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Thread: Where do I start?

  1. #1
    Civil War Reenactor 154th_Seth_Adam's Avatar
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    Question Where do I start?

    I honestly don't know if I came to the right place because someone asked me on my introduction what my camping style was as if it's expected. I'm new, but I started getting interested ever since I started going in my backyard (I live in suburbs) and trying to do what I can with the natural resources I have around me. My parents aren't interested into any of this, so it's hard getting started when you don't have the independence necessary to have freedom and responsibility (don't many other teens want this? )

    Well, I started practicing making fires, using a lighter. I would get leaves or pine twigs from the next door neighbors, and light them up as they are real flammable. Then I would take small sticks, lay them on top of one another in a traditional manner, to allow distributed airflow. I learn oxygen is key to get your fire flowing. Then you just sustain your fire by placing more and more larger items inside the fire. If available, I use pine as the resin is flammable to start the fire, then sustain it with the long lasting oak.

    Today, it snowed here in Bartlett, and oxygen supply was crucial to keep the fire growing. I was still letting my wood season in a crate, so I had to use a few dry leaves, and an old twig from our Christmas tree in the recent past. Well, I took a few sticks out of the pile, and set them on top of one another. After a few minutes, the lighter I used finally ignited the leaves, so I set the evergreen twig on top. The twig proved effective, as it was long lasting enough to provide an ember base to which to use as an igniter. By the way, this was all in a fire burner. This is where oxygen was key. Using the embers, I took a bunch of leaves, and set them on top of the embers, below the stacked sticks. At this point, it was kinda of like working a forge to heat metal. I blew in the embers to turn them firey red, and the leaves caught despite have a bit of ice on them, and the sticks caught. I was quite proud of myself, and ever since I wanted to go further. I took an old axe, and chopped down a tree branch, then chopped it to pieces.

    Currently, I'm trying to make a spoon but sadly my parents have no interest in getting me any wood working tools, and I'm stuck on making the bowl of the spoon. I'm also trying to make a chair by splitting the wood, shaping it with a knife, and nailing it together with a hammer. So, as you can see, I'm quite limited in what I can do out here. That is why I joined this forum. I want to learn so in the future, I can gather money for college, then later on move to Montana and be part of nature. People seem to think I'm weird around here because of how much I admire everything, even here in the city park... Watching the birds, feeling trees, exploring the wilderness, it just astonishes me.

    One good thing about reenacting is that some of the NPs we reenact in are exclusively opened to us, and they are perfectly preserved since the early 20th or late 19th century. I feel alive when I feel cold air blowing at my face, red rosey running nose, beside the fire living life instead of living a sedentary life in a modern house.. People view this as impractical but those people don't know what beauty is when they feel it. I'd be very surprised if you took the time to read my incredibly boring and cringey short story but I wanted to get that out... The suburban environment is heavily limiting and really the only options I have are the backyard, and watching or learning from others on internet, like this forum.
    Last edited by 154th_Seth_Adam; 01-09-2017 at 01:22 PM. Reason: Better struct


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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Everybody has to start someplace. Since you brought up fire, take a look at this thread. http://www.wilderness-survival.net/f...rs-And-Tinders Quite a few for the stickies (threads pinned to the top of a sub forum) might help you, or at least serve as a base on areas that you want to explore or questions to ask.
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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Don't be too concerned. The only reason you were asked what kind of camping you do is just for us to get to know you better and to be able to frame any question you might have in the proper context. Your explanation above answered it quite well.

    You are making good use of the limited resources you have. That is really all any of us can do. The only difference is the ability to increase those resources as you get older. But you will still find you are limited on resources. (so many guns and so little time...sigh).

    Yes, I did read you incredibly long and NOT boring post. You answered the original question and defined your environment quite well. I think you are in the right place. Heed Crashdive's advice. There really is a wealth of information archived on the forum. And if you have a question, just ask.

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    Senior Member Antonyraison's Avatar
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    Where to start? Exactly where you at using what you have around you and what you can salvage is the best place to start.. that is what survival/bushcraft is mostly about... as for tools you don't need much more than a good knife, an axe and a saw some paracord or bank line.. everything can be used and reperpoused... as for fires you seemed to learn the basics of a good fire lay that is excellent

    Try get accustomed to more methods such a firesteel.. another good fire is chemical -glisterine mixed with potassium permanagate.. and aslo friction fires like bow drill,fire plough,hand drill... anything else u wana know or ask u welcome to do so there is a wealth of experienced woodsman here.. oh and btw welcome from south Africa.

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    I hae to agree with everyones comments......
    Start with what you have, then build on it is all anyone can do.

    Way too many people think they have to "Go Somewhere" to learn and practice.....
    Many here started as young men and women,.... doing exactly what you describe...go out in the back yard or park and try things out with what you have.

