Another of my recent acquisitions is a little folding Coleman Shovel and Pick.
I keep in my truck and it’s small overall size and ability to be easy assembled and disassembled means that it takes up practacilly no room whatsoever.
It’s small size also makes it suitable for most survival situations and you could easily throw one in your Bug Out Bag without having to worry about it taking up a large amount of room or weighing you down.
•Small carrying pouch with belt loop included
•Can be used as a pick, shovel
•Positive locking collar which hold the blade firmly in configuration
•Open length 58 cm (23″) , folded length 25 cm (10″)
•Breaks down easily to a 10″-long compact kit
All and all I think the Coleman Camping Shovel/Pick is of very good quality.
I find the compact belt size package to be quite useful especilly if you want to strap it to your Bug Out Bag, belt, webbing, etc.
If you want a small camping/hiking/Bug Out Bag shovel then this is a great package, but it you are looking for something to dig trenches with then look elsewhere.
It’s always a good idea to know how to make fire with flint and steel or by rubbing sticks together but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pack a lighter for when you need a quick flame with minimal fuss.
The Windmill Delta Stormproof Lighter lets you make a quick fire without having to burn those precious calories you need to survive if TSHTF.
Designed to light in winds as high as 80 miles per hour, this survival lighter will also work in temperatures down to 40 degrees below zero F!!
The Delta Storm proof lighter utilizes a platinum catalyzer coil to ignite butane fuel via piezo-electric ignition. This allows it to make a flame even when damp(very handy in a survival situation).
The manufacturer claims the lighter will perform thirty thousand ignitions. With a full tank butane (one gram) , you can expect about 300 three to five second ignitions, easily enough for several week long expeditions.
The Delta Shockproof Series has a large fuel window that makes it easy to check on fuel levels.
Two other handy features are it’s adjustable gas flow which allows for usage at varying elevations and O-ring seals that keep water out when the cap is closed.
All in all I find it too be a very robust, strong and powerful little lighter than will definately be your best friend in a survival situation.
I haven’t gotten a chance to run a feild test with this lighter yet due to a Fire Ban currently being in effect in my area but as soon I can I will conduct one and post it on the site.
If you are out in the middle of the wilderness you have to constantly be aware of the weather.
Depending on your location the weather can change very rapidly and you need to be able prepare according in advance.
There are several good indicators of climatic changes.
You can determine wind direction by dropping a few leaves or grass or by watching the treetops.
Once you determine the wind direction, you can predict the type of weather that is imminent.
Rapidly shifting winds indicate an unsettled atmosphere and a likely change in the weather.
Clouds come in a variety of shapes and patterns.
A general knowledge of clouds and the atmospheric conditions they indicate can help you predict the weather.
Smoke rising in a thin vertical column indicates fair weather.
Low rising or “flattened out” smoke indicates stormy weather.
Birds and Insects
Birds and insects fly lower to the ground than normal in heavy, moisture-laden air.
Such flight indicates that rain is likely.
Most insect activity increases before a storm, but bee activity increases before fair weather.
Slow-moving or imperceptible winds and heavy, humid air often indicate a low-pressure front.
Such a front promises bad weather that will probably linger for several days.
You can “smell” and “hear” this front.
The sluggish, humid air makes wilderness odors more pronounced than during high-pressure conditions.
In addition, sounds are sharper and carry farther in low-pressure than high-pressure conditions.
If you have to travel or enact a self rescue in a winter survival situation you will face many obstacles.
Your location and the time of the year will determine the types of obstacles and the inherent dangers.
· Avoid traveling during a blizzard.
· Take care when crossing thin ice. Distribute your weight by lying flat and crawling.
· Cross streams when the water level is lowest. Normal freezing and thawing action may cause a stream level to vary as much as 2 to 2.5 meters per day. This variance may occur any time during the day, depending on the distance from a glacier, the temperature, and the terrain. Consider this variation in water level when selecting a campsite near a stream.
· Consider the clear arctic air. It makes estimating distance difficult. You more frequently underestimate than overestimate distances.
