Guerilla Survival

Guerilla Survival

Tuesday, 26 January 2021



Warning - These are shown as methods of making snares for use in an emergency: they have been made and built in order to know how this is done. Leaving these unattended for 'practice' is totally irresponsible and should not be done. The idea is to know how and where they should be built, which will serve as knowledge if you find yourself in a survival situation. 

This is simple to make and needs only two upright sticks and a cross-piece; the snare is attached to the cross-piece which also holds a bent twig that springs upwards when the prey gets into the snare. 

This is how the cross-piece fits to the upright, cutting about half-way and cutting the crosspiece to slot in. 

The snare should be placed on a rabbit-run or near to the base of trees for squirrels. This is just one example of how to build a snare-trap. 

The Need-Fire


Fire-by-Friction is one of the oldest ways to start a fire; it is very hard work but can be done if you can keep up the pace with the fire-bow. Below are the parts used for this -

  • The Fire-Bow.
  • Spindle.
  • The Hearth (Base)
  • The Bearing-Block (Top Piece).
The Spindle must have one end sharper than the other; the sharp end fits into the Bearing-Block and the rounded end fits into the Hearth. The Bearing-Block end should be lubricated by rubbing green leaves on it; the Hearth end, of course, needs the friction so should not be lubricated (or it will not work). 

Modified Version - 

Fire-Drill Kit

The above is a modified Fire-Drill Kit using a straight piece of wood as opposed to the 'bow'; this does not need to be as long and is tied in a different way which makes it easier to use, and, of course, easy to carry in a bag. 

The Fire-Bow Drill

More Fire-Lighting Tips

With practice fire-lighting becomes second-nature; the problem lies when it has been raining or snowing, in which case everything is wet. In this case here are a few more tips -

Place 1 inch sticks on the wet ground and put the tinder on top of the sticks; this helps to insulate from the ground and the logs burn from underneath as well as on top. The dried pine-needles on the right light well and can be put on top of the tinder in a bundle. It is then advisable to have bundles of larger different sized woods to place on top as you go.

Tip - Put larger twigs on, then another layer of smaller twigs at the same time; this tends to burn a lot quicker. 

Tip - Always gather enough starter-wood to keep the fire going otherwise the fire may burn down quickly and go out again. Make sure you collect various different sizes and put them in some sort of order (like the above - sort of). 

Tinder - The bundle here has mainly Rose-Bay Willow Herb (Fireweed) mixed with slivers of Birch Bark. A tip here is to collect some of this on a warm, dry day and keep keep it dry for later use. Always think ahead to a time when it may be wet and no dry tinder can be found. Be Prepared!

A Fire-Shield or Fire-Reflector can be placed behind the fire; this one has been done by using upright sticks about 6 inch apart, bound at the top by bungees. Some say that these do not reflect heat, but whatever the case it keeps the wind from coming from the back. I have experimented in the past with a reflective survival blanket placed over the reflector and held tightly, and this does seem to have more reflective properties. 

Here a light metal grill is placed over two logs and a small Kelly-Kettle base lit underneath the grill. One important point, use wet logs or soak the logs if they are as close as the above. A small metal grill can actually be carried with you, perhaps smaller than the above. 

Tip - If you can get hold of a small metal dish of some kind, small enough to carry in your kit, then use this since it would be a little bigger and take a larger fire. This would be more efficient, and get larger logs to hold the grill a little higher from the flames. Given such a set up you could cook burgers or steak on such a small fire. 

The Criss-Cross Fire burns very well and is quite easy to set up and start; it has a base-layer on which is placed the tinder, and this is fired up and a bundle of kindling placed on top. As this burns place larger and larger sticks one going oine way and the next row the other way. 


In this post I want to look at a different method of carrying equipment, this time using a Snugpack survival bag and a bum-bag, one of each going over each shoulder and crossing and the back. This makes for a lighter set-up than the Bug-Out Bag. One thing that I should like to say is that when setting up a Bug-Out Bag there seems little point in it sitting around doing nothing until you need it in an emergency. The different set-ups are designed for constant use in practice, and then the equipment is tried and tested, and we are learning at the same time. 

The above Snugpack Survival Bag is from an old photo from years ago when I first got these; with the children now grown-up and doing their own things I can use their stuff myself. On the above bag is a basha which fits perfectly on the top, and this is much larger than the small tarp in now carry for day-trips. 

