All posts in "Camping Guide"
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    Best Survival Dried Foods With Long Shelf Life

    By David Simpson

    Food is essential to survival. In a disaster situation, the power may go out, leaving your refrigerator or freezer virtually useless. Grocery store shelves will be emptied, and restaurants won’t be serving meals. Food will, no doubt, be a hot commodity in a worst-case situation.

    Similarly, if you’re in the wilderness, you won’t have access tourban or suburban conveniences. You’ll have to fend for yourself using what’s in your pack along with nature’s resources.

    You and your family will need access to food, and dried items are among the easiest to prepare, store and transport. Here’s a quick rundown of some dried, portable edibles to keep in your cellar or go-bag and how to best store them.

    Shell Beans, Legumes

    Dried shell beans and legumes—such as black beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, split peas and soybeans—are a staple in most pantries thanks to their long shelf life and versatility.
    These little  protein-, starch- and fiber-rich morsels also travel well. Plus, some beans and legumes can be sprouted and grown (or eaten). They’re a perfect item to have on hand—just in case.

    • Choosing

      You can purchase dried beans and legumes from your grocer, or you can grow and dry your own. When you grow your own, let the beans partially dry on the plant. Harvest them when the pod turns light brown and the seeds are mature.
      Place the pods in a cloth sack and hang it in a warm place for up to two weeks to finish drying. When completely dry, shake or hit the sack to break the pods and release the seeds. Remove the pods and pour off the beans. Store them as you would purchased beans.

    • Storing and Shelf Life

      When properly dried and stored in an airtight, moisture- roof container in a cool, dry place, shell beans and legumes can be kept indefinitely.
      They will take some effort to cook, as you’ll need a heat source, water and a pot in which to cook them. But if you have access to those essentials, the beans will provide a ready source of nutrition for you and your family.

    Dried Meats, Jerky

    Who doesn’t love a good jerky? The salted, seasoned, sometimes smoked raw meat dried in an oven was a favorite among pioneers—and it’s still a popular snack today.
    Because most of the moisture is removed from the meat during the drying process, jerky can be stored without refrigeration, making it ideal for survival situations. The addition of salt and sodium nitrate extends the shelf life of jerky even more.

    • Choosing

      Just about any lean fish or meat, including beef, game and lamb, can be turned into jerky. You can purchase ready-made jerky in your local market, or you can make your own.
      If you make your own, be sure to follow tested recipes that use proper temperature and drying time, as certain dis ease-causing microorganisms, like salmonella and E. coli, may be present in raw meats and survive the

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      Forty Survival Tools You Can Make From Everyday Items

      By David Simpson

      Stuff happens. Whether you simply forgot some necessary items for your hiking or camping trip, or mother nature has decided to turn your world upside down, you can survive and thrive with a little ingenuity and creativity from some of the most mundane items you can imagine. “Anything has potential to help in a pinch even a piece of gum and its wrapper,” says Tim MacWelch, owner and operator of Advanced Survival Training, a wilderness survival school. “It’s beneficial to know alternative uses for a few items you might already have in your gear, as they can help you escape a sticky situation.”

      Water Bottles

      Whether plastic or metal, water bottles are common supplies for any outdoor activity. These seemingly simple items can help ensure you make it through a tough ordeal in the wild.

      1. Store Water When faced with a survival emergency, identifying a water source should be a first priority, as should determining the best way to transport and store it in camp. “Many people immediately think of what they’ll do for food, but water is much more important for long- term survival,” MacWelch says.
      2. Water Sanitation Not only are metal water bottles better for the environment, they provide a more effective means of disinfecting water. MacWelch recommends boiling water in a metal bottle for about 10 minutes before consuming rather than relying on solar disinfection, which uses the sun’s UV rays to kill germs.
      3. Dry Storage Wide-mouth bottles can be used to store smaller items such as matches or fish hooks, provided the inside is dry.
      4. Funnel The top half of a plastic water bottle makes an ideal funnel. Just cut off the top of the bottle.
      5. Fish Trap Remove the top of a plastic bottle, and invert it in the lower half to make a trap for smaller fish such as minnows that can be used as bait for larger fish.

        Via Wikipedia

      6. Flotation Device Large empty plastic bottles are highly buoyant.
      7. Shovel When cut at an angle, the top of a plastic water bottle, 2-liter or gallon jug can serve as an improvised shovel.
      8. Bug Trap If your campsite has bug problems, you can cut the top off of a 2-liter or gallon bottle, turn it inside out and place it back onto the bottom. Put an attractant (such as a cut apple or jelly) in the bot- tom of the bottle. The bugs will fly in through the spout, but they can’t get back out.
      9. Planter Interested in growing plants as part of your survival strategy? You can remove the bottom of a 2-liter soda bottle and plant flowers in it. Replace the top of the bottle to provide humidity for your seedlings.
      10. Twine Using sharp scissors, cut a plastic jug in a spiral motion to create a long string of plastic. You can use it to make a strong twine material.

