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Tuesday, September 20, 2016


 The short cache is a special cache that is a short way from your home. It also is short, meaning it is
short on gear for use in an unexpected emergency. Which is what any cache is for, but this one is really short on gear that you can carry in one easy load, or being able to leave some of your cache for later if needed. My own short cache is within a five minutes’ drive from my home or a half hour walk. The short cache has some extra keys for my home and trucks. It has some water and MRE type food just a few packages. I like canned sardines as they pack
well and give one energy. My Short Cache has; a few snacks for the sweet tooth, some folding money, plus a list of phone numbers that I may need in an emergency, it has a few weapons and ammo, a sleeping system, a light tarp, some warm clothes, a poncho, a few machetes, camp knives, maps, a writing tablet with pencils, a carry system that is small and light. Other caches are more extensive and further away.  The short cache is a get you to the other cache with ease. It can also have a few head lights and a cooking system if needed.

 If for some reason your home is compromised, you have the means to move on if you need to do so. Or to gain access to your home and or transportation without any fanfare on your part picking your own time of access. The items I have mentioned are just suggestions for you to add to depending on your own circumstances, you may want to add insurance copies as well and copies of important papers. The short cache is meant to provide you for only a few days, thus the small number of items. 

 A few important things to keep in mind when preparing any cache is the container has to be water proof. I like a container within a container, the means to open the containers, and the means to dig up
your container if it is under ground. When you have all the items you are going to put into the container, place them all in the same room for at least 8 hours so they all are the same temperature. This procedure will help with the problem of condensation; this includes the container as well. Each item should be in its own container even if it is just a baggy. You should mark your containers as well.

 Just a suggestion for you to think about. I know many will have some great ideas to add to the list. A short article about not being caught short. 


 Dude McLean

Friday, July 1, 2016


  Simply a stunning book, the visuals, photos, are just perfection as is the rest of the book. This is not a plant ID book and not a cook book in the sense that that you have ever seen in the past, but a real breakthrough on originality in dining. Pascal offers a broad array of foods and drinks in an elegant and exciting way very clever in its presentation in an inspirational manner, yes even we can do it. Creating a form of foraging that is both a wild combo of ingenuity that demonstrates the huge potential of culinary art into practical recipes that nature provides.

Pascal’s hard earned infinite knowledge and the passion for the wild foods shine through in this presentation like you have never seen. We hear about books that are one of a kind and at last here is one that truly is one of a kind. Clear instructions for each recipe, that are unique, innovative ideas for using the wild flavors, all for your delight. The contents are amazing from making wild cheeses to primitive beers and cooking with dirt, sticks, bark, leaves, sap, and stones. Preserving by dehydration and making cold in fusions, creating wild spice blends and using wild mustards. How to make wild sodas and wild hot sauces to making jams and syrups with wild ingredients.

 Pascal states the book is not about identifying plants and not about cooking either it is about exploring from a culinary perspective what the wilderness is offering us. It’s about how to create interesting ingredients that will represent your local terroir as a forager, cook, or chef, to some degree it fills a gap between foraging and cooking. Many of the ideas and methods presented here you can use regardless of where you live most of the plants or related species are found around the world. 

Packed with information not one wasted photo or comment is to be found. Pascal has set a very high bar for anyone one to follow, and good luck with that. A most beautiful book I must confess that Pascal is a personal friend, and I am proud to be. His book has been a work of love in the truest sense. The detail is amazing, not to be missed, well worth the investment. A big book in every way. publisher is: Chelsea Green Publishing ISBN 97816035856061

                                                         REVIEW BY DUDE MCLEAN 

Thursday, June 9, 2016


 Having been involved in survival skills for more than 50 years , you learn to wean out things that are not useful or realistic , one learns to discount certain items that are not practical. I have spent a great amount of time learning survival skills  and honing those skills , I firmly believe you have to round out your skill set. The skill set includes the modern tools we have at our fingertips , these can add up in the dollar side of the margin( but you can find used tools for cheap) and you will find some are just not worth it and in reality just hype by some company but those that do work can be a life saver and add to your confidence level. Rounding out your skill set should include the primitive skills, I count the primitive skills as your foundation with which you can build on with any of the modern skills, if the modern tools fail you have the primitive to fall back on. 

                                                                       WHAT PRIMITIVE SKILLS 

Making fire with friction can be a life saving skill.  Learning the bow and drill and following that the hand drill . The bow and drill takes a while to get it , knowing what wood to use and
how to prepare the "set". The best way to learn is with an instructor who can show you in person , some can get it in a day others will take a week of working on it everyday . Once you get it do not let it rest , make a fire once a week to keep your hand in the game, if you let it go too long you will lose some of the nuance. The hand drill is a different critter  and much harder to learn, it will take devotion to learn the skill but you can do it. I suggest you become as expert as you can with at least one of these methods . WE have flint and steel as well not as hard to learn but does take practice, Even the lowly match takes practice to start a fire. A bic type of lighter is must carry  I feel in addition to the more primitive skills of fire making. The tinders and learning how to build a fire lay will come into, play  The ferro rod also is seen as away to make fire but this simple device seems not to work for many who have not practiced a bit . All of these methods  will take time and practice. Do not slack apply your self and you will  master all of the methods to make fire. Again if you can find an instructor to teach you it will be far easier  to learn. However there are some good videos to, teach you as well. Making fire one time is not enough , one has to make fire several times , like maybe 100 times or more before you own the skill. After that you have to keep up the practice at least once a week. However my favorite way of making fire is a ferro rod and/or Bic lighters , you should be able to make hundreds of fires with these tools.


Speaking of tools brings me to tools you can use and should master , a wood chisel is something to think about and a hand auger as well one you  can fit a handle on when you need it , this allows you make holes in wood( you might consider a stone auger as well) to build shelter and other tools where wood is needed.A saw is a tool that is helpful as well.  With these you can make furniture enabling you to live a bit more comfy in the bush , these tools ill also help you make weapons as well. Primitive blacksmithing is a craft one should try their hand at . Jason Hawk  is a primitive black smith and a master at it . We live in a world of tin cans and other metals , iron etc. and if you can craft many useful items from the scrap. a tin can will yield arrow heads and spear heads even a knife,  not a pretty thing but workable . I have witnessed Jason making items that are heated and pounding them into a tool using a rock as a hammer, again not pretty but workable. Jason has a series of DVDs called "Making Do" the poor mans forge on Paladin Press  , I feel they are well worth the money , I have been  pounding somethings into shape , it is slow learning process but Feel it well worth the time to learn the primitive skill of the blacksmithing side of survival skills , you wont make nor is your goal to create a really pretty shinny blade but with some leaf springs or any found  metals you can make hinges or any number of items, arrow heads , spear heads  large or small cutting tools.. *In a   SHTF situation you could barter your skills
or make items no longer found . Another tool is a good machete , they are easy to get now and they are cheap to aquire and they do not run out of bullets , they an awesome defense tool and very intimidating , just in a few countries they have killled thousands plus the more obvious uses , I would stock up on more than a few. One more thing I would have is a Vechawk and a Ecohawk , both tools created by Mike Gapp, I have found these to be very useful in camp and out and highly recommend them  you can reach Mike at

