If you dream of being the next Ray Mears, you understand the importance of being prepared for anything nature might throw your way.
We have found 10 innovative homemade survival techniques to keep you alive, with a few dollars left in your pocket.
1. Survival Biscuits
When you begin to get peckish on a long sea voyage and the last packet of crisps were gobbled days ago, or find yourself stranded in the jungle without '101 Berries You Shouldn't Eat or You Will Die Horribly', we have found a perfect recipe to keep you alive and satisfied, without the need of a refrigerator.
Hardtack is a long lasting cracker made from basic flour and water. The art of making it last is in the making of it so read carefully:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Measure 2 cups of flour, and put in a mixing bowl.
Slowly add water (salted or unsalted) a little at a time to make a dough.
Roll out the dough until it is 1/4 inch thick (you can make it thicker, but remember there are no dentists out in the wilderness to fix any chips on your teeth!)
Cut the dough into squares, bigger than the modern saltine cracker. Use a fork to prick holes in the top to let the steam escape.
Lay out squares on a baking tray.
The cooking temperatures vary, so listen up! - Bake at 350 degrees of the first 15 minutes. For the next 30 minutes cook at 250 degrees, and then for another 30 minutes, turn the heat down to 200 degrees.
Throughout, flip them with a spatula so they are evenly cooked on both sides.
You will know they are done when the squares are hard, and either still white or off white. Don't wait until they burn!
You'll be happy to know that you carry around highly flammable materials every time you wear your favorite blue jeans. Well, maybe not particularly
happy in normal circumstances, but when you need to light a fire pretty quickly and need to get your hands on some tinder, just reach into your pocket and use the lint! It ignites very quickly-you'll be glad you wore your favorite jeans on your hiking-trip-gone-wrong.
Of course we all know that water is crucial to our survival. However, many adventurers have uncovered that they have finished their last drop of Evian on a four day mountain trek and there only alternative is some dodgy looking lake water. What can they do with that water?
Well the answer lies in the bathroom. Bleach. And no, please don't take a gulp to prove us wrong! With a few drops you can actually purify water and kill off any microorganisms.
This interesting method lets us see (or smell) how well the bleach has killed the little critters, and lets us know when the water is ready for consumption. (Please be aware, you may be even more thirsty after waiting for it to be right, but hold on!)
Typical fresh household chlorine bleach has about 5.35% chlorine content (be sure to read the label).
To use household bleach for disinfecting water:
Add two drops of bleach per quart/liter of water.
Stir it well.
Let the mixture stand for a half hour before drinking.
If the water is cloudy with suspended particles:
First filter the water as best you can.
Double the amount of bleach you add to the water.
Before drinking the water, it is important to smell it. As bleach is an oxidant, it ill kill pretty much all cellular life it comes into contact with. When this reaction happens, the bleach is actually consumed in the process.
So, if you can't smell any bleach, it means that the bleach has been working hard to destroy everything in sight. However because there is no smell, all the bleach has been used up and there could still be some lurking microorganisms.
What we really need to smell is a hint of bleach, that is still there after half an hour. The bleach has killed them all and there's some to spare. But not too much. Simple? YEAH!
The last thing you want to find is how that bargain/cheap poncho you bough last minute isn't actually waterproof. And now it's raining. And you are very, very far from home. This water seal is a great way of avoiding the problem, and is really easy to get hold of.
You can use it on loads of things before your big trip - tents, tarps, whatever fabrics you can think of! Just test it on a small area and then just dip or coat the item. Wonderful!
5. Pet Food Can Stove
As Ray Mears once said, if you begin to panic when lost in the wilderness, the best thing to do is pull up a...log, and make yourself a nice cup of tea. He makes it sounds so easy, doesn't he? What if you don't have a kettle Ray?
We have found the perfect solution - a very easy to make, home built stove. The 'Super Cat' stove, as its known, is made from a single 3 ounce aluminum pet food can that serves as both the stove and the pot stand. Once you've gathered your materials, it takes only a few minutes to complete. It has a reputation of being able to boil 2 cups of water in under 4 minutes. Problem solved, Ray would be impressed.
Now that you've a hot tea in your hand, it's time to work out where in the world you are...
Click here to download a copy of the SUPER CAT build instructions. The document is an Acrobat (PDF) file about 1.6MB in size, and contains text, photos and diagrams that will allow you to easily construct your own stove.
It's been pouring for hours, your feet are sopping and you haven't found shelter for miles and miles. The rain seems to be seeping into all your pores and you've gone past the stage of being so wet you're warm. Finally you reach some shelter. You quickly pull out your box of matches to start up a fire and begin to strike...and not a single flame. Nothing. Thinking back, you still resent the price of those waterproof matches, despite the rain.
Has this ever been you? Or, at least, the resentment of paying a fortune part? Well how about making your own waterproof matches...
The BEST & SAFEST Method is to use Turpentine. (
Turpentine has a higher "flash point" relative to Acetone, which commonly used in Nail Polish. Nor does it involve the use of flame as is needed in the Wax or Paraffin methods.)
Pour 2 to 3 large tablespoons of Turpentine into a small (Tumbler sized) glass.
Place the matches, (Head down) into the Turpentine and allow the matches to soak for 5 minutes. During that time the turpentine will soak into the head as well as the stem. All the water will be driven off by the turpentine.
Remove the matches and spread them out to dry out on a sheet of newspaper. Generally, 20 minutes for excess turpentine to be evaporated is recommended. Matches treated in this way remain waterproof for several months or longer.
You remembered your can o' pop and a chocolate bar on your mountainous mission, but, darn it, you forgot your lighter! You'll be surprised to learn that, no, you're not seriously thoughtless, you can actually create a fire from both these materials.
By rubbing chocolate onto the bottom of the can you can create a high shine. By focusing the sun onto some timber using the can, you create a fire.
But please, don't eat the chocolate after the rubbing process. It won't taste too good, and isn't good for your survival!
OK, so they're not Ray Ban Wayfarers, and you're likely to turn heads on the beach for the wrong reason, but these bark sunglasses may be a requirement for your survival.
Unless you protect your eyes from the sun, ultra violet rays can actually burn your eyes. The symptoms may be delayed, so at some point on your trip you may find yourself unable to find your way to safety.
So, follow these simple instructions:
Cut the bark into a rectangular shape.
Measure the distance between the center points of your eyes.
Transfer this measurement to the center of the bark and cut out a small slit for each eye. The slit should not be very large, perhaps 1/8 inch wide at most.
In the center bottom of the bark cut out a wedge shaped piece for the bridge of your nose.
Survival snow goggles are made from whatever materials are at hand in order to protect the wearer from snow blindness. Wood, bark, cloth, or other materials can be used. And you never know, it could be the next big thing.