      Five uses for a stick not all survival materials are man-made. You can use a sturdy stick for many purposes, including the … Read the rest

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        How to predict the weather with clouds

        By David Simpson

        On a warm evening in 1802, upstairs from a laboratory at 2 Plough Court in London, 30-year-old Luke Howard, a chemist and amateur meteorologist, rose before the Askesian Society—a jovial
        group of scientists whose irreverence was only matched by their affinity to inhale laughing gas for amusement—and presented his essay called On the Modification of Clouds, where the Latin terms “stratus,” “cirrus,” and “cumulus” were first used.

        With this, Howard became known as the father of clouds, and although the connection between clouds and the weather had been around for thousands of years, finally there was a universal naming system and, most importantly, it was in Latin. Today, the plaque on Howard’s house reads: “The Namer of clouds lived and died here.”
        For modern human beings, checking tomorrow’s weather is as easy a clicking an app on their phones or watching the evening news, but spend any amount of time high in the mountains and out of reach of modern methods of communications that we take for granted, and you’ll soon discover that the weather can change dramatically in a matter of hours, if not minutes. Sunny one moment, gale-force rains the next.

        Being prepared for any situation is all about reading the signs that hint at what the future holds, and when it comes to weather, the future is in the clouds. Essentially, meteorology is the study of the air’s effect on the environment and the various natural elements that affect the air—temperature, humidity, wind, and pressure.

        These elements, since the dawn of civilized man, have exerted a profound influence on the habitability and civilization of the very planet. To a professional meteorologist, the observation of the types of clouds and the forms of precipitation are one of the most important readings they can observe, so it stands to good reason that even a casual observer—especially one in a survival situation—would gain from knowing the physical process of the atmosphere.

        Predicting the weather

        It isn’t too difficult to predict the weather if you’re in familiar territory. Near your home base, the weather today will probably be similar to what it was yesterday. But remove yourself from your familiar territory and the weather will be as foreign as if it were another planet. It is important to understand the movement and formation of the clouds as a clear signal to decide whether you’ll be building a shelter out of branches and leaves or an ark out of logs and mud.

        Classification of clouds

        From the ground, clouds can be divided into four main groups based on their structure and location: cirrus, alto, stratus, and cumulus. These basic forms may be present simultaneously, evolve from one form to another, and combine into various permutations, but elevation is a predominate factor in classifying clouds: Cirrus clouds occur only in the upper part of the troposphere, while stratus occur only at the lower levels. However, the tops of cumulus clouds may thrust up to the levels of cirrus territory, while the bases … Read the rest

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          Wild Fruits and Nuts: A must have guide for backcountry traveller

          By David Simpson

          You can’t walk through a field, forest, swamp or even your own backyard without passing by (or stepping on) wild edible plants. Uninhabited areas, and even urban locations, contain nutritious wild food that’s free for the taking—if you know what to look for. The same plant foods that sustained our ancestors are still out there growing as they always have. Learn what those things are, and you’ll gain a back-up food supply that’s available year-round

          What can you do with acorns

          The nuts produced by any oak tree (trees in the genus Quercus) are a plentiful, high-calorie wild food crop around the Northern Hemisphere. Coming in at just over 2,000 calories per pound, acorns are too valuable to ignore, despite their bitter flavor and previous misinformation. Just make sure you can tell the difference between an acorn and a buckeye, because buckeyes (and the very similar-looking horse chestnut) are poisonous. To prepare your acorns, crack them out of their shells and break any large nut pieces into smaller bits. Then soak the acorn chunks in water to remove the bitter and irritating tannic acid.

          Don’t boil acorns, because it locks in some of the bitterness permanently. Just soak the acorns in a few changes of water, for a few hours per soaking. If the water was safe to drink, taste a piece of acorn to see if it’s still bitter. If you don’t like it, dump off the water (which should look brown after a few hours of soaking), add fresh water and soak the acorn pieces again for a few hours.

          Repeat this as needed, depending on the acorn’s bitterness. Once they taste acceptable, let the acorns dry out for a few hours. Then you can run them through a grain grinder, blender or flour mill to make acorn flour. Add this flour to existing recipes, or try making traditional acorn porridge by simmering acorn flour, water and maple syrup.

          Focus On Other Tree Nuts

          The walnut family gives us the highest-calorie wild food available. Black walnut, butternut walnut, pecan and hickory are all in this family, and the shelled-out nut meats of these trees can provide you with a high-fat food that’s almost 200 calories per ounce. Beechnut, hazelnut and even pine nuts can also be eaten, after picking the nut meats from shattered shells, assuming you can beat the squirrels to them.

