Modify Your Get-Home-Bag For Winter

Modifying your Get-Home-Bag (GHB) is a great way to stay ready for a winter emergency. The Fall is upon us now. Yet, Winter is about to arrive. Moreover, the winter season means traveling in dangerous weather conditions. Thus, it is critical to prepare to handle winter emergencies while on the road.

Therefore, one of the ways to be prepare to face a winter travel emergency is to keep an emergency survival kit in your vehicle. A convenient way to keep an emergency survival kit in your car is through a 72-hour level backpack. For this article, this bag is different from a vehicle emergency kit. This emergency bag is for personal survival while traveling in inclement weather conditions. Some people call this type of emergency bag, a Get-Home-Bag (GHB). This bag is to enable your survival as you get back your home after leaving your car.

Moreover, this article is not about building a Get-Home-Bag. Instead, the purpose of this article is to help you customize the GHB that you already have for the winter. This means examining what contents that are in your bag. What are some factors to consider when winterizing your bag?

Factors Influencing Winterizing Your Get Home Bag

Factor #1: Environment

The first factor to consider when winterizing your Get-Home-bag is your general environment. A more specific environmental consideration is the kind of winters that your area experiences. For example, people living in the Southwest do not have to worry about blizzard or whiteout conditions. By contrast, people living in the upper Midwest or New England have to take into consideration the more harsh conditions of winter. Another environmental factor that influences winterizing your bag are the winter temperatures and wind chill factors.

Factor # 2: Travel Distance

Moreover, the next factor to keep in mind is the distance that you will be traveling. People travelling long distances will have also to consider the winter conditions throughout their travel. Additionally, one should consider the type of infrastructures that can serve as emergency stopping points or emergency shelter while traveling. Additionally , experience with using your gear is important.

Factor # 3: Experience

A third factor you should consider when preparing your Get-Home-Bag is your level of experience. Your experience with the outdoors and survival gear influence what you carry in the bag. A good rule of thumb is to keep it simple. Only place items in your bag that you already know how to use. For example, a Bic® lighter is an item that you already know how to use. However, you may not know to use climbing or rappelling gear. The point here is that being stranded on a major interstate in a blizzard is no place to try something that you have never used. Thus, your attempt to experiment with an unfamiliar skill or gear in the middle of an emergency may jeopardize your life or the life of others of whom you are responsible. Therefore, as you consider modifying your Get-Home bag for winter, what are some things to think about when deciding on survival gear?

Gear Considerations For Winterizing Your Get Home Bag

The Right Backpack

The first thing to consider about your Get-Home-Bag is the bag itself. You may need to replace your current bag with something more durable. A couple of good examples of winter capable packs are the 5.11Tactical® Rush 72 Backpack (55 liters), sold at the Sigma 3 Survival School Store, or the SealLine® Black Canyon ™ Boundary Portage Pack (70 liters). Both of these packs have their strengths and weaknesses.

The strength of the Rush 72 pack is its capability for modularity. Its material is a water repelling (not waterproof) 1050 Denier nylon fabric. The main advantage of the SealLine® pack is that its waterproof 300 Denier TPU-double-coated nylon body with a 400 Denier TPU-coated nylon bottom. The waterproof material of this pack guarantees that clothing items in the bag will stay dry in rain or snow conditions. The main weakness of the Rush 72 pack is that it is not waterproof. Lengthy exposure in rain or snow water will eventually have moisture seep into the bag. The main weakness of the SealLine® pack is that it does not have any attachment points on its exterior. Thus, after selecting a winter-capable backpack, what are some winter survival gear options to place inside the bag?

Fire Making Items

The first survival gear consideration for a winter Get-Home-Bag is a fire making item. Fire is one of the four essentials of survival (Fire, Food, Water, Shelter). A great piece of fire-making gear is the Sigma 3 Fire Kit. Check out my review of this excellent fire kit for more information about this kit. In a winter scenario, being able to build a fire is critical to keep from getting hyperthermia. It allows you to stay warm, dry your wet clothing, sanitize water, melt snow, and cook food. Furthermore, meeting your hydration requirement is critical to surviving in a winter environment.

Water and Hydration Items

The second consideration for survival gear your Get-Home-Bag is hydration. Water is a primary key to survival in winter. Therefore, water procurement, treatment, and consumption are central to surviving in a winter emergency. However, finding fresh running water in a stream may be difficult in the winter. Thus, it is essential to have a capability to melt snow or ice to get fresh drinkable water in the winter. The Sigma 3 Water Kit is an excellent piece of gear to consider putting into any winterized GHB. Check out my review of this water kit for more information this versatile gear.

Shelter and Cover Items

Additionally, a third survival gear consideration for a Get-Home-Bag is that of shelter. One option for meeting your winter shelter needs would be the Warbonnet Blackbird XLC hammock system. The hammock is available at the Sigma 3 Survival store. This hammock system comes with some additional add-on items: a winter top cover and under quilt protector. If you are interested in more information on this hammock system, read my review and video at the Sigma 3 Survival Store. A further consideration for this hammock system would be a sleeping bag. The Snugpak® Tactical 4 winter sleeping bag also would be a great addition to the winter shelter consideration for any GHB. The Snugpak® sleeping bag could be attached to the bottom of the Rush 72 pack.

Food and Food Procurement Items

Additionally, a fourth survival gear consideration for a winter Get-Home-Bag is food and food procurement. Another item to think about putting in a GHB for the winter is the Yoyo Fish Trap fishing Reel or the Emmrod® Kayak King Cast Rod and Reel Kit. These items are available at the Sigma 3 Survival School Store. Pre-made meals such as MREs or Mountain House® pouches are useful items to meet the food requirements for a GHB. You can also build your meal kit by using instant oatmeal, instant rice, beef jerky, energy bars, crackers, and instant electrolyte powder (Gatorade®/Propel®).

Winter Clothing Items

Moreover, a final survival gear consideration for a Get-Home-Bag for the winter is addressing clothing needs. Winter clothing items can be bulky and take up space in the backpack. Therefore, choose winter clothing items carefully. Wool and Gore-Tex should be the kinds of materials that characterize winter clothing. Here are some suggestions for some winter clothing items.

The first winter clothing item to consider are wool socks. Keeping feet warm and dry is a critical consideration when discussing surviving in the winter. The U.S. Army MIL-84K Wool Boot Socks or Smartwool® Men’s Hunt Extra Heavy Over the Calf Socks are the types of socks to consider for winter clothing in a Get-Home Bag. Some other winter clothing considerations could be having a wool-based base layer set in the bag, such as the Meriwool Men’s Merino Wool Midweight Baselayer. A military wool watch cap and Weather Wool Neck Gaiter scarf would also be a great item to consider for one’s emergency bag.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Get-Home-Bag is a great resource to have available in one’s vehicle. As the winter period of the year dawns, it is prudent to check your bag. You should analyze what winter specific survival items you need. It is possible that a more substantial bag may be necessary to meet your winter needs.  For example, the things in my GHB are easily stored in the current pack. There is no requirement where I live to maintain large bulky cold weather gear. However, I do need to preserve some winter gear in my bag for traveling in the mountainous regions of the Southwest. So as you begin to assess your winter needs for your Get-Home-Bag choose carefully and wisely the gear that you will need.