The above photo shows the Snugpack at the back, and the bum-bag at the front; this is a bright red colour and is alright for training, but black or green would perhaps be more suited to a time that  we would not wish to be easily seen. On the top of the Snugpack I have strapped an old car-tidy used for putting plants in the truck; this is used as a 'bed' for Sam (the dog). 


In the front pocket of the red pack are -

  • An emergency blanket.
  • Three tent-pegs (small ally).
  • Two fire-lighters.
  • A spoon (for the tea).
  • Two Tampax (emergency fire-lighting).
  • Two small night-lights.

Notice how I have put some of the small stuff in mini freezer bags which keeps things apart in the bags, and is so easy to get to then. 

In the main compartment of the red bag are the following -

  • A Poncho (taken from the Bug-Out Bag in which there is already a tarp).
  • A stainless-steel mug (used for boiling the tea on the small stove, and drinking it). Tea-bags and sugar inside the mug. 
  • A small collapsible survival stove in which are 4 fire-lighters and cotton wool.
  • A plastic container with fire-lighting kit (eco-friendly lighters, cotton wool and two small sticks of fat-wood). 


In the above photo are small items that fit into the front compartment, and the car-tidy -

  • A small lock-knife.
  • A compass.
  • A pencil-sharpener (used for small pieces of wood for making shavings for fire-lighting).
  • A mini tin opener.
  • The car-tidy which fits on top of the bag.

In the mini-pouch fitted to the front of the Snugpack is a Garmin GPS & 4 Batteries. Also a storm-lighter.

In one of the side compartments are some tarp-clips and elastic-balls which fit through the tarp-holes to save wear.

 In the other side compartment are -

  • A climbing strap.
  • Para-cord.
  • Waterproof Matches. 
  • A mini-survival tool.
In the main compartment are -

  • A rucksack rain-cover.
  • A Survival Knife.
  • A Silky Pocket-Boy Saw. 
  • A second survival blanket.

On the outside of both packs are 4 small carabiners and a stronger climbing carabiner, as well as a para-cord bracelet (for spare para-cord in an emergency). The only thing left off the photo is a water-container which will be needed to carry enough water for a couple of cups of tea. There is room in the red bag for some snacks. 

Sunday, 24 January 2021

Food From The Wild - Shrubs & Trees


This is not a comprehensive list but a short list of the shrubs and trees that are well known and easily identified. Some care is needed with certain types so please read this carefully, and do a check on these before eating.


The young leaves are edible, and the sap can be tapped in the early spring and drank as a refreshing and healthy drink. (Will look at this later in the spring and show how it is done.) The best way to use these is by using an infusion for a tea, which is also true of the Beech and Pine.


The young leaves are edible. 


The long needles of pine are easily recognised; these are best used as an infusion to make a cup of Pine Tea. Tastes very good actually, and is very high in Vitamins A and C. 

The Pine-Cones contain nuts so wait until fallen from the tree and collect the nuts for eating. 


This is one that needs a little care: the nuts of Sweet Chestnuts are edible, whilst the nuts of Horse Chestnuts are not edible. Horse Chestnuts are 'conkers' and have a smooth casing for the nuts, Sweet Chestnuts are the 'Christmas Chestnuts' and have cases with close-knit spikes.

Sweet Chestnuts are also identified by the 'tip' which can be seen in the above photo. The leaves are different too. Below are the NON-EDIBLE Horse Chestnuts and their Cases (which are less spiked). 

Horse Chestnut Cases - NON-EDIBLE

Horse Chestnuts - NON-EDIBLE


Acorns are the edible part of the Oak-Tree, but here there needs a word of caution, since there are varying opinions on this. Acorns contain tannin, which lessens when they go brown. To be safe pick these and boil them for about half an hour. They can be ground to use like coffee as a drink. To do so cut off the outer shell and use the nut inside. 


The Hawthorn is a small thorny tree, as the name suggests, and the leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. Later the red berries can be picked and eaten raw or cooked.


This is a small tree that is easily recognised by its leaves; the berries are edible but they need to be boiled in order to take away the bitter taste. These contain Vitamin C. 


The Elderflowers can be picked and made into Elderberry Cordial; they can also be boiled in water as a tea. Do not use the stems though.

