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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