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Ham Radio Training: The Serious Survivalist’s Most Critical “Life-Line”

I’ve always known Ham Radio operators and every time I expressed interest, they would do all they could to try and get me into Amateur Radio. They would go on with their Ham Radio jargon and I always thought, “maybe, one day…” Well, after my FAIL during a major crisis, the day for Ham Radio training had finally come…

It wasn’t until an emergency situation hit my area, that I understood the need for Ham Radio.

Ham Radio Training

I live in the Northeastern United States. In 2012, we were viciously hit with Hurricane Sandy.

“Hurricane Sandy (unofficially referred to as “Superstorm Sandy”) was the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, and the second-costliest hurricane in United States history.” (1).

As I bugged in with my family, I tried my damnedest to get information from the communications (Comms) setup that I had at the time. My cell and home phone service were non-existent, my 2-way radios could barely get reception. When they did, there was so much noise (tons of people chatting away) that the radios were relatively useless. My shortwave radio received good reception but the only news that I could pick up was generalized and not specific enough to my area to be useful.

I couldn’t even check on my parents, who were a mere 10 miles away.

Having an experience like Hurricane Sandy made me realize that I was nowhere near as prepared as I thought I was…

I reached out to a family friend with the call sign, W2MF, and he gave me the rundown on what I needed to do to get my ticket (Ham Radio license). I explained to him that I just needed to know how to use the radios in an emergency. Getting into the “hobby” wasn’t really what I was looking to do. He laughed at me and put it in terms that I could understand. He asked me one simple question: “Do you practice with your Glock 9mm for all different scenarios? Or do you keep it in your drawer to only be used when SHTF?”

I simply replied back… “Roger That.”

As a U.S. Marine, I understood that perfect practice, makes perfect. If I had access to Ham Radios during Hurricane Sandy, I would have been clueless on how to operate one. So I followed W2MF’s advice and began studying for my ticket. Keep in mind that I don’t even like to talk to friends on my cell phone, so imagine how thrilled I was at the idea of having to communicate with strangers as a Ham Radio operator…

I prepared for my Ham Radio exam by using various apps & study guides which were all free. It was actually a painless venture. I invested a few minutes here and there on the phone apps and I would spend about 30 minutes each day preparing with study guides found on various free websites. In about 3 weeks, I was ready to go take the exam. I searched online for the nearest location, where an exam was being given, and reserved my spot. The total cost for the exam was only $15 and the FCC license was valid for 10 years!

I showed up to the exam and there were a few of the administrators sitting upfront. We handled the initial paperwork and before I realized it, I was in the middle of my exam. The volunteer examiners or (VE) were incredibly knowledgeable as expected. What I didn’t count on was their friendliness and their eagerness to help. I finished my exam and went to the front of the classroom to hand it in to the VE staff. It was graded within a few minutes and I was told that I passed!

I struck up a conversation with the top VE for this exam session. He offered to help me get educated for emergency scenarios. Little did he know the door that he had just opened… ?

In the Ham community, the seasoned operators that assist newbies like me are called “Elmers.” I now had an Elmer– and man does he know his stuff! His call sign is W2OU and he has patiently, in laymen terms, taught me about Ham Radio; specifically under emergency scenarios. Ham Radio is extremely versatile so there is never a one size fits all. However, the fact that we can configure amateur radio to our personal needs, makes it a necessary means of communication for anyone striving to be fully prepared.

As I continue to learn about Ham Radio and apply it to my current SHTF plan, the more I feel that everyone focused on preparedness should earn their Ham Radio license.

Here are my 10 reasons why I feel that every prepper should be a ham radio operator:

1: Social Networking:

Ham Radio was one of the first social networking platforms. During an emergency situation, we may need to barter for goods and services. Being able to reach out to a network of trusted Ham operators… could mean the difference in not only surviving a SHTF situation, but to able to do so in as much comfort as possible. We can act like we are the biggest and baddest individuals in the preparedness world but when a loved one needs something urgently and we are unable to provide a solution… It can easily tear us apart inside by taking away our mental fortitude. That aspect alone can turn you from an asset into a liability for your family and/or group.

Ham Radio Training: The Serious Survivalist’s Most Critical “Life-Line”?

2: Ham Radios Are Packed With Emergency Related Options:

Ham Radios come packed with all sorts of options these days. Even a standard handheld VHF/UHF radio, that you can get for under $30 on Amazon, is bundled with useful features. Besides its obvious transmitting and receiving capabilities, you can also listen to standard news stations. When you need some R&R time, you can even tune into your favorite FM music station. Some radios have impressive flashlight features with additional sirens & strobes to utilize if you are in need of rescue.

