kind of wood when smoking your meat or else it could possibly ruin the taste or even poison you. I recommend using hardwood such as Apple, Cherry, Oak, Hickory, Maple, Pecan, Mesquite, or Pimento. Avoid using wood from conifers such as Cypress, Cedar, Fir, Pine, Redwood, and Spruce. 

To set up the hot smoking process, simply build a rack over a small fire, and then let the smoke slowly dry and cook your meat over an extended period of time. It also helps to cover the rack holding your meat with a covering of some kind to help hold in the heat and smoke.

If cold smoking is more your style, then just ditch the covering and maybe add some more space between the rack and the fire. Or build a smaller fire. Really anything to reduce the heat down to 100° Fahrenheit or lower. 

Watch the video below if you want to see how our ancestors performed the hot smoking technique in the wild. 

What You Should Do Before You Preserve Your Meat

Before you begin the process of preserving your meat in the wild, there are a few steps you first need to take to ensure your meat gets the most shelf life possible. 

For starters, you want to make sure to keep your meat clean, cool, and dry. By following these three simple steps, you have a much greater chance at successfully preserving your meat in the wild.

Why clean, cool, and dry? 

It’s essentially the opposite of being dirty, warm, and wet. All of which create the perfect environment for bacteria to spoil your meat.

If you’ve just finished butchering your animal, then the first step you can take to cool down your meat is to cut off all of the bone, connective tissue and extra fat. This removes the insulation from the meat that helps to keep it warm. You can also cut the meat in thin strips to help it cool down even faster.

The next step you want to take is to clean your meat using water so you can both cool and clean it off at the same time. If you have a river or stream in your area, then that’s the perfect place to clean up your meat.

The last step you want to take is to dry off your meat. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to dry off your meat than the three methods we’ve already discussed (smoke, sunlight, and salt).

How to Store Meat in the Woods

After your meat is clean, cool, and dry, you then need to figure out how you’re going to store your meat while you’re in the woods. 

Without a refrigerator, there isn’t much you can do to stop your meat from spoiling. Fortunately, you can help slow down the growth of bacteria by taking a few proper precautions. The main precaution you want to take is to prevent your meat from coming in contact with any moisture whatsoever.

You can accomplish this by storing your dehydrated meat in airtight containers. For the best shelf life possible, you should also store your containers in a location that’s cool, dry, and preferably dark. 

But what should you do if you’re constantly on the move and can’t afford to carry heavy containers in your bag? Your best bet would be to wrap your meat in some form of plastic foil such as cellophane. While this might not give your meat the shelf life of an airtight container, sometimes you have to do the best with what you’re given. 

Remember, your main goal when storing meat for longevity is to prevent any moisture from coming in contact with your meat. As long as you can accomplish this goal, you should get a little more shelf life out of your preserved meat.

How Much Ammo Should You Have in Your Bug Out Bag?

how much ammo to have in bug out bag

In a bug-out or bug-home situation, the most important item you can carry for self-defense is a firearm. And if you’re going to have a firearm, then you need to have ammunition. 

But how much ammo should you carry in your bug out bag (BoB), get home bag (GHB) or I’m never coming home bag (Inch bag)?

This question has been argued time and time again in the prepper community, and it seems like everyone has a different answer.

And to be honest, there is no right or wrong answer in this situation. What might be the right amount of ammo for one person, could be way too little or way too much for someone else. It all depends on a variety of factors.

Here are 10 simple questions you can ask yourself that will help you decide how much ammo to have in your BoB, GHB, or INCH bag.

  1. How strong are you physically? 
  2. How accurate are you with your firearm(s)?
  3. What kind of firearm(s) do you plan to carry?
  4. What type of ammunition do you plan to carry?
  5. Are you driving or walking to your bug out location?
  6. How dangerous is the route to your bug out location?
  7. How long will it take you to travel to your bug out location?
  8. Is anyone else in your group carrying firearms or ammunition?
  9. Do you have caches hidden on the way to your bug out location?
  10. Do you plan on carrying your weapons and ammo in a separate bag?

Simply answer the 10 questions above and you should be able to decide how much ammo to carry in your bug out bag.

How Much Ammo to Carry In a BoB, GHB, or Inch Bag?

Before you decide how much ammo to carry in your BoB, GHB, or Inch bag, you first need to think about the different types of danger you could encounter when traveling to your home or BoL. 

After you’re done thinking, you then need to decide just how many bullets you’re going to need to keep you and your family or group from facing any type of actual harm. 

Be honest with yourself too. While it might seem cool to imagine yourself defending your country from the (Chinese, Russian, Islamic, far-left liberal, alien) invaders, you’re most likely not going to encounter any actual danger on your way to your home or bug out location. At least none that you absolutely couldn’t avoid. 

Remember, your main goal when faced with a disaster situation is to simply survive. Not to become a one-person army. Not to win WW3 all by yourself. But to simply survive.

And if you have a family, then your main goal is to keep all of your family members alive as well. But it’s going to be hard to do that if you’re firing off rounds at every armed thug that comes your way. So let’s avoid the unnecessary firefights and get to answering these questions so you can decide just how much ammo you need to have in your BoB

How Strong Are You Physically? 

The stronger you are, the more you’re going to be able to carry. Plain and simple. 

And if you’ve ever carried a bug out bag over a long distance before, then you already know how heavy they can be. So if you plan on traveling miles and miles on foot with a giant bag strapped onto your shoulders, then you better be strong enough to carry it.

If not, then you may want to reduce the amount of ammo or other items that you’re carrying in your bag. Otherwise you may have to ditch some items along the way, or at least pass some of the weight on to other members of your group. 

How Accurate Are You With Your Firearm(s)?

The better your aim, the better your chance of hitting your target with fewer rounds. 

And the fewer rounds it takes for you to hit your target, the fewer rounds you have to carry in your BoB. Fewer rounds = less weight, less weight = less strain, less strain = better mood, better mood = more likely to survive.

So if you want you and your family to be more likely to survive in a disaster scenario, then get out to the range and improve your accuracy with firearms! 

Like you actually needed another excuse to go out to the range..

What Kind of Firearm(s) Do You Plan to Carry? 

While a handgun such as the Glock 19 might be suitable for some situations, others may find themselves in a situation that could benefit more from carrying a rifle such as an AR-15. Or you may find yourself in a situation that can benefit from carrying both!

Of course, one downside of carrying two firearms is that you also have to carry two types of ammunition. That is unless you’re carrying a handgun and a rifle that both use the same ammunition. 

You also have to consider how fast a firearm can shoot. If you plan on using a semi-automatic rifle such as an AK-47, then you have to realize that you’re going to go through bullets much faster than you would with a bolt action rifle or a single-shot shotgun. 

What Type of Ammunition Are You Going to Carry?

While it may seem cool to have a 50 caliber rifle strapped to your back in a world WROL (without rule of law), it’s definitely not the most practical type of firearm to lug around. 

On the other end of the spectrum, you could use a 22 caliber rifle and carry far more ammunition than you could with other caliber firearms, but of course, you won’t have the takedown power that comes with using a bigger caliber round. 

Sometimes it can be hard to find the sweet spot between size, weight, and damage capability, but you could always pack your bag with different caliber rounds and see what you like best in terms of weight and size. Although, sometimes you’re just going to have to suck it up and use what you have.

Are You Driving or Walking to Your Bug Out Location?

Do you plan on walking or driving to your bug out location? 

If you plan on walking, then you’re going to have to carry all of your weapons and ammunition in your bug out bag. However, if you plan on driving to your BoL, then you may be better off storing your gun(s) and ammo in a separate bag or detachable pouch. 

This way you can easily grab your bug-out gear and toss it in the back of your bug-out vehicle (BoV) whenever you’re ready to go. Or you can simply lock up your gun and ammo in the BoV and have one less thing to worry about.

How Dangerous Is the Route to Your Bug Out Location?

When disaster strikes, you’re either going to be heading to one of two places. Either to your home, or to a designated bug-out location. A bug-out location (BoL) is either your home, your second home or a relative or friend’s house that you plan to go to when SHTF. 

If you’re unsure what your bug out location should be, then you need to factor in how dangerous it’s going to be to travel to each location in the event of a disaster. You also have to consider the different types of disaster scenarios that could occur in your area and what the possible dangers could be when you’re heading to each location during that disaster. 

For example, the dangers that could occur after an earthquake or tornado would be vastly different from the dangers that could occur if your country was taken over by civil unrest. Being knowledgeable of the different types of SHTF scenarios that could take place in your area will be greatly helpful when you’re choosing how much ammo you need to make it safely to your BoL. 

You also need to consider the different routes you may have to take to make it to your BoL. Let’s say that disaster strikes when you’re at work. Will you be prepared to make it to your BoL with the guns and ammo that you have stored in your vehicle? If not, then you may want to increase the amount of ammunition that you’re carrying. 

Sometimes this means carrying less food and water, but if you can’t survive the situation at hand, then all of the food and water in the world won’t make a difference. 

How Long Will It Take You to Travel to Your Bug Out Location?

