Men vs. Wild Survival Skill Manual Page 1 Men vs. Wild Survival Skill Manual By: Frankie DeBorde and David Wiens Men vs. Wild Survival Skill Manual Page 2 Introduction and Note From the Authors Individuals have been placed in dire situations, amid dangerous environments, and left desperately wondering how to react and survive. The answer: knowledge of certain skills. This packet briefly explains the primary skills, such as erecting shelters and surviving bear encounters, needed to remain alive in the wilderness. Study these skills attentively, and attempt to optimize nature’s resources and survive with these skills while still respecting her ineffable beauty. Above all, approach with a positive and optimistic mentality, so that survival is simple and enjoyable. Happy Travels- Frankie and David Men vs. Wild Survival Skill Manual Page 3 Table of Contents 1. Shelters-Page 4 2. Fires-Page 8 A. Small Fires-Page 8 B. Smoke Signal Fires-Page 10 3. Water Procurement-Page 13 A. Primary Sources-Page 13 B. Last-ditch Sources-Page 14 C. Purifying Water-Page 15 4. Insect Stings and Treatment-Page 16 A. Treatment-Page 16 5. Basic Navigation and Orienteering-Page 18 A. Orienteering Without a Compass-Page 18 6. Dangerous Animal Encounters-Page 20 7. Basic Edible Plants and Herbal Remedies-Page 22 8. Bibliography-Page 26 Men vs. Wild Survival Skill Manual Page 4 Shelter Depending on the environment in which a person is attempting to survive, shelter can be more important than food and even water. An example of this is in a freezing climate when the cold can kill a person faster than starvation or dehydration. Along with protection from the elements, shelters can be a helpful mental boost in a survival situation because of the feeling of “well-being” that they may provide. When you find yourself in a wilderness survival situation and it is time to build a shelter, you should first assess your most important needs according to the environment and your health. These needs could include water, wind protection, or heat. site of your shelter accordingly. You should choose the For example, if you are severely dehydrated, a priority for your shelter site should be its proximity to a clean water source. Below are a few key characteristics of a good shelter site. Emphasize different characteristics of your site depending on your survival situation. Site must be large enough to lie down in easily Site must have level ground for comfort Site must have natural protection from the elements (an example is next to a boulder that provides protection from the wind) Site must be free of poisonous plants and venomous animals Men vs. Wild Survival Skill Manual Page 5 Site must be close to a water source but not in danger of flooding or a breeding ground of vexatious mosquitoes Site must not rest under dead trees or branches that could fall Site must be abundant with the material needed to build the shelter Site must have a well-drained ground After you pick a site for your shelter, you should look through the available materials. Be resourceful! the most useful tools for a shelter is a tarp. One of There are many different shelters you can build for different environments with a tarp. waterproofing a shelter. improvise. Also, tarps are great for If you don’t have a tarp, A waterproof/resistant jacket can help just as much when building a shelter. If you do have an object like a tarp, it is somewhat useless without rope. Substitutes include shoelaces, elastic from clothing, strips of cloth (may not always be a good idea if your clothing is important), and straps from a backpack. In a situation without any rope or string at all, rocks can be used to weigh down the edges of a tarp. The many different types of tarp shelters include: Hanging teepee Regular tent Tarp lean-to http://www.londonhistory.org/images/leanto.jpg Men vs. Wild Survival Skill Manual Page 6 When searching for available materials for your shelter, expand your vision from man-made materials to natural resources. Hundreds of different shelters can be made using nothing but what the environment offers. These shelters include: Debris teepee Debris hut (consult following diagrams) A-frame Lean-to Dug-out Swamp bed Tree-pit snow shelter Hill-side shelter Choose the type of shelter according to the environment. If you are in an area with wet ground, a shelter with an elevated sleeping platform is needed so building a swamp bed would be a good choice. If you are building a shelter in a survival situation, a specific type is not mandatory. Creativity is the key! Adding or subtracting parts of your shelter to fit your specific needs is always a good idea. Anything from a swamp bed-lean-to to a dug-out shelter with an A-frame over it works. In a survival situation when you do not know what kind of shelter you are going build, you can start with the basics of a shelter and adapt to your surroundings as you work along. 