Burnweed (Erechtites hieraciifolia)

Burnweed as Food


       American Burnweed is an underrated and unappreciated wild edible. Although Burnweed has no history as a food source here in America, everywhere else in the world that it grows it is eaten. It’s a common food in all of Asia and most of Europe. It is a strong flavored plant, but the flavor is good in my opinion. It is somewhat comparable to mint and tarragon

       The younger leaves are milder than the older ones and can be eaten raw. The leaves, young and old, can be cooked as a green and are really tasty. My method for cooking them is really simple. Heat some butter in a frying pan. Throw in a handful of leaves and fry for a few minutes. When all the leaves are wilted and covered in butter they are ready to eat.

       The stems of the plant are traditionally pickled and are delicious. Making them is simple as well. Cut young stems into 6 inch sections and stick in a jar. Pour in pickling spices and cover the whole mess with apple cider vinegar and a little bit of water. Let that sit for a couple weeks and you have a real treat.

Burnweed as Medicine


       Although this plant was not used as a food in native America, it was used as a medicine. One of the common names of this plant is Pilewort. That’s because it was used to get rid of piles, which, nowadays we call hemorrhoids. Oil was extracted from this plant and applied directly to affected area. Apparently it was very soothing.

decoction

       Algonquin peoples made a strong decoction from this plant to treat Poison Ivy and Poison Sumac. I haven’t tried this myself but I will in the future. A number of early North American sources indicate medicinal uses of the plant in treatment for hemorrhage, wounds, skin diseases, dysentery, and cholera, but note that it may cause nausea. In fact the oil was used to purposefully cause nausea as it’s listed as a purgative and emetic.

       Have you used this plant as a food or medicine? I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments. Also i would be glad to answer any questions. If you would like to learn more about this and other great plant foods and medicines, come spend a day training with us at our Plant Identification course. If you REALLY want to learn more spend a few days with us at our Wildcrafter course.

Rites of Passage

Rites of Passage


        Every culture on the planet has always had some type of obstacle to becoming an adult. People have generally had to go through some difficult and painful experience without flinching. A young Australian aborigine had to survive for up to 6 months on his own. Some native tribes required young men to spend a year alone. Why? My personal opinion is that it is because hardship causes strength. People who have been through rites of passage are stronger than people who have been coddled. They are also wiser. Solving problems and overcoming obstacles is exercise for the brain. I believe this is why our 45 day instructor program is such a success. It’s a modern day Rites of passage.

Winners Don’t Quit


       The instructor program is not easy, although the skills are easy enough to learn. A beginner with no previous experience can take the class and successfully graduate while a seasoned pro at survival may tap out when the going gets tough.I don’t get the chance to spend much time with those who tap out but those who push through though are changed forever. They have overcome something big. An obstacle, mostly mental, has been conquered and the graduates are stronger and wiser for it. I consider myself very lucky to have many ongoing relationships with these winners and I learn a lot from them.

       Traditionally shame would be brought on the person failing to complete a rite of passage. Sometimes the person was shunned or disowned by their family or tribe. We don’t do go so far, here at Sigma 3, but we do have a bell that participants are supposed to ring before they tap out. So far to date though no one has ever rang it when quitting. I suppose this is because they believe the bell is what causes the shame instead of their mental weakness. In fact quite a few quitters have left in the middle of the night without saying a word to anyone. These People still have to live with themselves when they look in the mirror.

Quitters Don’t Win


       Sometimes students who quit realize they do have what it takes and they come back and take the class again. These people are fighters. They lost a battle but refuse to quit so they try again until they make it. I have a lot of respect for these students. In many cultures you have to try repeatedly until you overcome whatever obstacle is deemed adult worthy, sometimes for years.

And then there are students who just refuse to quit regardless of the circumstances. Let me give you an example. A couple years ago, during the winter instructor program, the weather turned bad the first day of Scout. It was pouring rain, the wind was fierce, and the temperatures were in the low 40s. Nine students had made it this far and were about to face the most challenging obstacle yet. They had to survive for 7 days with just a knife in this horrible weather. On the morning of day two 8 of the 9 students tapped out. They fell like dominoes and it’s hard to blame them. The conditions were horrible. They were wet, cold, miserable, and hungry.

Endurance


       But one student refused to quit. Gabriel Estremera struggled on, alone, for 7 days of torture and in so doing, realized that he had what it takes to make it, no matter how bad conditions are. He was the only graduate of this class. I can almost promise you that his feeling of accomplishment far outweighed the misery he felt during that one cold wet week. He will carry that with him for life.

How About You?


       How about you? Have you been through some rites of passage that has forever changed you for the better? If so, I would love to hear about it in the comments. If not, we can help. Check out our instructor program here at Sigma 3. The benefits will last a lifetime and so will the friendships.

10 Years Homeless by Choice

 

        My name is Joshua and I have lived in semi-urban environments for many years. I have traveled this country extensively living in wood lots on the edges of towns. In this article I’m going to tell you a little about myself and how I decided to live homeless by choice. Ill also talk about some of the urban survival skills that were beneficial to me along the way.

        I’ve been practicing primitive survival skills my entire life and a little over 15 years ago I decided to test abilities by moving to the wilderness to spend a year living primitively. I ended up spending two years out there and the details are listed here in an article called “Alone in the Wilderness”. When those two years were complete I bought a few gadgets that would change my life. The most important one was a laptop computer. With this laptop I began making YouTube videos which became mildly popular (click here for my YouTube channel). I also started advertising myself as an instructor of wilderness skills and began teaching private lessons all over the country. That’s how my urban survival adventure began.

        Whenever someone would contact me for a private lesson, I would travel to their area for the class. When it was over I would find a woodlot or a wilderness area near town, preferably by a river, and set up camp for a while. Sometimes I would go into town, occasionally, to use the internet at a coffee shop or at McDonald’s.  I would also take advantage of some of the resources that cities have to offer.

        One of those resources is food. We need meat to survive and the city offers us easier meat than the wilderness does.

 

Food

 

        The rabbits in a city are much different than the rabbits in the wilderness. They are used to seeing people so they don’t flee so frantically like wild rabbits do. For me, this was a godsend. I could stalk a city park after dark and almost guarantee a meal. How I did this was with snares and a rabbit stick. Before dark I would walk the edges of a park and set a snare at every rabbit escape route I could find. Then, after the sun went down I would go into the field and run the rabbits, with a rabbit stick, into the snares. Once a rabbit was caught I would run over, step on its head, and pull the back legs, breaking its neck. I know that sounds cruel but it’s actually pretty instant.

