Top Natural Fire Tinders

Top Natural Fire Tinders

Top Natural Fire Tinders

Getting a fire started in a Survival Situation is my second most important Survival Priority (just below Shelter). Hopefully, you will have the means to make fire in your Survival kit or Bug out Bag but what happens if you find yourself without a source of Tinder to get that fire started ?If you know where to look, Mother Nature can provide you with amazing fire tinders no matter the season. The full list of Naturally occurring Tinder could go on for pages and pages, so Prepping and Survival Guide has prepared this short guide to the Top Natural Fire Tinders you can find in the wild.

Coal Fungus

The inedible fungus Daldinia Concentrica is known by several common names, including King Alfred’s cake, cramp balls, and Coal Fungus. Coal Fungus can be found in North America, South America and Europe, where it lives on dead and decaying wood, especially on felled ash trees.

Coal Fungus

To use as a Tinder, simply split the Dry Fungus and place a spark into the centre. Any Spark will catch and light the coal fungus almost immediately, giving you a good few minutes to get your kindling ignited.

Horse Hoof Fungus

Fomes fomentarius (commonly known as the tinder fungus, false tinder fungus, hoof fungus, tinder conk, tinder polypore or ice man fungus) is a species of fungal plant pathogen found in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. The species produces very large polypore fruit bodies which are shaped like a horse’s hoof and vary in colour from a silvery grey to almost black, though they are normally brown. It grows on the side of various species of tree, but is most commonly found growing on dead Birch Trees.

Horse Hoof Fungus

I find the best way to start a fire using Horse Hoof Fungus is to use the saw blade on my Leatherman Wave to create fine shavings as shown in the inset above. Then simply throw your spark into the shavings using which ever method you prefer.

Thistle and other Plant Seeds

At certain times of the year, certain species of Plant (such as the Thistle) produce fluffy seeds. These to can be used as a form of Tinder. Dandelion Seeds, Milk Weed Seed and Cattail down are also great for Natural Fire Tinder, but basically anything fluffy, dry and fibrous should make for a good Tinder.

Birch Bark

Birch Bark is well known for its Tinder and Fire Starting capabilities and is probably used by every Bushcraft enthusiast around the world. Simply scrape the inside of the Birch Bark with your knife to build a small pile of fine powder and then throw a spark into it ! The same method can also be applied to other Barks but Birch Bark seems the best at catching that spark.

Birch Bark Tinder

Feathers, Nesting Materials and Animal Down

You’ll find that birds and other small animals are very picky about nesting materials and choose only the finest and softest little twigs and leaves.  These choice items just happen to be perfect for catching a spark or ember.  Small rodent nests also make awesome tinder bundles.  These are typically hidden under logs, brush-piles or even hidden in a small underground burrow.  Even though they can take a little work to find – they are almost ALWAYS DRY.  Rodents don’t like to sleep in a wet nest and go out of their way to build it in a dry area.  With a little effort you can uncover a dry tinder bundle ‘rodent nest’ even in a down pour of rain.

Feathers and Nesting Materials

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Fire Tips: Burning Pine Knots

Fire Tips: Burning Pine Knots

Fire Tips: Burning Pine Knots

Fire is a very important part of Bushcraft and Survival and there are many different types of fire depending on what you need the fire for ! For example, if you just need to boil water, a quick burning small fire is all your need whereas if you need to cook a piece of large game you need a slow burning moderate heat from charcoals / embers. Burning Pine Knots gives you a slow burning but bright flame and are ideal for small camp fires to burn through the night keeping inquisitive animals away.

Pine Knots

The Pine Knots are best sourced from dead pine trees (though in a survival situation you can use living trees if fallen dead trees are not available). Simply remove the branches where they connect to the main tree trunk. These knots are rich in Pine Resin (infact you can smell the Resin inside them) and this helps them to burn longer and brighter (in much the same way as a candle or paraffin lamp).

Pine Knot Fire

Pine Knot Torches

Pine Knots torches can also be used if you need your light source to be portable ! I found this very good article with step by step instructions on how to make a Pine Knot Torch: http://rockymountainbushcraft.blogspot.cz/2013/02/wilderness-survival-how-to-make-pine.html

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5 principles of Survival

5 principles of Survival

5 Principles of Survival

Knowledge | Shelter | Fire | Water | Food

When faced with a SHTF situation I consider the 5 Principles of Survival in the following order : Knowledge | Shelter | Fire | Water | Food !

