Survival, Escape, Resistance, Evasion

Survival, Escape, Resistance, Evasion
By Dave Reed

I’m not sure how much I will include on resistance and escape. Maybe I will save these subjects until someone else offers to contribute the material. I will definitely cover the following subjects:

  • Arctic
  • Jungle
  • Desert

Topics will include dealing with attitude, exposure, dehydration, rescue, food gathering.

  • Celestial Navigation – Stars/Sun
  • Camouflage – Rural and populated areas


Attitude is everything. Some of you may read this and think “yeah, o.k., now get on to the good stuff”. What you must realize is that without the proper mental attitude, the other topics will be of use for only a short period of time. Depression, loneliness, feelings of abandonment, despondency, and the feeling that nobody knows where you are or cares will conspire to kill you. If you have done your homework, practiced the techniques described, there is a very good chance you will survive if you have a positive mental attitude. Tell yourself that you WILL get out of this. You WILL persevere.

I have seen some survival books talk as though collecting water is easy, catching game with snares is simple, and survival is something that can be taught in books. When I was very young, I would leave for the country on Friday afternoons. I would take water proof matches, a liter of water, my bow and some arrows, ground sheet/blanket, and spend the weekend making snares, fishing with equipment I made, and hunting with my bow. I used primitive fire making methods and only used matches when I had to. I can tell you that there is nothing easy about any of this. There was much I didn’t know at the time, but I had read a lot of books. I probably knew more at 13 than most people ever do. I was preparing myself for a life in the wilderness as a ‘mountain man’. Needless to say, I had not yet discovered girls or beer. Cable TV was unheard of, and computers were magical talking ‘entities’ as seen on Star Trek and 2001. For me, society was full of unnecessary trappings that only made men soft and weak.

By sunday I was ready to return home. My parents would usually drive out to the area I was staying in and give me a ride. It was about a 18 mile trek. Fortunately my mom made sure I took along ’emergency rations’, just in case I had trouble finding game. Emergency rations were about the only things I ate all weekend. I shot a few birds and snakes with my bow. Caught a few fish too. But I learned something that many people do not realize. To survive you must battle three things in this order:

  • Exposure
  • Dehydration
  • Food Gathering

You can die in a few hours if you cannot retain body heat. You can die of exposure in 72 degree weather! You will develop hypothermia when your body loses heat faster than you can produce it. You need calories to generate body heat. People die of hypothermia in warm water. The water is cooler than they are, subsequently the water absorbs body heat until their body can produce no more. It is a slow death.

When you breath your breathe causes water loss. Perspiration causes water loss. Evaporation from your eyes causes water loss. If you cannot replace these losses you will die. Drink water with little microbes, parasites, etc. and you will develop diarrhea. This will increase your fluid loss and you will die even quicker.

Food is the last thing you will need. In moderate climates, you can survive without food for up to 30 days. You will die without water in one or two in the desert! Finding edible berries and plants are the last things you need to learn. Rescue and conserving fluids and body heat are the primary survival skills. If you can survive long enough to get real hungry you are doing a good job. In extreme cold food is more important because your body converts food to heat.

Taking Inventory

First examine what you have to work with. Seat cushions from a vehicle are insulation. Shiny glass, mirrors, or polished metal can be used to signal search aircraft. Glass with imperfections, bifocals, binoculars, etc. can be used to focus the suns rays enough to start a fire. Thread stripped from a from seat cushion and wound together can be used to lash things together, make fishing nets, sutures fro stitching wounds, etc. Remember your priorities. Rescue, Shelter, Water, and food. You will have to balance these priorities and make decisions. Generally, you should stay in the area where you became stranded if there is any chance of a search for you. If you try to walk out, the search party will not find you. You will burn calories while walking, calories that will be hard to replace. You will also perspire, can you afford the water loss? If the enemy is searching for you, you will have to move to a safe location.

Exposure and Body Heat – Arctic

Time is running against you here. You must work quickly and conserve energy. After you have taken inventory, build a fire:

Hopefully you will have matches or a lighter. You must conserve these valuable items. Before you build your fire, pick a place for your shelter. (see below). Now gather combustible materials. Cones from pine trees don’t burn. Bark doesn’t either. DON’T waste matches trying to ignite them. Gather material in this order:

Very small match stick thickness twigs. Have at least a good double handful. They must be dry. To find dry sticks in the rain, look under the overhang of an embankment, under-side of logs, dead dry roots pulled out of an embankment, the center of a stump or dead tree (dug out with a knife).

Small sticks a little bigger than the smallest. You will need more of these, at least a quart – half gallon. Some of these may be a little wet.

Bigger sticks – Twice the thickness of the ones before, even more of these.

Keep moving up in size until you are collecting branches/small logs. If the wood is available you will need as much as you can gather in an hour. Drift wood will work if it’s dry.

Now that you have your wood it’s time to build your fire. Take your time and do this right. DON’T throw the fire together haphazardly. This will only waste fuel and increase the risk of the fire not lighting. Every match you have is like gold. Do not waste them. If you do this right you will only need one.

Take a medium size branch and lay it down. Now build a tiny lean-to with the smallest sticks by leaning them up against the branch. Take more and and lay them perpendicular to first layer, and parallel to the big branch. Use lots of very small sticks and leave enough gaps between them for the flames to rise up through and ignite the upper layers. If it’s raining or windy cover yourself with something to protect your fire. Now add the bigger sticks to the top of the your neat little lean-to, using a teepee shape, and surrounding the little lean to on all sides. Leave a small gap up close to the big branch to get your match under the pile. If you have a small slip of paper or lint from pockets, put it under the lean-to and ignite it. As your fire grows, start adding more and more sticks to get the fire very hot. Now add the larger sticks, the heat will dry them if they are damp. (Not if they are green or soaked through.) Keep building your fire in stages. DON’T wait too long to add the next size larger sticks. The heat generated from the rapidly burning small ones is needed to dry and ignite the larger ones. As soon as you can, put some bigger stuff on by laying them across the big branch on the ground. Once your fire is going, DON’T let it go out. If you need more fuel gather more, and start building your shelter.

This is the fastest shelter I know of:

Is there a snow bank nearby? Can you build a small one? You are going to dig a cave in the snow. You want the opening to be away from the wind. The cave has to be very small. For a snow shelter to be effective it must be below freezing. If not, melting snow will saturate your clothing and you will freeze. Hollow out a place to lie in the snow. If you have something to line the floor with it will be much warmer. If you have nothing but plastic or something, try to find evergreen tree limbs to line it with. You want as much between you and the cold ground as you can. You will lose more heat by being in contact with the cold ground than you will from the air. The air in your cave will warm and retain heat. If you have a small heat source you can place a vent through the roof to allow gas to escape. You must ration your heat source. You will need it more at night when the temperature drops. Luxuries to add will be more insulation, seat cushions, etc. and a door.

A Ranger Pile is a shelter used by small parties who lack bulky camping equipment or who for tactical reasons, must not risk fire or shelter construction. First layer of men, four or five lays very close together on two ponchos snapped together. Next layer lay’s on top of the others, cross ways. Another layer on top of them. Remaining ponchos are snapped together and pulled over the top and tucked in around the sides. If a quantity of DRY pine needles, leaves, etc. can be quietly collected, this can be used for insulation stuffing. Just pile it on each layer before the next gets on. This is how small recon teams survive without carrying a lot of bullshit with them. It only gets bad when one of the guys has gas!

A vehicle will block the wind but the compartment is too big to retain body heat. You will freeze if you stay in a car or aircraft. Strip cushions, carpet, floor mats, insulation, etc. from the vehicle to line your shelter with. If you have tools and can remove the hood or trunk lid you can use these for a reflector to direct heat in one direction from a fire.

If you are fortunate enough to have the materials to construct a lean-to, build one similar to the way you built your fire. Keep the openings away from the wind, and towards your fire. Use a reflector to direct the heat into your lean-to.

Clothing What do you have to work with? Thin material should be put closest to your body, as should wool. If you have extra foam from seat cushions, stuff your shirts and pants with it. It will work as insulation. Extra clothing can be stripped in to pieces of about 5″ x 4′ and used as wrapping for extra socks. The russian army has always used wool strips for field socks. You want to have the material that best holds in heat closest to your skin. This same concept can be used when you have the luxury of a sleeping bag. Sleeping bags are designed to hold in heat much better than clothes. When you get into a bag, remove all of your clothes and lay on them. Naked, your body heat will be trapped between your skin and the bag. Otherwise your heat escapes through the thin material of your clothing, and stays between your clothes and the bag, until it dissipates.

If you have no clothes for the environment you find yourself in, you will have to use the shelter for clothing. Keep your shelter VERY small and use insulation. This is your only chance to survive.

If there is plenty of snow/ice you will have a good water supply if you have a fire and a container to melt it in. DO NOT EAT SNOW. It will lower your body temperature and bring on hypothermia. Always melt it and get it warm first.

Do not drink alcohol of any kind. It will thin your blood and increase your urine output. If it’s strong enough, you can use it as a disinfectant, or to help start your signal fires if an aircraft approaches.

Now that you have your fire and a shelter it is time to improve the odds of rescue. The international distress signal is three (3) of anything or the letters SOS. Don’t build three fires because it wastes fuel. Scrape out three large circles in the snow by dragging something around. If it snows these will fill in. If you have access to lots of branches or something that provides a good contrast to the white snow, lay them out to form 3 large X’s. What looks big to you on the ground looks very small from an aircraft at 10,000 feet. Your X’s should be 100 – 150 feet across and 75 feet apart. If you have the wood build three fires in the middle of each but don’t light them. Keep your main fire going so that you’ll be able to take a torch to the other fires in a hurry.

Smoke will be quite visible from the air also. Large piles of pine needles smoke well, as does rubber, plastic, or oil. Be careful about burning critical supplies however! I would not throw a poncho, sheet of plastic, or rubber boots on the fire in a vain attempt to signal a distant plane. You will have to use common sense. If the plane cannot land near you, and has to radio for help, you could be there a while longer anyway. With bad weather it might take a rescue party several days to get you. If the pilot is an idiot, or lacks a GPS or LORAN, he might report your location as being 20 miles away from where you actually are.

You may want to find a book named “White Dawn”. It chronicles the lives of three men who were lost in their small whaling boat in the arctic back in the 1800’s. It is an excellent work of fiction and provides many accurate details of how northern aboriginal peoples survive in their climate. If you are inland you will not have much opportunity to hunt for seals. In some areas of the north, the only thing you will find are lemmings, lichens, and maybe a fox or two. (if there are enough rats to feed them). Near the sea you will be able to hunt seal. That far north and you won’t find much snow, it is too arid and cold. On the Ice pack you will have to build your shelter with ice, and heat it with animal fat. If you wind up on the ice pack, with no supplies, there is little I can tell you here that will save your life. You will have to stay warm long enough to get rescued, which had better be pretty quick.

Exposure – Desert

Since there is nothing in the desert to hold in the heat, it dissipates quickly after the sun goes down. Deserts can drop to near freezing over night. During the day the temperature will soar and fry your brain, dry you out, and kill you. For this reason any movement should only be at night. For shelter you must get out of the sun. If you can, dig a hole to get in and cover it. Do not strip off your clothes. Have you ever wondered why arabic people wear those long, heavy, hot looking clothing on their heads and bodies? It is because moisture evaporation is your worst enemy in the desert. Clothing helps keep in this moisture and slows evaporation. It must be loose enough to allow heat loss. You will need to stay warm at night, refer to the arctic topic above.

Water is the most important thing to consider in the desert, it must be conserved. Long term drinking of urine can make you sick, but if it’s all you have you will have to drink it. Succulent plants like cactus also contain water, as do the bodies of snakes, lizards, and other animals. Suck every drop you can from them, but avoid the poison glands in snakes (they are right behind the head in the neck). The only two parts of animals in North America that cannot be eaten are the livers of the polar bear and bearded seal. They contain toxic amounts of Vitamin A.

If you have plastic or a poncho you can collect water at night in the desert. dig a hole (or use support sticks) as wide as the plastic. Make a hole in the plastic at the center. Stretch the plastic over the hole and weight down the edges with rocks. Press down the center of the sheet or tie it to a tock to pull it down. Place a container under the hole. When dew forms on the plastic it will roll down hill through the hole and it into your container. Use your poncho during the day as shade.

Do not drink alcohol, it will increase your urine output and aid in dehydration.

Exposure – Jungle

Here, heat and sunlight are your worst enemies. Insects and water contamination are also major problems. The heat and humidity of the jungle makes for rapid bacteria growth. Any untreated wound will fester within a few hours. In a day or two a cut can become bad enough to cause gangrene. You must protect yourself by turning down sleeves, blousing your pants to keep insects out, and wearing gloves and a hat.

Water must be boiled well to kill parasites. Safe water can be found in water vines. These are very thick vines that hang down from large trees. You know, the ones that Tarzan swings from? Cut one at a 45 degree angle, move up the vine and cut it off about three feet up or sever it to release the suction. Hold your mouth under the vine and the water will flow out. This water is safe to drink without boiling. Try not ot let it run along the exposed outside of the vine though, that area will have tiny creepy crawlies.

Jungle streams are usually as deep as they are wide. Diffenbachia (or ‘dumb cane’) can be crushed and added to water to stun fish.

Chinese Star Apples, Mangoes, bananas, coconuts, and other fruits are safe to eat if you wash them with sterile water first. The seeds of the Star apple are poisonous. Many species of tree frogs in the rain forests are highly toxic. They are recognized by there bright vivid colors. If you are very careful not to touch them, you can use their skin secretions for poisonous blow gun darts.

Blow guns are difficult to make, but I’ll tell you how for the hell of it. Take a limb and split it length-wise. Scrape the bore of the weapon into both halves. It must be perfect. Allow it to dry and polish the bore halves smooth. The two sides must fit perfectly. (This is harder than it sounds). Bind the two back together with bark or vine strips.

Darts are made from any wood that can be sharpened. To launch the dart a small tuft of fiber (like cotton) from the stem of a (????) tree branch is balled around the base of the dart.

During the rainy season, grubs can be found in the center of (????) trees. I can’t remember their names but I know what they look like.

Build a platform or hammock to get off of the ground when you sleep. Insects will eat you alive if you don’t. Mud can be used to keep mosquitos off.

The jungle is a garden of eden compared to the desert or the arctic. With a little common sense anyone should be able to survive.

I don’t know of any poisonous plants that don’t taste extremely bitter and nasty. If the leaf tastes mild it is probably OK to eat. When in doubt, try a little piece first and wait a couple of hours. If nothing bad happens try twice as much and wait again. Keep doing this until you’ve tried enough to have made you sick. If you are still OK then it’s probably safe to eat. There are exceptions to this rule, most notably among berries. Some berries don’t taste too bad but are poisonous.

You should educate yourself before going to a new area. Pictures in books never look like the actual plant. Generally, if it crawls, walks, or slithers on it’s belly it is safe to eat.

Urban Escape and Evasion- Situational Awareness

Situational Awareness is a term rarely though of in survival or escape and evasion. Once only used by the military, it is slowly becoming an everyday term in the survival word. Situational Awareness broken down to its simplest understanding is just that Awareness of your Situation. Here we will discuss how we can use it in everyday urban evasion.�

� Many become a victim of both incident and circumstances from the lack of situational awareness. They don�t observe what is happening around them, they don�t understands what is going on and they don�t know how to deal with the situation or deal with the outcome.

The techniques used in Situational Awareness must be applied to your everyday life. The simple fact of knowing who is sitting next to you in the Restaurant or where the emergency exit is often overlooked in everyday life for most individuals. These overlooked facts will lessen your chances of becoming a victim of the circumstances.

Who is a threat in this room?

Where are the exits?

How far away am I from my Bug Out Bag?

How far can I run in this weather?

How many rounds do I have left?

We could go on for pages and pages, with more questions on every environmental scenario from work to play.

Knowing the facts of the environment and situation you are in, all the time will greatly increase your chances of survival. Be aware of your situation.

Getting Home

Getting Home

Many of us have Bug Out Bags. Some also have what are called GMHBs (Get Me Home Bags) which are what I think of as Bug Out Bag-lites. This is a kit designed with the specific purpose of assisting one getting home from one�s place of work in the event of some emergency/calamity.

We as preparedness folk love kits. We love making them, we love talking about them and we love show and telling them. I have gone on and on in the past about our love of �stuff�. That horse is dead.

But you need more than a GMHB when the Interesting Times arrive. In addition to stuff � you need to think. THAT is the subject of this article.

The Plans

First, you need a plan.
You need several plans, actually.
PACE (Primary, Alternate, Contingency, Emergency)

Let’s say you work in an office 20 miles from home.
Plan A (Primary)for getting home is probably to walk out to the parking lot, get in your car, and drive home.

Okay. Do you keep your keys on your person? Where is your coat? What about your GMHB? What is your route from the desk to the car? What is your alternate route? Yes, you need PACE for everything. What is the excuse you will use to suddenly depart? (It may be a false alarm and you will probably want to keep your job in that case). How will you get out of the parking lot? Is it secured? How much gas is in the tank?

What routes will you take home? You should have at least 3. You should drive these three routes regularly to maintain awareness of changes, developments and so on. What are your decision points for choosing Route A over Route C? Where will you make those decisions? Where are potential choke points? These are things to think about NOW.

Plan B (Alternate) may be to have your spouse or a friend meet you at a link up point and carpool home. What are your contact plans? What is your alternate link up point? Communication means. Security.

Plan C (Contingency) may be to take the bike home. What bike? Routes? Flat tire procedures. What will you carry with you? (Less than in the car) And so on.

Plan D (Emergency) may be to get home on foot. Your routes are probably different than the driving routes. Have you scouted them? How long will it take to walk? How do you know? Proper clothing/footwear? Hide/hole up positions. Will you be navigating cross country?

Notice that each plan is completely independent of any other plan. Notice that each is not just a different version of another plan. Notice that each is viable.

Abilities and Tools

Once you have plans (please note the multiples). You need to make sure you have the needed abilities (physical prowess for one) and tools (keys, bolt cutters, shoes, kit, raft) as well. Now you need to test your abilities and test your plan. If you plan on cutting a lock with the bolt cutters – what kind of lock is it? Buy one just like it and cut it – it may be harder than you thought. You need to drive, bike, swim, walk your routes – with the gear you plan on using and taking.

Think your 4WD vehicle will surmount any obstacle in your way? I laugh (mean of me, I know) at sheeple with shiny clean, no scratches �cause it never leaves pavement 4WD SUVs tricked out with all kinds of off road gear � that is never used. If you plan on going over obstacles or cross country I highly suggest you start four-wheeling. It is a fairly steep learning curve. Pun intended.

Gonna hoof it cross-country? I was watching “The Alaska Experiment” on Discovery and it took a crew of three IT professionals forever to hike a few miles cross country to their cabin. They went in a big circle at first. These are seemingly pretty good folks with excellent attitudes, good fitness, and some skills. Land navigation was not one of them. This stuff sounds easy reading about it with a frosty one in your hand. It�s different out there. But it is doable � if you take the time to learn and practice.

I know one guy who has a raft in his car and plans on �blowing it up and swimming across the Potomac River if the bridge is blocked�. Uh-huh. I used to regularly swim with a rucksack. Yes, I did. This is not something that the average couch potato or cubicle rat is going to be able to do. While it is probably not advisable to practice on the actual Potomac, one could find a calm body of water like a lake or even a neighbor�s pool and practice � in the clothing and toting the gear one planned on having. Heck, how about practicing blowing up that raft?

What about the children?

That’s just you. What about those in your household? How will THEY get home? What are their plans? They need them too � in multiples. What are the link up procedures? Practice them. What do we do at the link up point if we have no communication (cell phones are terrible in large emergencies) and one person doesn’t show up? How long do we wait? Then what? Who’s in charge?

What about if, on your way home, the situation at home becomes untenable and the person in charge at home decides to leave? How is that communicated to all interested parties? See, Plan A was to go home. And we have several sub-plans for how we are going to do that. We also need additional plans for where we are going.


That�s a lot of �what ifs�. How do we keep track of them all? Heck, how do we make sure they are all viable? It does not good to have an alternate plan if that �plan� is unworkable from the get-go.

First you have to spend some quiet time thinking. Just sit back and think. No distractions. We don�t do enough of this. Start jotting things down. Make some notes, make some lists. Look at some maps. Walk around some buildings, some parking lots and so on. Revise your lists.

Start outlining your plan. Put it on paper � this will help you to start cementing it together and follow logic trails. Just remember PACE and alternates for everything.

Start asking yourself �what if?� questions. When you are driving Route C home from work on Wednesday and get to the rail road crossing, ask yourself, �what would I do if the crossing was blocked by a dead train?� Actually think through your answer. If it works, add it to the plan.

Once you have a working plan start exercising it. Practice it. Give it a few test runs. You will discover things you never thought of. That�s great! Better now than during some crisis. Adjust your plan accordingly.

Can you see that just having a magic bag full of goodies (useful as they are � and I have such bags myself) may not be enough?

The Rule of 3


Many people ask what survival supplies to stock for an emergency.� Preparations for disasters and threats can be minimal or immense.� You get to decide.� No one can tell you what to stock but yourself.� Make your own list or modify this one.� Make your own decisions.� Are you going elk hunting for two weeks?� Are you going rafting for four hours?� Is the El Nino hurricane season coming?� Are you going to watch the millennium New Years Eve party from Idaho or New York�s Central Park?

A good way to prepare for future emergencies is to list the threats and the corresponding solutions.� The RULE OF 3 categorizes threats by the time they can greatly effect you.� With this kind of thinking in place, you will respond to threats in the correct sequence.� THE RULE OF 3 is often summarized that you can die from:� blood loss in 3 seconds, air loss in 3 minutes, heat loss in 3 hours, water loss in 3 days, food loss in 3 weeks, shelter loss in 3 months and health loss in 3 years.

3 SECONDS Major arterial blood loss, gun shot, knife wound, being crushed, a fall, other accidents.
3 MINUTES Suffocation, drowning, avalanche, heart attack, cave in, gas poisoning, serious blood loss.
3 HOURS Hypothermia from cold, wind and rain.� Heat stroke from sun, desert, exhaustion and drought.
3 DAYS Die of thirst, some water born diseases, food poisoning, snakes, severe infection, tick paralysis.
3 WEEKS Starvation, bad water, general infection, strong radiation.
3 MONTHS Starvation, disease, loss of shelter, general health deterioration, weak radiation.
3 YEARS Poor diet, vitamin deficiency, lack of exercise, despair, chronic illness

In the same order of need, list the items in your survival kit under the five headings:� SURVIVAL, HEAT, WATER, FOOD, SHELTER & HEALTH.� Refer to THE RULE OF 3 to determine what equipment is needed in each category.� We often are asked how much equipment or food to store.� We don�t know your resources.� We always recommend asking yourself �HOW LONG DO I WANT TO SURVIVE ?�

Survival situations can evolve at the home or away.� Many fear being driven from their home by weather, toxic spills, fire, riots or worse.� The context of this document is to prepare for emergencies at home but have a plan for evacuation.� In other words, prepare your home to be self sufficient but have several backup locations to go to.� Plan for a panic while you are at work.� Locate the rest of the family.Stick to the plan.

Bugging Out and being disabled

This post really caught my attention. Theres alot to be learnt from it. Many people expecting to Bug Out by foot will become surprised when trying it without any previous experience in bushwalking or trekking. Especially with everything you need to sustain yourself on your back for an extended time frame. What appealed to me is that Im also disabled, but atleast compared to my healthy friends, excersise on a regular basis. Many people during Katrina that were not in the best of health still had to evacuate. By looking at how people with health problems can get around their limitations, can become a valuable way of looking at life skills.

A Bug Out Bag Reality Check, by Stranger

I thought I would share some thoughts on my weekend bug out bag guerrilla camping trip. My purpose was to use my BOB in the manner in which I expected to have to use it in an emergency. My general plan has been to get away from people, camp with stealth, and wait for the dust to clear. With this in mind I mostly want to put my gear through its paces and get my body used to the rigors of backpacking.

I live in central Connecticut. I am a man in my 40s and have a dropped foot in a brace. I am an experienced outdoorsman and feel quite at home in the woods, however it had been a few years and before my injury since I had been backpacking. The selected area was the east slope of a mountain in the Metacomet range (It is a traprock ridge only about 800 ft high). The ground in this area is broken basalt, talus terrain. It is exceedingly difficult to hike on, especially with a 30-40 lb pack. If you fall, the best you can hope for is a sharp rock in the knee. So don’t fall – use a hiking stick. This does have the advantage of minimizing recreational day hiker density. The conditions have been dry and the day (9/11/10) was clear and beautiful – just like 9/11 in 2001. The overnight temperature was predicted to be around 50, with a light wind and no rain until the afternoon of the next day. A 19 year old former Marine friend of mine (“CJ”) and I got out a bit late: about 3:00 pm. We drove to the parking spot entrance to the chosen “wilderness area”. Our biggest issue was to enter the woods without being seen. Camping is not allowed here. We had been back in the area previously checking out a “dormer” on the slope that looked like a potential flat area (camp site) on the map, and also was far enough from the hiking trail not to be stumbled upon. I viewed the area with Google Earth to get an idea of the traffic on and around the site. I was particularly concerned about vehicular access to the site. I figured the worst we would have is an ATV rider, not a ranger or a cop. It being September the deciduous forest canopy gave us (some) cover from the air.

My BOB is based around a forest green Kelty Trekker external frame pack. I bought it mail order from Campmor for about $120. It has the usual 2 main pockets, plus 5 additional 1 qt. pockets and a map pocket on the top flap. I have a North Face mummy sleeping bag that I have used since Boy Scouts 30 years ago. I have used it in winter weather down to 0 degrees F or so, so this is a piece of equipment that I absolutely trust. I also have a Thermorest self-inflating sleeping pad, wrapped around a Sven folding saw (don’t lose that wingnut!) For shelter I choose a tarp. In my experience tents are too heavy, too fragile, and too visible. There are no poles to carry, and if pitched properly can give you 360 degree weather protection and a ground sheet. My tarp is aprox. 10’x12′, grommeted and cord reinforced on the edges, and it is earth brown. It was also inexpensive – about $10 at the dollar store. I carry a 2l pop bottle filled with water, and 2 additional 1l bottles of water. In addition I carry a GI canteen with steel cup and canvas holder. I have a Sweetwater water filter but for this trip I left it in the car as I intended to boil water for this short trip if I should run out of potable water. Surface water in the area is plentiful. Rations included Cliff bars, instant oatmeal, Ramen noodles, Tea and sugar, canned sardines, and cigarettes. (Sorry to say I’m still an addict).�

Here is a list of gear:
2 Large black plastic 55g. trash bags (many uses)�
Knit hat�
Insulated leather work gloves (for working with a fire)�
Extra socks�
Inside another plastic bag:�
Change of clothing, including another pair of socks�
Polypropylene long johns�
A towel and a washcloth�
Rain gear: Advantage camo jacket and pants – at the top of the pack�
A sweatshirt/windbreaker jacket with hood (it was that or a sweater)�
First aid/personal care kit (inside a plastic nestle quick box)�
Lidocaine pad – for stings�
Gauze dressing sponges�
Bandage tape�
Antibiotic ointment*�
Tweezers (eyebrow type) �
Nail clipper – don’t leave home without one�
Toothbrush & paste*�
Floss (a whole 100y roll – can be used for snares, fishing)�
Duct tape (wrapped around container such that it can still be opened)�
A muslin triangle bandage�
Medicine : Imodium, benadryl, ibuprofen�
Eyeglass repair kit�
A small bar of soap*�
Comb – even though I have no hair�
Sewing kit*�
Surgical scissors and fine tip forceps from a suture removal kit�
Insect repellent*�
Clip on sunglasses – the kind the eye doctor gives you so you can drive home after an appointment�
(I need to add burn cream)�
* indicates travel size/ hotel size�

“Survival” gear:�
A mylar survival “blanket”�
A combo whistle, compass, and match safe, with strike anywhere matches�
Small fishing kit, including an onion bag net�
A Swiss army knife�
An orange Bic lighter�
A magnesium fire starter�
A plumber’s candle�
A film container filled with Vaseline soaked cotton balls�
A roll of spiderwire fishing line�

Mess: a 2 liter stainless steel pot with lid and handle that folds up and over.�
A large spoon�
A small bottle of salt (makes all that wild food palatable)�

Misc: A bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint 18-in-1 pure castile soap�
2 hunks of paracord�
A deck of cards�
A grease pencil and a small pad of paper�
Spare glasses�
An LED headlamp and extra batteries�
A small bastard file for sharpening tools�

A repair kit with cotter pins for the pack and an extra wing nut for the saw�

At the last moment I threw in a fleece stadium blanket and a couple of apples.�
Note that most of the weight came from two categories:

  • shelter/bedroll
  • water

Other than my pack and clothes I also carry a walking staff made from an ash tool handle with a carriage bolt gorilla glued into the tip. I also carry a Cold Steel Bushman knife, which incidentally fits on the end of the staff to use for self protection (Bears are back in Connecticut!). Oh, and don’t forget that in my pockets are: my wallet, car keys, a cell phone (turned off), a “Whittler” boy scout knife, also from my youth, and a disposable lighter (and another pack of smokes). I always wear an olive drab 1970s era boonie hat. CJ wasn’t as prepared, and asked to borrow a cutting tool. I had two hatchets. The first is a simple camp hatchet with an orange fiberglass handle. The other is a hickory handled framing hatchet. He chose the framing hatchet. I don’t blame him: it is a pretty thing, like a tomahawk.