        Squirrels are also much tamer in the city than in the wilderness. A squirrel pole with snares on it is almost guaranteed to get you food. However squirrels are active in the daytime so you have to be much more discreet if you are targeting them. I have been accosted and threatened by many people who think they are doing the right thing by protecting these animals. These hypocrites have no problem eating a burger from a factory tortured cow and they are a real danger to the urban survivalist.

        

Another easy meat source near cities is the highways and roads nearby. If you check your “road kill trap line” every morning you can generally find fresh meat that is not too damaged, albeit slightly tenderized, for very little effort. It is a valuable resource that not enough people take advantage of.

Homeless

 

        Of course most cities have a homeless population and cities that do generally have resources to feed the hungry. Churches and the Salvation Army offer meals and groceries for the homeless and I’m not ashamed to say I have taken advantage of them to some extent. However I must caution against becoming too familiar with the homeless people at these places, or becoming dependent on a handout.

       

     Homeless people can be dangerous. There is a lot of drug addiction and mental illness in the homeless community. I have personally experienced quite a lot of violence and a few close calls in the homeless community Violence is not the only threat though. There are plenty of nonviolent homeless folks as well but it’s still better to keep your distance. If people find out that your living a comfortable life they might want in on it and deplete your limited resources. SO my recommendation is to be kind but not inviting.

Money

 

        Money is another useful resource in the cities. You won’t find much of it in the wilderness, that’s for sure.  there is money to be had in the cities, if you are willing to work for it. There are a million ways to make money on the fly. Maybe, you won’t get rich but you can get by. You can scrap metal, gather pallets, or you can do what I did. You can sell your crafts.

       

     I make money by selling baskets. I have learned that the key to selling baskets is you have to make them in front of the costumer. They want the story. When someone sees their basket and mentions it they have the story of seeing an eccentric homeless guy making them in the park.  That goes for arrowheads, bark containers, or anything else you’re making as well. Sales quadruple when they see you making it.

        After a while in one location I would eventually sell another class and off across the country I would go. Sometimes I would hitchhike and sometimes I would take a bus. I have always tried to never own more than I could carry. Possessions are anchors that trap people in place and limit freedom and freedom is like a pearl of great worth.

This article is just the beginning of a series I am writing about how to achieve freedom. I’ll be discussing urban survival skills in depth as well as primitive living skills. Finally I’ll be transitioning into homesteading skills as well. Thanks for tagging along.


Make Char Cloth with a Zippo! Survival Hack


Why would it be useful to make char cloth?

Learning how to make char cloth is an essential skill set every woodsman needs to know. Why you ask? Because char cloth is simply one of the best methods for catching a spark. Its better than almost any other natural tinder source you can find. You don’t even need a ferro rod if you know how to make char cloth, because you can use flint stones to knock sparks off your knife and create fire that way. There are so many uses for char cloth it would take forever to list them all here.

First off, I’d like to say that a zippo is a great survival item to carry and has a lot more uses than a bic lighter and it also performs better. And they are super common and can be found in most gas stations for purchase.

When I was doing my Scout Survival training with only a knife at Sigma 3, I came across an old zippo lighter in the woods. I already had a fire, water, and most of my shelter completed.  Because I had my basics covered, I felt comfortable spending too much time trying to get the Zippo to make a flame.  After failing miserably I was thinking about putting some punk wood into the Zippo and using it to transport a smoldering ember to my next location….then it hit me.  I could almost hear Sage and Robs voices in unison, “You’re over thinking it Hutch.”  They would have said.

So I discarded the Zippo body into my pocket for future experimentation and used the case to char up the punk wood and later a piece of torn t shirt that I found.   Not only does the case work amazingly to make char cloth, but you can store your charred material in it so you do not have a pocket full of dust at your next destination.

make char cloth

SIGMA 3’s training pushes the mindset of becoming very very good at the skills that will work all the time and save the survival hacks for when you get home. They are for playing around with but shouldn’t be depended on. To quote Bruce Lee,”I fear not the man who has practiced 10000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10000 times.” This is their mindset about friction fire and the ability to be able to start fires from nothing. No tools, no rope, no nothing. That sums up the entire philosophy of SIGMA 3’s training regimen.

This zippo survival hack should be considered what I call,”Hip Pocket skills”. Hip Pocket skills is a term my grandfather used to use right before he had me hold a flash light while he changed a tire, or fixed a garbage disposal.  They are handy techniques to make things a little faster, but shouldn’t be considered bomb proof skills to depend on. But to make char cloth, that is a core skill everyone needs.

CHECK OUT THIS FULL LINE OF ZIPPOS AND FIRE KITS. CLICK HERE!

Step by Step: Make Char Cloth

  1.  Pull out the inner parts of the Zippo and save those. Those parts will be useful later.
  2.  Find something organic.  Anything 100 percent cotton will work.  But so will things like punk wood. The trick with punk wood is to put it into the tin in chunks.  Do not powder it like you would if making solar fire.
  3. Close the case. But leave it a bit loose so that gases can escape. Most people do not realize that you have to allow for some gas to escape when causing pyrolysis.  That is what we do when charring a material.  An actual chemical change is caused in the material.  Once performed, the charred material will catch even very tiny sparks and form a viable ember that can easily be blown into flames.  You need the case closed to prevent an abundance of air, but it does not need to be held shut or air tight to make char cloth.*Pyrolysis- when we heat a natural organic material in the absence of oxygen.  Water and other compounds are burned away leaving us with a carbon rich material with a very low ignition point.
  4. Rest the case on its side so that it does not get knocked over. Build the fire over the case.  You do not need a big fire here.   I normally use about one branch from something soft and resinous.
  5. Let the fire burn over the case for 3-5 minutes.  Usually you can see the gas escaping; it will most likely be aflame, but not always.  When the gas no longer escapes the case you have caused pyrolysis on the contents.
  6. LET IT COOL DOWN!   This is where I see most students mess up.  It is exciting any time you perform a task for the first time.  The tendency is to open the case too soon; this sudden air flow will cause a premature ember to form.
  7. Store the charred material in the case for your next fire.
make char cloth

Now, if the inner parts of the Zippo was throwing sparks you have a way to get a very quick and easy ember that can be added to your tinder bundle and blown into flame.

If the Zippo was not throwing sparks, there are tons of other ways to get an ember from charred material. If you have a high carbon knife, grab a flint rock, and do the flint and steel method for fire starting. There are tons of ways to use this material, but remember, just adding this charred material to a tinder bundle is going to substantially help you transfer your ember made from a difficult primitive method.