With a couple of cables and simple modifications, you can send texts and emails from your Ham Radio. With all of the useful features on the newer Ham Radios, you can think of them as an additional compact and lightweight survival kit.

Ham Radio Training: The Serious Survivalist’s Most Critical “Life-Line”?

3: Listen In On Police, Fire & First Responder Frequencies:

In an emergency, listening to what the local Police and other first responders are communicating about is crucial for your short-term planning. It can help you figure out whether it is best to hunker down at your current location or should you and your family bug out! This can also boost your security needs by knowing if looting and break-ins are occurring in you neck of the woods.

There are organizations like NOAA, ARES, MARS, FEMA, RACES, The Red Cross, Salvation Army and many others that are great resources for life-saving information. In an emergency, I can even monitor the Marine radio channels so that I can evaluate the info coming out of the local ports in the area.

Ham Radio Training: The Serious Survivalist’s Most Critical “Life-Line”?

4: Getting Started With Ham Radio Is Cheap:

I already mentioned that you can get started with local Ham Radio communication with a $30 radio and a $15 license exam fee. But like most things related to preparedness… The more skills that you posses, the more options that you have available to you.

Seasoned Ham Radio operators can build their own antennas for a few dollars. They even build radios (transceivers) that can reach other Hams all over the world!

The inexpensive aspect is ideal because it makes it easier to get your family or group members active. The more friends that have a Ham license, the more prone that you will be to use your radios and refine this valuable skill. Even when on a regular camping trip, it is refreshing to be able to talk on a radio without listening to screaming children and grown men acting like fools on the channels.

The fact that you need a license to operate a Ham Radio tends to keep the weekend warriors at bay which is certainly a plus. I take my preparedness training time seriously, there is no need to waste it on others whose mission vastly differs from mine.

Ham Radio Training: The Serious Survivalist’s Most Critical “Life-Line”?

5: Legally Practice Your Ham Radio Skills:

A certain thought-process seems to form when I bring up Ham Radio in a conversation to non-licensed Hams. It’s humorous now because when I look back, I had similar thoughts about getting a Ham Radio license. It goes something like this:

“What the hell do I need to waste time studying for an exam when I can use the Ham Radio in any emergency legally?”

The fact that anyone can operate a Ham Radio in an emergency, licensed or not, is certainly true. What seems to go by the wayside is the fact that if you can not operate legally in a training scenario, how the hell are you going to learn to effectively use your Ham Radio if SHTF?

There are frequencies, tones, band plans and other factors that need to be learned and practiced. Even the ability to program your radio is crucial. Sure… there are plenty of software choices where you can sync all of your info from your PC. But in a SHTF scenario, you may not have that luxury. By legally transmitting, receiving and operating your radio in a training environment, you will gain the skills needed when an emergency arises.

You wouldn’t consider yourself prepared if you didn’t practice your bushcraft and other survival skills continually, right? Your communications skills are no different and no less important.

Ham Radio Training: The Serious Survivalist’s Most Critical “Life-Line”?

6: A Skill That You Can Barter With:

According to Wikipedia, only about 0.248% of the United States population are licensed Ham operators.

What this should mean to you is Bartering Power! You may get caught in a situation where you may need to become part of a larger group in order to survive. Skills and resources may be your only chance of gaining access to this much needed lifeline. The fact that you are a versed Ham Radio operator, with some Ham gear, vastly increases your chances of being an asset to any group trying to be self sustainable.

Just think, most of the people focused on preparedness are thinking the way that I initially thought. So basically, they are waiting for the disaster to happen in order for them to practice their skills. This logic is counter productive but that doesn’t make it any less true. Knowing this gives you the upper hand. When we tend to do what others refuse to do… we give ourselves options. The more options that we have in any situation, the greater the chance of us coming out on top.

Ham Radio Training: The Serious Survivalist’s Most Critical “Life-Line”?

7: Ham Radios Will Still Function When The Grid Goes Down:

When I talk to certain friends about Ham Radio they quickly reach into their pockets and pull out their mobile phone.

They look at me and say, “I have all I need right here in my hand.”

What they do not understand is that if SHTF, the cell towers will be one of the first things to go down. Two examples from my experience were the 9-11 attacks in NYC and Hurricane Sandy. When these events hit my area, it was impossible to reach anyone on my cell phone. During 9-11, there was so much congestion that all the cell tower circuits were overloaded rendering them useless. During Hurricane Sandy, cell towers were actually collapsing!

