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Disease Outbreaks: History’s Lessons On Surviving Mass Infections

Danger on Earth is always present. It takes many forms, from the evil of other humans to poisonous spiders, hippopotamuses, rats… But mankind’s oldest foe has pushed our species to adapt and evolve in order to fight it. It is a struggle that predates the birth of the sword, has cost us uncountable lives over the centuries, and wreaked havoc upon culture after culture across time and space. Disease.

Every so often our age old enemy materializes with force – out of nowhere – to engage our species in a microscopic war. Carnage is the end result. And no matter how advanced our medicine gets, no matter how good our hospitals are or how quick the response might be, outbreaks happen. And serious outbreaks usually result in massive human casualties.

There have been some pretty bad one’s over the years – pandemics, epidemics, plagues, epizootics… Fortunately, despite the terrible horror and mad despair these biologic catastrophes leave in their wake, they also provide human beings with the opportunity to adapt and to learn. The opportunity to hone our survival capabilities.

There will be a “next one”… There always is when it comes to disease. It is our most ancient nemeses, and it is constantly growing and adapting, manifesting in new forms to attack our bodies in new ways and spread ever faster, ever more easily. Our medicine is working hard to keep up. But with 7 billion people all crammed onto this tiny blue rock, humanity is poised, primed, and well overdue for the next outbreak.

So, read up: there’s a lot that can be learned from humanity’s past encounters with our biotic foes.

The Plague of Justinian

The beginning is as good a place as any to begin. So we’ll start with the Plague of Justinian, 1,475 years ago, the first ever recorded disease outbreak.

This plague affected the Eastern-Roman (Byzantine) Empire between 541 and 542 AD. The Byzantines were a powerful bunch, a branch of the old Roman empire who ruled over the Eurasian world for many centuries – they were rich, had a powerful military, a prosperous culture, and they had a lot to lose… which they did. And this plague played a big part in their downfall.

Rats from Egypt carried the plague to the Eastern Romans via grain ships, rats likely carrying fleas with an old strain of Bubonic plague. But a huge contributing factor was something rather unusual: a volcanic winter. Somewhere, a volcano had erupted so violently and with such force, it put the entire Earth under a period of extreme weather patterns and climate variations.

Disease Outbreaks: History's Lessons On Surviving Mass Infections rat

What can be learned from the some 25 million people who died in this historic outbreak? Well, first and foremost, history changed significantly. The Byzantine Empire was weakened at a critical point in their history, and even centuries later; scholars believe the lasting effects of this plague helped the Arabs win the Arab-Byzantine wars. So although this plague only lasted two years, the consequences lived on, echoing throughout the next hundred.

A plague outbreak like this could devastate the future of our modern world… the enduring aftermath would last for generations. Understanding the potential weight of an outbreak like this is crucial to surviving one – plagues and epidemics like it are a big deal. Surviving one is difficult, but understanding the historic weight of these ill-episodes is key to surviving one. Never underestimate.

Also, natural forces (like a volcanic winter, or climates changing) can contribute heavily to the severity of an outbreak. Factors that are totally and absolutely out of all human control or influence can help a disease spread and proliferate faster than it would normally. Preparing for the unexpected can be critical to giving yourself the best chance possible.

And finally, rats. Keep rats in mind. Because as we move forward you will likely notice that these ugly little critters have played a decisive role in several serious disease outbreaks throughout history.

The Black Death

Oh yes, the Black Death… perhaps the most infamous instance of disease outbreaks humans have ever been exposed to. This pandemic influenced generations of art, and is still referenced today as one of the darkest, most horrific chapters of our past. Understandably. It ravaged the populations of India, Mesopotamia, Tartary, Syria and Armenia before it even reached Europe – where it [arguably] did the most damage.

Dead bodies were everywhere. Everyone was sick. Everyone seemed to be dying. Plague doctors moved eerily from house to house, visiting the infected and declaring the dead… Strange and horrible times abounded.