Charred material is a valuable asset to have on you any time you are going to affect a second fire.  Darn near any spark or heat source will give you a viable ember when using well made char material.  To see this technique in action, or to see similar skills, visit us at www.survivalschool.us, and check out the Sigma 3 YouTube channel.


Meet the Author

colorado survival school
Hutch; Lvl 1 Instructor, Colorado Survival School

Top 10 Things to Wipe Your Ass With in the Woods


       This is kind of a shitty subject to write about but one that seriously needs to be addressed. I cannot count the times that I’ve been walking through the woods and happened upon a white blur on the trail only to find it’s a sock sticking up out of someone’s pile of shit. I mean, who does that? Apparently a lot of people do because I see it quite often. Well you won’t have to use your socks after reading this article because I’m going to show you the top 10 things to wipe your ass with in the woods. A lot of the things on this list are seasonal and regional. For instance, if you are in Florida, snow is going be hard to find. Likewise, if you are in Colorado, you will not have Spanish moss at your disposal. Anyway, here is my list in no specific order.

Mullein

                Most leaves do not work well as toilet paper. A lot of leaves crumble when friction is applied and other leaves are just too smooth to remove any grime. Mullein leaves are one of the exceptions, if they are fresh. They are covered with fine cottony hairs that lift and carry away debris.  They are soft and strong especially when doubled up Trust me, do not use dried mullein leaves or those soft cottony hairs will become little itchy prickles that are hard to remove. Imagine itching powder applied directly to the sphincter. It’s not pleasant. I learned this the hard way.

Slippery Elm

                Slippery Elm leaves are quite different than mullein leaves. Elm leaves are not soft, in fact, they could be described as sand papery. They do, however, get you clean. The hairs that cover elm leaves are full of silica crystals and that can and will smooth textured skin, if you know what I mean. Be gentle if you are using elm leaves as toilet paper. It will get you clean but it can get you raw too.

Moss

 

                Moss makes one of the best butt wipes ever. Not only is it soft and absorbant but it also contains iodine. Iodine is a germ killer. So moss cleans and dissinfects. Moss can be found near water and on the north side of trees in most of the northern hemisphere.

Spanish Moss

 

Reindeer Moss

          Spanish moss is not a moss. It’s actually a Tillandsia, in the Bromeliad family, that grows in the tropics of America. If you live in the south you are probably very familiar with this air plant. And although it’s not a true moss it’s still a great ass cleaner. It does not contain iodine like true mosses but it does the job well anyway. Be sure to get rid of any bugs that may make the moss its home, they can tear your ass up.

       Reindeer moss is not a moss either. It is an amazing lichen and although it doesn’t contain iodine like true mosses, it does contain many active germ killing acids. It can even wipe out staph. It is very absorbent and a little rough textured but all around does a great job scrubbing the bum. Its also a carbohydrate rich food that can scrub your insides if you can scarf it down but that’s another article.

Osage Orange

 

        This one seems silly but it actually works well if conditions are right. Osages oranges, also called hedge apples, are large fruit. They are, in fact, too large to wedge into the crevice for a proper wiping, if they are full grown. But if they are half grown they work wonderfully. The small bumps and channels on the surface of the fruit do a great job of carrying away matter. The fruit does contain a sticky resin that exudes out when the fruit is damaged, so only use undamaged fruits. The resin is not poisonous but it could cause an allergic reaction in some people, though this is very rare.

Rocks

 

        If you can find the perfect rock, you are golden. Certain rocks do a better job cleaning than most of the things on this list. They naturally scrub you dry as they remove material. The problem is that a good rock is hard to find. The rock must be free of sharp edges with a texture like chalk. It should be roundish and flattish and should fit in the hand comfortably. My favorite stone is Dolomite but cotton rock is a close second.

Pinecone

 

        Now I know when I say pinecones make good toilet paper most of you will think I’m full of it, but they actually do work. The key is to find the right pinecone. You want a fresh one right from the tree before it has opened to drop its seeds. You also want to make sure it’s not covered in resin and has no sharp points on it. If you find one like the one in this picture you will have no problem removing sludge from the rear sector, and deodorize as well.

Snow

 

        Snow does a fantastic job of scrubbing the starfish but it does have some serious drawbacks. For one, it is cold, so pucker up. Two, its wet, and it gets wetter when applied. This can cause drips. As you can imagine those drips are not very clean so be careful where your water falls. Also having a wet bum in cold weather is not such a great idea so you are going to want to dry the area. I’m not a big fan of tushy mush so I only use snow in emergencies.

Hands

 

        When all else fails you can use a practice, common in the Middle East, called the double wipe. Basically you wipe with your left hand and then you wipe your hand onto something else. This should only be done if there is nothing else available and you have a way to wash your hands immediately. Otherwise you are nasty and no one will shake your hand ever again.

I hope this list is useful to you. If there is one less sock topping a pile of poo in the woods, it was all worth it. Thanks for reading and thanks for not littering dooky socks.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WseHLMGg5As

TOP 10 Urban Survival Skills, SHTF Urban Disaster

What are the TOP 10 Urban Survival Skills to know in a real crisis?  My experience in this subject is one that comes from having worked several disasters with either construction aid or humanitarian aid. Disasters can and will happen to you. And almost no one is ever prepared when they happen. People always have this laisez faire attitude of it won’t happen to me. Then it does? Now what do I do?

My recent trip down to Puerto Rico was my best learning experience in urban survival skills to date. And I got to see what it looks like first hand to see every single element of infrastructure go down. The thing that still amazes me is how few people have any urban survival skills at all.

You can’t really understand the magnitude of these events until you’ve seen one first hand. It was like an nuclear bomb went off on the Puerto Rico and all services were gone! Roads were gone! There was no way to get money! It was absolutely the worst disaster I’ve ever seen. It’s why I self deployed down there on my own money. I felt the call to help. So I’ve got a lot of first hand experience in what happens during these disasters and what you’re going to need for long term sustainment in a disaster area.

urban survival skills
General Buchanan, (to left) 4 Star in charge of all military disaster operations in PR!

 

TOP 10 Urban Survival Skills to Survive a Disaster


1. Preparation- Like the old cliche goes, preparation prevents piss poor performance. So you’ll need to prepare ahead of time. That typically means gear or prepping is required. Hard and soft skills are great, but when it comes to urban survival. GEAR HELPS! Bushcrafting things is indeed handy and needed skills, but you can’t help other people very much with no equipment.

Remember that all your basic needs must be met as well as all your family members. That includes the elderly, kids, and dogs that you’re responsible for. And even if you are “The Survival Guru”, its unlikely your family takes an interest in it like you do. So you will be in charge of everything when this happens. Do you want to do that with just your wits, or would you rather have preps?

