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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