The woods in this area are fairly open: not a lot of underbrush. On the initial trail hiking was good. Probably 2 mph. Despite my best efforts, something was clanking in my pack. It wasn’t very loud, but bothered me after awhile. I think it was the spoon in the mess kit, or maybe a not fully filled canteen. When we got into the hilly talus terrain, my speed slowed to less than � mph. I had to watch every step. Remember that I am handicapped. CJ had a much easier time, being younger and fitter. At one point I slipped and fell, but I was able to roll with it and was mostly unhurt. CJ stopped me from rolling all the way down the hill. Lesson: bring a partner. I could have been down and out, with a serious injury and no way out.

As we hiked I kept a lookout for wild edibles. Pot herbs were plentiful in the moist areas. There were lots of frogs, but most were too small, or were toads. Small frogs make great largemouth bass bait though: that is what the onion bag net is for. There were no squirrels to be found, and anyway I didn’t have a gun. There were literally tons of hickory and oak nuts, though. Their constant dropping made us feel like we were under fire J. At one point I made a huge find: about 20 lbs of chicken of the woods fungi growing out of a tree. I am a botanist by training, but not a mushroom expert, so I double-checked it’s identity with a photo-text message to a mushroom expert friend of mine – note that this option is not available after the crunch when the cell net is down! I am looking for a really good wild edible field guide that I can trust. I also saw a lot of bear scat and even a whole raccoon skeleton, which I didn’t touch for fear of rabies.

After an hour of bushwhacking my bad leg was taking a beating and had begun to hurt a lot. My pack was well balanced, but the straps still dug into my shoulders. The sternum strap helped a lot with this. CJ had no trouble with his pack, as he is a young former Marine. We had made it as far as we were going to go, and so began to look for a specific spot to camp. It would get dark soon. Almost like a miracle, up ahead of us was a natural Stonehenge: 5 or 6 truck sized boulders arranged in a semicircle. On the down-slope side was a relatively flat area for a tarp, and plenty of stones around for sitting on, building a fireplace, etc. There was no evidence that anyone had used this area, so it was “ours”. It was nearly perfect. The stones provided cover from three sides, and as the downhill side faced nothing but deep woods, we had found a great “stealth site”. The biggest problem was that nowhere was there a spot that didn’t have a dozen head sized stones poking out. We cleared the area for a fire, and then worked at digging the worst of the stones out. I have a mini-shovel/spade that fits on the end of my staff also, but I had left it behind due to weight (mistake!). It would have made the stone clearing 10x less hard. A back fill of leaves and forest duff would have to do for the unevenness. CJ built the fire pit and campfire while I pitched the tarp. Within an hour it was dark and we were sitting by the fire. A bit of petrol soaked cotton and a spark got our fire off great. The fleece blanket really came in handy as a butt cushion on those rocks. I smeared my pot on the sides and bottom with liquid soap (easier cleanup trick from boy scouts: the soot washes off, sort of) and put the tea on the fire.

The hatchet didn’t make it. After cutting tent stakes and cutting a pole for the tarp we decided to take turns throwing it at a dead tree. On the second throw the handle cracked right off the head of the axe. Lesson learned: don’t throw your hatchet unless you have a clue what you’re doing, and the axe is up to it�
One nice thing about the big stones was that at night they blocked the light of the campfire. From the top of one stone I had a great view of the area, and was not blinded by the light of the campfire. The stones did have a lantern effect though; sending beams of flickering light out across the forest as it slipped between the rocks. Very cool, but it gave away our position. A bit of work (piling stones, brush) and the area was almost invisible to casual observation. From not too far off the tarp even resembled another giant stone, as they were about the same size and color. Inside the ring of stones the firelight and heat was reflected back into the campsite. Our fire was built inside a large ring of basalt stones. These proved to be excellent in retaining the heat of the fire throughout the night and into the morning, as basalt contains a lot of iron.

After dinner and tea we settled down to sleep. Everything hurt. The first time backpacking of the year really lets you know which muscles you need to work on. Even though we were deep in the woods, we could hear the sound of the freeway miles away. Sound really carried on the hill. Overnight my Thermorest pad deflated. This is why I was doing this, to check the reliability of my gear. I guess I will invest in a closed cell sleeping pad.

I woke to the sound of a motorbike. Wouldn’t you know they were heading right for us? I was surprised that we only had about 30 seconds between first hearing the approaching vehicles and when they passed by. I guess our stealth site worked, because the three bikes passed by only about 50 feet away from our site (on an uphill trail I hadn’t seen the night before) and did not appear to notice our camp. If we had had I fire going I am sure they would have noticed, but we only used the fire after dark, to hide the smoke signature. Then again, they weren’t supposed to be there either! I am sure that a ranger or a search team would have been able to find us easily, but after all, we were in Connecticut, not Quebec. The woods are only so deep here.

After policing camp and returning it to its semi-natural state, the hike back was a bit easier, as we were going downhill, and didn’t have the weight of water or food to carry. In a bug out situation we would have been carrying both, but this was just an overnight trip. In addition, we wouldn’t have been heading back to the car, but deeper into the wilderness, so there is a morale issue here too. I was looking forward to a nice chair and a bath, after TEOTWAWKI those creature comforts would be gone, at least for the foreseeable future.

So what did I learn? First of all, be sure you have equipment that you know how to use and can trust not to fail on you. Know where everything is in your pack: this makes it easier to find in the dark without a light. My burden was not excessive, and well distributed, but after an hour or so of humping it over a mountain I was ready for a break. I need to stop smoking. Not only will cigs be unavailable or extremely expensive after the crunch, but the carbon monoxide load they cause reduced my endurance greatly. Practice! Those skills you read about won’t do you a bit of good if you haven’t practiced them. Have you really ever made a fire without a lighter or matches? The first time I tried fire by friction (in the Boy Scouts) it took hours for me to get the hang of it, and that was with a pre-made bow and drill set. What about cooking over a fire? Accidentally dumping your pot in the fire happens a lot unless you know what you are doing. Finally, bring some burn cream. You will need it! When I got home I was able to repack my kit, but this wouldn’t have been the case if it wasn’t a practice trip.

My goal of this essay has been to encourage the armchair survivalists out there – you know who you are – to get out in the woods to practice woodcraft skills and evasion, and especially to condition yourselves to the hardships of living out of a BOB. Don’t think you have it all covered because you have $2,000 worth of camping equipment in the trunk of your car. Body conditioning is hard work. Remember, you are going to have to carry all that stuff at some point, so it better be worth the weight. I am beginning to understand that bugging out into the woods may not be a viable option in the long term. I guess that I need a retreat! – Stranger

Lessons Learned: Homeless Living comparable to Prepping

A Prepper can learn allot lot from homeless living. would like to analyze the following article for lessons learned:

The Joys (?)of Being Homeless

by Jerry Leonard (aka Recycler)

Photo provided by Phil Elmore of The Martialist

This was originally posted (by me) as a series of articles on another website a few months back and I’ve just edited/rearranged them all into one big article as well as added lots more stuff. Since I’m the author of this, and the original, no copyrights are being violated. Hopefully there is new and usable information contained here for everyone… It is long.�� � Jerry Leonard

For a good part of 1992 I was homeless. What follows is some of the things I learned and did to keep going, but keep in mind that THIS IS NOT THE LAST WORD ON THE SUBJECT. I didn’t then, and don’t now, have all the answers for this type of situation. This is just how “I” handled many of the problems encountered. If you guys can come up with better solutions than I did, that is excellent. Hopefully none of you will ever have to live this way, but just in case…

Through a lot of discussions on this forum we’ve discussed various methods of �urban survival.� Sometimes, they looked more like standard wilderness survival talks than urban, but that’s okay because there are MANY similarities. Whether urban or wilderness, you still have the same priorities and needs, only the setting has changed. There are some differences however…

DIFFERENCES between Wilderness & Urban settings:

LEO�s (Law Enforcement Officers)

In the wilderness you�ve got maybe a few rangers, some DNR (Department of Natural Resources) folks, and whatnot that cover large expanses of territory to monitor and �police.� If you are in a survival situation chances are good you�re going to try and signal them for help and rescue anyway, unless you intentionally don�t want to be found. With them I don�t see much of a threat.

But in an urban setting, most of the techniques and skills we teach ourselves to survive are prohibited because there are laws and ordinances that say so (conform to society and fit in or be put away). What does this mean to us? Being homeless and trying to survive (whether you�re victimizing people or not) will put you at odds with the rest of the community, including the police. Most of these folks wish you�d just go away�

With the police, you gotta make yourself invisible. Be as unobtrusive as possible and fit in with your surroundings (It boils down to – be a chameleon or be a statistic). Pay attention to the homeless population. If they are all over the place then you can let yourself look as cruddy as you want because the homeless are a fixture. But if you can�t find any of your brothers in poverty then you must either clean yourself up and become “presentable” or relocate.

Being picked up by the police can be a mixed bag affair. On three separate occasions I remember being picked up by very compassionate officers who sincerely wanted to help. Two other times I had the holy snot kicked out of me by some real sleazes. I think I just heard someone say, “Well, I would fight back!” I would place my bet on this being the outcome if you did — “Honest chief, this bum just come outta nowhere and attacked us for no reason! Once we saw the (insert weapon here) we fired to protect ourselves.”

Maybe I WAS being a coward, but I figured my best chances were to just take it and hope they would go away soon. So if you read through some of this stuff and it sounds more like an E&E exercise than a how-to for the homeless, that�s because sometimes your homeless experience WILL be a test on your E&E skills�


In a wilderness situation you�re not going to face a lot of competition for food, unless we�re talking about TEOTWAWKI. You have your choice of game and don�t have to be too discrete about how you procure it. If you�re in a high-density area for homeless folks, however, you�ll find that competition for food, clothing, decent shelter, and other “trash” can get really stiff. I�m positive that if TSHTF (whether from war or collapse) it will get even worse because there�s going to be even more people scrounging for what they need. The survivalist will have a distinct advantage here though IMO.

Because the competition can get fierce at times you need to be very careful in where you set up traps and hide your stuff. Everything you have and get is “community property” unless you have it on your person. So explains the “bag and shopping cart” contingent� Sharing your excess CAN net you some helpful friends however, just be wary about HOW you “distribute your wealth” (the homeless has its share of predators).�


In the “wilderness” you have a wide choice of primitive and handmade weaponry and concealability is not an issue. In an urban setting concealment is THE FIRST thing to consider. Remember that force (especially deadly force) should be a last resort. I�ll talk about this subject later in more detail, but I felt I should mention it here too.

There are other differences but these three have the biggest impact on what you do so they should be thought out well in advance of being stuck as a homeless person�



A lot of different ways to go about this;

1… The Homeless Shelters – Excellent way to contract lice and have whatever possessions you may have left stolen as you sleep. Also one of the first places some LEO�s will look if you are on the lam and they suspect you (or the perp they are looking for) are homeless or posing as one.

2… Woodlots – Many sizable towns and cities have woodlots (of various sizes) where you might be able to find or erect shelters out of the view of normal pedestrians and whatnot. A thorough examination of the area will tell you if it is frequently used by surrounding residents. Inspect for trails, large amounts of trash at “party sites”, etc., and if you still want to use the woodlot for bivouac purposes, make sure to set up camp as far from those places as possible. Construct a debris shelter because they are much harder to spot for what they are and disturb your camp area as little as possible. Fires for cooking and heat should be used during the day and made as small and as smokeless as possible.

3… Abandoned Homes – Every town and city I�ve been in has their share of abandoned and condemned homes. Inspect them during the day for visibility from neighbors and use from kids and the drug element. Other homeless folks can be just as vicious and territorial as the druggies so watch your step. If you choose to shack up with other homeless wonders, expect to be picked up every once in a while or tossed out in the street as some towns will periodically have a “shakedown” to rid themselves of our “godless and verministic” presence. For awhile I was lucky in that I found an abandoned home that was out of sight in the back of a large woodlot bordering on a farmer�s field. It was never visited, still had some of its plumbing intact, and had a workable jet pump (well water!) that was quickly converted to manual use. It also had a septic system (that was in bad shape) still connected to the toilet (bucket flush). To avoid being seen at night, seal off rooms windows so that you might use a light of some sort. If your light is from fire, take the necessary precautions and make sure the room has ventilation. Go outside and walk around the house to make sure there is no visible light escaping, and cover up where it does�

4… Sewers, Storm Drains, etc- NOT! Trust me on this one, I�ve been in them� They come in all shapes and sizes, and while going from point A to point B may be okay you don�t want to live in the freakin� things. Your sense of smell will be shot in short order and if you�re in them during a large rainstorm you�re gonna swear you are being flushed down a toilet. Let’s not forget the opportunities contract all sorts of wonderful diseases/maladies as well as have your cuts &scrapes horribly infected. Rabies anyone? Excellent way to get yourself killed and when you come out everyone in a five-block radius is going to notice you (slight exaggeration but you know what I mean). Hard to remain unobtrusive if everyone thinks you�re a CHUD.

5… Junkyards and Industrial Parks – You can find access to cubbyholes all over most industrial parks, just make sure that a place you choose isn’t patrolled by security guards at night. I accessed a couple boiler room areas on nights that got really cold, just don’t sleep in the open in case late night janitors are around. Abandoned sites work well too. Some careful observation of the area will let you know if others are using it too.

I’ve never seen a junkyard or dump sight that was organized but all of them that I’d been in (that didn’t have owner dogs) had hundreds of places you could curl up in for the night.

6… Alleys, Park Benches, etc. – Very risky. Police harassment aside, can you say rolled, beaten, generally abused, and pissed on, etc ad nauseum? As survivalists I KNOW we can do better than that�

Man, there’re just so many places you can use – it’s the precautions you take or don’t take that’ll burn you. Don’t go into or out of your sleep hole openly like you’re going in & out of your house. Try to let as few people as possible observe you anywhere near your spot. Come and go at night and the early morning hours.

All in all, expect to move around a lot� If you can find a spot and say “looks good”, chances are, and someone else can too. Keep an eye on an area you like and soon enough you’ll find out all sorts of useful things- other bums using it, gangs that party around it, etc.


As survivalists, I don�t foresee any of you being unable to come up with drinkable(?) water. Towns and cities are full of fountains and spigots. On the occasions that you run across spigots without handles, a pair of pliers should do the trick. There�s also rivers and ponds, but beware the pollution factor- the most it can do is kill you and the least it can do is lay you up with cramps, the “runs” etc. Purify if possible. Having a couple of 1 liter pop bottles to carry water in is a great plus.


Naturally, towns and cities are full of it.

1… Forageables – Hey, WE know the value of a lot of those �weeds,� but if you don�t then please take the time to learn. During the spring, summer, and fall there is lots of stuff out there. It�s winter that�ll get you� As is often said, make sure that what you pick doesn�t come from an area that�s regularly sprayed with weed killers.

2… Farmer�s Fields – If you�re close enough to them and the time is right, you�ll not starve�that�s a fact!

3… Dumpsters – My personal rule is if you didn�t watch them dump it- then don�t! I learned the hard way that just because it looks all right doesn�t necessarily mean it is. Cook the crud out of the veggies and expect to lose a lot of the nutritional value. Wash the fruit with the cleanest water you can get and peel it. I don’t advise using the meat the butchers throw out because most of them will try to sell it until last possible moment.

4… HEEEERRRE KITTY KITTY! – All joking aside, in the towns and cities that is THE EASIEST way to catch “the other white meat”�. Personally, I�ll pass on the rat catchin�. It’s good to understand that many of the woodlots will carry more critters than you may realize are out there, it�s catching them that can prove real trying. There are also ponds and creeks available in many places too, where you might be able to catch frogs, crawdads and turtles. Look for any signs warning of pollution and not fishing first. Make sure you thank the good folks that feed the pigeons for fattening the little beasts up. As far as what to use to catch the critters, silence and concealability are going to be your two biggest factors no matter how you consider the problem.

That being said I would concentrate on hidden traps and snares first. Baiting virtually guarantees something for the pot… As for traps suited for urban environments, I would say box traps in the alleys or wood lots. Most people don’t recognize them for what they are, but you would still want to keep them as hidden as humanly possible, and rather than making them from wire make them from wood so nobody can look at it and see the critter. You’ll probably get AT LEAST one skunk!

My Pigeon Traps – Pigeons are funny critters (and easy to catch, IMO). Besides beanin’ them with sticks, I’ve chunked fist-sized rocks at em, and trapped them. In the cities, go where there’s flocks of them and they aren’t really afraid of people. Feed them for a little bit, then go about setting up your trap(s). Scatter a little more feed and sit back and wait. Shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to get enough for dinner.

The traps were nothing more elaborate than cardboard boxes that had been broken down and refolded so I could stick my arm through the top to grab the birds. Put a weight on the top of the box so it drops quickly and prop it up with a stick. Tie a string to the bottom of the prop-stick and run it out about 20 feet or so. Bait the ground underneath and around the box so the birds have a reason to gather and when you have some targets, pull the stick out. Wearing gloves, grab them and quickly wring their necks, then leave the area before someone decides you are a “job for the police”…

I suppose you could use milk crates, but I never had any available… and while I never tried this, if you have a hammock, you could build a frame for it and set it up like you did the box. It would cover more ground so, conceivably, you can bag more birds at once (just a thought).

Eating pigeons and small birds – I don’t know much about any diseases in pigeons (or other birds) but, while I was homeless, I ate hundreds of the little beasties without any ill effects….

The trick, IMO, is to give the bird a REAL GOOD once over before considering eating it. When you come across a sick pigeon, you’ll know it. It’ll be missing a lot of its “fluff” (not talking about molting here) and the bare skin will look like third degree burns or something. If the legs look like the skin is rotting, that’s a good sign too. Eyes look funny? Like cataracts? Find any of these things, then just toss the bird. You can always get another. It IS possible that the way I checked the birds out was �improper,� but doing it this way I never got sick from eating them.

When preparing the bird, don’t pluck it- strip it, feathers and skin. Clean it out real good with CLEAN water and inspect the guts. If it looked like he was rotting from the inside out, then toss him too. If it passed all that he should be good, then cook the sucker completely. Save the guts to use as bait for catching other critters, like cats, possums and coons.

Awfully involved for eating a pigeon, huh? As a last note on the subject, certain birds I would stay away from would be buzzards and seagulls. The buzzards simply because of what they eat (dead things), and the gulls because, without a doubt, those were THE NASTIEST TASTING birds I have ever had the misfortune of eating. I don’t know if it was just those birds or if they’re all like that, and I have no intention of doing any ‘studies’ to find out.

“Rabbit Sticks”- The nice thing about the city critters I encountered was that they were so used to people that it was very easy to get close to them – close enough that I started calling my rabbit stick a squirrel or pigeon stick (depending on what was about to get beaned with it). The rabbit stick has served me well for a long time, but first let me say that in all the years I’ve used them I am by no means an expert. I’ve probably bagged something with every ten throws or so (there were exceptions to that though). I don’t know what kind of track record others might claim to have, but I think mine is pretty good.

Since I’ve settled down I’ve carved a few and still have them. I pull them out every once in a while and practice, but I don’t do any practical hunting with them anymore (unless you count the neighborhood cats that venture into the yard).

When I was out on the streets, however, I pretty much grabbed whatever felt right in the hand. Other than a knife and “snap-stick” (and a couple of times a zipgun) I tried to keep as few weapons as possible on me. Doesn’t go well if you’re searched by the police…

One item I was real happy with, once I worked the bugs out (sorta), was a 1/2″ water pipe. It was about 16″ long and the first time I used it I took down a pigeon. Only problem with it was it made a heck of a racket bouncing off the concrete. So I bought a couple of end caps and that cut down on a LITTLE of the noise. I ended up stuffing a rag inside the pipe and duct taping the outside before I was really satisfied with the noise factor. For self-defense purposes, it also performed quite well…

The one thing I noticed most about using the sticks was that if it wasn’t a bird or a squirrel sized critter, the best I could hope for was to stun it and get to it before it regained its senses and ran off…. With the pipe though, when I got in a good shot if I didn’t kill it I had plenty of time to go finish the job. The biggest problem that I encountered with the rabbit stick was the sudden throw tended to spook whatever you were after. Same problem with slings, bolas, atlatls, etc. If it requires sudden or violent movements, the farther away you are the less chance of bagging something.

Airguns – While I didn’t have one when I was homeless, an air pistol is a definite winner in my book. It is concealable, silent, no quick movements to use, and will collect small game like there’s no tomorrow (provided you have good aim).

Slingshots – I can’t use a slingshot worth spooey but if you like the idea of using arrows, then rather than using a bow (no concealability) modify a wooden Marksman-style slingshot with a large eye screw and shoot your arrows with that. Takes practice to overcome the “quirks” of the device, but it works great. You can use full sized arrows or shorten the bands and use smaller ones. Don’t replace the pouch with wire, however, that way you can still use it for rocks and stuff when you run out of arrows (don’t forget to take the eye screw out first). Only real drawback is the rubber isn’t as responsive in the wintertime (cold).

If you just can’t seem to hit anything with that setup, then buy some replacement rubbers and get a short length of PVC or water pipe (1 foot long will do). Attach the pipe SECURELY to a piece of scrap wood that you shape kinda like a pistol, then attach the slingshot band SECURELY to the pipe. Your accuracy will improve a lot doing it this way. Just make sure that the rubber side of the pipe is sanded smooth and rounded so that it doesn’t rip the fletching off of your arrows every time you shoot.

5… Fast Food Joints and Restaurants – For awhile this worked out great for me. Go into the place and ask to talk to the manager. If it�s not obvious that you�re homeless and broke, explain your situation and offer to pick up trash and butts around their property for a meal. I found many that were more than happy to allow it because they realized that if you didn�t do it they would have to send out one of their own employees to take care of it (I�m sure some of them felt pity too but that�s irrelevant to me). Nothing like a shot at the buffet in the Golden Corral to boost ones spirits� Don’t forget to stock up on sugar, salt, pepper, ketchup, & mustard packets when you are in there (KFC has honey and butter too, but use the butter ASAP when it’s hot out). Expect to hear every once in a while “GO ON, BEAT IT YOU FREAKIN� PUKE B�FORE I CALL THE COPS!”

6… Soup Kitchens- Not much to be said other than the food IS edible, just not every place has them.


You ever wonder why lots of homeless people wear so many layers of clothes? Here�s a few obvious and not so obvious reasons;

1… It gets cold out at night (duh) even in the summer.

2… Sooo many pockets- next best thing to a pack of some sort.

3… This way nobody can steal them from your “campsite”.

4… Much easier to conceal a weapon, just make sure you can easily access it.

5… Excellent protection from slashing knife attacks and good padding for the times you find yourself being clubbed.

For the women – I had the opportunity to meet quite a few “bag ladies” and you�d be surprised at how many of them would actually have been very good looking if cleaned and “dressed” up. A lot of what they did as far as dress and appearance went (baggy multi-layered clothes, grimy hands and face, rats-nest hair, etc) was for purely defensive purposes. The crappier they looked, the less chances of being sexually victimized. I gotta tell you, I heard some real horror stories from some of these gals��

Here is an example – I had been in this one area (NYC) for about a week, so I was sort of “established”; but anyway, one night a car cruised down this alley and dumped a person, then sped off. Caused a big ruckus with the bums & bagladies.

Turns out it was a street girl who disappeared just before I started hanging around the area. She was trying to get a few bucks by selling her butt and got in this guy�s car. He disabled her with one of those zappers that plaster you with a gajillion volts, tied her up and raped and tortured her for a WEEK (according to one of the bagladies, she had cuts ALL OVER HER BODY)! To her credit the girl was still lucid, but can you imagine it?

As far as acquiring clothes, I never had to steal any because on more occasions than I can count I found clothes in the trash and dumpsters that were sturdy and entirely usable. Maybe obvious advice, but wash them clothes periodically or resign yourself to being a walking parasite hotel. A little change and a Laundromat does quite nicely. Shoes, on the other hand, are much harder to find (ones that fit well anyway). Don’t settle for undersize or oversize shoes or I GUARANTEE you will have big problems with your feet. If necessary, scrape up the money and buy a pair THAT FITS.


There�s a few ways to look at the problem. Do you want money to buy little things you can�t scrounge or are you looking to drag yourself out of the pit you found yourself in? Everybody�s situation is going to be different based on the goals you set for yourself. In war, we�re probably all going to be in the same boat so any financial gains we make (if any) will likely be small. Expect to have to save the money you acquire till you have enough for whatever. I found that all gains were small until you get those “right time- right place” opportunities. They�re not as easy to find as some book writers make it out to be�

As long as the economy remains fairly stable you�ve got a host of opportunities before you. There are many illicit ways to get money and gear but I never had the heart to do them (my conscious is stronger than my intellect sometimes) so I can�t give you any practical advice there – sorry.

Let�s start with the simplest:

1… Loose Change – One thing that surprised the heck out of me was how the general public feels about change. I first noticed this when I started cleaning parking lots for a meal. Fast food joints, supermarkets, mall parking lots, sidewalks, etc are covered in it. Sure there were some days I�d be lucky to find .50 cents, but there were other days I could end up with $15 or more of just change picked up from the ground. So when you see the bums wandering around with their heads hung low, they may feel dejected but they�re also looking for “free” money. May not seem like a lot but $15 can get you a lighter & matches, a roll of string, bottle of multi-vitamins, and a few other little things you might need. Let your “survival mind” chew on that for awhile� What would YOU get?

2… Returnable Bottles and Cans – Another small one that adds up. You would be surprised in the more heavily populated areas just how many folks don�t bother with the things and toss �em� Remember those “party sites” I mentioned earlier? Those were usually gold mines for bottles and cans. Environmentalist bums, anyone?

