Hello my friend and welcome back! Today I have a guest post for you by Jack Neely who is a Survivalist and world traveler. I don’t often use guest post unless I find them of value. This is one such submission and I hope you enjoy it. Grab yourself a cup of coffee and have a seat while we visit.
When heading out on a long hiking trip, no doubt you’ll have thought long and hard about what you pack. The things you carry must be well-designed essentials to make your trip spectacular. However, the price tag on your gear can quickly escalate.
The truth is, much essential survival gear can be made at home, and is not only easier on your pocket, but stands up just as well as costly store bought gear.
For Keeping Yourself Warm:
– Cotton pads and petroleum jelly
You can double up on practicality here: use these items as fire starters, but also the petroleum jelly for protecting chapped lips, and the cotton pads for covering wounds. Coat the cotton with Vaseline either on the trail or do it pretrip and pack in a plastic baggie.
You can use any lip balm containing petroleum, or Vaseline sells a tiny .25 oz petroleum jelly that’s just big enough for a backpacker’s purposes.
– A Bag of Dryer Lint
Experienced backpackers know to always bring more than one way to start a fire. An Eagle boy scout I respect always brings a sandwich bag of dryer lint and a flint with him to start his campfire.
– Waterproof Matches
Soak the heads of ordinary matches in turpentine for 5 minutes. Spread them out to dry on newspaper for 20 minutes, and voila! Homemade waterproof matches.
For Eating and Drinking:
Survival biscuits, or hardtack, have long been the friends of pioneers going on long journeys. Keep in mind they won’t win any culinary awards; they’re for survival. This can keep for decades.
To make, mix 2 parts of whole wheat flour with 1 part of water and a teaspoon of salt. For better flavor, you can add garlic or seasoning salt. Smash it thin like crackers, pierce with a fork, and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes on each side, then let dry.
Native Americans used to eat this on the trail; it also is one of the longest lasting survival foods out there.
1. Make or buy extra dry meat jerky, then grind it up.
2. Boil an equal amount of animal fat such as beef suet until it’s half the original amount.
3. Mix together, then add berries, nuts, and salt (typically a 1:1 ratio of berries to meat).
4. Layer in a casserole dish or loaf pan to give it shape, then wrap in wax paper.
– Bleach for Disinfecting Water
You can get fancy water purifying kits, or you can just bring along some bleach. It may seem odd to use, but it’s simple, safe, and effective.
Buy or repurpose the smallest dropper bottle (5 ml is fine) you can find. Fill with bleach. To use, add 5 drops per liter of water. Wait 30 minutes before drinking.
For Possible Injuries and Setbacks:
– Homemade Medical Kit
To take care of minor cuts, blisters, and pain, always pack a medical kit. Store bought versions aren’t adapted to the trail and most of the items are useless and poor quality.
1. Fill an empty pill bottle with ibuprofen and aspirin. Bring both because they can target different pain spots (aspirin can save your life if you’re having a heart attack) and they can be taken staggered for when you have higher pain levels.
2. Rubber band a few cotton pads together
3. Wrap a length of both duct tape and medical tape around the pill bottle; use with the cotton pads for homemade bandages
4. Add tweezers, a few antiseptic wipes
5. Place all inside a bandanna and tie it up. Use the bandanna as a splint, to soak up blood, or to place pressure on a wound if needed.
– Signal Mirror
In case of an emergency, be sure to pack a signal mirror.
To make a durable, lightweight one, buy a small square of plastic called mica (it’s used by locksmiths). Glue on Mylar and punch in a sighting hole.
Alternatively, some backpackers cut down and sand the edges of a CD to use for an easy and cheap DIY tool. A flashlight works as well.
– Paracord Bracelet
Parachute cord has many backpacking uses, from hanging food up away from bears, to hanging a tarp for shelter. Its inner strings can also be used when a smaller tie is needed.
You need paracord, a side-release plastic buckle so it can snap closed, and a lighter to keep the edges of the cord from fraying.
Use one foot of paracord for each inch of your wrist.
You can use a cobra stitch to make a cool-looking bracelet, or do a simple braid.
About the Author
Jack Neely is a fitness expert, survivalist, and world traveler. He’s been in several life or death situations, and he’s making an effort to spread his knowledge around the web to help others survive these situations as well. He’s also on the content team at The Tactical Guru.
That is it for today and until next time, stay safe, stay strong, stay prepared. God Save America!