 ID'ing wild edible plants can help fill your larder . Learning the wild edibles is an on going education and can continue as long as you live it is a great feeling to be in the bush and just reach down and grab a few edibles as  you walk along. Wild plants offer many opportunities to fill you up or round out a meal . This skill takes a lot of time to learn but is well worth the effort . Once you get into it it will be second nature to learn new plants . There are many books and videos on the subject, but a instructor will give you a large step forward  some of the best meals in my life have a feast of wild plants. Never eat any plant you have not
Identified 100%. The problem is the time of year and where you live in some places it could good for only a few short months , learning how to grow food is a skill that one could learn now when if your crop fails it wont mean you starve, learning the ins and outs of growing your own food is a valuable skill to own. 


Learning how to trap is a skill set that is important as well. Keep in mind the little critters add up, and for the most part much easier to harvest than a big animal.Snares are  way  to trap that is very effective . The good old rattrap can catch cotton tails and bushy tails and other  small ground animals , even birds and snakes  . In my rat traps I drill at least 3 holes in the base  I tie down with cordage or wire so the animal  cannot  drag it off into the bushes. I suggest you use only the Victor brand of rat traps as they offer a good strong spring that is fast and will hold the critter  . Practice where you can , be aware of game laws . You can set snares that will let the animal go, you do that by using very weak wire that will break under any kind of pressure , then examine the location for tracks.  Adding the traps like Conibear or other steel traps will help feed you and family.. All traps are passive and are working 24/7 , hunting is only a one on one deal unlike a trap line that you check at the least 2 times a day if not more,  live hunting burns a lot of calories and limits your chance of a harvest , the live trap is a way to go also ,it is an MRE  fresh when you need to eat , most critters will eat anything you feed them . While I do like snares after one use they are for the most part
useless. The live traps can be used over and over , the same with a Conibear trap , keep in mind  that gun only has so many bullets and someday you will run out. Traps do not run out , they need no bullets.Let us not forget fishing , nets and other items that are not legal now may very well feed you in a SHTF life.  . 
                                                                                     THE COMBO

I like the combo of primitive and modern tools , it allows for more bang for your survival  life to thrive.I think our ancestors would jump at the some of the modern tools that are common now , so now is the time to grab some of the non power tools that can make for better conditions at really thriving in a SHTF life . Tools are for  us to understand and use o the best of our abilty, the modern tools are a huge advantage for the survival life.

                                                               by Dude McLean

Thursday, June 2, 2016



Many have little choice but to use small containers for water storage. There are a few things to look out for when choosing a container. One is the use of milk containers, a no-no for sure, no matter how well you think you can clean them out you cannot get into the small little imperfections on the plastic they harbor the bacteria that will turn your water bad in a heartbeat. Plus, they are flimsy and will fail in a short time. The same for those already filled water plastic containers with a spicket. The plastic is weak and will fail in a year or less. Avoid a problem and do not use these containers.

 Pop bottles are great and will keep water for years. A few drops of bleach in the water works well. I have had water in some pop bottles for years. When checked they were fine and good to go. Keep the bottles out of direct sunlight. Do not forget to clean the cap with bleach also. Be sure to include the threads of the bottle top. Any glass bottle is good but could lead to breakage. 

 The amount of water that seems to be suggested by the survival experts is one gallon per person a day. I think that is way too conservative, I suggest at least 3 gallons a day per person. That includes cooking, drinking and cleaning, like washing clothes. And that may not be enough, so go to the high side as much as possible, nothing replaces water in your diet. If you can find 40 gallon containers so much the better, but remember that water is heavy, about 8 pounds a gallon, so a larger container might be difficult to move and do not forget a small hand pump. 
For those of you who can get a hold of the 55 gallon drums or water storage so much the better but remember the weight you are dealing with. A 40-gallon container will weigh in at about 320 pounds, so a dolly might be a good investment or a very strong son. When I used the 55 gallon containers I placed them in a location so they would not have to be moved, I could roll the 40 gallon containers if I had to. I believe it’s better if you do not have to move them. Rolling them is a huge pain in the butt. It could compromise your container. No sense in taking that chance. 

 The alternative are the small containers, way better than nothing. The pop bottles are very strong as they have to be in order to withstand the pressure of the carbonation process. That’s why they do not fail over time, keep out of sun as that can make them brittle. You can stash them under beds, sofas, chairs, in cubby holes, in a garage on shelves etc. Years ago when I lived in an apartment I had about 100 bottles under a bed, even stacked them. Keep some in your trunk, under the seats, every little bit will help in a breakdown of water service if it ever comes to that. 

Do not forget your pets they will need water also. My deerhound drinks about a gallon a day. Water is something we cannot live without, plus if you have emergency food much of it needs water mixed into it or to cook it. I know water is not as sexy as food to store, but it is just as important if not more so. Water, prepare for it now. Once it is cut off, good luck with that one. Water is so common we often do not think of it ahead of time. It is not hard to get ready for storage of water, you just have to do it. Daddy can I have a drink of water? If you feel the water is suspect just boil it. Water is life. 


                                                                             DUDE MCLEAN

Thursday, May 12, 2016


 Bugging out is a thing that is beat about on all survival forums and magazines, either by truck or car or hiking etc. The one question I always have about being on foot is, when is the last time you ever
hiked any long distance with 50 to 100 pounds on your back in the heat summer or winter cold? Most will not be able to last a few miles. What about your family? Being under stress will be a factor that you cannot ignore, plus at some point you will stop and throw gear out of your pack deemed not needed because it is too heavy to be worth it, or it is just worthless. I feel the fantasy of bugging out on foot seems like a romantic adventure, that is the lure of heading for the hills. Get out your bug out pack now and go for a hike. Be sure someone can pick you up, I doubt you will get far.  I know of a few who could do it, but even they will have a tough time of it.