Knowing how long it will take you to travel to your bug out location will help you determine how much ammo you need to carry in your bug out bag. The longer it takes you to travel = the more ammo you may want to carry. 

If you plan on driving to your BoL, then you also need to figure out how long it will take you to walk there. You never know when your vehicle is going to break down or you happen to run into a roadblock or something. 

Personally, I always try to plan for the worst case scenario. This may mean I’m forced to carry a little bit more weight than needed, but as long as my family and I are safe then I’m good to go. 

After all, having a sore back and shoulders is better than being dead. 

Is Anyone Else In Your Group Carrying Firearms or Ammunition?

This is a simple question to answer.

Is anyone else in your group carrying firearms or ammunition?

If not, then you’re going to have to carry enough guns and ammo to protect your whole group. However, if you do have other members in your group that are armed and ready to go, then you won’t have to carry such a heavy load. 

Do You Have Caches Hidden On the Way to Your Bug Out Location?

A tactic commonly used by experienced preppers is to set up and hide caches on the route to your BoL. 

A cache is a collection of items that is stored away and hidden for future use. Many caches are even buried in a specific location to ensure that nobody but you can ever find it. 

The reason you may want to hide caches on the route to your BoL is so you can lighten the load of your BoB. Instead of storing 1000 rounds of ammo in your bug out bag, you can just store a couple loaded magazines and leave the box of ammo stored in a hidden cache on the way to your BoL.

Do You Plan On Carrying Your Weapons and Ammo In a Separate Bag?

An easy way to lighten the load of your bug-out bag is to carry your weapons and ammo in a separate bag. 

I personally use a separate bag myself to carry my handgun and ammo, since this allows me to use all of the space in my BoB to carry other useful items. The type of bag that I prefer to use is a tactical sling bag that you can easily throw over your shoulder. 

The only downside of using a bag such as this is it does make you look like more of a valuable target to looters. But if it’s worth the extra space in your bag and the less weight on your shoulders, then it may just be the right option for you.

Final Words

Hopefully now you have an idea of how much ammo you want to carry in your bug out bag. Or maybe you’re more like me and have decided to get another bag solely for the purpose of carrying your handgun and ammo.

In all honesty, you shouldn’t need tons of ammunition just to make it safely to your bug out location. 

After all, it only takes one shot to take someone out. And if you find yourself needing 100 rounds for just one enemy, then you might need to head on down to the range and get some practice in. It may just save your family.

How to Heat Up a Tent and Stay Warm Without Electricity

How to keep a tent warm without electricity

If you plan on camping in the winter then you need to prepare for the cold. And without electricity, your options for heating your tent are going to be limited.

But don’t fear! 

There are many ways to heat up a tent without electricity. But heating up a tent is only half the battle. You also need to know how to prevent the heat from leaving your tent, as well as what you can do to keep yourself warm throughout the night. 

After all, being able to stay warm while camping in the cold may just be the difference between having a good time and being completely miserable. 

So let’s avoid the misery and learn how to stay warm in a tent without electricity. 

How to Heat Up a Tent Without Electricity

While it’s not easy, it is possible to heat up a tent without electricity

The easiest way to heat up a tent without electricity is by using a propane heater, but if you’re worried about safety then you could just heat up some stones or water bottles and scatter those around your tent. Hand warmers are another good alternative for warming up your tent, just make sure to buy the long-lasting version (18+ hours) so the heat doesn’t run out in the middle of the night.

1. Use a Propane Heater

The quickest and most efficient way to heat up a tent without electricity is to use a propane heater. Unfortunately, using a propane heater does come with a few negative side effects that are worth mentioning.

The main downside of using a propane heater is that it can actually kill you if you don’t allow for enough ventilation. This is due to the fact that propane heaters slowly release carbon monoxide into the air, which over time can accumulate together and can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Now you can get a carbon monoxide detector to help you feel safer, but as long as you only turn on your propane heater when you have plenty of ventilation then you should be good to go.

Another side effect of using a propane heater is that it does tend to cause a lot of condensation, but again as long as you allow for enough ventilation this shouldn’t be a worry. The only other downside of using a propane heater is that it’s far too heavy and clunky to be used for backpacking.

2. Use Hot Objects to Keep You Warm

An old fashioned way to warm yourself up at night is to heat up some stones near a campfire (for around an hour or so) and then place them around your tent right before you go to sleep. Just make sure to wrap the hot stones in a cloth that’s thick enough to prevent them from burning your skin if they touch you. 

If hot stones aren’t your style, you could always boil some water and pour it into a wide-mouth water bottle and use that for warmth instead. The best part about warming your sleeping bag with hot water bottles is that you wake up with water that’s ready to drink and not frozen.

Another option you can use to warm yourself up at night when camping in the winter cold is hand warmers. Long lasting hand warmers are the best for cold weather camping since they have a longevity of up to 18+ hours. Both hot water bottles and hand warmers should be placed in your sleeping bag for maximum warmth.

3. Add Extra Layers of Insulation

An easy way to heat up the inside of your tent without electricity is to add extra layers of insulation between you and the great outdoors.

Starting from the bottom up, you want to make sure there is plenty of insulation between you and the cold wet ground. For starters, you need to add a groundsheet (such as a tarp) underneath the bottom floor of the tent to provide insulation between your body and the cold ground floor. Just make sure the groundsheet is smaller than the footprint of your tent so you won’t have to worry about water or snow falling onto the tarp and pooling together under your tent floor. 

The next layer of insulation between you and the cold wet ground is the insulation on the bottom of your tent. I personally recommend using double-sided reflective foam so that hot air will be reflected back towards you and cold air will be reflected back towards the ground. Other options you can use for insulation on the floor of your tent includes anything from a throw rug, to comforter blankets, to actual carpet from inside your home. And in addition to using a sleeping pad (or two) and a sleeping bag, you should be good to go!

The next layer of insulation is typically used to cover the outside of your tent, but you can also get creative and attach insulation on the inside wall of your tent as well. As far as the inside of your tent goes, a great option is to attach mylar blankets on the inside wall of your tent using something such as duct tape. Fortunately, covering the outside of your tent is much easier. All you need is something simple such as a tarp and some paracord and you can easily build a rainfly for another layer of insulation.

Of course, you only need the extra layers of insulation if your tent by itself isn’t enough to keep you warm throughout the night. Now if you own a 4 season tent, then you might be able to skip most of these steps and just use a ground sheet and maybe a mylar blanket inside of your tent. 

Just remember that each cold-weather camping experience is going to be different, so always use your head and adjust your camping gear to match whatever weather situation you have at hand. 

How to Keep a Tent Warm Without Electricity

Now that you know how to heat up a tent without electricity, let’s discuss everything else you need to know so you can continue to keep warm throughout the night. 

Just follow these 8 simple steps below and you’ll be the warmest camper around!

1. Use a Four-Season Tent

Investing in a quality tent is the best way to keep yourself warm when camping in cold weather. 

And there’s no better tent for camping in cold weather than a four-season tent. 

A four-season tent is a heavy duty tent that’s built to withstand extremely cold weather and harsh winter conditions. And while a four-season tent can certainly be used during all four seasons (spring, summer, fall and winter), a three-season tent would be much better suited for use during warmer seasons (spring, summer and fall). 

So what is the difference between a 3-season tent and a 4-season tent?

A three-season tent is typically used for backpacking since it’s built out of lighter materials and is designed with mesh fabric for superior breathability and airflow. Because of this superior breathability and airflow, a three-season tent will sometimes come with a rainfly (a tarp that is placed over the tent) that you can use to prevent yourself from getting wet when it rains. This is known as a double-wall construction, which essentially means there are two walls between you and the great outdoors (tent + rainfly). 

A four-season tent (also known as a mountaineering tent) is made from heavy-duty materials that can withstand strong winds and heavy snow. Mountaineering tents are also great at retaining heat due to their use of thick fabric and lack of mesh panels.

The other advantage of using a four-season tent in extremely cold-weather conditions is its rounded dome design. This special design helps to eliminate the problem of snow building up on top of your tent. Unfortunately, using a four-season tent does come with its downsides as well. The main downside being the lack of ventilation, so don’t be surprised when you notice  condensation forming inside of your tent.

Now if you don’t expect to experience heavy snow and fierce winds then you may be better off using a three-season tent with a rainfly that’s pointed towards the ground. This would allow for better ventilation so you don’t have to worry about the condensation problem that comes with using a four-season tent.

The last tip I want you to know before you choose a tent for winter camping is that smaller tents are easier to warm up than bigger tents. The less space inside of the tent, the less space you have to warm up.

2. Use a Sleeping Bag Designed For Cold Weather

The next most important piece of gear you need to keep yourself warm when camping in the winter cold is a sleeping bag. Not all sleeping bags are made alike though, so you need to make sure you do your research before you go ahead and make a purchase. 

Some of the important features you need to pay attention to when buying a sleeping bag is the temperature rating, insulation type, fill-power and sleeping bag shape. All of these factors are extremely important when it comes to keeping you warm in the winter cold. 

