All posts tagged outdoors


By Ken Jorgustin

To survive under difficult or threatening circumstances requires a set of instincts, knowledge and actions working together for success.

Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a simple thing…
S ize Up the Situation
Size Up the Situation, Surroundings, your Physical Condition, and your Equipment.

U se All Your Senses, Undue Haste Makes Waste
You may make a wrong move when you react quickly without thinking or planning.

R emember Where You Are
Always try to determine how your location relates to ‘the enemy’, ‘friendlies’, local water sources, and areas that will provide cover.

V anquish Fear and Panic
The greatest enemies in a survival situation are fear and panic.

I mprovise
No matter how complete a survival kit you have with you, it will run out or wear out after a while. Your imagination must take over when your kit wears out.

V alue Living
Stubbornness, a refusal to give in to problems and obstacles that face you, will give you the mental and physical strength to endure.

A ct Like the Natives
The natives and animals of a region have adapted to their environment. To get a feel of the area, watch how the people go about their daily routine. Learn how to adapt to their (humans and animals) environment and increase your chances of survival.

L ive by Your Wits, But for now… Learn Basic Skills
Survival training reduces fear of the unknown and gives you self-confidence. It teaches you to live by your wits. Learn these basic skills now–not when you are headed for or are in the ‘battle’.

Pattern For Survival
Develop a survival pattern that lets you beat the enemies of survival. This survival pattern must include food, water, shelter, fire, first aid, and signals – placed in order of importance.

For example, in a cold environment, you would need a fire to get warm, a shelter to protect you from the (cold, wind, and rain or snow), a means to get food, a means to signal for help (if you’re looking for it), and first aid to maintain health.

If injured, first aid has top priority no matter what climate you are in.

Change your survival pattern to meet your immediate physical needs as the environment changes around you. – Modern Survival Blog




Read the entire series! Part 1

 By Josh

Previously we discussed some of the methods commonly used for ice fishing when you have the luxury of being there and tending to the line. In this post, we’re going to look at how to build and use a tool known as a tip-up that helps to “watch” your fishing hole for you.

Many designs, but all with a similar principle

The basic idea of a tip-up is a mechanism that can do two things:

  1. Hold onto your line for you until a fish grabs it, whereupon it will spool line off of the reel.
  2. Once a fish begins pulling on the line, it will tip up a flag, ring a bell, or give some other indication that a fish is on the line.

Any contraption that you can build and put on the ice that accomplishes these two tasks will suffice for a tip-up. You can setup multiple tip-ups at different areas and depths in the lake or pond in a survival situation, but be aware that in any other case your local government may have a limit on how many you can have working a single lake.

Tip-ups have the advantage of only requiring your help to keep the ice hole clear and to pull in fish once caught. The disadvantage is that you may lose stronger fish that could have been easily caught with a manual fishing style, and tip-ups are fairly obvious indications of human presence complete with obvious flags and ringing bells. If you’re trying to be discrete and only need a few fish at a time, stick with the pole but if you need large amounts of fish tip-ups increase can vastly your catch.

Types of Tip-Ups


  • Rectangular Tip-Ups (sometimes known as a Beaver Dam design) lie flat on the ice above the hole and have string wrapped around a small spool that is actually placed into the hole. As the spool turns, it loosens the flag until it tips up and alerts you. These are simple to make at home and extremely stable on the ice, but they do tend to get lost if snow actually drifts over the lake. For a preparedess minded person, they have a low profile that is easy to hide when the flag isn’t up, making them very discreet.
  • The rounded hole tip-up design actually fits in the hole and uses a similar spool spinning mechanism to the Rectangular tip-ups. The key difference here is that since the device itself is placed at the top of the hole it can help keep it from freezing over in the short term, though some fishermen have complained that if left for a day or more they can freeze in place overnight, making them difficult to remove without damaging them.
  • The “Classic” design is one that is extremely light, simple and portable. Made of three pieces of wood held together with butterfly nuts, the classic is unfolded by loosening the nuts and formed into a rough “T” shape. Rather than relying on the spinning motion of the spool, the flag is released when the line is pulled off of a hook by the fish, releasing the flag to tip-up and become visible. These are generally very cheap to purchase, easy to setup, and extremely portable. However, they can be toppled over if improperly setup and do not keep the hole clear.

Each of them has different uses and all are suitable for a survival situation. If purchasing I recommend focusing on durability since these tip-ups tend to be made of portable, light materials such as thinner wood and plastic that can break easily on lower quality models. If properly cared for, however, a durable tip-up can last for many fishing seasons and provide you with a bounty of fish. – Prepared For That

Your Thoughts?