· Do not travel in “whiteout” conditions. The lack of contrasting colors makes it impossible to judge the nature of the terrain.
· Always cross a snow bridge at right angles to the obstacle it crosses. Find the strongest part of the bridge by poking ahead of you with a pole or ice axe. Distribute your weight by crawling or by wearing snowshoes or skis.
· Make camp early so that you have plenty of time to build a shelter.
· Consider frozen or unfrozen rivers as avenues of travel. However, some rivers that appear frozen may have soft, open areas that make travel very difficult or may not allow walking, skiing, or sledding.
· Use snowshoes if you are traveling over snow-covered terrain. Snow 30 or more centimeters deep makes traveling difficult. If you do not have snowshoes, make a pair using willow, strips of cloth, leather, or other suitable material.
It is almost impossible to travel in deep snow without snowshoes or skis.
Traveling by foot leaves a wellmarked trail for any pursuers to follow.
If you must travel in deep snow, avoid snow-covered streams.
The snow, which acts as an insulator, may have prevented ice from forming over the water.
In hilly terrain, avoid areas where avalanches appear possible.
Travel in the early morning in areas where there is danger of avalanches.
On ridges, snow gathers on the lee side in overhanging piles called cornices.
These often extend far out from the ridge and may break loose if stepped on.
Even a winter survival situation you can NEVER overlook the importance of water.
Let’s run over the basics of obtaining water in a cold climate survival situation.
There are many sources of water in a cold weather survival situation.
Your location and the season of the year will determine where and how you obtain water.
Water sources in arctic and subarctic regions are more sanitary than in other regions due to the climatic and environmental conditions.
However, always purify the water before drinking it.
Water from ponds or lakes may be slightly stagnant, but still usable.
Running water in streams, rivers, and bubbling springs is usually fresh and suitable for drinking.
The brownish surface water found in a tundra during the summer is a good source of water.
However, you may have to filter the water before purifying it.
You can melt freshwater ice and snow for water.
Completely melt both before putting them in your mouth.
Trying to melt ice or snow in your mouth takes away body heat and may cause internal cold injuries.
If on or near pack ice in the sea, you can use old sea ice to melt for water.
In time, sea ice loses its salinity.
You can identify this ice by its rounded corners and bluish color.
You can use body heat to melt snow.
Place the snow in a water bag and place the bag between your layers of clothing.
This is a slow process, but you can use it on the move or when you have no fire.
Note: Do not waste fuel to melt ice or snow when drinkable water is available from other sources.
When ice is available, melt it, rather than snow.
One cup of ice yields more water than one cup of snow.
Ice also takes less time to melt.
You can melt ice or snow in a water bag, MRE ration bag, tin can, or improvised container by placing the container near a fire.
Begin with a small amount of ice or snow in the container and, as it turns to water, add more ice or snow.
Another way to melt ice or snow is by putting it in a bag made from porous material and suspending the bag near the fire.
Place a container under the bag to catch the water.
During cold weather, avoid drinking a lot of liquid before going to bed.
Crawling out of a warm sleeping bag at night to relieve yourself means less rest and more exposure to the cold.
Once you have water, keep it next to you to prevent refreezing.
Today I’m going to continue to discuss the different shelters you can quickly build in a winter survival situation.
Remember: Even the simplest shelter can mean the difference between life and death.
Snow House or Igloo
In certain areas, the natives frequently use this type of shelter as hunting and fishing shelters.
They are efficient shelters but require some practice to make them properly.
Also, you must be in an area that is suitable for cutting snow blocks and have the equipment to cut them (snow saw or knife).
Construct this shelter in the same manner as for other environments; however, pile snow around the sides for insulation.
Fallen Tree Shelter
To build this shelter, find a fallen tree and dig out the snow underneath it.
The snow will not be deep under the tree.
If you must remove branches from the inside, use them to line the floor.
Dig snow out from under a suitable large tree.
It will not be as deep near the base of the tree.
Use the cut branches to line the shelter.
Use a ground sheet as overhead cover to prevent snow from falling off the tree into the shelter.
