Saturday, September 22, 2012

Tarp Project: Shelter for Bivy Sack

Make this versatile and inexpensive tarp shelter for your Bivy Sack.

Shelter for Bivy Sack

I like to sit sheltered with my back against a tree, so I've designed this shelter in that fashion. Also, this shelter only uses one tree so you can easily position it to protect you from the prevailing wind.

The items you'll need for this project are:
  • 8'x10' camouflage tarp
  • 30' mason line (or bank line)
  • 12' thin poly rope (ridge line)
  • duct tape
  • heavy thread
  • 12 grommets
  • 11 metal tent pegs
  • small carabiner
  • shear curtain (optional)
  • various lengths of para-cord
  • scissors
  • measuring tape
  • Sharpie marker 
  • long straight edge
  • large sewing needle
  • grommet kit  

Starting with an 8'x10' tarp, lay it camo side down and mark the tarp using the dimensions shown in Figure 1. Cut out the large trapezoid roof shape and the two smaller triangles.

These dimensions will accommodate the Bivy Tarp Project in it's various configurations and still leave room for your gear.

Figure 1
Sew the two smaller triangles together to make an equilateral triangle with four-foot sides. This will be attached to the larger piece to enclose the open end, like a wall or door.

Figure 2
Run Mason line along the edges and duct tape or sew a small hem around the tarp edges as we did with the Bivy Project

Assemble (tape or sew) the pieces as shown in Figure 3. Here the left side will be the back of the shelter and the right side can be flipped up and supported for a doorway with an awning. At night or in severe weather it can be dropped and held in place with a tent stake on the inside of the shelter.
Figure 3

Install five grommets along each of the two long edges, another at the foot, and one at the peak. A final grommet should be installed at the top point in Figure 3.

Prepare the Ridge Line rope with a small loop to attach to the foot tent peg, and a large two-foot loop for the peak. This loop will be in the over-head area of the sleeping compartment. It will be a convenient place to hang a carabiner, flashlight, a stow-away bag for small items, and support for the optional mosquito netting / shear curtain panel.

Set Up (for bivy mattress or severe weather)

Tie a length of para-cord (or mason line) about chest-high on a suitable tree. Run a free end of the cord through the large loop of the ridge line rope and the grommet at the peak of the shelter. Tie this tight up against the tree.

Take your longest tent peg and pass it through the grommet at the foot of the shelter and the small loop of the ridge line and pull it snug. Ideally, the tarp and ridge line should both be taut. Drive the stake into the ground at an angle to prevent it from being pulled out of the ground.

Drive the other tent stakes into the grommets to complete the shelter. The small triangular end wall should be brought around the front side of the tree for better weather proofing. Drive this tent stake in from the inside to make it easier to exit in an emergency. The tent stakes for the awning / main access can also be driven into the ground from the inside.

Set Up (for bivy hammock or cot)

First set up the bivy hammock or cot so it is a comfortable height off the ground.

Tie a length of para-cord (or mason line) about eye level on a suitable tree. Run a free end of the cord through the large loop of the ridge line rope and the grommet at the peak of the shelter. Tie this tight up against the tree.

Pass another length of cord through the grommet at the foot of the shelter and the small loop of the ridge line and pull it snug. Ideally, the tarp and ridge line should both be taut. Tie the free end to the tree supporting the foot of the hammock.

Attach guy-lines to the main grommets and peg the lines into the ground, leaving the awning open and supported by a suitable stick.

Make sure the bottom edges of the shelter are lower than the bivy to protect you from the weather. Adjust the height of the peak as necessary.

I'll put up a video and photos as soon as I can :-)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tarp Project: Bivy / Hammock / Cot

Below are the plans for a versatile and inexpensive tarp project you can make.

Bivy Sack / Hammock / Cot

The items you'll need for this project are:
  • 8'x10' polyethylene camo tarp
  • 20' mason line (or bank line)
  • 50' para-cord
  • 16' poly rope
  • duct tape
  • heavy thread
  • about 40 small grommets 
  • scissors
  • measuring tape
  • Sharpie marker 
  • long straight edge
  • large sewing needle 

Starting with an 8'x10' tarp, lay it camo side down and mark the tarp using the dimensions shown in Figure 1. I am about five and a half feet tall and this project is six and a half feet long. If you're taller, you should adjust it to seven or seven and a half feet long.
Figure 1
Cut the tarp along the outside edge only until you are left with this shape:
Figure 2 
Keep the scraps!! They will be used to make a stuff sack which will also double as a pillow.

Using the red lines in Figure 2 as a guide, make a small hem around the string. This can either be taped in place and sewn later, or you can just leave it taped. The two ends of the string should be knotted or folded over to prevent the string from being pulled out of the hem.