To make things simple, the temperature rating is the lowest temperature that a sleeping bag will keep the average sleeper warm. I’d make sure to choose a temperature rating that is lower than what you expect the lowest temperature to be on your backpacking or camping trip. 

As far as insulation goes, you have two options: down and synthetic. 

Down insulation Is typically the better type of insulation for dealing with the winter cold because it’s lighter, more compressible, and more durable than synthetic insulation. Unfortunately, it’s also much more expensive. But if you plan on camping in extreme cold, then it’s definitely worth it.

Synthetic insulation does have its advantages as well though, the main one being that it continues to keep you warm even when it’s wet –  making synthetic insulation the better choice for a damp climate. Or you could just invest in a down bag that’s water resistant and get the best of both worlds. 

Another factor you need to pay attention to when buying a sleeping bag is whether it’s designed for camping or backpacking. Sleeping bags that are designed for backpacking are typically lighter, easier to compress and more efficient. And if you do plan on backpacking you should also pay attention to the fill power rating, as a higher rating equals more warmth for less weight. 

The shape of the sleeping bag is the last important factor you need to consider when buying a sleeping bag for the winter cold. The four different sleeping bag shapes include mummy, semi-rectangular, rectangular and double bag.

The best sleeping bag shape for sleeping in cold weather would have to be a mummy bag, as it’s perfectly contoured to your body to eliminate any empty space from being in the bag. This will help to prevent cold pockets of air from lowering the overall temperature of your sleeping bag.

3. Use a Sleeping Pad or Two

A sleeping bag alone won’t provide you enough warmth for the winter months, you’ll also need to invest in a good sleeping pad if you plan on staying warm throughout the night. 

The reason you need to invest in a good sleeping pad is so you can prevent the cold ground beneath you from stealing all of your precious body heat. A sleeping pad accomplishes this by providing insulation between you and the ground.

When buying a sleeping pad for winter camping you need to pay attention to the R-value of the sleeping pad. 

The R-value is the measurement of the sleeping pad’s ability to prevent the cold ground from stealing your body heat. The higher the R-value, the more likely the sleeping pad will be able to keep you warm throughout the night.

For winter backpacking and camping, you will typically want an R-value of around 5 or higher (depending on how cold it is) to keep yourself warm. However, you can also stack two sleeping pads on top of each other to combine their R-value and give yourself more insulation from the ground. 

For example, you can place a sleeping pad with an R-value of 3 (such as an air pad or self-inflating pad) on top of another sleeping pad (closed-cell foam pad) with an R-value of 2, and you now have a combined R-value of 5. A sleeping pad with an R-value of 5 will help you to remain comfortable when the temperature outside is reaching 20°F or lower.

I recommend combining an air pad or a self-inflating pad with a closed-cell foam pad underneath it for optimal performance. The bottom sleeping pad will help to absorb the blunt force of the coldness from the ground as well as help protect your main sleeping pad from getting punctured or damaged from anything lying underneath your tent.

4. Try to Avoid Leaving Your Tent

Do whatever you can to avoid leaving your tent in the middle of the night.

Every time you leave your tent, or even open the entranceway, you’re letting out precious heat that can be hard to get back. And every second you’re away from your tent, your sleeping gear gets colder and colder. 

For this reason, I always make sure to go to the bathroom before getting into my tent for the night. And since I wear different clothes to sleep than I do when I’m hiking during the day, this also helps to prevent me from having to change my clothes back and forth in the middle of the night. 

In addition, if you keep going in and out of your tent then you’re just going to keep dragging more water back inside. And more water means more condensation. 

So if you don’t want to sleep wet, stay inside.

5. Set Up In a Good Location

If you plan on camping in freezing cold weather then you need to do your best to set up in a location that’s sheltered from the wind. 

However, if it has been snowing heavily, or you expect a lot of heavy wind throughout the night, then you need to pay attention to your surroundings when setting up camp. After all, you don’t want to wake up and have your tent covered in snow or be crushed by a heavy tree limb. 

Here are some helpful tips to follow when setting up camp in the winter snow.

  • Avoid avalanche zones (stay away from slopes that are 40° or higher)
  • Avoid setting up camp under snow-covered branches
  • Avoid setting up camp at the bottom of a valley or canyon (cold air flows downhill and pools together)
  • Flatten the snow underneath the area you plan on setting up your tent to create a firm platform
  • Make sure the entranceway of your tent is facing east so you can feel the heat of the morning sun
  • Try to set up your tent behind a natural windbreak or build your own with snow blocks

By following these six simple tips listed above you should have no problem choosing the right location to set up camp for the night. 

6. Dress Warm (Layer Up)

Knowing how to properly dress is the easiest way to keep yourself warm when you’re camping in the winter cold. Notice that I said “properly dress”, and not “throw on multiple layers of anything you can find and hope for the best”.

If you want to stay warm and avoid getting wet then you need to wear the right kind of clothing. But what is the right kind of clothing for winter camping?

For winter camping you want to dress in multiple layers, with each layer having a different purpose. An inner layer for wicking, a middle layer for warmth, and an outer layer for warmth and water resistance. You also want to wear socks made from Merino wool, warm gloves with good dexterity (convertible mitten gloves are my favorite), and winter headwear such as a ski mask, beanie, or a yukon hat.

The inner layer of clothing should be lightweight, tight-fitting, and made from fabric that has good wicking properties (Merino wool thermal underwear is a good example). 

The middle layer of clothing should be made from a thicker fabric that will help keep you warm and provide insulation. It doesn’t matter whether you wear a pullover, sweater, hoodie, jacket or even a vest, as long as it’s made from either fleece, wool, or a synthetic fabric that provides lots of insulation. 

The outer layer of clothing has the main purpose of acting as a barrier to keep your other layers from getting wet. A good winter jacket that is both wind resistant and water resistant is the perfect choice to be used as an outer layer. As far as insulation goes, down is considered the best for extremely cold conditions, but fleece and synthetic fabrics work well too.

Just make sure to avoid wearing cotton at all costs. It’s the worst type of fabric to wear in cold weather because it easily soaks up sweat and water while simultaneously losing its ability to provide insulation. 

7. Make Sure Your Clothes are Dry

When you’re ready to get into your tent for the night, the first thing you need to do is take all of your wet clothes off and change into something dry. After you’re done changing just throw your wet clothes in a plastic bag and then seal it up.

Related Article: How to Keep Your Tent Dry While Camping In the Rain

This will help prevent condensation from forming in your tent and getting all of your clothes and sleeping gear wet. Not only does wet fabric provide less insulation, but sleeping in damp clothes in cold weather is no fun at all.

8. Eat Before Going to Sleep

An easy way to keep yourself warm at night is to simply eat a nice and hearty meal right before you fall asleep. 

Eating something warm consisting of fat and carbohydrates will be your best option since they are both great calorie sources for providing energy. And burning energy = warmth. 

I would recommend eating something fatty if you can since fat metabolizes slower than carbohydrates. Beef stew in a can is one of my personal favorites since it has a good amount of carbohydrates and a high fat content.

If you wake up cold in the middle of the night then eat yourself a candy bar so you can get your metabolism going again. 

How to Keep Your Tent Dry While Camping in the Rain

How to Keep Tent Dry in Rain

While there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of rain on a camping trip, you definitely want to do your best to keep the inside of your tent as dry as you possibly can. 

After all, it may be the only place you can go to get away from the cold, wet rain. 

And TRUST ME, you don’t want to be hiking or backpacking in the rain all day, just to have to relax and sleep in a wet tent at night. 

Coming from someone who’s had the personal liberty of sleeping in a wet tent myself, it’s not a fun way to end the night. 

So what steps should you take to help keep your tent dry as possible while camping in the rain?

Let’s find out below.

Invest in a Waterproof Tent

Investing in the right tent could mean the difference between being soaking wet or being completely dry. 

But what kind of tent is going to help keep your dry?   

For starters, you need to buy a tent that is built to be waterproof. Not water-resistant, but waterproof. Water-resistant tents will only repel a small amount of water, whereas waterproof tents should be able to keep you dry even if you are in the middle of a tropical storm.

Most waterproof tents come with a rainfly, which is essentially a tarp that is draped over the top of your tent. Make sure to buy a tent that comes with a rainfly that extends beyond the opening of the tent. This way you won’t have to worry about any water dripping into your tent when you have the entrance opened.

Investing in a tent with a vestibule is also helpful when it’s raining, as it will give you a place to change out of your wet clothes before you get into your dry tent. 

If you’re not sure what a vestibule is, it’s simply a part of the rainfly that extends out and over the opening and/or sides of your tent.

Another important feature that you want to look out for when buying a tent that will withstand the rain is a bathtub bottom. A bathtub bottom is where the material on the floor of your tent goes up the side of your tent somewhere around 3 to 6 in to create a bathtub like effect. This creates a barrier to prevent water from running into your tent when it’s raining and the ground is heavily wet. 

Reapply Waterproof Sealant and Coating 

Even if you own a waterproof tent, you still need to reapply a waterproof sealant and coating to your tent every so often to ensure that it remains waterproof. 

