reflective tarp

New Bushcrafter’s Reflective Tarp Shelter

ANNOUNCEMENT: We are proud to announce that SIGMA 3 will be the first US distributor of these reflective tarp products and currently the only place you can get this in America.We highly recommend this shelter after having used it in the field!

For years, I have been looking for a really good shelter made of reflective material that was designed for use by bushcrafters. In the US, you really only have the small emergency blanket tarps made of this material and they are all too small for comfortable use. Previously bushcrafters have had to resort to canvas, cordura, or other tough materials if they planned to sleep next to a campfire without damaging their tarp. Until recently I was completely stumped on how I could get a shelter made like I want because a company in the US has almost a total monopoly on reflective tarp material. That makes it super hard to get a hold of the material for making your own tarps. Then I stumbled onto the company Vihe Vaellus in Finland and was shocked at the AWESOME lineup of reflective bushcrafting shelters!

This company has really thought out these reflective tarp shelters very well and has a setup that will fit almost anyone’s needs. You can get solo shelters all the way up to 6 person shelters, and they all weigh less than 3 lbs. All the smaller reflective tarp shelters weigh less than 2 lbs and are surprisingly durable considering their weight. This traditional style of bushcraft shelter is designed to be placed next to a fire and will keep anyone sleeping in them really warm. They are not like a traditional nylon tarp that loses heat easily and has no sides to protect from the wind. This rip stop nylon has been coated with an aluminum spray that helps reflect all the heat back towards you. It is so effective that you don’t even need to keep the fire close to you at all. For a good size long fire, we recommend placing the fire about 4-5′ from the edge of your shelter.

To Purchase Click Here!

Remember that it is important to know your prevailing winds when using this type of reflective tarp shelter. Fire placement and prevailing winds will be an important decision to insure that you aren’t breathing much smoke from the fire. It is best to set these up in low wind forested areas but we have set them up in high winds several times and they have held up well.

Shelter Configurations:

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Reflective Tarp Technical Specs:

 

  • Width at the front 114″ or 9.5′
  • Diameter 125″ or 10.4′
  • Depth 62″ or 5.1′
  • Weight: 1.7 lbs
  • Pack Size in Compression Sack: 6″x6″

Price: $199.95

Because we have to import these from Europe, they do hit us pretty hard on shipping but we don’t plan to pass on that cost to you. If you buy this reflective tarp shelter from us, you will pay roughly the same price as if you were living in Europe. We are the only US distributor of this product and you won’t find it anywhere else in America! Only other place to get them is from foreign website, most of which are in another language.

Warning: Do not get the fire to close to your shelter, it is essential that it stays the proper distance away to avoid sparks. Now we have had this shelter in 50 mph winds on several occasions and it took some huge spark showers with no damage. We have even had the flames wicking extremely close to the material without it melting or deforming in anyway. But I would play it safe and make sure to protect the tarp the best you can from fire damage.

For over a year now we have recommended the Warbonnet Hammock system as our top survival shelter for all uses. But not everyone likes sleeping in hammocks and some people want to sleep next to fires. Well this is the perfect option for people that like sleeping on the ground next to a fire. You can carry all types of bed rolls with this setup and won’t have to worry about damaging them next to the fire. I used an Exped Down Mattress in the video below and I have to tell you that it is by far the most comfortable ground pad you will ever use. By far the best for comfort, but very pricey!

You can also make a bed using dry leaves, boughs, or other soft material for sleeping if you plan to go lightweight. I recommend a small mat and lightweight sleeping bag. When using a fire next to this shelter you will not need a large sleeping bag as long as you stoke the fire through the night. It is a great way to cut weight out of your hiking setup by bringing a smaller sleeping bag.

Conclusion: This is the best ground based reflective tarp shelter in the world and is a must have for those that sleep next to a fire.  You really can’t beat the packability of the product or it’s weight. There is simply nothing else on the market that really compares with it. I truly believe these shelters will take over the bushcrafting community and all those canvas/cordura/oil cloth fans will be switching over to this once they try it. No need for heavy bulky shelters so that you can sleep next to the fire. I still totally recommend the Warbonnet system as my go to shelter for most people. But if you like sleeping on the ground next to a fire, then this is the only way to go. I’m getting rid of all my canvas tarps after using this system!