Well, the takeaway I’m going to focus on here is a simple one, but an important one: the Black Death started in 1346, but unlike the Plague of Justinian, it came back and came back, and came back again. In fact, this lethal disease was sweeping back and forth across history so persistently that it was present in Europe every year from 1346-1671.

Disease Outbreaks: History's Lessons On Surviving Mass Infections black death

Could you imagine? America is only 250 years old – the Black Death was massacring Europe for 325 years! Our entire national history could fit inside that of the Black Death, plus an extra 75 years. Never underestimate the tenacity of a disease outbreak – when you think it’s finally gone for good, subdued, contained, vanquished, it may come back to stub out you and your family and all of your friends. Never let your guard down.

And, once again, ground rodents (i.e. rats) are attributed with facilitating the spread of the Black Death, acting as carriers. Rats are bad news when it comes to diseases. So making sure they stay out of your food, and your home, and your life in general is important to sustaining a healthy, uninfected life.

The Spanish Flu of 1918

After World War I finally started drawing to a close, illness saw an opportunity and snatched it: taking advantage of post-war living conditions like malnourishment, overcrowded medical camps, poverty and poor hygiene. The result? It was one of the modern era’s most atrocious influenza outbreaks, which took somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 million lives (roughly 5% of the world’s population at the time).

Disease Outbreaks: History's Lessons On Surviving Mass Infections Spanish Flu

This unusually aggressive strain of virus spread like butter on toast throughout post-WWI Europe. Which proves to illustrate a sort of two-fold point: first, disease flourishes in the wake of great violence. Our wars seem to embolden outbreaks, to strengthen their resolve and their ability to infect us. So if you are waiting for the next big outbreak, you might do well to keep a close eye on military conflicts around the world. And second, third world conditions are like tinder to a blaze – if you are traveling and catch word of a serious outbreak, try not to wait around.

Polio

Polio had been around for a very long time. There are ancient Egyptian carvings that depict humans suffering from Polio – that’s how old it is. But it didn’t become an epidemic until 1916 in the United States. In that year alone there were 27,000 cases of Polio and 6,000-recorded deaths. The widespread nature of this outbreak caused panic, forcing many families to flee cities like New York and Philadelphia, dissipating into the countryside. Then in 1949, the disease flared up again every summer throughout the 1940’s and 50’s, taking almost 3,000 more lives.

Disease Outbreaks: History's Lessons On Surviving Mass Infections Polio

But in 1952, we developed a vaccine for Polio. Since then, we have nearly eradicated the disease from our society. This vaccine was one of the most successful instances of vaccination in human history and has saved uncounted lives since its implementation. The lesson? We can eliminate bad diseases when they threaten us. Hopeful, right? Our science has evolved to the point where scientists and doctors can create a preventative shot that is so effective it all but eliminates the problem entirely. We can do it. We have the power.

Ebola

Anyone reading this article is old enough to remember the recent outbreak of Ebola, which terrified the world, and laid ruin to West Africa. We’ve done battle with bubonic plague, influenza Poliomyelitis… but in 2014, the bacteria Ebola, a relatively new enemy, burst forth like a bloodthirsty hellhound. It took 11,310 lives and spread faster than wildfire. It surged across West Africa and put the entire world on edge… if this outbreak had gotten a little farther it could have been “the next big one”. Entire cities were quarantined, and travel to and from Africa ground almost to a near-complete halt.

Disease Outbreaks: History's Lessons On Surviving Mass Infections Ebola

The moral of this story is that these outbreaks can happen fast. They come out of nowhere, and, even in a society where we are equipped with international medical services trained to deal with this sort of thing, disease outbreaks can take us by surprise and spread faster than we are capable of containing. So stay alert and stay informed, otherwise you may find out too late. Stay ahead of it. Stay on guard.

