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Emergency Heat During a Power Outage and other Winter Storm Preps

Winter Storm Preparedness - Emergency Heat During a Power Outage - Conserving heat, dressing for warmth, food and water needs, hygiene issues.
It's winter, and you always *planned* to get supplies if the power went out. Now it's below zero and the power just failed. What do you do for emergency heat during a power outage?

This post contains ideas for winter storm survival while sheltering in your home, but many of the ideas could be adapted for elsewhere, especially the section on cold weather clothing. Plan NOW instead of trying to remember all this when you are freezing and the power is out.

Long Before the Winter Storm Arrival

  • Ensure you have fuel for your generator. If you don't have a generator consider a dual fuel generator.
  • Get an indoor propane heater, such as a Buddy Heater. Buddy Heaters and other similar propane heaters are safe for indoor use.
  • Before the storm – consider improving your windows by controlling heat loss.
    • Honeycomb insulating shades are a good option to consider. Home Depot, Menards, Lowes, and numerous websites and stores will allow custom orders. We have Bali insulating cellular shades and open and close them with the sun.
    • At least consider Insulating Curtains to reduce your heat loss.
    • If its time to replace windows, consider adding storm windows.
  • Make sure each family member has
  • Make sure your propane tank is full for the winter.
  • Make sure you have a few extra very warm blankets and comforters, buy them on sale.

Just Before the Winter Storm Hits

  • Add extra heat before you lose power. If you have some warning that the power will go out, set the temperature higher in your house. The warmer it is to start, the longer it will take to cool. This could include warming normally unused spaces in your home to create more thermal mass.
  • Fill bathtubs and sinks with water before the storm.
  • Test your generator.
  • Reload firewood so you have a full stock before the storm.

Emergency Heat During a Power Outage – First, Eliminate Heat Loss, Then Safely Add Heat

#1 – Eliminate Heat Loss

  • Avoid opening and closing exterior doors. We don’t think about it much when heating is working but a blast of cold can easily drop the temp 5 to 10 degrees with no easy way to get that heat back. If you need to go outside, go through a porch or garage or other area that can act as an airlock to prevent colder air from entering the home. You can even use the open area of your home as a portal, and keep a room closed for sleeping and living till the power comes back on.
  • Close all the doors inside the house. This keeps unused exterior rooms from cooling your main living/survival area. If you have forced air heat, close the vents once the power goes out (don't let the cold into your warm room, or your heat out). Remember to open them when the power returns.
  • Block drafts. Place rolled up towel at the base of a front door or drafty door to keep heat in or cold out. Hang blankets over windows and doorways to block out even more cold. If you have time to order them, you can get heavy duty draft blockers that lock to the door.
  • Insulate windows. Close your blinds/curtains to insulate the windows (reduce heat loss).
  • Consider moving to the basement. – Even though basements are normally colder, they can be “warmer” because of the insulating quality of the ground. 45 degrees ground temperature is a lot better than 20 below zero air temperature, especially with high winds.

#2 – Safely Add Heat to the House – Indoor Heaters and Alternative Heat Sources

  • Wood stoves – If you have a wood stove, fire it up and keep it burning. If you have a limited amount of wood, burn at regular intervals, letting it get quite cold between burns.
  • Indoor Propane Heaters. My friend, CJ Harrington, just commented that some Buddy Heaters (that burn propane) are safe for indoor use. Check and double check to make sure any combustion device you choose is rated for indoor use.
  • Open FlameUSE WITH CAUTION**Do not burn anything larger than a candle inside your home without providing adequate ventilation to the outside. Keep a fire extinguisher right near whatever open flame heat source you are using. Carbon monoxide and fire can be deadly. Pay special attention to kids and pets with any open flame.
  • Use the sun for heat. If it’s a sunny day, open the blinds on the windows on the sunny side of the house. Place dark blankets on the floor, furniture or bed in direct sun to soak up the sun's heat. As soon as the sun goes down re-insulate the windows best you can.
  • Run a bathtub of hot water. It will add heat to the house, and you will be able to drink it if needed (probably filter it if you have a water filter). If the temperature drops too close to the freezing point you can allow it to drain.