 I love it when some writer says to get out ahead of the crowd. What is your info source that will allow you to know you are ahead of everyone else? You really have no more info than anyone else
and that’s the hard truth. All roads are like a river with many side streams that add to the flow. Everybody is not starting out from the same place, but feeding into the stream/road at different places. Witness the roads we are seeing in Canada with all those poor folks in a huge traffic jam. “Oh I know a short cut”, really? Well so does everyone else, they have maps/GPS just like you, cars running out of gas, flat tires,
overheating and other things that break you down are lurking. Wrecks will be everywhere. Its bound to happen and no one to call to remove the wrecks off the road. Nightmare alley is the name of the game.  Panic stricken drivers will make a lot of mistakes to be first in a race to nowhere. The unlawful will most likely be around every curve looking for a pickup that is loaded with gear, an easy to spot target. You might be a badass, but so are the ones who will covet your gear and they won’t be alone.

 Then there are people who will say “well I am living in my bugout location”, by definition  that is impossible. A bugout location is somewhere else other than where you are. Think about it, no matter where you are now that you think is a safe place you can be displaced by events. Events like huge fire storms, tornadoes, earthquakes and floods to name a few things that can upset your location. You always need a backup plan, but it has to be viable for you to execute. Now is the time to check out how far it is and what if someone else took over your bugout location before you secured it. Oh the problems that you may have to deal with. A fire fight is really not an option in real life, they are just
as desperate as you are. That leaves to chance being killed, good guys do not always win. No one wants to chance being killed or wounded that might lead to death. No matter how well one may think they are off the beaten path. If there is a dirt road or a path that is a problem in a large scale SHTF. If you are settled in have a few locations that you can bug out to planned ahead. You most likely will not be able to really defend your location against several bad guys. The bad guys are determined to get you out and take your gear and maybe your life. It is much smarter to fade away to another location. Know your AO ahead of time, explore while you still have time.

 I am just using common sense here and identifying some problems. Remember the best plans happen really fast once they begin, circumstances change in a unforeseeable manner. Be ready to shift with the wind. I hope this will get you thinking about your bug out plans. 

                                                                       by Dude McLean

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Mentors...What Does It Mean?

I recently read about a well-known survival guy who said, and I’m paraphrasing here, that he had no mentors — he learned it all himself. Really? It would take a long life time to learn all the primitive survival skills on your own and how would one even know about them in the first place. We all have a teacher in some form. Even if you don’t agree with them, it sets your brain to thinking of another way, or an improvement to your mind.
Mentor: Someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced, often younger person. A trusted counselor or guide, tutor or coach.
For many, a mentor is from a book you read. Even if you were set off just by adding a nuance to what you read, that author was a mentor. Even the author of a magazine article that is BS and sets you off experimenting on your own is a Mentor.
If you are lucky enough to have a face to face instructor and can admit you learned even one thing, he/she is a mentor, even if they set your thinking process that perhaps sends you in a better direction.
A Mentor can be a friend who is not actively being a Mentor, but has a skill set they share with you in a conversation or just in the act of camping together and having campfire talks. I believe some think it is a weakness to admit they have learned from someone else. I also believe the person who is a Mentor can be younger than you. Anyone who teaches often times learns things from a student. If you’ve ever taught any class, you will have experienced this.
An old friend of mine once said to me why are you taking classes from that guy, he’s way younger than you? What does that mean? He had a set of skills that I did not have, that’s the bottom line.
I was very weak in plants and had tried out several books and instructors. Then I began taking some of Christopher Nyerges’s classes and it was apparent, almost instantly, I found the right Mentor. He is a natural born teacher who was articulate and knew his subject. One thing I liked was his attention to detail. And if he did not know something, he told you so. A know it all teacher is not a good thing. Being honest with himself and the student is a bonus for everyone. I’ve had a lot of Mentors, some more important than others, but learned from them all.
As one moves along in life, you look back and say, “wow how do I really know all this stuff?” It’s simple, you picked the brain of several mentors along the path. You practiced and soon have tucked a lot of info into your grubby brain. You now have experience and have provided your own nuance to the subject.
Some never learn anything new and get stuck in the sands of time never questioning your “way” of doing a certain skill. We have a habit of taking what some guru of survival says as gospel. Rigid thinking is your enemy and is hard to part with because you have convinced yourself that this is the right thinking. It took me quite a long time to use stainless steel knives. I still like the patina a carbon steel knife attains over the years of good honest work in the bush, but I now use stainless, not exclusively though. It was after Alan Halcon kept harping at me, that he gave me a Mora. Yes, he’s cheap, but after using it for some time I see things have changed with stainless steel. Shame on me for not being flexible sooner. A lesson in getting stuck in the sand. Lesson learned. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks
On a personal level, I have so many to thank the list could be a book. Look back and think of those mentors and give them a shout out, or send smoke to the directions because some do not walk beside us anymore. Make an effort to help those just beginning the path of owning the skills, they will never forget you.

Never stop learning none of us are know it all’s. Always be a student of the skills and of life.

In The Gravest Extreme

Guns and self-defense, many of us are of the mindset that we will defend what is ours, and our loved ones. All well and good. However, in this society we have laws that we must, at this point, obey and the closer to the letter of the law the better when it comes to guns, and self-defense.
” In the Gravest Extreme” by Massad Ayoob ,  far as I know is still one of the best books you can own and read, and  parts of it should stick in your memory banks. The copy I have was purchased by me in 1980, it was already in its 18th printing. It covers the role of the firearm in personal protection. This is a book that covers what you should know. Your rights. I’m sure that the book by this time has been updated, keeping up with changes and what you need to know.
Here are some of the chapters. “Self-defense and lethal force.” ” The Dangerous myth of Citizens Arrest.” ” Samaritans with Guns.” ” A Gun At Home.” ” A Gun in the Street.” ” A Gun in your Car.” ” Deterrent Effect of Defense Handguns.” ” Women and Guns.” “High Price of Handgun Machismo.” ” Gun Saftey.” ” The Aftermath.” .
These are only a few of the chapters that are covered.
Many of you are aware of who this man, Massad Ayoob, is as a writer for many magazines and other books on weapons. He is very much sought after as a professional witness in self-defense cases. To the point, he knows his stuff.
This book could save your life, your loved ones lives, and a ton of money, and grief. By knowing a few fine points of the law, what and when to say anything is key. The book is an easy read, 130 pages and is interesting despite at first glance of being boring. Please do not fool yourself with thoughts like “Oh hell I know the law” or “I already know what I need to know my buddy is a cop and he told me” (Many times the police officer is wrong, do not take a chance) . What you think and what is, are two different things. You owe it to yourself to be informed as possible on this subject, it could impact you and your family for years to come. Find a lawyer who is a “pro gun” lawyer in your area and keep his card or number on you, or store it in your phone. The NRA other gun rights outfits have gun friendly lawyer lists.
I just reread this book and it holds up well, still applies today. Shows you that not much has changed. Ammo choice has really changed a lot, and that’s good for us. The book goes into ammo and your gun. Your gun is best left as stock as possible, if you go to court that will be in your favor, it is in the book.
I feel this is one book that anyone who owns a gun should have, and that it should be reread every year.
It is your right. Know your rights. Do not guess at what your rights are.
Read this book do yourself a favor. I am not a lawyer and I cannot give you legal advice. However, I can suggest that you buy and read this book

By Dude McLean

The Rat Trap

 In 2011 I wrote an article on rat traps, that same year we held a Dirttime event. During that event I held a class on traps and how the rat trap is often overlooked as it is so common. So we held a contest and anyone could use the trap they wanted to. The winner would get a bush knife. 
The winner used a baited rat trap, they caught a ground bushy tail. So I thought it would be nice to publish the article here ... but it is not to be as I cannot find the article from 2011, so here is a new article.