Disease on Earth

There’s no telling when or where the next serious outbreak of disease will be. It could be across the world, it could be in your hometown. Being prepared for it, and understanding our history with disease will put you a step ahead of the rest. Some of the big takeaways from these outbreaks:

  • Even great and powerful cultures can fall easily and quickly to an outbreak.
  • Outbreaks have lasting effects that can change history drastically.
  • Rats suck (along with many other ground rodents) and often carry disease/s.
  • Stay on guard, even after things seem to be getting better. Diseases like to recur.
  • Wars often precipitate disease outbreaks. They create the ideal disarray for disease to spread.
  • Third world regions are particularly susceptible and therefore more dangerous.
  • We can win. Vaccinations and medications can be created, which have the capability to eradicate diseases. There is hope!
  • Outbreaks happen fast, and can spread faster than we are prepared to deal with. Be prepared to survive an outbreak at a moment’s notice.

Our ancestors did a lot of suffering at the hands of diseases. I can’t even imagine what it would have been like to live through one of these historical epidemics – the horror, the sadness, the misery… Don’t let their tribulations go to waste! Learn from the past, learn from the mistakes and the successes of those who came before, and maybe – just maybe – you will see next big one – and live to tell the tale.

For awesome survival gear you can’t make at home, check out the Survival Life Store!

Check out Disease Outbreaks: History's Lessons On Surviving Mass Infections at https://survivallife.com/disease-outbreaks-history/

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Homemade Weapons You Can DIY To Awaken Your Inner Caveman

Learn to make your own homemade weapons so you’ll have a fighting chance in a survival situation where all you have is nature.

 [You Get One FREE] Weird Little Knife Drives TSA Crazy!

How to Make Homemade Weapons

Why Should You Learn to Make Homemade Weapons?

Let’s say you got lost in the wild, and you somehow forgot or lost your Cold Steel Leatherneck Tanto 39LSFT (or whichever is the best survival knife for you). What do you do?

While your situation is most likely not quite as bad as Tom Hanks had it in Castaway, let’s face it. The only way you’re gonna get out of this situation in good shape is to let out your inner caveman.

Let me explain. Our very primitive ancestors lived in a time when every day was a survival situation. Any tools or weapons they needed had to be made from scratch.

So, should you be unlucky enough to have only the shirt on your back while you’re lost in the wilderness, you’ll have to follow suit. Let the training of your inner caveman begin.

Today’s lesson: how to make DIY weapons in the wild with only the resources nature provided you.

How to Make a Knife | Homemade Weapons

Having a knife, any kind of knife is probably one of the best things to happen should you suddenly find yourself in a survival situation. You can use it to help you find food, build a shelter, and defend yourself against wild animals.

So it’s highly fortunate nature is waiting like a momma at a craft table with lots of materials you can use to create one.

1. Stone Knives

Bone, shell, bamboo, wood, or even an old aluminum beer can may work to perform the puncturing function of a blade. You know you’ve seen these a million times when you’re out hiking.

They’re easy to crack or break or shape into a fairly sharp point which will do in a pinch. Unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to use a chicken bone or an expertly-shaped aluminum can point to skin, chop, baton, or any of the other necessary functions of a survival knife.

This is where the stone comes into play. I’ll start by saying making a knife out of stone isn’t easy, but it can be done.

You’ll need three things: a core rock, a hammerstone, and a pressure flaker. Remember, you’re going to be smashing these together in true caveman fashion.

So, having stones you can reasonably grip in each hand is going to make your life a lot easier. Although, it’s definitely an option to stand poised over one rock smashing down on it.

You, with a two-hand grip, pounding until you’ve chipped away at it a bit. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

2. The Core Rock

rock formation background | Homemade Weapons You Can DIY To Awaken Your Inner Caveman | homemade weapons | deadliest ancient weapons

The core rock is what you’ll be making into a blade. Find any large stone, preferably made from obsidian, slate, chert, or flint with a relatively flat side.

In case you weren’t a rock collector in any of your previous lives, here’s another way to decide if a rock meets the requirements for good knife-making material. Tap or click a rock together with another rock and listen for a ringing sound (like glass).

The more rock sounds like glass, the better it is as a material for your core rock. If you can, choose a rock which is already a bit sharp to reduce the amount of time you’ll need to shape it.

