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BraggSurvivor
10-22-2008, 09:54 AM
http://www.m4040.com/Survival/Survival_Myths.htm

Survival Myths... Debunked M40 - March 21st, 2008
Survival Myths - Foreword




There are many myths surrounding the subject of wilderness survival. It's one of the biggest reasons that I started this site 5 or 6 years ago. I wanted to dispel these myths, expose them for what they are, and bring some sense of reality and practicality back into the subject. Many of these myths are highlighted elsewhere on this site, but I decided to put the best ones here on a single page. Enjoy!



FIRE MYTHS

Survival Matches - I see "waterproof survival matches" listed in more kits than I care to count, and I gotta say... terrible idea. While it may add a sense of drama to a movie when "Rambo" is down to his last couple matches, you don't need that kind of drama if you're in a life or death situation!

The space and weight taken up in a kit or in your pocket by a dozen "survival" matches would be better filled with a small Bic lighter. A lighter will start a LOT more fires than those few matches. If you're worried about the lighter failing, then bring a magnesium fire starter. These are 100% waterproof, will light thousands of fires, and the magnesium burns a lot hotter than matches.

Flashlight Method - This is a method I've seen by which you can break the bulb of your flashlight, and then use the coil inside to light a fire. Simply put... give it a shot in your backyard and you'll find that it's great at destroying flashlights but terrible at actually starting fires! Recommendation... bring a lighter, and use your flashlight for... LIGHT!

Ice Lens Method - Can you start a fire with a lens that you fashion from ice? Probably not. Scientifically, it's possible, but in all practical sense, the odds are really slim to none. Seriously, give it a try in the comfort of your own backyard on a nice warm day. Feel free to let me know how well this works. Also, while you're wasting hours on this, imagine that you're also freezing to death in a snowy, icy environment. You'll quickly realize that this is a colossal waste of your time and energy, and you won't get a fire going. I guarantee you that. Recommendation... bring a lighter!

Soda & Candy Bar Method - This fire starting method is yet another fun science experiment, but in actual use, it's another colossal waste of time, at the end of which... you'll have no fire. If you're lounging in your backyard someday and suddenly decide that you'd like to piss away the entire afternoon on some fruitless endeavor, go ahead and give this a shot. However... in a real survival situation... eat the friggin' candy bar and be glad for it. Drink the friggin' soda and rejoice. Be glad for those precious calories, and then keep the can as a canteen and cooking vessel. Recommendation... bring a damn lighter!


SHELTER MYTHS

High Ground is Warmer - This is one survival tale that keeps popping up all over the place. We're told that when considering locations for a shelter, we should avoid valleys and low lying areas because cold settles there and it may be several degrees colder than higher ground. This is scientifically sound, but in actual practice... it's pure, unadulterated bull****. This is because while a thermometer may show a few degrees difference between two elevations, thermometers are incapable of measuring wind chill factors.

In most cases, higher elevations are exposed to a lot more wind while small valleys and lower areas are sheltered from it. A thermometer may show that actual air temperature has increased 2 or 3 degrees by moving to higher ground, but the temperature as far as your body is concerned is likely to have dropped by 20 or 30 degrees. Wind will suck away your body heat faster than you can generate it. Today as I write this, it's almost 50 degrees and sunny outside... a seemingly nice March afternoon. However, today's wind chill factor drops that to somewhere between 20 and 30... and suddenly it's not so great!

Now consider what happens once you get a fire going. Most fires will quickly heat the surrounding area, but when you have some wind factored in, most of that heat is carried off. Also remember that a fire in the wind is going to consume about twice as much wood. You'll spend most of your time and energy finding firewood, and then get very little heat as a reward! Not a very good tradeoff. As such, one of your primary concerns is to find a place that's very sheltered from the wind and elements, and then build yourself a nice, warm fire to keep you warm!