If your interested in purchasing this product:

http://shop.survivalschool.us/vihe-vaellus-loue-1-reflective-tarp-shelter/

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Fatwood for Bushcraft

Sure there are tons of articles and info out there on the subject of fatwood, so what makes this one different. In this article, we plan to reveal a few things you probably didn’t know about it and what works best when using it. This survival blog will even show you how to make it on your own if you can’t find any  good fatwood.

What is Fatwood?

Fatwood, is a resin impregnated pine wood that can be found on pine trees and is probably the best natural fire starter available. It’s waterproof, rot resistant, extremely flammable, and in abundance when pine is in the area. Most evergreen trees contain terpene in their tree sap. This sap flows to an area that is scarred and damaged, attempting to heal that area. As the terpene evaporates in the sap it will harden, becoming resin and over time it will not be sticky any longer. The resin at all stages is flammable and burns well. This same resin can be used for pitch glue and all types of bushcraft needs.

Fatwood more detailed info!

Where to find fatwood?

The best way to find fatwood is to find fallen dead pine trees that are on the ground. When a tree dies the terpene in the wood will move to the interior heartwood of the tree and it will saturate the inner wood creating fatwood. Sometimes you can find sections of it the size of a small tree, within the inside of a large fallen rotten tree. You can also dig around rotten pine stumps to find large sections of it as well. Remove the punky rotten material from around the fatwood and this wood will be golden in color and very resinous in feel. You will also smell a heavy scent of turpentine in the wood and the stronger the smell the better the wood.

Fatwood can also be found in the lower branches of the tree in the small node that connects the branch to the tree. Where the tree connects to the trunk, is usually where it is found and most times it can be 2-6 inches in length out along the branch. Spruce fatwood is found only a couple inches up the branches and does not have as much fatwood as pine. Having some fatwood in a tinder box or tinder pouch , can be very useful in all type of weather conditions. So see if you can find some in your area then you definitely want to store it for later fire making uses. Fatwood makes a great tinder anytime, it will burn long and hot. When in wet conditions, its used for drying damp materials so they will combust into flame and this can make the difference with marginal wet tinder material. It will catch almost anything on fire if you have enough of it.

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Other Uses

Large sections of it can also be used as a torch for lighting purposes around camp. Put the fatwood into the spears we make on the youtube channel and have a portable torch you can use for light in the woods. These can be used to attract fish for night time fish spearing as well! Since the fatwood puts off a tremendous amount of toxic smoke, this can also be used to combat mosquitoes in your camp. You do not want to breath fatwood smoke though, so caution should be used when in primitive shelters. Some people even take large sections of fatwood and make them into walking sticks so they are insured to always have a great firestarter.

How to make your own fatwood?

If you can’t find any fatwood in your area then you simply need to make some. It is so simple to make fatwood and you will have the same types of results as the natural fatwood. All you need do is melt your sap down in a container large enough to soak your sticks into. Once the sap is melted completely in the container, then add your finger sized sticks of cedar or dried pine to the melted sap. Lightly simmer the sticks in the sap for around 30 minutes and make sure you don’t get fire to hot or the sap will ignite into flame. Once the sap has soaked into the pre-cut sticks, then all you need do is let them air dry and they are ready for fire making.

You’ll need the following 3 items:

  • Sap from pine, cedar, or fir tree
  • Good flammable dry wood such as white cedar or dried pine
  • Boiling container; preferably something you don’t mind ruining such as an aluminum can.


How to Prepare it?