STOCK UP- Your home needs to be stocked with the most basic necessities to last you for at least 30 days minimum and those necessities need to be mobile capable. Meaning you need to be able to take your preps on the move with you if need be. If you’re bugging out, you can’t take likely take massive amounts of things with you. And if you’re staying in place, then what do you do if you have to go mobile. You need to have several options planned for bugging in versus bugging out. And don’t store all your eggs in one basket!

Check out this article on Bug Out Bag Checklists

 

2. Escape Route Planning- You need to scout out numerous different travel routes that aren’t likely to get bogged down by traffic. These may include off roading, going through ditches, and other inventive means to get around traffic. You need approximately 5-6 escape routes that aren’t contingent upon getting on major highways. Store caches at different points along the route, so that if you can’t get home you’ll have other options for supplies. Store backup EDC and sustainment equipment in these caches. Along with cash or other forms of currency. During disasters, the first thing to go is the internet and power, so there won’t be getting any money out of ATM’s after that.

Click here for an article on caches: Alternatives to Buried Survival Caches

urban survival skills
Main road in Puerto Rico after storm. This is what most roads looked like!

 

3. Water Procurement- You’ll need to know numerous methods for getting safe drinking water. During my time in Puerto Rico, that was probably one of the single biggest issues. Most of the PR people didn’t know how to purify water without boiling or how to collect it efficiently. You need to know how to collect and then make it safe to drink. Boiling might not be an option, so you’ll need to know how to build charcoal filters and improvised distillers from scavenged parts. You’ll also need to purchase some water filters for your family that will deal with chemical issues as well. The water is easily contaminated by dangerous chemicals in the urban environment, so choose a water filter with a carbon element in it.

4. Medical & Hygiene Skills- Enough can’t be said for having some trauma skills in an urban disaster! People will be hurt all around you and you can either help them or move on. You also might be injured as well and need the skills to fix yourself up. Because no one is coming to save you right after a major disaster. Trust me, they won’t be coming quickly. We met people in PR, that hadn’t seen the government at all even a month after the storm. They were on their own. Not only should you be able to stop bleeding and set broken bones. But you’ll need to know how to keep those wounds clean in an austere and dirty environment. That is easier said than done. A wilderness EMT course will teach you most of what you’ll need to know but a good ditch medicine course will suffice for most people.

urban survival skills
Veteran Medics Treating Gangrene infection only 3 weeks after the storm!

 

5. Communications- Our single biggest issue with organizing in PR, was getting comms with any of our other team members. Even with high priced radios, you still can’t talk very far away. So when we were doing runs into the mountains to deliver disaster supplies, we would have no comms with base. You need some kind of device that will deal with that issue over long distances that doesn’t require cell phone signal. Radios are good but HAM radios are even better. Satellite phones are an expensive option, and not always guaranteed to work. A cell phone signal booster is also a worthy investment and should be mounted to your car somewhere so you can drive to good signal areas.

6. Acquiring Fuel & Transportation- If you plan to leave the area, you had better plan on either walking, cycling or driving a vehicle. Depending on where you are, walking might not be much of an option. You might not be able to drive out either, so you’d better have numerous options for traveling. You can’t carry very much on a bicycle. And vehicles require fuel, so you’ll need to know how to acquire fuel. One thing I learned down in PR, was that the rich people left quick.  And they left everything behind to leave the island, no matter the cost. So nice neighborhoods would have vehicles that were unused, and their fuel was up for the grabs. We personally borrowed numerous vehicles during the storm from people leaving the island. I had several different vehicles that were all free during my time there.

Also, a must have urban survival skill is the ability to siphon fuel from gas tanks. Just remember that modern cars have security devices to prevent you from siphoning gas, so you’ll need to know how to get around that. You can bypass this cutting the hose behind the panel and going directly into the the tank. You can also pop a hole in the tank and collect the fuel as it spills out. Older vehicles or in third world countries, this shouldn’t be an issue.

7. Tactical Awareness- I can’t say this enough. The key to avoiding all violent altercations is keeping your head on a swivel and being aware of your surroundings. Once you’ve survived the disaster, its all downhill from there right? Think again. You’re chances of getting attacked after the storm for you preps just went way way up. Hopefully you didn’t tell all your friends that you’re a prepper. Because if you did, they are coming to your house! First rule of prepping, “DON’T TELL ANYONE”. Keep your head on swivel and be aware of the people around you. Anyone approaching you that is a military aged male should be watched and you should be formulating a plan for violence in your mind if something goes wrong.

urban survival skills

 

8. Knife Fighting- Almost all urban encounters of violence happen within close range and the scenario usually goes down like this. Someone approaches with hostile intent, they use deceptive methods to get close, and then they pull a gun or a weapon when least expected. That accounts for a huge majority of the violent situations you might find yourself in.

That being said, you need to learn how to quickly deploy a blade in close quarters and where to stab. You also must be proficient in how to defend against a blade. You’ve heard it said, don’t bring a knife to a gunfight. But almost any gunfighter that has taken some knife fighting training will tell you different. Because the gun is only dangerous in one direction and if you can control that direction, it is worthless. The knife is extremely dangerous in close quarters and more than capable of killing in seconds and almost impossible to control. Pistols on the other hand are extremely easy to take if you can get your hands on them. And if almost all violent encounters happen in close range, then you had better have the skills to create distance to pull your gun, a blade, or be able to defend empty hands.

Also, you won’t have a gun anywhere else in the world. You can’t take your glock with you, but you can find a knife anywhere. And they are legal to own everywhere. Might not be legal to carry, but easy to acquire and simple to use. They are also your most important wilderness survival tool. Learn to be deadly with a knife and you’ll walk with so much more confidence.

9. Leadership and Organizational Skills- The most common thing I saw a lack of in disaster zones, is people with the ability to rally and organize groups efficiently. I can’t stress enough how important leadership and a chain of command will be when SHTF. Everyone will want to do their own thing and they may resent any leadership command. But if you want to get important things done, it will require team work. This is an essential element to all urban survival skills. You will be surviving with other people. Learn how to use them efficiently!

10. Lock-picking, Forced Entry, and Social Engineering- In most disaster areas, you won’t have to worry about covert entry into any buildings. Just pry the door open with a crowbar or knock it in with a sledge hammer because you aren’t worried about anyone knowing you were there. But some facilities may be more difficult to break into with those tools and they most likely hold the most useful supplies. We don’t necessarily suggest you try and pick the locks if other options are available. Its so much easier to just drill them out and remove the lock altogether. Remember that the city already holds everything you need to survive, even in the worst disasters, those items were there before and they are still there now. If you can break in, then you can have them.