Shelters Should Be Built From Dead Materials - This one came from our friends in the "green" survival movement. They are far more concerned that a few trees might get killed than they are about your life. All advice from them should be considered highly suspect. Imagine building your shelter as a big pile of dead leaves and wood. Now imagine having a campfire anywhere near that. Do you really want to climb in there and go to sleep? Nuff' said.


WATER MYTHS

Boil for 10 Minutes - This is one so old, I don't even know where it came from. I've also heard 5 minutes, 15 minutes and even 20 minutes of boiling time. All of these are bull****. I'll keep this short... if the water reaches boiling point, it's safe to drink, period, end of story.

Divining Rods - This is another old wives tale. Use your common sense and you'll probably find water. Use a forked stick and "mystical psychic powers", and you may find yourself very dead. I've heard people claim that a divining rod is simply tapping into one's subconscious thoughts. I suppose if you're some sort of walking emotional wreck who keeps every shred of logic and common sense buried away in your subconscious... then sure... go ahead and wave your stick. Hold a seance while you're at it. Maybe the spirits will tell you where to find water.

The rest of us (sane folks) will simply think our way through the situation. Common sense says water runs downhill. If you walk downhill, you're pretty likely to find water. Birds and animal trails can also lead you to water... they need it as much as you do.


FOOD MYTHS

Plants Are a Good Source of Food in the Wilderness - Unless you're a certified expert not just in plants, but in the plants of the given region you happen to be in, stay the hell away from the plants!

Here's the facts...
- ALL fur bearing mammals are safe to eat, and will provide you with nutrients and calories.
- ALL 6 legged insects are safe to eat, and will provide you with nutrients and calories.
- Almost all freshwater fish and almost all birds are safe to eat, and will provide you with nutrients and calories.
...and finally
- MOST plants will harm you, make you sick, or worse... poison you. There are actually very few that will provide you with any nutrients or calories.

It's a simple equation... if it walks, crawls, swims, or flies, the odds are in your favor that it's not only safe to eat, but that it will provide you with the nutrition and energy your body needs. If it sits there like... umm... like a plant, the odds are against you both for your own physical safety, and for nutritional content. It's just not worth the gamble unless you're absolutely sure!

Pict
10-22-2008, 01:06 PM
High Ground is Warmer - In my area of Brazil this is absolutely true depending the wind. At the TOP elevations (6000 feet) you will experience very high winds as the mountain tops are high enough to punch through the normal cloud level of the surrounding area. As long as you are below this change it eh weather you will be warmer. The valleys of central Brazil really do turn into rivers of cold at night as cool air pours down from the surrounding elevations and follows the watercourses. It is very, very cold in the valley bottoms, so it pays a very high return to camp above the valley floors. How high? The fog on any given day will tell you where the cold air is. Take a look at this photo and tell me you want to be camped in the valley!

http://img78.imageshack.us/img78/2537/img1592zb4.jpg

One thing I have found is that rocks will either give you very good shelter or they will channel air and make you sleep in a wind tunnel. Mac

crashdive123
10-22-2008, 03:18 PM
Nice picture.....and BIG too.

Pict
10-22-2008, 04:55 PM
Sorry about the size. I had that one stored over at image shack and hadn't resized it. I didn't mean to make it show up as a poster. Mac

http://img221.imageshack.us/img221/4231/img1586yw6.jpg

Same morning, different angle.

Proud American
10-22-2008, 06:24 PM
See there is the problem what are you going to believe. The one guy says that he is debunking myths but then Picc says something that also makes sense. Though Pict i think he was referring to a litle diffrent circumstance. Brazil is not North America so I think what he says still hold value depending how much are you concerned about the wind.

Another thing i would wait ten minutes after boiling before drinking its called being safe! Those little bacteria are tough. And some wont even START dieing until it hits boiling point, then there are those that don't even die.

Just my thoughts but al in all a good article thanks bragg

crashdive123
10-22-2008, 08:40 PM
Me, I would wait untill the boiling water stopped boiling and cooled down a bit before I drank it.

ryaninmichigan
10-22-2008, 08:57 PM
Me, I would wait untill the boiling water stopped boiling and cooled down a bit before I drank it.