Methods to prepare fatwood for fire starting is most commonly done in a two ways. The first is by taking a knife and thinly shaving off the fatwood to make shavings. The shavings should be thin and usually will be curled. A small pile the size of a golf ball or larger is a good amount. The shavings will light easily by using a flame or even sparks from a ferrocerium rod.  The second way is by taking a sharp edge on the spine of a knife and scraping the fat wood to make a sticky dust. Also, the fine dust can be scraped off with a sharp stone, a piece of broken glass or other sharp object. After getting a small ball of dust in a pile you will be able to light this with a flame or ferrocerium rod. The SIGMORA (Official S3 Survival Knife) has a custom scraper on the back that makes perfect scrapings of fatwood for catching sparks and it is our preferred tool for this job.
Conclusion:

Fatwood is probably the single best fire tinder you can carry with you and is usually in great quantity if pines are in the area. This tinder is even better than birch bark and many modern tinders as well. It’s free, abundant, and one of the most useful fire making tinders you can harvest. Go out and get some and try it today!

 

Cooking Armadillo for Survival Food

A lot of people look at Armadillo as some kind of taboo food for consumption unless it’s under extreme survival circumstances. Well I’m here to tell you that not only is it safe but it also tastes great. If you like pork then you’ll like Armadillo as well! They are basically just armored pigs that live in the ground and they are super easy to catch. For fun a lot of people try to sneak up on them and pick them up, which is very easy to do. These animals have such poor eye sight that you can usually sneak up on them with relative ease if the wind is in your favor. I’ve literally snuck up and pet them without them even knowing I was there. While they do have terrible eye sight remember that their great noses is what will give you away the quickest.

What is the best way to catch them?
Since they are typically nocturnal animals, you will most likely see them roaming around in the woods at night time. In fact, most small game animals are nocturnal and that is simply the best time to catch them. Don’t forget that hunting at night for most things is illegal and these techniques should only be used for survival purposes.

Just like you would go gigging frogs or spotlighting a deer, you can use a flashlight to distract your game while you walk up to them and dispatch them with a big stick or other weapon. Simply shine the light in the eyes of Armadilllo then walk over and pick him up to dispatch them. Sound is of the utmost importance when stalking them so you must not make a sound when approaching them. The light will blind them from seeing you but it won’t stop them from hearing you so walk softly. You can also stalk up to them in the daytime as well but your chances of success are much lower.

These animals are hard to trap without a live game box trap of some type because they just aren’t as likely to walk into a trap. You can also quickly construct a quickie bow to shoot them with if you can’t get close enough. It is much easier to catch them or hunt them actively during the best times though. The best time to get them are always during night or during low light. When looking for places to hunt them you need to look for places that have an abundance of food for them. They primarily root up bugs and eat underground tubers so you will want to look in areas that have an abundance of good soil. They will roam almost anywhere but your highest likelihood of catching them is near their feeding areas. They also tend to shelter underground by digging elaborate tunnels where they hole up as a group. These holes they dig can also be snared or trapped to catch them coming and going.

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How to Clean & Butcher Armadillo
The Armadillo is just like every other animal except that it has a shell around it that makes it very convenient for cooking. The animal should first be gutted and all the entrails removed and set aside for other survival uses. Once the animal is gutted and well cleaned then we are going to stoke the fire up and use the flames to singe all the hair off it’s body. Once the flames have burnt the hair off then you need to scrape off some coals to one side to create a cooking fire. Then set the armadillo in the coals with the shell facing down into the coals. This shell will help us cook it without losing any of it’s fat to fire. It is really essential is survival that you don’t allow fat to drip into your fire being wasted. So by keeping the shell on this will preserve all the calories in the meat. You need to slowly turn the animal so that it cooks evenly all over the shell and make sure that the stomach area meat is well cooked. This is not an animal you can afford to eat medium rare because just like pigs they have parasites and diseases we must be mindful of. Make sure you cook it well done and that all the meat is cooked evenly over the whole carcass. If one section of the meat is not done then don’t eat it and re-cook that area for safety. You can also slice the excess fat off the animal and render the fat for later use. This will provide you with lard that can be saved for other cooking projects later. This fat can also be used to burn as a bush candle if light is needed at your camp.