3. The Hammerstone

The hammerstone is a medium-sized, spherical rock, preferably made of granite. It will be used to smash, chisel, chip and shape the core rock.

You’ll be using it to chip off pieces of the core stone and to narrow the edges to a blade shape.

RELATED: How To Keep Your Edge | Knife Sharpener

4. The Pressure Flaker

The pressure flaker, or flaking tool, is a rock with a sharp point to help you refine the blade’s edges. You’ll use your flaking tool after you’ve thinned the edges of the stone with the hammer stone to make the “blade” sharper.

When you start making your knife, you’ll want to be sure to wet the core stone to shorten the time it takes to shape it into a blade. Begin by striking glancing blows near the edge of the core rock with the hammerstone.

Chip away at the core rock until you get the general shape of a blade. Then, use the flaking tool to refine the edges you need to sharpen.

You can also use a stone with a rough surface such as a sandstone to sharpen the edge. Use some rope, cloth, or leather to lash the base and create a handle.

If you are having troubling shaping the rock into a knife, you can opt to create stone blades instead. Check out the videos below to learn how:

Part One:

Part Two:

How to Make a Spear | Homemade Weapons

south african zulu spear | Homemade Weapons You Can DIY To Awaken Your Inner Caveman | homemade weapons | deadliest ancient weapons

We’ve talked about how to make a spear using your best survival knife in a previous article. The same principle applies here.

Even without your Cold Steel Leatherneck Tanto 39LSFT or whichever survival knife you normally bring with you, you can still make a spear using your newly made stone knife. To make a spear, you’ll need to find a five-foot-long stick tough enough to endure repeated short or long-distance throws.

  1. First, pick the end of the stick which has a more rounded tip and use your stone knife to start shaving to create a spear. Once you’re done, be sure to heat the spear over some hot coals to make your spear sharper.
  2. As an alternative, you can also make a spear by tying your knife onto a stick. Find a stick which is about an inch wide.
  3. Measure about 2 inches from one end of the stick. Mark the point, then split the stick into two until you reach the 2-inch mark, creating a sort of Y shape.
  4. This will create a space where you can stick your stone knife before you lash it on with some twine, cord, or rope. To lock the blade in place, put some moss or lichen in the remaining space.
  5. If you haven’t had time to fashion your knife out of stone yet, you can also use broken pieces of shell or glass or splintered bamboo or bone and secure it to the end of your stick.
  6. If you find a way to split your stick without a knife, you can insert the splintered bone or bamboo into the wedge and tie it off like you would when turning a knife into a spear.

How to Make a Weighted Club | Homemade Weapons

While sharp pointy tools are all well and good, you can never go wrong with a blunt homemade weapon. You can use it for hammering or bludgeoning something such as a weighted club.

The weighted club could be one of the deadliest ancient weapons. To make one, you’ll need the following: a piece of wood around 14-16 inches, a medium-sized rock, and some rope.

  1. Once you have all the materials, you’ll need to wrap some lashing 6-8 inches from the end of the stick.
  2. Split the same end until you reach the lashing in order to create a V-shaped notch. The rock you picked out should be shorter than the length of the split.
  3. Insert the stone then lash it securely (above, below, and across the stone). The lashing on the stick above the stone clamps both sides of the split together providing the first point of security, so it’s especially important to create a good, tight lashing above the stone.
  4. You’ll want to make sure you bind the split ends securely so the stone won’t fall off whenever you use it to hammer or pound on something.

This video from Wannabe Bushcrafter will show you how to make a bamboo knife:

Now, hopefully, you never find yourself in a situation where making homemade weapons is going to be a necessity for survival. But, if you do find yourself in such a quagmire, this little bit of information and inner caveman training may be what saves your life.

Which of these homemade weapons do you want to make? Tell us your progress in the comments section below!

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Go to our Survival Life Store to shop some of our favorites self-defense tools and gear!