 The rat trap is so common that if we need one, we just pick one or two up the next time we go to market. I feel this trap is so important for small game I always have a few of them in my kit. I feel it would be a wise move to have 50 to 100 of them in your stock pile, at present they run about 2 bucks. I prefer the traps by Victor over all the rest as they have a stronger spring to hold the critter and it is very fast. The knockoffs just do not do the trick. I have caught cotton tails, bushy tails and birds and a lot of ground critters that add up for a fine stew, including snakes. 

                                                                                 THE SET UP

I drill at least 3 holes in the trap to hold it in place with cordage or wire, that way it cannot be dragged off and lost for the critter to suffer. I paint some of them but it doesn’t seem to be something you have to do. Bait it with food scraps or peanut butter or seeds. You can set them on a tree limb and tie in place, they do not have to be flat you can even set them on edge against a tree or a bush. The rat trap is very good at catching small game. I do test each trap to make sure the spring is in good condition. The time could come when you might need them to catch vermin in your house, I set a few on my engine block when some ground critters decided the engine was a nice warm place to nest, they chewed some wiring and cost me about 6 bills to fix it.    

Rat traps are light and take up little space in a pack. Rat traps are very effective. Just be sure not to
leave any set when you leave the AO. I have never done this, but have heard you can catch birds with a rat trap, makes sense to me, might be something to experiment with. Keep in mind the laws in your area, many birds are protected, but in a true survival situation I would not hesitate, your call.  Like all traps location, location, location is all important. Set traps along runs where the critters go. You will have a better chance of a meal. Rat traps can be used over and over again, this is a plus when compared to most snares. Sure the meals are small but 6 or 7 small critters add up to some real eating. You can practice on rats and mice. It is much easier to catch small game that larger critters. Set them around oak trees also, as may critters like acorns, any fruit bearing tree will be good.

I feel that a cache of rat traps is a major item to be set aside as a time might come when none are available at the local hardware store is the shtf. Rat traps are cheap enough to stock up on while they are available, Rat steak anyone? Not too bad in reality. Chipmunks are easy to catch. I have never caught a jack rabbit with a rat trap, too big unless it is a very young one. Sometimes your trap will be sprung, look for tracks to see what it might have been and reset plus set up a snare, you might make a catch of a bigger critter. Stock up now!!!

By Dude McLean

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Dogs and Rewilding

Many indigenous peoples around the world used dogs, not only to help them move but help in hunting. Larger dogs carried packs and pulled carts.
There are many breeds that fall into the primitive breeds slot. Primitive dogs are versatile survivalists, capable of fending for themselves, At the same time domesticated enough to to be specialized in certain activities, hunting, guards, in general a protector for the group and family. Hunting is the primitive dogs oldest profession and primitive dogs adapt to hunting with people and for people. They know how to track game in the right direction, where to find the game, and how to treat a bird or smaller game mammals or a moose, wild boar or a bear. Some are chase and kill hunters. The will chase and kill any animal they can overcome. This can be a plus for the rewilder. For a hunter using a spear, a bow or atlatl aboriginal dogs are extremely helpful in locating, tracking and bringing to bay and killing animals. Hunting
with dogs is most likely one of he oldest forms of hunting the world over. To learn about primitive dogs I have in my library a book "Primitive breeds perfect dogs" by Vladimir Beregovoy and Jill Moore Porter. They go into small detail about these dogs. An excellent book but not cheap. In my library I have around 170 books just on dogs, this is one of the best overviews I have found. Interestingly the best dog books come from England. Another book is "Lost History of the Canine Race:" going back 15,000 years.
In my AO which is the high desert I chose a Scottish Deer Hound, a sight hound, they hunt by sighting the game and running it down, she will bring a jack rabbit back to me and put it in my hand. She will chase and bring down a deer. these dogs hit almost 40 miles an hour for
a sustained amount of time. In a related side note when my other dog was still a puppy coyotes had him on the ground and the deer hound killed two of them by crushing their skulls. Saving the pup. I watched it happen. Sight hounds are so fast, viper fast, the coyotes didn’t know what hit them. Fittingly her name is Arrow. The other dog is an Aussie Cattle dog or Queensland Heeler. I picked that one because they have a high prey drive and can withstand the heat and cold. He has brought back bushy tails and other smaller game. His name is Bodiddly or Dingo Dick, depending on my mood. So I have
Bow and Arrow. The Heelers were bred from Dingoes I feel these dogs are a perfect fit for the rewilder as are others of the primitive breeds like black mountain cur dogs type. I had an Akita for 15 years, a primitive breed she caught quail, doves and ducks, bushy tails, among others she must have ambushed them. Dogs will add to the larder and make hunting a positive outcome for the hungry.
Some other primitive breeds are the West Siberian Laika, The Basenji, so called bark-less but make a lot of noise. The Pharaoh hound a sight hound. Karelian bear dogs, New Guinea singing dogs, while rare they can be found. The Jindo dog is an excellent choice. The Bushmen dogs, dogs of the bushmen, every bushman village has these dogs that hunt with them, they are the only domestic animals they have, the Canaan dog, and the Carolina dog which is a wild dog found in the Carolinas, a fine dog.
Primitive dogs come from all over the world. The Akita with which I had a lot experience with, is a good choice as well, not as fast as some others however. All the primitive breeds are stubborn as hell and will take a firm master but a fair one, they will not tolerate being hit. they are smart and learn fast. You hit one and you lost the dog.

You can find other primitive breeds by doing a google search. Almost any of them would be a good fit for the rewilder community.

By Dude McLean

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Skookum Bush Tool

When I first saw the word “skookum,” referring to the name of a knife, I thought, what is that? And what kind of word is that to name a knife? Almost sounds like baby talk. So I looked it up in the dictionary and it is a real word, it is the perfect name for this knife.
I discovered that “skookum” is jargon [Canadian] for anything strong and able, solid and reliable, genuine.” That fits this knife to a “T”.

As close as anybody has come to the perfect bush knife that I have seen," says Mors Kochanski.