When does it quit boiling? When it's gone?

crashdive123
10-22-2008, 08:58 PM
When does it quit boiling? When it's gone?

Probably sometime before it hits your chest after burning a hole in your lips.

Runs With Beer
10-22-2008, 09:10 PM
BRAGG, That was a great post, I agree with you. Common Sense always wins. For the fire, I would trust my Flint N Steel over that bic. Great write up again.

crashdive123
10-22-2008, 09:14 PM
I have gotten quite a bit of good info from the M40 site. I've copied some of the projects that he has on there.

ryaninmichigan
10-22-2008, 09:22 PM
Probably sometime before it hits your chest after burning a hole in your lips.

You lost me. I guess you let it come to a boil and shut it down? You were not clear. If you boil it till it's done then nothing would be left. Unless you distilded (sp) it.

crashdive123
10-22-2008, 09:27 PM
Sorry Ryan - in post #6 I was making a joke (guess it didn't work). You know........boiling water - drinking - maybe waiting till it cools before you drink it.........ah - it doesn't matter.

On a serious note - once the water has come to a boil, it is safe to take it off the heat source and let it cool. If you want to let it boil longer you can although it is not necessary.

ryaninmichigan
10-22-2008, 09:30 PM
Sorry Ryan - in post #6 I was making a joke (guess it didn't work). You know........boiling water - drinking - maybe waiting till it cools before you drink it.........ah - it doesn't matter.

On a serious note - once the water has come to a boil, it is safe to take it off the heat source and let it cool. If you want to let it boil longer you can although it is not necessary.

Sorry not in the right mind right now. We are on the same page...

DaveAUA
10-23-2008, 01:52 AM
Good points, especially the one about plants. Unless it's a high-yield plant, like a cattail marsh, you'll burn more calories gathering it than you get from eating it. And that's assuming your identification skills are perfect! But in the long term, you'll need the vitamins greens provide.

I was thinking about this once and wondered: has anyone ever sorted out the wild edibles that give "most bang for your buck," calorically? It would make sense to study & practice gathering those first.

Pict
10-23-2008, 06:18 AM
One thing that has always bothered me are survival books that even discuss mushrooms. The nutritional value of a mushroom is nil, nada, zip, zero. They add flavor and that is it, if you get it right. If you get it wrong they add poison, coma, and death. Mushrooms are only safe in the grocery isle IMO.



Regarding the photos above. I spent the coldest night I have ever spent in the bush camping in that valley. We hacked our way down to the creek and carved out place to sleep in a bamboo thicket. That night we slept in a river of cold air in our hammocks. My daughter got all the extra insulation and I just had to tough it out on the verge of hypothermia all night. Mac

Rick-SAR
10-23-2008, 08:54 AM
Excellent advice. I agree with everything on your post BraggSurv.

Especially the boiling of water. TO PASTEUIZE YOU ONLY NEED TO HEAT THE WATER TO 65 c - 149 F. We only say to "boil" the water because we normally don't have a thermometer with us in the wilderness - we know if we see it boiling (212 F) the water has reached 65 C or 149 F and is pasteurized. If pasteurized it is safe to drink.

You might also look at this device that is used all over the world to pasteurize water:
http://solarcooking.wikia.com/wiki/Water_Pasteurization_Indicator and http://solarcooking.wikia.com/wiki/Water_pasteurization. I have one and it is only about 1" long x 1/4 in diameter" - it cost about $6.00 if I remember.

"Since water pasteurizes at temperatures well below the boiling point of water, WAPIs save time when solar pasteurizing, and save fuel when using traditional fuels." (quote from the web site) As you all know that saving fuel can be a major issue in the bush so why waste fuel if you don't have to.

The web site also shows how to make your own "Water Pasteurize Indicator".

