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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...

Not Just another Bow and Drill

Not Just another Bow and Drill
By Alan Halcon and Dude Mclean

Friction fire is one of the most sought after skills. People spend many frustrating hours trying to make fire by rubbing two pieces of wood together. The most common method is the bow and drill. You have all the right materials in place, you have read everything you could possibly get your hands on about the subject, you’re feeling confident and to your chagrin you cannot get a coal. 

“What happened?” you ask yourself. “I know the materials are right. Why is it that I can’t get a coal?” 

Without missing a beat, you grab all the materials get into position and try again. Only this time you figure maybe the cord was slipping, so you take up all the slack on the cord you can. Everything seems to be going fine. You even managed to get some smoke when all of a sudden, SNAP! The cord breaks. 

“Son of a…!” you say to yourself as you throw your bow-drill set into a dark corner in your garage. “I give up! This doesn’t work. The people who wrote this stuff are full of it!”

We have all been through this to some degree or another. Believe us when we tell you, “You’ll get it. Just keep at it”. 

It wasn’t until we met with, Dick Baugh, from Palo Alto Ca., at Winter Count 2004, he showed us a simple little known method that eliminates some of the frustrations people normally have with the traditional bow and drill. Dick proceeded to produce a smaller than normal size bow and drill set from his pocket. This one seemed a little different though. The drill was attached to a thinner than normal cord, which in turn was attached very loosely to the bow. 

“This!” he said “is the Egyptian Bow and drill, as it was shown to me by John Olsen, who said he saw it in a book on Ancient Egypt.” 

Although we had been aware of the Egyptian bow and drill, we had never really taken the opportunity to explore this unique method.

“The Egyptian Bow and Drill” he explained, “seems to eliminate some of the more common problems inherent with the standard/traditional bow and drill.” 

We know from experience the biggest problem with the common bow and drill is excessive wear and tear on the cordage, caused by the cord slipping on the drill itself. Wear and tear is what ultimately causes thinner cords to break. Another problem people seem to have, is getting used to the tension of the drill strung on the bow. For all that have tried the bow and drill, you know if you let go of the drill when strung on the bow, it will go flying. however it is the tension on the cord that allows the drill to spin… Enter the Egyptian Bow and Drill!

Upon returning from winter count we started experimenting with the Egyptian bow and drill by putting it through a series of tests. The first thing we did was take an old mulefat handdrill about 3/8” in diameter and cut a piece about four inches in length. For the cord we decided to use an 18” length of surveyors line. Next we strung the drill on the cord with a simple clove hitch. Another way is to run the cord through a small hole that has been made through the center of the drill and tie it off on either side with a knot. For the bow we used about a 9” section of a branch from a walnut tree. The bearing block we used was sycamore. And finally the hearth was sotol.


We set off to try this new ancient device. We wrapped the drill around the cord a la the standard bow and drill but instead of the normal one wrap, we wrapped it about 8 times. --- the length of the cord will determine the amount of wraps. You do however want to make sure that you are able to wrap the cord around the drill at least two times. The first thing we noticed was the lack of tension on the drill, common to the standard bow and drill set up. This was good because it meant there was no need to perform a juggling act just to get all the pieces into place. After settling into a comfortable position, we went to work trying to get a coal. Immediately we started to produce smoke. After about 20 or so seconds, we had a coal. A smile rolled across our face as we saw the little glowing ember. This was indeed an exciting moment for us. 

“Well we know that cord works” we said “lets go smaller.” At which point we decided to use some dental floss we happened to have, from our PSK (personal survival kit), just to see how well it worked. Using the same methods we employed earlier with the surveyors line, we proceeded to use the dental floss. After a couple of turns the floss snapped. Not because the floss slipped on the drill but because it was too thin to handle the downward pressure we were exerting on the drill with the bearing block. We decided to try it again, only this time we were going to use four strands of floss instead of one. The anticipation grew as we wondered if it was going to be at all possible to use floss. We proceeded to work the bow back and forth, slowly at first, and then faster and faster. After a very few seconds we began to produce smoke. We continued to draw the bow, back and forth slowly increasing our speed. When it happened, SNAP! The floss gave way. We sat there in disdain as we stared at the hearth, when we noticed smoke still rising from the notch. Our frowns quickly turned into smiles as we reached for our prepared tinder in order to blow the coal into a flame. 

Our experiments concluded that while the standard bow and drill works and works well, for those of us who have mastered it, the Egyptian bow and drill is far superior in design. The drill attached to the cord along with the extra wraps completely eliminated the cordage from slipping at all. This allows one to use a wider array of cordage such as floss, yucca, dogbane, a shoelace, or in an emergency even a strip of cloth from your cotton t-shirt. It also enables a person with limited experience to have a much greater chance of success. For those of you who have mastered the common bow and drill, you will find that using the Egyptian set up, is not only easier but more efficient. In fact we feel that once you use the Egyptian bow and drill you will no longer want to rely on the common bow and drill… there is no need to! 

By lengthening the cordage on your current bow and securing the drill to the cord with a clove hitch you will have instantly converted your bow into the Egyptian bow set, allowing for your own experimentation with this method… it’s that easy! 

When faced with a survival emergency, it is nice to know the materials you have on hand will work. Most important in survival is knowledge and knowledge is the Wilderness Way. 

Please feel free to post comments on my articles, I enjoy hearing from and responding to my readers. When you're finished posting your comment please click PUBLISH to share your comment with me and my readers. 

Friday, January 15, 2016



        I feel the last thing we ever really want to do is be in a gunfight.. however it could happen , here are few things to keep in mind. In training at a range we only are focused to the front , in a real life drama the badguy might not be alone, you have a second to do a 360, Refocus make sure the scum is alone, mostly they are not alone and the other badguy is going to clock you from behind, no happy dance there. Always check each side of you and behind as fast as you can. A range is really a poor place to train other than how to hit a target. We are are focused on the front all the time, not good.
It might be wise to find a place where you can set up a drill that you can fire in 4 directions, set the targets at close range and practice a rapid fire sequence, now you are focusing on your 360, covering all the bases. 

         It took me a while to find a place in the boondocks where it was safe to fire in 4 directions but it is worth the hunt.

 Better still if you have a buddy to set up the targets behind you and to the sides so that you have no idea how close or far each will be. Over the years I have done extensive training and only one instructor ever covered the possibilities of the behind or side attacks. I find that is a problem with many instructors. Try to make it as real as you can even to the point of your partner yelling at you and calling you names. He should be in a safe location.  

 I am no expert at this but feel this is just common sense. Always when training make sure you put no one in danger, the same thinking has to be in a real life deal as well , where are those bullets going to end up if you miss which you no doubt will when under the gun so to speak., lots to think of .  Just cover your 6 is the thinking .
This is short and sweet but I feel it is very important to train for the possibilities . Lets hope you never have to be in a confrontation at all but it is best to be ready as you can. I think a prudent person is ready and trained. Focus and refocus . 

By Dude McLean

Please feel free to post comments on my articles, I enjoy hearing from and responding to my readers. When you're finished posting your comment please click PUBLISH to share your comment with me and my readers.