3… Begging – It IS an option, and you don�t have to be deceitful about it. Don�t expect a lot of money if you beg “legit” however. A better way, IMO, is to apply a skill to your plea. In my case, I sang. I�m not gonna sit here and tell you that I�m another Don Ho or Frank Sinatra but I CAN carry a decent tune when I feel the urge. When my brothers & I were growing up we used to sing with our parents� church groups so most of my repertoire revolved around religious and patriotic songs. By planting myself near the churches on Sundays I could usually net anywhere from $10 – $60. I admit that the higher end of that range were exceptional days. Location is the key no matter how you choose to go about begging. Other skills I�ve seen used to good effect were dancing, instruments, acrobatics & contortionists (if you can believe that), and reciting Shakespeare (?).

4… Barter and “Sidewalk sales” – I�ve only run across this a couple of times and if things get worse in this country I expect to see a rise in this practice, so dumpster divers and “junk” scavengers take note. The quantity of usable stuff that gets tossed is staggering. I�m sure you�ve all seen this at one time or another. One group of homeless people I ran across grabbed everything they could find that was still in decent shape or could be simply repaired, cleaned the stuff up, resold it at yard sale prices, and then divided the money up between them. Knick-knacks, clothes, appliances, furniture, and “junk” crafts (you name it). They did quite well for themselves. I think this practice has merit. Also, because of the variety of GOOD junk that I’ve found over time, it is possible to use the pawnshops to your advantage too. As long as you’re not trying to get top dollar out of the stuff, you can probably still get good money out of the deal.

5… Under the Table Work – When you�re ready or determined to get yourself back on your feet, this is the way to go. Don�t expect to find any work, however, if you�re sporting the skid row look. You need to start cleaning yourself up and making yourself look presentable. Be up front with your problems and many are willing to help. Places I�ve worked willing to let you do temp work for cash were topless bars (stocking the coolers and doing inventories for the boss) & loading docks and construction sites (backbreaking work- loading/unloading trucks, carrying materials from A to B, doing site cleanups, etc). Try to use whatever skills you have to best advantage when looking for places to work and bid yourself below minimum wage. Also be willing to sign (and volunteer to) a “paper” stating that you won�t hold them liable for any injuries you may incur. If the businesses have unions in them� forget it— they won�t be able to hire you. Small contractors are usually union-free and if you have your own tools and know how to use them, it�s a big plus. In some places the contractors paid me above minimum wage after they saw how hard I worked and a couple asked me to stay, so it does pay to give your boss your best effort. It�s hard to do this though if you�re only passing through, but for those who are ready to plant their feet and start getting their life back together this is your ticket�

Using any combination of the above and maintaining extremely frugal living habits, the cash will start to pile up. What you do and how you choose to apply yourself if you become homeless is entirely up to you but homeless doesn�t have to mean penniless.


The following covers what I believe to be important things to consider security-wise when faced with living on the streets and trying to avoid attention, confrontations, and being made a victim.


The most effective way to prevent drawing unwanted attention to yourself is to blend in with your surroundings. You should try to match your style of dress to the type of neighborhood you find yourself in.

There are places where it pays to “not look like a bum,” such as;�

  • Small and medium sized towns.
  • Middle class & up residential areas (suburbia).
  • Farm country
  • The tourist traps – Since I’ve never really been in any, that I know of, I can’t really vouch for this one…�
  • Any posted “neighborhood watch” areas.

If the homeless population is non-existent, looking like a skid row executive WILL get everyone�s attention and you can expect the police (town, county, and state) to stop you and have a �chat.� If you are stopped and questioned- be clear, concise, POLITE and, if necessary, state that you are just passing through and looking for no trouble.

In the “big” city or inner cities, where the homeless populations can be substantial, I found that it was to my advantage to look pretty scruffy. One reason is that it saves the good clothes you might have from damage when you�re dumpster diving, picking through the trash and other things that might cause you to get messy. Also, the average citizen tends to ignore you, and the criminal elements don�t readily target you as a mugging opportunity unless you openly display some form of wealth.


Dressing better than the scumbags. If you look like you have more than they do, they�ll want it.

Wearing expensive watches, rings and jewelry. Put your watch in your pocket, or take the bands off and safety pin it to the inside of your coat. If the rings and jewelry have some form of sentimental value (wedding rings) then stash them, otherwise I would pawn them�

Openly using your money stash. If you choose to keep all of your money on you, then what you should do is separate your money into two groups.

The first group is your wallet money. In this you keep enough money to make any purchases for the day and fill it up with stupid stuff (newspaper clippings, library cards, and other “trash paper”). Consider this your “mugging wallet”- If by some chance they do decide to roll you, you won�t lose all of your money and a little bit of cash will probably stave off more harassment or a beating for �having nothing.� Showing some non-aggressive concern over the loss of your “life savings” may convince them from making you empty the rest of your pockets (then again, it might not).

The second group is, of course, the rest of your savings. If you insist on keeping it with you at all times then DON�T just put it in your pocket. You should try something along the lines of a money belt or a wrist & ankle wallet (worn around the knee or above the elbow) under your clothes. What I did was to turn my coat inside out and, with some scrap cloth, a couple snaps, and a sewing kit, I made a pocket in the lining of the sleeve a few inches above the elbow. Since my coat was always with me, so was my money. Put your cash in a small ziploc (in case you�re caught out in the rain) and change your small bills to larger ones so it�s less bulky. When you need to take out some spending cash make sure you are isolated and no one can see you do it.


If anybody got the feeling from reading what I posted about places for shelter that maybe I was being a little bit paranoid – I was. You are at your most vulnerable when you are sleeping and I found that living on the streets can take its toll on your body causing you to go into a deeper sleep rather than a lighter one. Too much malnutrition and exhaustion can find you waking up to find all of your possessions gone (and maybe you won�t wake up at all�).

Keeping this in mind, you would do well to find an isolated (secret) spot to sleep away from any pedestrian traffic or other homeless people. If you are staying in one place for more than a day, ensure that your gear is well hidden so you don�t have to lug everything around with you when you�re out and about and just in case someone stumbles across your sleep hole while you are away.



When to defend yourself is a judgment call for each individual. There were times when I felt it more prudent to run away or let myself be roughed up and rolled than to whip out a weapon and have at it. It was usually pretty obvious who was looking to just harass me and who was threatening my life.

Firearms – For just about everybody reading this, I’m sure that first pick will be a firearm� But if you find yourself in a homeless situation you may find yourself without one in the beginning (or may lose/ have to ditch it in the course of your experience). In an inner city setting, getting firearms isn�t much of a problem if you�ve got the cash. Myself, I found it more convenient to buy the ammunition and make “zip” guns- reasoning being that if I had to use the weapon I could ditch it, not lose a substantial investment, and make another one later. The ones I made were for 22�s, 410�s and 12ga.

I only carried these when in the large cities where my chances for being stopped and searched were pretty slim, and if you choose to carry a firearm (of any kind) only you will be able to weigh the risks involved with having and using it. I never carried one where my presence as a homeless person would warrant attention from the police.

Knives – Another one that should go without saying. Whether for defense or not, everyone should have a good knife. A good lock blade or small fixed blade doesn�t matter as long as you�ve got at least one. Even kitchen knives will do in a pinch as long as you understand their limitations. I�ve seen homemade knives made from tin & sheet metal and mild steel which performed knife functions quite well in a pinch. Only “problems” I saw with them was they bent easily and needed frequent sharpening.

Miscellaneous Weapons

There are other weapons that can be used to defend yourself and below is a partial list that I have carried or seen carried by others;

Clubs/batons – Lengths of plumbing pipe (12-18 in) or wood. Cut down baseball bats stuffed up a coat sleeve (about the length of your forearm and hand- with your hands in your pockets it stays in place and if needed pull your hands out and let it slip right out into your grasp). When you get right down to it there is an endless list of items that can be used as expedient clubs – look around you�

Saps – Put one sock inside another and fill it with your choice of stuff like rocks, or the loose change you collect of the street – then tie a knot in it to keep it all in the end. One bum I knew kept a hammerhead in the socks, rolled it up and kept it in his pocket. He could have it out, unrolled, and bouncing off his targets� head before the creep knew what hit �em.

Snap stick/ Bone breaker – I�ve always liked this one. Basically an 11-12 inch long hardwood dowel (1″-1 1/4″ thick) with a lanyard on one end. To hold, hang the lanyard off your thumb along the back of your hand; swing it up into your hand from underneath and grip loosely. Used forcefully with a snapping motion at the joints and hard points of a persons body it causes a lot of pain and can break bones (takes practice though). Sharpening to a blunt point it can also be used to “stab” at the soft points of a person�s anatomy, again causing a lot of pain.

Iron Cross – Anybody remember those “Atchison Hunters”(sp)? These aren�t much different except they don�t fold up. Get two lengths of flat stock steel (8-10 inches each) and bind them together to make a + ; then sharpen the ends to points. Filing notches before binding will help keep them from slipping. Great fun for power throwers, and in HTH hold one end and use as a three-way stabbing instrument�

There are SO MANY different things to use out there that I couldn�t begin to list them all, but these were just a few suggestions.


In this section, let’s consider gear and “stuff”. When I first became homeless, I started out with nothing but the clothes on my back and an empty wallet. Almost everything I got was from the trash or from whatever money I could scrape up at the time (which, at first, was never a whole heck of a lot).

After some time, the stuff I accumulated sort of took shape into what you could call a “poor man’s” backpacking outfit and what I describe next is pretty much all I had for awhile. As you’re reading this you will probably find yourself thinking up better ways than mine to go about doing things. If you are that’s EXCELLENT, because the whole purpose of this is to get you thinking about what you might do if you find yourself in a similar predicament. So just remember as you read this that it’s not the last word, it’s just a starting point….

Knives- Of all things I wish I had when I started out, the knife is the first thing that comes to mind. IMO being homeless isn’t all that far off from being in a wilderness survival situation and because of that your knife is your #1 tool.

Since beggars can’t be choosers I was thankful that so many folks chose to throw knives away instead of sharpening them, because I had found them in the trash (and still do) with amazing regularity. Pocket knives; lock blades, fixed blades & kitchen knives, etc. I found and used them all and never worried about losing or breaking them. If I did, it was just another trip to the trash…

If, for some reason, you can’t seem to acquire one (IMO, unlikely) you can always improvise something to do the job by using, for example; broken glass, tin cans and sheet metal, or even mild steel. Doesn’t matter what you’ve got as long as it CUTS.

Tools – During one particularly fruitful dive in the trash I found a bunch of tools. A lot of them were too big, bulky and impractical, but I did keep (and get a lot of use from) a small handful. The ones I kept were stored in a child’s lunch box. They consisted of – flat tip & Phillips screwdrivers, tin snips, needle-nose and lineman’s pliers, flat file, round file, triangular file, 16 oz hammer (cut down the handle so it would fit in the lunch box), hacksaw blades (just the blades), and a hole saw.

Also kept in the lunch box were two can openers (crank kind and the kind that just made holes), sewing stuff (absolute necessities), extra lighters and matches (kept in plastic bag and wrapped in scrap cloth), and bottles of aspirin and multi-vitamins (had to buy them). To keep everything from rattling around I just filled it the rest of the way with scraps of cloth.

Shelter – On the occasions that I couldn’t find appropriate shelter for the night, it was necessary to erect something to keep the weather off. Nothing is worse than waking up in the middle of a rainstorm with no protection… Tents are nice, but since I didn’t have one I improvised many times with plastic tarps (like the ones that cover lumber and other building supplies) and eventually I acquired an 8’x8′ canvas tarp.

I used discarded clotheslines for guy lines and for stakes and poles I just used whatever sticks were available. Even large cardboard boxes or pallets with a tarp or plastic sheet over them (weighted down with rocks/bricks) will do in a pinch.

Cordage – Clothesline, appliance cords, twine, old shoelaces, etc. The stuff is all over the place and if you can tie it in a knot, you can use it. It’s also cheap enough that you can buy plenty with a little loose change.

Bed Roll – At first I was happy just to have a blanket, but what I eventually ended up with was a thermal blanket (a real one I had to buy) sandwiched between a piece of plastic tarp and a blanket. I joined the whole thing together with big wads of thread on the corners and along the edges (a sew-pro I’m not). It would’ve been nice though to have it all snap together because when the blanket would get real nasty I’d have to cut the threads out to wash it and then sew it back together again.

Water Containers – 1-liter pop bottles. Simple. I made carriers from cutoff pants legs, added drawstrings and attached them to the sides of my “pack” (described below).

Mess Kit – Here again the dumpsters came through as I had my choice of pots, pans, silverware, cups, etc. I settled for a small aluminum pot w/ lid, small 8″ fry pan, fork, spoon, steak knife and 1 plastic cup. You could probably do just as well at Wally World for $10.

Stove – For a “fire pot” (whenever open fires weren’t a good idea) I would use whatever large tin cans or paint cans were available. I’ve seen at least hundred different ways to make stoves from cans, but what I did was punch a series of draft holes along the top and bottom edges (leaving the bottom intact) and make a small fire inside. It usually burned very well but you just had to make sure the holes along the bottom edge didn’t get blocked with ashes and unburned crud. WARNING- If you use one inside a building make sure you set the stove on some bricks or something else COMPLETELY non-flammable, and that you have LOTS OF VENTILATION (for you, not the fire).

Packs – Once you begin accumulating a lot of “stuff” you need SOMETHING to carry it all in… Picking through the trash, I don’t know how many gym bags (big and small) I found along with kid’s school packs, suitcases, plastic tubs and buckets, etc. You should be able to have your pick if you look long enough.

At first I just kept a few gym bags, but it was real awkward trying to lug my crud from place to place. So after I got tired of that I gathered some scrap wood (1×3’s) and a few pairs of discarded blue jeans and proceeded to make a pseudo-packboard. If what I describe next sounds weird you should see what it looked like. It DID look strange and was a bit uncomfortable, but it hauled my stuff across five states before I replaced it (and that’s good enough for me).

  1. For each of the verticals I started with three pieces of 1×3 (about 26″ long) nailed together and set them about two feet apart (measured from the inside). Then I cut three crosspieces and nailed/screwed them to the verticals- one even with the top, one even with the bottom, and one a few inches below center.
  2. Next, I flipped it over and cut the legs off of the blue jeans and laid them on the frame. Set them so that when you look down at the frame you can see the crosspieces underneath. Step on the ends so that the material is tight across the frame and attach using nails, screws, staples, or whatever you’ve got. You should have enough material on each side to wrap around the other three sides of the frame. Tack them down with nails or screws on each side so that the pants legs won’t pull away from the frame easily (hopefully, not at all).
  3. For the straps I took two more pant legs, rolled them lengthwise so that they were about 3″ wide, and attached them first to the top cross piece. They then went over the top of the jean “pads” and I joined them to the center crosspiece. If you connect them towards the center of each crosspiece you won’t have to worry about them always trying to slip off of your shoulders. Since the straps aren’t adjustable, you’ll have to try it on a few times before you tack it down permanently.
  4. All that’s left is to flip it over and attach whatever you are using to hold your stuff. In my case it was three gym bags. What I did was put a wood slat inside each bag that was long enough to reach both sides and screw them into place. I added two pouches on each side of the frame for water (pop) bottles. With everything packed up, I tied my bedroll to the bottom crosspiece and my shelter tarp to the top and was ready to go.

Hopefully that description was a lot clearer than mud. It was an ugly, ugly thing to look at but it worked…


When we live our lives out here in the civilized world, we tend to take a lot of things for granted, for example– nightly showers and baths, “unlimited” water, health and dental care, etc., but when you’re on the streets it is a whole different story. You simply must take care of yourself!

Dental/Oral Hygiene – To that end, it would be a most excellent idea to make sure that you always have a toothbrush with you. Dental problems have a way of making life an extremely miserable affair, not to mention the fact that abscesses left untreated can become life threatening. Good oral hygiene will also do much to prevent cheek, gum and tongue sores which, barring infection, can make one an unhappy camper also. A couple of times I tried one of those old tricks you read about every once in a while, where you chew the end of a small diameter stick until the end is frayed and use that as an improvised toothbrush. If you’re stuck in the middle of the boondocks with no store for miles around, it is somewhat workable and better than nothing, but you are much better off with a real toothbrush (even an old worn out one). It saves you the trouble of picking slivers out of your gumlines or cutting/scratching your gums, causing problems where before there were none. Salt water or baking soda make decent toothpaste substitutes to brush with, but if you don’t have any just make sure to rinse really well after brushing. Eight years later, I’m still paying for not taking better care of my teeth.

Vitamins/Nutrition – We get our vitamins and minerals from what we eat and drink and it’s important to make sure that you’re getting what you need. Having a deficiency in one or more vitamins is a surefire way to suffer any number of wonderful maladies, scurvy (lack of vitamin C), beriberi (vitamin B1, I believe) and rickets (vitamin D and calcium deficiencies- especially harmful to children) among them.

Being homeless, meals were always an iffy proposition at best (three squares a day were out), and I suffered quite a bit by the time my experience was over. Sure, I know now that many wild foods can provide for a lot of your nutritional needs, but at the time I wasn’t well versed in foraging for wild edibles (what was best or how to properly prepare them). And in the wintertime, if you’re where it snows they just won’t be there. Because of that, I resorted to scrounging money to buy multi-vitamins.

Take Care of your Feet – As a homeless person, walking was about the only way I got around. Not taking care of your feet is a good way to lose them. Armageddon-style athlete�s foot, trench foot, frostbite, blisters… the list is really quite large. Keep your feet CLEAN AND DRY, take your shoes off periodically and massage those puppies (helps circulation), and for God’s sake, wear shoes that fit right. Too tight and you cut the circulation off; to loose and you’re going to get blisters fast. As I said earlier if you need to replace your shoes, rather than settling for scrounged shoes with a bad fit, break down and buy a pair. Cheap is okay as long as they fit.

Wash Yourself – At the very least, a sponge bath (your whole body) every other day is okay, but wash your hands BEFORE YOU EAT EVERYDAY. Dirty hands and bad water are two excellent ways to get dysentery (monster diarrhea). You will dehydrate VERY QUICKY if you get this and while many modern medications can go a long way to fix this, being a penniless homeless person complicates things. Make sure that the water you drink is as clean as you can get and ALWAYS clean your hands before you eat. If you think you have this malady the emergency room at the hospital is the way to go.

One time I had what I was sure was dysentery… I couldn’t walk five feet without having to void myself bloody. I had already had one bad experience in a hospital and was determined not to go into one again. Being flat broke as well ruled out getting something from the drugstore. It was then that I remembered something from a class I received while in the Marines– That one possible way to get rid of it was to eat charcoal twice a day until your symptoms were gone. Not the kind you buy for barbecues, but wood charcoal from your fire (I do not recommend using charcoal from treated lumber). So that was what I did. Two days later, the “problem” went away… Even after that, however, I was still weak as hell for the next couple of weeks.

One thing I want to mention again is that when you have dysentery you will dehydrate very quickly and you must replace the water that your body is losing. At the very least, boil that water good, but keep up your fluid intake no matter what.

Wash Your Clothes – One word… LICE. Aside from being disease carriers themselves, if I remember correctly, a single louse will drink about 1cc of blood a day. An average man has about 50,000 cc’s (I think) of blood in his body. Lice multiply quickly and a person that allows himself to become covered with lice (and I met many bums like that) probably isn’t long for this world. Keep your body clean, inspect yourself regularly, and wash those clothes every once in a while. Suspect any clothes you scrounge to be lice infested and wash them well before you wear them for the first time. Change and a Laundromat…

Well, this is as far as I can think to go on the subject of being homeless. It wasn’t fun but I got through it all intact and while I hope you never have to experience this kind of living, just remember that it IS survivable and once there you can pull yourself back up (I’m proof of that). Any comments or experiences of your own to share? I’d love to hear them.


A little note from Don R.

This article was originally written by a person named Jerry Leonard (a/k/a �Recycler�) and was posted online by a friend named Brian T. (You know who you are and thank you! If you are reading this, please contact me, I lost your E-mail from your old website. I tried to contact you by E-mail to �OK� posting this but could not reach you.) If there is a problem with using this article, I will take it down.

Attribution is very, very important to me. I did not write this article and do not want to take credit for doing so. I just thought it so incredibly valuable, I wanted to preserve it.

Have you ever read something on the Internet and then you went back, weeks or months later and it was gone forever? Well, I thought this article was so excellent, I just wanted to preserve it but wish to reiterate that I will remove it if I am contacted by the author and they want it removed. I would like for them to see it as a compliment instead of a rip-off. My intent is simply to preserve and to share it with people.

Thanks to Jason for writing it and Brian for providing it originally, I am merely a Host on this one.

I also want to say that I just touched the article up a bit when it comes to use of periods and dashes and some spelling, very minor stuff. The words and thoughts have not been touched and although I think the article is quite informative and valuable, I don�t agree with everything in the article. So, if you disagree with something in the article or with a view expressed, don�t shoot the messenger for the message. Likewise, as the original Author did, the medical information is written for worst case scenarios and DOES NOT TAKE THE PLACE OF EXPERT MEDICAL CARE! The Author (Jason) and the Host (Don Rearic) cannot and will not be held responsible for any damage or injury due to you not reading this disclaimer and seeking Professional and competent medical advice or care!

Take it for what it is, a really good article full of information! Thanks! � Don Rearic

Copyright 2004

Backpack Survival


There’s a lot of confusion about what survival means.

To some, it’s getting through the aftermath of an airplane wreck in a desolate area. It can mean knowing when to avoid walking in radioactive wastes. Or, it can mean knowing how to barter with troops in the aftermath of riots, war, and looting.

To others, survival has to do with avoiding danger and knowing how to deal with it when it breaks into your home in the dead of night.

Survival ideas abound and there are as many definitions and strategies as there are survivalists. Some have good ideas for survival and some have unsound tactics. Bad ideas can mean extra work or trouble in everyday life; bad ideas during a survival situation get you killed. On-the-job training doesn’t work when you’re dealing with poison and gunfights.

Or survival.

One of the most dangerous ideas–as far as I’m concerned–is that of “backpack survival.”

A “back-pack survivalist” is a survivalist that plans on leaving his home ahead of a disaster and taking to the woods with only what he can carry out with him. He plans to survive through a strategy that is a sort of cross between the Boy-Scout-in-the-woods and Robinson Crusoe.

The backpack survival- ist plans on outrunning danger with a four-wheel drive or a motorcycle and hopes to travel light with a survival kit of everything he might need to cope with the unexpected. He hasn’t cached anything in the area he’s headed for because, chances are, he doesn’t know where he’s headed. Somehow, he hopes to overcome all odds with a minimum of supplies and a maximum of smarts.

Certainly it is a noble cause; but it seems like one destined to failure. And that’s not survival.

(Let’s back up a minute. Backpack fever–or bug-outosis–does makes sense when you’re facing a localized disaster like a derailed train with overturned poisonous gas cars. A a potential nuclear meltdown, an impending hurricane, or similar disasters where there is a safe place to run to. During such a time, it makes perfect sense to retreat and come back when things settle down.

Likewise, some people have to work in dangerous areas. For them, donning a backpack and heading for a retreat that they’ve prepared before hand is a viable survival strategy. These people aren’t backpack survivalists.)

Let me make a confession. Yes, I once was a closet backpack survivalist. I had an ALICE pack and had it packed with all I could carry. As I learned more about how to survive, I realized I needed to carry more. Soon I discover- ed that, just for my family to survive for a very few days, I’d need a pack mule and/or a hernia operation…

Something was very wrong.

Probably most survivalists start out the same way. Things are bad so let’s bug out. Backpack survivalism is an effort to deal with the possibility of a major disaster.

As backpack survivalists, we make elaborate plans centered around the idea of “bugging out” of the area we live in.

We hope to travel to an area that is safer than the one we’re in and plan on living off the land or on some survival supplies we’ve hidden in the area. On the home front, we carefully prepare a stock of supplies that we can quickly cart off in a car or van when things start to look bad.

As more and more plans are made and as ever more survival gear is purchased, the survivalist realizes just how much he needs to cope with in order to survive. If he is any sort of realist, he soon amasses enough gear to warrant a truck or–more likely–a moving van just for carrying the survival equipment. (And don’t laugh, there are survivalists who have large trucks for just such use.)

Some brave souls continue to make more elaborate plans and some of these survivalists may be able to pull off their plans. Those who have really thought things out and have spared no expenses may manage to survive with a bug-out strategy. But I think there are more logical–and less expensive–ways to survive a large crisis.

Forget all your preconceived notions for a minute.

Imagine that there is a national emergency and you are an outside observ- er? What happens if a nuclear attack is eminent, an economic collapse has occurred, or a dictator has taken over and is ready to round up all malcontents (with survivalists at the top of the list)?

Situations change with time. The survivalist movement–and backpack fever–first started up when gas guzzler cars were about all that anyone drove. That meant that a survivalist with some spare gasoline could outdis- tance his unprepared peers and get to a retreat that was far from the maddening crowd, as it were. (Read some of Mel Tappan’s early writing on survival retreats. His ideas are good but many have been undone with the new, fuel-ef- ficient cars.)

With cars getting 30 or even 40 miles per gallon, it isn’t rare for a car to be able to travel half way across a state on less than a tank of gasoline. The exodus from cities or trouble spots will be more limited by traffic snarls than lack of gasoline even if the gas stations are completely devoid of their liquid fuel.

Too, there are a lot of people thinking about what to do if the time for fleeing comes. A lot of people will be headed for the same spots. (Don’t laugh that off, either. In my area, every eighth person has confided his secret retreat spot to me. And about half of them are all headed for the same spot: an old missile silo devoid of water and food. I suspect that the battle at the gates of the old missile base will rival the Little Big Horn.)

No matter how out-of-the-way their destination, most survivalists are kidding themselves if they think others won’t be headed for their hideaway spot along with them. There are few places in the US which aren’t accessible to anyone with a little driving skill and a good map.

Too, there are few places which aren’t in grave danger during a nuclear war or national social unrest.

Though most nuclear war survival books can give you a nice little map showing likely targets, they don’t tell you some essential information. Like what the purpose of the attack will be. The enemy may not be aiming for military targets that day; a blackmail threat might begin by hitting the heart of the farmland or a number of cities before demanding the surrender of the country being attacked. The target areas on the maps might be quite safe.

And the maps show where the missiles land IF they all enjoy 100 percent accuracy and reliability. Anyone know of such conditions in war? With Soviet machinery!? Targets may be relatively safe places to be in.

Added to this is the fact that some areas can be heavily contaminated or completely free of contamination depending on the wind directions in the upper atmosphere. Crystal ball in your survival gear?

But let’s ignore all the facts thus far for a few moments and assume that a backpack survivalist has found an ideal retreat and is planning to go there in the event of a national disaster… What next?

His first concern should be that he’ll have a hard time taking the supplies he needs with him. A nuclear war might mean that it will be impos- sible to grow food for at least a year and foraging is out as well since animals and plants may be contaminated extensively.

An economic collapse wouldn’t be much better. It might discourage the raising of crops; no money, no sales except for the barter to keep a small farm family going.

With large corporations doing much of our farming these days, it is not unreasonable to expect a major famine coming on the heals of an economic collapse. Raising food would be a good way to attract starving looters from miles around.

Ever try to pack a year’s supply of food for a family into a small van or car? There isn’t much room left over. But the backpack survivalist needs more than just food.

If he lives in a cold climate (or thinks there might be something to the nuclear winter theory) then he’ll need some heavy clothing.

Rifles, medicine, ammunition, tools, and other supplies will also increase what he’ll need to be taking or which he’ll have to hide away at his retreat site.

Shelter? Building a place to live (in any style other than early-American caveman) takes time. If he builds a cabin beforehand, he may find it vandal- ized or occupied when he gets to his retreat; if he doesn’t build it before- hand, he may have to live in his vehicle or a primitive shelter of some sort.