There are three products you’ll need to buy if you want to re-waterproof your tent : seam sealer, fabric sealer and water repellent spray.

Seam sealer (also referred to as seam sealant) is a waterproof sealant that’s used to prevent water from dripping through the seams of a tent. A seam is where the fabric of the tent is stitched together.

Fabric sealer, on the other hand, is a waterproof sealant that can be used on the inside of your rainfly or on the floor of your tent. By using fabric sealer you’re simply reapplying a new urethane coating in place of the old one. This product should only be used if you notice the previous coating flaking off on the inside of your rainfly or on the floor of your tent.

Water repellent spray is used to reapply a durable water repellent (DWR) coating on the outside of the rainfly on the tent. You’ll want to use this product when you notice that rain isn’t beading up on the outside of your rainfly no more. 

Set Up In a Good Location

Setting up in a good location is extremely important if you want to keep the inside of your tent dry whenever it’s raining.

So what exactly is a good location?

Listed below are six tips that will ensure you set up camp in a good location.

  • Set up on high ground so water will run downhill from the tent
  • Set up your tent on a slight angle so that water won’t gather underneath the floor of the tent
  • Try to set up your tent so that the entranceway is facing away from the wind
  • Don’t set up camp near a body of water (think of where water will go when it floods) 
  • Make sure to pay attention to the trees above you when setting up camp. Look for any possible branches (widowmakers) that could fall on top of your head when you’re sleeping or relaxing in camp
  • Avoid setting up camp at the highest geographical point when there’s lightning and thunder

Simply follow these six tips listed above and you will be sure to set up your tent in a good location. 

Use a Plastic Ground Sheet 

Another helpful tip for keeping your tent as dry as possible is to use a plastic ground sheet.

A ground sheet (also referred to as a ground cloth or groundfly) is a waterproof plastic tarp that is typically placed underneath the floor of your tent to act as a barrier between the ground and your tent. 

While the main benefit of using a ground sheet is to prevent water on the ground from seeping through the floor of your tent, the ground sheet also helps to provide warmth (by adding an extra layer between you and the ground) and extends the lifespan of the bottom of your tent by preventing abrasions from rocks, twigs, etc. 

However, if you decide to place a ground sheet underneath your tent, you need to make sure that your ground sheet doesn’t extend beyond the floor of your tent. An easy way to accomplish this is to make the ground sheet 1 inch shorter than the diameter of your tent.

So if the bottom of your tent is 7’ x 7’, then you want your ground sheet to be 6’11” x 6’11”. 

The reason you don’t want your ground sheet to extend beyond the bottom of your tent is because any water that falls onto the ground sheet will move inwards and puddle up underneath the floor of your tent. 

You can also place a ground sheet inside of your tent that is slightly larger than the footprint of your tent to create the bathtub effect. This way if there is any water that seeps through the bottom of your tent it will simply stay underneath the ground sheet instead of getting your sleeping bag and other equipment all soaking wet.

Set Up Tent as Quickly as Possible

If you’re having to set up your tent in the rain then you need to get everything ready and set up as quickly as you possibly can. The longer you take the more likely you’ll get water on the inside of your tent. 

Cover Your Tent With a Tarp

You can add an extra layer between you and the rain by simply setting up a tarp directly over your tent.

A general rule of thumb is to get a tarp that’s around twice the size of the footprint of your tent. This will ensure that you have plenty of room to walk around outside of your tent, as well as give you extra protection from the rain. 

When setting up your tarp you want to make sure that it’s positioned in a way that the majority of the rain falls downhill from your tent. If it’s slanted in a way that most of the rain falls uphill from the tent, then you’ll simply be directing rainwater to travel underneath you.  

Having your tarp slanted will also help to prevent rainwater from pooling together on top of your tarp. Just make sure not to have your tarp too slanted or else a heavy gust of wind might pick up your tarp and carry it away.

In order to set up a tarp over your tent you’re going to need a fairly large tarp, a good amount of paracord (possibly 100 to 300 ft) and either lots of trees or a couple sets of trekking poles. Or possibly a combination of both.

Grommet savers are another useful feature you may want to have when setting up your tarp, as they help ensure that the grommets on the tarp stay in good shape when it’s nice and windy outside. 

Now sometimes you will have to get creative when setting up a tarp over your tent, but in my opinion it’s definitely worth it if it’s going to be raining a lot.

Make Sure Your Tent Has Enough Ventilation

If your tent doesn’t have the right amount of ventilation then you will begin to notice condensation forming inside of your tent. 

Condensation forms inside of a tent when the heat from your body and your breath is warmer than the inside surface of your tent. And if any water gets inside of your tent, it will also eventually lead to condensation if it can’t find a way to escape.

For this reason, I sometimes open the entranceway of my tent just a little bit to crack it open for ventilation. Now if there’s lots of bugs outside and you need to keep your tent closed, then you need to ensure that most of the mesh on your tent is allowed to breathe and is not covered by a rainfly or tarp.

Pack Your Gear in Plastic Bags

If you know it’s going to rain on your camping trip then you may want to bring along some garbage bags and some resealable plastic bags to help protect your gear from getting wet. 

Simply line the inside of your backpack with a plastic garbage bag and then pack all of your camping gear into their own resealable plastic bags. I typically separate my gear into different categories (such as electronics, food and clothing) and put each in their own resealable plastic bag. This should ensure that none of your camping gear or equipment gets wet. 

Dress for the Weather

Not only do you need to keep the inside of your tent dry, but you also need to stay dry yourself. 

After all, there’s no point in getting into a dry tent when the clothes on your body are soaking wet. This will just lead to the water on your clothes evaporating and forming condensation in your tent.

So what kind of clothes should you wear if it’s going to rain on your camping trip?

I recommend that you wear waterproof clothing such as a rain jacket, rain pants and maybe even a poncho. Waterproof shoes and socks are also helpful as well, as there’s nothing worse than walking around all day in shoes and socks that are soaking wet. 

You also want to avoid wearing any type of cotton underneath your waterproof clothing, as it will soak up water unlike any other type of fabric. Instead, your best bet is to wear something more water resistant such as Merino wool or polyester. 

If you think it’s going to rain multiple days on your camping trip, then you need to pack at least two sets of waterproof clothing. Just make sure that when you take off your first set of wet clothes that you leave them outside of your tent to prevent moisture and condensation from forming inside.

I recommend setting up a clothesline outside of your tent and under your tarp to help with drying your clothes out. Especially if you have a fire built outside.

Build a Campfire

While a campfire might not necessarily help keep your tent dry, it can help with drying out your clothes and providing warmth. 

However, it’s important that you build your fire a good distance away from your tent and your tarp. I recommend setting up your tarp at least 7 ft over your fire to provide enough distance to keep your tarp from burning down. 

Now if there’s no way to set your tarp high enough over your fire to keep it from burning down, then you need to find other ways to cook your food and provide yourself warmth. I recommend investing in a wood or gas camping stove and maybe even some hand warmers. 

How to Catch Worms for Fishing Bait

ow to Catch Worms for Fishing Bait

The best part about fishing is that it’s always a great way to put some food on the table.

You don’t need to go out and buy an artificial lure from the store just to go fishing either. Just get yourself some good ol’ reliable worms from the ground and you’ll be good to go and ready to catch some fish.

Some of the freshwater fish you can catch with worms include bluegill, bass, catfish, crappie, perch, trout, walleye and more.

And while you can buy live worms from virtually any place that sells fishing equipment (or online), you can also save yourself some money and learn how to catch worms yourself.

The main benefit of knowing how to catch worms is that you’ll always have access to some good fishing bait. As long as the ground is somewhat wet in your area then you should be good to go.

So how do you catch worms for fishing bait?

Let’s find out..

How to Catch Worms In Your Backyard

Listed below are seven different methods for catching worms. 

The best part about these seven different methods is that you should be able to do all seven of them from your own backyard.

Don’t have your own backyard? 

Then you’ll have to ask permission from someone who has a plot of land you can use for catching worms. 

However, if you plan on using state land for catching worms then make sure to check state laws before you do anything such as cutting down a small tree. It could be illegal.

Stomp On The Ground

One of the simplest methods for catching worms is what I refer to as the “stomp on the ground method”.

To perform the stomp on the ground method all you have to do is.. well, stomp on the ground.

How I personally perform this method is I move side to side while stomping on the ground rapidly the whole time. I typically create my own pathways on the ground by stomping on the same ground over and over.

After stomping on the ground for a minute or so you should start to see worms popping out of the ground all around you.

And if not, then you may want to try this method in another area where worms are more present. 

Look Under Rocks and Leaves

A common place that worms like to hide is under big sized rocks.

But make sure to be careful when looking under large rocks or boulders as there could easily be a snake hiding under there as well.

Another common place that you can find worms is under leaves. Especially if it has rained recently and all of the leaves are nice and damp.

Shake a Shovel In The Ground

A weird method that you can use to attract worms to come out of the ground is to simply stick the spade end of a shovel into the ground and then shake it back and forth. 