Unsafe Emergency Heating Options

You might be tempted to use a Coleman pack heater or Alcohol Fuel heater, but these can quickly build up dangerous levels of combustion products in confined spaces. The terracotta pot candle heaters (in all their variations) do help to trap the heat given off by a candle and slowly radiate it into the room. Don't leave open flames unattended.

I've heard from two friends who know someone who had a flower pot heater catch on fire. In one case, the pot itself ignited due to wax buildup, in another case, they had the heater on a table and the table varnish ignited. If you cook outside on a grill and bring the warm pots in, that will safely add some warmth inside indirectly.

Winter Storm Preparedness - Emergency Heat During a Power Outage - Conserving heat, dressing for warmth, food and water needs, hygiene issues.

Conserve Heat by Living in One Room

When faced with an extended power outage, living and sleeping in a single room will help conserve heat. Select a room away from the prevailing winds. If you have a room in your house that normally stays warmer than the rest of the house, that's probably a good choice. Hang blankets over the door to your “warm” room, and insulate the window with blankets if possible. Use painters tape, duct tape or other tape to seal the blanket over the window. Pillows function well as insulation. If by chance you have spare fiberglass insulation, bubble wrap, or Styrofoam sheets, those can be used to cover windows, too.

Heat may also be lost through the floor. Put blankets, rugs or pillows on the floor to further insulate the room. You can set up a tent in the house. The tent can also keep kids distracted. You can sleep in sleeping bags on a mattress in the tent to share heat and warm a smaller area. Having everyone sleep in the same room will ensure body heat can build up some also.

Choose the Right Clothing to Stay Warm

Layer your clothes – include wool and/or Thinsulate if you have it. Loose layers will keep you warmer than tight layers. Wear gloves under mittens to trap more heat around your fingers. Remember, extremities are in the most danger from intense cold. If you have no gloves or they aren’t warm enough, wear socks over gloves.

Look for a Higher Gram Count – When considering winter clothing, get 100 gram (Grams per square meter of insulation) or higher if possible. Higher gram counts provide more warmth. Traditional wool, down and fur jackets, hats and gloves are also good options. When you are active, it helps to have a wicking layer close to your body to draw excess moisture away so you don't end up cold and clammy. More on this in the post, “Emergency Underwear and Socks“.

From the 3M website – Recommended grams of 3M™ Thinsulate™ Insulation for footwear:

  • 200 grams for cool conditions or high activity levels
  • 400 grams for cold conditions or moderate activity levels
  • 600 grams for very cold conditions
  • 800 grams for extremely cold conditions with light activity levels
  • 1‚000+ grams for extremely cold conditions with light to minimal activity level

Use chemical hand warmers in gloves, footwear or pockets – but be careful because they may be too warm to place directly against the skin. These warmers can be purchased almost anywhere. They are inexpensive and work fast. The heat can really make a difference for comfort and keep you from getting frostbite. Many gloves and mittens have a pouch for the warmers.

For more info, see The 4 Layers of Winter Clothing Everyone Should Know.

Keeping Warm While You Sleep

A bulk of your heat loss is through your head, so put on a light comfortable hat or other headcover to sleep. (“And ma in her kerchief and I in my cap, had just settled down to a long winter's nap.”) Use a sleeping bag if you have it. Wool is an amazing insulator, so combining a wool blanket a cotton sheet and even a mediocre sleeping bag can give you a very warm bed. If wool makes you itch, layer a wool blanket with a cotton sheet above and below. Use fur or fleece if you have it. Both are great insulators and can add some comfort. Put on warm socks/slippers or even boots. Watch those extremities! Sleeping in a group will allow you to share body heat. If you have your indoor tent set up, this is the perfect time to put it to use. A calorie dense bedtime snack will help you to be your own natural source of heat.

Eating and Drinking for Warmth and Safety

Your body will need more calories just to stay warm. If you are active (which will also help you stay warm), your calorie needs will increase even more. Eating raises your metabolism, which generates some additional internal heat.