          Spring Brings Great Salad

          With all the fresh green growth, you’d think spring would provide you with a lot of food, and it does—but it’s all very watery, low-calorie food. Most of the leaves, shoots and other spring vegetables provide only 20- 30 calories per plateful. However, spring makes up for this low-calorie situation by offering us a great variety of tasty wild salads, flowers, shoots, tubers and roots. Among the tastiest spring edibles are dandelion greens and flowers, watercress in a salad, spring beauty bulbs, fresh chick- weed, redbud tree flowers, and sassafras roots, which I use for tea … Read the rest

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            How to navigate with a map and compass

            By David Simpson

            You’re on the move. Perhaps you’re backpacking in a wilderness area, or maybe you’re bugging out to a secret location—but whatever the reason, you’ll need to make sure you stay on your route at all times. A few simple techniques can help you identify where you are, and ensure that you find your way to your destination.

            Utilize all resources

            The first thing to remember when you’re trying to “stay found” (or avoid getting lost) is to use as many techniques and tools as you have available rather than counting on just one or two to handle all situations. That might mean using a topographic map in combination with a road map, utilizing waypoints in your GPS to confirm where you are on a larger scale map than your GPS can display, or just using a map with a handheld compass.

            Once you’re on the road or trail with your navigation tools, it isn’t practical or safe to stare at your map during your entire trip. The following techniques will allow you to maintain your situational awareness by focusing on your surroundings instead of the map or GPS.

            1. Break the trip into segments.

              Don’t think of it as one long trip. Instead, break it up into a series of shorter legs with easily recognizable natural or man-made features at each end. Then you can move from one checkpoint to the next until you finish your journey.

            2. Use terrain association.

              A very simple and direct way to move from one point to the next is to determine the compass bearing to your next checkpoint and then walk the straight line to get there. This works well, but it also means that you don’t have the option of picking the easiest route—and that’s where terrain association comes into play. Terrain association refers to following terrain features, like roads, woodlines, ridges or streams to reach your checkpoint or destination. This allows you to take the easier route when you can and resort to following compass bearings when you absolutely must.

            3. Familiarize yourself with what’s on and off your planned route.

              You should always be prepared for the unexpected, so before you set out, take the time to familiarize yourself with what’s on either side of the route you plan to take. This will give you an advantage if you run into some obstacles along the way, such as finding that the bridge you planned to cross has been destroyed. You want to have a Plan B, C and D in mind to address any problems along the way.

            Think inside the box

            Handrails, or linear terrain features, can make it easier to navigate when you’re moving from one point to the next, and they can also help you to keep from getting lost. Whether you’re traveling on foot or by vehicle, you can use long linear terrain features to draw a box around the area where you’re operating.

            As long as you stay within that box, you can always find your way … Read the rest

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              Methods of safe disposal of human waste

              By David Simpson

              Everyone wonders but seldom does anyone ask.
              When thrust into a survival situation, such as living without water following a major quake, what do you do with human waste? Surviving when you’re away from the comforts of home—or following a natural disaster—is usually not a problem during the first few days, but what happens if your stay gets extended? Then washing dishes and cleaning clothes become issues. But there are solutions, as you’re about to read the specific methods for handling these situations.

              Dig cat holes

              The question on many peoples’ minds – but the one most are afraid to ask – involves how to dispose of human waste when outdoors. In the absence of an outhouse or other appropriate location, “cat holes are the proper method of disposal,” says Haven Holsapple, Leave No Trace program coordinator with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). To avoid polluting nearby water sources and to maximize the odds of decomposition, you should dig a cat hole six to eight inches deep at least 200 feet from the water, camp, trails and drainages, NOLS advises. Then cover the hole appropriately rather than covering it with a rock, because it decomposes faster if it’s under soil.

              You should dispose of your toilet paper in your own garbage that you plan to haul away, but if that isn’t possible, use as little as possible and bury it deeply in the cat hole rather than trying to burn it, NOLS suggests. Alternately, many naturalists have great success using products from the wild as toilet paper, including grass and snow. If you’re going “number one,” you needn’t dig a hole, but you should try and urinate on rocks or bare ground rather than on vegetation, the Leave No Trace program says.

              Rules on washing dishes

              If you’re having your meals at a campsite, you want to make sure that you not only throw out all of your garbage to avoid attracting animals, but you should also do your washing at the campsite and not in a stream. “Even biodegradable detergents can negatively impact animals and plants whose home is the water source,” says Colorado-based campsite manager Carrie Burke. Ideally, you should boil a pot of water while preparing your meal, and use that to wash the dishes after you finish eating.

              You may not require soap, because hot water and heavy scrubbing can be effective, but if you use biodegradable dish soap, make sure you are 200 feet from the water source to avoid contamination, Burke says. After cleaning the dishes in it, take the extra step of straining the dirty dishwater through a T-shirt (or if you have one, a small strainer) before pouring the water on the ground away from your campsite and water sources. “Straining it will make sure there are no small food particles in the dishwater that you end up throwing on the ground,” Burke says. “I was at a campsite once where someone poured out their dishwater and … Read the rest