Next, fold the right panel over the center panel to the black line and tape this edge. This seam will take a lot of stress, so it should be taped on the inside of the tube as well. Additionally, this seam should be double-stitched with heavy thread if you want it to last.
Figure 3
Next, fold the left panel over the center panel. Tape this edge about half way up as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4
It's only taped half way up to make it easier for you to crawl in and out of the bivy. This taped edge should be stitched as well, especially the top end and the bottom.

As it is right now, it is ready to be used as a bivy with a double layered bottom. Crawl in, pull the flap over your head, and you're off to dreamland.

Bivy Mods

As those of you who have ever slept on a tarp will know, condensation is a problem. They are sweaty and they will stick to your exposed skin. Also, a night on the cold hard ground is no picnic either. Luckily these drawbacks can be easily addressed using the following modifications.

  • Bivy liner

A liner  can be easily made by folding a blanket in half and pinning it together  to make a lightweight 'sleeping bag'. This can be stuffed into the top layer of the bivy. The open top and bottom of the bivy design also allows the bivy to breathe, reducing the condensation problem.

Depending on the season, you could sew a bed sheet into the required shape and use a pillow case to cover the stuff sack. Or for colder weather, you can put a mummy-style sleeping bag into the bivy.

Additionally, you can spread half an aluminized emergency blanket in the lower compartment and hold it in place with four small pieces of duct tape. The remaining half can be taped to the inside of the top cover to reflect your body heat down towards you.

  • Bushcraft mattress
By putting a series of small grommets on the edges of the bottom and middle layers of the bivy (spaced about three inches apart), you could lace the bottom of the bivy shut and stuff it full of leaves, ferns or other plants to make a bushcraft mattress. Lace up the top edge too, to keep the stuffing from falling out.

  • Hammock style
For this, you'll need two trees, some rope, and a couple of short branches about 1" or 1-1/2" thick.

Take two 8-foot lengths of 1/2" thick rope and tie loops to each end. These will pass through the lower section of the bivy, one on the left and one on the right. Make spreader bars using a 2-foot branch for the foot and a 3-1/2-foot branch for the head. Attach the spreader bars to the bivy ropes by making a sliding loop out of the existing loop as shown here:  
Figure 5

Now that the spreader bars are in place at the ends of the hammock, it's time to fasten it to a couple of trees. For this task, we can use 550 para-cord. We'll be using four 10-foot lengths, folded in half to support each end of the spreader bars. Ten-foot lengths should do unless your trees are more than 15 feet apart. The closer the trees the less swinging you'll do in your bivy-hammock.

Follow these instructions for each of the four support ropes:
  1. Fold the para-cord in half, bringing the ends together. Tie the two ends together using a simple overhand knot.
  2. Tie several more knots like this, spacing them about four to six inches apart up the rope.
  3. Wrap this rope around the tree trunk, about waist-high, passing the knotted end through the loop.
  4. Bring the knotted end to one end of the spreader bar.
  5. Temporarily slip one of the knots over the end of the spreader bar.
Figure 6

Once all four are in place, you can adjust the tension and height of the bivy-hammock by moving the spreader bars further up the knotted rope. Once it is tight, you can use the remaining knotted para-cord to lash the spreader bar to the larger bivy ropes. Use more para-cord as necessary.

Attaching the ropes to both ends of the spreader bars in this manner removes the stress on the spreader bar and transfers the force directly to the ropes travelling through the hammock, Also, being supported at four points (instead of two) reduces the swinging motion of the hammock.

  • Cot style
If hammocks aren't your 'thing', you can also configure this bivy into a bed. Instead of ropes running through the bottom chamber, you can put in two long smooth poles. The ends of these poles can then be lashed to trees or supported on crossed members as shown here:

Figure 7
 To make the cot sturdier, lash the headboard to an available tree and you can use a guy-line staked to the ground for the foot. The two long poles don't have to be lashed to the head and footboards, but it's probably a good idea.

  • Stuff sack / Pillow

Using the scrap tarp pieces, cut a single piece 24"x24". Make a hem along one side and include a 36" length of para-cord in the hem. Fold this in half so the two ends of cord come together. Tie the ends of the para-cord together so they wont slip out of the hem. Sew the open long edge and the short edge opposite the para-cord end. Turn the whole thing inside out and there's your stuff sack!

To make your pillow, fill the stuff sack with leaves, pull the drawstring tight and tie it shut. Slip it into a pillow case and pleasant dreams!!

I'll put up a video and photos as soon as I can :-)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Food Inflation, Food Shortages And Food Riots Are Coming

Michael Snyder
Sept 7, 2012
A devastating global food crisis unlike anything we have ever seen in modern times is coming. Crippling drought and bizarre weather patterns have damaged food production all over the world this summer, and the UN and the World Bank have both issued ominous warnings about the food inflation that is coming.