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***Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.***

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 11, 2014, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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5 Home Remedies For Chigger Bites

Know these home remedies for chigger bites, or better yet, avoid the bug's bites in the first place with helpful tips included here!

RELATED: Top Ways to Deal with Insects [Especially Mosquitos]

In this article:

  1. What Is a Chigger, Exactly?
  2. Where Do Chiggers Live?
  3. Identifying Chiggers Bites
  4. Home Remedies for Chigger Bites
  5. Tips to Avoid Chigger Bites and Chigger Bites Infection

Home Remedies For Chigger Bites

What Is a Chigger, Exactly?

Chiggers are members of the arachnid family. They are extremely tiny, and my guess is you won’t even see them as they jump from the tall grass onto your skin and/or clothing.

Adult chiggers are about 1/60 of an inch and have eight legs. The larvae are red, wingless, six-legged creatures which measure less than 1/150 of an inch.

Because of their red color, you might be able to spot the larvae when they cluster together, especially on white clothing.

What Is the Arachnid Family? It is a large group or class of invertebrate animals where the spiders and scorpions belong.

Where Do Chiggers Live?

Chiggers reside in tall weeds and grass, berry patches, and wooded areas. They could be in your backyard, by the lake, or your favorite hiking trail.

They are most active in summer and fall afternoons – the warmest part of the day.

Identifying Chiggers Bites

Only the larvae bite humans and they tend to choose warm, moist areas of the body.

Chiggers also have claws which help them grab onto your skin. The chigger then attaches its mouth to the skin and injects saliva.

The saliva contains an enzyme which breaks skin cells down to liquid form. Your body responds by hardening skin cells around the saliva, creating a tube (cyclostome) through which the chigger sucks the dissolved skin cells.

Chiggers can stay attached and feeding for several days before falling off.

When the chigger falls off, you are left with reddish bumps. You may notice a bright red dot in the center—this is a remnant of the tube your skin formed in response to the chigger's saliva.

The bumps may look like welts, blisters, pimples, or hives. Bites generally appear in groups and get larger for several days to a week.

While many insects bite exposed skin which is easy to get to, chiggers like to bite in folds of skin as well as places where clothing fits tightly on the skin. Most chigger bites occur around the ankles, waist, armpits, crotch, or behind the knees.

Home Remedies for Chigger Bites

Just remember, no matter what, DO NOT SCRATCH THE BITES! I know, easier said than done. But, breaking the skin on a chigger bite can lead to infection.

Here are 5 home remedies to help with the itching and swelling.

RELATED: Spider Bite? Here’s How To Treat It

1. Vicks Vapor Rub

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Vicks Vapor Rub can put an end to itchy chigger bites immediately and will even reduce the risk of blisters. It’s the cooling menthol in it which relieves itching by affecting itch receptors in the skin.

Steps:

  • Take a hot shower (use antibacterial soap.) Pat dry your skin with a soft towel.
  • Take a small amount of the vapor rub and add some table salt to it.
  • Mix well and apply to the affected area.
  • Repeat if the swelling continues (otherwise, there is no need to repeat the process)

2. Cold Compress

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A cold compress can help reduce the itching associated with chigger bites. Its numbing effect helps reduce the sensation of itchiness.

Steps:

  • Wrap some ice cubes in a thin cloth.
  • Apply the compress to the bites for 10 minutes. Repeat if needed to relieve itching.

3. Baking Soda

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Baking soda is another effective remedy to reduce rashes as well as itchiness. It acts as a natural acid neutralizer which helps relieve itching and reduces the risk of infection.

Steps:

  • Add 1 cup of baking soda to a bathtub filled with cool water.
  • Stir well and soak in this water for 15 minutes and pat your skin with a soft towel. (Do this once daily)

Another remedy using baking soda:

  • Prepare a thin paste of 2 teaspoons of baking soda and a little water.
  • Apply the paste on the affected areas and leave it on for about 10 minutes.
  • Rinse it off with cool water.

Note: Do not use this remedy more than once or twice a day. Never use baking soda on broken skin or open wounds.

