21.1.09

Expedition Innuit Hunter




Survival skills are many and varied, the skills of those who live in extreme climates are well defined.

Many of our skills are based upon them but rare indeed is the chance to learn them first hand. Almost priceless is the chance to live and work, sharing skills and stories with native peoples but this is what Survivall aims to bring you - what rare priceless chance of a lifetime!!


Tentatively named Innuit Hunter our first trip of a life time will take us to Northern Greenland where we will NOT be doing the tourist thing but WILL be living and working with a group of Innuit hunters as they travel north on a hunting and fishing trip.

We will join them, share the skills and experience the truth life of a native Inuit - a priceless experience.

Planning for the April 2010 exped/course ( as it will be as much a learning experience as journey) is well underway so if your interested connect us directly or watch this space for further information!!

13.1.09

Tools

Elsewhere we've talked about pocket knives and camp knives ect but what does it all mean?? What should the survivor aim to carry??

Of course the best survival knife will always be the one you had with you while you survived but as, in general, its most likely the survival situation will happen because your going into a situation where disaster could strike shouldnt the prepared survivor carry the optimum tools before hand??

For a bushcrafter this is now typically a SFA, folding saw and a woodlore clone knife but the survivor might not have recourse to carry all that hardware - after all if your a hillwalker do you wanna carry a axe all day everyday for no good reason except JUST IN CASE? No of course not - the same applies to the climber or the canoeist ....

The survivor really needs a simple tool or tools that are utilitarian and strong while also being useful in many diverse situations. Here I personaly think a large (7" plus)knife and a smaller pocket knife are most practical.

The big knife carried in the daysack is lighter than a axe and less cumbersome to carry but generally as useful as a hatchet and in most cases safer to use. Be the big knife a kukri - a fjallraven A2 - a bearclaw wilderness knife or a martindale golok it must be kept sheathed and secured in the pack when not in use ( of course in a true emergency then wearing it is better) it must be kept sharp - a blunt knife is a screwdriver and dangerious to use and totally inefficient.

The smaller pocket knife is key - many people sing the praises of a sheath knife even a small one and are oftne correct as it is stronger ect ect but equally under UK law illegal to carry in many instances - a small pocket knife with a blade less than two inches in length can be carried legally in most instances in the UK.

What this means is that by being able to carry it without fear of prosecution we are more likely to have it about our person in an emergency!!

The type of knife s open to the users taste - I carry the genuine Birish Army knife but the smaller swiss army knives all serve equally well.

In carrying and using the small knife we become proficient with it and in so doing we make it a valuable tool - a tool thats uses will soon far out weight its size.

And this is the key - THINK about the tool you carry - a EDC to use knife nut terms needs to become like a trusted old friend as only then will you be able to use it to the best you can in a survival situation.

Of course we'd all love a axe and a saw in a survival or emergency situation - but then so would we like a car and a mobile phone - and if we have them thats a real bonus but we still need to train to get by without them - learn to use the brain instead of the wallet .......................

An adaptation of an old army adage serves true - TRAIN HARDER SURVIVE EASIER

8.1.09

A metal pot is worth its weigh in gold!!

To survival - to live - any animal requires shelter, food and water as well as some source of warmth - fire or fur!

For man fire, shelter, food and water or the finding of them are generally our survival priorities. The order will be enviroment specific but pound to a pinch of pooh water will be right up there regardless ............

The is no terrian in the world where we can survive for more than a few days without water - more to the point without water to hydrate us it isnt long before our brain and body functions start to suffer - and in a survival situation a wrong decision can be fatal so keeping the brain well lubricated is highly important.

Elsewhere we've talked about filtering water - today I wanna get to the basics boiling it!

In a survival situation a metal pot in which we can boil water is worth its weight in gold!

So whats best?

Well any pot is better than none - the mini messtin or crusader mess tin used as a container for a survival kit is excellent - but if you want to carry a cooking pot thats versatile enough for a survival kit too I'd recommend the SWEDISH ARMY MESS KIT ( NOT the meal kit as its sometimes miscalled)



As can be seen the kit itself contains several parts -

1 the pots, one with a bail arm are well designed and thought out. The larger pot can be hung over a fire as well as used on the stove. The smaller pot is a cup, plate, frying pan - placed upside down on the main pot its a fuel saving lid - used in this way it can also be used to keep food warm while cooking other items int he main pot!
2. The windshield is designed to house the unit and is lightweight
3. The meths burner - or army trangia, is a bigger trangia than the civilian standard model - it holds more fuel (I have found one full stove will do a weekend of cooking) but a .5l quantity of fuel is recommended for about a week.
4. The fuel bottle - this little bottle holds a top up for weekends but isnt really meant for just that - its meant for the cold - sub zero survivor! How? Well ideally we should carry said bottle in our clothing to ensure the spirit stays warm and thus burns and lights better in the cold

The amount the main pot holds will allow the survivor to boil a large amount of water over a fire or on the stove and as such meet their water needs with safe drinking water and this is the key - the pot can be hung over a fire - stood in it - propped beside it - whichever way you care to use it.

So think about it logically - as Ray Mears says, "if you carry only one pot carry a large one!" - and if you carry a large one carry one that can be used in the most versatile ways ...................

5.1.09

Survival Course




Survival Courses.

Unlike men not all survival courses are created equal - its a sad fact that something in which you might one day have to entrust your life could be something thats so poor as to almost be a inhibitour to your chances of survival rather than an enhancer!!

Survival courses fall into two obvious catagories - survival courses run by dedicated survival schools and survival courses which are added to bushcraft courses - i.e bushcraft and survival.

To sort the wheat from the caff firstly we need to decide what we want - do we want a proper survival courses or a bolt on??

Once we have achieved that then comes the harder part - assuming we've decided its a proper survival course we select. Now we need to sift through the survival courses out there to decide which best suits our needs and our budget.

Budget need not be a guide - I know plenty of expensive courses are out there that teach next to nothing - equally there are some excellent courses which offer exceptional value for money!!

So what or our needs?? Well for a survivor a survival course should cover the basics (at entry level anyway) - you should also be taught some level of first aid, navigation and SAR's techniques as well as the obvious skills like fire lighting and shelter building!!

A survival course should touch on food but concentrate more on water - a survival course should also explain what and how a survival Tin works and what to carry in one!

For many the survival kit they carry will be the survival kit they rely on in a survival situation so a survival course should also teach you what you need in a kit and how to use it!!



Advanced survival courses and advanced techniques should be more stressing and more realistic as these are factors the survivor faces daily but at entry level we should also be taught about PMA and the stressors we ar elikely to face - after all forewarned is forearmed.

WHO runs quality survival courses? I cant vouch for many of the schools out there except for SurvivALL - but in selecting a survival course I am sure if you look for the above subject matter you should recieve a course which will empower you, building up both your knowledge base and your confidence and while not necessarily making a survival situation easy they will hopefully make the emergency situation more comfortable and enable you to deal with it in a local - confident - safe and ultimately satisfactory manner.

ALL Survival courses are not equal - the wiseman will bare this in mind and search hard for the best ones they can find - after all your life could really depend on it!