Standing in a check out line at a local market in 2002, Rod Garcia glanced down and saw a book for sale -- "Bush Craft Outdoor Skills and Wilderness Survival," the classic book by the legendary Mors Kochanski. Rod bought the book, having always been fascinated with the outdoors life style. Rod read the whole book in one day and it changed his life. He signed up for the Mors Kochanksi winter survival course. Rod found himself in a whirlwind of intense instruction for 6 days, immersed in northern wilderness skills.

Rod absorbed all the information, but even as a "new guy," he was somewhat dubious about the claims for the knife uses that Mors Kochanski, recommends in his book and in his courses. For Rod it just didn’t compute that a ten-dollar Mora knife could really fit the program. In Mors’s class, like most survival courses, the knife is the center of survival. It is the one tool you learn to trust your life with. Could a ten-dollar Mora, really stand up to the hard use that is called for in a real life extreme environment? Rod was not comfortable trusting his life to any ten-dollar knife.

The next year Rod enrolled in the summer course that Mors offers, and at the same time, he was looking for a knife a bit better than that ten-dollar Mora could offer. Besides, he had already broken a few of them; he didn’t like that.

The Start Of Things To Come

In 2005, Rod attended a knife show in Montana, his home state. Rod met a knife maker and they discussed the kind of knife Rod was searching for. Between them, they came up with some good ideas, but the results still didn’t quite live to what Rod envisioned.
Determined at this point to become a knife maker, Rod met a local knife maker who exposed Rod to the basics and he was on his way. Rod sold his Land Cruiser to buy the knife equipment he would need to set up shop. The next thing he knew, he was pounding steel.
Being influenced by his dad, a machinist, Rod looked at the knife he pictured as a tool first and foremost, so it had to be sturdy and yet meet all the criteria needed for a real bush knife. The midnight oil burned on.

The First Test

Rod’s next move was to attend the Rat Root rendezvous, a gathering that includes mostly wilderness survival teachers/instructors [INWHAT STATE IS RAT ROOT?]
In his pack, Rod brought some prototype knives to show around. " They were a little rough " says Rod, the prototypes had been sitting out for all to look at and handle. Mors Kochanski, who happened to be at the event, sat down and asked, "Whose knives are these? These knives are as close as anybody has come to the perfect bush knife that I have seen," reports Rod.
More than encouraged by the endorsement from Mors, Rod spent the next four months experimenting with the design. He worked on the handle. Rod states, "It is important that a tool has a comfortable handle, and that all the parts work together."
Rod settled on a 12 degree scandi grind for the blade. The standard scandi grind is 91/2 to 10 degrees. So the Skookum Bush Tool grind is a little steeper and will handle more abuse. Rod’s first knife was 1095 steel but he moved quickly to carbon "O1" and "O2" steel.

Skookum Bush Tool is Born 

Rod moved to his own testing in the field, all the while making adjustments until he felt the knife was ready for the final word. Rod sent three finished knives to Mors Kochanski.
Rod waited and waited, but heard not one peep for over three weeks and then, the phone call. "You are the first person to make my concept of a bush knife since my book was published in 1987," said Mors to Rod. How cool is that?

The Skookum Bush Tool as a Knife

I received my Skookum Bush Tool about four weeks before the deadline for this article. My first impression was "This is a beauty." The handle molded to my hand and feels secure. Everyone who had picked up my knife has commented on how comfortable this knife handle is.

I ordered my knife in "O1" carbon steel, as I wanted the sparking advantage with the carbon blade. I also opted for the "hole" near the tip of the blade, as Mors points out the advantages of this feature. The Skookum knife comes with a sheath that is made for hanging around your neck, again a recommendation from Mors. However, I feel the knife is a bit heavy for a neck knife unless you have on heavy clothing or a coat and the knife is hanging on the outside, I had The Gunhawk, a local gunsmith and leather craftsman, make a customized sheath for my Skookum that hangs on my belt but has a built in option, so I can choose to use the neck method if I so desire (the best of both worlds).

How it Works

This knife arrives sharp. Really really sharp! I cannot think of any other knife I have ever received from any maker that is this sharp, and that is saying a lot.

As this knife performs, it seems to flow through the woodworking camp chores, from fuzz sticks, trap triggers, cooking, slicing and dicing, and batoning. The Skookum features a full tang with a very strong pommel that protects the handle if the knife is driven tip first into the wood. The knife’s blade tip is close to the profile centerline of the handle. The back of the handle and the back of the blade are on the same line. The handle materiel is linen micarta, so it is impervious to the weather and other adverse conditions.

The blade is as long as the width of my hand. As you can see in the photos, the knife does not have a guard. To quote Mors Kochanski from his book: "A guard on a bush knife is in the way and detracts from many operations." Some people prefer a guard for fear of slipping forward onto the knife edge, but unless used for stabbing, the hand should never slip in this way. " In all my years of instructing I do not recall an injury due to lack of a guard." It’s in the book!
Rod also does his own heat treat process. " Being in control throughout the knifemaking process is very important to me. " The sheath is made by Rod as well, in a traditional style and is of heavy cowhide and molded to the knife. I will add Snoseal at a later date, as I do with all my sheaths. The knife sits deep and secure within the sheath, needless to say it is a top loader.

Notice the continuous blade curve transfers to great ease in cutting, making fuzz sticks or whatever you are doing, this feature enhances the practicability of the blade shape.

All of the features you find in this fine blade are straight out of Mors Kochanskis book "Bush Craft" in chapter 3, beginning on page 109 through page 134. I say this because I could quote the whole chapter and it really just boils down to this knife.

"The knife is the smallest and most portable of all the cutting tools. Light and unobtrusive, the knife is readily available for hundreds of everyday tasks in bush living." F(rom the book, "Bushcraft")

Being that the "Skookum Bush Tool " is Rod Garcia’s first effort as a knifemaker, I only have one question ….What took you so long, Rod?

Some Specs
Over all length 9 9/16 inches
Handle length 4 ¼ inches
Weight 6.67 oz
Blade steel O1 carbon steel
Blade thickness 1/8 inches
Width 1 1/16
Handle is linen micarta, mine is green.
(these are my measurements )
Contact Information

Rod Garcia can be reached for more detailed info at

By Dude McLean
Photos by Alan Halcon

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Paul Campbell....Interview

Paul Campbell
A journey into the old ways
By: Dude McLean and Alan Halcon

“In 1990 I went down into Baja seeking out the southern most trout stream in the Americas. I came back down these rugged mountain trails, took a fork that I probably shouldn't have taken and led me down into some little Indian villages. In retrospect I believe they might have been Arroyo Leon. I saw all grass huts and I just couldn't believe it. I couldn't see anybody around at all and then as I went further down I saw a bunch of men all of them very tall, six feet tall long black hair. I wanted to stop and talk to them but I was scared to death.” 

