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Internet Security – 12 Steps to Avoid Computer Viruses and Identity Theft

From RFD blockers for credit cards to malware and identification protection, check out these internet security tips and tools to keep your information safe.

Internet security has become a growing concern as more and more of our information is shared online. I know this isn't typical homesteading content, but computers have become an everyday part of most people's lives. You lock your doors to secure your car or home. It only makes sense that you “lock the doors” to your online accounts, too. You are officially the Cyber Security Officer of your home whether you like it or not.

My husband, August, has worked in computer security for over a decade, and regularly gives internet security presentations to the public. He worked with me to adapt his presentation into a post. The hackers and thieves are getting more aggressive in their attacks, so it's up to us to protect our own interests. This post will walk you through the basic steps you should take to avoid computer viruses and identify theft.

Focusing on computer security is not is fun, but it’s a LOT less painful than having to rebuild your life after your bank accounts are emptied and your identity is stolen.

To get a feel for how bad it really is, review these links:

There are two categories of things you need to do – Change Behavior and Get Tools.

Top 12 Internet Security Behavior Changes to Avoid Computer Viruses and Identity Theft

1. Change how you think about passwords.

You keep a lock on your house and a safe if you have one, and you don’t share the combination. Your email password is similar to the keys to your entire house. Keep your passwords SAFE.

  • Use Passphrases instead of passwords and PROTECT them. A password like “XP_123!@” is easier to hack than “I like 2 fish on Sunday for B@ss!”. Test your short password at Note – don't test your ACTUAL passwords, just one of a similar size and complexity.
  • If you can, answer challenge questions with INCORRECT information that is unique to the site. For challenge questions for the bank you say your 1st pets name was: Godzilla (instead of the actual pet name). At the phone company the 1st pets name was: Alphabet-Soup, and at the cable company the 1st pets name is: Big-Balloon. Store all these in a tool like LastPass or KeePass (see below).
  • Never share passwords or passphrases
  • Don’t store passwords in Word or Excel. Even a password protected MSword or MSxl file can be hacked easily.

2. Secure Your Smartphone

As smartphones become more powerful, they often contain more of our personal information, such as banking or credit cards, location, and personal contacts. Hackers can use this information directly, or use it to manipulate you or your contacts.

  • Put a pin on your smartphone. Securing your smartphone is CRITICAL. It is effectively the same as your desktop and easier to steal (or lose). In many cases your phone more sensitive than your home computer.
  • Turn off GeoTagging (automatic recording of your location by the phone). It can be used to hack where you are based on pictures posted to social media. Especially for children and traveling this is a risk.

3. Be Suspicious.

Avoid deals that are too good to be true. Never click on a virus popup from a website. (If something pops up on a website that says, “You have a virus”, it's likely to give you a virus.)

Don’t open unknown emails, especially ones with attachments from unknown people. It you get an email with a name you recognize, but it doesn't use the name your contact normally uses, or the email address is different, be suspicious. Don't open the email. Instead, email the contact using their correct information, and ask if they sent the problem email. You can also get a small device like a Chromebook to open emails and browse the internet. Because a Chromebook is so simple (and doesn't run Windows or other commonly hacked software), it limits any possible damage from an infected email. Click here to check out a Chromebook an Amazon.

Remember, CallerID can be hacked or spoofed, so don’t trust the phone if it says Microsoft is calling. It could still be hackers. Microsoft does not call users.

4. Use separate email addresses for different types of activity.

If you only have one email account, a hacker who gets access to that email gets access to EVERYTHING about you. If you split it up into multiple accounts, you are harder to hack. Set one up for banking that might be a random code so it doesn’t easily associate with you – such as

5. Maintain and Update Your Software.

Because security threats are constantly changing, software should be kept updated to protect against these threats. Eliminate outdated applications that you can’t update, especially if they have online access.

6. Don't trust public WiFi.

Unsecured wireless can be hacked easily. Even a WEP connection can be hacked so look for WPA2 Enterprise. See “The Difference Between WEP, WPA, and WPA2 Wi-Fi Passwords” for an explanation of the different wireless network types.

7. Go to the IRS website and update your transcript account.

Go to the IRS website and set your password so someone else doesn’t. During past tax seasons, some taxpayers had their refunds claimed by hackers who go into the IRS system.

8. Restrict remote access.

Don’t let people remote into your computer unless you are ABSOLUTELY sure who they are. Some online tech support service may offer to login and fix your computer remotely. Buyer beware.

9. Physically secure your computer, smartphone, credit card and other devices.

There have been plenty of movies and TV shows where someone has hacked on “unhackable” system by getting physical access to it. Don't leave your equipment in a public location unattended. It makes it an easy target. Wipe your old computer before you sell it, donate it or recycle it. To protect your credit cards that have embedded chips, use and RFD blocking wallet or credit card holder.