To those of us in the Western world, a rise in the price of food can be a major inconvenience, but in the developing world it can mean the difference between life and death. Just remember what happened back in 2008. When food prices hit record highs it led to food riots in 28 different countries. Today, there are approximately 2 billion people that are malnourished around the globe. Even rumors of food shortages are enough to spark mass chaos in many areas of the planet. When people fear that they are not going to be able to feed their families they tend to get very desperate. That is why a recent CNN article declared that “2013 will be a year of serious global crisis“.
The truth is that we are not just facing rumors of a global food crisis – one is actually starting to unfold right in front of our eyes. The United States experienced the worst drought in more than 50 years this summer, and some experts are already declaring that the weather has been so dry for so long that tremendous damage has already been done to next year’s crops. On the other side of the world, Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan have all seen their wheat crops devastated by the horrible drought this summer. Australia has also been dealing with drought, and in India monsoon rains were about 15 percent behind pace in mid-August. Global food production is going to be much less than expected this year, and global food demand continues to steadily rise. What that means is that food inflation, food shortages and food riots are coming, and it isn’t going to be pretty.
The United States exports more food than anyone else in the world, and that is why the entire globe has been nervously watching the horrific drought in the United States this summer with deep concern.
It has been the worst drought in more than 50 years, and it has absolutely devastated corn crops all over the nation. According to Bill Witherell, the U.S. corn crop this year “is said to be on a par with that of 1988 crop, the worst in the past thirty years.”
Sadly, this will be the third year in a row that the yield for corn has declined in the United States.
That has never happened before in the history of the United States.
And coming into this year we were already in bad shape. In fact, U.S. corn reserves were sitting ata 15-year low at the end of 2011.
So where will we be at the end of 2012?
The official estimates for corn yields put out by the U.S. government just keep dropping, but many fear that they aren’t dropping quickly enough. There have been some reports on the ground from some areas of the country that have been very distressing. The following is from a recent Wall Street Journal article
"Meanwhile, scouts with the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour on Monday reported an average estimated corn yield in Ohio of 110.5 bushels per acre, down from the tour’s estimate of 156.3 bushels a year ago. In South Dakota, tour scouts reported an average yield estimate of just 74.3 bushels per acre, down from 141.1 bushels a year ago."

Those are catastrophic numbers.
But farmers are not the only ones that have been impacted by the dry weather. A recent article by Chris Martenson summarized some of the other effects of this drought….
"Even though the mainstream media seems to have lost some interest in the drought, we should keep it front and center in our minds, as it has already led to sharply higher grain prices, increased gasoline costs (via the pass-through of higher ethanol costs), impeded oil and gas drilling activity in some areas (due to a lack of water), caused the shutdown of a few operating electricity plants, temporarily reduced red meat prices (but will also make them climb sharply later) as cattle are dumped in response to feed- and pasture-management concerns, and blocked and/or reduced shipping on the Mississippi River. All this and there’s also a strong chance that today’s drought will negatively impact next year’s Winter wheat harvest, unless a lot of rain starts falling soon."
Ranchers have had a particularly hard time during this drought. If you expect to pay about the same for meat this time next year as you are doing now you are going to be deeply disappointed. The following is from a recent Reuters article
"The worst drought to hit U.S. cropland in more than half a century could soon leave Americans reaching deeper into their pockets to fund a luxury that people in few other countries enjoy: affordable meat.

Drought-decimated fields have pushed grain prices sky high, and the rising feed costs have prompted some livestock producers to liquidate their herds. This is expected to shrink the long-term U.S. supply of meat and force up prices at the meat counter."
All over the western United States pastures have been destroyed and there is not enough hay. It would be hard to overstate the damage that this nightmarish drought is doing to our ranchers
I spoke with Caldwell [of Indiana horse rescue] and a number of other horse-rescue organizations around the country by telephone this week. The relentlessly hot dry weather, amplified in many areas by wildfire, has been devastating to farmers, ranchers and other horse owners. 
‘Everybody is using their winter hay now. The pastures are destroyed and they probably won’t recover before winter,’ said Caldwell. ‘The price of hay has doubled, and the availability is down by 75 percent.’ 
Caldwell is somewhat sanguine about his own lot, but not optimistic about what lies ahead. 
‘Today the problem is not nearly as bad as it’s going to be,’ he told me. ‘It’s terribly bad today, but it is going to get a lot worse.’
But of course as I mentioned earlier this is not just an American problem.
The truth is that the entire globe is facing a rapidly growing food crisis.
According to the UN, the global price of food rose 6 percent in the month of July alone.
According to the World Bank, global food prices actually rose 10 percent during July.
Either figure is really, really bad.
The other day, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Program issued a joint statement in which they stated the following….
‘We need to act urgently to make sure that these price shocks do not turn into a catastrophe hurting tens of millions over the coming months.’
If the price of food at our supermarkets suddenly went up 20 percent that would really stretch our family budgets here in the United States, but we would survive.
On the other side of the globe, such a price change can mean the difference between life and death. The following is from the CNN article mentioned above….
But step outside the developed world, and the price of food suddenly becomes the single most important fact of human economic life. In poor countries, people typically spend half their incomes on food — and by ‘food,’ they mean first and foremost bread.
When grain prices spiked in 2007-2008, bread riots shook 30 countries across the developing world, from Haiti to Bangladesh, according to the Financial Times. A drought in Russia in 2010 forced suspension of Russian grain exports that year and set in motion the so-called Arab spring.
Already, 18 million people in Niger, Mali, Chad, Mauritania and Senegal are dealing with very serious food shortages.
In Yemen, things are even worse….