I’m not exactly sure why this attracts worms to come out of the ground, but there’s no denying that it definitely works. 

Typically this method works best when the soil is fairly wet.

Worm Grunting

Image Credit to Wanderwasi.com

Worm grunting is the act of placing a stick or a rod into the ground and then causing that stick or rod to vibrate rapidly. The rapid vibrations then attract the worms to come out of the ground so you can catch them.

Once again, I’m not exactly sure why worms come out of the ground when vibration is present, but something about the vibration definitely draws them out.

Maybe they think that it’s raining and they’re coming out for a drink?

Who knows?

But one thing is certain, there are a wide variety of tools you can use for worm grunting. While some like to invest in a product such as the Worm Gitter, others will either make their own grunt stick or find their own way to force vibrations into the ground.

Here below are a few different ways you can perform worm grunting. 

  • Rub a handsaw against the top of a wooden stake in the ground
  • Rub a metal flat iron against the top of a wooden stake in the ground
  • Rev up a chainsaw on the top of a wooden stake in the ground

You can also cut down a small tree sapling to where there is only a foot or so left out of the ground and use that instead of a wooden stake (make sure you have permission). I imagine you can also use a metal rod instead of a wooden stake and still accomplish the same goal. 

As long as there is vibration running through the ground you should be good to go!

Soak the Ground with Dish Soap and Water

A common method for catching worms is to fill a container with dish soap and water and soak the ground with it where you believe worms are residing. 

Worms hate soapy water for some reason so they will come out of the ground as quick as they can and then you can easily catch them.

Just make sure to wash the soapy water off the worms when you’re done catching them so they don’t die from the soap. Make sure not to keep the worms in water for too long either as worms can and will drown.

Soak the Ground with Walnut Tea

Now if you want to be more environmentally friendly then you can soak a bunch of walnuts in water to create “walnut tea” and then soak the ground with that instead of dish soap and water. 

Walnut tea is an extremely dark liquid that for some reason is poisonous to worms.

Make sure to wash off the worms after you’re done catching them with walnut tea as well.

Use a Worm Taser

Now if everything else fails, you can always shock the worms out of the ground!

While I’m not particularly a fan of this method myself, it is a method you can use to catch worms for fishing bait. 

A worm taser is nothing more than a metal rod (or multiple metal rods) that you stick in the ground and then turn on the electricity. The electricity doesn’t seem to kill the worms but it does draw them out of the ground to where you can then catch them.

Just make sure to wear rubber boots and possibly gloves when searching for the worms so you don’t accidentally shock yourself.

And just to be clear, I take no responsibility if you hurt yourself trying this method. It’s one I personally avoid just because of the dangers involved.

How to Make a Fire With Wet Wood in 7 Simple Steps

How to build a fire with wet wood

Knowing how to build a fire is something that every outdoor enthusiast should know how to do. No matter whether you’re into camping, backpacking or even if you just want to live off the land – you have to know how to create your own fire.

But how do you create a fire when it’s been raining and all of the wood is soaking wet?

Well if you’re anything like most people, then you’ll probably just grab a gasoline can and some matches and go to town like it’s the Fourth of July. Unfortunately, you won’t always have access to something as flammable as gasoline. 

That’s why it’s always a good idea to have a few tricks up your sleeves if you want to be able to make a fire with wet wood.

Let’s learn these tricks..

How to Build a Fire With Wet Wood

A human being truly only needs three things for survival: food, water and shelter.

And it just so happens that a fire is beneficial for two of these three needs.

But not only can a fire help you cook your food and boil your water, it can also provide you warmth, comfort, light, insect repellent and animal repellent. You can also use a fire to help sterilize utensils, cauterize wounds and even to make a smoke signal if the time ever comes for one. 

Unfortunately, building a fire isn’t always so easy. Especially if all of the wood in your area is soaking wet from rain.

But don’t you worry! These 7 simple tips below will teach you everything you need to know about building a fire with wet wood.

Step One: Use Lots of Tinder and Kindling

Have you ever tried to start a fire with nothing but big logs?

If so, then you know exactly how hard it can be.

Now imagine if it’s wet outside and you’re trying to start a fire with nothing but big logs. Or even worse, it still is raining.

Wouldn’t be so easy, would it?

That’s why you need to use lots of tinder and kindling to help you get a fire started when using wet wood.

So what is tinder and kindling? 

Tinder is a type of material that is highly combustible and can catch fire with only a small spark. Common examples of tinder are dry grass, dry pine needles, dry wood shavings, dead leaves, cattails, shredded birch bark, paper, vaseline-soaked cotton balls, dryer lint, etc.

Kindling, on the other hand, is small pieces of twigs and branches that are easily combustible but still require a little more heat than tinder to fully catch on fire.

Step Two: Perform a Snap Test

The best way to find good kindling and tinder is to perform the “Snap Test”.

The snap test is performed by snapping a small branch or twig in half and listening for a loud and crisp SNAP. The louder the snap the better.

Now if there’s no snap, or barely any snap at all, then the branch is either extremely wet or it’s not dead enough to make for good kindling. 

Step Three: Cut Off Wet Parts of Wood

If you can’t find any dry wood in your area then you’re going to have to get creative. 

What I would recommend for you to do is to cut off the wet parts of a log until you’re left with nothing but dry wood. Then you can use the dry wood left behind as either the main fuel for the fire, or you can cut it down even more and use it for tinder or kindling. 

One of the easiest ways to split wood open so you can get to the dry insides is to insert a sturdy fixed-blade knife into the middle of a log and then hammer the handle end of the knife until the log splits in half. This is known as the baton method and only works for small sized logs between 1 – 6 inches in diameter. 

For even smaller pieces of wood such as twigs and branches, you can just use a regular pocket knife to shave off the wet outside of the wood until you’re left with dry tinder or kindling. 

Step Four: Use the Right Kind of Wood

While the snap test is a great method for finding suitable firewood, you also need to make sure to use the right kind of wood if you want to make the best fire possible. 

So what is the best type of wood for making a fire?

Hardwoods such as Oak, Maple and Birch typically make the best firewood. This is because hardwoods are extremely dense and typically burn longer and hotter than softwoods. 

Now this doesn’t mean that softwood can’t be used in a fire. In actuality, one of the best types of wood to use for kindling is small, wiry branches on a dead pine tree. The small branches and twigs that come off a pine tree tend to dry out very quickly and even work good even when they’re a little wet.

Another great piece of advice for gathering firewood is to avoid using any wood that is considered alive or “green”. Green wood will take much longer than dead wood to catch fire and will typically only cause smoke and trouble.

Now if you’re having trouble finding wood dry enough to pass the snap test, then I recommend looking for wood that is somewhat covered from the rain. Checking underneath fallen trees is a good place to start.

You also should do your best to avoid using wood that is laying on the damp ground, as it will likely be soaking wet. Instead, you’re better off gathering wood that’s hanging above the ground or on dead standing trees.

Step Five: Keep Your Wood and Materials Dry

If you’re trying to build a fire and it’s been raining outside, then you need to do your best to keep your wood and materials as dry as you possibly can. 

An easy way to keep your wood dry is to build a small platform of some kind to keep your tinder and kindling off the wet ground. You can build the platform with dry logs, branches, twigs, kindling, etc. Anything that will keep your wood off the wet ground will work.

If you’re having to split open wood for a fire, or just need a place to set your firewood while you continue looking for more, then you may want to set up a shelter of some kind to prevent your wood from continuously getting rained on. 

Now if there’s no shelter nearby and you don’t have a tent, then you’re best bet is to find out what direction the rain is blowing and try to use your body to block out as much of the rain as possible. 

Step Six: Stack Wood Efficiently

While there are many different ways to build a fire, I’ve found the method below to be best when using wet wood.

  • Set up a layer of dry sticks on the ground to build a platform
  • Add tinder on top of platform and light it on fire
  • Slowly start adding kindling on top of the lit tinder
  • Slowly start stacking small branches on top of the lit kindling in a teepee design
  • Build a “Log Cabin” around the teepee of sticks

A Log Cabin is made by placing two decent sized sticks on opposite sides of the fire and then criss crossing two more sticks on top of the other two sticks to create a square shape around the fire. If you continue stacking the sticks you’ll eventually build a “Log Cabin” around the fire.

The reason for stacking sticks in a square shape around the fire is so you can use the heat from the fire to dry out the sticks that make up the Log Cabin. This way you can add the sticks from the Log Cabin to the fire once the fire begins to die down.

Step Seven: Have Everything Prepared

You need to make sure to have everything prepared before you start trying to light your fire.

This means you need to have your platform built, tinder and kindling ready to go, firewood stacked correctly, and anything else you could possibly think of prepared and ready for you to start your fire.

This will prevent most of the problems you could possibly encounter when trying to build a fire with wet wood.

Conclusion

Building a fire with wet wood isn’t easy, but as long as you follow the 7 simple steps listed above then you should have no problem getting a fire started next time you’re using wet wood.