Would you buy a tip-up or build one for yourself? Would you use a tip-up in the first place? Let us know in the comments below!



Finding food in winter can be difficult as most forage has rotted away or been stripped by hungry animals. However, beneath the frozen surface of many lakes lies a bounty of delicious fish swimming slowly near the murky bottom. The specialized techniques of ice fishing can help you tap into this food source, if you have the proper tools.

The Essentials

For ice fishing you can’t just find a convenient hole and plop down your standard pole and line, you need certain tools designed for ice fishing. These include:

A manual augur like this one is extremely useful for punching through thick ice.

  • Ice fishing pole. These are different from standard poles, as they are shorter and designed to give you a better feel for the lighter tugs of lethargic, half-frozen fish. Technically you can fish with a regular pole if all else fails, but ice poles are fairly cheap and the inconveniences of using the wrong kind of pole can result in unacceptable lost catches.
  • The skimmer. This is essential, as this tool is needed to scoop out rubble from drilled holes and to pull out ice as it begins to form over your new fishing spot. Essentially a sieve with a long handle, skimmers are generally very cheap and you would do well to stock several for emergency use.
  • For true survival fishing, a convenient tool known as a tip-up could be a lifesaver. Basically it is a contraption that allows for passive fishing, since it will help hold the fish on the line for you until you have the chance to investigate. They are often equipped with flags or bells that activate when the line on the tip-up is pulled, and you can easily setup multiple ice holes with tip-ups for maximum fishing efficiency.

Optionally you can also purchase or build an ice hut, which is a mobile building designed to be placed over an ice hole in order to block the wind and snow for additional comfort. Although this would be helpful in reducing instances of frostbite or hypothermia, it also leaves a much more obvious footprint while it is present which could tip off other people to your presence.

How to ice fish

Ice fishing is generally pretty simple once you have the process down. There is an element of risk, however if you do not take the proper precautions.

  1. Select a lake. Generally speaking you will need at least 4 inches of solid ice in order to have sufficient thickness to stand on it for a long time and fish. If you have a heavy wooden shelter, you will require roughly 7-12 inches of solid ice. Beware of ice with the proper depth that is extremely fragile and crackly, known as “rotten ice”, that can give way even with proper thickness. In a pinch, many fishermen will use rotten ice that is twice as thick as normal ice, so a person would need 8 inches of rotten ice and a wooden shelter 14-24 inches. I would not recommend fishing on rotten ice, period as the danger during a survival situation is far too great. A 6 inch hole will do you just fine.
  2. Set your bait and put your line down into the hole. Baits in frozen waters are generally artificial, as the chill will rapidly slow worms and grubs. When setting the depth of your bait, there are 3 schools of thought. First, you should place the bait about 3 feet below the ice. Second, place the bait about 6-9 feet below the ice. Thirdly (and most commonly) place the bait a couple feet above the bed of the lake. Each of these techniques are suitable for various kinds of fish, but many will allow that the lakebed is often teeming with fish when compared to the upper layers making it a good safe bet.
  3. Wait. Ice fishing is no different from fishing in warmer seasons. You will have a lot of waiting to do on the ice as you feel for the light tugs of the fish. Be aware that most fish in frozen lakes are very lethargic and they will not tug as sharply on your hook as you may be used to.
  4. Once you have a fish on the line, allow it to fight until you can easily pull its head into the ice hole. You don’t want to be trying to fight the fish in the hole if possible, so let it tucker itself out in the open waters underneath. Once it is in the ice hole, pull it out rapidly onto the ice so that it doesn’t get caught in the hole.
  5. Enjoy your fresh catch! Typical ice fish treasures include pan fish (which as we’ve noted previously are also less likely to ingest poisonous materials)

In the next installment we will discuss using a tip-up, as well as the different kinds available on the market. Until then, you can use these techniques to collect a nice batch of fish for the pan even in a winter survival situation. – Prepared For That

Your Thoughts?

Have you ever ice fished before? Would you be willing to walk out onto the ice and drill away for a meal? Let us know in the comments below!

7 Tips to Keep You Alive and Found in the Wilderness

By Todd Walker

Get out there! Spend enough time with Mother Nature and you’ll likely experience emergencies.

Even the most innocent outings are potential survival situations. That fishing trip can turn nasty for all the wrong reasons. Your day hike may find you sleeping under the stars with a busted knee.

Always carry a minimal what-if emergency kit. With these tools, a survival mind-set, and Doing the Stuff skills, you increase your odds of staying alive and being found.