Social Engineering- Another essential urban survival skill is social engineering and the art of human hacking. It is the ability to manipulate people into doing things you want them to do. That usually requires a good cover story and some great bullshitting skills. People can be your biggest asset or you worst liability. Either way, in any urban disaster, you’ll have to deal with a lot of people. You need to know how to speak to them in order to get them to do what you want. During my trip to PR, I deployed with a former CIA agent who was a master of talking to people. We showed up and within days we had social engineered vehicles, a place to stay, contacts with FEMA, and almost anything we needed. All by talking to people! This subject is extremely in depth, so here is a list of books to checkout on Social Engineering:

Social Engineering: The Art of Human Hacking

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

It’s Not All About Me: The Top Ten Techniques for Building Quick Rapport with Anyone

Behavioral Programming: The Manipulation of Social Interaction


Conclusion: I think being in an urban disaster is much scarier than becoming lost or stranded in the wilderness. You don’t have to worry about much in the wilderness except shelter, water, fire, food, tools and navigation. You still need all those things in the city, but you add a security and tactical element to that equation as well. Your basic needs never change because you always need to thermoregulate, drink water, sleep, and eat food. No matter where you go. So its important to learn how to do those urban survival skills before the disaster happens. I suggest that everyone interested in learning these skills actually go to a disaster zone and help with humanitarian aid. Its the best way to learn how these events go down and what you need to know to prepare for them!

 

MUST HAVE! Survival and Sustainment Gear for Disasters


 

  • Warbonnet Hammock System– We used this all over the island of PR during our disaster relief visit. I slept in between pillars at airports, on beaches, and just about anywhere you could string a hammock up. It was the only thing I slept in while there. Best investment for a shelter system anyone can ever make. I’ve spent upwards of 6 months living out of one and can attest that they are the best in the world!
  •  (SUAOKI Led Camping Lantern) (MPOWERD Luci Lux – Inflatable Solar Light)- Solar lights were absolutely essential for around our sleep area and walking areas. These will stay lit all night and charge easily in a few hours of sun each day. Its an essential piece of any disaster kit and super cheap to purchase. I can’t state enough how important lights become when you won’t have electricity for days or months. It enables you to work at night time efficiently!
  • Ultimate Survival Technolgies 30 Day Lantern- This thing is legit a life saver. Put 3 D Cell batteries in and it will run for 30 days non stop on one set of batteries. And its super reasonable in price!
  • Goal Zero Solar Charger- Honestly anything in the Goal Zero line of products could be potentially useful. It really depends on what your individual needs are. One thing I can guarantee though. You’ll want as much solar gear as you can when it comes to a longer term disaster like I saw in PR!
  • NiteCore Headlamp and P25 Flashlight- There lights will run forever on a single charge. And you can purchase portable mini usb battery chargers from NiteCore as well, to charge these in the field. On their lowest setting, both these lights with run for several hundred hours. I’ve owned them both for several years now and had no issues at all!
  • Fjallraven Kai Backpack- When you have to hump all your sustainment gear everywhere you go, you better have a good backpack. Otherwise your shoulders and body will be killing you. Invest in a good backpack with good suspension system.

survival gear

If you’re not a member of our survival blog newsletter, then SIGN UP HERE!

Meet the Author

Rob Allen

Full Time Survival Instructor, former wilderness EMT, disaster chaser!

TOP 5 Knife Grinds Every Bushcrafter Needs to Know!

Knife grinds? What are the advantages of different grinds? What are my favorite knife grinds for bushcraft? In this article we are going to breakdown everything you need to know about knife grinds and what you should choose for your bushcraft blade. So you’ve heard just about every single so called survival expert in the world tell you the most important tool to have in a survival situation is a knife. But they don’t go into much depth about what grinds you need for the type of work you expect that knife to do. So here are the top ones you need to know and what they are meant to do!

TOP 5 Knife Grinds:

    1. Scandinavian Grind
    2. Saber Grind
    3. High Flat Grind
    4. Convex Grind
    5. Hollow Grind

bushcraft knife grinds

Performance Factors to Consider

  • Cutting Ability- Heavily outweighs all other factors. If  knife doesn’t cut well, then what is the point of carrying it. You can have the best steel and ergonomics in the world and it means nothing if it doesn’t cut well.
  • Edge Retention- How long does the knife hold a sharp edge? This becomes very important when you plan to be in the field for longer periods and need you edge to hold up through tough tasks without resharpening.
  • Overall Durability- Does the knife hold up to heavy use? All that really matters is whether you can slam this baby through a cinder block un-scathed or not. I kid, I kid. Though it does seem many in the industry consider extreme durability a much higher priority than they should. Just take care of the knife and use it for what it was intended and it’s not likely to break. But always buy the best your budget can afford. Because this is the most important outdoors tool you can carry.
  • Ergonomics- How does it feel in your hand? If you have to use your knife a lot, then how it feels in your hand is pivotal. There are a lot of great knife makers out there, but very few of them understand how to build a professional grade handle.
  • Sharpenability- How difficult is it to sharpen? Can you sharpen it in the field? With all the new super steels coming out that hold an edge forever, its hard to know what is the best choice. But it really boils down to a matter of preference and what you plan to do with the knife. Many people prefer a softer steel so they can sharpen it super quickly. Other prefer something they only have to sharpen a few times a year. I lean towards the super steels that are harder to sharpen, because I don’t like maintenance that much, and they tend to perform better.

bark river knife grinds

 

Scandinavian Knife Grinds

Scandinavian Grind style knives are hands down the king of bushcraft knife grinds because they are capable of doing numerous types cutting tasks efficiently. They are definitely my favorite knife grind and I think almost all outdoors instructors can agree for woodworking and campcraft, the scandi grind cannot be beaten for general use. This is also an exceptionally easy knife to sharpen and any beginner can get one sharp in no time.

Think of the scandi grind as a double sided chisel and we all know chisels to be efficient at carving and removing wood in a controlled manner. The single most important performance factor for any bushcrafter to consider is how well the knife cuts through wood. If it can’t do that well, then sell it or chuck it in the bin for use with some other kind of job. Because cutting performance is the main priority. We need to quickly and efficiently remove wood for survival trap building, making friction fire kits, and other camp craft that is essential to our comfort and survival.

For more info on TOP 10 SCANDI GRIND BLADES OF 2018, CLICK HERE!

 

Saber Knife Grinds

I truly believe that the saber and scandi grind blades go hand in hand. You should carry both because each grind has a preferred use. Though you’ll use your scandi grind 10 times more, you should have both. The saber grind is good because it offers superior durability and will hold up better than the Scandi grind will to more abuse. The Saber Knife Grind is essentially a really high scandi grind, with a secondary edge bevel at the edge to add durability. This grind is best for limb chopping, light batoning, and taking down small trees when a saw or axe isn’t handy. Pick a blade with some weight to it that can chop and handle heavy tasks.

While this grind has better durability and edge retention, it will suffer when it comes to cutting wood efficiently. So it should be used as a backup and for heavier camp tasks. But we really think you should always have two different knives in your kit in case one is lost or broken. We also love a two sheath knife system when using kydex and for leather sheaths we like dangler options.