Don’t just take my word for it though, get out there and build your own fire next time it’s raining outside and get yourself some actual fire building experience. While anyone can sit on their phone or their computer and read articles online, not everyone can successfully build a fire using wet wood.

K9 Survival Guide: How to Defend Against A Dog Attack

How to Defend Against a Dog Attack

You never know when a dog may attack you out of nowhere. 

It could happen while you’re out running around the neighborhood, hiking down your favorite trail, or while doing any other random activity outside. You never know.

If a canine feels threatened by your presence or happens to confuse you as prey, then it could attack you at any time.

So how do you defend yourself against a dog attack?

There are many different ways of handling a dog attack, but your best bet is to avoid the dog at all costs if possible. If not possible, then you’re going to have to either fight off the dog or figure out how to disable the animal or distract it long enough for you to escape. 

Let’s start off with how to avoid a dog attack.

How to Avoid a Dog Attack

The first step you should take after encountering a hostile dog – or pack of dogs – is to try to avoid the dog(s) at all costs. 

Sometimes it may be possible to avoid a dog attack, and sometimes it may not.

But you should always do everything in your power to avoid a dog attack if at all possible. Because if you do have to defend yourself against a big dog such as a rottweiler or a pit bull, there’s a good chance you aren’t going to win that fight. 

Follow these 10 steps below if you want the best chance of avoiding a dog attack. 

  1. Do Not Panic. While dogs may not necessarily be able to sense fear, they can sense when something is wrong through other means such as body language, tone of voice, etc. So stay calm at all times and try not to panic!
  2. If a dog is on a leash nearby then make sure to keep enough distance away from the other dog in case it tries to attack unexpectedly. 
  3. Never approach another dog unless given permission from the owner. You never know what that dog is capable of or if it’s raised properly. 
  4. Always be careful around dogs that are either sleeping, eating or nursing their puppies. Be extra careful around dogs that are eating if you have your own dog with you as some canines can be extremely defensive about their food.
  5. Always be on the lookout for signs that another dog may attack. Obvious signs include barking, growling, snarling and raised fur on their back. Be warned though, a wagging tail doesn’t always mean they’re friendly. Pitbulls will shake you like a ragdoll while wagging its tail the whole time. 
  6. Never stare a dog in its eyes. Some dogs will take this as a sign of aggression. 
  7. Rotate your body sideways to appear smaller and less intimidating. 
  8. Do not run away. The dog may instinctively assume that you’re its prey and attempt to chase you.
  9. Try to keep something between you and the dog (tree, vehicle, etc.) to slow them down.
  10. If you were moving quickly when the dog started to chase you then try stopping and standing perfectly still. Just make sure to avoid eye contact and keep your hands in a fist to avoid finger bites and hopefully the dog will leave you alone. 
  11. Never smile at a hostile dog. Showing bared teeth may signify aggression. 
  12. Do not yell or use a dog whistle. It may rile up the dog and cause it to attack. 
  13. Set up a distraction. Throw something heavy that will make a loud noise to get their attention away from you.

Being able to avoid a dog attack may not always be possible, but if you can avoid the battle with man’s best friend then it’s certainly the best option to take. 

How To Defend Against a Dog Attack

While a dog attack may be avoidable nine times out of ten, sometimes you’re going to be left with no other option but to defend or protect yourself. 

And when faced with the reality of a dog attack, you’re going to have to act fast if you want to survive the encounter without too many stitches. 

Here below are the most helpful tips I could find while researching how to defend myself against a dog attack.

  • Always protect the most sensitive areas on your body such as your face, neck and chest.
  • Use your weight to keep the dog pinned down. Then place pressure on the dog’s neck with your forearm until they lose consciousness. 
  • Find something heavy nearby to use as a weapon.
  • Wrap something (such as a sweater) around your non-dominant arm and attempt to get the dog to bite it. Once latched on, use your free hand to gouge the dogs eyes out. Do this only as a last resort. 

Sometimes the best defense against a dog attack is to simply protect yourself. The best way to do this is to act calm and lay face down, pull your knees up to your chest, clasp your hands behind your neck and hide your face as best as you can behind your elbows.                                                                  

Best Weapons to Defend Against a Dog Attack

There are two types of weapons you can use to defend yourself against a dog attack – lethal and non-lethal. 

The best lethal weapons to use against a dog attack would be the firearm and the knife. Both of these weapons can be quite useful when facing off against a hostile dog, but you could also easily miss or even hurt yourself if you’re not lucky.  

The best non-lethal weapons to use against an attacking dog are pepper spray, stun batons and baseball bats (could be lethal). 

There’s a specific type of pepper spray made just for dogs that contains 1. 0% Major Capsaicinoids – the maximum strength allowed by the EPA to be used against dogs. To give an example of how strong that is, bear spray (pepper spray for bears) contains s are2.0% Major Capsaicinoids.

Stun batons are another great weapon to use for self defense against dogs since they pack a punch powerful enough to temporarily subdue a dog without injuring them. Just turning the stun baton on and setting it off in the air is intimidating enough to scare some dogs away just by itself. And if the bright light paired with the loud “BZZZZ” noise doesn’t stop them, the jolt of 1,000,000+ volts of electricity certainly will!

How to Protect Your Child From a Dog Attack

Unfortunately, most dog attacks happen to children under 10 years of age. 

Why?

Young children simply lack the self awareness to realize when they’re enticing a dog to attack. A lot of children and toddlers also aren’t taught how to properly act around dogs, so they’re prone to accidentally provoke the dog to attack without meaning too. 

This is why it’s so important to teach your children how to properly act around dogs. While it’s true that most dogs just want to get their belly rubbed and maybe a treat if you have one, some dogs will see you and instantly want to attack for no reason whatsoever. 

Here are some useful tips that you should know and that you should teach to your kids to help protect them from a dog attack. 

  • Never try to ride a dog
  • Never wake up a sleeping dog
  • Never interfere with a dog that’s eating
  • Never approach a dog you do not know

Because some dogs are hostile for no reason, always make sure to place yourself between a dog and your child to ensure the dog bites you instead of your kid(s). And NEVER leave a baby or toddler alone with a dog without supervision. Even if you know the dog and it’s always been friendly it still isn’t worth the risk.

How to Protect Your Dog From Another Dog

If you’re anything like me, then I imagine you’ll do anything to protect your dog from getting hurt. 

But how do you protect your dog from getting hurt by another dog?

Before I tell you what to do, I’m first going to tell you what NOT to do. 

The main thing you don’t want to do when another dog is coming towards you and your animal best friend is to panic. If you begin to panic and start yelling frantically then the other dog may see this as a sign of aggression. 

Instead, simply speak in a tone of voice that is both loud and authoritative. And if you can’t stop the dog from attacking with just your voice, then you’re going to have to use other means to stop the attack. 

One of the best methods you can use to stop a dog attack is to catch the dog off-guard by lifting its hind legs in the air as high as you can. By grabbing a dog’s hind legs and lifting them in the air you will both confuse the dog and hopefully make it forget to continue attacking altogether.

Just make sure to watch out for the dog lunging at you while you’re dangling their body in the air.

What to Do After a Dog Bites Someone

Not only do you need to know how to defend yourself or someone else against a dog attack, but you also need to have a plan of what to do after someone is bitten.

The first step you need to take after someone is bitten by a dog is to ask yourself these three questions.

  1. Did the dog bite an adult, child or animal?
  2. Does anyone need stitches?
  3. Is there a lot of blood loss?

Knowing the answer to these 3 questions will help you decide what to do next. If someone needs stitches or there is a lot of blood loss then you need to go to the hospital or the veterinary right away. 

Even if the injury isn’t serious you still may want to go to the hospital or vet if you’re not sure if the attacking dog has been vaccinated for rabies or not. Now if you know the owner of the dog then all you have to do is ask, but if you don’t know the owner then you’re basically out of luck and have to go to the hospital or vet no matter what. Even if the bite is extremely minor you still have to go and check for the possibility of rabies.

Below are 12 steps you can take after a dog bites another dog. Now if a human is bitten then just skip the few steps meant for dogs and go to the hospital instead of the veterinary.

  1. If your dog is stressed out try to keep them calm to prevent further injury. 
  2. Check for wounds and see if there is any bleeding.
  3. Apply pressure with any type of fabric (washcloth, towel, etc.) until the bleeding stops. Estimated time of 5 minutes. 
  4. Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water.
  5. Stitch up the wounds. Simply skip this step and take your dog to the vet unless you have the knowledge and tools necessary to apply stitches.
  6. Place antibiotic ointment on the wound and use a sterile bandage to prevent bacterial infection.
  7. Continue cleaning the wound several times a day with fragrance-free soap and water.
  8. Keep your dog from licking or scratching at their wound. Might have to use the “cone of shame”.
  9. If your dog is hurt from being bitten you can help ease the pain by soaking a washcloth with cold water, ringing it out, and then placing the cloth over the wound and applying an ice pack on top.
  10. Ask the owner if the dog has their rabies vaccination.
  11. Consider hiring an attorney if your dog is seriously injured by another dog.
  12. If the attack takes place on someone else’s property then their homeowners insurance may cover some (if not all) of the medical costs.