1. The Bed A common mistake when building a shelter is starting with the frame. It is much better to build the Men vs. Wild Survival Skill Manual Page 7 important bedding first so there is no risk of either knocking the frame down or not having enough room for the bedding. The bed is one of the most important parts of the shelter because it separates you from the ground. It is good to be off of the ground not only to stay away from insects but also to stay warmer. You lose a great amount of heat when sleeping on the ground. Logs normally make a very useful bed. 2. Insulation/Bedding The next step in building a shelter is the bedding insulation. Leaves and grass are good beddings but any warm and comfortable material will do. Another common mistake when building a shelter in a survival situation is making the shelter too large. In a compact shelter, you are often much warmer than if the shelter is large because your body heat is kept close to you. Small entrances also stop your body heat from escaping. http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/how-to-build-a-shelter-illustration-4.gif Men vs. Wild Survival Skill Manual Page 8 Fires Fires are very useful in survival situations. With a fire, you gain warmth, comfort, and a significant psychological boost. Also, fires can provide protection from animals and give a person the ability to cook. Unfortunately, it takes refined skill to start a fire with the most basic of materials. It is important to think about these steps when you are planning to construct a fire. Remember to choose a site for a fire wisely, with dry dirt surrounding the area and little plant exposure. A fire builder has two choices: small fires or signal fires. A small fire is one that is used for warmth and protection from the elements along with cooking. The second, signal fires, are addressed later in the section. Small Fires Fire Fuel Fire is a mystery that has puzzled man since his very existence upon this earth. It is used for cooking, generating heat, signaling, and naturally to control plant growth and maintaining ecosystems. Basically, fire is a chemical process of combustion between particles, releasing heat and light, which comes in contact with oxygen and ignites into flame. The trick with constructing such a roaring fire is to balance the distance and amount of fuel Men vs. Wild Survival Skill Manual Page 9 needed to sustain the fire with also spacing it enough apart so that the oxygen in the air is able to produce more flames through this reaction process. Ideal Fuel Prevalent hydrocarbons in nature, such as coal, are some of the easiest natural materials to ignite and release immense amounts of heat, yet are seldom found near the surface of nature or near campsites. Therefore, wood, heavily abundant across nature, is the idea fuel for survivors in the wilderness. The best woods are hardwoods, which are not necessarily thick or sturdy but always shed their leaves in winter, meaning they are deciduous. Softwoods, or evergreens, can however be used as tinder and kindling, which are two forms of the three bases of a fire. Tinder: Tinder is very easily combustible material that is used to ignite kindling. There are three different types of tinder, categorized by their size. Stage one tinder is the material that makes the initial flame. tinder is dry, thin, fluffy, and light. Ideal stage one When searching for your tinder, look for materials with these characteristics instead of searching for specific plants. Good stage one tinder includes: dried grass, cedar bark, Spanish moss, clothing lint, birch bark, bird nests, and fat and resin from coniferous trees, which are any cone-bearing evergreen trees. Also, cotton balls catch a flame well and they might be included in your first aid kid. Stage two tinder is slightly thicker than stage one tinder and will hold a flame for a longer time. Dried pine needles are my favorite stage two tinder because they are abundant where I Men vs. Wild Survival Skill Manual Page 10 go camping but other sticks with the thickness of a toothpick will work well. Stage three tinder is one more step up in thickness from stage two tinder. Sticks the thickness of a pencil are good stage three tinder. Kindling: Kindling is the second layer of a fire that rests above burning tinder and is used to allow the wood fuel above it to combust. Supreme kindling is thinly chopped firewood, small dried branches, and brittle twigs. One of the most flawless types of kindling material is punk, which is the dry insides of rotten tree trunks that can be removed by knife, stick, or hands. Wood fuel: Wood fuel is what produces sizzling embers and scorching flames. Wood fuel is what actually warms the survivor outdoors. Preferred wood fuel should be dead and seasoned, meaning the sap has exited the wood and left open cracks where