Favorite Saber Grinds Knife: The Standard Blade

bushcraft knife grind

 

High Flat Knife Grinds

I really love a good flat grind, because it is somewhat of a mix between a saber and a scandi grind. The cutting performance is right on par with the scandi, and I tend to like a flat grind in a larger style knife, that I want to make cut as efficient as smaller blades. You can have a very thick spined blade and cut as well as a thin blade with a flat grind. Because the edge is so thin, it has similar performance but the downside of the flat grind is the durability. Even with a super steel, you can still roll the edge or damage the steel from heavy bushcraft use. It has a very thin edge and really should be used for lighter camp tasks. This isn’t my go to knife grind and is considered more of a hybrid option.

Convex Knife Grinds

So I really love convex style knives and they have a plethora of uses. Essentially a convex knife grind offers slightly lower durability of the edge than a saber grind, but cuts closer in performance to a scandi grind. Here is the kicker, a convex grind will work better at taking small amounts of material off or doing finer cuts. While the zero degree scandi will take large amounts of wood and be harder to control for tasks such as feather sticking. It is trying to play in both worlds while offering durability & controllability. The Bark River line of knives is done in convex and is a great choice for any woodsman.

Favorite Convex Grind Knife- Bark River Bushcrafter 2

Bark River Bravo Series 1.5 & 1.25

 

Hollow Knife Grinds

This knife grind is ALL about cutting ability and remember that the thinner the edge, the better it will cut. The hollow grind is one of the thinnest and weakest edges you can get but will get razor sharp. This type of grind is always used best for skinning, gutting, and butchering animals. I’m absolutely a believer that you should carry several knives in your outdoors kit. You should have a scandi for fine wood working, a saber for heavy camp tasks, and hollow grind for cleaning game. When it comes to longer term survival, you will spend more time cleaning game than almost anything else you will with a knife. So this knife grind is a must have in any bushcrafters kits if he plans to get his meat from the land.

Favorite Skinning Blades- Havalon Piranta-Edge

Conclusion:

There are so many options when trying to pick a bushcraft blade or set of blades for outdoor use. The options can be mind numbing and overwhelming. So here is what I tell students about knives in general.

Get the best you can afford! But if you can’t afford much, then get something with a great knife grind for the task. You can put a great grind on a terrible steel and it will still cut good for awhile. Put a bad grind on a fantastic steel and it will still cut bad despite being great steel.

Grind geometry is far more important than steel choice, ergonomics, or anything else about the knife. It needs to cut well, and the grind & sharpness are the most important factors to consider. Each grind has something it’s designed to do so use the knife for it’s intended purposes. Carry several if there are several cutting tasks to be done. They weigh very little and you can rebuild almost anything with a good set of blades. So why not have them all?

survival gear

MEET THE AUTHOR

Rob Allen Survival

Rob Allen

Founder of SIGMA 3 Survival School

CamelBak Survival Hack

Here is a quick camelbak survival hack that I think you will like, and it’s something that I’ve used to cross many waterways of all different types. I first figured this tactic out when swimming across rivers while fishing. I’d see a good fishing spot and want to get across to get to the best spots but also wanted to be safe. So I came up with this method to help me, since it’s an item I always seem to carry on me.

The Camelbak is a water bladder I’ve been using ever since being issued my first one back in the army in the early 2000’s. When I first entered the army they were still using plastic canteens, but when we deployed right after 9/11, they improved gear for combat greatly. We were taught to hydrate as much as we could in the military to prevent ourselves from becoming a heat casualty. Which is a real threat with the kind of intense outdoor activities the army does on a daily basis. You had to drink water, or you wouldn’t make it through the day.

Canteens just weren’t practical all the time and couldn’t carry nearly as much water. Not to mention they were much noisier when running than a camelbak. You could carry much more water in a stealthier and more convenient manner. So it was no brainer that we would use these over the old plastic army issue canteens.

STEPS TO TURNING BLADDER INTO PFD:

  1. Empty water from bladder. Close cap tightly
  2. Blow as much air in the bladder as you can via the drinking tube.
  3. Throw it in the water and check how well it holds your buoyancy.
  4. Look for bubbles coming from cap and make sure it’s tight.
  5. Get to swimming!

survival hack

This Camelbak survival hack has got me across some pretty big bodies of water and is extremely efficient floatation device. The larger the bladder, the more capacity it has for keeping you or equipment afloat. The average bladder is 2.5-3.0 liters in capacity and that is plenty to keep a large man afloat. The larger dromedary bags that some people carry are even better, though they don’t strap on you back like a camelbak.

The backpack style versions will allow you to attach them to your back, stomach, or even wear them like a diaper for upright floating. There are many options for wearing these depending on the type of swim stroke you are doing.primitive skillsThis survival hack has got me across numerous bodies of water, including the pictured lake above. Its a legit technique to use and works almost as well as a life vest. Some other improvised techniques include tying your pant legs off into knots, filling the legs with air and using that as a floatation device. Though I don’t think it is a great method, it might be all you have. If you’re down to having to use that tactic, its probably because you ended up in the water abruptly. Basically anything that can contain air and not leak will work.

Why would you need this Survival Hack?

  • Crossing large bodies of water with safety. A float will allow even the best swimmers the safety to take a break and catch their breath.
  • Crossing quicker moving rivers to get to other side.
  • Setting limb lines in deeper water or checking fish traps.
  • Retrieving a jug line.
  • When exiting an area, you may not have a choice to go around a waterway. Sometimes you have to cross it and get wet. That is why it’s always best to put your gear in compressible dry bags.
  • Let your kids use it as floaty in case they don’t have a PFD.

List of Best Hydration Bladders & Dry Bags

 

survival hack

Author: Rob Allen (Founder, SIGMA 3 Survival)

 

 

How to Make a Twined Fish Trap

Today you’re going to be introduced to a twined fish trap method I’ve used to survive for years in the wilderness. Hello, I’m Joshua Hamlin, lead primitive skills instructor at SIGMA 3. During my two years living in the wilderness completely primitive and isolated from the world, I used this method extensively for a big majority of my meat.

Primitive skills is such a beautiful thing because of the freedom it gives you to travel at your own will with no money. In todays society we are forced into working jobs we hate, just to pay bills we don’t want. So that we can fit in with society. And this basket fish trap is what kept me from going hungry for years. And it cost me nothing to make and only a few hours to construct. Make sure to watch the video below and read the blog for the real details of how to use the trap in the field.

Tools Used:

-Good Bushcraft Blade (check out this link for suggestions)

-Silky Saw (silky ultra accel or pocket boy are most recommended bushcraft saws)

Note: This can be done with flint-knapped stone blades, but so much faster and efficient with modern cutting tools.