Yemen has a catastrophic food crisis. Nearly half the population, 10 million people, does not have enough to eat. While 300,000 children are facing life threatening levels of malnutrition.
The United Nations says Yemen is already in the throes of a disaster.
‘In some areas child malnutrition is at 30%, to put it in context, an emergency is 15%. It is double that already.’

‘The levels are truly terrible. Whatever we do thousands upon thousands of children will die this year from malnutrition,’ Unicef’s man in Yemen, Geert Cappelaere, said.
But this is just the beginning. These food shortages are going to spread and we will eventually see food riots that will absolutely dwarf the food riots of 2008.
Many scientists fear the worst. Some are even now warning that food shortages will become so severe that they will eventually force much of the globe on to a vegetarian diet
Leading water scientists have issued one of the sternest warnings yet about global food supplies, saying that the world’s population may have to switch almost completely to a vegetarian diet over the next 40 years to avoid catastrophic shortages.
Humans derive about 20% of their protein from animal-based products now, but this may need to drop to just 5% to feed the extra 2 billion people expected to be alive by 2050, according to research by some of the world’s leading water scientists.
‘There will not be enough water available on current croplands to produce food for the expected 9 billion population in 2050 if we follow current trends and changes towards diets common in western nations,’ the report by Malik Falkenmark and colleagues at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) said.
The days of very cheap meat are coming to an end. Meat will be increasingly viewed as a “luxury” around the globe from now on.
Sadly, there are some in the financial world that actually intend to make lots of money off of this crisis….
The United Nations, aid agencies and the British Government have lined up to attack the world’s largest commodities trading company, Glencore, after it described the current global food crisis and soaring world prices as a ‘good’ business opportunity.

With the US experiencing a rerun of the drought ‘Dust Bowl’ days of the 1930s and Russia suffering a similar food crisis that could see Vladimir Putin’s government banning grain exports, the senior economist of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, Concepcion Calpe, told The Independent: ‘Private companies like Glencore are playing a game that will make them enormous profits.’
Does that disturb you?
It should.
Driving up the price of food for starving people is not a good way to make money. Food is one of our most basic needs. When people are deprived of food they become very desperate.
Just look at what is already happening in Spain. The economic crisis in that country has just begun, and people are already looting supermarkets. You can see a video news report about Spanish activists looting 3 tons of food from local supermarkets right here.
Much of that food was donated to food banks, but in the future I am sure that the desperate “activists” will not be so generous when things get really tight.
In other areas of Spain, large numbers of people have been filmed digging through trash dumpstersfor food.
Could you ever see yourself doing that? Don’t be so sure that hunger will never come to America. Right now, a record 46.7 million Americans are on food stamps, and anti-hunger organizations all around the country are reporting more of a need than ever before.
For now the federal government is able to feed the tens of millions of Americans that do not have enough money for food, but what happens when a day comes when the federal government stops doing that?
And what happens if the drought in the United States continues throughout the winter and into next summer and Dust Bowl conditions return to the United States?
In a previous article entitled “17 Signs That You Better Start Preparing For A Nightmarish Global Food Crisis“, I detailed some more of the reasons why people need to start preparing for food inflation and food shortages.
In the past we could always go out to the supermarket or to Wal-Mart and fill up our shopping carts with huge piles of very cheap food whenever we wanted to.
It will not always be that way.
Get prepared while you still can.
Meanwhile, many Americans continue to enjoy life as if nothing will ever change. For example, the “Rich Kids of Instagram” have been very busy showing off their wealth all summer long. You can see some of the ridiculous ways that they are blowing their wealth right here.
Sadly, they are just a product of our degenerating society. We have piled up wealth in these troubled times while the rest of the world has suffered.
But even our great wealth was not enough for us so we went out and borrowed trillions upon trillions of dollars. We have accumulated the greatest mountain of debt in the history of the world, but we are still not satisfied.
In the end, we will weep and howl in misery as everything that we have built falls apart around us.
Michael Snyder is the writer and editor at The Economic Collapse