Thus, a major problem is to get a large enough vehicle to carry everything he needs as well as to live in.

History has shown that cities empty themselves without official evacuation orders when things look bad. It happened in WW II and has even happened in the US during approaching hurricanes, large urban fires, and nuclear reactor problems.

So there’s a major problem of timing which the backpack survivalist must contend with. He has to be packed and ready to go with all members of his family at the precise moment he learns of the disaster! The warning he gets that warrants evacuating an area will have to be acted on quickly if he’s to get out ahead of the major traffic snarls that will quickly develop. A spouse at work or shopping or kids across town at school means he’ll either have to leave them behind or be trapped in the area he’s in. A choice not worth having to make.

Unless he’s got a hot-line from the White House, the backpack survivalist will not hear the bad news much ahead of everyone else. If he doesn’t act immediately, he’ll be trapped out on the road and get a first-hand idea of what grid-lock is like if he’s in an urban area. Even out on the open road, far away from a city, an interstate can become hectic following a ballgame… Imagine what it would be like if everyone were driving for their lives, some cars were running out of fuel (and the occupants trying to stop someone for a ride), and the traffic laws were being totally ignored while the highway patrol tried to escape along with everyone else. Just trying to get off or on major highways might become impossible. If things bog down, how long can the backpack survivalist keep those around from helping to unload his truck-load of supplies that they’ll be in bad need of?

Telling them they should have prepared ahead of time won’t get many sympathetic words.

Even on lightly-traveled roadways, how safe would it be to drive around in a vehicle loaded with supplies? Our backpack survivalist will need to defend himself.

But let’s suppose that he’s thought all this out. He has a large van, had the supplies loaded in it, managed to round every member of his family up beforehand, somehow got out of his area ahead of the mob, is armed to the teeth, and doesn’t need to take an interstate route.

When he reaches his destination, his troubles are far from over.

The gridlock and traffic snarls won’t stop everyone. People will slowly be coming out of heavily populated areas and most of them will have few supplies.

They will have weapons (guns are one of the first things people grab in a crisis according to civil defense studies) and the evacuees will be desperate. How many pitched battles will the survivalist’s family be able to endure? How much work–or even sleep–can he get when he’s constantly on the lookout to repel those who may be trying to get a share of his supplies?

This assumes that he gets to where he’s going ahead of everyone else. He might not though. If he has to travel for long, he may discover squatters on his land or find that some local person has staked out his retreat area for their own. There won’t be any law to help out; what happens next? Since (according to military strategists) our backpack survivalist needs about three times as many people to take an area as to defend it, he will need to have some numbers with him and expect to suffer some casualties. Does that sound like a good way to survive?

What about the local people that don’t try to take over his retreat before he gets there? Will they be glad to see another stranger move into the area to tax their limited supplies? Or will they be setting up roadblocks to turn people like the backpack survivalist away?

But let’s just imagine that somehow he’s discovered a place that doesn’t have a local population and where those fleeing cities aren’t able to get to. What happens when he gets to his retreat? How good does he need to be at hunting and fishing? One reason mankind went into farming was that hunting and fishing don’t supply enough food for a very large population nor do they work during times of drought or climatic disruption. What does he do when he runs out of ammunition or game? What happens if the streams become so contaminated that he can’t safely eat what he catches? Can he stake out a large enough area to guarantee that he won’t depleat it of game so that the next year is not barren of animals?

Farming? Unless he finds some unclaimed farm machinery and a handy storage tank of gasoline at his retreat, he’ll hardly get off first base. Even primitive crop production requires a plow and work animals (or a lot of manpower) to pull the blade. No plow, no food for him or domestic animals.

And domestic animals don’t grow on trees. Again, unless he just happens to find some cows waiting for him at his retreat, he’ll be out of luck. (No one has packaged freeze-dried cows or chickens–at least, not in a form you can reconstitute into living things).

Intensive gardening? Maybe. But even that takes a lot of special tools, seeds, know-how, and good weather. Can he carry what he needs and have all the skills that can be developed only through experience?

Even if he did, he might not have any food to eat. Pestilence goes hand in hand with disasters. Our modern age has forgotten this. But during a time when chemical factories aren’t churning out the insecticides and pest poisons we’ve come to rely on, our backpack survivalist should be prepared for waves of insects flooding into any garden he may create. How good is he at making insecticides? Even if he carries out a large quantity of chemicals to his retreat, how many growing seasons will they last?

Did he truck out a lot of gasoline and an electrical generator with him? No? Do you REALLY think he can create an alcohol still from scratch in the middle of no-where without tools or grain? Then he’d better write off com- munications, lighting, and all the niceties of the 20th Century after his year’s supply of batteries wear out and his vehicle’s supply of gasoline conks out.

I’m afraid we’ve only scratched the surface though.

Thus far things have been going pretty well. What happens when things get really bad? How good is he at removing his spouse’s appendix–without electric lights, pain killers, or antiseptic conditions? Campfire dental work, anyone?

How good is he at making ammunition? Clothing? Shoes?

I think you’ll have to agree that this hardly seems like survival in style. Even if our backpack survivalist is able to live in the most spartan of conditions and has the know-how to create plenty out of the few scraps around him, he’ll never have much of a life ahead of him.

Camping out is fun for a few days. Living in rags like a hunted animal doesn’t sound like an existence to be aimed for.

The bottom line with backpack fever is that, with any major disaster that isn’t extremely localized, running is a panic reaction not a survival strate- gy. Running scared is seldom a good survival technique and backpack fever during any but a localized disaster (like a flood or chemical spill) looks like it would be a terminal disease with few, rare exceptions.

So what’s the alternative?

A number of writers, from Kurt Saxon to Howard Ruff, have already sug- gested it but I think that it bears a retelling.

What they’ve said is this: get yourself situated in a small community that could get by without outside help if things came unglued nationally or internationally. Find a spot that allows you to live in the life-style you’ve grown accustomed to (and a community that allows you to carry on your liveli- hood) but which has the ability to grow its own food and protect its people from the unprepared (or looters) that might drift in from surrounding cities during a crisis. This spot has the ability to carry on trade within its borders and has a number of people who can supply specialized products or professional skills.

An area with two thousand to five thousand people in it along with a surrounding farm community would be ideal but sizes can vary a lot according to the climate and city. Ideally such a town would have its own power plant with a few small industries along with the usual smattering of doctors, dentists, and other professionals.

This type of community isn’t rare in the US. It’s quite common in almost every state. You could probably even take a little risk and commute into a city if you must keep your current job. (In such a case a reverse backpack survival strategy just might work–you’d be bugging out to your home.)

Western civilization stepped out of the dark ages when small communities started allowing people to specialize in various jobs. Rather than each many being his own artisan, farmer, doctor, carpenter, etc., men started learning to master one job they enjoyed doing. Each man become more efficient at doing a job and–through the magic of capitalism–western culture finally started upward again.

A small modern community like the one suggested above, when faced with a national economic collapse or the aftermath of a nuclear war, would eventually lift itself up the same way. It would give those who lived in it the same chance for specialization of work and the ability to carry on mutual trade, support, and protection. Such small communities will be the few light spots in a Neo-Dark Age.

Which place would you rather be: in a cave, wondering where the food for tomorrow would come from, or with a group of people living in their homes, working together to overcome their problems? Even the most individualistic of survivalists shouldn’t find the choice too hard to make.

Sanitation: Post SHTF

Sanitation Post SHTF (Before #&*! Hits the Floor)

When I first starting looking at alternative options for a sanitation system, in case the grid went down. I thought of buying a composting toilet. This was primarily for a bus that Im rebuilding. At close to two grand for a small model seemed way out of my price range. Ive had to use chemical porta-potty’s in the past and absolutely dispise having to empty them. They also need cleaning every few days. A composting version may only need emptying every few months. Depending on use. For short term use I brought a Reliance Luggable Loo, essentually a bucket with a toilet seat for a lid which requires the following to operate. Which is not really a sustainable longer term option.�
Supplies for Emergency Sanitation Toilet�
Plastic or metal 5 gallon bucket.�
5 gallon bucket snap on toilet seat lid.�
Heavy duty plastic trash bags large enough to line the 5 gallon bucket with room to spare.�
50# Bag of powdered, chlorinated lime. This product is also referred to as calcium Hypochlorite or Bleaching Powder and can be found at pool supply stores.�
Borax found at your local grocery store.�
Spoon with long handle.�
Toilet Paper�

Tips on Using Your Emergency Sanitation Toilet�
Line your 5 gallon bucket with heavy duty plastic bags.Never let your bucket get more than half full before disposing of waste.After each use of the toilet, use the spoon with long handle to scoop about a tablespoon of powdered, chlorinated lime on the waste. This helps to break down the waste.After each use of the toilet, use the spoon with long handle to scoop about a tablespoon of borax on the waste. This helps to reduce odors.When you need to dispose of the waste, find a location at least 48′ from any dwelling, water supply, animals, and garden. Dig a hole at least 18 inches deep and at least 48′ downstream or away from any water source (Dogs can smell through dirt up to 16 inches and they will dig up human waste) Place the bag full of waste in the hold and bury. Mark the site for future removal if it becomes necessary.�

Items to store in the bucket:�
5 Gallon Bucket w/ Snap-on Toilet Seat Lid�
2 rolls Toilet Paper�
1 Disinfectant Wipes 35 ct (for cleaning)�
1 pkg Wet Wipes 90 ct�
2 pr Latex Gloves�
1 Hand Sanitizer�
12 Bio-Blue Deodorizing Packets�
6 Double Doodie Plus w/ Gel Toilet Bags�

I then discovered the Humanure Handbook and lovable Loo’s. Simple construction and they only require the use of saw dust to break down waste. Cant get much easier than that, for emergency use and will look quite good in my bus. Simply cover waste with a layer of saw dust and when the bucket is filled to the correct height, cover with a lid and exchange buckets for later composting�

Disaster Toilet�

Humanure Handbook PDF�

Build your own Waterless toilet�

Budget Composting toilets�

Lovable Loo�



How to build a Saw Dust Toilet�

Sawdust Toilets�

Home Made Composting Toilets�

Survival Fishing

Survival Fishing PT 1

Gill Nets:�
The Easy, Efficient Way to Catch Fish

Generally any type of fish net is an offense to the average recreational sport fisherman. For these individuals fishing is only a hobby or a sport and his fishing success or failure each day does not impact the future survival of his family. On the other hand, if his family’s survival depended not only on his ability to catch fish but also on his ability to do a wide variety of other chores every day, then the average sport fisherman would probably change his opinion about fish nets.�
Gill Net Basics

There are a lot of different types and designs of fish nets. This article will only discuss one type of fish net that is called a “Gill Net.” Gill Nets have been the subject of several different research studies in a variety of states including Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Canada. These studies date back to the 1970s. These studies include tests using both monofilament nets and nylon nets, in a variety of different mesh sizes, in side-by-side comparisons that were conducted during all twelve months of the year. The average results from these different studies have been consolidated and included in the test result summaries that appear below.�

Applications: Gill nets may be used in either fresh water or salt water.�

Mesh Size: Nets are classified based on the size of the mesh. The mesh opening is formed into a square and the length of any one side of the square is referred to as the size of the mesh.�

The size of the mesh will determine the size of the fish caught in the net. For example, an average size mesh will allow smaller fish to swim through the net. Larger fish will not be able to enter the mesh. A fish of the proper average size will be able to push its head through the net but it fins will prevent it from swimming through the net. When it tries to back out of the net the fish will get caught by its gills and the fish will be trapped.�

Tests conducted on different mesh sizes yielded the following results:Mesh sizes of 1 inch or less capture too many small fish that are not big enough to eat. This is wasteful because these small fish will not have the opportunity to grow into a size that would provide a “good meal.”Mesh sizes of 2 inches or more allow too many average size good quality edible fish to escape. However, if you are only interested in the larger, longer, heavier fish then this larger mesh size is more effective for capturing these bigger fish. For the average fish, the most efficient mesh size is between 1 1/2 inches to 1 5/8 inches (3.8 cm to 4.1 cm). This size mesh will catch the maximum number of fish of average edible size, plus a reasonable number of larger fish. It will also catch more total pounds of edible fish each day.

Gill Net Dimensions: The length and width of your Gill Net should be based on where you intend to use your net. If you will be using your net in a gentle flowing river or stream, and the stream is only 15 feet across and only three feet deep, then a 12-foot by 4-foot Gill Net would work well. But if you are using your net in a huge lake (or other body of water) that is 15 or more feet deep, then a 50-foot by 10-foot Gill Net would be a better choice.�

Harvesting: Several fish can be caught during one day with a Gill Net. Therefore, you should check your Gill Net at least once per day and remove the fish and then reset the net. If you catch more fish than your family can eat in one day, then you should not reset your net until your family has consumed all the fish you have already caught. However, if you have the means to preserve your catch of fresh fish for future consumption, then you may reset your net immediately.�

Cleaning: Nets cleaned of debris once each day are twice as efficient as nets that are only cleaned once every two days.�

Location: Fish are somewhat territorial. Therefore when your daily catch starts to decline then it is time to move your net to a new location.�

Storage: When you are not using your Gill Net you should store it inside a plastic bucket, or a plastic container, or a Ziplock Freezer bag. Punch several small holes in the storage device so moisture can gradually drain out and evaporate, and the net can gradually dry out.�

Gill Net Material

Gill Nets may be made from two basic types of fishing line: monofilament or nylon.

Some commercial fishermen will only use nets made from one or the other of these materials. Their choice is based on their past experience in their specific fishing region and the type of fish in that region. If you know any of these experienced commercial fishermen then you should ask them for their advice on this topic. Most of these fishermen will probably be happy to share their knowledge with you. However, I suggest that you speak to at least two or three different fishermen to get a better idea of what works best for the average fishermen in your area. If you do not know any commercial fishermen then the following advantages and disadvantages of the different types of fishing nets may help you to make the best choice for your particular future application:�

Monofilament nets have the following advantages:

They can be set and retrieved faster.

They experience fewer tangle problems.

On the average, they incur less damage than a nylon net.

They do not adhere to twigs, sticks, or weeds and therefore these items may be more easily removed from the net.

A monofilament net is much easier to clean than a nylon net.

Fish may be removed faster and easier from a monofilament net.

They are clear and they can’t be seen by the fish. Therefore they catch more fish during the day and at twilight.

They catch more different types of fish.

They catch more total fish of the same type.

On the average, a monofilament net will catch twice as many pounds of fish as a nylon net.

Monofilament nets have the following disadvantages:

They are more expensive than nylon nets.

They are not as flexible as nylon nets.

The mesh does not stick to the fish as easily as nylon nets. Therefore it is possible for a fish to more easily escape from the net if it is not entangled in some other way in the net.

In the dark of night a monofilament net has the same efficiency as a nylon net.

Nylon nets have the following advantages:

They are usually less expensive than monofilament nets.

They are more flexible and therefore they more easily cling to the fish.

They will gradually become stained the same color as the water in which they are set. This will gradually make them more difficult to see. Therefore, do not try to wash the water stains off a nylon net.

Nylon nets have the following disadvantages:

In addition to fish, nylon nets also more easily cling to everything else, including all types of sticks, twigs, and weeds. Therefore, nylon nets are very difficult to clean.

It is more difficult to remove fish from a nylon net.

Nylon nets tangle up more easily and they are more difficult to untangle.

The State of Louisiana conducted a two-year test on Gill Nets that ended in 1981. They tested both monofilament nets and nylon nets in a variety of different mesh sizes. The different nets were sewn together side-by-side and they were used in the same waters at exactly the same time. Most species of fish could be caught by either net. However, thirteen different species of fish could only be caught in the monofilament webbing. And four species of fish could only be caught in the nylon webbing. Overall the most efficient mesh size for both monofilament nets and nylon nets was 1 5/8 inch (approximately 4 cm).�

Therefore, unless I had a very good reason to use a nylon net, then I would personally prefer to have a Gill Net made from monofilament line instead of nylon line. The reason is because monofilament line is more versatile, and it will capture more different types of fish, and it will capture more total pounds of fish each day.�

Gill Net Construction

Use braided nylon cord or braided polypropylene cord or parachute cord for the top support line of the Gill Net. This “Top Cord” should be between 1/8-inch to 3/16-inch in diameter. The length will depend on how big a Gill Net you wish to construct. A good size Gill Net� has a 13-foot long “Top Cord.” Use medium or heavy weight fishing line for the mesh. The weight of the fishing line should be based on:

The maximum size fish normally caught in your area (the weight of one fish).

The size or total square footage of your Gill Net (the total number of fish that will be captured each day).

10-pound to 15-pound fishing line is adequate for smaller nets (12-feet by 4-feet) and average size fish (one or two-pound fish).

20-pound to 30-pound fishing line will be needed for larger nets (25 feet by 8-feet) and larger size fish (three pound or larger fish).

If you will be using your Gill Net in a variety of different areas to catch a variety of different types of fish then a 25-pound line is a good choice.

For a 12-foot long net, cut a 26-foot long piece of fishing line. This will be used to tie your top row of Gill Net diagonals.

Tie the fishing line into a mesh pattern going from left-to-right to the thin nylon top cord at 1.5-inch intervals (4 cm) with a 60-degree angle going down to a temporary support stick and a 60-degree angle going back up to the thin nylon top cord with an up and down length of approximately 1.5-inch in each direction. (Note: Some sources recommend tying the line from right-to-left instead of left-to-right. Depending on whether you are right-handed or left-handed, you may do it the way that is most comfortable for you.) The long wood stick or piece of wire will keep the fishing line from becoming tangled. Tie the fishing line to the thin nylon top cord. Continue looping the fishing line around the wood stick and tying the fishing line to the thin nylon top cord until you reach the right end of your Gill Net. Then tie the fishing line to a straight piece of nylon cord that will run from the top to the bottom of the Gill Net.

Note: Instead of two thin wood sticks you could use two plastic water pipes. The Top Cord should be lying flat against the pipe. The equation for the circumference of a circle is C = (3.1416) X (diameter). A one-inch outside diameter pipe will have a circumference of approximately 3.14-inches which will yield a finished square mesh size of approximately 1.57 inches or a little less than 1 5/8 inches. A 1.25-inch outside diameter pipe will yield a square mesh of approximately 2-inches. A 1.5-inch outside diameter pipe will yield a square mesh of approximately 2 3/8 inches. One side of the square mesh will be approximately equal to one-half the circumference around the outside of the pipe.

Cut another 26-foot long piece of fishing line. This will form your second row of Gill Net diagonals. You will need a second wood stick or piece of wire to hold the bottom of this piece of fishing line stable just like you did on the top row of fishing line diagonals. Tie the fishing line to the bottom of each loop of the top fishing line with a knot, then loop around the bottom stick, and repeat until you reach the end of your Gill Net. At this time you can remove the upper stick and use it for your next row of diagonals.

The interior mesh diagonals will be two sizes. The shorter diagonal (side to side) will be approximately 1.5-inches (4 cm) wide, and the longer diagonal (top to bottom) will be approximately 2.5-inches (6.3 cm) long. However, this net would be called a 1.5-inch mesh (4 cm) because the mesh could be stretched into a 1.5-inch square. To create this finished pattern, tie a knot every 1.5-inches. The size of the opening should be based on the average size of the head of the fish in your area. The head of the fish should be able to enter the net up to a point past its gills. However, the body of the fish should not be able to pass completely through the opening in the net. If the fish in your area are larger than normal, then you should increase the size of the diagonals by tying the individual knots further apart than 1.5-inches, such as 1.75-inches, or 2-inches, or 2.25 inches, or 2.5-inches (4.4 cm to 6.3 cm).

Cut a second long piece of thin nylon cord about 13-foot long and tie it to bottom of the mesh diagonals so it can be used to anchor the Gill Net to the bottom of the river after it is placed in the water. Remove and discard the two wood sticks that were used to keep the fishing line from becoming tangled during construction. Your finished Gill Net should look something like the illustration below. (Note: The length and width are approximate sizes and your net may be

How to Use a Gill Net

Gill Nets are generally not used like a conventional fish net. A conventional fish net is cast into the water in the hope that it will fall over the fish and capture the fish inside the net. A Gill Net is typically not used this way. A Gill Net also does not use any fish hooks. The correct way to use a Gill Net is to tie a long rope to each of the top corners of the Gill Net. Later you will use these ropes to pull the net of fish from the water.�

There are two basic types of Gill Nets:

Tie-Down (TD) Nets: Used in flowing water (rivers and streams). A Tie-Down Net has a bottom line and weights are attached to the bottom line to hold the net in position in the moving water.

Flag Nets: Used in still waters (ponds and lakes). A Flag Net has a top line but it usually does not have a bottom line. It is supported by the top line in a manner similar to a cloth flag that is hung on a flag pole by one side of the cloth flag. However, a flag net is hung straight down into the water and not out to the side like a cloth flag blowing in the wind. Floats may or may not be attached along the top line of either a Tie-Down Net or a Flag Net depending on your specific application. There are a variety of different ways to use the above two different types of Gill Nets:

Moving Water Tie-Down Net (Gentle Stream or Gentle River): Secure the end of each rope to a tree or other stationary object near the water so the net can be stretched straight across the water. Tie several weights (rocks) to the bottom of the Gill Net. Drop the weighted bottom of the net into a stream or river. If possible, the entire net should be under water. The fish will not see the thin mesh of the net and the fish will swim into it. Small fish will swim through. But the head of a larger fish will enter the net but its body will not pass through the net. The front gills of the fish will become caught in the net as it tries to free itself. (Note: Do not attempt to use a Gill Net in a fast moving stream because any large foreign objects floating down the stream will rip the Gill Net to pieces.)

Still Water Flag Net (Lake or Pond): Secure the end of each rope to a tree branch near the water so the net can be stretched straight across the curved bank of a lake. The tree branch should have some flexibility in it so the Gill Net can move one or two-feet with the swimming action of a fish. Do not attach any weights to the lower edge of the Gill Net. Lower the net into the lake or pond.

Side, Middle, and Top Net Catch: The fish will swim into the net and the net will move forward with the fish for a short distance. When the net begins to slow the fish down and the fish feels the net against its body, the fish will try to turn and get out of the net. But the sides of the net will cling to the fish and the fish will get tangled up inside the net.

Bottom Net Catch: Lower the net until about six to twelve-inches of the net is lying on the bottom of the pond. If a fish swims towards the lower part of the net and turns away from the net, the turning action of the fish will cause the bottom of the net to rise up and surround the fish. As the fish tries to escape it will become entangled in the bottom of the net.

Deep Water Flag Net: Determine the depth of the water by tying a heavy rock to a long nylon rope and then lower the rope until the rock touches the bottom of the lake. When your raise the rope you can determine how deep the water is at that location. Tie a nylon rope that is one-foot wider than the net to each of the top two corners of the net. For example, if you have a 12-foot long by 4-foot wide net, then tie a 5-foot rope to each top end of the 12-foot long net. Tie a weight to the bottom end of each of these 5-foot short ropes. Then tie two more long ropes to the top edge of the 12-foot long net. These two long ropes will need to be long enough so they can be tied to two trees on the bank of the lake. Tie some type of float (piece of wood) to these ropes at the exact depth that you want the net to be under water. Lower the net down into the water and then secure the ends of the long ropes to some trees on the bank of the lake.

(Rope Note: Instead of cutting your nylon rope to the desired lengths it is better to simply tie one really long rope to the top edge of the Gill Net so that approximately 5-feet of the rope extends down the side of the net. Tie a rock to this short end of the rope. Then tie the long end of the rope to a tree on the bank of the lake. Any rope that is left over can be coiled around the tree trunk or it can be coiled onto the ground beside the tree. This will allow you to keep your ropes at their maximum length for use in a variety of different deep water applications.) In deep waters you should experiment and determine if the Gill Net is more effective in one of the following two situations: When its lower edge is about one-foot above the bottom of the lake, or when it has one-foot of its lower edge lying on the bottom of the lake (tie rocks higher on the short ropes).