If it is good enough to be used in under developed countries used by thousands to purify water is good enough for me.

I also teach NOT to eat plants in the wilderness. I have a deck of survival cards showing poison and toxic plants in the southwest. There are 52 cards showing plants - pictures and description - and the ones with red text are poison or toxic. I have a student pick a card out of the deck - if red he/she is in trouble. Unless you really know plants DON'T eat them. About 20% of plants in the southwest US are poison or toxic.


Rick-SAR

DaveAUA
10-24-2008, 01:16 AM
One thing that has always bothered me are survival books that even discuss mushrooms. The nutritional value of a mushroom is nil, nada, zip, zero. They add flavor and that is it, if you get it right. If you get it wrong they add poison, coma, and death. Mushrooms are only safe in the grocery isle IMO.



Regarding the photos above. I spent the coldest night I have ever spent in the bush camping in that valley. We hacked our way down to the creek and carved out place to sleep in a bamboo thicket. That night we slept in a river of cold air in our hammocks. My daughter got all the extra insulation and I just had to tough it out on the verge of hypothermia all night. Mac

This experience would probably be similar in an Appalachian valley, where the mist settles thick. The lesson is to make camp high up, I guess. (?)

RBB
10-24-2008, 08:02 AM
#1: In summer, camp high or on the point of the lake. More chance of keeping the bugs off.

In winter, camp in thick brush or trees - keeps the wind off.

#2: Always have a flint and steel backup. You can start a fire with flint and steel when a lighter or matches will not produce a spark.

#3: A shelter built from small live balsam firs is quick and will do you more good than anything else you can build quickly.

#4: There are a lot of plants that will keep you alive - if you take the trouble to learn them.

bulrush
10-24-2008, 09:30 AM
Ice Lens Method - Can you start a fire with a lens that you fashion from ice? Probably not. Scientifically, it's possible, but in all practical sense, the odds are really slim to none.

I agree this is a waste of time. It takes 1-2 hours to fashion an ice lens. The guy on the web who did this and shot a video of it working, I sort of believe it worked. I just can't understand how it managed to focus the sun's rays with so many imperfections in the ice.

I got a 1 inch jeweler's loupe and I had trouble starting a fire in mid-summer on a dry twig. I got some smoke, but no fire. Perhaps I needed different tinder. I'll stick with my Bic.

As for eating insects, they are safe if cooked. Insects carry bacteria on the surface and inside their bodies. The kissing bug often carries disease in its gut. Dung beetles roll around in dung (great place for E. coli), and other insects will have bacteria on or in them. Cook them well first.

As for boiling water, I believe you. But I've had explosive squirts for a solid 4 weeks. I now prefer to boil it 10 whole minutes, thank you very much, in order not to repeat that episode. I don't know if it was giardia or that other organism, but it was awful.

Pict
10-24-2008, 09:55 AM
This experience would probably be similar in an Appalachian valley, where the mist settles thick. The lesson is to make camp high up, I guess. (?)

http://img384.imageshack.us/img384/9016/ccerinhikingincloudsnd6.jpg

The border of Fog/Clouds always marks a temperature differential. The cold part being in the fog or clouds. If you hike up a mountain into the cloud layer you just passed into air below its dew point. The ground will be wet, tinder soggy, etc. The same way if you hike down into a valley in the morning before the fog has lifted it will be cold and wet.

The area where I was has a lot of vertical around. The mountains (6000) feet frame a plateau which channels all the water drainage into a single valley. There are very steep ravines that all tend to run together pointing to the same creek. We were camped in the bottom of that larger single creek on the actual confluence of two streams. At night the place turned into a river of cold air following the water course. It was a very tall, extensive, steep-walled drainage basin that made this effect. The coldest draft will be right near the water. Moving back and above that watercourse will significantly increase your night time temps, but this whole thing is very dependent on the lay of the land.