    Wilderness survival, or any survival for that matter,.... is more about using your head achieve your goals than a lot of gear....
    Gear is fun....But you could get caught with out it...so options are good.

    Asking about camping is in line with your re-enactor back ground....as many here also re-enact different time periods....and that includes camping in the style of your time period.

    Hang in there....you can always learn something.
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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    OK SA I read the whole post(Good Lord the school teacher in me wanted to do some structure correction in that one!), then went back and read your itro and your profile.

    I want to ask just exactly how old you are? It will determine the advice we give and what kind of activities we push. We have responsibilities as adults to guide you responsibly.

    You are not the first newbie we have had here and at least one of our teen aged charges has floated the Yukon River and transversed most of Alaska, as well as visited South America since they started here a few years back.

    I started my outdoor life about 180 miles east of you in the suburbs of Nashville, although it was some time ago. Actually about 60 years ago.

    Yep I was a school teacher(history) for 35 years. I was also a hard corp reenactor of the colonial and early settlement era in TN. Before that I was a teen ager with very little money, and before that a little kid with absolutely zero money.

    I started it all camping in the back yard, perhaps a little earlier than you. I was around 9 or 10 on my first back yard suburban safaris. The tents were old quilts strung on a line between two trees and there were no sleeping bags, just more quilts folded like the Boy Scout Manual advised. We cooked our camp meals(hot dogs and marshmallows) in the concrete bar-b-que which was the way they made them back then. There were times when we did not sleep inside the house for weeks.

    If you check out the stickies as was advised previously you are going to learn a lot. Pay attention to the sections the stickies are posted for to get organized. In your situation pay special attention to the stickies in the how to make stuff section and in the primitive camping section. I know that I have posted several DYI offers and others have too.

    And if you have specific questions ask them. We will try to answer in a way that you can understand and follow using limited resources.

    One thing though. If you do not have wood available, or tinder, and it is zero outside, practicing fire starting might not be the activity of choice. It is a good skill to know, but a useless action if no fuel is available to sustain the blaze.
    Come to the dark side, we have pudding.

  7. #7
    Civil War Reenactor 154th_Seth_Adam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyratshooter View Post
    OK SA I read the whole post(Good Lord the school teacher in me wanted to do some structure correction in that one!), then went back and read your itro and your profile.

    I want to ask just exactly how old you are?
    I'm 15 turning 16 on the 22nd. I normally don't try to pay attention to structure on the internet, especially on forums because I believe what matters is getting your point across. I'm in Honors English 10 by the way

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    Civil War Reenactor 154th_Seth_Adam's Avatar
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    Thank you everyone for taking the time to read Today, I bought a set of wood carving knifes, 2 long shaped off legs, and a piece of circular plywood. I'm planning on finishing up a wooden spoon I just got started on. I took a log, split it with an axe, sawed it to a rough shape, and whittled it with a knife. I have the rough shape, but I got stuck on making the bowl. After days of begging, I finally got to go to a store called "Hobby Lobby." Bought the stuff mentioned above. So after carving the bowl for the spoon project, I'm going to saw the 2 long legs in half to use as legs for a stool, to which I'm going to use the circular plywood as the seat. I'm hoping by trying to get into woodworking, this could tie into learning out to craft things in the field.

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 154th_Seth_Adam View Post
    I'm 15 turning 16 on the 22nd. I normally don't try to pay attention to structure on the internet, especially on forums because I believe what matters is getting your point across. I'm in Honors English 10 by the way
    All the old eyes are asking ...hit "enter" once in a while.

    Much easier to get your point across, when people don't have to work so hard keeping their place.... to read what you wrote.
    If it a long strung together, paragraph......many won't bother to read it.
    Just saying.....
    Geezer Squad....Charter Member #1
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  10. #10
    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    After all this discussion we have still not really told this young man, 15 almost 16, where to start, so I am going to take a shot at it.

    Man I really wish I was 16 again and knew what I know now ! I would have still been camping but my grades would have been better, I would have hung out with smarter girls and the next 40 years of my life would have been easier.

    Anyway, at this time of year most of us are a bit restricted in our outdoor activities and we concentrate on gathering, making and repairing gear.

    Most of us outdoor types are gear hogs and even the minimalist campers require a bit of gear and they are sometimes very picky about quality because they use so little and it better be good.

    In this case I am going to lean toward the low budget side because you are a kid with no money.

    Basic gear or start up gear can be classified into five categories. They are sometimes called the 5 Cs;

    Cutting
    Combustion
    Container
    Cordage
    Cover

    We have had long threads on what is the #1 item an outdoorsman needs for survival, what are the top two or three.

    While one can get by with 1 carefully selected item (usually a knife is chosen), having a selection from the big 5 makes life easier, especially if one is simply going camping for the weekend.