the heat can easily radiate within the log. Sugar maples, beech, white oak, yellow and white ash, northern poplar, sweet gum, sour gum, hemlock, and spruce trees are exemplary wood fuels if dead and seasoned. Survival tip: avoid rotting wood, which is caused by fungi, for it decreases the potential energy of the wood fuel. Smoke Signal Fires As survival expert Les Stroud once stated, "A fire is both pivotal in survival and can be an almost euphoric experience." This terse document shall focus on the Men vs. Wild Survival Skill Manual Page 11 creation of smoke signals, or columns of smoke from burning fires that are used as means of conveying a message, often a distress signal, to a distant person. There are several steps to be followed when creating a signal fire. 1. Everyone should immediately begin looking for wood to use as fuel for the signal fire. Members should be able to recognize in their environment that dry, hardwood fuel is ideal for starting the fire, yet live, green foliage and plants are needed to be burned in the fire to cause the smoke to transform into dense, black fumes which are much more visible from rescue ships and planes. 2. After fuel is collected, party members should scrutinize their environment and search for an ideal clearing, away from the center of a thick wood, to build the signal fire. Begin removing debris that may litter the clearing. 3. Build 3 fires, in a triangle position, which is recognized as an international distress signal. Find a way to cover the fuel so that it will stay dry if inclement weather is arriving. Keep tinder and wood ready to light at any given moment to get the attention of planes flying overhead. Note: Useful smoke signal fires can also be prepared in the following ways: If the survivor is left beside a river or lake, lash logs together with rope to make three rafts and burn the fires on top of the rafts. Secure the rafts Men vs. Wild Survival Skill Manual Page 12 together, in a triangle position, and anchor them to the bank. Survivors may use small isolated trees as a signal fire. Make sure that the trees will not catch other trees or vegetation on fire. This could create a rampant, lethal forest fire. Place dry timber and bark and empty birds' nests in the boughs of a living tree and light it up for massive smoke and a tall signal fire. Men vs. Wild Survival Skill Manual Page 13 Water Procurement Water is the most essential ingredient in the human body. Water comprises about three quarters of the human body and is a major component in every cell. Most humans cannot survive after several days without water, while others can survive up to a week, or longer, without food. There are two environments in which a survivor can procure water: primary water sources and last-ditch water sources. Handle your water judiciously, and, if in severe need of water, eat less food and lie down to rest. This reduces the energy that your body uses that would require water. Indications of dehydration include: red or pink skin, parched throats, excessive sweating, and dark yellow urine. Also, a dehydrated person will be slow, clumsy, and withdrawn, as well as show poor judgment. Primary Sources The best primary sources of water are those that flow, including rivers, streams, and creeks. If those are not available, one must move to more stagnant bodies of water, such as lakes and ponds, or less ideal swamps, marshes, fens, and bogs. Snow, slush, and ice are also primary sources of water. Also, scrutinize the water source that you have found. Scan the shoreline or check upstream for contaminants such as dead animals, whose seeping wounds or decaying flesh can adulterate the water supply. Generally, higher altitude means purer water sources. Men vs. Wild Survival Skill Manual Page 14 Areas to look for water and signals of primary water sources: downhill, especially in valleys, for gravity pulls water down low. Second, observe changes in vegetation, for denser or darker leaves could mean water prevalence. Next, examine the sky for color changes. Generally, the sky is bluer above water sources. Finally, follow animal trails or areas where birds seem to congregate, for it is almost always near a primary water source. Last-Ditch Sources If all attempts to find primary water sources prove futile, a survivor must resort to last-ditch resources. Collecting rain is fairly simple. Create a hole lined with clay or plastic to collect the water. Also, dew has been known to provide water for wilderness survivors. The best way to procure it is by tying a rag, shirt, or tuft cloth around one’s knees or ankles, depending on the length of the grass, which will, in turn, collect the drops of water from the grass. Squeeze the shirt or rag to release the water into one’s mouth or water bottle. Finally, a fantastic way of procuring water in any survival situation is through a vegetation sill. However, the process can be tedious for a survivor due to the time required to collect a substantial amount of water. One will need green, leafy foliage, a clear plastic bag, and a small rock. Choose a sunny location with a slope on which to place the sill, following these steps: 1. Fill any plastic bag with air. (The simplest way is to turn the edge into the wind.) Men vs. Wild Survival Skill Manual Page 15 2. Remove any sticks that could puncture the bag, and fill it with three-quarters full of innocuous vegetation. 