    Tuesday, September 11, 2012

    How "Crazy Survivalists" Make The World A Better Place

    Original article written by Brandon Smith.
    Reproduced with the written permission of the author. Many thanks!! -- Muskrat Jim

    I was recently interviewed by a journalist for a local newspaper who was developing a story on the exponential rise of the “prepper lifestyle” in America, most especially in Western Montana.  Being an outsider to the Liberty Movement, she was naturally curious as to what motivated us to make what some in our culture would see as a drastic and bewildering leap away from the mainstream.  She was equally fascinated with our willingness to travel great distances and make substantial sacrifices to live in regions like the American Redoubt.     

    I will not deny, Montana has indeed become a “hotbed” of survivalism and Constitutionalism, or what the Southern Poverty Law Center would call “extremism and domestic terrorism”.  I lived in Pittsburgh for years while writing for Neithercorp and Alt-Market and rarely ran into like minded individuals aware of the tenuous status of our society.  Within days of moving to Montana, I was being recognized by complete strangers in supermarkets excited to discuss the inner workings of Keynesian monetary corruption, precious metals investment, and Alinsky disinformation tactics.  Yeah…I know…it’s weird.

    After living for a while in the Redoubt, you begin to forget that there are still many people in this country that are utterly oblivious to the epic dangers around them, as well as painfully helpless in knowing what to do when those dangers land on their doorsteps.  Speaking with the newspaper reporter, and my experiences at Paulfest in Tampa, Florida, reminded me that the world has yet to be reminded of the value of survivalism.  There is still a gap, a disconnect, a psychological twitch of the masses, and it compels me to explain, yet again, what they are missing.

    I had thought about using parables like the ancient Greek story of Cassandra, who was given the gift of foresight and prophecy, but also stricken with a curse which prevented anyone from believing her dire warnings.  Or the story of Noah, who was given an omen, a vision of catastrophe, and directed by God on how to save a remnant of life, while knowing that most of the people around him would perish.  And what about Galileo, who simply tried to point out the scientific operations of the universe in which we exist, only to be ostracized by his church and government?  In these modern times, however, many find it increasingly difficult to relate to mythology, bible lore, or even historical precedence.  Luckily, there is always cinema…

    While considering this topic, as if by design, I stumbled upon the film ‘Take Shelter’, the story of a man who suffers from acute intuition.  His vivid dreams warn him of a nightmare event, but is he a prophet, or a schizophrenic with delusions of doom?

    Human beings hold within them a natural mechanism, a moral dynamo that compels them to alert others to the dangers they see silhouette on the horizon.  Every survivalist today has at one time or another felt the overwhelming weight of responsibility that comes with knowing; not believing, but KNOWING the future.  The film 'Take Shelter' illustrates the internal and external dilemmas of the survivalist in a way that is striking, beautiful, and affirming.

    Prophetic dreams and spoken messages from the heavens are not necessarily required to understand the dilemmas our nation faces in the new millennium.  It does not take a psychic to see the mathematical certainty of dollar devaluation and loss of world reserve status.  The degradation of our civil liberties in the name of state security.  The formation of unaccountable supranational bodies which are quickly encroaching upon our individual sovereignty.  In fact, a person would have to be mentally blind, deaf, and dumb to NOT grasp what is happening right under their noses.  Sadly, this is where a majority of the American populace lives.

    Even at Paulfest, a convention and congregation of what I consider some of the most awake and socially aware people on the planet, I discovered that at least half of those in attendance had a minimal sense of urgency as far as a true national crisis was concerned, clinging to the assumption that they had yet more time to stab at top down solutions and political tap dancing that continually falls short of what is necessary to restore liberty.

    It is difficult to retain one’s composure in the face of the astounding absurdity of normalcy bias.  The idea that today’s comforts will continue on tomorrow and forever is a powerful one.  To break such apathy requires steadfast resolve.  Sometimes, only startling and terrifying events are enough to rattle the mindless masses.  Sometimes, you just have to let the chips fall where they may, speak the truth to the best of your ability, and let the herd sort out the rest in their own good time, whatever there is left of it.  What we see as a forgone conclusion, what we passionately fight to expose, in their minds often translates into belligerence and a frightening subversion of their joyous naivety:

    As we invade their perfect world with the dreadful facts of life, their subconscious reflex is to regard us as a tangible threat.  The first reaction is always to laugh.  Ridicule without substance is the primary defense of the ignorant.  But, what if you don’t go away?  What if your arguments are too precise?  What if there is too much clarity to your position?  What if you have a whole movement of people behind you?  What if you are a force to be reckoned with, and cannot be refuted or dissuaded?  What if logic dictates the admission that you are right, and they are wrong?