    The Cutting section is not just restricted to knives, it also includes hatchets, axes, saws. At 15 you will still be working out that selection and the details with your parents. At your age I remember that my parents objected to "hunting knives" but had no problem with me owning folding knives, axes and hatchets. I think their objection was not with me being responsible but with the problems that might arise if I were stopped and the police took issue. A good 4 blade utility knife or a multi-tool is usually sufficient for car camping or campground work. You need something that will open the cans and reach the bottom of the peanut butter jar.

    Combustion= includes your lighters, matches, ferro rods, old style flint and steel and primitive fire building methods. You can include wood preparation and laying out the fire in this section too. It sounds like you are already working on this part. Just remember that you can learn all kinds of tricks and methods but nothing is going to work better 99% of the time in the area of Memphis, TN than a good Bic lighter.

    Container= includes water bottles, canteens, canteen cups, buckets, cooking gear and such. You can go as cheap and light as a plastic water bottle and a tin billy made from a can or even a pot salvaged from the kitchen. Camp cooking gear does not have to be expensive and you can always gather better cookware and water carrying gear as you go along.

    Cordage is any kind of rope or string. It is very difficult to camp without the rope, string and twine necessary for tying things up off the ground, running guide lines for shelters or bindings. Cordage is all over the place so you take it where you find it. Walmart is full of the stuff. Go back to the fishing department and look for stuff called "Bank line". It is used to set trout lines for catfish but it is fantastic for camping.

    Cover= includes everything from clothes to sleeping bags, tents and tarps. One can make effective shelter from a free tarp from Harbor Freight (one of the worlds great places, they give you free stuff!) or use a tent that costs several hundred dollars. You make do with what you have. That might even be a heavy duty construction grade trash bag. Here on this website we have recipes for waterproofing painter's tarps, selecting all sorts of tents and even bivy-bag systems that combine sleeping bag and tent.

    And considering sleeping bags, there are a host of those available too. Usually one starts with what they can afford and progresses to more expensive sleeping bags with experience and time. We could write books on sleeping bags, but I think we do not have time.

    Cover includes clothing too. Shirts, pants, coats, hats underwear and outer wear. I am sure you will use what you have now and make decisions and choices as you gain experience. Most of us are still experimenting with clothing. New stuff comes along, better stuff, lighter stuff, more effective stuff. I am 67 and I just found my new favorite pants, and I discovered the "chore coat" a few months back and really like its rugged versatility.

    You can spend this cold time of mid-winter putting together gear and spend some time next spring and summer learning to use it, even if it is only in the back yard. I have to admit that I learned most of the basics camping in the back yard as a kid. Today I do much the same thing, only I have better gear and a vehicle to take it to the woods any time I feel like it.

    It is like that Nike commercial says, Just do it!
    Come to the dark side, we have pudding.

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    I had to give you some rep for that. Nice write up.

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    Senior Member Antonyraison's Avatar
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    What I do when I can not get to the bush is walk around to open fields and spaces cut some dead fall or grab other things I can salvage and make something with it, best way of learning is trial and error some times...don't buy into being a huge gear head.. find what works well for you.. you do not always need the best things.. learn to use what you have and slowly over time you will aquire other things that suit you better.. This is how you develop your own style. As for kit items here is what I use: https://youtu.be/GGtGhFVAy_s
    Last edited by Antonyraison; 01-08-2017 at 07:28 AM.

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    Senior Member cowgirlup's Avatar
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    Good for you! It's rare to find young people that don't want to spend all their time sitting on the sofa playing video games! Our only vacations were camping when I was little. My dad was also very handy outdoors so I got to learn a lot with out knowing I was actually learning any skills. Soon enough you could have an after school job and eventually transportation so you can do more of the things you want.

    Yard sales and thrift shops are great places to pick up some camping gear without spending a lot of money. Ask around in your re-enacting group and see if any one there is into bushcraft that might be willing to show you some things.
    "I enjoy surviving." Yes, well I certainly hope so as the other side of that is "DEATH!"
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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    And that shows that the principles are the same in Memphis or South Africa. One of our friends in Georgia (the Georgia in Europe) uses the same combinations of gear and a person in Canada or France would need the same items for comfortable camping.

    The advice is the same too.

    Get out when you can and if it is only for a long walk around the neighborhood you can call it "conditioning" for the hikes next summer.

    As you roam you are also going to "find stuff" along the way, things like blowdown wood you can drag home for the campfire. As the weather warms you might even see lawns that need a trim so you can make a little money. Learn to be aware of the situations around you and take action when you see an opportunity.
    Come to the dark side, we have pudding.

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    Senior Member Antonyraison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyratshooter View Post
    And that shows that the principles are the same in Memphis or South Africa. One of our friends in Georgia (the Georgia in Europe) uses the same combinations of gear and a person in Canada or France would need the same items for comfortable camping.