3. Place a small rock or stone in the bag to weigh it down. 4. Place the bag in sunlight, with the mouth of the bag situated higher than the base of the bag. 5. When water has condensed, loosen the knot at the mouth of the bag and drink it. 6. To ensure a regular supply of water, remove the vegetation and replace it regularly. Purifying Water The most straightforward method of purifying water is through boiling it over flames. One should boil water for five minutes to kill all possibly harmful pathogens, and add an extra minute for every 1,000 feet above sea level. Another simple way of purifying water is through iodine drops. One should mix no more than five drops of iodine per quart of water. Shake well and let the water stand 30 minutes before drinking. Remember, water is mandatory for survival. If the choice left is between drinking possible contaminants or dying without water, drink away! http://sub.wildernessmanuals.com/images/here/index071a.png Men vs. Wild Survival Skill Manual Page 16 Insect Stings and Treatment The most common stinging insects inject venom under the skin of the victim in what is known as a “venom sac”. The stinger of the yellow jacket, bee, hornet, or wasp is attached to the venom sac and should be removed by scraping the stung area of skin with a fingernail, credit card, or blunt side of a small knife, so that the venom sac is not punctured. This ensures that only small amounts of the virulent venom are released within the survivor’s body. Treatment: If allergic or suffering from allergic reactions, the victim should immediately be sent to a hospital if one is in proximity to the wilderness area. Treat stung area with ice to significantly reduce swelling. Wash the stung area, before and after removing the stinger, with soap and water. Itching may be relieved and pain alleviated by applying antiseptic or a mixture of baking soda and a few dabs of household cleaning ammonia. If deprived of basic household necessities in the wilderness, apply stung area with mud and cover with a bandage or gauze. Men vs. Wild Survival Skill Manual Page 17 Take pain killers, such as an aspirin, to further mitigate pain and itch. Men vs. Wild Survival Skill Manual Page 18 Basic Navigation and Orienteering In a true survival situation, one must be equipped with skills in order to navigate back to civilization. Before venturing in the outdoors, one should procure an updated topographic map of the area as well as a compass. Public consensus is that one should stay put in his or her area and not wander off if lost; this is predominantly true, especially if the survivor knows that others know of his or her general position. However, if the survivor knows for certain that no others have any idea of his or her location, they should consult their maps, locate their immediate position, and draw with a pen or pencil a line to a desired location on the map. However, the survivor must ascertain what direction on a compass that location is in from their current position. Remember, you must adjust for declination on the map, which is usually given on a side of the map with a simple diagram. Finally, gather your belongings, hold your compass close towards your body, and move in the angle direction previously located on the topographic map. Orienteering Without a Compass The most basic orienteering method is that, in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun rises in the East and sets in the West. Also, another popular method in the Northern Hemisphere is to locate the North Star and get your bearings from there (obviously realizing that from figuring out the direction of north, one can consequently figure out Men vs. Wild Survival Skill Manual Page 19 the remaining cardinal directions.) To find the glowing North Star in a myriad of stars in space, one should locate the Big Dipper. One should then follow a line from the end star of the Big Dipper diagonally north to the bright end star of the Little Dipper. http://www.m4040.com/Survival/Skills/Navigation/North-Star.jpg Men vs. Wild Survival Skill Manual Page 20 Dangerous Animal Encounters It is possible that a survivor could encounter a dangerous animal. In fact, in some areas, it can be highly likely. Bears and mountain lions are normally placid creatures, yet one must realize that humans are the invading animals’ environments