Lets break down my thinking !!

Knowledge

Perhaps the most important aspect of Survival ! With a good sound Knowledge of Survival skills and techniques you should be able to survive most SHTF situations. Always improve your knowledge, practice what you learn and be prepared.

Shelter

In Extreme Weather conditions you can last maybe 3 hours without shelter. So finding shelter or constructing a shelter should come first in your list of priorities. Obviously different situations and locations will lend itself to different options and solutions but you need to have the knowledge and skills to know how to find or build a shelter in as many scenarios as possible.

Fire

The ability to start a Fire allows you to keep yourself warm and dry combined the ability purify water and provide light. Practice starting fires using as many techniques as possible ! remember you need more than the ability to make a flame or spark … you need to know how to maintain your fire. As soon as you have your shelter … think about making your fire.

Water

You can last 3 days without water, so finding a good water source and the ability to make the water safe (hence the Fire). A good source of running water is not always obvious and in some scenarios (like Desert Survival) you may need to get very creative to find a water source .. but again this is where Knowledge is the key to survival.

Food

The human body can last up to 3 weeks without food ! however, if you are trying to get from one place to another you will be burning energy ! food gives you that energy, so you need to think constantly about food sources ! Use your knowledge of edible plants and hunting to locate and gather food.

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Finding Water is the key to Survival

Finding Water is the key to Survival

Finding Water is the key to Survival

When you find yourself in a Survival Situation, Finding water should be your number 1 priority. Whilst humans can live many days without food we can last but a few days without water.

Finding water is an essential skill for any Survivalist to have. A typical adult should drink 2 -3 litres of Water per day (more in hot climates). Water can be found or readily produced in all climates and landscapes (even in desert conditions) it’s just a matter of knowing how to find it.

Part of your Planning Process as a Prepper would have been to research water sources in your current location or indeed your Bug Out locations.

Once you have found a water source you will need to make it safe to drink as most natural water sources will contain some sort of contamination from chemical pesticides and fertilisers to bacteria and parasites. There are 3 main methods to make your water safe to to drink and a few less well known options used by experienced Survivalists !

Boiling

In most cases, water can be made safe by boiling alone. Provided the water is visibly clear (streams / rivers and such) boiling should kill any insects, parasites and water born diseases (such as Hepatitis). It is recommended you keep the water at a rolling boil for just over a minute (at sea level) or 3 minutes at altitudes over 2000m (as water boils at lower temperatures the higher above sea level you are.

Filtration

There are many Personal Water Filtration devices currently on the Market, most can be purchased at your local camping shop or online via Amazon, Ebay etc. A popular Market Leader is Lifestraw ! This lightweight and low cost cost Personal Water Filter will filter up to 1000 litres of water killing 99.9999% of all water born bacteria.

Chemical Treatment

Water Purification tablets can also be found at any outdoor/camping store and even large supermarkets.  Chemical treatments contain antimicrobial substances such as iodine, chlorine or grape seed extract that are introduced to water to make it drinkable. Generally they require 30-45 minutes to render water safe to drink so this option is best suited to those who have set up a base of some kind.  Chemical treatments are by far the lightest tool to use for survival water purification, but any water treated with them tends to taste pretty terrible.

Improvised Water Treatments

In an emergency, you can use naturally occurring antimicrobial plant alkaloids to chemically treat your water.  Be warned the effectiveness of improvised chemical treatments is far less reliable than a commercial chemical treatment.  Use these techniques only in an emergency!  Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium) is a common understory shrub in the pacific northwest.  The bright yellow inner bark of the root contains a powerful antimicrobial alkaloid called berberine.  You can chew on the root before and after drinking questionable water as a form of ‘herbal’ water treatment.  The root is very bitter and far too tough to swallow.

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DIY Hunting Fishing Cooking Kit

DIY Hunting Fishing Cooking Kit

DIY Hunting Fishing Cooking Kit

I have long been a fan of the Ultimate Survival Tips http://ultimatesurvivaltips.com/ videos and though I would share this very good video on building a DIY Hunting Fishing Cooking Kit for Survival / Bug out Situations.