Shallow Water Flag Net: In shallow water the Gill Net may be used like a conventional fish net. If you have a partner then your partner should hold one side of the net and you should hold the other side. If you don’t have a partner then you could hold one side of the net in each hand, or you could secure one side of the net to a tree that is growing close to the water. Lower the bottom of the Gill Net down into the water so that the bottom of the net touches the bottom of the stream bed. Pull the net through the water and towards the bank of the stream. Remove any fish that are caught inside the net. This technique is extremely effective when you can actually see the fish swimming in the shallow waters of the stream.�

Emergency Survival Tie-Down Net: In a true survival situation a Gill Net may also be used as a Weighted Net to capture birds or small animals. Tie several small rocks to various locations around the outside edge of your net and then toss the weighted net so that it falls over the bird or the animal on the ground, or over the small bush in which the bird has nested. Please consult any good wilderness survival manual to learn more about how to use a Weighted Net in this manner.�

Survival fishing PT 2

Survival Fishing kit

I have a rather large collection of bush craft books and DVDs, in which fishing kits are always mentioned but the makeup of them is usually left random or very basic to cover all areas. I’ve found when fishing if I use any old hook and rig in the hope of catching whatever fish maybe passing, the only thing I catch is a cold.�

By targeting specific species of fish my luck improves and I usually leave with a feed. This kit is set up to target the main species of fish in the areas that I like to travel and camp around and can be used in three states. The main species are Redfin and trout being introduced. Golden or Silver Perch, Murray Cod, and Tandanus Catfish being the native species to my local area.�

Let me make it plain from the start that I’m not an expert fisherman. I tend to read a lot on subjects that interest me and pick up enough hints and suggestions that allow me to modify these to suit myself and particular circumstances. With enough research this system tends to work well for me or at least allow me to ask the right questions.�

In the book “The River behind the hill” by Philip Weigall, suggests that the following 12 fly’s can be used 90% of the time for southern Australian conditions. Bead-headed Brown Nymph, Tom Jones, Rick Keam Hopper, Foam-Headed Emerger, Brown Nymph, Geehi Beetle, Fuzzy Wuzzy, Black Muddler, Barry Lodge Emerger, Red Tag, Orange Spinner and Royal Wulff. �

In my fishing kit I keep these and the following items. �

Small bright orange floats

Nylon Leader Material

Small Split Shot (snow bee removable assorted sizes)

Assorted� Hooks-Partridge size 8 wide mouth, Gamakatsu size 6 shiner wide mouth, Octopus size 10

Double Taper floating fly line cut in half

Timber Eye Screws – Small

2mm nylon cord for set lines

Gill net

3/0 hook for use as a gaff�

I dont like using nylon. It tangles and degrades after time. I was at a local trout fishing farm and the owner had several handlines set up for children using fly line. It was a lot easier for them to real in and not cut their hands or tangle. I use old fly line that has too many abrasions for feeding through snake guides. I usually buy double taper so when end become too rough, swap it around to use the other end to extend its life. When both are about to be replaced, cut it in half for survival kit use giving me about 30 metres of line and then use about 3 foot of nylon for leader material.This gives me a handline, but I also like having a couple of lengths of 2mm cord thats used for crab pots just to bait of a night and cast out and have set lines. These get checked and rebaited morning and night.What method I use depends on the type of stream or current. A strong current will just sweep set lines back into the bank unless placing them on a bend where they can pulled out into the current.This allows me to fish and not have to be present.The same goes for using a gill net which are usually illegal to use for fishing other than in a survival situation.A handline lets you work a stream by casting into different places along a bank. If fish arent in one position they may be in another.�

I don’t carry lures as I’ve never had much success with them in the smaller creeks I like to fish in. I just seem to scare the fish; I’d rather stick to flies as I’m more familiar with them. If setting up fishing kit for the northern end of the country this would swap around to all lures and no flies.�

If you want a quick meal, bait wins out every time, though there are times when it’s scarce hence the flies. I carry wide mouth hooks as where I like to camp there is always an abundance of river fish and these seem to work better than others I’ve tried. As native fish have very large mouths. It’s also very easy to thread bait shrimp onto large mouth hooks.�

If you’re in an area for a while, fresh water crayfish traps, gill nets, shrimp pots and fish traps are a lot more reliable way of providing a meal than a hook and line. However these are difficult to carry with in a bob, due to weight and size restrictions. Set lines are the best bet in this case.�

I don’t worry about a spear head as most of the streams are not clear enough for its use and making one is quite simple if a spear is needed. Crawford Knives make an attachable three pronged head that screw’s straight to a walking staff and is quite a handy item to have.�

The leader material used is the Water king brand. This is a hard nylon designed to be used as a leader therefore thinner in diameter yet also stronger. This is the heaviest weight that I found that would thread through the eye size of the flies selected. �

This kit is set up from doing research to suit the areas that I intend to fish. To cover the entire country would require at least three different set ups needing different fly, lure, hook and leader combinations.�

For South Australia I would remove the Rick Keam Hopper and Black Muddler, for Tasmania I would use the following flies:

Barry lodge Emerger, Black Deer Hair, Black Spinner, Matchams Caenid, Fiery Brown Beatle, Highland Dun, Nobby Hopper, Pot Scrubber Nymph, Rabbit Fur Fly, Red Tag, Sunset Fly, Thong, Wigrams Robin, Wooly Bugger.�

I’ve tried to keep the list of flies to around an even dozen for each region to keep down cost, choice and ease of choosing a pattern for non fly fishers. As anyone Knows that has fished flies or lures, the collection can become ridiculas. My current boxes are filled with too many of the following to bother counting; dries, nymphs, bead headed, emergers, hoppers, wets, mud eye patterns and most of these I’ve yet to use. At the moment all that seems to work in the areas I venture are small dark nymphs, floaters for small streams and weighted for deeper dams. �

I mainly fish in smaller creeks hence the use of flies for a more delicate presentation to reduce the likely hood spooking trout. However when I have access to larger streams I use lures. The selection of lures in terms of size and colour are similar to fly selection in that the larger the target fish the larger the lure. Small lures can also catch large fish but not necessarily vise versa. It also pays to try and match the lure or fly to the hatch or local bait fish. When choosing colours it’s probably easier to separate the times of day into morning, daytime and evening.�

Early morning I prefer to use natural colours such as gold’s, browns and bronzes with a slight splash of brighter colours. During the middle of the day when fish aren’t as likely to feed I tend to use the more traditional predominantly bright colours of green, reds, etc to trigger an aggression response from predatory species. As the sun lowers I start using darker lures to create a greater contrast or better silhouette. Lures with black or purple colour schemes are ones to go for.Then gently drift the flies or bait over likely places the fish maybe lying, around snags, undercurrents near the banks, overhanging trees and the edges of swift flows where insects tend to be swept. �

When practicing survival fishing, using only the contents of my kit. I use the Huckleberry Finn method of using a thin sapling around nine or ten feet in length with the line tied to the end in several places with Clove Hitches in case of breakages or instead of using knots to attach the line to a makeshift rod, small eye screws can be carried and threaded into a sapling to act as eyelets allowing basic fly casting techniques to be used.�

Then gently drift the flies or bait over likely places the fish maybe lying, around snags, undercurrents near the banks, overhanging trees and the edges of swift flows where insects tend to be swept. Amazingly I catch more fish using this method than with any of my fancier gear. This may be due to spending more time stalking and not disturbing the area such as a poacher might do.�

The 3/0 hook is another experiment. Ive never needed a gaff other than when fishing for snapper, but when fishing from a bank with light line and no way to collect a fish from a drop may come in handy at times and doesnt take up much room and takes only a minute to attach to a branch. Floats also act as bite indicators, when ever a float bobs under the surface a fish has taken the bait.�

The floats are there to adjust the height of the line sitting in the current for fish that feed at different levels.The same for choosing split shot over other sinker styles. they can be removed without having to untie a rig or placed at different heights within the rig.The timber eye screws are a project of trying to make a rod from a branch that allows me to cast out flys like a normal rod would. Having mixed results so far depending on the age/dryness and type of timber used.Mainly trying this to give me a little more range in casting.��

Survival Fishing PT 3

Set Lines

Set Lines Intro

For our purposes there are four types of set lines, two that require some sort of boat. The first is a trot line that that is a horizontal mainline running between both banks with vertical trots hanging from the mainline with leaders running from the trots at various depths. This method really requires a boat to set, unless wanting to swim across a creek with 20 or so hooks free floating around your ankles. the advantage of this set up is that both sides and the middle of the stream are covered aswell as the bottom feeders and surface feeding fish. The disadvantages are requiring a boat and possibly having the mainline severed by anything large floating down stream or another boat etc.�

The second set line is simply a line tied to the bank with multiple hooks attached. This can incoperate a float or simply be a weighted line. Once again having a float will allow bottom feeders and surface feeders to be targeted. During the heat of the day, surface feeders will swim lower in a stream to stay cool even if not on the bite may take bait if opportunisitc. A line tied a branch at ground level, in a strong current will be pulled back into the bank. Tying at a low level will help hide the line but may need to be tied at a higher level, say to a tree branch so it hangs mid stream in strong currents. This is called limb lining.�

Jug Fishing Intro

There are two types of jug lines, one is the free-floating jugline and the other is the anchored jugline. The free floating once again requires a boat to set them from shore. the anchored is essentually a set line using a floating system attached. These can be made high tech or simply. Any float from a shop brought to a coke bottle can do for an anchored jugline. The high tech versions contain weights spread within the float, so when a fish takes the bait the weights will slide to one end making the float stand upright as a bite indicator. This is a good set up if exclusively using jugs for fishing with lots of fish present. I tend to just use an anchored jugline with no weights as I set them at dusk and recheck in the morning and rebait as often as possible. Leaving them set and not checking or rebaiting because the float isnt standing may also mean smaller fish have come and taken all the bait.�



The major advantage of free floating juglines is that you can cover a lot of water and the let the bait go to the fish, instead of waiting for the fish to come to the bait. The biggest disadvantage of free floating the juglines is that there is no weight to hold the jugline in place so either wind or fish can carry them a long way if your not careful.Free-floating juglines must be attended to. You cannot leave them for long periods of time, because doing so will only cause you to lose jugs. A big fish can really move a jugline with no weight on it a long way in a short period of time.

Anchored juglines are the method that is typically preferred by fishermen that fish lakes and reservoirs. Anchored juglines are setup with “drops” or “trots” off of the mainline and then a weight is tied to the end of the line. The weight is placed on the bottom of the lake or reservoir. This weight not only keeps the jugline in place while you are waiting to get a bite, but also helps tire fish out if you land a big fish on your jugline and greatly reduces the amount of area you have to search for your juglines.

Anchored juglines can also be left in the water for extended periods of time and do not have to be constantly watched and attended to. Many anglers will set anchored juglines in the water and leave them while they rod and reel fish or even go home and come back several hours later to “run their jugs”.

The number of hooks employed on anchored juglines is dependent on your local laws, and personal preference. Some anglers use as many as five hooks on one anchored jugline. I recommend using no more than two hooks, because anymore than that creates issues with tangling, but also can be very dangerous. A fifty-pound angry catfish on the bottom of a jug can really be dangerous if there is more than 2 hooks on the jugline. Using only 2 hooks makes the whole process much faster, and safer.

The major advantage of anchored juglines is they do not have to be attended to constantly, and they are typically much easier to locate and keep up with. 99% of the time they are exactly where you left them. The disadvantage of anchored juglines vs. free-floating jugs is that you lose the ability to cover a tremendous amount of water and put the bait in front of the fish. With an anchored jug line you have to wait for the fish to come to you.�

by Keith A. Williams

While speaking to some children the other day at the local boat landing, I became saddened at the realization that there were so many young people who apparently are growing up without even the basic understanding of the practical fishing techniques that had once been considered to be such an important part of every day life in my childhood. With this in mind, I’d like to take a moment to talk a little about Set Hooks and Trotlines. �

When I was little, it was not uncommon to see people using what were known as bank poles. This was usually a bamboo pole with a fishing line attached to one end, and the other, sharper end simply stuck into the bank. If set up properly, this could hold a large fish or even a small gator, but if done poorly, you might well find yourself sitting in the mud while watching your pole swim away. With that in mind, a better configuration was to have a small forked stick to support the pole a little way up the shaft. This kept the lower end in position and allowed the upper end to arch and bend like a regular fishing pole without much fear of having the whole setup being pulled into the water. Although these are quite effective, their usage first requires finding suitable bamboo poles and then having to carry them to the fishing locations and this generally sees their usage in limited numbers. �

A more popular concept is that of the Set Hook. Whether they know them as set hooks, bush hooks, set lines, limb lines, throw lines, or some other name, variations can be found most everywhere, and have been a long-time standard means of catching larger numbers of fish in a given time frame. It has been said that they do this with less effort, but that is debatable as checking them properly can be a considerable amount of work.

Jug hooks are just short set hooks which have been tied to floating plastic bottles or jugs. These can also be effective, but I prefer not to use them as you have to float along with them and I dislike having to keep track of many non-biodegradable objects that have been dumped into the water. They also have a nasty habit of getting all tangled up on snags as they work their way downstream. �

Set hooks are generally simple in construction. You need a strong cord, lead egg sinker, and a suitable hook. The sinker is necessary in current or your bait will be constantly floating on the surface and be much less effective. I like to attach my sinker about twelve inches up from the hook to keep it near the bottom. �

There are two schools of thought for length. One method employs putting live bait, just at or below the water’s surface so that it can move and splash around a bit and the other is to set the bait near the bottom. Up here where I now reside, they have this choice easier for me, as it is illegal to use live bait for these methods. With a little bit of imagination, though- this no longer posed a problem. My original lines were only eight feet long and in order to get them near the bottom of even the small creek near my house, I attached two foot leaders to them to act as extensions. Recently constructed models have been in eleven foot lengths to eliminate this problem. To hang them shorter, you can either tie them higher, or just leave more cord on your tag end when tying them off.

When setting a set hook, it is preferable to use a flexible limb hanging over the water’s edge. These can range in size from the diameter of your thumb, to about the size of a broom handle or so, and I use a simple slip knot to secure them to the limbs. I know this seems a little flimsy, but it is the springy action that keeps the fish from breaking your line. �

In previous years, it was common practice to make an effort to hide your lines, by making them as inconspicuous as possible and putting them very close to the water. Although this might have helped get a few more out than the legal limit, the main reason for doing this was because the world is full of lazy and dishonest people, and it was not unusual to find that someone had come along behind you and taken the liberty of checking your lines for you. When setting out fifty to one-hundred hooks in the dark, this required that you paid attention to where you left them (and no, the bushes do not all look alike). �

Well, as times have changed, I now find myself living in a house with only one small freezer – so setting out that many lines is just more than I need. I generally set out about 15 hooks at a time, and since the law now requires that every line must have your name and address on it, I find it easier to just go along with the program and flag my lines with neon colored tape, with the appropriate information written on it.

I never really expected the stuff to last very long, but have been pleasantly pleased with its durability. I also went a step further and put a small piece of reflective strip on the tag end of each line. This allows it to be seen for some distance away while using the light produced for a common flashlight or headlamp (preferred), and can be a real benefit when you have someone else running the boat. With these in place they can sweep the water’s edge with a spotlight, and quickly see the best route to navigate the way to several lines at one glance.

Sometimes you just can’t find a suitable limb in a spot that you think may be a prime location for a line. Whether this may be under a tree, stump, log jam, or just a snag sticking out of the water, all is not lost. The technique for this requires the addition of a short piece of bicycle inner tube with an overhand knot in each end. About five inches from end to end will do nicely. To employ this you tie off an existing line to the object, and tie one end near the top of the line, and then create a slack loop a little way down and then tie it off to the bottom of the section of tube. You can do this with an overhand knot, a couple of half hitches, or whatever other knot that you happen to be handy with, as long as it is secure. This works well, as when a fish runs with the bait, he will pull against the stretchy rubber instead of the unforgiving line, in the same fashion as the limber pole or branch. I have heard of people just tying on tubing without the loop or cord, but the cord is a better variation because should the fish ever succeed in breaking the tubing, the loop would still be attached and the fish would likely be too tired from its efforts to break the main line. These are so handy to have around; I advise having a few pre-made in advance. Just take care to check the tubing from time to time for dry rotting.

Careful consideration should be given to the hooks that you will be using. Some hooks offer better advantage for catching certain types of fish and, generally speaking, you can put more bait on a larger hook – and therefore it is possible to catch larger fish. While larger fish are a nice, there are larger numbers of smaller fish than larger fish in a given area, and they are often more tender to eat. In the end, the way you go about it will depend mostly on personal preference. When I was growing up, we fished for relatively large catfish, and therefore used large J-hooks, but I am in the process now of phasing them out in favor of circle hooks. These have an advantage of usually sliding out and hooking the fish at the corner of the mouth, and I have come to prefer them for catching catfish.

Whether or not you’ve actually used one, most of you have probably seen or heard of a Trotline. For anyone who hasn’t, we’ll take a brief look into trot lining. A trotline basically consists of a high tensile main line that is tied to an object and has many droppers (called trots) that hang beneath. Depending on how it is set up, it may employ several weights, floats, or both to manage fishing depth, but the end result is that it the individual lines will radiate out from the main line in the direction of the current.

Trotlines are fished from a boat, using a two man team – both for efficiency and safety, as with all those hooks and lines, it is never a good idea to run a trotline alone. One mans the motor, oar, or paddle from the stern of the boat, and one works the line from the bow. One end is typically tied to a bush or tree, and while the mainline is played out downstream, the hooks are set into the water one at a time. When the end of the line is reached, it is weighted down by some sort of improvised anchor. �

Although more area is covered if it is set out across the water way, this can cause a hazard for a boat motor if not set deep enough, and may be illegal in some areas. �

As with set hooks, construction of a trotline, can vary according to the materials you have on hand, type of vessel that you plan to fish it from, time and money that you wish to invest into it, and any number of other individual preferences. Some lines may have fixed trots, and some may be removable. Some may even allow you to change hook sizes without cutting the line. There really is no absolute method of construction – only what works best for your particular needs.

Commercially available versions can be purchased, but I have come up with definite preferences, and so find it more enjoyable to make my own. I like to use genuine parachute cord for my main line. It has an approximate breaking strength of 550 lbs. and its nylon construction handles repeated submersion very well. I make a loop in one end and attach a large stainless steel snap link to it. This allows someone who doesn’t do well with knots to reliably secure my line without my having to come back and cut it loose upon retrieval. I also flag this end in the same manner as my set hooks. Next I come down the line about 5 ft. and secure a dual ended swivel inside an overhand knot, and I put others all the way down the line at 5 ft. intervals. These will allow me to permanently attach my trots to my mainline and give the additional benefit of lessening the chance that a fish can wind my trot to the point of breakage. For individual trots, I generally prefer small diameter nylon cord similar to the parachute cord. This stuff is only rated at approx. 120 lb. breaking strength but it lasts practically forever.

Unfortunately, it is hard to find locally, and so I generally use the best quality line that I have access to. It is a good idea to keep trots at a shorter length as multiple lines and hooks lying across the bottom mean more opportunity for something to get tangled up, and short lines are less worrisome. I like to keep my trots between 15 and 30 inches, and put 13 of them per mainline. At the end of my line, I have another loop, and a smaller snap link. This allows me to quickly attach or remove a weight to the line, and also gives the option of quickly joining another trotline to the first without any trouble at all, should the situation call for it. �

Since I normally fish a slow moving creek, I normally use a 5 lb. weight as an anchor, but keep a cinder block available for faster water. Something to consider when attaching a weight is the possibility that a large fish may carry the line over to a log jam and hang it up. An option is to attach the link a mid-sized zip tie or other break-away device. By using this, it will function under normal conditions, but can be pulled free if necessary. �

If you want to have the ability of easily changing your hooks, then you’ll need to employ the use of smaller snap links at this time. These come in several sizes, and can support more than you might think, but good advice is to up one size than you think you’ll need. �

In closing, I realize that one can only be expected to gain a certain amount of information from an article; I hope that this will at least get you started on the basics of how these can be used to assist you with your endeavors. �


Trot lines and simple lines tied to tree limbs work well day and night, check them intervals or your catch will be eaten! Use nylon rope for trot lines; draped under the waterline after dark, these go unnoticed during the day for retrieval the next night; they allow you to be ‘fishing’ while you’re performing other activities. String trot lines from tree to tree, especially if trees shed edibles/insects that fish eat.�

If you have several fish hooks, light line and a strong line, bait a whole bunch of hooks on short lines, and tie them (a few feet apart) onto a strong main line (550 cord) strung across the waterway. Tie the main linet between a couple trees, a couple feet above the water, so you can either rely on the water flow to keep the bait near the surface; or just shorten the lines so your hooks can’t sink. If the water is moving, your bait will be dancing to entice the fish. If there’s little/no movement, tie some leaf covered branches to the lines to catch the wind, this makes your bait look lively. Now you can walk away while waiting for a catch; check your lines every few hours.

Fishing is a outdoor activity for many sportsman and families. It is a sport enjoyed by people of all ages, and backgrounds. Modern fishing for most people involves boats, depth finders, and various high tech gear to find fish. Fishing reels have came along way from the early models as have the lures and artificial baits. However in an emergency situation these items are not necessary to catch fish.

A few yards of fishing line, trotline, and some hooks added to your bug out bag can come in very handy , if you are in an area with fish. In addition the fishing line can serve many different functions in an emergency situation, you are only limited by your creativity. Adding line and hooks will not take up much space, but could add another way to make survival easier. It may prove useful to have a couple of different sized hooks for different fish and a light and heavy section of fishing line. This will give you the option of fishing for both small fish and larger fish.

You can fashion a pole from a strong branch and tie the line to the end of it. Then you can roll, and unroll the line as needed , this is pretty much the same as the cane poles people used to fish with. You can also use a stick, plastic bottle, or other makeshift item as a handle if you want to fish with a hand line. Wrap and tie the line around the handle, then you can roll or unroll the amount of line you need to fish with. You will throw the line out by hand to your selected area. The handle will prevent you from holding the line in your hand and risking getting cut if a fish takes your bait hard.

Using a limb line, or a trotline is another way you can use the fishing line and hooks to catch fish. Trotline material is designed to work in the water, and could prove useful for many purposes besides fishing. In a survival situation this might be a better method because you don’t have to sit and wait. You can set your line and go on with other tasks and check it later. A trotline consists of a larger main line, with 2 to 3 foot droppers lines attached. However in an emergency situation you will probably only use a few dropper lines on your trotline. A limb line will consist of one or two hooks that are attached to a limb over the water. You want to anchor the trotline on both ends of the line, and the limb line is just tied on one end securely to a tree.


This method of catching fish and turtles is simple and easy to set up. All you need is a jug some fishing line or wire and a hook. Milk jugs will work if that is all that is available, a more durable jug would be a two liter bottle, but in terms of a survival situation we are just looking to fill our needs. The line, or wire should be attached to the jug, and the hook attached at the end of the line. Something to keep in mind is that a turtle can break line alot easier than fish so wire might be a choice. The next thing is decide how you will retrieve or control your jug, obviously it will move and float around with or without a fish. Anchoring it to the bank or a limb would be a good consideration otherwise it may be hard to retrieve without a boat. In fast moving water or rivers your jug will disappear all together.

Just about anything can be used for bait, bugs, worms and grubs, fish, fish parts, or other meat scraps. You can improvise and use what you have to work with. A trotline can yield small fish such as crappie, cat fish, turtles , and others. It just increases your opportunity, and adds another tool to your skills. It is recommended to practice making and using this items before you are in a moment of need.�


Rogue Turtles Trotlines

“Fishing at the End of the World”, by Jason A.�


Making Juglines


Rynos homemade Noodle Jugs�

Cody Millers Homemade Noodle Jugs�

Survival fishing PT 4

Fish Traps

This is a pretty easy post to make, theres nothing simpler than using a fish trap. Traps should be placed in the water with the entrance of the trap facing downstream. As the fish swim upstream, the funnel design of the trap doors directs the fish to swim into the trap. In some fast running streams, it may be necessary to weigh the trap down with one or two rocks. It is also helpful to attach a line from the trap to a buoy or to anything secure on the shore. Fish traps baited with a can of cat food with holes punched into it works nicely.

There are links below on making different sorts, from an improvised bottle trap for bait fish up to traditional Bushcraft traps. Being an Urban blog though, I’ll mention how to construct homemade ones. I used to make them out of 12mm or 1/2″ square wire mesh. Either square or round. Making them round is easier to make the funnel section then the square. Make sure the mesh is galvanised to prevent rusting. I stopped making these after a while for several reasons. They tend to take a little while to make. From a 5.0m roll x 900mm I used to cut them into 600mm lengths then have enough left from the off cut to make the ends and funnels.For a $35 roll of wire I could buy the same amount of nets from the fish shop already made. The wire ones tend to get borrowed should I say on a more regular basis. So after putting in a days effort making them just to loose them the next didnt seem worth the time.

Storing them can also be a pain, when trying to lay down half a dozen traps in the back of the car with camping gear etc. So I ended up just buying the commercial opera house shaped netted variety. These cost under $15 and fold down. The 50mm versions are better for yabbies and the 75mm holes for fish. Make sure they have turtle rings or they tend to catch turtles which are not only illegal but the turtles wreck the pots aswell. I find the opera styled version easier to remove the catch than the square variety.�

Natural Fish Traps�

Improvised Soda Bottle Fish Traps

Homemade Fish Traps

Thoughts on Disaster Survival

Thoughts on Disaster Survival – Learned by Katrina

” This material was originally published and copyrighted by John Schaefer, �, and is used here with his permission and the permission �
of the original author.”�

First Post�
I’ve had over 30 people staying with me since Sunday, evacuating from New Orleans and points south in anticipation of Hurricane Katrina. Only two families were my friends they told other friends of theirs that they knew a place where they could hole up, and so a whole bunch arrived here! I didn’t mind, because there were six RV’s and travel trailers, so we had enough accommodation. However, I’ve had the opportunity to see what worked – and what didn’t – in their evacuation plans and bug-out kits, and I thought a few “lessons learned” might be appropriate to share here.�

01. Have a bug-out kit ready at all times. Many of these folks packed at the last minute, grabbing whatever they thought they’d need. Needless to say, they forgot some important things (prescription medications, important documents, baby formula, diapers, etc.). Some of these things (e.g. prescriptions) obviously can’t be stocked up against possible emergency need, but you can at least have a list in your bug-out kit of what to grab at the last minute before you leave!�

02. Renew supplies in your bug-out kit on a regular basis. Batteries lose their charge. Foods have an expiration date. So do common medications. Clothes can get moldy or dirty unless properly stored. All of these problems were found with the folks who kept backup or bug-out supplies on hand, and caused difficulties for them.�

03. Plan on needing a LOT more supplies than you think. I found myself with over 30 people on hand, many of whom were not well supplied and the stores were swamped with literally thousands of refugees, buying up everything in sight. I had enough supplies to keep myself going for 30 days. Guess what? Those supplies ended up keeping 30-odd people going for two days. I now know that I must plan on providing for not just myself, but others in need. I could have been selfish and said “No, these are mine” – but what good would that do in a real disaster? Someone would just try to take them, and then we’d have all the resulting unpleasantness. Far better to have extra supplies to share with others, whilst keeping your own core reserve intact (and, preferably, hidden from prying eyes!).�

04. In a real emergency, forget about last-minute purchases. As I said earlier, the stores were swamped by thousands of refugees, as well as locals buying up last-minute supplies. If I hadn’t had my emergency supplies already in store, I would never have been able to buy them at the last minute. If I’d had to hit the road, the situation would have been even worse, as I’d be part of a stream of thousands of refugees, most of whom would be buying (or stealing) what they needed before I got to the store.�

05. Make sure your vehicle will carry your essential supplies. Some of the folks who arrived at my place had tried to load up their cars with a humongous amount of stuff, only to find that they didn’t have space for themselves! Pets are a particular problem here, as they have to have air and light, and can’t be crammed into odd corners. If you have to carry a lot of supplies and a number of people, invest in a small luggage trailer or something similar (or a small travel trailer with space for your goodies) – it’ll pay dividends if the S really does HTF.�

06. A big bug-out vehicle can be a handicap. Some of the folks arrived here with big pick-ups or SUV’s, towing equally large travel trailers. Guess what? – on some evacuation routes, these huge combinations could not navigate corners very well, and/or were so difficult to turn that they ran into things (including other vehicles, which were NOT about to make way in the stress of an evacuation!). This led to hard feelings, harsh words, and at least one fist-fight. It’s not a bad idea to have smaller, more maneuverable vehicles, and a smaller travel trailer, so that one can “squeeze through” in a tight traffic situation. Another point a big SUV or pickup burns a lot of fuel. This is bad news when there’s no fuel available! (See point 10 below.)�

07. Make sure you have a bug-out place handy. I was fortunate in having enough ground (about 1.8 acres) to provide parking for all these RV’s and trailers, and to accommodate 11 small children in my living-room so that the adults could get some sleep on Sunday night, after many hours on the road in very heavy, slow-moving traffic. However, if I hadn’t had space, I would have unhesitatingly told the extra families to find somewhere else – and there wasn’t anywhere else here, that night. Even shops like Wal-Mart and K-Mart had trailers and RV’s backed up in their parking lots (which annoyed the heck out of shoppers trying to make last-minute purchases). Even on my property, I had no trailer sewage connections, so I had to tell the occupants that if they used their onboard toilets and showers, they had to drive their RV’s and trailers somewhere else to empty their waste tanks. If they hadn’t left this morning, they would have joined long, long lines to do this at local trailer parks (some of which were so overloaded by visiting trailers and RV’s that they refused to allow passers-by to use their dumping facilities).�

08. Provide entertainment for younger children. Some of these families had young children (ranging from 3 months to 11 years). They had DVD’s, video games, etc. – but no power available in their trailers to show them! They had no coloring books, toys, etc. to keep the kids occupied. This was a bad mistake.�
09. Pack essentials first, then luxuries. Many of these folks had packed mattresses off beds, comforters, cushions, bathrobes, etc. As a result, their vehicles were grossly overloaded, but often lacked real essentials like candles, non-perishable foods, etc. One family (both parents are gourmet cooks) packed eighteen (yes, EIGHTEEN!!!) special pots and pans, which they were going to use on a two-burner camp stove… They were horrified by my suggestion that under the circumstances, a nested stainless-steel camping cookware set would be rather more practical. “What? No omelet pan?” Sheesh…�

10. Don’t plan on fuel being available en route. A number of my visitors had real problems finding gas to fill up on the road. With thousands of vehicles jammed nose-to-tail on four lanes of interstate, an awful lot of vehicles needed gas. By the time you got to a gas station, you were highly likely to find it sold out – or charging exorbitant prices, because the owners knew you didn’t have any choice but to pay what they asked. Much better to leave with a full tank of gas, and enough in spare containers to fill up on the road, if you have to, in order to reach your destination.�

11. Have enough money with you for at least two weeks. Many of those who arrived here had very little in cash, relying on check-books and credit cards to fund their purchases. Guess what? Their small banks down in South Louisiana were all off-line, and their balances, credit authorizations, etc. could not be checked – so many shops refused to accept their checks, and insisted on electronic verification before accepting their credit cards. Local banks also refused (initially) to cash checks for them, since they couldn’t check the status of their accounts on-line. Eventually (and very grudgingly) local banks began allowing them to cash checks for not more than $50-$100, depending on the bank. Fortunately, I have a reasonable amount of cash available at all times, so I was able to help some of them. I’m now going to increase my cash on hand, I think… Another thing – don’t bring only large bills. Many gas stations, convenience stores, etc. won’t accept anything larger than a $20 bill. Some of my guests had plenty of $100 bills, but couldn’t buy anything.�

12. Don’t be sure that a disaster will be short-term. My friends have left now, heading south to Baton Rouge. They want to be closer to home for whenever they’re allowed to return. Unfortunately for them, the Governor has just announced the mandatory, complete evacuation of New Orleans, and there’s no word on when they will be allowed back. It will certainly be several weeks, and it might be several months. During that period, what they have with them – essential documents, clothing, etc. – is all they have. They’ll have to find new doctors to renew prescriptions; find a place to live (a FEMA trailer if they’re lucky – thousands of families will be lining up for these trailers); some way to earn a living (their jobs are gone with New Orleans, and I don’t see their employers paying them for not working when the employers aren’t making money either); and so on.�

13. Don’t rely on government-run shelters if at all possible. Your weapons WILL be confiscated (yes, including pocket-knives, kitchen knives, and Leather man-type tools); you will be crowded into close proximity with anyone and everyone (including some nice folks, but also including drug addicts, released convicts, gang types, and so on); you will be under the authority of the people running the shelter, who WILL call on law enforcement and military personnel to keep order (including stopping you leaving if you want to); and so on. Much, much better to have a place to go to, a plan to get there, and the supplies you need to do so on your own.�

14. Warn your friends not to bring others with them!!! I had told two friends to bring themselves and their families to my home. They, unknown to me, told half-a-dozen other families to come too – “He’s a good guy, I’m sure he won’t mind!” Well, I did mind… but since the circumstances weren’t personally dangerous, I allowed them all to hang around. However, if things had been worse, I would have been very nasty indeed to their friends (and even nastier to them, for inviting others without clearing it with me first!). If you are a place of refuge for your friends, make sure they know that this applies to them ONLY, not their other friends. Similarly, if you have someone willing to offer you refuge, don’t presume on his/her hospitality by arriving with others unforewarned.�

15. Have account numbers, contact addresses and telephone numbers for all important persons and institutions. My friends will now have to get new postal addresses, and will have to notify others of this their doctors, insurance companies (medical, personal, vehicle and property), bank(s), credit card issuer(s), utility supplier(s), telephone supplier(s), etc. Basically, anyone who sends you bills, or to whom you owe money, or who might owe you money. None of my friends brought all this information with them. Now, when they need to change postal addresses for correspondence, insurance claims, etc., how can they do this when they don’t know their account numbers, what number to call, who and where to write, etc.?�

16. Have portable weapons and ammo ready to hand. Only two of my friends were armed, and one of them had only a handgun. The other had a handgun for himself, another for his wife, a shotgun, and an evil black rifle – MUCH better! I was asked by some of the other families, who’d seen TV reports of looting back in New Orleans, to lend them firearms. I refused, as they’d never handled guns before, and thus would have been more of a danger to themselves and other innocent persons than to looters. If they’d stayed a couple of days, so that I could teach them the basics, that would have been different but they wouldn’t, so I didn’t. Another thing – you don’t have to take your entire arsenal along. Firearms for personal defense come first, then firearms for life support through hunting (and don’t forget the skinning knife!). A fishing outfit might not be a bad idea either (you can shoot bait! ). Other than that, leave the rest of your guns in the safe (you do have a gun safe, securely bolted to the floor, don’t you?), and the bulk ammo supplies too. Bring enough ammo to keep you secure, but no more. If you really need bulk supplies of guns and ammo, they should be waiting for you at your bug-out location, not occupying space (and taking up a heck of a lot of weight!) in your vehicle. (For those bugging out in my direction, ammo supply will NOT be a problem… )�

Second Post�
Here are some more ideas.�
01. Route selection is very, very important. My friends (and their friends) basically looked at the map, found the shortest route to me (I-10 to Baton Rouge and Lafayette, then up I-49 to Alexandria), and followed it slavishly. This was a VERY bad idea, as something over half-a-million other folks had the same route in mind… Some of them took over twelve hours for what is usually a four-hour journey. If they’d used their heads, they would have seen (and heard, from radio reports) that going North up I-55 to Mississippi would have been much faster. There was less traffic on this route, and they could have turned left and hit Natchez, MS, and then cut across LA on Route 84.�
This would have taken them no more than five or six hours, even with the heavier evacuation traffic. Lesson think outside the box, and don’t assume that the shortest route on the map in terms of distance will also be the shortest route in terms of time.�

02. The social implications of a disaster situation. Feedback from my contacts in the LSP and other agencies is very worrying. They keep harping on the fact that the “underclass” that’s doing all the looting is almost exclusively Black and inner-city in composition. The remarks they’re reporting include such statements as “I’m ENTITLED to this stuff!”, “This is payback time for all Whitey’s done to us”, and “This is reparations for slavery!”. Also, they’re blaming the present confused disaster-relief situation on racism “Fo sho, if Whitey wuz sittin’ here in tha Dome waitin’ for help, no way would he be waitin’ like we is!” No, I’m not making up these comments… they are as reported by my buddies. This worries me very much. If we have such a divide in consciousness among our city residents, then when we hit a SHTF situation, we’re likely to be accused of racism, paternalism, oppression, and all sorts of other crimes just because we want to preserve law and order. If we, as individuals and families, provide for our own needs in emergency, and won’t share with others (whether they’re of another race or not) because we don’t have enough to go round, we’re likely to be accused of racism rather than pragmatism, and taking things from us can (and probably will) be justified as “Whitey getting his just desserts”. I’m absolutely not a racist, but the racial implications of the present situation are of great concern to me. The likes of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the “reparations for slavery” brigade appear to have so polarized inner-city opinion that these folks are (IMHO) no longer capable of rational thought concerning such issues as looting, disaster relief, etc.�

03. Implications for security. If one has successfully negotiated the danger zone, one will be in an environment filled, to a greater or lesser extent, with other evacuees. How many of them will have provided for their needs? How many of them will rely on obtaining from others the things they need? In the absence of immediate State or relief-agency assistance, how many of them will feel “entitled” to obtain these necessities any way they have to, up to and including looting, murder and mayhem? Large gathering-places for refugees suddenly look rather less desirable… and being on one’s own, or in an isolated spot with one’s family, also looks less secure. One has to sleep sometime, and while one sleeps, one is vulnerable. Even one’s spouse and children might not be enough… there are always going to be vulnerabilities. One can hardly remain consciously in Condition Yellow while bathing children, or making love! A team approach might be a viable solution here – see point 06 below.�

04. Too many chiefs, not enough Indians” in New Orleans at the moment. The mayor has already blown his top about the levee breach: he claims that he had a plan in place to fix it by yesterday evening, but was overruled by Baton Rouge, who sent in others to do something different. This may or may not be true… My LSP buddies tell me that they’re getting conflicting assignments and/or requests from different organizations and individuals. One will send out a group to check a particular area for survivors but when they get there, they find no-one, and later learn that another group has already checked and cleared the area. Unfortunately, in the absence of centralized command and control, the information is not being shared amongst all recovery teams. Also, there’s alleged to be conflict between City officials and State functionaries, with both sides claiming to be “running things” and some individuals in the Red Cross, FEMA, and other groups appear to be refusing to take instructions from either side, instead (it’s claimed) wanting to run their own shows. This is allegedly producing catastrophic confusion and duplication of effort, and may even be making the loss of life worse, in that some areas in need of rescuers aren’t getting them. (I don’t know if the same problems are occurring in Mississippi and/or Alabama, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were.) All of this is unofficial and off-the-record, but it doesn’t surprise me to hear it. Moral of the story if you want to survive, don’t rely on the government or any government agency (or private relief organization, for that matter) to save you. Your survival is in your own hands – don’t drop it!�

05. Long-term vision. This appears to be sadly lacking at present. Everyone is focused on the immediate, short-term objective of rescuing survivors. However, there are monumental problems looming, that need immediate attention, but don’t seem to be getting it right now. For example: the Port of Louisiana is the fifth-largest in the world, and vital to the economy, but the Coast Guard is saying (on TV) that they won’t be able to get it up and running for three to six months, because their primary focus is on search and rescue, and thereafter, disaster relief. Why isn’t the Coast Guard pulled off that job now, and put to work right away on something this critical? There are enough Navy, Marine and Air Force units available now to take over rescue missions.�

Another example there are over a million refugees from the Greater New Orleans area floating around. They need accommodation and food, sure but most of them are now unemployed, and won’t have any income at all for the next six to twelve months. There aren’t nearly enough jobs available in this area to absorb this workforce. What is being done to find work for them, even in states remote from the problem areas? The Government for sure won’t provide enough for them in emergency aid to be able to pay their bills. What about mortgages on properties that are now underwater? The occupants both can’t and won’t pay; the mortgage holders will demand payment; and we could end up with massive foreclosures on property that is worthless, leaving a lot of folks neck-deep in debt and without homes (even damaged ones). What is being done to plan for this, and alleviate the problem as much as possible? I would have thought that the State government would have had at least the skeleton of an emergency plan for these sorts of things, and that FEMA would have the same, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. Why weren’t these things considered in the leisurely days pre-disaster, instead of erupting as immediate and unanswered needs post-disaster?�

06. Personal emergency planning. This leads me to consider my own emergency planning. I’ve planned to cover an evacuation need, and could probably survive with relative ease for between two weeks and one month but what if I had been caught up in this mess? What would I do about earning a living, paying mortgages, etc.? If I can’t rely on the State, I for darn sure had better be able to rely on myself! I certainly need to re-examine my insurance policies, to ensure that if disaster strikes, my mortgage, major loans, etc. will be paid off (or that I will receive enough money to do this myself). I also need to provide for my physical security, and must ensure that I have supplies, skills and knowledge that will be “marketable” in exchange for hard currency in a post-disaster situation. The idea of a “team” of friends with (or to) whom to bug out, survive, etc. is looking better and better. Some of the team could take on the task of keeping a home maintained (even a camp-type facility), looking after kids, providing base security, etc. Others could be foraging for supplies, trading, etc. Still others could be earning a living for the whole team with their skills. In this way, we’d all contribute to our mutual survival and security in the medium to long term. Life might be a lot less comfortable than prior to the disaster, but hey – we’d still have a life! This bears thinking about, and I might just have to start building “team relationships” with nearby [people of like mind]!�

07. The “bank problem.” This bears consideration. I was at my bank this morning, depositing checks I’d been given by my visitors in exchange for cash. The teller warned me bluntly that it might be weeks before these checks could be credited to my account, as there was no way to clear them with their issuing banks, which were now under water and/or without communications facilities. He also told me that there had been an endless stream of folks trying to cash checks on South Louisiana banks, without success. He warned me that some of these local banks will almost certainly fail, as they don’t have a single branch above water, and the customers and businesses they served are also gone – so checks drawn on them will eventually prove worthless. Even some major regional banks had run their Louisiana “hub” out of New Orleans, and now couldn’t access their records. I think it might be a good idea to have a “bug-out bank account” with a national bank, so that funds should be available anywhere they have a branch, rather than keeping all one’s money in a single bank (particularly a local one) or credit union. This is, of course, over and above one’s “bug-out stash” of ready cash.�

08. Helping one’s friends is likely to prove expensive. I estimate that I’m out over $1,000 at the moment, partly from having all my supplies consumed, and partly from making cash available to friends who couldn’t cash their checks. I may or may not get some of this back in due course. I don’t mind it – if I were in a similar fix, I hope I could lean on my friends for help in the same way, after all! – but I hadn’t made allowance for it. I shall have to do so in future, as well as planning to contribute to costs incurred by those who offer me hospitality under similar circumstances.�

Third Post�
Over the course of today I’ve heard back from several of our field reps who were in the hurricane-damaged areas from Wednesday through Sunday, and have also picked up on after-action reports from my contacts in the Louisiana State Police, and, through them, some from the Mississippi State Police. This e-mail summarizes experiences and lessons learned.�

01. People who were prepared were frequently mobbed/threatened by those who weren’t. This was reported in at least seven incidents, five in Mississippi, two in Louisiana (I suspect that the relative lack of Louisiana incidents was because most of those with any sense got out of Dodge before the storm hit). In each case, the person/family concerned had made preparations for disaster, with supplies, shelter, etc. in good order and ready to go. Several had generators ready and waiting. However, their neighbors who had not prepared all came running after the disaster, wanting food, water and shelter from them. When the prepared families refused, on the grounds that they had very little, and that only enough for themselves, there were many incidents of aggression, attempted assault, and theft of their supplies. Some had to use weapons to deter attack, and in some cases, shots were fired. I understand that in two incidents, attackers/would-be thieves were shot. It’s also reported that in all of these cases, the prepared families now face threats of retribution from their neighbors, who regarded their refusal to share as an act of selfishness and/or aggression, and are now threatening retaliation. It’s reportedly so bad that most of the prepared families are considering moving to other neighborhoods so as to start afresh, with different neighbors.�

Similar incidents are reported by families who got out in time, prepared to spend several days on their own. When they stopped to eat a picnic meal at a rest stop, or an isolated spot along the highway, they report being approached rather aggressively by others wanting food, or fuel, or other essentials. Sometimes they had to be rather aggressive in their turn to deter these insistent requests. Two families report attempts being made to steal their belongings (in one case, their vehicle) while over-nighting in camp stops on their way out of the area. They both instituted armed patrols, with one or more family members patrolling while the others slept, to prevent this. Seems to me to be a good argument to form a “bug-out team” with like-minded, security-conscious friends in your area, so that all concerned can provide mutual security and back-up.�

My take I can understand these families being unwilling to share the little they had, particularly in light of not knowing when supplies would once again be available. However, this reinforces the point I made in my “lessons learned” post last week plan on needing much more in the way of supplies than you initially thought! If these families had had some extra food and water in stock, and hidden their main reserve where it would not be seen, they could have given out some help to their neighbors and preserved good relations. Also, a generator, under such circumstances, is a noisy (and bright, if powering your interior lights) invitation saying “This house has supplies – come and get them”. I suspect that kerosene lanterns, candles and flashlights might be a more “community-safe” option if one is surrounded by survivors.�

02. When help gets there, you may get it whether you like it or not. There are numerous reports of aggressive, overbearing behavior by those rescuers who first arrived at disaster scenes. It’s perhaps best described as “I’m here to rescue you – I’m in charge – do as I say – if you don’t I’ll shoot you”. It appears that mid-level State functionaries and Red Cross personnel (the latter without the “shoot you” aspect, of course) were complained about most often. In one incident, a family who had prepared and survived quite well were ordered, not invited, to get onto a truck, with only the clothes on their backs. When they objected, they were threatened. They had pets, and wanted to know what would happen to them and they report that a uniformed man (agency unknown) began pointing his rifle at the pets with the words “I’ll fix that”. The husband then trained his own shotgun on the man and explained to him, in words of approximately one syllable, what was going to happen to him if he fired a shot. The whole “rescuer” group then left, threatening dire consequences for the family (including threats to come back once they’d evacuated and torch their home). The family were able to make contact with a State Police patrol and report the incident, and are now determined that no matter how much pressure is applied, they will not evacuate. They’ve set up a “shuttle run” so that every few days, two of them go upstate to collect supplies for the rest of the family, who defend the homestead in the meantime.�

Another aspect of this is that self-sufficient, responsible families were often regarded almost with suspicion by rescuers. The latter seemed to believe that if you’d come through the disaster better than your neighbors, it could only have been because you stole what you needed, or somehow gained some sort of unfair advantage over the “average victims” in your area. I’m at a loss to explain this, but it’s probably worth keeping in mind.�

03. There seems to be a cumulative psychological effect upon survivors. This is clear even – or perhaps particularly – in those who were prepared for a disaster. During and immediately after the disaster, these folks were at their best, dealing with damage, setting up alternative accommodation, light, food sources, etc. However, after a few days in the heat and debris (perhaps worst of all being the smell of dead bodies nearby), many found their ability to remain positive and “upbeat” being strained to the limit. There are numerous reports of individuals becoming depressed, morose and withdrawn. This seemed to happen to even the strongest personalities. The arrival of rescuers provided a temporary boost, but once evacuated, a sort of “after-action shell-shock” seems to be commonly experienced. I don’t know enough about this to comment further, but I suspect that staying in place has a lot to do with it – there is no challenge to keep moving, find one’s survival needs, and care for the group, and one is surrounded by vivid reminders of the devastation. By staying among the ruins of one’s former life, one may be exposing oneself to a greater risk of psychological deterioration. �

04. There is widespread frustration over the lack of communication and empathy by rescuers and local/State government. This is partly due to the absence of electricity, so that TV’s were not available to follow events as they unfolded but it’s also due to an almost deliberate policy of non-communication by rescuers. There are many accounts of evacuees wanting to know where the bus or plane was going that they were about to board, only to be told “We don’t know”, or “To a better place than this”. Some have found themselves many States away from their homes. Other families were arbitrarily separated upon rescue and/or evacuation, and are still scattered across two or three States. Their efforts to locate each other are very difficult, and when they request to be reunited at a common location, all of those with whom I have contact report a blanket refusal by the Red Cross and State officials to even consider the matter at this time. They’re being informed that it will be “looked into” at some future date, and that they may have to pay the costs involved if they want to join up again. This, to families who are now destitute! I’m very angry about this, but it’s so widespread a problem that I don’t know what can be done about it. I hope that in future, some means will be implemented to prevent it happening again. Lesson learned never, EVER allow yourselves to be separated as a family, even if it means waiting for later rescue and/or evacuation. Insist on this at all costs!�

05. Expect rescuers (including law enforcement) to enforce a distinctly un-Constitutional authority in a disaster situation. This is very widely reported, and is very troubling. I hear repeated reports from numerous States that as evacuees arrive at refugee centers, they and their belongings are searched without Constitutional authority, and any personal belongings seen as potentially suspicious (including firearms, prescription medication, etc.) are confiscated without recourse to the owner. I can understand the point of view of the receiving authorities, but they are acting illegally, and I suspect there will be lawsuits coming from this practice. Another common practice reported on the ground in the disaster areas is for people to be ordered to evacuate, irrespective of their needs and wishes – even those folks who were well-prepared and have survived in good shape. If they demur, they are often threatened and bullied in an attempt to make them abandon their homes, pets, etc. Lesson learned in a disaster, don’t expect legal and Constitutional norms to be followed. If you can make it on your own, do so, without relying on an unsympathetic and occasionally overbearing rescue system to control you and your destiny.�

06. Don’t believe that rescuers are all knights in shining armor who will respect your property. There have been numerous reports of rescuers casually appropriating small items that took their fancy in houses they were searching. Sometimes this was blatant, right in front of onlookers, and when protests were made, the response was either threatening, or a casual “Who’s going to miss it now?”. Some of our field agents report that this happened right in front of their eyes. Another aspect of this is damage caused to buildings by rescuers. I’ve had reports of them kicking in the front door to a house, or a window, instead of trying to obtain access with as little damage as possible; climbing on clean, highly-polished tables with hobnailed boots in order to get at an attic hatch to check for survivors; etc. When they left the house, often the door or window was left open, almost a standing invitation to looters, instead of being closed and/or secured. When the families concerned get home, they won’t know who caused this damage, but they will certainly be angered by it. I think that if one evacuates one’s home, it might be a good idea to leave a clearly-visible notice that all residents have evacuated, so as to let would-be rescuers know that this house is empty. On the other hand, this might make it easier for looters, so what you gain on the swings, you lose on the round-abouts…�

Fourth Post�
This will be about broader issues than just bug-out or threat situations. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been watching closely as the whole evacuation and rescue drama has played out, and have been very active in the relief process, learning all I can for future reference. There are some broader issues that might not come to mind at first thought, but which are directly relevant to our own safety, security, and peaceful possession of our homes. Some of these have been mentioned in earlier e-mails, but they bear repeating in the light of the number of incidents of which I’ve heard.�

01. If you choose to help, you may be sucked into a bureaucratic and legal nightmare. Example: a local church in the beginning stages of the crisis offered its hall to house evacuees. Local and State officials promptly filled it up with over 100 people. Their “social skills” proved extremely difficult to live with… toilets were blocked, restrooms left filthy, graffiti were scrawled and/or carved on the walls, arguments and disputes were frequent (often escalating to screaming matches, sometimes to physical violence), evacuees roamed the neighborhood (leading to all sorts of reports of petty theft, vandalism, etc.), church workers were subject to aggressive begging and demands, etc. Requests to the authorities to provide better security, administrative assistance, etc. apparently fell on deaf ears – the crisis was so widespread and overwhelming that a small facility such as this seems to have been very low on the priority checklist. After two days of this, with complaints from the neighbors becoming more and more insistent, the church informed local officials that it wanted the evacuees removed at once, if not sooner. They were promptly subject to bureaucratic heavy-handedness (including threats to withhold previously-promised reimbursement for their expenses); threats of lawsuits for daring to insinuate that the evacuees were somehow “lower-class” in their conduct, and for alleged racism, slander, and general political incorrectness; and threats of negative publicity, in that officials threatened to put out a press release denouncing the church for its “elitist” and “un-co-operative” attitude in a time of crisis. The church initially caved in to this pressure, and allowed the evacuees to stay but within a couple more days, the pressure from neighbors and from its own members became impossible to bear, and they insisted on the evacuees being removed to a Red Cross shelter. I’m informed that repairs to their hall will cost over $10,000. This is only one example among many I could cite, but it makes the point clear – if you offer your facilities to authorities, you place yourself (to a certain extent) under their control, and you’re potentially liable to a great deal of heavy-handed, insensitive bureaucratic bullying. Those of you in the same position as this church (i.e. with facilities you could make available) might wish to take note.�

02. Law enforcement problems will often be “glossed over” and/or ignored by authorities. In many cities housing evacuees, there have been private reports of a significant increase in crime caused by their presence but you’ll find that virtually all law enforcement authorities publicly deny this and/or gloss over it as a “temporary problem”. This is all very well for publicity, but it ignores the increased risk to local residents. I’ve been tracking crime reports in about a dozen cities, through my contacts with local law enforcement and the Louisiana State Police. All the LEO’s I speak with, without exception, tell me of greatly increased crime, including rape, assault, robbery, shoplifting, vandalism, gang activity, etc. However, you won’t see these reports in the news media, and will often see senior LE figures actively denying it. The officers with whom I speak are angry and bitter about this, but they daren’t “go public”, as their jobs would be on the line if they did so. They tell me that often they’re instructed not to report certain categories of “incident” at all, so as not to “skew” or “inflate” the “official” crime figures. I’ve also heard reports from Texas, Alabama and Tennessee of brand-new high-end motor vehicles (e.g. Cadillacs, Lincolns, BMW’s, etc.) with New Orleans dealer tags being driven through various towns, on their way North and West. The drivers were described as “gang-bangers” (and sundry less complimentary terms). However, there have been no reports of stolen vehicles from New Orleans, because there are no workers to check out dealer lots, or report thefts, and no working computers to enter VIN’s, etc. into the NICS database of stolen vehicles – so officers have had no choice but to let these vehicles proceed. Draw your own conclusions.�

03. Your personal and/or corporate supplies and facilities may be commandeered without warning, receipt or compensation. I’ve had numerous reports from in and near the disaster zone of individuals (e.g. boat-owners, farmers with barns, tractors, etc.) and corporate groups (e.g. companies with heavy equipment, churches with halls, etc.) finding an official on their doorstep demanding the use of their facilities or equipment. If they demurred, they were told that this was an “emergency situation” and that their assistance was being required, not requested. Some of them have lost track of the heavy equipment “borrowed” in this way, and don’t know where it is, whether or not it’s still in good condition, and when (if ever) it will be returned – and in the meantime, they can’t continue their normal operations without this equipment. Others have had their land and facilities effectively confiscated for use by rescue and relief workers, storage of supplies, etc. In some cases, in the absence of their owners, the property of the individuals and groups concerned (e.g. farm gasoline and diesel supplies, the inventory of motor vehicle dealers, suppliers of foodstuffs, tarpaulins, etc.) have been commandeered and used by law enforcement and relief workers, without permission, receipts, reimbursement, etc. Protests have been met with denials, threats of arrest, insinuations of being “uncaring” and “un-co-operative”, etc. Lesson learned if you’ve got what officials need in a time of crisis, forget about Constitutional protections of your property! Sure, you can sue after the fact, but if you need your goods and facilities for your own survival, you’re basically SOL. Those of us who stockpile necessities for potential crises like this might want to consider concealing our stockpiles to prevent confiscation and if you need certain equipment for your own day-to-day use (e.g. tractors for farmers, generators, etc.), you might have a hard time retaining possession of these things. This problem applies to relief workers also I’ve had several reports of private relief workers (e.g. those sent in by churches, etc.) having their vehicles and supplies commandeered by “official” relief workers, without compensation or receipt, and being kicked out of the disaster area with warnings not to return. The fact that the “private” workers were accomplishing rather more than the “official” workers was apparently of no importance.�

04. If you look like you know what you’re doing, you may be a target of those less prepared. There have been many, many reports of individuals who were more or less prepared for a disaster being preyed upon by those who were not prepared. Incidents range from theft of supplies, through attempts to bug out with these persons (uninvited), to actual violence. It’s genuinely frightening to hear about these incidents, particularly the attitude of those trying to prey on the prepared they seemed to feel that because you’d taken steps to protect yourself and your loved ones, you had somehow done so at their expense, and they were therefore “entitled” to take from you what they needed. There’s no logical explanation for this attitude, unless it’s bred by the utter dependence of many such people on the State for welfare, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, etc. Since they’ve always been dependent on others, and regarded this as an “entitlement”, in a disaster situation, they seem to automatically assume that they’re “entitled” to what you’ve got! In one case, the family’s pet dog was held hostage, with a knife at its throat, until the family handed over money and supplies. In two cases, families were threatened with the rape of their women unless they co-operated with the aggressors. In four cases that I know of, children were held hostage to ensure co-operation. There have also been reports of crimes during the bug-out process. Families sleeping in their cars at highway rest areas were a favorite target, including siphoning of gas from their tanks, assaults, etc. The lessons to be learned from this are obvious. One family can’t secure itself against these threats without great difficulty. It’s best to be “teamed up” with neighbors to secure your neighborhood as a whole, rather than be the one house with facilities in an area filled with those less prepared. If you’re in the latter situation, staying put may not be a safe option, and a bug-out plan may be vital. When bugging out, you’re still not safe from harm, and must maintain constant vigilance.�

05. Those who thought themselves safe from the disaster were often not safe from refugees. There have been many reports of smaller towns, farms, etc. on the fringe of the disaster area being overrun with those seeking assistance. In many cases, assistance was demanded rather than requested, and theft, looting and vandalism have been reported. So, even if you think you’re safe from the disaster, you may not be safe from its aftermath.�

06. Self-reliance seems to draw suspicion upon you from the authorities. I’ve mentioned this in a previous e-mail, but I’ve had many more reports of it from those who survived or bugged out, and it bears re-emphasizing. For reasons unknown and unfathomable, rescue authorities seem to regard with suspicion those who’ve made provision for their safety and have survived (or bugged out) in good shape. It seems to be a combination of “How could you cope when so many others haven’t?”, “You must have taken advantage of others to be so well off”, and “We’ve come all this way to help, so how dare you not need our assistance?” I have no idea why this should be the case… but there have been enough reports of it that it seems to be a widespread problem. Any ideas from readers?�

07. Relief workers from other regions and States often don’t know local laws. This is a particular problem when it comes to firearms. I’ve had many reports of law enforcement officers sent to assist in Louisiana from States such as New Jersey, California, etc. trying to confiscate firearms on the streets, etc., when in fact the armed citizens were legally armed, under local law. One can’t reason with these officers in the heat of the moment, of course, and as a result, a number of people lost their firearms, and have still not recovered them (and in the chaos of the immediate post-disaster situation, they may never do so, because I’m not sure that normal procedures such as logging these guns into a property office, etc. were followed). I understand that in due course, steps were taken to include at least one local law enforcement officer in patrols, so that he could advise officers from other areas as to what was legal, and what wasn’t. Also, in Louisiana, law enforcement is conducted differently than in some other States, and officers from other States who came to assist were sometimes found to be domineering and aggressive in enforcing a law enforcement “authority” that doesn’t normally apply here. So, if you’re in a disaster area and help arrives from elsewhere, you may find that the help doesn’t know (or care) about local laws, norms, etc. Use caution!�

08. Relief organizations have their own bureaucratic requirements that may conflict with your needs. A good example is the Red Cross. In many cases, across three States, I’ve had reports that locals who needed assistance were told that they had to register at a particular Red Cross shelter or facility. The help would not come to them they had to go to it. If they wished to stay on their own property, they were sometimes denied assistance, and told that if they wanted help, they had to move into the shelter to get it. Also, assistance was often provided only to those who came in person. If you left your family at home and went to get food aid, you might be denied aid for your whole family because there was no evidence that they existed – only the number that could be physically counted by relief workers (who would not come to you, but insisted you come to them) would be provided with food. Needless to say, this caused much anger and resentment.

