Friday, September 16, 2011


Tinder is essential to get a fire started in the wilderness. The idea here is to gather DRY materials that will light very easily. A few sparks will get good tinder to catch fire. Here are some suggestions for material to use as tinder:

  • Birch bark, dried grasses, fine wood shavings, cotton fluff, bird down and waxed paper.
  • Pine needles, pulverized fir cones and the inner bark from cedar trees
  • Dried fungi, scorched or charred linen/cotton.
  • Dry nests of mice or birds.
The easiest way to light timber is obviously going to be a device or tool designed to create fire such as a lighter or matches. In a pinch though you can use other methods such as using a lens (to focus sunlight), flint and steel, a fire bow, a hand drill, or a fire plough. In future articles I'll go over how to use these fire starting methods in more detail.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Rope Making

Vines, grasses, rushes, barks, palms, and animal hairs can all be used to make rope or line. The stems of nettles make first-class ropes and those of honeysuckle can be twisted together to make tight lashings. The stronger the fiber, the stronger the rope. Some stiff fibers can be made flexible by steaming or warming. While pliable vines and other long plant stems can be used for short term purposes, they may become brittle as they dry out. A rope made from plant fibers that are twisted or plaited together will be more durable. The tendons from animal's legs also make good strings, but they tend to dry hard. Be creative! Keep your eyes open and do the best with what you can find.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Finding Water

  • Look in valley bottoms where water naturally drains. If there is no stream or pool look for patches of green vegetation and dig there.
  • Dig in gullies and dry stream beds.
  • In mountains look for water trapped in crevices.
  • On the coast dig above the high water line, or look for lush vegetation in faults in cliffs: you may find a sping.
On a side note, be suspicious of any pool with no green vegetation growing around it, or animal bones present. It is likely to be polluted. Check edges for minerals which might indicate alkaline conditions. Always boil water from pools. In the desert, lakes with no outlets become salt lakes and water from them must be distilled before drinking.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Pickling and Salting Meat and Vegetables

Fish and meat can be pickled using the citric acid from limes and lemons. Dilute juice and water 2:1, mix well and soak the flesh for at least 12 hours. Transfer it to an airtight container with enough solution to cover meat. Vegetables can be preserved by boiling and then keeping in saltwater. To make sure brine solution is strong enough, add salt until a potato or root vegetable will float in it. Another method of using salt is to tightly pack layers of salt and vegetables. Wash of the salt when you need to use them.