A.) Mindset Training

No matter the crisis or survival situation, your ability to come out on the other side alive is largely dependent upon your attitude. Recognizing that there will be added stress – mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual – is your first step.

Let us train our minds to desire what the situation demands. – Seneca the Younger

All your other skills will be affected by your mindset. Obviously, the more skills and knowledge you have, the more comfortable you’ll be when starting a fire to stay warm when your lost in the wilderness. Being collected enough to start a fire not only provides physical life support but boosts morale.

The more you practice skills, the more you’re attitude improves. Doing the Stuff beforehand keeps panic at bay.

B.) There’s No “I” in Team

This clever slogan adorns team t-shirts and locker room walls in the world of sport. Unfortunately, the saying won’t work on surv”I“val. There it sits, smack dab in the middle of the word!

In some cases, “I” is all you have. This scenario requires you to be a team of one – without a camera crew filming or emergency personnel standing by. You’ll have to survive on your wits and create your own ‘luck.’

C.) Resilient First Aid

Injuries happen. A scrap becomes infected. A misstep twists your ankle. Now you’ve become the doctor. All the more reason to pack a basic first aid kit. Learning basic first aid builds resilience.

The larger threat in wilderness survival situations is hypothermia and hyperthermia. Getting cold and wet leads to hypothermia. You’re ability to make sound decisions is reduced when your body’s core temp drops.

D.) Improvised Emergency Shelter

I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. Mother Nature is temperamental. She likes to see how much hell you can handle while visiting her “house.”

Humans aren’t built for prolonged exposure to nature’s elements. We require shelter. We may stumble upon a cave if one is available. But one advantage we have over our furry critter friends is our ability to use logic and reason to survive.

Any crisis over a couple of hours in wet, cold conditions will likely escalate into a life-threatening setting. Shelter is more important than water in this case. Humans can only go three hours without shelter. Having experience in building emergency shelter can save your life. If you’re caught without a piece of plastic or a tarp, you’ll have to improvise and use what nature provides.

Here’s some ways to build a temporary ‘home’ in the wilderness…

E.) Fire

7 Tips to Keep You Alive and Found in the Wilderness

The ability to make fire is everything in the wilderness. This skill aids in cooking, purifying, heating, signaling, security, and comfort. Fire affects all your other physical and emotional steps to survival and rescue.

Fire is life!

F.) Signaling Rescuers

This one doesn’t get much attention but may be your best hope of being found alive. A series of 3 of anything (sound or visual) let’s search and rescue know you’re in distress. Three whistle blasts, rocks, logs, and/or fires. Use fire at night and smoke during the day. Be sure not to set the surrounding forest ablaze.

If you want to be found, leave a trail or signs for search and rescue. Leave a bandana or strip of cloth hanging from branches if ground rescue is involved. Also build arrows with natural or man-made material to indicate your travel direction.

For ground-to-air rescue, find an opening or clearing and create large signals with straight lines and 90 degree angles or circles. Use logs or rocks that contrast with the background. Build a log cabin fire setup with dry tinder and fuel in the bottom and green leafy material on top that will produce lots of smoke. Fire it up when you hear airplanes or helicopters.

Number Message Code Symbol
1 Require Assistance V
2 Require Medical Assistance X
3 Proceeding in this Direction
4 Yes or Affirmative Y
5 No or Negative N

The above chart indicates to rescue how to proceed. Use any available contrasting material to make these symbols a minimum of 3 feet wide and 18 feet long to alert aircraft.

Shiny Object Signaling

A signaling mirror or any shiny object will work to alert pilots. Reflected sunlight can be seen for several miles. For more details on signaling with shiny objects, Creek Stewart shows you how to improvise here.

Always leave the 3 W’s with a trusted friend or family member:

  1. Where you’re going
  2. When you plan on returning
  3. Who’s in your group.

[I intentionally left water and food out of this post. Well, to be honest, I’m running short on time and don’t have the energy to cover these in this post.  We’ll chew on these later.] – Survival Sherpa

Keep Doing the Stuff!

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Every survival kit has a few holes that need to be filled, and winter survival kits tend to suffer from this more than most since they’re only used for part of the year. These top 5 picks are pretty easy to forget, but if disaster strikes you’ll be glad you had them!

5. Dry Thermal Underwear!

I have seen people who will pack an entire set of extra clothing, but leave out the bottom layer that is most important. Thermals are great for trapping air and wicking sweat away from your body, preserving body heat. If possible pack two pairs, since generally speaking thermal underwear isn’t all that bulky or heavy.