I hope that these “lessons learned” are of use to you. I’m more and more convinced that in the event of a disaster, I must rely on myself, and a few friends, and never count on Government or relief organizations for the help I’ll need. Also, I’m determined to bug out for a fairly long distance from a disaster in my home area, so as to be clear of the post-disaster complications that may arise. Once again (as it has countless times throughout history), we see that to rely on others (let alone Government) for your own safety and security is to invite complications at best, disaster at worst.�

A Thought from Fr. Frog�
One thing not mentioned here is disaster banking. While we all probably want to patronize our local banks, if you live in a disaster prone area you should consider doing your banking (or at least some of your banking) with an out-of-state or national bank that won’t be affected by a disaster in your area.�

Fr. Frog’s Rule of Disaster Survival�
1) You won’t have problems if you are prepared for them. (Unless a government employee shows up to “help.”)�
2) Have sufficient supplies on hand to be self-sustaining for 3 days (minimum) to 1 week. �
3) Don’t live in stupid places�
4) Plan ahead.

5 Storage Essentials



No-wax floors:
To wash no-wax floors, add � cup of white distilled vinegar to a half-gallon of warm water.

Carpet stain removal: �
A mixture of 1 teaspoon of liquid detergent and 1 teaspoon of white distilled vinegar in a pint of lukewarm water will remove non-oily stains from carpets. Apply it to the stain with a soft brush or towel and rub gently. Rinse with a towel moistened with clean water and blot dry. Repeat this procedure until the stain is gone. Then dry quickly, using a fan or hair dryer. This should be done as soon as the stain is discovered.

Windows & Walls

Streakless windows:
Simply wash with a mixture of equal parts of white distilled vinegar and warm water. Dry with a soft cloth. This solution will make your windows gleam and will not leave the usual film or streaks on the glass.

Washing woodwork:�
You can ease the job of washing painted walls, woodwork and Venetian blinds by using a mixture of 1 cup ammonia, � cup white distilled or cider vinegar and � cup baking soda with 1 gallon of warm water. Wipe this solution over walls or blinds with a sponge or cloth and rinse with clear water. Dirt and grime comes off easily and the solution will not dull the painted finish or leave streaks.

Water or alcohol marks on wood:�
Stubborn rings resulting from wet glasses being placed on wood furniture may be removed by rubbing with a mixture of equal parts of white distilled vinegar and olive oil. Rub with the grain and polish for the best results.


Garbage disposal cleaner: �
Garbage disposals may be kept clean and odor free with vinegar cubes. Vinegar cubes are made by filling an ice tray with a mixture of 1 cup of vinegar and enough water to fill the ice tray and then freezing it. Run the mixture through the disposal, and then flush it with cold water for a minute or so.

Coffee maker cleaner (automatic):�
White distilled vinegar can help to dissolve mineral deposits that collect in automatic drip coffee makers from hard water. Fill the reservoir with white distilled vinegar and run it through a brewing cycle. Rinse thoroughly with water when the cycle is finished. (Be sure to check the owner’s manual for specific instructions.)

Clean the microwave: �
Boil a solution of 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar and 1 cup of water in the microwave. Will loosen splattered on food and deodorize.

Deodorize the kitchen drain:
Pour a cup of white distilled vinegar down the drain once a week. Let stand 30 minutes and then flush with cold water.

Clean the refrigerator: �
Wash with a solution of equal parts water and white distilled vinegar.

Clean and disinfect wood cutting boards:
Wipe with full strength white distilled vinegar.

Brass polish: �
Brass, copper and pewter will shine if cleaned with the following mixture. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of white distilled vinegar and stir in flour until it becomes a paste. Apply paste to the metals and let it stand for about 15 minutes. Rinse with clean warm water and polish until dry.

Ant deterrent: �
Ant invasions can sometimes be deterred by washing counter tops, cabinets and floors with white distilled vinegar.

Getting Rid of Fruit Flies/Gnats in Your Kitchen
Place a bowl filled with � quart water, 2 Tbsp. sugar, 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar and a couple of drops of dish soap to attract the fruit flies. Always eliminate the source of attraction, i.e., ripened produce.

Cleaning Stainless Steel Appliances�
Apply vinegar with a soft cloth to remove streaks from stainless steel appliances. Try in an inconspicuous place first.

Cleaner Dishes and Glasses�
Pour 1 � cup to 2 cups white distilled vinegar in the bottom of dishwasher, along with regular dishwasher soap. Wash full cycle.

Remove Refrigerator Smells�
Place 1 cup apple cider vinegar in a glass and set in refrigerator. Within 2 days, any smell is gone!


Bathtub film:�
Bathtub film can be removed by wiping with white distilled vinegar and then with soda. Rinse clean with water.

Shower doors:
Rub down shower doors with a sponge soaked in white distilled vinegar to remove soap residue.

Toilet bowl cleaner:�
Stubborn stains can be removed from the toilet by spraying them with white distilled vinegar and brushing vigorously. The bowl may be deodorized by adding 3 cups of white distilled vinegar. Allow it to remain for a half hour, then flush.

Unclog the showerhead:�
Corrosion may be removed from showerheads or faucets by soaking them in white distilled vinegar overnight. This may be easily accomplished by saturating a terry cloth towel in vinegar and wrapping it around the showerhead or faucet.


Kill grass:�
To kill grass on sidewalks and driveways, pour full strength white distilled vinegar on it.

Kill weeds: �
Spray white distilled vinegar full strength on tops of weeds. Reapply on any new growth until plants have starved.

Increase soil acidity: �
In hard water areas, add a cup of vinegar to a gallon of tap water for watering acid loving plants like rhododendrons, gardenias or azaleas. The vinegar will release iron in the soil for the plants to use.

Neutralize garden lime: �
Rinse your hands liberally with white distilled vinegar after working with garden lime to avoid rough and flaking skin. Clean pots before repotting, rinse with vinegar to remove excess lime.

Keep Flowers Longer�
Keep flowers fresh longer. Add 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons white vinegar in a 1-quart vase of water. Trim stems and change water every five days.

Plant Nutrients
Mix vinegar and water in a ratio of 1:8. Mix a separate solution of sugar and water in a mixture of 1:8. Combine the vinegar and sugar mixtures. Add to plant as long as needed.


Pest fighter:�
A teaspoon of white distilled vinegar for each quart bowl of drinking water helps keep your pet free of fleas and ticks. The ratio of one teaspoon to one quart is for a forty-pound animal.

Pet accident: �
Test the color fastness of the carpet with white distilled vinegar in an inconspicuous place. Then sprinkle distilled vinegar over the fresh pet accident. Wait a few minutes and sponge from the center outward. Blot up with a dry cloth. This procedure may need to be repeated for stubborn stains.

Get Rid of Odor on a Smelly Dog
Wet the dog down with fresh water. Use a mixture of 1 cup white distilled vinegar and 2 gallons water. Saturate the dog’s coat with this solution. Dry the dog off without rinsing the solution. The smell will be gone!


Bumper stickers:�
Remove bumper stickers by repeatedly wiping the sticker with white distilled vinegar until it is soaked. In a few minutes, it should peel off easily. Test on a small invisible area of the car to ensure there will be no damage to the paint.

Paintbrush softener: �
Soak the paintbrush in hot white distilled vinegar, and then wash out with warm, sudsy water.

Cleaning the Radiator Vent�
Turn down the thermostat. Unscrew the air vent, soak it in vinegar to clean it, then turn the thermostat all the way up. After a few minutes, you’ll hear a hissing sound followed by a little bit of water spurting out. Finally, steam will start exiting that hole. Turn off the radiator valve and replace the vent. It should be straight up and hand tight. You should not need or use a wrench.

Frosted windows:
For those rare winter mornings when there is frost on the car, wipe the windows the night before with a solution of one part water to three parts white distilled vinegar. They won’t frost over.

Mix olive oil and vinegar in a one-to-one ratio and polish with a soft cloth. Try in an inconspicuous place first.

Cleaning Leather Shoes
Make a solution of one part water to one part white vinegar, and use it sparingly on the shoes. Dip a cloth into the solution, and dab it over the salt-streaked parts of your shoes.�
May have to repeat the cleaning a few times before all the salt is removed. Salt actually can damage leather, so it’s best to clean shoes as quickly as possible. Don’t let the salt stains build up.

Wash fireplaces with a 50/50 ratio of water and vinegar to remove the blackened soot on glass front doors. If the doors have a spring-loaded clip, remove it, then take out the doors.

Lay them flat on newspapers, spray with the vinegar/water solution and soak. Wipe it off with newspaper.

Cleaner for Gold Jewelry (Winner of June 2007 Vinegar Online Use Contest)�
Use one cup apple cider vinegar. Submerge solid gold jewelry item in vinegar for 15 minutes. Remove and dry with cloth.

Remove Lime Stains from Car�
Pour a small amount of white vinegar on a clean cloth. Gently rub the area of lime staining with the cloth until the stain is gone. Test a small are first to ensure no discoloration.

Worn DVDs:
If you have a worn DVD that has begun to stick or suffers from the occasional freeze-frame, wipe it down with white distilled vinegar applied to a soft cloth. Ensure the DVD is completely dry before re-inserting in the DVD player. (Note: This only works on DVDs that are scratched of dirty through normal wear.)

Laundry Hints

Wine stains: �
Spots caused by wine can be removed from 100 percent cotton, cotton polyester and permanent press fabrics if done so within 24 hours. To do it, sponge white distilled vinegar directly onto the stain and rub away the spots. Then clean according to the directions on the manufacturer’s care tag.

Freshen baby clothes: �
The addition of 1 cup of white distilled vinegar to each load of baby clothes during the rinse cycle will naturally break down uric acid and soapy residue leaving the clothes soft and fresh.

Clothes washing magic: �
Clothes will rinse better if 1 cup of white distilled vinegar is added to the last rinse water. The acid in vinegar is too mild to harm fabrics, but strong enough to dissolve the alkalies in soaps and detergents.

Blanket renewal: �
Cotton and wool blankets become soft, fluffy and free of soap odor if 2 cups of white distilled vinegar are added to the rinse cycle of the wash.

Deodorant stains: �
Deodorant and antiperspirant stains may be removed from clothing by lightly rubbing with white distilled vinegar and laundering as usual.

Hole removal: �
After a hem or seam is removed, there are often unsightly holes left in the fabric. These holes can be removed by placing a cloth, moistened with white distilled vinegar, under the fabric and ironing.

Keeping colors fast:�
To hold colors in fabrics, which tend to run, soak them for a few minutes in white distilled vinegar before washing.

Leather cleaning: �
Leather articles can be cleaned with a mixture of white distilled vinegar and linseed oil. Rub the mixture into the leather and then polish with a soft cloth.

Scorch marks: �
Lightly rub white distilled vinegar on fabric that has been slightly scorched. Wipe with a clean cloth.

Setting colors:�
When you are color dyeing, add about a cupful of white distilled vinegar to the last rinse water to help set the color.

Shower curtains:
Add 1 cup of white distilled vinegar to the rinse water when you launder your shower curtain. Do not spin dry or wash out. Just hang immediately to dry.

Unclog steam iron:�
Pour equal amounts of white distilled vinegar and water into the iron’s water chamber. Turn to steam and leave the iron on for 5 minutes in an upright position. Then unplug and allow to cool. Any loose particles should come out when you empty the water.

Clean a scorched iron plate: �
Heat equal parts white distilled vinegar and salt in a small pan. Rub solution on the cooled iron surface to remove dark or burned stains.

Cleaning Vintage Lace�
Soak the lace in cold water, rinsing it several times. Next, hand-wash the lace gently with a wool detergent, such as Woolite. If rust spots are a problem, try removing them with a mixture of white vinegar and hot water.

Food Preparation

Getting the last drops:�
When you can’t get the last bit of mayonnaise or salad dressing out of the jar, try dribbling a little of your favorite vinegar into it, put the cap on tightly and shake well. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ve been wasting.

Cooking fish:�
Try soaking fish in vinegar and water before cooking it. It will be sweeter, more tender and hold its shape better. When boiling or poaching fish, a tablespoon of vinegar added to the water will keep it from crumbling so easily.

Cake icing:�
Cake icing can be prevented from becoming sugary if a little vinegar is added to the ingredients before cooking. The same is true when making homemade candy.

Boiling eggs:�
When boiling an egg and it’s cracked, a little vinegar in the water will keep the white from running out.

Keeping potatoes white:�
A teaspoon of white distilled or cider vinegar added to the water in which you boil potatoes will keep them nice and white. You can keep peeled potatoes from turning dark by covering them with water and adding 2 teaspoons of vinegar.

Freshen vegetables:�
Freshen up slightly wilted vegetables by soaking them in cold water and vinegar.

Fruit and vegetable wash:
Add 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar to 1 pint water and use to wash fresh fruits and vegetables, then rinse thoroughly. Research has shown that vinegar helps kill bacteria on fruits and vegetables.

Frying doughnuts:
Before frying doughnuts, add � teaspoon of vinegar to hot oil to prevent doughnuts soaking up extra grease. Use caution when adding the vinegar to the hot oil.

Flavor booster:�
Perk up a can of soup, gravy or sauce with a teaspoon of your favorite specialty vinegar. It adds flavor and taster fresher.

Meat tenderizer:�
As a tenderizer for tough meat or game, make a marinade in the proportion of half a cup of your favorite vinegar to a cup of heated liquid, such as bouillon; or for steak, you may prefer to a mix of vinegar and oil, rubbed in well and allowed to stand for two hours.

Fruit stains: �
Remove fruit or berry stains from your hands by cleaning them with vinegar.

Fresh lunch box: �
It is easy to take out the heavy stale smell often found in lunch boxes. Dampen a piece of fresh bread with white distilled vinegar and leave it in the lunch box overnight.

Get rid of cooking smells: �
Let simmer a small pot of vinegar and water solution.

Fluffy Egg Whites
Soak a paper towel with 1-2 Tablespoons of white distilled vinegar. Wipe mixing bowl and beaters or whisk with the vinegar-soaked paper towel, then dry with a cloth or paper towel prior to whipping egg whites.

Fluffier Rice�
For fluffier and great tasting rice, add a teaspoon of white distilled vinegar to the boiling water before adding rice. Rice will be easier to spoon and less sticky.


Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Machine for Sleep Apnea: �
To clean the calcium deposit of the humidifier reservoir, heat 450 ml (1 � cups) of vinegar in the microwave for 2 minutes. Pour vinegar into reservoir and replace cap. Let sit for 1 hour. Remove vinegar. Reservoir should be clean and calcium free. Contact manufacturer before cleaning with this method or review manufacturer’s directions.

Soothe a bee or jellyfish sting: �
Douse with vinegar. It will soothe irritation and relieve itching.

Relieve sunburn: �
Lightly rub white distilled or cider vinegar on skin. Reapply as needed.

Relieve dry and itchy skin:�
Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar to your bath water.

Fight dandruff: �
After shampooing, rinse with a solution of � cup vinegar and 2 cups of warm water.

Soothe a sore throat: �
Put a teaspoon of vinegar in a glass of water. Gargle, then swallow. For another great gargle: 1 cup hot water, 2 tablespoons honey, 1 teaspoon vinegar, gargle then drink.

Treat sinus infections and chest colds: �
Add 1/4 cup or more vinegar to the vaporizer. (Be sure to check vaporizer instructions for additional water measurement.)

Skin burns: �
Apply ice-cold vinegar right away for fast relief. Will prevent burn blisters.

Chest congestion: �
To clear up respiratory congestion, inhale a vapor mist from steaming pot containing water and several spoonfuls of vinegar.

Toenail fungus: �
Soak toes in a solution of vinegar and water, using 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water, 15 minutes per day.

Arthritis Relief�
Mix a teaspoon of half apple cider vinegar, half honey in a glass of water with a teaspoon of orange flavored Knox gelatin.

Lessen Morning Sickness�
Drink some apple cider vinegar in water, with honey added. This concoction can help calm a queasy stomach.

Stop Itching�
Apply a paste made from vinegar and cornstarch. Keep on until itch disappears.

Cleaning Heavily Soiled Hands�
Moisten cornmeal with apple cider vinegar. Scrub hands, rinse in cold water and pat dry.

Soft Feet�
Combine 1 cup white distilled vinegar to 2 gallons warm water. Soak feet for 45 minutes then use a pumice stone or file to remove dead skin from heels and callused areas of feet.

Wart Remover�
Mix lukewarm/warm water with a cup of white distilled vinegar. Immerse area with wart and soak 20 minutes everyday until wart disappears.

Bug Spray�
Combine equal amounts of water, white distilled vinegar and liquid dish soap in a spray bottle. Use on skin, as needed. �

Baking soda

Baking soda is a chemical compound that appears as a fine powder. It releases bubbles of carbon dioxide when it interacts with an acid and a liquid. It’s most commonly used in baking, where it acts as a leavening agent. The following are 75 other uses for baking soda aside from making muffins soft and fluffy.

Health Uses

# Use it as an antacid.

# Use it as underarm deodorant by applying it with a powder puff.

# Mix half a teaspoon with peroxide paste and use it as toothpaste.

# Use it as a face and body scrub.

# Add a cup to bathwater to soften your skin.

# Relieve skin itch from insect bites and pain from sunburn.

# Remove strong odors from your hands by rubbing them with baking soda and water.

# Put two tablespoons in your baby’s bathwater to help relieve diaper rash.

# Apply it on rashes, insect bites, and poison ivy irritations.

# Take a baking soda bath to relieve skin irritations.

# Heartburn? Take a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with one-half glass of water.

# Freshen your mouth by gargling half a teaspoon of baking soda mixed water.

# Relieve canker sore pain by using it as mouthwash.

# Use it to relieve bee stings.

# Use it to relieve windburns.

# Apply it on jellyfish sting to draw out the venom.

# Unblock stuffy nose by adding a teaspoon of baking soda to your vaporizer.

In the Home

# Keep cut flowers fresh longer by adding a teaspoon to the water in the vase.

# Put out small fires on rugs, upholstery, clothing, and wood.

# Put an open container of baking soda in the fridge to absorb the odors.

# Sprinkle it on your ashtrays to reduce bad odor and prevent smoldering.

# Sprinkle it on your slippers, boots, shoes, and socks to eliminate foul odor.

# Turn baking soda into modeling clay by combining it with one and 1/4 cups of water and one cup of cornstarch.

# After feeding your baby, wipe his shirt with a moist cloth sprinkled with baking soda to remove the odor.

# Wipe your windshield with it to repel rain.

# Improve the smell of dishrags by soaking them in baking soda and water.

# Suck it in with your vacuum cleaner to remove the odor.

# Freshen the air by mixing baking soda with your favorite perfumed bath salts. Put the mixture in small sachet bags.

# Restore stiff brushes by boiling them in a solution of 1/2 gallon of water, 1/4 cup of vinegar, and a cup of baking soda.

# Put it under sinks and along basement windows to repel cockroaches and ants.

# Scatter baking soda around flowerbeds to prevent rabbits from eating your veggies.

# Sweeten your tomatoes by sprinkling baking soda on the soil around your tomato plants.

# Sprinkle it onto your cat’s litter box to absorb the bad odor.

# Sprinkle it on your pet’s comb or brush to deodorize their fur and skin.

In Cooking

# Use it as a substitute for baking powder by mixing with it with cream of tartar or vinegar.

# Wash fruits and vegetables with it.

# When boiling a chicken, add a teaspoon of baking soda to the water. Feathers will come off easier, and the flesh will be clean and white.

# Soak dried beans to a baking soda solution to make them more digestible.

# Remove the distinctive taste of wild game by soaking it in a baking soda solution.

# Make a sports drink by mixing it with boiled water, salt, and Kool-Aid.

# Remove the fishy smell from your fillets by soaking the raw fish in a baking soda solution for an hour inside the fridge.

# Make fluffier omelets by adding half a teaspoon of baking soda for every three eggs used.

# Reduce the acid content of your tomato-based recipes by sprinkling them with a pinch of baking soda.

Cleaning Purposes

# Add a cup to the toilet, leave it for an hour, and then flush. It will clean the toilet and absorb the odor.

# Use it to scrub sinks, showers, plastic and porcelain tubs

# Spray it on walls, mirrors, and countertops.

# Add a spoonful to your dishwasher to make scrubbing dishes easier.

# Remove grease from pots and pans.

# Dry clean carpets and upholstered furniture by sprinkling baking soda over the fabric and gently brushing it. Leave it for an hour or overnight, then vacuum.

# Boost your laundry detergent’s cleaning power by sprinkling a handful on dirty clothes.

# Combine it with water to make a paste for polishing stainless steel and chrome.

# Remove scratches and crayon marks from vinyl floors and walls.

# Clean your shoes with it.

# Clean garbage cans with it.

# Use it to wash diapers.

# Clean the fridge with it.

# Soak brushes and combs in a baking soda solution.

# Mix it with water to wash food and drink containers.

# Put three tablespoons of baking soda to a quart of warm water, then use the mixture to wash marble-topped furniture.

# Absorb it with a damp sponge, then clean Formica countertops with the sponge.

# Use it to get rid of stale odors from cooling containers and thermos bottles.

# Run your coffee maker with a baking soda solution, then rinse.

# Combine with hot water to clean baby bottles.

# Sprinkle it on barbecue grills, then rinse it off.

# Scatter it on your greasy garage floor, scrub the floor, and rinse.

# Remove burned-on food from a pan by soaking it in a baking soda solution for 10 minutes before washing.

# Clean your ashtrays with a baking soda solution.

# Keep your drains clean by putting four tablespoons of baking soda in them each week. Flush it down with hot water.

# Clean your shower curtains by soaking them in baking soda and water.

# Put it on a small brush to rub canvas handbags clean.

# Use it to remove melted plastic bread wrapper from a toaster. Sprinkle baking soda on a damp rug, then use the rug to clean the toaster.

# Use it to clean your retainers and dentures.

# Make a thick paste of baking soda and water, and used it to scrub enameled cast iron and stainless steel.

# Mix four tablespoons of baking soda with a quart of warm water, and use it to clean the inside part of an oven.

# Use it to unclog gas stoves.

The most amazing thing about baking soda is that it’s very cheap. You can do all these things for a very small cost. Baking soda is truly a miracle product, whether it’s used for baking or not.


# Use it to de-ice a slippery path way!

# Use it to kill slugs!

# If someone spills their drink, e.g. red wine, on your carpet – pour on salt, let it absorb the liquid and hoover it up!

# Use it to kill snails!

# Test your eggs for freshness – in a bowl of salt water good ones sink, bad ones float!

# Soak stained hankies in salt water before washing!

# Sprinkle salt on your shelves to keep ants away!

# Mix salt and turpentine to whiten your bath, sink and toilet bowl!

# Use salt to clean a discoloured coffee or tea pot!

# Clean brass, copper and pewter with a paste made from vinegar, flour and salt!

# Add a little salt to water for cut flowers to make them last longer!

# Clean your iron by adding some salt to a damp cloth and wiping!

# Clean your piano keys with a mixture of lemon juice and salt!

# Use equal parts of salt and starch to make a putty for filling holes in walls!

# Rinse a sore eye with a little salt water!

# Gargle with salt water when you have a sore throat!

# Swill round your mouth with salt water when you have a mouth ulcer!

# Use salt for killing weeds in your back lawn!

# Freshen a sponge by soaking it in salt water!

# Soak enamel pans overnight in salt water, and boil salt water in them to remove burned on stains!

# Fabric colours hold fast in a salty water wash!

# Sprinkle salt in your oven before scrubbing clean!

# Remove mildew with lemon juice and salt!

# If there are too many suds in your dishwater, add a little salt to reduce them!

# For a clean chopping board, wet it, add a little salt and scrub!

# If you spill some cooking fat on a worktop or hob, sprinkle a little salt on it to make it easier to clean!

# Dilute a cup of salt to a gallon of water and soak shirts in it to remove perspiration stains!

# Place salt in a paper bag and with your dusty artificial flowers, shake for a moment. The salt absorbs the dust!

# Sprinkle salt on your carpet to kill fleas!

If you drop an egg, sprinkle salt on it, leave for 20 minutes, and it will be easy to wipe up!

# Mix three pounds of salt with a gallon of soapy water and spray onto the leaves of poison ivy to kill it!

# Kill grass growing in the cracks in patios by adding salt and then pouring in boiling water!

# Dip a sponge into salt water and rub it on windows, and they won’t frost up!

# Put salt in a little bag made of cheesecloth, moisten it slightly and rub it on your car windscreen to stop it icing up!

# Combat smelly drains by pouring really hot, salty water down them!

# If sooty footprints are left on your carpet, cover them with salt, leave for several hours and then hoover them up!

# If there is a water stain on your dining room table, put cooking oil and salt on a rag and rub it away!

# When you have new work clothes that are uncomfortable and stiff, put them in the washing machine with half a cup of salt and they’ll come out feeling good!

# Get a piercing and keep it clean using salty water!

# Clean discoloured glassware by soaking it in a solution of one part salt to eight parts of white vinegar!

# Salt can also help nylon tights last longer. Mix together two cups of salt and a gallon of warm water. Let the nylons soak for a few hours. Then rinse them several times in cold water.

# Dip the rim of a glass in some water and then into some salt to give a “frosted” effect for cocktails – remember to drink the cocktail through a straw!

# Use salt for killing weeds in your front lawn!

# Add salt to your final rinse to stop clothes freezing on the washing line!

# Rub any wicker furniture you may have with salt water to prevent yellowing!

# Salt and soda will sweeten the odor of your refrigerator!

# Some people suggest putting a little salt into your goldfish tank to keep the fish healthy!

# Remove onion or fish smells by rubbing salt onto your hands for a minute, and then washing with soap and water!

# To remove bloodstains from material, sprinkle with salt and rinse with cold water!

# If a pet urinates on your carpet add lots of salt to the damp patch, leave overnight, sweep up the excess and then hoover!

# Apply lemon juice and salt to a rust stain on clothing, hang out in the sun to dry!

# Dip a slice of lime into salt and rub onto a mosquito bite to relieve itching!

# Use salt as an ingredient in home made whitewash

# It stings, but grind salt, dip your finger into it, and apply to a cold sore for 30 seconds. Do this 3 times a day and the cold sore should dry up in a few days!