4. Oatmeal

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Oatmeal contains anti-irritating, anti-inflammatory and soothing properties providing instant relief from itching–one of the common symptoms of chigger bites. It is recommended to use colloidal oatmeal, meaning oats which are ground into an extremely fine powder.

(You can accomplish this yourself by grinding regular oats in a sealed Ziploc bag, using the backside of a spoon to crush the oatmeal.)

Steps:

  • Add 1 cup of colloidal oatmeal to a bathtub filled with warm water
  • Stir thoroughly
  • Soak in this mixture for at least 15-20 minutes
  • Repeat 2-3 times a day

5. Olive Oil

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Olive oil can also be used to get relief from the irritation and inflammation. It is rich in vitamin E and antioxidants which reduce itching and facilitate healing.

Steps:

  • After rinsing the affected area with water, apply olive oil to the chigger bite.
  • Reapply several times a day.

Another option using olive oil:

  • Mix a few drops of tea tree oil in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and apply on the affected area.
  • Repeat a few times a day.

Tips to Avoid Chigger Bites and Chigger Bites Infection

As summer and fall are prime time for chigger bites, it is best to take the following precautions:

  1. When hiking, stay in the center of the trail and avoid brushing up against vegetation.
  2. Wear long sleeves and long pants when going into the woods.
  3. Apply mosquito repellent on your hands, feet, and exposed skin on your arms before going outside.
  4. Shower immediately after being outdoors and use antibacterial soap.
  5. Wash your clothes in hot water.
  6. Resist the urge to scratch because breaking the skin on chigger bites can lead to a possible infection.

This video from Online Pest Control will show you tips to avoid chiggers and ways to get rid of chiggers:

Chigger bites much like other insect bites aren't only discomforting, they can be dangerous too. Many of these insects including chiggers carry diseases in some cases.

The best way to deal with these bugs is to avoid them or control them with our tips here. But, if you're so unlucky, you also now know the best home remedies to chigger bites!

Have you had to deal with chigger bites before? Tell us how, including more useful tips which worked for you in the comments section below!

Up Next:

Go to our Survival Life Store to shop some of our favorites self-defense tools and gear!

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr!

***Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.***

Home Remedies For Chigger Bites | https://survivallife.com/5-home-remedies-for-chigger-bites/

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on June 28, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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9 Good Reasons To Carry A “Survival Stick”

Arm yourself with a survival stick, get savvy with it, but first, find out why as you read on!

RELATED: Deadly Parasols | Umbrella As A Self-Defense Weapon

In this article:

  1. Survival Hiking Stick
  2. Survival Stick for Support
  3. Fetching/Reaching Things
  4. Walking Staff Weapon for Self-Defense
  5. Balance
  6. Gauging Depth
  7. Carrying Gear and Supplies
  8. Club
  9. Fishing Rod

Survival Stick: An Underrated Multipurpose Tool?

The Survival Stick in History

A walking stick or a survival cane were popular in the 17th and 18th centuries as a decorative show of power and a defensive replacement for a sword. Yet, the truth is our ancestors have been using them for thousands of years, and for good reason…

…They work! Even the animal kingdom is smart enough to know just how useful these are:

(It may be hard to see, but this gorilla is holding a walking stick to gauge the depth of the water as she sloshes along)

A walking stick is not a new or revolutionary idea. In fact, the use of a walking stick predates history and its use continued on for generations including this present time.

Yet, it is one which is more often than not overlooked. When most people think of a walking stick, it is usually paired with a top hat or seen as a crutch for someone with a walking disability.

Far too few people even realize how important a walking stick can be, especially to someone in the outdoors. We will dig a little deeper into the many uses of a survival stick and maybe safely say, it could be the first multi-purpose survival tool.

Practical and Survival Uses for a Survival Stick

Walking sticks are also known as trekking poles, pilgrim's staffs, hiking poles and hiking staff have quite a few different uses:

1. Survival Hiking Stick

Hold the survival stick in front of you and you can use it to clear your way by parting brushes and branches or leaves and thick tall grasses. You can also use it to clear spiderwebs, especially if you're not too fond of spiders.