Extra thermal underwear helps keep you warm, even if you need to change out of wet clothes.

4. Emergency hand warming packs

Perhaps these seem more like a convenience, and generally they are. However, if your hands should become so cold that you can’t move them properly when you need to, a hot pack or two should help restore their dexterity. Furthermore, they can be used in conjunction with insulated clothing and blankets to add heat and keep you warm for a while longer. I recommend focusing on brands that last longer rather than having greater heat. When you’re freezing, any amount of heat will be useful and you want ones that will last as long as possible!

A few hand warmers can restore full dexterity to your hands even in the coldest weather.

3. A High-Quality Avalanche Shovel

No, not the little snow shovel for clearing your front steps off. A good avalanche shovel is made to move a lot of snow without snapping or breaking from the strain. It can be used to save people who are buried when building a snow cave, if your vehicle becomes trapped, to construct snow walls to block icy winds, and of course to save people buried by an avalanche. A little more weight in this particular case isn’t a bad thing, so go with a more durable aluminum model over the lighter plastic.

An avalanche shovel is great for many applications, including building a snow shelter!

2. Salt and Sugar

Yes, the same stuff you put on your fries or into your cakes. Sugar gives your blood sugar a boost, which can improve vision and keep your energy up. Salt can also be added to food or for an emergency electrolyte solution, but even more importantly it can be added to a small amount of water and used to de-ice in an emergency. Better still, they take up very little room and can even be carried in a coat pocket if you wish.

Salt and sugar have both proven useful in emergencies, so keep a few packets with your winter survival kit!

1. Garbage Bags

Black trash bags are awesome if you end up stranded in a snow cave, your car, or other stationary position for awhile. Simply place one garbage bag over your head, punching a few holes for your arms and head, and then put another bag over your legs without putting holes in it. This effectively acts as another thin but powerful layer that helps to trap body heat. As another plus, it is also waterproof and will help keep you dry if melting snow starts to drip on you.

A few black trash bags can help keep you warm and dry in an emergency.

Your Thoughts?

Can you think of any other overlooked items that should be in everyone’s kit? Let us know in the comments!

How To Make A Ghillie Suit

By P. Henry – The Prepper Journal

A ghillie suit is something I have been meaning to buy forever. When it comes to camouflage for hunting or sneaking up on people, there isn’t much better if you are using this the right way, but I never pulled the trigger so to speak on any of the pre-made varieties I have come across. I was watching Doomsday Preppers last night and one of the small nuggets of usefulness I was able to pull out of last nights show was how to make a ghillie suit yourself. The steps below are fairly easy and we even found a video that shows you everything you need. If you don’t want to do this yourself though and still prefer to buy a ghillie suit already assembled, you can do that instead and get into the woods faster. Either way, a ghillie suit is a great addition to your prepping supplies if staying hidden is important.

Commercial two-dimensional camouflage is great for blending into a variety of backgrounds, but it does nothing to offset your most game-spooking signature: your silhouette. Veteran hiders—military snipers, undercover surveillants, and hard-core hunters among them—rely on 3-D camouflage, entire suits made of billowy material that blurs their outline and allows them to disappear in plain sight. These suits are derived from those created by early Scottish game keepers, called ghillies. Make your own in one day with an old jacket, burlap, netting, dental floss, sewing needles, and glue.

Materials you will need:

  1. Used set of Camoflauge BDU’s
  2. Jute or burlap strips
  3. Netting
  4. Shoe Gloo or Zip Ties

Step 1 – Add the Netting

The perfect base is a used BDU uniform jacket, available at military surplus stores. Buy a roll of replacement fishing net and cut it into strips at least two squares wide. Using dental floss, sew these strips down the sleeves and the front of the jacket, leaving 6 to 8 inches between strips. Then seal the stitches with shoe glue.

Add the netting

Step 2 – Ready the Burlap

A traditional ghillie suit is covered by strands of burlap. You can get material from bulk coffee bags, but any burlap bag or roll of netting will work. You need between 4 and 8 pounds of material for each suit. If you can’t find burlap, buy braided jute twine in natural colors and separate each braid into individual fibers.

Ready the Burlap

Step 3 – Separate the Strands

Unraveling the burlap or jute material into individual strands is the most time-­consuming part of making the suit. Cut strips of burlap and then unravel the cross-linked fibers and separate them into strands of equal length. The longer strands will go on the sleeves and the front of the suit. Shorter strands will overlap down the back.

