Thursday, 5 November 2015

Survival Training and Preparation

Why do we need to train in survivalism? 

Survival Training is necessary in case of any form of catastrophic change that could happen in the future. We do not know that anything will happen but we do know that it could. In view of the natural disasters around the world, continuous senseless wars, and the threat of a social breakdown we know that something could happen. I know that the mass of people will still ridicule people like us for doing what we are doing, but I see no need to take any notice of those who cannot see beyond the end of their noses. 

The problem with the masses is that they cannot accept change of any sort; they cannot accept any obstacle that gets in the way of their nice, easy life. This goes for any small thing that upsets their nice routine, or which gets in their way in everyday life. Even the smallest thing turns into a disaster! Take for instance when there is a power-cut, which is not something that happens often as it did when I was young, but which can on rare occasions cut of electric supplies to an area. 

You know the sort of thing that happens! 

'How's my little Willy going to cope without his X-Box?' 

'What am I going to do with the kids when the tele is not working?'

When I was young a power-cut caused so little disruption as to go almost unnoticed, today it is a major disaster! No-one seems to know what to do when the power is cut off. Of course, the typical line is 'Someone should do something about it' that 'someone' not being them, of course. Then the 'blame' sets in and everywhere is inundated with the moans and groans; this never achieves anything either! At one time I remember my parents keeping candles in stock just in case of a cut in electricity. I doubt if many will do this today.

Once upon a time it used to be said - 'Keep something back for a rainy day' - which meant putting a bit aside in saving just in case of an emergency in the future. Today's mass-consumers keep up their standard of living through credit which being based upon money lent with interest (usury) means that few will actually save today. When the problem does come it is too late. It was a really bad move to throw aside hundreds of years of knowledge built up and passed on through 'sayings' and 'proverbs'. 

Where the problem lies is in the nature of change which means disruptions to everyday life, and which the 'wolf-type' can handle because they already have the right mind-set to adapt to change. The herd-like 'sheep-type' cannot adapt themselves because they have been programmed to let others do things for them - the 'state' or 'big business' or any other 'authority' that is out there. 

When we take up Survival Training we do so to become more self-reliant, more self-sufficient, and more self-confident. It has long been established that in a survival situation some form of knowledge is far better than none, but the main thing that helps one person to survive and another to die is the will-to-live. This has been shown to exist in all animals too, as well as mankind - some push themselves to the limit to live, whilst others give up the struggle and die. This is called Survival Instinct and it is the key to living or dying in any situation. 

Just doing regular Survival Training helps to build self-confidence and a basic knowledge of what to do in certain situations. But there is also a need to be able to cope in various different situations, and to be able to overcome the obstacles that most just give up on and call for someone to help them - as in the above scenario. 

Why do we need to stockpile some foodstuffs?

I see also the need to stockpile a small amount of food such as tinned food and food with a long shelf-life which can be used in any emergency. There are certain things that need to be remembered here -

  • Ensure that you rotate the stock, i.e. when some of it gets near its sell-by date use it up and the replace it. Putting the stuff in boxes and dating the boxes will ensure this can be done. 
  • Tinned food may last a long time after its sell-by date, and I have used stuff over two years older than its date, but this does not apply to all tinned food. We put away some 'creamed rice' which was opened about a year after its date - it was completely off! So be careful to rotate stocks just as you would do with any stuff that is stockpiled.
  • Put a tin-opener in the boxes just in case! No point in building a stock of tins and not being able to open them. 
  • Putting away a small amount of food helps in any kind of emergency, and there could be many different types that are possible.

Keeping some foodstuffs even if nothing does happen is still going to ensure that you can have food at times when it is impossible to get out and get some. True, the supermarkets open all hours but this may not always be the case, and there is the chance of stocks not getting to the supermarkets or any shops if there was a shortage of fuel or a fuel strike, or a driver's strike etc. Because we do not get the strikes we did in the past does not mean that we will not get them in the future. 

Why do we need to train in some form of self-defense or martial arts?

Taking the above as an example, some decades ago there was a fuel strike and everything came to a standstill here in England. Factories and other work-places went on a three-day week and people were having to sit in long queues to get a few gallons of fuel. There was also the scenario where fights broke out at petrol pumps, with people losing control over getting a few gallons of fuel for themselves. It should be clear to anyone that in an era when ego-consciousness and self-gratification reigns supreme then everyone will be looking for themselves without regard for anyone else. This has shown up time after time, and the first problem that occurs when there is a 'shortage' looming is that the masses rush out to get as much as they can before anyone else - and with no regard for anyone else but themselves. This is exactly why there are shortages in the first place, since if people did not do this, and thought of others, then what is held in the petrol stations would last much longer. This has been the prime cause of shortages since the petrol strike mentioned, and the only reason for such shortages was self-interest on the part of most people. 

This also extends to other goods and in the past we have had shortages of various things from butter to toilet rolls - yes, there once was a press-statement about a shortage of toilet rolls and people ran out to grab as much as they could, creating a shortage. And all of this in 'stable' times, I may add. Now, place all this in the context of a social breakdown or some form of natural disaster and imagine what would happen then! All hell would break loose, and man would be turned against man!  

A basic knowledge of self-defense is a start and would help when things do get bad, or even now when our streets are not exactly devoid of violence. Things have got worse over the last few decades and will get worse still into the future.Survival Training and self-defense training will help us in our lives.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015


Cotton Wool as tinder

Kindling can be cotton wool (carried with you), small birch bark, old man's beard, or rosebay willow herb. Also used are dry bracken crunched up and broken into small pieces. You can use pine-resin which helps burning, or holly leaves.