The Appalachian valleys around here (PA) tend to be pretty flat and straight affairs. I have not noticed such a pronounced draft effect camping here in PA. Frontal prevailing weather systems have enough power to over-ride local still-air movement due to night time temperature differences.

In steep, channeled terrain, especially with high mountains in the area don't set up right on a watercourse. Site your camp above it in some good location. Unless some local weather conditions tell you otherwise, your shelter should block drafts from the up-valley side with your fire located down-valley of the shelter. Mac

Rick
10-25-2008, 07:23 PM
1st Bragg - Great post. Good stuff.

2nd Rick-Sar - You can't post your web site in the body of you post. It violates the forum rules. You can put it in your signature, however.

Amazingly, most of this stuff is just common sense. I don't camp in a valley and I don't camp on top of a bald knob. I make camp in a sheltered area up off the lowest elevations. Unfortunately, we forget to use common sense a lot of times. I shivered through one night because I was camped on the down slope of a ridge and the breeze kept me cold all night. It was a wooded area well above the valley floor but the woods sort of concealed the slope and I had no idea I would be sleeping in a breeze all night. The stupid part was I had a poncho and a space blanket in my pack that I could have covered up with and didn't use my common sense to get them out of the pack!

Cannonman17
11-28-2008, 10:37 AM
One thing that has always bothered me are survival books that even discuss mushrooms. The nutritional value of a mushroom is nil, nada, zip, zero. They add flavor and that is it, if you get it right. If you get it wrong they add poison, coma, and death. Mushrooms are only safe in the grocery isle IMO.



Regarding the photos above. I spent the coldest night I have ever spent in the bush camping in that valley. We hacked our way down to the creek and carved out place to sleep in a bamboo thicket. That night we slept in a river of cold air in our hammocks. My daughter got all the extra insulation and I just had to tough it out on the verge of hypothermia all night. Mac

Mushrooms not having any nutrional value is an old wive's tale, they do in fact have nutrional value. Here's some information about it:
http://yourtotalhealth.ivillage.com/what-nutritional-value-mushrooms.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mushroom Reads in part: "Though mushrooms are commonly thought to have little nutritional value, many species are high in fibre and provide vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, biotin, cobalamins, ascorbic acid. Though not normally a significant source of vitamin D, some mushrooms can become significant sources after exposure to ultraviolet light, though this also darkens their skin.[6] Mushrooms are also a source of some minerals, including iron, selenium, potassium and phosphorous."

And one more slightly more detailed: http//lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/benefits-of-mushrooms-1337.html

Pict
11-28-2008, 12:01 PM
Cannonman,

If you know what you are doing with wild mushrooms then go for it. If you get it right they are not likely to significantly alter a survival outcome. If you get it wrong they are likely to become the main problem you face.

I know a couple who had some work done on their house. The workman asked if he could harvest the wild mushrooms on their woodpile. He came back the next day and lived so they asked him to harvest a bunch for them. They both ate them with dinner. The husband was fine, the wife fell into a coma. She had drank alcohol with her meal and he didn't, the combo was almost lethal. Mac

crashdive123
01-03-2009, 09:39 AM
Sarge - Move to General Survival

primeelite
01-03-2009, 06:56 PM
Mushrooms are no good for survival situations due to the danger of so many species of them being slightly poisonous which would cause headaches, hallucinations, and stomach irritation to some being very dangerous with coma's, seizures, and other. There are so many other things in a survival situation that you could pick to digest so really eating mushrooms in the wild is like playing a game of russian roulette.

crashdive123
01-03-2009, 06:59 PM
I partially agree with you. Mushrooms are no good for ME in a survival situation because of my inexperience with them. It is also true that they do not have the nutritional value that other foods may. However if one is experienced with shrooms and knows what they are doing, it could sure be a morale boost to put some food in the belly.