That experience led Paul Campbell on a path that he could never have imagined… an unquenchable thirst for knowledge into the old ways was born. His focus became the survival skills of Native Californians.

“I wanted to go out into the woods without taking so much modern gear, to really relate to the outdoors as the California Indian did. After all they were here for at least 13,000 years. You can go out and experiment on your own but you only have a short life time to learn all those skills, I figured I may as well go pick up where they left off.”

Paul's research could only take him so far. He realized there must be people who still knew and practiced primitive skills. little did he know that tracking these people down would lead him into some of the most remote and near forgotten villages where these skills were almost a lost art but were still practiced by a few of the elders.

“I went down to Baja after the rainy season and the roads were washed out. In fact I came up to a bridge and had to throw on my brakes because there wasn't anything there. at about that time there came an old jalopy full of Indian kids and they went right through the rushing water. And so I followed them and waved them over. I didn't know how to open the conversation. I just asked them if they knew anybody who still makes baskets. I followed them back to the village and when I got there, there was an old lady still pounding acorns in a dugout mortar and sifting the acorn meal in a basket that she had made out of juncus herself.”

For the next several years Paul's life was full of tracking down the old ways in the far corners of Baja and California, learning how to build a bow, rabbitsticks, arrows, traps, and so much more. He learned about plants, pigments and animal life.

Campbell didn't even know it yet but he was becoming a master at primitive skills that he longed to know. He also didn't realize that he was writing a book as well. “I have a lousy memory so I took extensive notes” Paul's notes grew as his travels widened and his knowledge came together.

Paul relates the many times that someone would not want to show him how to do something, like the way to make a rabbitstick. Paul sat down took out a cigarette and said “I'm not leaving until you show me how it's done.” So being stubborn paid off in the long run.

Slowly and looking back at it Paul learned relatively fast the secrets that were dying out. In some cases not long after the information and skill was passed onto Paul the elder died.

And as it is with primitive technology one skill led to another. And from what we have witnessed Paul Campbell has accomplished what he set out to do… and then some. His skill at making a rabbitstick, in the old traditional way, is unsurpassed. His replica bows and arrows seem like they have walked out of the past. His other skills are equally as impressive.

We mentioned a book and extensive notes. Paul decided to actually write a book so the information would not be lost to time. “Survival Skills of Native California” hit the marketplace and soon was the hot topic of conversation amongst primitive skills circles. Not since “Naked into the Wilderness” by the McPhersons, has a book dealt so deeply and exclusively about all the primitive skills… unusual for a primitive skills book since it is going into its second edition.

Paul set out to learn and know the skills like the Indians in California so he could go into the woods without modern gear. He has gone far beyond his goal He owns his skills. He is a master.

The Big Chill

A quick guide on hypothermia and how to treat it. 
By: Alan Halcon and Dude Mclean

What, an article about hypothermia in the spring? Sure why not. It really doesn’t need to be freezing to find yourself in trouble. The big chill can move in on you, or someone with you—recognizing the signs and knowing how to properly treat hypothermia can mean the difference between living and dying.

How You Lose Heat to the Environment

Heat always transfers to cold, and it is important to know the four factors surrounding this phenomenon.

Radiation - loss of heat due to the temperature difference. This occurs as long as the ambient temperature is below our bodies 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
An example of radiation is the suns heat; one can feel the warmth radiating from the sun. Another example is the warmth felt from a campfire.

Conduction – is the loss of heat through direct contact between objects
An example of conduction is sitting on a cold rock and feeling your butt get cold. Wet clothes coming in contact with your body is another example of loss through conduction.

Convection – is heat loss due to the movement of air or liquid across your skin. The warmer body temperature is carried away and replaced by the cooler air or liquid. Losing heat via water convection occurs more quickly than air convection. An example of air convection is Wind Chill. An example of liquid convection is taking a cold shower or falling in cold water.

Evaporation - heat loss occurring by converting water to vapor
An example of evaporation is the body’s perspiration being cooled at the skins surface.
Evaporation can be responsible for 20-30 percent of heat loss even in temperate conditions. In addition, a non-active person loses approximately 15 percent of his average daily caloric intake through evaporation.

How Your Body Regulates Core Temperature

Vasoconstriction – is the constriction of blood vessels.

Vasodilatation – is the dilatation of the blood vessels

Sweating - cools body through evaporative cooling

Shivering - generates heat through increase in muscle activity. This is limited because of depletion of muscle glucose and fatigue.

Signs and Symptoms of Hypothermia

Any temperature less than 98.6 degrees is linked to hypothermia

In their book “Hypothermia Frostbite and other Cold Injuries” authors Gordon G. Giesbrecht, Ph.d, and Doctor, James A. Wilkerson, write “A mnemonic useful for remembering the early stages of hypothermia is “umbles.” The mildly hypothermic individual: fumbles, stumbles, tumbles, mumbles, and grumbles. The first three items (fumbles, stumbles, tumbles) reflect impairment of motor function, first fine movements and then gross movements. The last two (mumbles and grumbles) indicates intellectual impairment.”

Mild Hypothermia
Normal shivering can begin
Cold sensation and goose bumps
not able to perform complex tasks with hands
shivering can be mild to severe
hands are numb

Moderate Hypothermia
Shivering is intense
obvious lack of muscle coordination
movements are slow and labored
mild confusion, but may appear alert
violent shivering continues
has difficulty speaking
is sluggish in thinking
amnesia begins to appear
gross muscle movements are sluggish
not able to use hands
stumbling is frequent
has difficult time speaking
depressed and withdrawn.

Severe Hypothermia

All shivering stops
exposed skin becomes blue or puffy
muscle coordination is very poor
not able to walk
appears confused
behavior is incoherent and irrational, but may be able to maintain awareness
Muscle stiffness
in a stupor
a loss of awareness of others
pulse and respiration rate decrease
possible heart fibrillation
heart beat and respiration are erratic
pulse may not be palpable
Pulmonary edema
cardiac and respiratory failure

How to determine if someone is suffering from hypothermia

If shivering can be stopped voluntarily the person is suffering mild hypothermia
Ask a question that requires higher reasoning in the brain; e.g. say the alphabet backwards. If the person is hypothermic, they won't be able to do it.

If shivering cannot be stopped voluntarily the person may be suffering from moderate to severe hypothermia
If the person is unable to walk a 30 foot straight line, the person is hypothermic.