and as a result, the animals can be disgruntled and dangerous. Initial tips: When strolling in the woods, it is imperative that a survivor is aware of an impending threat. One should make his or her presence known, especially in a bear infested area, by singing, humming, playing the harmonica, or whistling. This can create psychological comfort for the survivor, as well. These sounds usually ward off bears or decrease their chances of being hostile if they do encounter the survivor. However, do not overreact. Survivors should be careful in not attracting bears that would otherwise not meddle with human intruders. Also, in a campsite, keep your area clean, free of food scents, and suspend meat from a high branch 50 or more yards away from the campsite. Encounter Tips: Remain positive and brave in an encounter with a dangerous animal such as a bear and mountain lion. Contrary to popular consensus, never run from the animals. Instead, wave your hands and speak in a soothing way to the animal. If possible, slowly slip away from the animal’s vicinity. If the animal is pestering or hostile, attempt to climb a nearby tree. If the animal charges, attempt to play dead, or, if such proves futile, Men vs. Wild Survival Skill Manual Page 21 use any nearby resource to fend off, maim, or kill the charging animal. http://randcollins.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/angry-bear.jpg Men vs. Wild Survival Skill Manual Page 22 Basic Edible Plants and Herbal Remedies Plants are prevalent in almost any survival situation, even in deserts or arid environments, but a survivor must discern whether the plant is poisonous in order to survive. Eat only those plants that one can identify are safe to eat. However, plants are both easily procured and can satisfy most nutritional needs, and should be sought after in any long-term survival situation. Next is the Universal Edibility Test that any survivor should apply when speculating the edibility of a plant. Men vs. Wild Survival Skill Manual Page 23 http://www.wilderness-survival.net/figures/fig9-5.gif Below are a few of the most prevailing edible plants and their uses. Remember, meats, bearing high amounts of protein, are also needed to survive! Men vs. Wild Survival Skill Manual Page 24 Acorn: (U.S. and Southern Canada) Found in oak trees; prevalent across nearly all American forests. Acorns are naturally bitter, and one can remove the sharpness by boiling the acorns until a yellowish tint of the water appears. Dry the acorns in a cast iron frying pan or in a stove, and then grind them into a flour substitute that is perfect for then baking the flour into pancakes. Or, as the Native Americans did, bury the acorns in a quagmire or bog to remove the pungent taste. Finally, crushed oak leaves will promote the healing of minor wounds. http://elderscrosspoint.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/acorn.jpg Beech: (Southern and eastern U.S. and Canada) The nuts of abundant beech trees can be eaten raw and are both sweet and nutritious. These nuts can be ground into a coffee substitute or roasted. The sawdust of Beech wood can be boiled in water, dried, and added to flour to bake bread.(Beech are deciduous trees and can easily be identified by nits with an almost “hairy” coat). http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/FORESTRY/commontr/images/AmericanBeech.gif Men vs. Wild Survival Skill Manual Page 25 Blackberry/raspberry/huckleberry: (Temperate U.S. and Canada; brisk, elevated areas) These succulent berries are most often eaten raw and contain high contents of the beneficial vitamin C. http://www.pick-your-own.org.uk/images/Fruits/Raspberry1.jpg Men vs. Wild Survival Skill Manual Page 26 Bibliography Graydon, Don. Mountaineering: the Freedom of the Hills. Seattle: Mountaineers, 1992. Print. "How To Use a Compass." Learn Orienteering. Web. 5 Mar. 2010. <http://www.learn-orienteering.org/old>. "Predicting Weather." U.S. SAR Task Force Main Page. Web. 27 Apr. 2010. <http://www.ussartf.org/predicting_weather.htm>. Tawrell, Paul. Camping & Wilderness Survival: the Ultimate Outdoors Book. Lebanon, NH: Paul Tawrell, 2006. Print. "Train to Survive." Wilderness Survival: Free Info Covering All Aspects of Survival. Web. 10 Feb. 2010. <http://www.wilderness-survival.net/>. "Wilderness Survival: Firecraft - How to Build a Fire." Wilderness Survival: Free Info Covering All Aspects of Survival. Web. 6 Apr. 2010. <http://www.wilderness-survival.net/fire-4.php>. "Wilderness Survival: Food Procurement - Traps and Snares." Wilderness Survival: Free Info Covering All Aspects of Survival. Web. 21 Jan. 2010. <http://www.wilderness-survival.net/food-2.php>. "Wilderness Survival: Psychology of Survival - Preparing Yourself." Wilderness Survival: Free Info Covering All Aspects of Survival. Web. 7 Jan. 2010. <http://www.wilderness-survival.net/mind-3.php>.