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Dangers of Eating Armadillo
A lot of people absolutely won’t eat an Armadillo because they have heard that you can get Leprecy from handling them. While some of the animals do carry the disease it is a very small percentage of the population and most people aren’t susceptible to the bacteria. The bacteria is easily killed by cooking it well done and as long as you don’t have any open cuts on your hand then you should be fine. You must remember that you should not clean animals with open cuts and if you do then you need to wear gloves. Don’t forget to clean up and sanitize your hands the best you can after you’re done cleaning the animal. Armadillo is no different than eating pork because swine can carry all kinds of nasty diseases/parasites as well so don’t be overly worried about this meat source. If you love eating bacon then you shouldn’t sherk away from some slab of Armored Pork! It is always best to eat the cleanest eating animal you can get but the best meat to eat is usually the hardest to get. So this is a good first start for meat procurement when in survival mode. You always start with small less desirable game and work your way up to better tasting animals in your survival priorities.

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What is leprosy? A bacterial disease, also known as Hansen’s disease, which causes lesions, growths and dryness on human skin. Your chances of getting leprosy are really, really low. Ninety-five percent of the population isn’t even susceptible to the disease, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration. A 2008 study put to rest the belief that you can get leprosy from eating armadillo. Of some 2500 armadillos caught and tested in Florida, none had leprosy. And for many years researchers were hard pressed to find someone in the United States with leprosy who had actually been in physical contact with armadillos in the United States.

Nutrition Facts Breakdown
All in all, Armadillo meat is extremely high in fat and looks very much like a pig meat when you slaughter it. In fact, it is one of the highest calorie small game animals that you can catch. A pound of meat will bring between 700-1200 total calories depending on the fat content and time of year the animal is harvested. So if you catch a 10-15 lb Armadillo then you can be assured to get a minimum of 5,000 calories from it.

Armadillo Nutrition Facts

Range & Species of Armadillos
The range of these animals is wide spread all over the south of United States, ranging all the way down to South America. Considering how spread out they are over North America to South America, this is a very good pick for survival hunting. There are numerous species of Armadillo ranging in all sizes from super small to extremely large. The giant species can grow in excess of 60 inches long and over a 100lbs in weight. What a meal that would be! While the smaller species can be a little as 6 inches and only a few pounds.

Common South American Dish

Conclusion:

While Armadillo doesn’t seem to be the most appetizing of survival foods, it is in fact very tasty and extremely high in calories. Combine that with the fact that they are very stupid and easy to catch makes them the perfect food choice for the primitive survivalist. On top of that they aren’t regulated by most state laws and have no seasons or regulations for taking them. What is there to lose with some proper precautions? We totally recommend that you get out there and try this food and see if it is a potential calorie source for your survival needs!

 

 

If you have any questions about this subject please post them in our Facebook Group “The SIGMA 3 Survival University”.

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By Robert Allen

President

SIGMA 3 Survival School

 

 

 

 

Build Your Own Primitive Arrow Quiver

Elm Bark Quiver

Elm Bark Quiver

Willow Basket Quiver

You’ve made yourself a workable bow. You fashioned some fine primitive arrows. You camouflaged yourself and you’re ready to go hunt some meat. You carefully stalk up on a deer. You knock an arrow and prepare to aim, but wait. You have a handful of arrows. What are you going to do with them? You can’t hold them while you shoot and if you drop them you will spook the game. You just discovered an age old problem experienced by ancient and modern hunters alike. Something to carry arrows in is essential to good hunting. A primitive arrow quiver is a must have if you going to be primitive bow hunting.

To solve this problem you are going to need primitive bow quiver. There are many different varieties of primitive bow quivers, the world over, but the quiver we are going to make today is a basket quiver. I prefer to use willow for this type of quiver, at least for the spokes, but you can use nearly any type of flexible twigs or vines. The reason I prefer willow is because you can bend it sharply without it breaking and it looks nice. Now you can make primitive arrow quivers out of a lot of primitive materials such as elm bark, birch bark, leather, vines, flexible twigs, or even roots. Almost anything flexible will work. Check out the Elm Quiver to the right!