SARKY
01-04-2009, 02:48 AM
When I was a young pup... and was being taught about survival the one thing I realized was that everything I was being told had caveats. Yes! go about half way up the hill BUT find a sheltered area. Yes you can eat plants PROVIDED you know what you are eating. During the land nav portion of SERE training, I would harvest a wood grouse and then proceed to forage berries and grass seeds to stuff into its chest cavity. I was always the last instructor in. And while my fellow instructors had started a fire and were munching MREs, I would toss my foil wrapped stuffed bird in the fire to cook. Once they started smelling how good it smelled I had to threaten them with violence to keep them away from my dinner.

Nativedude
01-05-2009, 05:26 AM
BraggSurvivor wrote: Survival Myths... Debunked

FIRE MYTHS...

Ice Lens Method - Can you start a fire with a lens that you fashion from ice? Probably not. Scientifically, it's possible, but in all practical sense, the odds are really slim to none. Seriously, give it a try in the comfort of your own backyard on a nice warm day. Feel free to let me know how well this works. Also, while you're wasting hours on this, imagine that you're also freezing to death in a snowy, icy environment. You'll quickly realize that this is a colossal waste of your time and energy, and you won't get a fire going. I guarantee you that. Recommendation... bring a lighter!

Soda & Candy Bar Method - This fire starting method is yet another fun science experiment, but in actual use, it's another colossal waste of time, at the end of which... you'll have no fire. If you're lounging in your backyard someday and suddenly decide that you'd like to piss away the entire afternoon on some fruitless endeavor, go ahead and give this a shot. However... in a real survival situation... eat the friggin' candy bar and be glad for it. Drink the friggin' soda and rejoice. Be glad for those precious calories, and then keep the can as a canteen and cooking vessel. Recommendation... bring a damn lighter!

There are many good ways to start a fire. And believe me, a bic lighter IS NOT always a sure way to start a fire. Contrary to popular belief! The (aluminum) soda can & candy bar (must be chocolate) does work, but only on sunny days. A hand drill, bow drill or fire plough do work, quite well. I teach these methods on a regular basis.

And the ice lens is not a colossal waste of time and does work quite well. Have used it for many years in the winter with great success. Again will only work on sunny days.



SHELTER MYTHS

High Ground is Warmer - This is one survival tale that keeps popping up all over the place. We're told that when considering locations for a shelter, we should avoid valleys and low lying areas because cold settles there and it may be several degrees colder than higher ground. This is scientifically sound, but in actual practice... it's pure, unadulterated bull****. This is because while a thermometer may show a few degrees difference between two elevations, thermometers are incapable of measuring wind chill factors.

In most cases, higher elevations are exposed to a lot more wind while small valleys and lower areas are sheltered from it. A thermometer may show that actual air temperature has increased 2 or 3 degrees by moving to higher ground, but the temperature as far as your body is concerned is likely to have dropped by 20 or 30 degrees. Wind will suck away your body heat faster than you can generate it. Today as I write this, it's almost 50 degrees and sunny outside... a seemingly nice March afternoon. However, today's wind chill factor drops that to somewhere between 20 and 30... and suddenly it's not so great!

Now consider what happens once you get a fire going. Most fires will quickly heat the surrounding area, but when you have some wind factored in, most of that heat is carried off. Also remember that a fire in the wind is going to consume about twice as much wood. You'll spend most of your time and energy finding firewood, and then get very little heat as a reward! Not a very good tradeoff. As such, one of your primary concerns is to find a place that's very sheltered from the wind and elements, and then build yourself a nice, warm fire to keep you warm!

Shelters Should Be Built From Dead Materials - This one came from our friends in the "green" survival movement. They are far more concerned that a few trees might get killed than they are about your life. All advice from them should be considered highly suspect. Imagine building your shelter as a big pile of dead leaves and wood. Now imagine having a campfire anywhere near that. Do you really want to climb in there and go to sleep? Nuff' said.