The one form of communication that remained in constant use however, was Ham Radio.

The Ham operators were out in my neighborhood receiving and conveying life-saving information via their Ham Radios. The fact is that since the early 1900’s, Ham Radio has made it through every major emergency and disaster. With a track record like that… we can see why Ham Radio is a valuable resource for any prepper.

Ham Radio Training: The Serious Survivalist’s Most Critical “Life-Line”?

8: Interact Frequently With Your Prepper Group:

Let’s face it… Not everyone is as motivated as you are to work on their preparedness. Couple that with members of our group that may be some distance away and you can understand why it is difficult to coordinate your full group for hands-on training and meet-ups. Standard operating procedures are vital for effective group planning and everyone needs to be in the know in order for it to work.

What many preppers with a Ham Radio license do, is hold weekly netmeetings over the Ham Radio frequencies. This will kill 2-birds with one bullet… You will be able to convey and share vital information about updates to your group plan, while simultaneously working on your Comms skills.

Ham Radio Training: The Serious Survivalist’s Most Critical “Life-Line”?

9: Locate Other Groups Via Radio Direction Finding:

In a SHTF situation, knowing who is around you with transmitting capability is vital. It can be a group that you can barter with for needed resources. Or… It can be the flip side of the coin. Not all groups will be friendly in an emergency situation. Being able to do a bit of recon to know where their basecamp is will give you the upperhand.

By utilizing your Ham Radios, directional antennas and some know-how, you can effectively triangulate the position of where the “others” are operating from. This skill is even a part of the Boy Scouts of America’s Radio merit badge requirements.

There are also competitions held around the world called Foxhunting. Ham operators compete in a race that involves orienteering with a map & compass and directional finding with Ham gear. Having a Ham license you allows you to compete in these types of events. By competing in these events, you will learn and refine the skills needed to fair much better in any emergency situation.

Ham Radio Training

10: Getting A Ham Radio License Is Easier Than Ever:

Up until recently, you had to learn Morse Code in order to get your Ham Radio license. That was a deal breaker for many that were interested in Amateur Radio. Luckily for most of us… that requirement was scrapped making the exam much more appealing to newbies entering the Ham world. The exam for the first two levels of Ham Radio licensing (Technician & General) consist of answering multiple choice questions. So… much of the “stress” has been taken out of the process.

There are Ham Radio exam study apps for both Android & iOS that are free, just do a quick search on your phone. There are also many study guides and practice exam websites that are also free of charge.

One of the most popular guides is not free of charge but is an awesome resource to keep with your COMM gear. It is The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual. If you cannot access your smart device, having a book is always key.

If you search for a local Ham Radio club they will be able to either offer you free Ham Radio classes or at the very least, point you in the closest direction to find them.

Ham Radio operators, as a whole, are eager to assist those interested in their much cherished “hobby.” They offer their time, free of charge, and tend to hold your hand through the learning process. When I look back at some of the questions that I initially posed to my Elmer, W2OU, I realize that the man has the patience of a saint! Whatever I ask of him, no matter how idiotic the question may be… He is always there with a detailed explanation or with the resources for me to find the answer on my own.

Ham Radio Training

Wrapping Up:

I have only scratched the top layer of Ham Radio for preparedness with this article. There are literally books written on this subject. Once you get your Ham Radio license, there are countless opportunities for you to learn and become proficient in. Some prepper Hams want to focus on bugging out with their Comms and others plan to Bug-in. Some want to be able to check on their family in Europe while others just want to be able to reach their solar-powered, local repeaters when SHTF. Whatever your focus may be, you have endless resources currently available for free online.

Take a look at the Amateur Radio Relay League’s website for up to date information on getting started. If you are a YouTube’r, take a look at a channel that I visit often which is GUERRILLACOMM. The creator is a fellow Marine and as you would expect from a Marine… He leads from the front! For another informative channel, full of great Ham info related to preparedness, go to Commsprepper.

Bottom Line:

If you want to really be prepared for any emergency, Comms options will go a long way in helping you get there. There are countless options available to you once you earn your ticket. You may choose to opt for communications within your community by using a simplex or local repeater. While others will want to tinker more with their Ham gear and communicate across the globe using the lower frequency bands. The choice is yours. But you need to be in the game, by earning your license, to discover and refine what is best for you.


-Hg (W2NTC)

Up Next: 6 Secret Survival Uses For Hydrogen Peroxide You Didn’t Know!

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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.

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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

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.


  • 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

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


  • 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

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.


  • 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.)


  • 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

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.


  • 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:

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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 |

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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**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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