10. Avoid the “Dark Side” of the internet.

Avoid porn web sites and other questionable sites like movie sharing or music sharing. They are regularly infected.

11. Be careful what you post on social media.

Bad guys can use your information to make sure they only break in when you are on vacation in Florida, and know when you are there because you posted that information to EVERYONE on the internet. Don’t be that guy. Sex trafficking is still an unfortunate reality. Posting selfies (especially immodest ones) with the geotagging intact to the general public could make someone a target. Geotagged selfies show when you are home and when you are not, leaving you more open to theft or attacks.

12. Educate yourself (and your family). What will you do if you do get hacked?

If you don’t have anyone in the family who will be the Cyber Security Cop, find someone you trust to help you. There are many different types of hacks, so what needs to be done will vary. Take care of the problem as soon as possible. With an identity theft, thieves will often do a few small transactions at first as a test. If those are successful, things can get much worse very quickly. Some hackers deal in total identity theft. They want to steal “you”, so someone else can become you. Identity protection services can help.

With an infected computer or other device, they can lock down your device and force you to pay to access it (ransomware). They may also install software that sits on your computer, quietly stealing information. Other hackers infect your machine or email, and use it to attack other computers or users. For better or worse, most modern hackers don't simply trash your computer – they use it as a tool to harm you and others.

From RFD blockers for credit cards to malware and identification protection, check out these internet security tips and tools to keep your information safe.

Top 10 Internet Security Tools

1. Consider an identity protection service.

LifeLock, IdentityGuard, and Legalshield and other services will help you identify problems and deal with them. If you have a large online presence (for instance, my work blogging and my husband's computer work), an identity protection service is highly recommended.

2. Use Anti-Virus software on any device connected to the internet.

If a device connects to the internet, it needs anti-virus software.

  • Make sure your PC or Mac has anti-virus
  • Put anti-virus on your phone. Pick ANY reputable tool and install it NOW. Use a free one if you can't afford a paid one. Don’t wait.
  • TVs, gaming consoles, tablets, home control systems, refrigerators, clothes washers, baby cameras – anything with Bluetooth or internet access is hackable. Keep all software and firmware up to date.

3. Use Anti-Malware Tools

Malware is short for “malicious software”. It can be a full program that runs independently, or bad code slipped into an otherwise good program. Get Malware Bytes, SpyBot, AdAware or other similar tools. Basic service for many of these tools is free.

4. Add OPENDNS to block bad domains

Add OPENDNS as your DNS for your home router and portable computers. Basic service is free from

5. Use a secure password tool

Put your passwords in a secure tool. DON’T save them on your desktop. Use a tool like SpiderOak if you want a secure freeform file. Use LastPass, Dashlane, KeePass, or any of a dozen other ones. We recommend LastPass. It’s inexpensive AND secure.

6. Backup your devices regularly

Backup your devices, and do it FREQUENTLY. Use a service like Carbonite, Mozy, iDrive, CrashPlan, SpiderOak, BackBlaze or any of 20 other services. If you are really worried about online hacking, buy an external hard drive and back up data to that hard drive. Remember, you will want a copy in some other building just in case of a fire, so buy 2.

7. Secure your wireless router

Turn on WPA2 Enterprise encryption on your wireless router. If your wireless router doesn’t have WPA2, get one that does. See TP-Link AC1200 Gigabit Wireless Wi-Fi Router for an example.

8. Update your firewall

Update your firewall. If it's really old, spring a few dollars and get a new one. If its new, make sure it has all its updates. Just like the rest of your internet security, as the threat changes, the tools needed to counter the threat must change. The Cisco ASA5506W-A-K9 ASA 5506W-X with FirePOWER Services Security firewall is one of the top rated devices. It should be paired with an active subscription to keep it up to date.

9. Consider two part authentication on primary accounts

Consider two part authentication from Google and other service providers. Two part authentication can be used for email, LastPass and other online services. In many cases, two part authentication is free, and it makes it REALLY hard for a hacker to access an account. Typically with two part authentication, you have a primary password for the account, plus a special code will be sent to your phone when you login on a new device (two parts).

See these pages for instructions on how to add two part authentification to google, hotmail and yahoo email:

10. Consider additional firewalls

Consider additional firewalls such as : ZoneAlarm, Comodo Firewall or SafeSquid.

There is No Such Thing as Total Internet Security

Even if you do everything “right”, all it takes is one data breach at a store, government organization or financial institution (or even a friend or family member) to leave you open to attack. Even if you do almost nothing online, your personal information is now out there somewhere in cyberspace. It's up to each of us as individuals to protect ourselves. Use the right tools and behavior to minimize risk, and keep a close eye on your accounts and personal information. There are plenty of bad guys out there, but we don't need to make their jobs easy. Make sure to share this post with those you care about to help keep them protected.

Other preparedness posts you may find useful:

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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!

Up Next:

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

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:

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 |

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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