TO GET HANDS ON TRAINING OF THIS TECHNIQUE, CHECK OUT OUR ADVANCED SURVIVAL STANDARD COURSE.

9 Step Process to Building a Twined Fish Trap

Step 1 (Collect Materials)- Collect river cane (approx. 60 sticks) and very flexible vines. In this case we used kudzu vine, which is an invasive species in our area. You can use a variety of materials for this trap. Anything straight will work for the trap ribs, and anything flexible will work for twining. The vine or roots need be very flexible and not prone to breaking when twisting or bending on itself.

Step 2 (Find soft soil, begin template)- Find a soft soil to jam the sticks into circular sized opening desired. Put the river cane into the ground at the spacing desired. The tighter the spacing, the smaller the fish you can catch.

Step 3 (Tie top together)- Tie the top of fish trap together by wrapping vines around it or by using cordage.

Step 4 (Begin the twining process)- Make a bight or bend in the vine at the desired height just down from the top of the trap. This will vary depending on the size of the trap you plan to construct. Twist over and under making one twist in between each piece of river cane. You want to make the twist tight so that it pulls the river cane spokes together so they are a uniform distance apart all the way around. Skipping this important detail will leave larger gaps for fish to escape, further down the trap where spacing is more difficult to control. (Note: Remember that tree roots will typically work also, as they tend to have greater flexibility. Spruce, cedar, fir, and other conifer trees are usually a great source for flexible roots.)

Step 5 (Twine it down every 6″)- Do the twining method of twisting the vines about every 6-12” down the trap. This will depend on how far the spacing is between the spokes. The tighter you need the gaps to be, the more often you need to twine. For smaller fish plan on doing it every 6 inches.

Step 6 (Finish the bottom of cone, extra twines)- Once you get to the bottom, do several layers of twining to lock the opening of the trap together so that is super secure. Once all the twining is done, you can pull the trap from the soft soil and cut the end spokes to a uniform length.

Step 7 (Make form for funnel cone)- Now its time to make the cone entrance or funnel portion of the trap. This is done in similar manner to the rest of the trap. Figure out the exact size of the opening where the fish will swim through, then jam sticks into the ground matching that opening size. Make sure those spokes are sharpened to a good point. Those points will be one of the reasons the fish can’t escape back out the funnel.

Step 8 (Basket wrap the cone)- Instead of using the twining method for the funnel, like we did the rest of the trap. This time we will use more of a basket making style of weaving. For this you will need a good amount of flexible vines or roots. Jam an odd amount of spokes into the ground, the number of spokes will be determined by how wide you want the opening. But it must always be an odd amount of spokes so that each rotation of wraps around the spokes is different with each pass. Then begin weaving vines over and under all the way around. When you reach the end of a vine, just poke it into the lower wraps to end it. Keep working your way up the funnel with vines until you reach the desired diameter to fit the cone opening for the trap. When you get to the top, cut some longer pieces of vine and jam them into the weave to hold the vines down and keep them from popping out.

Step 9 (Put funnel into trap opening)- Once done, pull it from the ground and test it in the opening of the trap to make sure it fits. You’ll use a sharpened stick to hold the funnel in so that it can quickly be removed later and you can pull the funnel and remove the fish easily.

Things to know about twined fish traps:

  • There is more light inside the fish trap, which is better for game fish and other desirable eating fish. Closed off basket style fish traps are dark and foreboding for many fish. But each method has a desired use. Determine which is best for you. Sport fish can see other game fish inside it from the outside and will be attracted to it. The disadvantage to the twined fish trap method is that it won’t hold crawdads like the basket method will.
  • If straight materials are available, this trap is quicker to build and much lighter in weight than basket method.
  • Very good when cane, bamboo, or other more tropical materials are available.
  • If you are in a colder climate, willow and roots will probably be your only option to reproduce this trap.

Setting the Fish Trap

Now it’s time to set it in the water. There are numerous ways to use this fish trap to catch fish. You can block off a stream and place it in the middle and physically drive fish towards your trap. Or you can place it in a high fish population area and leave it baited. Either method is effective but most streams and rivers will require the baited method. As blocking off a stream or forcing fish towards your trap is not always feasible. Wherever you place it, make sure it is feasible to check regularly and make sure it won’t be washed away in high water or after rains. Stick it in areas the fish also use as sanctuary from the current or larger predator fish.

When to check it?

Like most all fish2 traps, early in the morning and right before sunset is typically best. You might even check it at night before the sun comes up because sunlight can make it easier for the fish to navigate out of the trap.

What baits should I use?

Fish guts, heads, tails, etc are a great choice. They will attract crawdads and small fish, and those will attract the more edible game fish. If  you don’t have any fish parts to use then maybe you can catch some crayfish, minnows, frogs, or other small game. Smash them up and place them inside for the fish to feast on. You want to essentially make your trap a chum source. A perpetual place of feeding for smaller fish, that will attract the larger fish to come check it out. Numerous things will work, just be inventive and see what your area has to offer.

How long before it starts working?

Sometimes its immediate and other times it make take days or weeks for fish to pay attention to it. New traps have a smell to them and fish are sometimes weary of them. SO be mindful that if it isn’t working immediately, give it time. You may also need to adjust your bait choices or placement of the trap several times before it begins working. But these types of traps have been used by primitive cultures all over the world for millennia. The concept works in most areas and will most likely work for you with some adjustment.

Is one fish trap enough?

Absolutely not! The most important thing to remember about primitive trapping of any type, is that it’s a numbers game. The more traps you build, the higher your odds of being successful in catching a sustainable amount of food to get you through. If you plan on doing long term wilderness living, then you will need lots and lots of fish to sustain you through the dry times.

Fishing won’t always be good and just like hunting it can be seasonal. So you need to catch as many as you can and then put those excess fish up for later. Using methods such as cold smoking or normal smoking methods. You can also sun dry fish if you live in a hot dry environment, but smoking is always preferable. Because the smoking process coats the meat with oils that will protect it from future moisture, as well as ward off bacteria wanting to grow on the meat.

Conclusion:

There is no one fish trap that will work for everything, but this is probably the most effective long term wilderness living technique I could show you. I used it myself for years all over the country to survive and you can too. It takes a lot of practice to get these techniques down and while this demonstration is good enough to show you the way. Its not nearly as efficient as coming and learning from me in a class. Blogs and videos will never be as good as learning from a teacher in the field.

If you have an interest in training with us, then please check out our schedule and see if one of the dates works for you. Please contact us at 4175228172 if you have any questions about this technique or anything else we teach. Thanks for your continued support of SIGMA 3 and the best way you can say thanks for this free info is by sharing this blog on social media with your friends.

For other articles on survival trapping visit: To Kill or Not to Kill?

bushcraft instructorWritten by Joshua Hamlin

Lead Primitive Skills Instructor, SIGMA 3 Survival School

survival instructor