Posts tagged: outdoor

Keeping Your Head When Lost In the Wilderness

Keeping Your Head When Lost In The Wilderness
Keeping Your Head When Lost In the Wilderness. Photo – Adobe Stock (under license)

All too often I hear people talk about how crazy I am because I like to go into the wilderness with what a lot of people consider minimal gear. “How can you survive out there like that?” they ask in amazement.

I’m quick to point out there’s a difference between just surviving, which is likely to going to be a miserable experience, but leaves you breathing and functioning on the other end; and camping with minimal gear, which means I’m still comfortable but use what’s available in the forest instead of hiking everything in on my back.

First and foremost knowledge is worth more than gear in most situations. If you are forced into a survival situation in the fall for a few nights with no gear at all could you survive? Would you know where to start or would you run through the woods in a panic looking for a way out. If you panic up here in Maine a hunter is liable to find your skeleton in the woods ten years later.

The first thing you need to do is STOP! Sit down, don’t panic, take a few deep breaths, and keep your act together. If you’ve never been lost you’ll tell yourself “Geez, I’d never do that.” Sure, it’s easy to think that when you’re sitting in front of your computer monitor and a kitchen full of food and fresh water just around the corner, but if and when it really happens I can guarantee that you will feel at least a moment of fear.

Ten or fifteen years ago I was snowshoeing in some woods near my house that people never went into that time of year. When I left it was cloudy, but you could at least see where the sun was shining from. A half hour into the hike it started snowing. I kept on, using my best deduction of the direction I was supposed to be going in… and pretty soon was amazed to see the tracks of another person snow shoeing out there. Not only that they were using bear paw snow shoes, just like I was wearing. What were the chances of that?

Zero, as it it turns out. I was looking at my own tracks. When the realization first hit that I was traveling in circles my heart leapt into my throat and my first instinct was to turn and head for the exit as fast as I could. But where was it? The fact that I walked in a circle told me I didn’t have any idea how to get out of that section of woods.

So there I was in a snowstorm, no idea of direction, and it was starting to get dark.

What did I do?

I pulled my pack off – because I’m more likely to be caught naked in the woods than without my pack – and poured a cup of coffee out of my thermos and took a couple of seconds to collect myself. After I was thinking clearly I pulled out my compass and shot my “emergency azimuth” and made my way out to the road.

Other outdoorsman must have a similar idea of doing this. What I do is before I head out I’ll look at a map and find some kind of distinguishing feature, usually a road, and if I know that I’m going to be in the woods to the west of the road I know I’ll have to shoot an easterly azimuth to get out. This is much better than being caught in the woods overnight waiting for rescue crews to come get you. In this case I lived fairly near to where I was hiking, I just hadn’t been in those woods before.

Believe me, even if you don’t panic you will feel a certain amount of apprehension that you’ve lost your direction. Survival is about managing stress, making good decisions, and having enough knowledge about your environment to keep yourself alive.

So what do you do if you become lost?

Check out my next post on Friday!

I actually didn’t do that on purpose. This post was getting too long, so I decided to split it up. So come back Friday and try to not to get lost in the woods before you have a chance to read how to save yourself.

In the meantime, if you’d like to share some ideas I’d be happy to incorporate them into Friday’s article, or if you have a story you’d like to share about survival I’d love to hear it.

Sound off below!

– Jarhead Survivor –

Outdoor Cooking

Outdoor Cooking

Last week, we talked about the tools you’ll need to cook in emergency situations.

Now here I am with more information on survival cooking.

So let’s see what you need to cook delicious meals outdoors:

The first thing you’ll need is a camp stove, a grill, or a campfire. You should always have at least one bottle of fuel for when you want to cook outside. In case you use charcoal, remember to keep it in a dry place.

A solar oven may be useful as well.

Cooking Supplies

Always make a list of the things you need before cooking outdoors. You’ll need:

• fuel and matches
• a medium to large lightweight pot
• aluminum foil
• a pan
• a spatula and
• tongs

These are the basics. Once you have them, there are almost no limits to what you can cook outside. You can try anything from eggs to pasta. And here’s exactly how you can do that:

Cooking Methods

Using direct heat is the easiest method to cook outside. For instance, you can wrap potatoes in aluminum foil and place them on hot coals. Feel free to use this method for any other food item that requires high heat. However, make sure to check on them frequently to avoid any accidents or overcooking.

Another easy method to cook outside is to grill your food by simply placing a grate over an open fire. It takes a bit longer, but it’s a good method for food that needs less heat to cook.

If you feel like cooking something more sophisticated like a soup, a stew or pasta you’ll need to build a fire and let it die down to hot coals. Place a pan or pot on them and your job is almost done.

Just remember to check the intensity of the fire. You don’t want to eat food that tastes like burnt tires, but you’ll want to stay away from uncooked food, too. So just check to see if your meal is cooking at the right pace.

Other Tips

1. Keep your food above the ground level to prevent animals from eating it.

2. Use fireproof cooking tools.

3. To remove odors from your cooking tools, use water and baking soda and wipe them.

4. Chop your vegetables before you go outside and cook. Put them in separate ziplock bags.

5. If you put oil on your camp grill, the food will not stick anymore.

6. Keep your raw food cool at all times to avoid spoilage. Use block ice, because it lasts longer than cube ice!

7. Use disposable water bottles as dispensers for oil, sauces or salad dressings.

8. To keep your soap clean, just hang it in a sock on a tree branch.

9. Use leftovers from meat and vegetables to make omelets.

10. To save some space, don’t bring plastic mixing bowls with you, just use the pots!

11. Replace your usual bread with pita bread. It stays fresh longer and it’s easier to pack.

That’s all for now on outside cooking. Stay tuned for more tips&tricks on indoor emergency cooking!

By Alec Deacon