Make sure to keep hydrated. Drink plenty of liquid. Hot beverages such as tea or hot chocolate can act as hand warmers while you drink and warm you from the inside out. They also add variety to emergency meals. You can melt snow for water if needed using one of the emergency cooking options. You may want to filter the water before drinking. Avoid large amounts of alcohol! A sip or two is one thing, but some folks think that if a little is good, more is better. The “warming effect” of excess alcohol is a false one. It can impair judgement and put you at an ever greater risk. Just ask the people that the cops found drunk outside the Packer stadium during the last playoff game. Not good!

Personal Hygiene – When the Toilet Won't Flush and Washing Gets Tricky

We take toilets for granted. When the power goes out, most of us no longer have running water. You should have emergency water storage and filtration as part of your basic preparedness supplies. If you have warning that the power may go out, you can supplement these supplies by filling a bathtub with warm water. Portable storage containers like the $24.95 waterBOB or $26.70 65gal Emergency bathtub container attach directly to your faucet and come with a pump to make it easy to get the water out when you need it. This water can be used for washing, drinking and toilet flushing. When water is scarce, the “mellow yellow” rule should apply. Don’t flush the toilet unless you *really* need to. If you have no water for flushing, use a 5 gallon bucket and paper or sawdust to absorb liquid and odor. You could also cover a bucket tightly or use a garbage bag. See Portable DIY Toilet instructions here.

Burning Waste

If you have a wood stove and don't mind getting a little primitive, you can do what my older sisters used to do. Rather than running out to the outhouse in winter (the farmhouse I was raised in had no running water when my parents started their family), my oldest siblings would poop on several sheets of newspaper and burn it in the wood stove. As I said, primitive, but it worked. I was very glad we had indoor plumbing by the time I was born, as I have used the outhouse when there was a minus 40 below zero wind chill one Christmas and the septic system froze. It was not pleasant.

No Power Often Means No Hot Water or No Water at All

If you have a well pump, a power outage means no water without a backup generator. If you're connected to city water, you may or may not have water, depending on the area affected by the outage and whether or not the city has backup pumps. In either situation, there may be enough pressure in the plumbing to fill a sink or two for washing, but you should have emergency water storage. (See – Emergency Water Storage and Filtration for more info.)

Even if you have a gas or propane water heater, odds are that you won't have hot water for very long without electricity. Most gas and propane water heaters have electric ignition switches to light the fire to heat the water. You have the hot water in the tank for as long as it stays hot, and that's it.

Don’t bathe unless absolutely necessary. Getting wet is a quick way to get really cold. Keep some baby wipes on hand for waterless cleaning. If you still have running water, protect faucets that are at risk of freezing by turning on a pencil size stream of water.

Cars, Cards and Food Storage

Your car can be a refuge. If you seriously cold, you can start car up and use it for an emergency heat up for a brief period. Bring blankets and other things that will get warmed up and bring them back in the house all toasty. **Remember – never run the car in an unventilated area. Carbon monoxide can be deadly. Have something to help pass the time that doesn't require power. Get a couple of decks of cards and a card game book, or some print books. Board games are great, too.

Use the cold to keep food fresh. If the power is out and it's warm enough inside that food in the refrigerator or freezer will spoil, move food to an unheated porch or garage or outside to take advantage of natural refrigeration. Statistically, here in Wisconsin, January is the coldest month (on average).

Stay safe and warm!

P.S. – Shout out to my husband, August, for helping to put this article together.

Winter Storm Preparedness - Emergency Heat During a Power Outage - Conserving heat, dressing for warmth, food and water needs, hygiene issues.

You may also find helpful:

Originally posted in 2015, updated in 2017.

The post Emergency Heat During a Power Outage and other Winter Storm Preps appeared first on Common Sense Homesteading.

This Article Was Originally Posted at commonsensehome.com Read The Original Article Here

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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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***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.

This Article Was First Found at survivallife.com Read The Original Article Here

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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

|
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.

This Article Was First Found at survivallife.com Read The Original Article Here

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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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**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 October 11, 2013, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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