Bracken/Fir as kindling

Very small pieces of birch-bark used as tinder

Pine needles used as kindling

Using small logs as a base to keep off the cold wet ground, here I have used small birch bark and dry bracken as tinder.

Before lighting a fire ensure that you are fully prepared by gathering kindling and then larger pieces and finally logs of different sizes. 

Build a small wig-wam shaped fire first and add more larger twigs - keeping the original shape. This keeps good air-flow but the shape burns very quickly, especially if birch logs are used.

This is a larger part of the fire.

When it gets large enough and burns too quickly push the fire down and place the logs across rather than in a wig-wam shape.

This is a 'criss-cross' fire where logs are placed across and then across the opposite way, building up as many layers as you need. This keeps good air-flow.




Use a Fire-Shield to reflect the heat from the fire into a shelter

Gather small kindling first before starting any fire; the tinder should be gathered first too, ideally taking some dry stuff with you when you go out. 


The tepee-shelter we put up in the woodlands locally lasted for over 5 years before it was crushed down by the 'woodland management' teams, but this does show that a shelter can be put up on a longer term basis. With hindsight if this had been put up in an area of small birch-pine (which there are many of here) it would have stayed there much longer because such areas with younger trees are not touched. However, the experience is what counts. 

A-Frame Shelter (small)

A-Frame Shelter (larger)

Lean-to shelter with camo

Lean-to shelter using basha

Lean-to shelter using tarp

Lean-to shelter using tarp - with frame

Clips that fit the tarp to the cordage

A-frame shelter using a frame and two small tarps

Alternative view of A-Frame with tarp over the top and the back. This sleeps around three people plus kit.

Large 4m x 3m or 4m x 4m tarp used as cover at Folk-Moots and also can be used to put smaller tents underneath to provide better cover. 

Tepee-shelter with camo - not quite covered then

These shelters have been put together as a guide to different ways of making a shelter with a tarp or basha. Having the equipment ready and with you makes life much easier, but in case you do not have the kit then the frames will act as the basis for a shelter made up from scratch.

Fishing Shelter

This fishing shelter with its rods takes up quite a bit of room, but when the rods are left out and it is rolled up into a small bundle it can be easily carried in a small day-sack. A cord is used to tie between two trees, further cords are used to tie the sides, and the base is pegged down with wooden pegs made up on site.

The advantage of this is that it is a shelter with a built-in ground sheet, keeping your kit and yourself dry in the wet weather or sheltered from the cold winds. As you can see it stands upright and taught without the poles. This way it can also be lowered at the front to keep worse weather out. 

As you can see here the kit can be fitted into the shelter to keep it dry and can be pushed to one side for sleeping in if necessary. It makes a good alternative to a tarp, and with the ground sheet integrated it takes up less room than a tarp and ground sheet. 

An alternative way of putting it up was by using small pieces of thin hazel-wood (which is very flexible) to go through the pole-loops. This works just as well as using the poles and can be done on site rather than carrying the poles with you. 

Snugpack Response Pack.

Snugpack Response Bag

The problem with much of survivalism is that more emphasis is placed upon equipment than upon the actual needs of surviving. A lot of stuff is excellent and worth having, but a lot is also more of a 'gimmick' than anything else. As Wodenists we should try to ensure that we do not get ensnared in this since it is no different than the Consumerism we seek to rid ourselves of. One thing that I found is of real use is the Snugpack Response Bag shown above. 

This small bag can be used to fit a knife, small axe, and a saw, as well as small stuff like a torch, paracord, lighter, matches, etc. It has one large pocket (which can also fit an mKettle) one front pocket, and twin side pockets - plenty of room to fit stuff for a day's outing into the woods. There is also room to tie a tarp on the outside too, which is quite useful for making a quick shelter. 

I have used these for some years now and have had no problems whatever with them; my children had one each too, which they do not use so much now being at college but which I have utilised for gardening tools. They have stood up to years of hard wear and tear and never a problem. One point however, Snugpack used to put these out at a lower price which went up a lot around 2-3 years ago, but there is an alternative and cheaper maker of an almost exact same bag - shop around!

The above is a Mini-Axe made by Gransford Bruks of Sweden, which will fit into the above Snugpack easily. It is small but very strong and when kept really sharp does a good job of cutting wood for fires or shelter-building. They are about £60.00 but worth every penny and mine has done the job for years with no problems.

This is an mKettle which costs around £50.00 or so and is smaller than the Kelly Kettle, thus ideal for fitting into the Snugpack or on the outside of it (it will strap on the outside easily. This is also not hot to touch on the outside when lit because it has a special covering. It can also be stored with water in because it has a secure rubber bung. Tinder can be stored in the base and it goes into a bag too.

The advantage of the mKettle is its size because it will also take a small methylated spirit burner in the base which makes using it easier because it lights and burns in any weather and does not deposit soot on the kettle. The small burner can be filled before going out and will make two cups of tea, coffer or cup-a-soup etc. from this one fill. This is enough for one trip out for a day. 

Small meths burner

The small tarp shown was used to make different shelters and will roll up and fit onto the Snugpack easily. I have always found it easier to sling the pack over the shoulder rather than carry the weight around the waist, but others may prefer to carry it strapped to the waist. Whatever the case it is really a useful piece of kit. The idea is to keep it ready for use by putting all the necessary equipment into it and leaving it somewhere that it can be had quickly. I have even put one in my car and left it ready for use when travelling.