When it comes to surviving in the wilderness, having the right skills and knowledge can make all the difference. From starting a fire to signalling for help and ensuring a safe water supply, these essential survival techniques will have you well-prepared for your outdoor adventures. Let's dive into the details:

1. Fungus for Fire-Making:

  • Coal Fungus: This charcoal-like fungus found on dead fallen trees is a hidden gem for fire-making. Break it in half to expose its dry core, and with a spark from a fire steel, it smoulders into a burning ember.
  • Horse's Hoof Fungus: With its hoof-like appearance, this fungus is another fire-starting wonder. The fibrous layer just below the outer skin catches sparks and smoulders, making it great for igniting materials or as a portable fire lighter.

2. Birch Bark as Tinder:

  • Birch bark is a top-tier tinder source, but if it's from a dead and rotten tree, it might lack flammable resinous oil. No worries! Scrape the bark's surface to create fine wood shavings. These shavings ignite easily, even in wet conditions.

3. Pine Resin and Fatwood:

  • Pine Resin: Often encrusted in pine tree bark, pine resin is a fire-making champion. Crush resin blocks into granules for better ignition chances. Fresh pine resin can also be melted into a versatile glue for primitive tool-making.
  • Fatwood: The heartwood of pine trees is saturated with flammable pine resin. Shavings and sawdust from fatwood catch sparks like a charm.

4. Using Green Plant Material for Signalling:

  • Transform your fire into a signal fire by adding living green plant or tree matter, like pine or spruce boughs. They create dense white smoke plumes, ensuring you're noticed in a rescue situation.
  • Remember to pack traditional signalling tools like mirrors, whistles, and smoke grenades in your survival kit for a reliable rescue signal.

5. Water Procurement and Treatment:

  • Gathering Water: In the wild, water sources are vital, but untreated water can be risky. Collect water from moss, dew-covered foliage, or dew-covered grass by wringing it out.
  • Water Treatment: Ensure safe drinking water with purification tablets or a makeshift filter. Create a simple filter by layering charcoal, sand, and grass to remove impurities. In a pinch, fold tinfoil around a rock to improvise a container for boiling water by the fire.

6. Nature's First Aid:

  • Crab Apples for Wound Care: Raw crab apples, with their astringent properties, can help heal wounds by tightening the skin and blood vessels around the area. Simply rub them over a wound or laceration for relief.
  • Pine Resin Primer: Pine resin, mentioned earlier for fire-making, also doubles as an antiseptic. Mix it with water to create an antiseptic liquid for external use or gargle to combat throat, mouth, or tooth infections.

7. Combat Intestinal Infections:

  • Tannic Acid from Acorns and Oak Bark: High in tannic acid, acorns and oak bark are effective anti-diarrhoea agents. Brew them into a medicinal tea to combat the effects of dysentery, cholera, and other intestinal problems.
  • Blackberry Leaves: Leaves from the blackberry plant, while lower in tannic acid, serve a similar purpose and can be used in the same manner for relief from intestinal issues.

8. Natural Remedies for Ailments:

  • Rose Hips for Constipation Relief: Brewing the fleshy part of rose hips and young leaves in water creates a mild constipation relief tea. Additionally, the fleshy outer part of the fruit is edible and rich in vitamin C.
  • Dandelion Tea: Dandelion tea can provide mild constipation relief, and the entire plant is edible. It's a versatile addition to your natural remedy arsenal.

9. Protect Your Eyes in Snowy Terrain:

  • Charcoal as Snow Goggles: Snow blindness is a risk in snowy environments due to the sun's UV rays. Apply charcoal under your eyes to reduce glare and protect your eyes from excessive light.
  • Homemade “Sunglasses”: Create makeshift sunglasses by cutting thin, high holes in a piece of bark, threading paracord through, and wearing it. Stylish and functional!

10. DIY Survival Tools:

  • Guitar Strings as Snares: Guitar strings can double as effective snares for catching small game, providing a potential food source in the wilderness.
  • Repurpose Shotgun Shells: Melt down spent shotgun shells over a fire and reshape them into various tools. For example, poking a knife through the melting shell creates a makeshift arrowhead.

11. Clever Campsite Hacks:

  • Free Kindling with Pinecones: Pinecones are free and make excellent kindling. Toss them into your fire during the initial stages for a fool proof fire start.
  • Pegged Canteen Holder: Stick four pegs into the ground in a rectangle pattern, creating a nifty canteen holder that you can build a fire under or around.

12. Space Blanket Magic:

  • Reflect Heat with a Space Blanket: Maximize your fire's heat output by attaching a space blanket inside your shelter or using it as a fire reflector wall. It keeps you warm and visible.
  • Solar Signalling: Roll up the edges of a space blanket around sticks to create a giant mirror. Use it to reflect sunlight onto the horizon or towards aircraft for highly visible signalling.

13. Backup Signal Devices:

  • Signal Whistles, Flares, and More: In addition to natural signalling methods, carry man-made signal devices like whistles, signal flares (both handheld and rocket parachute varieties), smoke grenades, glow sticks, and signal mirrors in your survival kit. Be prepared from all angles.

These survival tips and tricks not only elevate your outdoor skills but also empower you to adapt, overcome challenges, and enjoy the untamed beauty of the wilderness. Remember, knowledge is your greatest asset when venturing into the great outdoors, so keep exploring and learning.

Until Next Time

Dominus Owen Markham

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