Separate the strands

Step 4 – Tie in the Burlap

Now you’re ready to tie the strands of burlap or jute into the netting. Take 10 to 15 strands and fold the bunch in half, then push the loop under each vertical square of netting. Draw the hanging ends of the bunch through the loop and pull tight. Start at the bottom and work upward, ensuring that each row overlaps the one beneath it.

Tie In the burlap

There are also a ton of videos on YouTube about how to make a ghilli suit and this one is pretty basic, but shows the steps nicely and you get to enjoy a rocking song to go with it. – The Prepper Journal

Read the original post on Outdoor Life



Preppers are ever and always debating which tool or tools are best for various situations, and the arguments surrounding survival knives and axes are no exception. Although each tool has their finer points and uses that the other doesn’t match making them an excellent matched pair of tools, when the time comes you may need to select one or the other for your pack or stockpile. In that case, which one should be included? We’re going to look at the strengths and weaknesses of each tool, both knife and axe, to determine which will be most useful for you.

What is a “Survival” knife or axe?

Although there are plenty of fine knives and axes available on the market, only a small subset of them are truly suitable to be called “survival” axes or knives. Generally speaking, a true survival tool has these qualities:

A small hatchet like this is much easier to carry than a big splitting maul.

  • Able to be carried long distances. A big splitting maul may technically qualify as an axe, but it is hardly a survival tool since it is much too heavy! This criteria is generally applied only to axes, since even heavy knives are plenty light for a person to carry. The best kinds of axes tend to resemble hatchets, being small enough for easy packing and light weight yet still substantial enough to take serious punishment.
  • Durable. This is where many knives tend to fail. Although there are definitely uses for cheap pocket knives and the like in emergency situations, a true survival knife needs to be made of sterner stuff. Although axes will generally do better when subjected to a durability test, there is still a need to cull the cheap big box store brands made with low-quality steel. Both knives and axes need to be able to handle chopping wood, sharpening stakes, potential self-defense against people and animals, and the occasional accidental strike against rocks or soil over a long period of time.You need knife and axe blades made of metal which is worth sharpening after hard use.
  • Able to be repaired/sharpened. The axe or knife needs steel of sufficient quality to be sharpened properly over the course of time. Ideally, a good survive knife blade or axehead will have a removable grips/handle in case they become damaged over time.
  • Versatile in function. Some knives are designed primarily for combat or other uses and have special features that allow them to do this job better. Likewise, there are many axes designed primarily for carpentry work or only for splitting big thick logs. A survival tool needs to be a jack of all trades, not specifically good at any one thing but decent at a wide variety of common tasks. Lopping off limbs for a lean-to, skinning small game, splitting small logs, cutting through ice, and cutting notches for traps and snares are but a few of the many jobs your survival axe or knife will need to perform.

The strengths and weaknesses of survival knives

A serrated edge can be useful in certain situations, giving knifes a unique advantage over axes.

On the other hand, a survival knife’s performance can suffer when it comes to the larger jobs. If you should need to split small logs or lop limbs off of trees, you may find that although the knife can do the job it’s not nearly as easy as it would be with an axe. A particular area of weakness is in cutting limbs of the proper size for a shelter. Unless you have softer wood to craft into poles, you may find it difficult to get clean cuts through the limbs that are ideal for lean-to poles. Knives are also more difficult to keep properly sharpened in some cases, although with practice this issue is significantly diminished.

The pros and cons of a survival axe

Using an axe, you'll have a much easier time cutting through logs and limbs.

However, axes do have some weaknesses to put against their strengths. For one thing, almost any axe is going to be larger and heavier than a survival knife and will reduce the overall amount of supplies you can carry. Furthermore, they’re also more awkward to use when trying to make delicate or tiny cuts such as those needed for cleaning an animal or preparing snares. They also lack additional features like serrated edges or a convenient folding action that covers the blade, meaning that they’re more limited in many ways. Furthermore, they’re also more dangerous to use as a single slipup can result in a deep and deadly wound to an arm or leg.

So, which to use?

The truth is, both have their uses depending on your situation. If you need to carry a lot of other heavy gear, a knife would probably suit you better than a weighty axe. If you are going into damp places where you’ll have to cut dry limbs off of trees instead of harvesting dry wood on the ground, an axe will make your work go faster. If you’ll be cutting ropes for snares and skinning the game you catch, a knife will make the work simpler than a big axeblade. It comes down to what you personally need: the smaller, lighter finesse of a survival knife or the thicker, heavier, blunt work of the survival axe. Choose wisely! – Prepared For That

Your thoughts?

Which suits you better? Would you carry both if you had the choice? Let us know in the comments!