The steps to making a primitive bow quiver are pretty simple. First you have to gather and process material. Now you choose your five thickest willows for your spokes. You make a cross alternating your willows from the thick to thin. Three spokes, north to south and two spokes east to west. You wrap the cross with your thinnest willows, over the north and south and under the east and west spokes several times, to hold it in shape. You remove one of the spokes to make an odd number of spokes. Then you wrap the spokes, over and under alternately, until you have a round base. Then you fold your spokes up and keep weaving until the basket is the height you want. You tuck your spokes in and make a rim. And finally you attach a carrying strap. Of course this is an overly simplified explanation but you can find the details in our attached video.

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Now when you take aim at your game and reach for your arrow it will be waiting patiently next to all of its brothers in its handy carrying case that you made with your own hands. And you will look amazing wearing it. Please share your successes and failures with us and feel free to ask us any questions.

Watch the video for exact details on how to build this nifty little bow quiver!

Good Luck and Good Hunting from us here at Sigma 3 Survival School
Joshua G. Hamlin

Best Bushcraft Knife for under $75!

The best bushcraft knife for under $75 is by far and away the Mora Bushcraft knife. There are a lot of good blades on the market for the money and I have tried most of them. But I still keep coming back to this one knife. In fact, even though I have several high end custom survival knives, I still find myself carrying a Mora Bushcraft knife at many of our survival courses. It is always in my go bag as a backup knife to my main survival knife set as well. It’s just a handy setup to have around. Figuring out the best bushcraft knife can be a difficult task for the beginner and we are taking all the homework out of it for you. Trust us, we have beat the hell out of this knife in dozens of survival courses and we have yet to see one fail! They aren’t the toughest knife on the market, but they are the best wood cutter and best bushcraft knife for general uses.

For less than $75, you get the best bushcraft knife from Mora, a good firestarter, and a sharpening stone built right onto the blade. It’s an all in one survival kit on your side, because if you have a knife you can build anything else that you need with it in the wilderness. Survival and bushcraft is about improvising tools from the local landscape around you and the most important tool to do that is a good blade. Now many companies have tried to reinvent the wheel with all these fancy survival knives that have come out in recent years. But the simple truth about survival knives is that you don’t have to have a super steel, but you do need to have super good design. And the Bushcrafter fits the bill in all respects! The Mora is so good because of its comfortable handle design and a very well designed blade.

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The Scandinavian style grind on the Mora is designed to fly through wood. It is a flat grind that is somewhat similar in its cutting efficiency to a chisel. It was simply designed to cut through wood easily and efficiently. This makes bushcrafting chores a breeze and time is money in the bush. Your knife should do the task quickly and should cut through the wood easily. That is the single most important thing a knife has to do when you have several bushcraft chores.

The best bushcraft knife is also a high carbon steel which is good for making fire with a flint and charred tinder. You always go with high carbon steel for survival and not stainless. Never get a cache_240_240_Mora Bushcraft Black 2tonestainless steel blade unless you plan to be in or around the water all the time. The high carbon blades just have to many advantages to not use them over the stainless versions. The knife also comes with a fixed belt loop and a swinging dangler belt loop for either type of carry. The belt loops detach quickly and a very secure in their construction. It comes with a great sheath, but there are also a lot of options to upgrade your sheath through custom kydex making companies such as Grizzly Kydex

The diamond sharpening steel does a great job on quickly putting an edge on the high carbon steel. And since it is conveniently located on the sheath, you will always be sure to have a sharpener when the task is needed. A dull blade is a dangerous blade, so always keep your tools sharp. And don’t forget knife safety when doing bushcrafting. The blade should never be cut towards any body part. Never carve on your legs or over the tops of your palms. You never know what could happen. I always say the best knife safety learning always comes from cutting yourself really bad one time, and you will never do it again. Don’t learn the hard way, practice safe methods. So be safe and get yourself a Mora knife for our survival classes today! As they are definitely the Best Bushcraft Blade for our courses. SEMPER PARATUS!

Here is an independent review on the Mora Bushcraft knife:

TheTruthAboutKnives.com

If your interested in purchasing one of these blades then make sure to check them out at our Survival Store

Buy Your Mora Bushcrafter Now!