Other insects, animals, poisonous plants, and even animal dung can get in the way. Use a survival stick to inspect or poke at those things if you are unsure, and never ever your hands or your feet.

2. Survival Stick for Support

Hiker in Caucasus mountains is crossing mountain river | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | hiking staff
Making your way through an uneven terrain will be more manageable with a walking stick for support. Whether you're going up or down, use the walking stick to either slow you down or hold you up.

You can use your walking stick like breaks to keep you from speeding down or use it to latch on to a rock or crevice when you're climbing up. Besides for yourself, you can also use your multipurpose stick as a support for your tarp emergency shelter.

3. Fetching/Reaching Things

It happens–a supply or gear falling on water, mud, puddle or in an area you dare not walk into. You can fetch or reach for those items with a stick.

It also happens where you need an item over a physical barrier and only a stick can fetch the item for you. You can also reach for fruits, nest, or other food sources up a tree or high structure with a stick.

RELATED: Unusual Weapons From Around The World And How To Use Them

4. Walking Staff Weapon for Self-Defense

To use a survival stick as a weapon, make sure it's a sturdy stick with a finished look and not just any stick you found along the way. You can use it to defend yourself from an attacker whether it's human or animals.

I would suggest to train yourself in some form of martial arts using a stick like a baton as a weapon to have a better handle at it.

You can also fashion a spear with your stick by tying a survival knife on one end. Don't throw this spear though or you risk damaging or losing your knife and stick.

Hold on to your homemade spear and only use it to thrust at your target.

5. Balance

Hiker is crossing the river in Sweden | Hiker in Caucasus mountain | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | survival hiking stickWhen you're crossing a log bridge over a stream or you're going through the stream itself or other bodies of water, a walking stick can help you balance so you don't fall over. If you're walking through a muddy or rocky waterbed, a walking stick will help you up.

If you're up for it and if the body of water isn't too wide across, you can also use a long stick like a pole vault to cross over so you don't get yourself wet.

6. Gauging Depth

Relative to crossing bodies of water, a survival stick is handy in identifying dips beneath the waters which could cause you to stumble. You can also use the stick to identify where it's safe to take the next step.

You can also use this simple trick with the stick when you're traveling in deep snow, marshland, and even the dessert.

7. Carrying Gear and Supplies

Use your survival stick to help you carry gear and supplies. Pack your supplies with a shemagh, tie it tight to one end of your stick then place the stick over your shoulders in hobo fashion.

You can also carry more supplies with your survival stick. Even today, a carrying pole is used by indigenous people all over the world to carry heavy supplies you never thought possible.

Hang bags of supplies or jars of water on either side of the pole or stick, putting a stopper like a notch or tie on both ends so they don't fall off. Place the center of the stick over your shoulders and balance your load to your destination.

8. Club

Man carrying blue backpack | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | walking staff weapon
Use your survival stick like a club to knock obstacle down. A pillar of rocks or other objects may be on your way and a sturdy stick can help you safely knock those.

If you are in a building with glass doors or windows or inside a car, you can break the glass with a stick. Make to knock over pieces around your entrance or exit with the stick, too.

9. Fishing Rod

You only need to bring a fishing kit and your survival stick will make a good fishing rod. Tie a line on one end of your walking stick and fish away.

A DIY fishing pole is actually effective and many a fish has been caught this way.

As you guys and gals already know, I am a stickler for carrying things only if they have multiple uses. This guy managed to fit almost an entire survival kit into a walking stick he built from scratch, for under $20.00.

Check out this video from SOS 2054 I found, and find out for yourself, too:

A humble walking stick will indeed surprise you with what it can do for your defense, convenience, safety, and survival. Since you know now the practical and survival uses of this primitive multi-purpose tool, it won't surprise me if it lands a top spot on your list of survival tools for camping, hiking, or SHTF.

What other uses can you think of for carrying a “survival stick”? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 11, 2013, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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