    Then arises fury…

    It is not uncommon for the truth tellers of an era to be labeled the enemies of society.  To be held as criminals, traitors, and terrorists.  In fact, the establishment has in the past two decades made every effort to paint survivalists as the boogeymen of our age; unstable and unpredictable wild-men hell bent on destruction in the name of some hallucinatory ideology.  Using generalizations, false associations, and outright lies, corrupt governments seek to fool the citizenry into viewing survivalists as a fringe element and a dark underbelly of their otherwise serene state sponsored existence.

    In contrast, I would like to point out to the non-prepper populace the advantages of having some of us “loony” survivalists around.  Rarely in the mainstream are we ever presented with the utility of survival proponents, and how they actually serve the interests of the “greater good” to quote a phrase often used by drooling collectivists and statists who desperately try to defame the prepper subculture…

    Advantage #1:  Survivalists Have Their Own Stuff – They Don’t Need Your Stuff

    Survivalists have their own stuff, which means, they will likely not feel compelled to take your stuff, if, that is, you have any stuff worth having.  In the midst of a calamity, being surrounded by preppers is one of the best insurance policies a person could acquire.  Think about it; would you rather have me as a neighbor, with my guns, ammo, food supply, off-grid solar power and water, and anti-establishment angst, or, would you rather have some superficial sickly fake friendly suburban yuppie with a Mercedes, an overpriced boat, a $100,000-plus debt obligation, a repressed inferiority complex, a vicious department store-addicted trophy wife, three spoiled crusty children with a vocabulary of 80 words or less, and an empty pantry?  In a crisis, who is the real threat?  Come on!

    Advantage #2:  Survivalists Keep To Themselves – Your Business Is Your Own

    Have you ever lived in the metro areas of California, New York, or Illinois?  Ever notice how disgustingly nosy many people tend to become in the more socialist minded regions of America?  Neighborhood administrations that cite you for tall grass.  Permits on top of permits.  Sneers when you smoke a cigarette, even outdoors.  Environmental restrictions bordering on the insane.  City governments telling you what you are allowed to eat and drink and how much.  It’s so enraging it makes you want to wrench someone’s head off their neck and squeeze their skull like an oversized pimple.

    Survivalists respect privacy.  Grow a garden on your front lawn.  Smoke your cigarettes (or whatever).  Drink your damned 2 liter mega-gulp.  Let your kids play with the water hose for hours, or open a lemonade stand.  Don’t worry; the authorities will never be told, because we don’t care.  We have far more important things to worry about.

    Advantage #3:  Survivalists Are Handy

    Ever have that one friend, or neighbor, or family member who just seems to have all the right answers when it comes to gardening, or solar power, or repairing that hunting rifle?  Who knows all the best camping and fishing spots?  Who always seems to be willing to go out of his way to help you set up a good emergency kit in case of that next hurricane, flood, tornado, earthquake, etc?  You may very well be working with a survivalist and not even know it.               

    Advantage #4:  Survivalists Insulate A Region

    The more survivalists there are in a particular area, the more likely you are to get through a disaster, whether you have prepared for it or not.  A network of survival communities offers an enormous variety of skills, an alternative economy and barter system to tap into, safety from harm during a major implosion or socially unstable times, and the ingenuity required to rebuild after the disaster. 

    Let me put it this way:  who is more likely to return your environment to a livable state?  Groups of survivalists with the know-how and the desire because they actually LIVE in the region?  Or, a faceless government bureaucracy like FEMA with no meaningful ties to the community in which you live? 

    Advantage #5:  Survivalists Cook Up A Mean Barbeque 

    Show me a survivalist that doesn’t grill like an artist.  I defy you!

    Advantage #6:  Survivalists Stand Their Ground When It Counts

    If you ever need someone to back you up in a terrible situation, you can’t do much better than a survivalist.  They are used to adversity.  In fact, many of us deliberately put ourselves through strenuous training environments in order to learn where we will falter.  We make a point to uncover our own weaknesses and improve upon them.  Our current comfort obsessed society is almost devoid of this characteristic.  Finding a single person who will not let you down is a gift.  Finding an entire movement of such people is a miracle.  Don’t let it go to waste…

    Advantage #7:  Survivalists Are Time Capsules For Liberty

    Every culture needs watchmen.  Not government paid watchmen who seek out power, but citizen volunteers who shun power.  Without such watchmen, fundamental principles can be lost or destroyed, and the people of a nation are apt to forget where they came from, and what made them successful in the first place.  Though the masses have a tendency to be lured away from the legacy of freedom which once served them towards the twisted ideologies of tyrants and collectivists, in the long run they always return, seeking the almost forgotten abundances of liberty.  When the people go searching for freedom once again, the survivalists, the enduring watchmen, will be waiting to greet them.