Cold air does sink and, of course, warm air rises. And, generally, the ground is damper and the dew settles on lower ground quicker than in higher elevations. In my 34 years of experience, the temperature difference 50' - 100' from the valley floor can range from 15 to 30 degrees in difference. A significant amount in a survival situation, especially for a novice. As well, you can experience winds on the valley floor just as you can higher up. Winds tend to blow through canyons and valleys regularly. The only difference? It's much colder on the valley floor.



WATER MYTHS

Boil for 10 Minutes - This is one so old, I don't even know where it came from. I've also heard 5 minutes, 15 minutes and even 20 minutes of boiling time. All of these are bull****. I'll keep this short... if the water reaches boiling point, it's safe to drink, period, end of story.

Water: Bring to a rolling boil, let cool, drink. . .that's it. Once it boils, it's "dead" water!



FOOD MYTHS

Plants Are a Good Source of Food in the Wilderness - Unless you're a certified expert not just in plants, but in the plants of the given region you happen to be in, stay the hell away from the plants!

Here's the facts...
- ALL fur bearing mammals are safe to eat, and will provide you with nutrients and calories.
- ALL 6 legged insects are safe to eat, and will provide you with nutrients and calories.
- Almost all freshwater fish and almost all birds are safe to eat, and will provide you with nutrients and calories.
...and finally - MOST plants will harm you, make you sick, or worse... poison you. There are actually very few that will provide you with any nutrients or calories.

It's a simple equation... if it walks, crawls, swims, or flies, the odds are in your favor that it's not only safe to eat, but that it will provide you with the nutrition and energy your body needs. If it sits there like... umm... like a plant, the odds are against you both for your own physical safety, and for nutritional content. It's just not worth the gamble unless you're absolutely sure!

While animals (meat) will give you more sustenance and protein, catching or snaring them requires a lot more time and energy (calorie consumption) to do. Plants (with a little knowledge) can make all of the difference, especially in a short-term survival situation. Things like dandelions, cattail, pine needles, etc. Or you can forage for protein packed ants, grasshoppers, etc.;)

Foot note:
I have found that keeping the mind occupied and the body active keeps a person alive. An idle mind and body tends to dwell too much and does aid in ones own demise in a survival situation.

Milfoil
01-06-2009, 05:29 AM
I was brought up with, what we called, Hedgerow food (here in the UK). Most of it, however, is seasonal so you do need quite a lot of knowledge if you were to survive at any time of year on plant matter esp winter when there really is sod all out there unless you know where to dig and the ground isn't frozen.

Setting snares for rabbits was a much more trustworthy way of ensuring lunch.

Nativedude
01-06-2009, 10:04 PM
Milfoil wrote: I was brought up with, what we called, Hedgerow food (here in the UK). Most of it, however, is seasonal so you do need quite a lot of knowledge if you were to survive at any time of year on plant matter esp winter when there really is sod all out there unless you know where to dig and the ground isn't frozen.

Setting snares for rabbits was a much more trustworthy way of ensuring lunch.

Here in America, wild edible plants are in abundance, even in winter (with a little digging). Animals, which are skiddish by nature, can be very difficult to catch. While you can set snares, you need to set at least 6, but 10-12, would be ideal. Unless you are experienced and/or have wire or strong cordage with you, you would need to make a large amount of cordage (very time consuming) to set even 6 snares.

Now supposing you have set 6-12 snares, your catch ratio is generally 2 or 3 of 10-12 snares and 1 of 6 snares. Pretty low odds for a lot of work. And you have to gut, skin & cook (which requires you to expel energy to gather, build & start a fire) your catch.

Now starting a fire is whole other aspect that you may not physically be able to do. Most plants on the other hand are good to go raw.

Foraging for plants requires very little energy and the gain in nutrients is exponential from very little work.

Milfoil
01-07-2009, 06:49 AM
Here in America, wild edible plants are in abundance, even in winter (with a little digging). Animals, which are skiddish by nature, can be very difficult to catch. While you can set snares, you need to set at least 6, but 10-12, would be ideal. Unless you are experienced and/or have wire or strong cordage with you, you would need to make a large amount of cordage (very time consuming) to set even 6 snares.