Now that you know what you need to do before, after and during a dog attack, you should find yourself better equipped if you’re ever in the midst of a scuffle with man’s best friend.

Hopefully, you’ll never have to use this newfound knowledge that’s been bestowed upon you, but at least you’ll be better prepared if there’s ever a ferocious dog charging your way.

Can You Drink Swimming Pool Water In An Emergency?

Can you drink swimming pool water

A common question that I often read on prepper/survival forums is can you drink water from a swimming pool in the event of an emergency

I figured this would be a great topic for me to research since I’m thinking about building an underground swimming pool in the near future.

And knowing the average backyard swimming pool can typically hold around 18,000 to 20,000 gallons of water, it should make a great form of water storage if I ever need it.

But the question still remains, is swimming pool water safe to drink?

Is Swimming Pool Water Safe to Drink?

After a couple of hours of research, I was able to come to the conclusion below.

If the water in your swimming pool has a chlorine level of 4 ppm (parts per million) or lower then the answer is yes, the water should be safe to drink as long as it’s only consumed in small quantities. However, if your swimming pool water is treated with salt then the answer is no. Unless you plan on running the saltwater through a desalinator or solar still.

So why should you only consume swimming pool water in small quantities?

While the chlorine in the water may not be overly dangerous by itself, some of the other additives in pool water (such as cyanuric acid) can make you terribly sick if you drink too much. 

In addition, if your swimming pool water has been contaminated with certain germs then it may cause a laxative effect if consumed. This can be detrimental in a survival situation.

Can You Drink Pool Water With a Lifestraw?

No, I would not recommend using a Lifestraw to drink water from a swimming pool.

The Lifestraw personal water filter is only designed to remove bacteria, parasites, dirt, sand and microplastics from water. 

This means that the Lifestraw won’t be able to remove any of the chlorine or other chemicals/stabilizers that are typically present in swimming pool water.

Now you can invest in a Lifestraw Go water bottle or a Lifestraw Steel personal water filter and be able to remove chlorine from the water, but you still won’t be able to remove all of the other nasty chemicals that are harmful to your body.

Of course, if you do happen to run out of safe drinking water and pool water is all you have left then using a Lifestraw water filter may be better than using nothing at all. Just try to only consume enough water to hold you over until you find a better source of water that is safe for drinking.

What Should You Use Swimming Pool Water For?

For the reasons above, I would only recommend using swimming pool water for non-potable purposes such as washing clothes, dishes, etc.

Using swimming pool water for cleaning purposes only will allow you to save all of your safe drinking water for either cooking or drinking.

How to Store Water Long Term | Best Storage Containers and F.A.Q.

how to store water long term

How to Store Water Long Term | Best Storage Containers and F.A.Q.

Water is one of the most important necessities of life.

Not only does the human body need water to function, but you also need water to perform simple everyday tasks such as cooking and bathing.

This is why long term water storage should be one of the first steps you take when preparing for any form of man-made or natural disaster. 

Failure to have access to safe drinking water will unfortunately result in dehydration and eventually DEATH.

So let’s avoid the nasty side effects of dehydration by learning how to safely store water long term.

How to Store Water Long Term

If you’re unsure how to safely store water long term then you’ve come to the right place!

However, before you learn how to safely store water, let’s first learn how NOT to store water.

For starters, any type of plastic container that is NON food grade should be avoided.

This includes any type of plastic that has a triangle with a #3 (PVC), #6 (PS) or #7 (Other) located somewhere on the container. These types of plastic will leach BPA into your water supply and are NOT SAFE for drinking.

Look for one of the above symbols to determine the type of plastic

You also want to avoid using any type of container that was previously used to store liquid that is considered toxic to humans. Even if there’s only 0.01% of the previous liquid left behind, it will ruin the water supply and make it unsafe to drink.

And yeah, yeah, I know.. You can just clean it out and everything will be fine. Right?

Wrong.

It’s virtually impossible to completely clean a plastic container that previously carried a toxic liquid such as laundry detergent or shampoo. This is because the liquid will be permeated into the plastic itself and will leach into your water supply.

Milk Jugs should also be avoided as they’re biodegradable and will eventually fall apart and leak water all over your home or garage.

Best Containers for Long Term Water Storage

Now that you know which types of containers to not store water in, let’s learn which types of containers are the best for long term water storage.

Plastic Containers

If you do plan on storing your water in a plastic container then make sure to only use a plastic that has either a #1(PETE), #2(HDPE), #4 (LDPE) or a #5 (PP) symbol listed somewhere on the container. These types of plastic are food grade and safe for storing water.

Now if you’re serious about your long term water storage then you only want to use #2 HDPE (high-density polyethylene) plastic containers.  The main benefit of using high-density polyethylene plastic is that it’s opaque in color. This helps to prevent sunlight from penetrating through the plastic and forming algae and bacteria in the water.

Most high-density polyethylene plastic containers are also blue in color to signify that they’re designed for long term water storage. 

Some of the different forms of plastic containers that are available for long term water storage are water jugs and barrel drums. The average size water jug is around 5-7 gallons and the average sized barrel drum is typically around 55 gallons.

Glass Containers

Glass is and always will be one of the best ways to store food and water.

It can be easily cleaned and unlike some forms of plastic you will never have to worry about anything leaching into your water.

The only three downsides to using glass for long term water storage is that it’s heavy, breakable and clear in color. This means that the light will be able to easily penetrate through the glass and speed up the aging process of the water. 

Stainless Steel Containers

Stainless steel is another great open for long term water storage.

With stainless steel you never have to worry about sunlight seeping through and slowly degrading your water. You also never have to worry about anything leaching into your water either.

The only two things you do have to worry about when using stainless steel for long term water storage is that it’s heavy and that it will erode on the inside and cause corrosion if there’s chlorine in the water. This means no tap water can be used since there will be chlorine left behind from the treatment plant.

Bathtub (WaterBOB)

While it’s common knowledge amongst preppers to fill your bathtub whenever SHTF, there is one slight problem with this method of storing water.

It’s not sanitary! 

To fix this problem, all you need to do is invest in an affordable product known as the WaterBOB.

The WaterBOB is essentially a giant refillable bag that you place in a bathtub (or shower) and then fill it with water.

The refillable bag can easily hold up to 100 gallons of water, which is more than will be needed for most man-made or natural disasters.

Water Tanks

If you’re dedicated to prepping then you’ll want to invest in the best long term water storage tool – the water tank. With a water tank, you can have a large amount of drinking water that’s safe and ready to go at all times.

Water tanks come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes too, so there’s bound to be at least one that fits your desired size and budget. 

Just make sure to invest in a water tank that is food grade and safe for storing drinking water. 

Canned Water

The best form of long term water storage is canned water.

With an average shelf life of around 30-50 years, canned water is the perfect option for those who want to make sure they have access to safe drinking water for the long term future

Canned water was even used by the United States Civil Defense Program in World War 2, which is pretty cool if you ask me.

Wells

While it’s true that a well may not be considered a form of long term water storage, a well is one of the best ways to obtain safe drinking water in times of need. 

However, if you plan on using a well in a grid down scenario then you need to make sure you can access your water without having to use an electric pump.

A good alternative would be either a hand pump or a solar pump. 

Plastic Water Bottles

While plastic water bottles may not be the best for long term water storage, they still can be a part of your water supply if used correctly. 

The advantage of having store-bought plastic water bottles in your water supply is that you will have access to portable drinking water at all times. This is perfect if you ever find yourself in a bug out situation. 

The downside of using plastic water bottles is that it could leach BPA into your water if stored incorrectly or for too long a period of time. For this reason, only use plastic water bottles in your short term water storage and constantly rotate through your supply. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you know the best types of containers for long term water storage, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of how to store water long term. 

How Much Water Do You Need?

The average amount of water that a person needs a day is around one gallon of water.

Depending on your daily activity level, you’ll typically ingest around a half-gallon of drinking water a day. The other half-gallon or so of water a day that you’ll need every day will be used for other necessities such as cooking and hygiene. 

Fortunately, you don’t have to use your drinking water for hygiene purposes as long as you have another source of water supply. Collected rain water or water from a swimming pool will work perfectly fine.

What Is the Expiration Date on Water?

While water may not have an actual expiration date, it can go bad over time if not stored correctly. 

Water will also go stale in taste so it’s important to rotate your water supply every so often.

Stored tap water should be rotated around every 6 months in order to keep your water supply fresh and safe to drink.

Why Does Stored Water Taste Funny?

Stored water tastes funny because over time all of the oxygen in the water becomes depleted and causes the water to go stale or “flat”.

This is why you typically want to rotate your water supply every 6 months.

Should I Treat My Water With Chlorine?

As long as you rotate your water supply around every 6 months or so you shouldn’t have to worry about treating your water with chlorine.

However, if you do want to treat your water for safety reasons then it’s probably a good idea to wait until after you open your water container. 

Where Should I Store My Water?

Knowing where to store your water is extremely important if you want to make the water last as long as possible. Follow these guidelines below to ensure the longevity of your water supply.