    The advice is the same too.

    Get out when you can and if it is only for a long walk around the neighborhood you can call it "conditioning" for the hikes next summer.

    As you roam you are also going to "find stuff" along the way, things like blowdown wood you can drag home for the campfire. As the weather warms you might even see lawns that need a trim so you can make a little money. Learn to be aware of the situations around you and take action when you see an opportunity.
    Agreed the principles are universal

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    Civil War Reenactor 154th_Seth_Adam's Avatar
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    Wow, thank you for the very valuable information! Those five C's are heavily aligned with my reenacting hobby! I have a tin canteen, shelter half (I'm a private), leather brogan strings, and a knife. Most of the time we carry tarred knapsacks and haversacks, which are water proof as they did historically.

    I can confirm that it can be hard starting a fire in Memphis! It gets extremely humid, comparably to Jackson, MS and New Orleans, LA. I find it important to let wood season, as it can dry it out to counter the humidity.

    You bring up a great point cowgirl. In the field of reenacting, bush crafting skills are a must for the company when in either a full-immersion event (events that are prioritized such as major battles), or campaigners (companies that do long marches to reach battlefields or sites, basically a ~week long reenactment).

  17. #17
    Student Survavlist
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    Hello! Thank you for a very informative and helpful post. I too am young (16) and find this to be a fantastic post. I have some experience in the woods, however I only possess very basic knowledge. I joined this forum with the mindset of knowing nothing so even the most simple of information is invaluable.

    Thanks,
    Sam
    "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    Senior Member Antonyraison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 154th_Seth_Adam View Post
    Wow, thank you for the very valuable information! Those five C's are heavily aligned with my reenacting hobby! I have a tin canteen, shelter half (I'm a private), leather brogan strings, and a knife. Most of the time we carry tarred knapsacks and haversacks, which are water proof as they did historically.

    I can confirm that it can be hard starting a fire in Memphis! It gets extremely humid, comparably to Jackson, MS and New Orleans, LA. I find it important to let wood season, as it can dry it out to counter the humidity.

    You bring up a great point cowgirl. In the field of reenacting, bush crafting skills are a must for the company when in either a full-immersion event (events that are prioritized such as major battles), or campaigners (companies that do long marches to reach battlefields or sites, basically a ~week long reenactment).
    Aye well there ya have it heheh them folks of old knew what they doing,as they say nothing beats a classic..Nothing much would have changed scince then in terms of survival and bushcraft. We don't have anything like re-enactment, sounds like a blast.. living out here is like a 3rd world country... wish we had something similar.. but if we did it would like trigger old wounds of past.. doubt they would want to do any of our old major wars like the battle of blood river, or one of the Anglo boer wars.. it just kinda would hit a nerve here.
    Last edited by Antonyraison; 01-09-2017 at 01:18 PM.

  19. #19
    Civil War Reenactor 154th_Seth_Adam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antonyraison View Post
    Aye well there ya have it heheh them folks of old knew what they doing,as they say nothing beats a classic..Nothing much would have changed scince then in terms of survival and bushcraft. We don't have anything like re-enactment, sounds like a blast.. living out here is like a 3rd world country... wish we had something similar.. but if we did it would like trigger old wounds of past.. doubt they would want to do any of our old major wars like the battle of blood river, or one of the Anglo boer wars.. it just kinda would hit a nerve here.
    I'm sorry to hear that! It's probably not as bad as in South Africa after researching some about Nelson Mandella in the past, but there is a lot of heated discussion over the "Confederate flag." I put it parenthesis because the flag people argue over here was never the official flag, it's the AoNV battle flag and it was a square design. You can usually pick out those who are ignorant yet quick to anger about that part of history . When I get home I'll be happy to PM some videos of Civil War reenactments you would enjoy.
    "The education of a man is never completed until he dies." - Robert Edward Lee

  20. #20
    Senior Member Antonyraison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 154th_Seth_Adam View Post
    I'm sorry to hear that! It's probably not as bad as in South Africa after researching some about Nelson Mandella in the past, but there is a lot of heated discussion over the "Confederate flag." I put it parenthesis because the flag people argue over here was never the official flag, it's the AoNV battle flag and it was a square design. You can usually pick out those who are ignorant yet quick to anger about that part of history . When I get home I'll be happy to PM some videos of Civil War reenactments you would enjoy.
    Awesome please do send.. ya no here we have tension with flags also.. our old sa flag is seen to insight apartheid violence so yeah we can certainly understand that situation.. don't get me wrong our country here has come a very long way which makes me proud and happy,but there is still a lot,and I say a lot of racial tension with some.. however not too much tension with "english" and boer.. but yeah I don't get involved with politics.
    Last edited by Antonyraison; 01-09-2017 at 01:38 PM.

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