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Thursday, October 12, 2017



 Having amassed a great deal of books over the years on the skills and different methods of "survival", plus practicing the skills for years, it seems to me we have lost the idea of being in the wild. Concentrating on survival as dictated to us by our "leaders" in the survival world. What happened to going out and learning about the wild life & the plants? Planted in the back of our minds, oh my god, what if this bad thing happens. I don’t have the right knife or the right clothes, I will die on this spot. Hell, when I was a kid we didn’t even think about those things, we had water and some food with us that was it. Keeping things simple is the key, you want to enjoy the outdoors, not be
afraid with every step you take. If you have done a bit of basic homework like; shelter building and lighting a fire, you are good. Think back how many times have you really been lost. Really lost is a little unsettling, but in today’s world there are homing devices that call in for you and bam rescue is
on the way. Or lacking the device, the morning brings a new understanding of your direction. It is about participating in nature not fighting it.

Now I might be off my rocker, some think so, but I think it’s time to relax about being out in the wild blue yonder, a few basic preps should do you just fine. Practice the skills so they are second nature ... if you are just starting out, keep your trips short and quiet. It is not a contest, learn the wild life, the plants and what they can do for you. Study the best right now shelters to crawl into no matter where you are on the trail.. I like to take my time and study what is around me. Well to be honest at this point in my life I have to take my time, I’m just not in the hurry most seem to be in.. Enjoy your surroundings and sun on your face. In a another article I talked about the use of plastics, at one time I would have rejected the idea. Right damn now, however I have found
many interesting ways to use this world of plastic. It works for me and might work for you as well. I am still experimenting and finding ways to use these items.

The idea that going into the wild is only about survival, is crap, going into the wild should be about the joy and wonder of nature, not that a bad thing will happen. I don’t mean to be all Pollyanna about it but at almost 80 years old and having behind me more time on  trails than most of you are old, the times I have been in a survival situation are less than the fingers on one hand. You can even chop a few of those off and still it doesn’t amount to squat. Oh I know we can point out some really dumb moves by folks but I’m betting most of you are at least above the bonehead level. Good old common sense needs a comeback. The thing to remember is the products being touted by some expert are being made to sell to you out of fear. Sure some are really good but most will never be needed or used. Go out and have
fun be not afraid! Contrary to some who are making a buck off of your fears that they seem to delight in. In most parts of the USA you can find classes given by instructors who are not all caught up in gear and gizmos. Useless crap soon finds its way to the trash if you caught up in the fear, try not to be that guy, we all make mistakes. That’s the learning curve, but being in the wild is not rocket science, it is where we came from.  Be with it, the plants, the trees and the rocks are all living. Talk to them and get to know them, I think you will like what you find.

                                                                             Dude McLean

Wednesday, August 2, 2017


  The other day I had a class with some traditional campers including primitive skills, so at one point we decided to take a close look at what each one carried in their respective packs., One by one they revealed the gear, mostly very standard stuff, then it was my turn. As I laid out my gear there were a lot of wow and oh really, what’s that good for?

 First here is a list of what I had that day; Zip lock ties, tin foil package, plastic zip baggies large size, a plastic pilots canteen, contractor bags 5 of them. a few lite utility knives, my Vechawk , some clear contractor bags, 2 net hammocks, one 8x10 plastic tarp, 2 machetes, a large knife, Cold Steel Trail Master, my Kephart knife, a poncho, 2 plastic bottles, plastic ties ,3 bics, 2 military net laundry bags, saran wrap, matches, glue, tacks, flint and steel, tinder, one dry wall saw, 2 sets of arrowcards,  bungee cords, a set of  pruners, space blankets, 2 thin wool blankets, several wire snares, my trusty coffee can with a bale attached. Several birthday candles the kind that won’t blow out, Dried fruit, chia seeds, trail mix of my making , jerky, 2 or 3 tins of sardines , 2 tins of spam, tums, spices, coffee, Leatherman tool, spoon and fork, a wool knit hat, head lamp. I don’t think I’m forgetting anything. I explained with this gear I’m good to go, although I might add a few other pieces of clothing depending on the weather. I can go for a week with these items. I carry most of the gear with a set of Ribz, some on my belt some stuffed in a pocket, and some in a shoulder bag if I need it. I try not to use a pack anymore at all. The Ribz are kind of goofy looking to my mind but they work really well. 

 It was decided that we would set up our camp. As it went I had my shelter and fire set up and was laid out in my hammock while everyone else was still setting up, plus my coffee was brewing. I walked around the site and helped a few of the guys set up, they were a bit taken back as I’m known for my traditional gear and primitive skill set. However, at my age, I want more than light, I want really easy and fast and comfort so I am always on the lookout for ways to make my load lighter and better than quick. A tip of my hat to my good friend Mike Gapp for many of the ideas and gear suggestions over the years, a few of the ideas are mine if I stole them from someone, sorry I don’t recall.. 

In fact many of the tools and ideas are just the same old tricks and skills set to a different drummer, meaning it’s just a different set of tools used the same way as the traditional and the primitive. The primitive world is tied together. I’m just using different tools to do the tying, like the ziplock ties and I do not have to make my own cordage, done deal. 

 I am not saying to drop it all in favor of this gear. When it wears out and breaks you will need to resupply. With the primitive skill set you have the foundation to keep going. What the gear does, that I’m talking about, is like a slingshot into the bush that will get you going faster and allow a flexible system to get out of the area with almost no trace. If they find a piece of plastic they will not know what it is for or if it is yours.  

So what this comes down to is your camping gear is at the 99 cent store for the most part. Before you go off saying that I’m full of it try it. Just try it in your backyard where your next-door neighbor already knows you are nutz. If you cannot figure out how to use the gear post the question here and I will try and explain it to you. Like anything that seems to different the learning curve can be a bit confusing but only for a minute.


Dude McLean

Monday, March 6, 2017



 Many companies make lot of money selling camo... people seem to like it, it looks cool and is kind of fun to wear. Then you have the military camo and that has a more serious meaning, just how effective it is on the battle ground seems to be a matter of opinion. Any pattern only goes so far and it depends on how it is deployed. The number one thing is do not move, the human eye will catch movement. 

                                                                        Apache methods from long ago

 In my study of the Apache it comes as no surprise that they were masters of the use of camo, they were taught from a young age how to hide, and how to "rise from the grass". An elder would take a group of boys in the field, and at a word, no matter where they were they had to drop and vanish. They would pull the native grass over them or use a bush or rocks to hide behind. They would even pull a bush up by the roots to move behind, at a word they would reveal themselves. To "rise from the grass" as if coming out of the ground. As warriors, they employed this method with great success. By adding the use of a blanket, covering it with brush, dirt and grasses they vanished into the earth. It is
like seeing an artist at work, creating a hide that even within a few yards was not visible to the eye.

                                                                        What you can do 

 The use of a net hammock can be employed as a blanket by weaving grass and brush in and through the netting. Pull it over you and do not move, you have hidden in plain sight. If someone is looking for you do not stare at them. They will feel you looking at them, that is also a part of camo.  You have the best camo as it is local to the terrain where you are, the colors are all correct. If you do not have a net hammock use a blanket. 

It will take some practice to get it right, but it is a fun exercise in the bush. You can become more than one with the earth, you can be the earth. Now you are a yucca, now just a mound, a sage bush etc. you get the picture. See if you can fool your buddies. Remember shadows are your friend. So, no matter what your wearing it should not matter, when the Apache went to war they took off any clothing they had on for the most part. So, what you are wearing should not matter much if you employ what is around you in the right manner. Now go hide! 

      by Dude McLean