Later in the year the Elderberries can be collected and eaten, or made into a jam; again, do not use the stems, just the berries. Make sure the berries are ripe before picking.


Well-known and easily recognised. The young leaves can be eaten, and of course the blackberries picked and eaten around August-September. You need to catch these before it gets too rainy since they soon go mouldy and wilt. Make sure the ripe ones are picked. 


As kids we used to have Rose Hip Syrup in winter months because of the high Vitamin C content; but care is needed with this one. Cut the fruit in half lengthways and scrape out the inside entirely. This is because the insides have an irritant (used by kids when they stuck these down the jumper, and they really do itch). So take out the insides entirely and cook down the outside making a paste.


Crab Apples are just wild apples, but they are smaller and they are bitter so they need careful preparation. Pick the apples and peel as usual, chop into pieces and boil in a little water until the water has evaporated. The paste left is good to eat (with sugar maybe). On this subject there are a great number of apple-trees in the wild now, many at the roadsides which suggests people throwing their apple-cores out of car windows. Although I would condemn the throwing of rubbish out, apple-cores are a good thing since they grow into apple trees. 

*** On this subject why not save the pips out of the apples you grow and eat (or bought ones) and scatter these around in wild areas such as the outskirts of woodlands. This can also be done with other fruit trees such as plums, which can also establish in the wild. Wild plums are not so big but just as tasty. 

*** Another point here is to get around and get to know your own area well; around me I have found many fruit-bushes growing wild, obviously from seeds scattered in the wind or taken by birds. Wild Strawberries, Wild Gooseberries, Wild Plums, Wild Raspberries grow in an area of the South Downs. 

Food from the Wild - Well-Known Plants


There are certain very easily-recognisable plants that have edible properties, though some of these need careful preparation. I though that I'd look through these because they are so easily recognised that no mistakes can be made in picking them, though care is always needed. Before eating anything please ensure that you know what you are picking. As I said, some need careful preparation so read this through; some plants have certain edible parts too. This is not a comprehensive list by any means, but I have chosen the most well-known types to be safe.


Cowslips grow wild in various locations and can be found on hills and in the woodlands, as well as grown in gardens. They are easily-recognised by their flowers (usually yellow when wild) and the distinctive leaves. All parts are edible.


These most often grow in parts of woodlands that have been 'managed' (i.e. cut down), and also along the sides of paths in woodlands, as well as in other areas. The leaves and roots are edible; young plants are best though you need to learn to recognise these properly. (The seed-tops that appear after flowing - in the late summer/early autumn - make good fire-starters.)


This is so well recognised as to be no problem in finding; it has sharp needles for leaves and stems. It is the root that can be eaten.


Another recognisable plant and so well known and widespread  that no-one would miss it; if you are not sure run your hands along the stems (only joking). Obviously, since the leaves and stems do sting badly this needs to be cooked, for it looses its sting then. 


These are like the 'Stinging Nettles' but do not have the sting; they can be white, red or purple flowered. They are usually much lower growing. The leaves are edible.


Clover is readily recognised by the leaves which are either three-leaved (usually) or on the very odd occasion four-leaved. 

The leaves have a distinctive 'chevron' and are thus very easy to recognise; the flowers can also be white. The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked.


Burdock has very large leaves and distinctive purple flowers. It is a large plant and easily recognised.

The roots of burdock are what you need to get, and these can be over a foot long so they need care in digging up. They can be eaten raw or cooked.


The leaves and the flowers can be eaten. The above is called 'Wild Garlic' and has the distinctive smell so cannot be mistaken. Another variety is shown below -

*** A word of caution - never plant wild garlic or garlic chives straight into your garden. I did this some 20-odd years ago in my small front garden, which is now covered in wild garlic, even growing through the grass (and into the next door's garden!). Put these into large pots and make sure the seeds do not fall everywhere.


The poppy is so well known and so easily recognised, and the seeds are the edible part. The seed-heads are shown below -

Break open the seed-pods when they are dry enough; the seeds are filled with goodness. 

These plants are so well known and easily-recognisable that no-one should go wrong. But please do a thorough research before collecting and eating, to see what are the best parts to eat and how to prepare them. I am going to do a thorough 'Food from the Wild' later in the year, taking many photos to show them far more clearly.