If built properly, you can have 360-degree visibility.
Here’s some basic shelter you can build rather quickly and efficiently.
Snow Cave Shelter
The snow cave shelter is a most effective shelter because of the insulating qualities of snow.
Remember that it takes time and energy to build and that you will get wet while building it.
First, you need to find a drift about 3 meters deep into which you can dig.
While building this shelter, keep the roof arched for strength and to allow melted snow to drain down the sides.
Build the sleeping platform higher than the entrance.
Separate the sleeping platform from the snow cave’s walls or dig a small trench between the platform and the wall.
This platform will prevent the melting snow from wetting you and your equipment.
This construction is especially important if you have a good source of heat in the snow cave.
Ensure the roof is high enough so that you can sit up on the sleeping platform.
Block the entrance with a snow block or other material and use the lower entrance area for cooking.
The walls and ceiling should be at least 30 centimeters thick. Install a ventilation shaft.
If you do not have a drift large enough to build a snow cave, you can make a variation of it by piling snow into a mound large enough to dig out.
Snow Trench Shelter
The idea behind this shelter is to get you below the snow and wind level and use the snow’s insulating qualities.
If you are in an area of compacted snow, cut snow blocks and use them as overhead cover.
If not, you can use a poncho or other material. Build only one entrance and use a snow block or rucksack as a door.
Snow Block and Parachute/Tarp Shelter
Use snow blocks for the sides and parachute (or a large tarp) material for overhead cover.
If snowfall is heavy, you will have to clear snow from the top at regular intervals to prevent the collapse of the material.
In a winter survival situation shelter from the elements is essential.
Without it you will not last long (usually just a couple of hours once night falls).
Here’s the basic knowledge you need if you are going to survive out in the cold.
Your environment and the equipment you have with you will determine the type of shelter you can build.
You can build shelters in wooded areas, open country, and barren areas. Wooded areas usually provide the best location, while barren areas have only snow as building material.
Wooded areas provide timber for shelter construction, wood for fire, and protection from the wind.
Note: In extreme cold, do not use metal, such as an aircraft fuselage, for shelter as the metal will conduct away from the shelter what little heat you can generate.
Shelters made from ice or snow usually require tools such as ice axes or saws.
You must also expend much time and energy to build such a shelter.
Be sure to ventilate an enclosed shelter, especially if you intend to build a fire in it.
Always block a shelter’s entrance, if possible, to keep the heat in and the wind out.
Use a rucksack or snow block. to do this.
Construct a shelter no larger than needed.
This will reduce the amount of space to heat.
A fatal error in cold weather shelter construction is making the shelter so large that it steals body heat rather than saving it.
Keep shelter space small.
Never sleep directly on the ground.
Lay down some pine boughs, grass, or other insulating material to keep the ground from absorbing your body heat.
Never fall asleep without turning out your stove or lamp.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can result from a fire burning in an unventilated shelter.
Carbon monoxide is a great danger as it is colorless and odorless.
Any time you have an open flame, it may generate carbon monoxide.
Always check your ventilation.
Even in a ventilated shelter, incomplete combustion can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
Usually, there are no symptoms.
Unconsciousness and death can occur without warning.
Sometimes, however, pressure at the temples, burning of the eyes, headache, pounding pulse, drowsiness, or nausea may
The one characteristic, visible sign of carbon monoxide poisoning is a cherry red coloring in the tissues of the lips, mouth, and inside of the eyelids.
Get into fresh air at once if you have any of these symptoms.
Over the next few days I’m going to show you some various types of field-expedient shelter you can build quickly and effeciently in a winter survival situation.
Here’s the second segment of Dealing With Cold Related Injuries in a Winter Survival Situation.
Today I’m giving you the basics on dehyrdration, sunburn, snow blindness and constipation in a cold weather survival situation.
When bundled up in many layers of clothing during cold weather, you may be unaware that you are losing body moisture.
Your heavy clothing absorbs the moisture that evaporates in the air.
You must drink water to replace this loss of fluid.
Your need for water is as great in a cold environment as it is in a warm environment.