  • Store out of direct sunlight
  • Store where the temperature is cool
  • Don’t store directly on concrete 
  • Store away from chemicals and gasoline

Can You Drink Water From a Swimming Pool?

While I would never recommend to anyone that they should drink water from a swimming pool, it may not be the worst idea if it’s your last option. 

Just make sure that the swimming pool uses chlorine instead of salt and that the chlorine level is under 4 ppm (parts per million). If it’s over 4 ppm, then the water isn’t safe for ingesting and should be filtered and purified before drinking.

Just be aware, in a grid down scenario the water in your swimming pool is going to go bad relatively quickly.

Should I Boil Water Before Drinking?

If you believe your water is contaminated then it might be a good idea to boil your water before drinking. However, if the water seems perfectly fine then I wouldn’t waste the fuel to boil your water.

What to Do When You Run Out of Safe Drinking Water?

If you run out of safe drinking water then you need to make sure you have a backup plan ready in case you need to filter and purify water for drinking.

For me personally, I always make sure to have a portable water filtration system (Katadyn Hiker Pro for example), a few water purification tablets and a pot for boiling water on me at all times.

This way I can always make sure that I have access to safe drinking water, even if I run out of drinking water.

5 Ways on How to Start a Fire [Plus How to Keep it Burning]

How to Start a Fire

One key aspect of being a survivalist is knowing how to start a fire. Of course there is always the conventional way; a striker and some tinder, but what if you don’t have the resources available? Maybe amidst the chaos you lost your matches or misplaced your striker. What if you had to ditch everything to get out of a sticky situation?

Would you know how to start a fire?

If not, don’t fret. I’m here to tell you 5 ways to start a fire without matches or a striker.

Side note: I always keep a Swedish FireSteel striker in my bug out bag, as well as my last ditch kit so I can avoid this situation, but just in case, I learned these ways to start a fire without matches if the need arises.

1. Solar Magnification

Many of us have used our parents magnifying glass when we were young to terrorize ants and burn leaves.

By using some form of focal lens, like a magnifying glass or Fresnel lens, you can focus the sun’s rays onto tinder to produce a flame. If you take the lens or magnifying glass and focus the light to a single point, you will bring all the heat from the sun rays refracted through the lens and be able to create fire. This can be fairly quick if it is bright out, but not so great of an option if it just so happens to be a cloudy day.

Although its not the most optimal way to produce a flame since it depends primarily on the current weather conditions, it is still a great fire starting technique to know. Especially since a Fresnel lens can be tucked away in your bug out bag due to its small size and low weight. You can snag one here. (Use the book stuffing technique for storing. If you are not familiar with this technique you can check out this article for more information.)

2. A Fire using the Reflector from a Flashlight

Ever wonder how flashlights are able to produce a wide span of light?

reflector from flashlight

This is because the light from the bulb is reflected by a cone shaped reflective component known as none other then the reflector.

Much like solar magnification, you can ignite some form of tinder by placing it where the bulb usually goes in the flashlight.

First, just pull open a flashlight and remove the reflector from around the bulb. (Most flashlights will turn open from the top where the bulb is housed.)

Next take your tinder and put it in the hole where the bulb should be. *Make sure the tinder partially sticks out where the bulb sits in the bowl.

Tinder in Reflector

Last, just hold your reflector in the direction of the sun and, if weather permits, you should be able to produce a flame. *Careful! The reflector will draw heat and become very hot to hold.)

3. Aluminum Foil and Batteries

Another outstanding way to start a fire when you don’t have a fire starter is using batteries and aluminum foil.

In order to do this, you will need:

  • Two batteries (I recommend at least 1.5v AA’s or larger)
  • Two pieces of aluminum foil
  • Tinder

First step to this electrical concoction; make a flat rectangle with one of the aluminum pieces. Place your batteries on top of the aluminum a few inches apart with one battery upside down (positive on foil) and the other up right (negative on the foil).

Next, you want to take the other piece of aluminum and make another rectangle. Take this rectangle and cut a small chunk out of the center but make sure you do not cut all the way through. I know this can seem confusing, so a good way to remember how it should look is think about a butterfly band-aid when trying to make the top foil connection.

So now you have all the components and you are ready to make a flame!

Take your band-aid-shaped piece of aluminum foil and place it across the other positive and negative on the battery.

Lastly, take your tinder and touch it against the narrow portion of the aluminum foil. Hold it there for a few seconds and you will create a flame.

This can sometimes be a confusing process, especially getting the top portion of the aluminum foil correct. If you run into a snag or get confused, here is a great video to watch to get a better idea about this fire starting technique.

3. Chlorine and Brake Fluid

***Caution! This is a chemical reaction and can be very dangerous. Only use this process if you are in an emergency situation!

This fire creating technique just requires chlorine and some type of brake fluid.

First, take the chlorine and pour a small amount into some form of container. (Make sure that this is not a container that you drink or consume food from!)

Then take a small amount of brake fluid and pour it into the chlorine. The chemical reaction will begin and a fire will start. Just add in your tinder.

It is important to note that since its a chemical reaction, it is not and good idea to cook food or breath the fumes from this fire. If you have no other option, wait until the chemical reaction has burned out and the tinder and wood are solely burning.

4. Starting a Fire Using Air Pressure

This is a very difficult method of starting a fire and can require a lot of time and patience, but aside from the technicalities, it is definitely a great survival skill to have. If you have never created a fire using a fire piston, I definitely suggest practicing it.

In order to create a fire using a fire piston, you will need a few things:

  • A straight and sturdy stick, about 1 foot in length
  • A hollow piece of copper, sealed at the top so air cannot get out
  • A rubber o-ring (Make sure its just small enough to fit inside the piece of copper)
  • Some form of tinder (Char cloth works great for this)
  • A knife for cutting the stick

The first step to this process is so cut the stick down till it is just small enough to slide into your piece of copper.

Next, take your stick and notch out a small portion on the top to hold your tinder.

Now you are going to notch out a spot for the o-ring. Start about 1 inch from the top of the stick and carve all the way around. This will take some time to get just right. The first few times the o-ring might come out of the notch, but just keep taking a little more out of the stick until it slides into the copper and air does not escape.

Once its in place you are ready for fire. (A good indicator that you are ready for the next step is the copper will become difficult to push down onto the stick.)

Take your tinder and place it on the top notch. (I personally use char cloth, its the most proficient tinder for this fire starting technique and relatively cheap, you can get some here.)

With your stick prepared, take it and put it into the copper until the o-ring is just far enough inside that you cannot see it.

Now for the tricky part! You are going to slam the wood into the copper and quickly pull it off. If the air compression is good you should be able to produce a spark and ignite your tinder. (This might take quite a bit of tries!)

Don’t get discouraged! Keep trying and as soon as you ignite the tinder quickly place it on more tinder and start your fire.

*If you are not able to get all the materials, there is an option to purchase a kit which includes everything you need to practice this technique yourself. You can grab one here.

Methods such as this one definitely help me appreciate my Swedish FireSteel striker!

5. The Hand Drill Method

Another tedious way to start a fire is the primitive hand drill method. Now keep in mind, this will tear up your hands and expend a good deal of energy. Although in an emergency situation, having the knowledge to start a fire this way is a plus since it only requires a flat piece of wood, a stick, a knife, and some tinder.

What your going to do is cut a V-shape into the flat piece of wood and then a small notch at the bottom of the V.

Next, take your tinder and put it underneath the V you just cut.

Place the stick in the notch. *The stick should be around 2 feet in length.

Take your hands and press them against the stick with your palms and rotate the stick back and forth by moving your hands back and forth repetitively. Keep doing this until you ignite the tinder.

How to Keep Your Fire Burning

After you master these fire starting techniques you’re going to want to keep that fire going. Gotta stay warm through the night. Here are a couple tips on how to keep a fire burning.

  • Use DRY firewood

This is the most important component for any long burning fire. If you use wood with moisture, there is a good chance your fire will go out and you will be left with a pile of smokey half-burnt logs. I go by the acronym D.R.Y.

Dead – Usually dead logs and trees are dried out and can be used as good starting logs.

Rotten – Rotten logs are especially dried out and can be broken up to make adequate tinder.

Yank it – If you can Yank a branch from the tree, chances are the branch is dead or dying and not much water is present.

Now sometimes finding dry logs isn’t always an option and if there is moisture in your logs a proficient way to combat this is to add more tinder. This will create a hotter fire and evaporate some of that moisture.

  • Allow room for oxygen

Fires feed off of oxygen, so when you are building a base to your fire, leave room for the air to get underneath the base of the logs and fuel the flame. By knowing good strategies for your log base, you can allow for a more even burn and ultimately a longer burning fire.

There are multitude of different ways to build the base of your fire, here are just a few examples:

1. Dakota Fire Hole

Dakota Fire Hole

Draws air from hole in the ground to provide oxygen to fire.

2. Square Stack

Square Stack

Allows for airflow underneath. Can place cooking pot on top logs.

3. Teepee

Allows for airflow all the way around logs