    Advantage #8:  Survivalists Are Not Afraid To Remind Society Of Its Mistakes

    It is easy to be apathetic to the criminality of government.  It is easy to cocoon one’s self inside his own little life, within the minor dramas of his family and of his job.  It is easy to turn away from the big picture and hope that the monsters of the world sort themselves out, or overlook us entirely.  Unfortunately, this is not how human history has ever been resolved.  The worst problems never disappear on their own.  Survivalists understand this and are willing to take personal risks in order to uncover the nature of the beast for anyone willing to listen.  They understand that their best chance of survival is to preempt a disaster before it ever occurs.  The value of this to the longevity of our species cannot be calculated.  Without those who can overcome the fears created by conformity, mankind is lost.  Our very future depends upon the principles of survivalism, which teaches us to embrace our individuality, love the individualism within others, stand unyielding in the face of oppression, and fight to our dying breath to see that the best in all of us is one day fully realized.

    You can contact Brandon Smith at:

    Friday, September 7, 2012

    Wound Care In The Wild

    I was leafing through an old Field & Stream magazine from 1993 and found a useful article I'd like to share with you. It was called Wound Care In The Wild and was written by Jeffrey Issac. The advice he gives is simple yet sensible. His article ends with the contents of a First-Aid Kit we should carry into the bush. If not to treat ourselves, then to be equipped to help someone else. --Muskrat Jim

    Wound Care In The Wild
    Effective first aid begins with the knowledge you acquire before heading into the backcountry.

            Over the course of your life, your skin will be punctured, burned, half-frozen, cut and scraped countless times. In most cases it will heal and continue to do its job with little or no help from you. But skin injuries that occur in the back country are another matter.
            The skin's most basic function is to keep vital fluids inside the body, and bacteria out. When an injury occurs that breaks the body's protective seal, the blood begins clotting to bring bleeding to a stop. Circulation increases in the area of the injury, bringing white blood cells to destroy bacteria. Normal inflammation walls the wound off from the rest of he body. A scab soon forms, and the wound cleans and drains itself over the next several days. Protective barriers grow stronger, and within six to eight days the wound will be very resistant to external contamination.
            But bacteria thrive in the wilderness and the risk of infection is much greater at a time you can least afford it. The primary goal of good wilderness first aid is to assist your body's natural healing processes while providing you with the skills to control bleed loss, and clean and dress a wound when the situation arises afield.
            The first step in managing skin wounds should begin long before you get an injury or step into the backcountry.
            Doctors advise that everyone have a tetanus toxoid vaccine at least once every ten years to provide immunity against a lethal disease called tetanus. Tetanus develops as a reaction to a toxin produced by a fairly common bacteria (Clostridium tetani) that usually enters the body through wounds. (If there is any doubt about your tetanus vaccine being up to date see your doctor for a booster now--and certainly before going into the backcountry).
            Regardless of the degree of injury, it's important to attend to the wound as thoroughly and as calmly as possible. If you are treating your hunting partner, instead of yourself, take a few seconds to put on a pair of latex gloves before coming into contact with any blood. Some blood-borne diseases are easily transmittable between people. This simple, quick task may seem strange and awkward at first, but it's a universal precaution in healthcare, even with first aid and even in the woods.


            All skin wounds disrupt blood vessels. In extensive injuries however, significant blood loss can occur before a clot can develop to seal the wound. The most simple, safe, and effective technique for controlling continued blood loss is to apply pressure directly to the bleeding site. Using a clean cloth, bandage, or hand, apply pressure for at least 15 minutes.If bleeding persists, chances are you're not using enough pressure, or you're applying it to the wrong place. Remove the bandage, look for the bleeding, and try again. In the case of an injury to an extremity you can also elevate the limb above the level of the heart to reduce blood pressure at the wound site.


            As soon as the bleeding has stopped, the wound should be cleaned. Although it is impossible to safely sterilize the wound in the wilderness, you can often reduce the amount of debris and bacteria to a level that is easily managed by the body's own defences.
            First, clean the skin around the wound with soap and water, or an antiseptic. Avoid getting antiseptics, such as iodine preparations, into the wound itself. These chemicals will kill the healthy body cells lining the wound as well as killing the bacteria.
            Next, irrigate the wound with water that's clean enough to drink, pouring it directly into the wound so that it flushes away debris. The more water you use, the better. If dirt, rocks or animal hair is imbedded in the wound, use a small pair of tweezers to pick it out. Pieces of skin or dead tissue which are dead or detached should also be removed. This type of cleaning is called 'debridement,' and can take a while. Make yourself comfortable, use plenty of light, and do a good job; it is not unusual to spend several hours cleaning up a mess that only took a fraction of a second to make.
            Cleaning may disturb the clot and cause bleeding to resume. If the wound is minor simply reapply direct pressure for a few minutes. However do not attempt to clean wounds which are associated with life-threatening amounts of blood loss. In these instances your first priority is to control the bleeding, apply a bandage , monitor the injured and wound carefully, and seek immediate medical care.