Treating Hypothermia

It is extremely critical to properly treat a person who is suffering with moderate to severe hypothermia. Failure to properly treat can result in death
There are a few DO NOT DOs one should stick by when treating a person with hypothermia

* Never give alcohol to the victim. Alcohol is a vasodilator and will increase peripheral heat loss

* Never give caffeine to the victim. Caffeine is a diuretic and causes water loss increasing dehydration

* Never allow a victim to smoke. Tobacco/nicotine is a vasoconstrictor and increases the risk of frostbite.

* Never allow a victim to self-help if they are suffering from moderate to severe hypothermia.

* Never and I mean never massage or rub a persons extremities (hands, arms, legs, feet) to get the blood circulating. Doing so can cause a condition called after-drop* and kill the victim.

Treatment Mild Hypothermia

Add more layers of dry clothing
Increase physical activity
get person out of elements
build fire to warm person
increase caloric intake by eating foods with simple sugars. (breads, candy bars, warm water with honey or sugar, etc.

Moderate to Severe Hypothermia

Get person out of elements
Be very gentle with the victim a hypothermic person’s heart is hyper excitable and can lead to arrhythmia
The victim should lay down in the horizontal position
Do not elevate the victims arms or legs while the person is laying down; After-drop can occur.
Apply warm compresses: under both armpits, the groin, and back of the neck.
Give victim warm water with sugar*
If necessary, use hypothermia wrap*
Make sure person heart rate is not present before administering CPR*

After-drop Is where the core temperature actually decreases during re-warming. After-drop occurs by peripheral vessels in extremities dilating if they are re-warmed by external heat sources, rubbing, or massaging. This causes the very cold blood from the extremities to move back to the core. This further decreases the core temperature, and can lead to death. Moreover, this blood is acetic which can lead to cardiac arrhythmias and even death… Re-warm the core only!

Hypothermia Wrap: Make sure the patient is dry. The person must be protected from any moisture in the environment, including a layer to keep the victim from collecting sweat on the skin. Use multiple sleeping bags, wool blankets, wool clothing. 4" of insulation should be all the way around the patient, especially between the patient and the ground to prevent heat loss due to conduction. Include a Mylar "space" blanket to help prevent radiant heat loss. Wrap the entire thing in plastic to protect from wind and water. 

Warm Sugar Water
: people with severe hypothermia will not be able to digest solid food; however, they can absorb water and sugars. Giving a diluted mixture of warm water with sugar/Jell-O every 15 minutes will allow the victims metabolism to kick in and generate internal heat.

Urination Urinating will help conserve heat. A full bladder uses body heat to keep urine warm rather than vital organs. Once the person has urinated, body heat will be redirected towards vital organs. You will need to help the person urinate. Open up the Hypothermia Wrap enough to do this and then cover them back up.

CPR a person in severe hypothermia may demonstrate all the clinical signs of death, but they may still be alive and can be revived. During severe hypothermia the heart is hyper excitable and administering CPR can result in fibrillation and death.

Be sure the pulse is completely absent before beginning CPR. Remember, the heart rate may be 2-3/minutes apart and the breathing rate 1/30 seconds. Administering CPR at this point may lead to life-threatening arrhythmias. Check the carotid pulse for a longer time period (up to a minute) to ascertain if there is some slow heartbeat. A hypothermia victim is never dead until warm and dead. If there is no discernible heartbeat begin CPR, and be prepared to continue - persons with hypothermia have been given CPR for up to 3.5 hours and have recovered with no neurological damage.

It’s really up to you!

Basic first-aid is often overlooked by even the most experienced outdoorsmen—Red Cross courses
are available across the country. All it takes is a little effort to help save a life. Hypothermia is one of the most common medical emergencies one will encounter in the outdoors. Knowing how to recognize and treat hypothermia, until professional help arrives, should be a part of your skill set. 


A water storage plan that almost everybody can do and build, not very expensive and you can buy what you need perhaps all in one place

 It is a pool of water made with hay bales or the straw bales would be cheaper and some plastic/poly tarps. and several contractor size plastic bags, some 2x4sx8s boards, you do not have to worry about the grade. You could install this in most backyards. The 2x4sx8s will be used as stakes to hold the bales in place. 

 This type of pool is very easy to make. Use at least 6 to 8 bales per side and maybe 6 bales wide or more if you have room, if it’s much bigger the pressure of the water will be too much for the bales to hold in place. However, it will hold 100s of gallons.

 You need to find a very level section of ground, and get rid of any rocks or sticks so they will not poke holes in the tarp. I would lay down a heavy poly tarp as my ground sheet and then check it for
any objects that might poke through the tarp. To make your straw bales ready, you must put a contractors’ bag over the whole bale, it might take two of them from each end, tie them off to make them secure. They cannot get wet if you have extra, double them up. Arrange the bales in a rectangle and then walk around and form the plastic into the bottom edges. You need to establish the shape of the interior pool, flop any extra plastic up and over the bales. Now put down a pool or pond tarp, you want the least amount of stress on the pool liners, and overlap the corners.  Whatever is extra flop his over the bales as well. There should be enough to reach and have enough slack all around. Tuck that extra under the bales. Now comes the hardest part, cut the 2X4sX8s in half and make a point. Drive the stakes about two feet into the ground that will leave you about 2 feet above the bales, my suggestion is to have at least a stake at each end of the bale around one foot in from the end. To keep the water
clean use a bleach formula of about 16 drops per gallon. You are going to end up with about 2 thousand gallons so the bleach can be poured in using the quart’s size bottles, about two of them will do the trick. If your pool is 16 x 12 x 1 ½’, that is a lot of water, cover the top with more plastic and tie it down on the upright stakes very taut so that water does not settle on the top and get into your pool. You will have to experiment a little to get it right. Even though you have taken safe guards to keep your water pure I would boil it before use or use a Big Berkey type of filter to ensure it is safe. I cannot be there to guide you, so this is at your own risk.
 This plan is by memory and have not done this in over 60 years, I do not think I missed a step, but once you have the idea it will be self-evident as you build the pool. This could be setup to catch rain water as well. Be sure you have some PVC pipe to retrieve the water or a hand pump of some kind, even if all you have are a few buckets they will do.  

 by Dude McLean

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

"What Is This Blog About, Anyway?"

Over the last several months I have received many emails all asking the basic same question, so I am addressing the answer here just so it is clear, what is this blog about, is it a prepper or a survival blog, is it a primitive skills blog or a book review blog, or a self-reliance blog, the answer is yes it is. This is self-reliance, our lives are not narrow but involve many complex thoughts and life styles, life is large so it is complex. We have many interests and they include several layers. The folks who asked
is it a prepper blog or a survivalist blog, yes it is, prepper is just a way of saying survivalist, seems the media has poisoned the word survivalist and it is happening to the word prepper as well, that is
too bad, it is a fact we are all survivalists, we eat to stay alive so we survive. I could go on but you get the idea. There are a lot, perhaps thousands of survival blogs and forums, I have made an effort not to be a copycat of those other fine efforts, whose writers are much better than I am. But I have been around the block so many times and have experienced a lot of life in my almost 80 years here on this dirt clod. I am compelled to write about what I know, if I do not know it, I shut up. Much is just my ramblings.

