What if you were dropped in the woods with little more than a knife, your wits, and the (hopefully warm) shirt on your back? Could you survive? If you’d read this book, the answer is yes!
Survival! It’s one of our most primal fears, most basic needs. What do you do when everything is stripped away except your will to prevail? In this book, survival expert Tim MacWelch examines how native peoples around the world and throughout history have made their own shelter, weapons, tools, and more, and well as clever MacGuyver-esque ideas for using anything you might find in your pockets or pack. Whether your goal is to test yourself against nature, be prepared for any catastrophe, or learn more about traditional ways of survival, this is the one book you need.
CHAPTER ONE: Bare Necessities - The stuff you need to survive short term wilderness emergencies (72 hours to one week)
The Survival Priorities (& why you need them) Shelter, water, fire, food, first aid and signaling distress Tools of the Minimalist Knife, Axe and Saw - use and care; Clothing selection Shelters Pick a safe shelter location; How to build Leaf huts, lean-tos, jungle platforms, thatched roof, log huts, wicki-ups, pit houses, and more (different homes for varied climates) Water Gathering and Disinfection Finding springs, boiling w/ hot rocks, rain and precipitation collection, water storage, primitive filters, water from plants Fire Tinder, Kindling, Fire Lays, Flint & Steel, Bow Drill, Hand Drill, Bamboo Fire Saw, Fire Plow, Pump Drill, and other friction methods Signaling for Help and Self-Rescue How to signal and communicate w/ old school techniques; How and when to fight your way out CHAPTER TWO: Finer Things - Skills and techniques to collect food, and live more comfortably in the wild (weeks to months)
Foraging for Wild Edible Plants How to identify and use wild plant foods; Recipes like our ancestors would have eaten Trapping Ways to catch game with new and old school, low-tech traps Primitive Fishing How to catch fish with thorns and other improvised tackle Ancient Weapons Bow and arrow, spear, Spear thrower, Bola and sling, primitive forging of metal Hunting Skills and game processing; 10 things to never do on a hunt Primitive Tools How to make stone blades, knives, axes, stone drill bits, mallets and wedges for wood splitting, digging sticks Hygiene Keeping clean; Natural toilet paper; Soap from plants; DIY latrine
CHAPTER THREE: Long Term Living - The skills of our ancestors and the things you'd need for long term primitive living (years)
Food Storage Drying, smoking, Food Caches, Freezing Containers How to make several different basket styles; Bark containers; Wooden bowls; Soapstone bowls and pots; Primitive ceramics Hides and Furs DIY buckskin, fur, rawhide and leather; Making clothes and outerwear (moccasins, mittens, hats, etc.) Primitive Cooking Cook in the coals; Spits and skewers; Green stick grill; Rock for frying pan; Stone Ovens, Steam pit, Earth over (in-ground hearth system) Tracking Man tracking and animal tracking Natural Navigation How to find your way by using the stars, the landscape, the weather and many other methods Wild Medicine Teas, compresses and poultices to help you heal
Why do so many cultures use hammocks in the jungle, you ask? For starters, they get you up off the wet ground. They can also be quite comfortable. They can get you further away from spiders, scorpions, snakes, and other nasties. The hammock is one of the most underutilized shelters for survival, and you can make it with just a bit of rope and sturdy fabric. Grab some finger-thick rope and two tarps, pick out two strong, young trees, and you’re ready to create your own hammock and rain fly. Start out with one of the long sides of one tarp and roll it up halfway across the entire tarp. Then roll up the other long side to meet the first. Now we’ll grab one end of this bundle and bend it to make a “J” shape. Tie a sheet bend knot with a length of rope. Using a second rope, tie another sheet bend on the other side of the tarp. Select leg thick or bigger trees about 9 to 12 feet (3 to 4 m) apart, and securely tie the end of each rope to a tree, as high as you can reach. I like to wrap around the tree twice for good grip on the bark, and tie to the trees high up to compensate for the settling of the hammock as the knots cinch down. This keeps you from dragging the ground in the finished hammock. For a roof over your head, tie up another tarp as an A-frame rain fly between the two trees.
KEEP CREEPY CRAWLIES OUT OF YOUR HAMMOCK The last thing you want to find in your jungle hammock is a sampling of the local wildlife, especially if it bites! Use these three steps to avoid waking up in the middle of the night with an unwelcome visitor in your sleeping space.
STEP 1 Keep it well covered. Things have a tendency to drop out of the trees in the rainforest, and when your hammock is sitting there open like a big basin, it’s only natural to find all kinds of creatures raining down upon you. Hang a rain fly over your hammock, even if it’s the “dry season.”
STEP 2 Limit access. Just as you don’t want to lie down on the ground in the jungle, you don’t want to have open access points that lots of pests and dangerous creatures could use to join you in your hammock. Don’t tie six lines to your rain fly when four will do the job.
STEP 3 Block the way. Tie a kerosene-soaked rag to each hammock line to keep spiders, snakes, and ants from scuttling down the lines to join you in your cozy hammock. Because of the scent and the feel of this fuel, most creatures won’t go near it (let alone crawl over it).