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Autumn Foraging Foods

Autumn Foraging Foods

Autumn Foraging Foods

Autumn is upon us and this is a great time for Foraging. Foraging for Autumn Foraging Foods and the ability to Forage is a great skill for Survivalists and Prepper’s alike. Foraging can also be great money saving skill for Sustainability Prepper’s … seems pointless to pay for produce in the supermarkets when it can be found growing wild for free !

Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts are amongst my favourite Autumn Foraging Foods. With Hazelnuts you need to be quick to beat the Squirrels to this great tasting nut. Rich in Protein, Fat and Flavour, hazelnuts make a great snack and can be used in cooking. The nuts always grow under the leaves so can often be overlooked. You can eat them when the shells are still green, if they have a developed nut inside, these are really tasty, and sold as ‘cobnuts’ in the UK. You can also dry nuts in a dry dark place or in a dehydrator, then use them dry or roast them.

Hazelnuts

Hazelnut

 

Apples

Once you become aware of your surroundings, you’ll notice there’s apple trees everywhere. As a Survival food it’s ideal as you can simply pick them and eat them or they can be stored for a number of weeks. For the sustainability prepper’s apples have many uses from cooking in pies, made into cider and wine  or peeled, cored, chopped and frozen for future use.

There are many different types of Apples available but general rule of thumb is if it tastes a bit sour and is quite large it’s probably a cooking apple, so save these for pies. If it’s tasty and palatable, it’s an eater, and if it’s small, sour and astringent, puckering your mouth, it will be a crab apple and best used making wine.

Autumn Foraging Foods Apples

Blackberries

The blackberry or bramble likes to colonise open spaces in tangled thickets. The first fruit to ripen is at the end of each cane and these tend to be the most sweet and plump.

As a change to making pies, jam and bramble jelly, try making blackberry wine or blackberry whisky.

Wild Blackberries

Rose Hips

During the Second World War, Rose hips were widely used as a replacement for citrus fruits, they where widely collected and made into syrup for flavouring foods. Rose hips are typically found in hedgerows, rough grass and scrub. The leaves grow in pairs of toothed leaflets, the flowers are pink or white, and the fruit is orange-red and oblong shaped. Watch out for thorns and be sure to remove the inner seeds. Rose hips can be used for herbal teas, jam, jelly, syrup, rose hip soup, beverages, pies, bread, wine, and marmalade. They can also be eaten raw, like a berry, if care is used to avoid the hairs inside the fruit.

rosehips

Beech Nuts

Beech Nuts can be found in plentiful supply in Britain and Ireland, Continental Europe, North America and even Asia. The Beechnuts themselves can be found in small burrs that drop from the tree in autumn. The Beechnuts have a high fat content and can be pressed for edible oil. In addition, fresh from the tree, beech leaves in spring are a fine salad vegetable, as sweet as a mild cabbage though much softer in texture.

beechnuts

Hawthorn

Another readily available example of Autumn Foraging Foods and sometimes snubbed because of its mealy texture, hawthorn fruit makes spectacular liqueurs, jellies, fruit sauce, chutney and even a very bitter coffee. While you’re enjoying the rosy colour and gentle sweetness of this late summer and early fall fruit, you may also be getting some health benefits: hawthorn has a long history of use as an herbal medicine for the heart, especially for arrhythmia. It is useful for both high and low blood pressure, acting as a balancing tonic.

Look for hawthorn on open hillsides, near pastures and stream banks. It is also widely planted as an ornamental in city parks.

Hawthorn Berries

 

Blackthorn, Sloe Berry

The Sloe Berry is the fruit of the Blackthorn bush and is found in abundance in Europe, Eastern United States and the Pacific Northwest.  Sloes are too bitter and sour to eat raw, but taste superb when preserved. They have an intense plum taste. Flavour them with orange zest, cloves, cinnamon or almond essence. Preserve them as sloe gin, sloe wine, sloe jelly, sloe syrup, and sloe plum cheese. A spoonful of sloe jelly can be added to plum pies or used in sponge cakes.

Traditionally, sloes used for sloe gin are picked after the first frost as this helps the alcohol to permeate the fruit. Alternatively prick each fruit with a darning needle, or spread them out on a baking tray and leave in the freezer for a couple of hours to simulate frost.

Blackthorn Sloe Berries

Sloe Gin

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