One way to tell if you are becoming dehydrated is to check the color of your urine on snow.
If your urine makes the snow dark yellow, you are becoming dehydrated and need to replace body fluids.
If it makes the snow light yellow to no color, your body fluids have a more normal balance.
Exposed skin can become sunburned even when the air temperature is below freezing.
The sun’s rays reflect at all angles from snow, ice, and water, hitting sensitive areas of skin–lips, nostrils, and eyelids.
Exposure to the sun results in sunburn more quickly at high altitudes than at low altitudes.
Apply sunburn cream or lip salve to your face when in the sun.
The reflection of the sun’s ultraviolet rays off a snow-covered area causes this condition.
The symptoms of snow blindness are a sensation of grit in the eyes, pain in and over the eyes that increases with eyeball movement, red and teary eyes, and a headache that intensifies with continued exposure to light.
Prolonged exposure to these rays can result in permanent eye damage.
To treat snow blindness, bandage your eyes until the symptoms disappear.
The best way you can prevent snow blindness is by wearing sunglasses.
If you don’t have sunglasses, improvise.
Cut slits in a piece of cardboard, thin wood, tree bark, or other available material and assemble them into makesift glasses like the ones below.
Putting soot under your eyes will also help reduce shine and glare.
It is very important to relieve yourself when needed.
Do not delay because of the cold condition.
Delaying relieving yourself because of the cold, eating dehydrated foods, drinking too little liquid, and irregular eating habits can cause you to become constipated.
Although not disabling, constipation can cause some discomfort.
Increase your fluid intake to at least 2 liters above your normal 2 to 3 liters daily intake and, if available, eat fruit and other foods that will loosen the stool.
If you get stranded outside in cold weather then you not only to worry about hypothermia, but also a wide range of other cold weather related injuries.
Over the next few days my posts are going to focus on the most common cold related injuries.
Today I’ll give you the run down on Frostbite and Trench/Immersion Foot.
This injury is the result of frozen tissues.
Light frostbite involves only the skin that takes on a dull whitish pallor.
Deep frostbite extends to a depth below the skin.
The tissues become solid and immovable.
Your feet, hands, and exposed facial areas are particularly vulnerable to frostbite.
The best frostbite prevention, when you are with others, is to use the buddy system.
Check your buddy’s face often and make sure that they checks yours.
If you are alone, periodically cover your nose and lower part of your face with your mittened hand.
The following pointers will aid you in keeping warm and preventing frostbite when it is extremely cold or when you have less than adequate clothing:
· Face. Maintain circulation by twitching and wrinkling the skin on your face making faces. Warm with your hands.
· Ears. Wiggle and move your ears. Warm with your hands.
· Hands. Move your hands inside your gloves. Warm by placing your hands close to your body.
· Feet. Move your feet and wiggle your toes inside your boots.
A loss of feeling in your hands and feet is a sign of frostbite.
If you have lost feeling for only a short time, the frostbite is probably light.
Otherwise, assume the frostbite is deep.
To rewarm a light frostbite, use your hands or mittens to warm your face and ears.
Place your hands under your armpits.
Place your feet next to your buddy’s stomach.
REMEMBER: A deep frostbite injury, if thawed and refrozen, will cause more damage than a nonmedically trained person can handle.
Trench Foot and Immersion Foot
These conditions result from many hours or days of exposure to wet or damp conditions at a temperature just above freezing.
The symptoms are a sensation of pins and needles, tingling, numbness, and then pain.
The skin will initially appear wet, soggy, white, and shriveled.
As it progresses and damage appears, the skin will take on a red and then a bluish or black discoloration.
The feet become cold, swollen, and have a waxy appearance.
Walking becomes difficult and the feet feel heavy and numb.
The nerves and muscles sustain the main damage, but gangrene can occur.
In extreme cases, the flesh dies and it may become necessary to have the foot or leg amputated.
The best prevention is to keep your feet dry.
Carry extra socks with you in a waterproof packet.
You can dry wet socks against your torso (back or chest).
If possible wash your feet and put on dry socks daily.