              In the backcountry setting, all except the most superficial wounds should be dressed open to allow for natural drainage.
              Do not apply waterproof ointment or petroleum jelly, or close the wound with butterfly tape or steri strips. And by all means, resist the temptation to perform field surgery with your fishing line or dental floss. Wounds can be sutured in an emergency room or clinic three to five days later, if necessary. And it will be much easier for the medical practitioner to repair a wound which is clean, and healing naturally, than to deal with one that has developed a complicated infection.
              Once the wound has been thoroughly cleaned, cover it with a sterile gauze dressing and clean bandage. Inspect, clean and redress daily; more frequently in wet or dirty conditions. If the wound is in an area subject to a lot of skin tension and movement, such as over a joint, use a splint or bulky bandage to limit the area's range of motion.


            Common injuries include abrasions which affect the outer layers of skin and should be treated in much the same way as deeper wounds. But it often takes a few days for abrasions to clot. Applying a layer of antibiotic ointment directly over the wound after cleaning it will help prevent infection and promote healing. Apply a new dressing -- which includes irrigating, cleaning, and putting fresh ointment on the wound -- daily. Once the wound is able to scab over on its own, the ointment is no longer necessary. (And resist the temptation to pick the scab off! You will just destroy the new skin growing underneath.)
              Such minor wounds that involve only the skin and underlying fat should do well with conscientious field care. And there is no reason to perform a hurried or hazardous evacuation just to get stitches. In most cases professional medical attention can be delayed until it is safe and convenient, if necessary at all.
              Unfortunately, you don't have this luxury with wounds which are very deep, dirty, or complex. Such 'High Risk' wounds include Dirty Wounds with imbedded debris such as dirt, rocks, clothing fibers, or animal hair; Ragged Wounds which have a large amount of crushed, shredded, or dead tissue; Complex Wounds which involve joints, tendons, muscles or bones; Bite Wounds, either human or animal (any wound exposed to human or animal saliva constitutes a bite wound); and Puncture Wounds that have a small opening with a wound track that goes deep, depositing bacteria in areas which are impossible to clean and drain properly. Puncture wounds can look minor at first, but become a big problem later; the most common example  is the nail which goes through the bottom of your boot and into your foot.
              These 'High Risk' wounds harbour bacteria which are difficult to dislodge, and are prone to infection and complications even with the best field care. The initial treatment is the same -- control blood loss, clean if not life-threatening, and apply field dressing -- but they should receive professional medical attention within 24 hours, if possible.


              Within three or four days after an injury the normal pain, redness, and swelling associated with a wound should begin to subside. But if something goes wrong, and the body's defensive and healing mechanisms are overwhelmed, invading bacteria may multiply and infect the tissues surrounding the wound.
              As the body attempts to reestablish barriers and fight the infection, local inflammation -- redness, pain, and swelling -- begins to increase. Pus will often accumulate, and either drain or form a pocket (abscess) under the skin. If the infection is not controlled, it can spread through the lymphatic ducts and glands to the general circulation, causing a systemic infection. The early symptoms of this serious illness, sometimes called 'blood poisoning,' include red streaks and general swelling in the extremity as well as swollen glands, pain, and fever.
              In the long-term care situation, pain or the threat of systemic infection may make it necessary to reopen and drain a wound which has formed an abscess. This is safe to do as long as the pus pocket is easily visible and close to the surface. Usually a small nick with a sharp knife is all that is necessary. Once the abscess is open, clean and irrigate it as you would any other wound. Because the continued spread of infection can cause a life- or limb-threatening emergency, any wound that becomes infected in the back country should be considered High Risk and be attended to by a doctor as soon as possible.
              Like most backcountry skills, quality wound care demands a lot of patience and a few simple tools. Most of the medical supplies you'll need in the field will fit comfortably in your coat pocket. But the real first-aid kit is the knowledge and experience you carry with you.


    This day kit for wound care in the wild can fit in a small band-aid box, which should always be kept in your field coat. --J.I. 

    • sterile scalpel blade
    • two 4x4-inch sterile gauze dressings
    • two 2x2-inch sterile gauze dressings
    • one 2x2-inch gel dressing for blisters
    • six adhesive band-aids
    • one 1-inch roll of tape
    • one small tube of antibiotic ointment
    • one small bottle of liquid soap
    • one pair of tweezers
    • one pair of nail clippers
    • one pair of scissors
    • water purification tablets
    • 1-gallon plastic bag (holds water for irrigation; poke a small hole in the bottom to make it squirt)
    • one pair of latex gloves