 So you can pick and choose what you wish to read, most of the articles are not time sensitive and hopefully will stand the test of time. I really hope most of you get something from my efforts on this little blog.

 The series on the Feral Woodsman has been popular, if nothing else it is at least a nice fantasy, but it could be real, many are doing it and I get contacted by a few of these folks from time to time. I have also run into a few of them in the bush, really they are out there. 

 Trying to be relevant, is not an easy task. I am glad so many have viewed my work. In truth it is not work most of the time, as it is fun for me to do. I hope you all continue to enjoy the blog. 

 by Dude McLean

Friday, January 22, 2016

What do You Really Need?

What do You Really Need?
By: Dude McLean

We are overwhelmed by marketing, by well meaning friends, magazines, and the internet. What am I talking about? GEAR!

What you really need is no big deal and does not have to cost you a house payment.

Lets look at the basics, some you may already have it.

A pack, a knife, a cooking can, fire making stuff, canteen, food, shelter, a blanket/sleeping bag.

To get started I would start with some sort of a small pack, a knapsack should work just fine. They have been around for hundreds of years, you can find them pretty cheap, and I see them at yard sales all the time for a few bucks...I bought a Mule Camelback, brand new, for 3 dollars.

A knife would be nice. For me and many others the only folder I take into the field is a SAK (Swiss Army Knife).The Rucksak or the Outrider are my choices. They both have a locking blade and offer the longest saw of the SAK models.

Conventional wisdom says you need a fixed blade camp knife. I agree with that thinking, but you could do just fine with one of the SAK models.

A fixed blade should be as long as the width of your hand.

A decent fixed blade can cost anywhere from a low of 10 bucks to 100 bucks and up to the rarified air of many hundreds of bucks and even into the thousands; however, a great knife for the camp can be found at thrift stores and yard sales posing as butcher knives, knives, etc., and you can get'em for a buck. They will do just fine in camp use. That's a deal.

FIRE! Matches or a Bic lighter and you are in business. Ahh! but you should have at least three ways to start a fire,O.K., we have two. How about flint and steel and charcloth? A Doans mag bar? A flare?...You choose.

We have made fire for a few reasons. One is for warmth, and to see at night . The other is so we can cook our food, or at the least ,warm it up.

A coffee can answers just fine. Punch a hole on each side at the top attach a wire coat hanger for the bail , season the can and you are in "chef boy r Dudes" kitchen... Carry two if need be. The larger coffe can is close to a number 10 can, or a gallon, and it can be converted into a hobo stove for burning twigs.

Another way to make a twig stove is to get one of those throwaway aluminum cooking pans, add some metal cross bars and you have a stove.

If you want to go Hi-Tech on your stove, grab a soda can and make a Halcon alcohol stove. All of your cooking gear is free...How cool is that?

Water, In most places in the country you will want to carry water, so you need a canteen. two options are a plastic quart bottle works just fine, and a surplus store has military canteens at a cheap price (Many of them come with a cup , so you have another container thrown in , such a deal.)

Shelter, You may or may not need it. But lets look at this, you can make a debris hut, you know the one TBjr. invented ...ahem, sorry but some people think that is true. But to build one the correct way takes a bit of practice and the material to make one must be close by. It only costs your labour.

A few heavy duty contractor bags will work wellas a lean-to, or you you might go the light weight tarp route, they run 50 bucks and up.

Ah.. but you can buy those plastic tarps for 10 bucks and cut them and paste them to your desired shape.

A painters cloth dropcloth works well, as long as you can keep the cotton fairly tight it is rain resistant. You can water proof them as well..

Surplus stores have used military tents in all shapes and sizes..There are so many shapes it makes my brain hurt..You can also find these at yard sales and thrift stores.
A poncho will also work for a lean-to and I have done manytimes...It works, but I would rather have dedicated tarp for the purpose..

Sleep does matter and being comfy determines how well you sleep. Your bed can be a bunch of leaves , pine needles, or the like, all piled up for a nice mattress ( you stuff them in the contractors bag)... I have done this many many times and it is comfy...You can pile a bunch of leaves over you...

You might consider a wool blanket or a poly of some kind..Sleeping bags can found at yard sales and thrift stores. Test out some blankets or quilts as a part of your sleeping system. Always remember your clothes are your first shelter, and are a part of your sleeping system as well.

Eating Food

Prepackaged meals from the store are available. But they aint cheap. You can learn to prepare your own meals ahead of time. It wont cost you much. This info, in case you dont know how to go about, it is also found in the HoodMasters videos.
Dried foods go a long ways. Preparing your own foods is a whole article in and of itself, but you get the idea. When done properly you can have a feast for a week on the cheap and eating like a king.

This is down and Dirty Gear for your dirt time.It will all work just fine.


Most of this list is a one time cost.

Used knapsack 5.00
SAK, optional 35.00
used fixed blade 1.00
second fixed blade 1.00 buck
matches, water proof 2.00
Bic lighter 1.00
Doan mag bar 6.00
Flint and steel 12.00
Bow and drill 00.00
sparking rod...2.00
road flare 2.00
Coffee can 00.00
Halcon stove 00.00
Alcohol 4.00 bucks
Canteen , soda bottle 00.00


debris hut 00.00
Contractor plastic bags 6.00
painters drop cloth 20.00

Sleeping gear

leaves,pine needles 00.00
poly blanket 5.00
wool blanket 10 to 50


prepared meals from the store.for one day about 20
Prepared yourself 20, for a week.


If you have nothing suitable already, go haunt the thrift stores
used shirts, 3
pants 4 to 6
jacket 8

I have found brand new clothes with the original price still on them; 50 dollar pants for 4 bucks etc..Boots etc under clothes already have.

What does this add up to you ask?...about 107.00 bucks. If you throw in all the optional gear about 230 or so bucks...

At this point you have put together all of your gear. The cost will be about your food and the gas to get where you are going.

If you are knowledgable the cost for getting started can very small 30 bucks . You may already have a few things to add to the gear..That will save you And all of this gear is light weight to cool is that?...

At these prices almost everyone can afford to get out in the bush...No excuse that you do not have the gear...It aint ba contest to see who can spend the most or who has the latest gizmogeewhizbangdodahrazamatazz stuff...Get the HoodWoods videos to help you along the path...

I hope this is of some help to at least a few of you ...Thats my cactus and Im sticking to it...