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tomtom88 03-13-2009 04:51 PM

The Survival Thread
I noticed there really wasn't a thread dedicated to this topic, but there were numerous threads with related info. I'd like everyone to contribute their backcountry tips, equipment, and what to do in certain situations. I want this thread to be a resource for people that have no clue how to survive in the wild. It can include tips for all seasons (ie. spring, summer, fall, winter) and all climates. This is by no means a place of expert information, it is simply a place for our community to share tips, methods and equipment opinions for survival.

I guess I'll start this off with tips for the ultimate essential, Fire.

I recommend that everyone own a set of Firesteel sticks or a magnesium block. Both produce a white hot shower of sparks when scraped with an object with a hard edge (knives work particularly well) Time to throw out those lighters and matches!

I know that when camping, the idea is to make the biggest fire using alot of wood. This is not the case if you are lost in the backcountry, your goal then is to create the most efficient fire.

One superb method is building a Dakota fire pit. It is typically a pit dug one foot into the soil that is shaped like a jug, (wide bottom with a narrower neck) and it has a 4"-6" diagonal tunnel that connects to the side of the pit near the bottom. You want to orient this tunnel upwind. What this does is it creates a system for the fire to burn hotter and more efficiently (meaning less fuel). The hot air escapes through the top of the pit which creates a sort of vacuum and forces cool air through the tunnel into the pit. This steady air flow is what enables the fire to burn hotter and more efficiently. This method doesn't produce much smoke, thus it isn't ideal for drawing the attention of rescuers. For smoke signals, produce a sruface fire, and once that is burning throw on some "green" foliage. This "green" foliage will produce a substantial amount of smoke.

I'm at work right now, so when i get home after class tonight, I can post up a picture or two of what a Dakota fire pit lookes like.

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