Now supposing you have set 6-12 snares, your catch ratio is generally 2 or 3 of 10-12 snares and 1 of 6 snares. Pretty low odds for a lot of work. And you have to gut, skin & cook (which requires you to expel energy to gather, build & start a fire) your catch.

Now starting a fire is whole other aspect that you may not physically be able to do. Most plants on the other hand are good to go raw.

Foraging for plants requires very little energy and the gain in nutrients is exponential from very little work.

A good point. Here it was never a survival issue, we had wire snares placed where there was clear rabbit activity (through dry stone walls or hedges were best) which clearly you don't have over there, well not out in the wilderness. I just don't think we really have such wilderness over here, nothing like the same issues so its difficult to compare.

sniperfx
01-07-2009, 02:04 PM
Survival Matches Are Garbage!!!

Tuckahoe
01-07-2009, 09:52 PM
I will agree with everything except the Bic lighter. Sure it is better than nothing but so much more can be done with a Zippo lighter. Otherwise good information.

hoosierarcher
01-08-2009, 06:33 PM
To side step the "Higher Ground is Warmer" debate to a slightly different reason to do it. If your camp is on higher ground while raining the water will drain away from your camp. If you're in the lowland the water will accumulate. I don't relish camping in a mud puddle.

RBB
01-08-2009, 07:13 PM
I know two types of mushrooms that don't resemble any poisonous varieties. Those I will gather with impunity. The others I leave alone.

Some plants are easy to gather. Some are very time and energy consuming. As Milfoil comments, seasonal plants require knowledge and something that is abundant one time of year is nonexistent at other times.

In winter around here, I'd stick with animals. You can get at cat-tail roots, but the energy expended is probably beyond the gain. You can ward off scurvy with spruce tea, and eat inner bark of pine and birch, but it is not going to fill your stomach. There is always "rock tripe," but that is truly a survival food - a nauseating last desperate measure.

Ziggy
01-08-2009, 09:01 PM
I am a big believer in redundancy. I am a smoker, so I always have a lighter handy, I pack a few in my various kits as well, along with petroleum/silicone soaked cotton balls (mostly for expediency). But I also have large and small mag/flint combos, and at least a few dozen matches, which I soak in hot wax, covering the tips with melted wax and thread.

nell67
01-08-2009, 09:07 PM
Good post Ziggy,how about lighting your way over to the intro thread and telling us a bit about yourself?

Ziggy
01-08-2009, 09:22 PM
I personally believe in redundancy, as I have little faith in anything working as it should when I need it to the most. I do carry matches that I've waterproofed and tested myself, but only as a back up to numerous lighters, and numerous mag/flint/steel combos. The rest of my kit is also redundancy for water retrieval, cordgage, and knives (several of course).

Cleankill47
01-09-2009, 07:22 PM
Very good post.

As far as learning plants, there are almost always a few in a given area that are readily recognizable and safe to eat.

Here where I live, there are plenty of pine, oak, and sassafrass trees, reeds, cattails, clover, alfalfa, grasses, and dandelions, all of which are edible as long as they have no fungus or disease. It is different for every area, but there should be something that can sustain you until you have the opporitunity to take animal food; and even then, it is good to supplement with plants to keep from getting digestive troubles.

Just my $.02...

TDG
01-11-2009, 02:49 PM
I came across these myths recently. Are they really all myths?

Anyways, nice post :)

edr730
01-11-2009, 04:43 PM
I think most people in Michigan know what the edible black morel, white morel, false morel, and brain mushrooms are. Thousands of people forage them in the spring. My mother would always keep a gallon jar of dried mushrooms near the stove. Around my area, many more people pick mushrooms than would pick blackberries or blueberries. I suppose it depends on where you're from. But, if I were in the southern states, I could only recognize most poisonous spiders and snakes by whether or not they bit me.