# If you have added too much washing powder to your wash, add salt to limit the suds!

# Mix a cup of salt water with 2 tablespoons of baking soda and one teaspoon of flour, dip in a rag and use for cleaning your leather upholstery!

# Clean silver jewellery by heating salt water in an old aluminium pan – the silver tarnish will be removed from the jewellery and will stain the pan instead!

# To strengthen and polish nails, mix 2 teaspoons of salt with 2 of castor oil and 1 of wheat-germ oil, rub onto finger nails and leave for 3-5 mins before wiping with a tissue!

# Rubbing salt over calluses on your hands will make them go away!

# Make removing a crease mark easier when ironing by rubbing it with salt on a damp cloth before pressing!

# Rub stubborn warts with raw onion dipped in salt to make them go away!

# Exfoliate your skin by mixing salt with olive oil, leaving on your face for 15-20 mins, and then rubbing off!

# Make an all purpose cleaning solution by mixing 1 cup of water, 2 cups of vinegar, and half a cup of salt!

# Try putting a bowl of salt next to your chopping board when slicing onions to stop crying eyes!

# Keep a bag of salt in your car in case you get stuck in icy weather!

# Clean your cutlery using a little salt with a damp cloth!

# Salt and soda water mixed together is good for cleaning the inside of your fridge!

# New brooms will last longer if soaked in salt water and dried before use!

# Mix 1 teaspoon of salt in a pint of hot water and apply pads soaked in the solution to puffy eyes!

# Soak aching feet in warm water to which a handful of salt has been added, then rinse in cool water!

# Relieve bee stings by immediately wetting the spot and covering with salt!

# Use salt to put out flaming fat!

# Soak new candles in a strong salt solution for a few hours, then dry them well. When burned they will not drip!

# Occasionally throw a handful of salt on the flames in your fireplace; it will help loosen soot from the chimney and salt makes a bright yellow flame!

# Rub the inside of fish tanks with salt to remove hard water deposits, then rinse well before returning the fish to the tank! #84 To remove deposits caused by flowers and water, rub with salt; if you cannot reach the deposits to rub them, put a strong salt solution in the vase and shake, then wash the vase with soap and water!

# Artificial flowers can be held in an artistic arrangement by pouring salt into the container, adding a little cold water and then arranging the flowers. The salt will solidify as it dries and hold the flowers in place!

# Sprinkling a little salt in canvas shoes occasionally will take up the moisture and help remove odours!

# Colour salt with chalk dust and place layers of different colours in a jar until it is full to make your very own work of art!

# Make salt glitter by adding food colouring to salt and allowing to dry!

# Use vinegar and salt water to remove stains from shoes and boots!

# Place salt in an open container to help reduce damp!

# Sprinkle salt on a drink mat to stop it sticking to the bottom of your glass!

# Halve an orange, remove the pulp and fill with salt to make a useful air-freshner!

# To clean crystal soak in water, vinegar and a little salt!

# Clean burnt pans by heating vinegar, water and salt on a high heat!

# Fill a vase with slightly moist salt. Flowers such as aconitums can be dried by plunging their stems into the salt!

# Make a timer full of salt instead of sand!

# Apply salt to a cut to draw out infection and promote healing (better still – take medical advice)!

# Add a pinch of salt to water when boiling eggs to prevent cracking!

# Instead of anti-dandruff shampoo, massage your scalp with a tablespoon of salt before using normal shampoo!

# Recreate the infamous “Shake n Vac” commercial in your own home – but use salt to keep the budget down!

# Fill a sugar bowl with salt and put it out for visiting guests as a hilarious practical joke!

olive oil

# Replacement for butter, put it in the fridge and it develops the same consistency.�
# Shaving Cream.�
# Beauty Cream and moisturizer.�
# Makeup Remover.�
# A Bread Dip.�
# Foot softener.�
# Use 2 parts olive oil, 1 part lemon juice (or white vinegar) for furniture polish, or just olive oil on a rag.�
# Use it for your hair. Not only does it condition, but it also gets rid of the frizz. I put a small drop into my palm & then rub both hands together & then apply it to dry hair. (not wet hair).�
# A hair tonic.�
# A pre manicure solution when mixed with water.�
# Melted with some beeswax and poured into a small tin, it makes great lip balm, leather conditioner and wood polish.�
# A couple teaspoons mixed with a can of cat food will help hairballs.�
# Use it to remove paint from your skin. Rub it on and let it soak a while then wash well with soap. The paint usually comes off without any skin damaging materials. And your skin will be all soft.�
# When I pour it out there is always a drip-so I wipe it up with my hand and rub it in, my elbows are alot better now for it.�
# I keep a squeeze bottle of EV olive oil in the medicine cabinet and use it daily instead of moisturizer.�
# I use it for the static in the winter. I rub almost into my hands then run my fingers through my hair, follow with a brush or two from my natural brush.�
# I have used it in the past for lice control, when it seems the pesticides aren’t really working anyway.�
# Mix it with butter and garlic for your garlic bread, very nice change.�
# Rub it on my turkey instead of butter.�
# Mix 50/50 with saved fat for homemade soap. I have used 100% EV olive oil in soap making, but it takes longer to cure.�
# Mix with wine vinegar, crushed garlic, and fresh grated Parmesean cheese for salad dressing.�
# I mix olive oil half and half with lemon juice to make a wood cleaner/polish. Nourishes your furniture while it cleans.�
# A sip of olive oil before you go to sleep stops snoring. It makes the throat slippery. Your spouse can sleep.�
# A sip of olive oil will stop a tickle that is making you cough.�
# I cut off the top of a whole head of garlic, sprinkle it with salt and pepper and drizzle olive oil over the top. I wrap it up in foil and roast in the oven until the garlic gets soft. Great stuff spread over home made bread.�
# Use it as bath oil. Two to three tablespoons will do the trick.�
# For a hand scrub, rub in olive oil then scrub with sugar and wash.�
# For a facial, wet face thoroughly, then massage olive oil into your skin. Use about a half teaspoon of sugar and scrub your face with that, then wipe off gently with a warm, wet cloth until the sugar is all gone.�
# Mix 3 parts Olive Oil with 1 part white vinegar for wood floor polish.Apply and rub in well.�
# To keep brass looking shinier longer, buff with olive oil after cleaning. Olive oil keeps it from tarnishing so fast.�
# Use olive oil to treat lice on children – better than the expensive treatments from the store and conditions the scale. Apply on hair, being sure to get into scales. I leave this on for at least 30 minutes, but it could be all day if you don’t have any plans – then shampoo out. It might take 2 shampoos to get the oil out of hair. Use once a week as a conditioner and preventative. Olive oil smothers the lice. Once I started doing this on granddaughters hair the school never called us when others were sent home with lice.�
# Olive oil works as a lubricant on the feet (for reflexology) and does not disappear the way lotions do.�
# You can buy a pump bottle for oil at most discount or kitchen supply stores. Fill with plain or flavored olive oil to use as a spray. This can replace the spray cans of oil that many people buy. Spray your pans before cooking. It also is a great way to get a small amount of fat/oil on foods for those of us who are watching our weight–spray on salad or bread or whatever.�
# To condition scalp on bald heads: rub with olive oil and then lay on a hot (not burning!), moist towel. When the towel cools, reheat in the microwave. Be careful not to get too hot. Continue doing this several times.�
# I like to toast French bread and then lightly spray it with an excellent olive oil instead of buttering it. It is very good.�
# Once a week I treat myself to this most fabulous beauty treatment. I give my hair and scalp a massage with olive oil. Using a regular comb, comb it through my hair. This gives it unbeatable shine and it’s never looked healthier. Leave it on for an hour or two. Wash hair as normal to remove oil and wrap hair in towel to dry. Then I run a hot bath. While the water’s running I stand in the tub and scrub my face, body, and feet with a paste made of olive oil and salt- regular table salt. (This makes your skin extra soft, leaves it glowing, and has cleared up my acne.) Then I soak in the tub for 15 minutes.�
The first time I did this everyone noticed “something different” about me but couldn’t figure it out. I even got stopped on the street by another woman who asked me how I got such beautiful skin. So there… I’ve told my secret!�
# I use olive oil (extra virgin) in baking where vegetable oil is called for, it makes cakes, etc. much more moist and flavorful….I have had people ask me for the special recipe.�
# When I was home last summer (U.S.) and stocking up on my known remedies I asked the pharmacist where I could find the old fashioned ‘sweet oil’ that they put in ears for wax and ear aches. He said it was really olive oil that was used! Needless to say I did not bother to search the shelves any longer, as I have it in my cupboard.

# replacement fuel for oil lamps

Emergency Water Purification

In an emergency, to purify drinking water, two methods are most often used. They are boiling the water and adding chlorine (household bleach, such as Chlorox) to it. Most emergency experts and health officials suggest a mixture of 8 drops of bleach to a gallon of generally clear water for best results. Based on environment or cloudiness of the water, you may want to change the quantity of drops to 16 per gallon of cloudy or murky water. Enter the maximum possible volume of water container. The entry should be in gallons. Enter the desired drops of the bleach per gallon and select the appropriate water condition. Please remember that this is a guideline. �

As suggested by the EPA, vigorous boiling for at least one minute (preferably more) will kill any disease causing microorganisms present in water (at altitudes above 5000 feet above sea level, boil for three to five minutes longer). The flat taste of boiled water can be improved by pouring it back and forth from one container to another (called aeration), by allowing it to stand in a closed container for a few hours, or by adding a small pinch of salt for each quart of water boiled. When boiling is not practical, chemical disinfection should be used. Common household bleach contains a chlorine compound that will disinfect water. The treated water should be mixed thoroughly and allowed to stand, preferably covered, for 30 minutes. The water should have a slight chlorine odor; if not, repeat the dosage and allow the water to stand for an additional 15 minutes. If the treated water has too strong a chlorine taste, it can be made more pleasing by allowing the water to stand exposed to the air for a few hours or by pouring it from one clean container to another several times. �

As suggested by Chlorox (with their permission), this is an excerpt from company published documents.�

Boiling Is Best
Short of using a very high-quality water filter, this is the most reliable method for killing microbes and parasites. Bring water to a rolling boil and keep it simmering for at least several minutes. Add one minute of boiling to the initial 10 minutes for every 1,000 feet above sea level. Cover the pot to shorten boiling time and conserve fuel.�

Liquid Clorox Bleach
In an emergency, think of this (one gallon of Regular Clorox Bleach) as 3,800 gallons of drinking water.�

When the tap water stops flowing, Regular Clorox Bleach isn’t just a laundry-aid, it’s a lifesaver. Use it to purify water, and you’ll have something to drink.�

It’s the same in any natural disaster. As the shock wears off and the days wear on, the biggest demand is for drinking water. Time after time, relief crews hand out free Clorox Bleach with simple instructions: use it to kill bacteria in your water and you’ll have purified water to drink. Here are the general guidelines.�

First let water stand until particles settle. Filter the particles if necessary with layers of cloth, coffee filters, or fine paper towels. Pour the clear water into an uncontaminated container and add Regular Clorox Bleach per the below indicated ratio. Mix well. Wait 30 min. Water should have a slight bleach odor. If not, repeat dose. Wait 15 min. Sniff again. Keep an eyedropper taped to your emergency bottle of Clorox Bleach, since purifying small amounts of water requires only a few drops. Bleach must be fresh for best use and results. See below suggestions for storage bottle replacement.�

Don’t pour purified water into contaminated containers. Sanitize water jugs first.�

Without water and electricity, even everyday tasks are tough. In lieu of steaming hot water, sanitize dishes, pots and utensils with a little Clorox Bleach. Just follow the directions below to keep dishes clean.�

Whether you use Clorox Bleach in an emergency or for everyday chores, it’s always an environmentally sound choice. After its work is done, Clorox Bleach breaks down to little more than salt and water, which is acceptable anytime.�

Ratio of Clorox Bleach to Water for Purification

2 drops of Regular Clorox Bleach per quart of water�
8 drops of Regular Clorox Bleach per gallon of water�
1/2 teaspoon Regular Clorox Bleach per five gallons of water�
If water is cloudy, double the recommended dosages of Clorox Bleach.�

Only use Regular Clorox Bleach (not Fresh Scent or Lemon Fresh). To insure that Clorox Bleach is at its full strength, rotate or replace your storage bottle minimally every three months.�

Clorox Bleach Sanitizing Solution

To sanitize containers and utensils, mix 1 tablespoon Regular Clorox Bleach with one gallon of water. Always wash and rinse items first, then let each item soak in Clorox Bleach Sanitizing Solution for 2 minutes. Drain and air dry.

Grid Down Cooking

Grid Down Cooking�

What are the alternative cooking sources when the power goes out? Firstly I’d like to talk about fuel types and then go into specifics of stoves before hitting on emergency cookers.�

Fuel Types;

Butane is a gaseous component of natural gas, much like gasoline is a component of crude oil. While petroleum products like gasoline are refined, natural gas products like butane are extracted. This is the bottled gas sold for use in camping stoves and outdoor gas-powered grills. Propane may deliver more energy than butane, but butane has a certain property that makes it ideal for containment. When butane is compressed, it becomes a liquid very quickly. Once it is released into the air, however, it reacts with an ignition source to become a highly flammable gas. Unlike some other natural gas derivatives, butane only releases carbon dioxide as a waste product, not carbon monoxide.

Advantages include:

many commercial options

high heat output


generally much lighter than liquid petrol stoves

very easy to operate

easy to simmer

maintenance free

burn clean and relatively quiet


Disadvantages include:

weight of fuel containers (around half the weight of fuel; but still lighter than metal ones for liquid petrol)

bulk of canisters (if you have to carry more than you need)

heavier than alcohol stoves

non-refillable canister makes weight planning/adjusting difficult for short trips

may not work well at subfreezing temperatures

flame can be easily blown out with wind

danger if canister damaged

pierceable canisters cannot be removed from stoves without loss of fuel and are dangerous to store on the stove as they may leak �

Denatured Alcohol/Metholated Spirits (“metho”) is a mixture of ethyl alcohol (95%) and methyl alcohol (%5). The methyl alcohol is poisonous and is added to prevent the methylated spirits being used as cheap drinking alcohol.


Lightweight – few ounces versus a pound or more

Simplicity – just add fuel and light a match – no pumping, priming or pre-lighting required

Reliable – many designs are fail-proof

Quiet – generally can’t be heard

Odorless – if you spill alcohol all over your gear, you won’t smell like a gas pump for the rest of your trip

Availability of Fuel – can be found at any hardware store or gas station (great for thru-hikers)

No Maintenance – no time or repair kit need for adjustments and cleaning

Safety – fuel not explosive and can be easily extinguished

Easily Transportable Fuel – don’t need a heavy metal container to transport fuel – a disposable plastic water bottle is more than ample

Low Cost – the cheapest around or even free (use common recycled items)

Eco Friendly – uses a clean renewable energy source

DIY (Do It Yourself) – Tools, metal and fire! DIY stoving is so satisfying that is has become it’s own hobby


Reduced Output – about half the heat output per ounce compared to other liquid fuels (white gas, butane, etc) and not appropriate for groups, long treks (greater than a one to two weeks without refitting) or melting snow

Invisible Flame – refilling with fuel or handling the stove can be dangerous to those that depend solely on the sense of sight for evaluating dangers

Cold Sensitive – most setups depend on vaporization of fuel and may not work well in frozen environments

Lacks Brand Name – North Face wearing, Mountain House eating, Starbucks drinking, Honda Element driving “outdoors people” will refer to you as “ghetto” and/or “trailer park”

Durability – if you step on your stove made from pop cans, you might have to say goodbye to hot meals for the rest of your trip

DIY (Do It Yourself) – Many of the stove designs out there require you to fabricate your own setup which can prove to be challenging or inconvenient for many�

White Gas/Coleman Fuel historically called white gas Coleman fuel is a petroleum naptha product marketed by The Coleman Company. It is a liquid petroleum distillate fuel �

Propane/LPG� is a three-carbon alkane, normally a gas, but compressible to a transportable liquid. It is derived from other petroleum products during oil or natural gas processing. When used as vehicle fuel, it is commonly known as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG or LP-gas), which can be a mixture of propane along with small amounts of propylene, butane, and butylene.�



Advantages include:

generally weigh a bit more than other stoves but since you don’t have to carry fuel this system may be lighter than other systems for long trips

able to melt enormous amounts of snow without carrying huge amounts of fuel

cheap to make, free fuel

potential for unlimited hot water and even water purification

smoke may get rid or decrease the amount of bugs in your campsite

use as a heater to warm up cold bones on chilly evenings and brisk mornings

produce less overall pollution than other fuels (no drilling, refining, transporting, etc)

renewable energy source

a wood fire is magical

Disadvantages include:

weight, bulk

blackening of pots and everything your pot and stove touches in your pack

everything you hike with will smell like smoke

need to hunt for fuel at the end of the day or during your trek

dependence on availability of dry burnable wood

slow cook time

need to fiddle with the fire

knowledge of fire building required

potential to start forest fire in dry windy areas

may be banned in your hike area �



Kerosene, known as paraffin oil in the United Kingdom, is a flammable liquid obtained by distilling petroleum at a high temperature.

Advantages include:

easy to find

high heat output

easy to find and inexpensive fuels (often the only fuel option available in many remote places)

the only type of stoves that may work in extremely cold environments (Alaska, Antarctica, Himalayas, Northern Europe in their respective winters)

some can burn a variety of fuels

fuels have high heat to weight ratio

Disadvantages include:

outrageous weight to include weight of fuel containers


caustic fuel

explosive fuel



many don’t simmer well unless you block the flame from your pot while wasting fuel

stove cost

jet noise (pressurized versions)

flare ups can be dangerous

some fuels blacken pots with soot

significant maintenance concerns

complicated to operate (a plus for some)

most require pumping

fuel storage concerns

skin exposure to fuels extreme cold can be dangerous �


Requires fuel that could otherwise be used elsewhere and electrical compentry that breaks down.Noise is also an issue in a PAW environment, letting others know you have supplies and fuel.�

Types of Stoves;

Firstly there are a few other advantages and disadvantages of fuels here in oz, relating to selecting a stove. �

Butane type cookers, of which Im about to purchase my first as a backup are great little units but only have fuel for sale within capital cities. Yourd be lucky to find any cartridges any where else. Purchasing them in bulk from supermarket sales are the cheapest option but not a renewable resorce. Great for short term meals that are safe to store for long periods of time as compared to liquid fuels and can be used inside safely. Im purchasing one for easier cooking inside my bus instead of carrying LPG containers which need to be attached to the outside of the vehicle.�

Metho can be brought anywhere and trangia type cookers although slow are the backbone of back up systems for cooking. A very safe fuel to use aswell.

Coleman fuel, once again hard to find anywhere but major camping stores. �

LPG, requires a fill point. If stocks are low, then your buggered. I used a high pressure camping stove for several years and found I’d run out of gas within a fortnight when using all the time. I changed to a low pressure unit from a marine shop. A maxbuilt/tudor brand made from stainles steel. Its still going after 10 years and used it everyday in� an old double decker bus for three years straight . Found a 4.5 litre bottle would last me around 3 to 4 months. Not only cooking everyday but also boiling water for dish wahing. Low pressure units are the way to go. I just looked up the price of these and they have doubled with the cost of stainless in the last few years.

Charcoal I tend to use with a webber BBQ for long term cooking. Meaning anything that requires 2 to 3 hours of cooking time such as roasts etc. Its of no use lighting up a dozen charcoal briquettes for a cuppa. Whenever a roast is finished always have something else ready to go on to use up the heat such as bread or seasoning pots etc. Ive found if storing briquettes in the shed with any moisture present, they eventually become hard to ignite. For this reason Ive started storing them in screw top plastic drums with rubber seals. A good storable backup. Importing a volcano stove would cost more than the unit itself and Ive found out from the manufacturer that its best to use charcoal and not large pieces of timber in the unit. Using briquettes with a camp oven is another option and very easy to do.

For this reason several stoves are really neccessary and not just one type of fuel. This is also a good idea if fuels for one type of cooker become hard to find, there will be a backup for your backup.�

Using kero, petrol or diesel. Id rather keep the petrol and diesel for running vehicles, power tools and lighting than for cooking and from the city have to drive over 45 minutes to a rural area to find 20 litre drums of kero, or else its one litre plastic bottles from camping stores at quadrupple the price. If I was set on using petrol for cooking. Id rather run a small genny but the amount of fuel used for output when compared to low pressure gas units has out weighed the temptation.�

What I use

I have the following set up. A gas Heatlie BBQ for fryups using 9 kilo gas bottles that last for several months each. Larger sized bottles than this are hard to lift and find places that will refill them. The tudor two burner bench top cooker that can attach to the BBQ with an accessory hose for boiling and grilling. The webber for charcoal briquettes for long cooking times that would otherwise exhaust fuel supplies. My backup is old faithfull. My trangia using metho. For quick cookups the butane single burner with a small stash of canisters. Timber is available everywhere city and country along the roads, parks etc. Having an open fire is a waste of fuel when rationing and uncontrollable within a domestic area. Ive found a small practical cooker called an ozpig, that contains the fire and conserves fuel better. The small chimney also keeps smoke out of your face.

Im going to try and make my own pizza oven for a project in the near future for baking but still trying to figure out a stand, so its movable. That leaves emergency stoves, which are the old cat food tin/pepsi can/tuna can stoves that are home made. see links below on construction and designs. Knowing how to make these can get you out of a bind if metho is available. The pocket cooker for firewood use is another option , once again as a backup to your emergency backup and folds down for eay storage.

Emergency Stove links

Catfood Can Stoves�

Tuna Can Stove

Pepsi Can Stoves�

Home Made Pizza Ovens�

Pizza oven Info

Food cooked on a wood fire has a very special flavour about it, and having a wood fired pizza oven in your own garden is a fantastic addition. It is a good idea, when taking on a project like this, to get advice from a builder or structural engineer, and always check with your local council.�

Pizza Oven Design
This design is constructed in an adobe style brick dome that is mud rendered. Large wooden posts support the base and raise the oven to a level that is ergonomic and comfortable to use.�

Try to use reused materials wherever possible. Some that were sourced for this project were: �
Timber bearers for framing, tin from the roof of a house, �
Sand, cement, gravel & reinforceing mesh for the concrete slab, �
Second-hand, solid, common bricks for the oven,�
Firebricks and mortar for the base of the oven,�
Clay, sand and straw for the adobe render. �

Ensure there are no overhanging branches or debris in the area that could pose a fire risk.�
The ground surface should be comfortable to work on, but it is most important that the base of the oven is level and is positioned at approximately hip height to give a comfortable cooking and serving surface. �

The posts are going to take the weight of the concrete slab and that of the pizza oven. Find a central point from which to measure the radius of the pizza oven. It is underneath the circumference of the oven that will carry most of the weight. The posts should be positioned to bear this weight.�

Construction – the Base
Treated turpentine posts have been used in this construction. This is very dense timber and has an extremely long life. Ensure that the posts are made from a strong, long-lasting material. �
Notch the posts ready to slot in the bearers. The bearers will support the concrete slab. The slab will rest on top of the four posts.�
Dig the holes, leaving the soil at the bottom of the hole loose to allow for the post to be easily twisted into position and levelled. Check that all four posts are level before proceeding to firm the posts in the ground. The bearers should form a level framework through the posts and sit flush into the top of them.�
Place the tin on top of the bearers, to the shape of the concrete base and secure it with self-tapping screws. Place and secure a framework around the perimeter of the tin, which will contain the concrete. �
Place a circle of old hose, made to the circumference of the base of the proposed pizza oven, onto the tin in a rough outline of the position it will take. Also mark the entrance door. This is just to check that the design will fit the proportions of the base, and its orientation in relation to the garden. Remove before laying the reinforcing mesh.�
Place reinforcing mesh over the base, tying pieces together with wire, using supports to elevate it above the base. Do not allow the steel mesh to come in contact with the roofing tin because corrosion will occur.�
Concrete recipe – 3 parts sand : 2 parts gravel or blue metal : 1 part cement. Pour the concrete, tamping it down to fill all the voids, using a float to smooth over the surface. �
Allow the base to cure for several days before beginning the construction of the dome.�

Construction – the Dome
Place the second-hand bricks in the shape of the outline of the dome. These bricks will be a firm base on which to build the dome.�
Place an insulation layer of double washed river sand in the base of the dome to a depth of 40 – 100 mm. This layer provides thermal mass to trap the heat, so the thicker it is the more successfully it will hold heat in the oven.�
Place a layer of refractory firebricks on top of the sand, covering the entire area of the bottom of the pizza oven. Place the whole bricks tightly together then mark them to the outside edge and cut them with an angle grinder.�
A refractory mortar must be used to fix the bricks together for the oven. Ordinary cement mortar will crack and crumble when exposed to the heat of the oven.�
Use more of the washed river sand to fill in the gaps around the edge between the refractory bricks and the clay bricks, and also leaving a thin layer around the edge to prevent any mortar from getting on the refractory bricks�
To create the angle on the bricks: cut the bricks in half, with the bricks inside the oven touching, and with a gap of 15 mm on the outside of the dome, the construction will gradually arch over, but a well shaped dome is achieved in combination with a good eye. The brickwork does not need to be extraordinarily neat, because it will be covered with the adobe finish and the holes and gaps will be filled with this finishing layer. �
Fondue is an additive for cement that will cause it to set more quickly. This can be used when the bricks are beginning to arch over and tend to be difficult to hold in position. Another trick is to place boxes or similar behind the bricks to hold them in position.�
An alternative is to shape a dome of moist, firm, bush sand over the pizza oven base and build the brick construction over the top of it. Place a sheet of black plastic over the firebricks first, to keep them clean. The form of the bricks will follow the shape of the sand dome. To cut some corners, foam boxes can be used to fill some of the space under the sand, and will also lessen the need to dig out and remove so much sand when the brick dome is completed. Ensure that this material can be easily removed through the doorway.�
Construct some formwork for the entrance door to the pizza oven. Ensure that the width of the door is larger than the largest tray that you intend to use for cooking. The arch could be shaped from two pieces of plywood that are joined together by strips of timber. This formwork will hold the shape of the doorway while the bricks are set in place over the top of it. The height of this should be no more than 63% of the internal height of the dome. �

Applying the Adobe Render
Before applying the adobe render the bricks should be wet down thoroughly. Because the bricks are very porous they will draw out all the moisture in the clay finish. The slower the drying process the less cracks there will be when it dries.�
The adobe render is mixed at proportions of 30% clay : 70% sand with some added straw to bind the mix together.�
Apply the mixture about 6 cm thick all over the whole dome.�
When the mortar has set, remove the formwork used for the door, and remove the sand and supports that have been used inside the oven to build the dome.�
Once this first coat of mud render is completely dry, a second finishing layer can be applied to weatherproof the surface. One alternative is to apply a layer of cement render made from 3 parts washed sand : 1 part cement : 1 part lime (optional). Coloured oxide can be added to create any desired coloured finish. This will need to cure for several weeks before the oven can be fired up. Another alternative is to paint the surface with cement slurry made from just cement and water with added coloured oxide if desired, or a waterproofing agent like bondcrete and cement can be used.�
The oven can be given an individual touch that complements the design or style of the landscape in which it has been built. Sculptural additions can be made, or surface textures, patterns or motifs can be applied – glass, broken china, marbles, pebbles; it is only limited by the imagination. The oven can be given a creative touch or can remain as a simple earthy construction. �

This design has allowed for a chimney. This is not necessary in an outdoor oven, but if this oven were to be built inside, it would need to be flued to the outside of the building.