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Practical Gifts for Every Budget, Plus 5 Frugal Gift Wrapping Tips

Practical gifts that people will actually use, starting at under $20, plus five ways to dress up gifts without spending a ton of money.

This is a list of practical gifts for those you care about. These are safe, reliable and practical items in a variety of price ranges. My wife won't let me buy her jewelry (she rarely wears it anyway), but she does appreciate a gift that keeps her comfortable, makes a job easier or solves an ongoing problem. (We don't have any rules in this house about not buying gifts that end in “er”.) After over 23 years together, we're still best friends, so often we pick out gifts together and use them as family gifts. Speaking of family, there are a couple of not-quite-so-practical gifts that we got for the boys on the list, too. To wrap up the post, Laurie shares some tips for dressing up gifts without spending a ton of money.

Free Practical Gifts

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Give your time – Offer to babysit, run an errand, help with a task that needs doing, volunteer in your community. Give an hour or an afternoon – whatever you can do.

Listen and be present – So often we rush through life focused on where we're going instead of where we are. Be the friend or loved one that listens when others need to talk. Take time to give that hug, share that story and appreciate the moment.

Regift or donate things you no longer need – Sometimes we get gifts (or purchase things ourselves) that we think we'll use, but don't. If something is in good condition but just taking up space in your home, find it a new home. When the boys go through growth spurts, they outgrow before they outwear clothes, so those are passed along. My wife was gifted cookware that was nice, but not a good fit for how we cook. I'm sure it's put to much better use in its new home.

Practical Gifts Under $20

Some of these we purchased for the boys, some for other folks. We tend to be year round gift givers, not just during the holidays.

keychain flashlight

If you read “The Best Cheap Flashlight” post, this might look familiar. It's practical, but a little prettier than some of the other lights. Lumitop 110 Lumen AAA Flashlight. This tiny bright flashlight could be on a keychain or in a first aid kit, or pocket or purse. It uses one standard AAA battery.

Fire extinguisher gift

First Alert FIAFESA5 This car fire extinguisher. It's not glamorous, but it might save your loved ones. This fire extinguisher is for gasoline, oil, grease and electrical fires. (My wife commented, “It's red – that's festive! Just stick a bow on it.”)

Lifestraw gift clean water

Lifestraw is a camping and preparedness portable water filter. You can keep these in a car or home emergency kit, or use them for camping or traveling.


Plano 781 22 inch Toolbox Grandma and grandpa got each boy their own toolbox for Christmas when they were younger. Each year we add specific tools to their individual kits, matching what they are interested in. Each one has their name on it. Duncan has more gardening tools. August has more electrical tools.

cutting boards

Standard Cutting Board (13 Inches) – Made in USA. It will need cutting board oil. We recommend a maple or oak cutting board to reduce bacterial contamination. For more info, see the post 4 Reasons Wooden Cutting Boards Are Best.

Lodge Cat Iron Skillet

Lodge L8SK3 10-1/4-Inch Pre-Seasoned Skillet Every home should have a cast iron skillet. See Cooking With Cast Iron—How And Why To Get Started for tips on using your cast iron.

Not Quite so Practical Gifts Under $20

Glow in the Dark Duct Tape

Glowz Glow in the Dark Tape. This glow in the dark (photoluminescent) tape is 30 feet long and 1 inch wide. It is a great simple gift for a creative child (or adult). It is waterproof and removable. The boys had a blast with this when they were younger, covering their wooden swords and shields. They'd charge the toys up in the light in one room, and then go play in the dark in another room.

Amazon Sugoiti water balloon launcher

Sugoiti Water Balloon Launcher 100 Yard Slingshot For Kids Adult 1 or 3 Person Not Including Water Balloons. This is not entirely practical, but it is a team activity. You can buy two launchers, set teams up on either end of a field and launch away. Alternatively, set up a target at a distance. I had a blast with these when I was a teenager, so it's been fun to share the stories with my boys and give them a chance to try their aim, too.

water balloons 500 Sugoiti Water Balloons for Water Sports and Party. These go with the Sugoti Water Balloon launcher.

Practical Gifts Under $30

The Encyclopedia of Country Living

Encyclopedia of County Living If you are starting homesteading, or wanting to be a bit more self reliant, this is the book for you. It's part journal, part “how to” manual. You can read Laurie's review here.

US Postal Service Forever Stamps
United States Postal Service (USPS) 2 20 packs forever stamps Get friends or family two books of 20 and they have something they will use – and thank you when they go hunting for a stamp.Core Products Hot Cold CorPak (pad)Core Products CorPak Hot & Cold Therapy Pack This hot/cold pack is excellent. We have a number of these. They are great for earaches, sore muscles or cold feet. One of Laurie's closest friends works as a designer at Core Products right here in Wisconsin.1950s Betty Crocker's Picture Cook BookBetty Crocker 1950 Cookbook a kitchen classic.

Titan Survivor 100ft #550 Paracord For the survivalist in your family. This 100 foot multi-function #550 para-cord is a bit of novelty, but also functions as regular rope if needed.Wool Blanket Wool Blend Blanket for your car or an extra layer. This is a 80% wool 84×64 inch blanket is perfect as an extra layer. Wool will keep you warm even if it gets wet.

Gerber Suspension Multi-tool Great tool to leave in a car or truck, fishing tackle box, desk drawer, back pocket or emergency grab bag. Get a multi-tool as a practical gift (or get one for yourself). This unit is well rated on Amazon.
aTatcial A1s Neutral White 1150 Lumen LED flashlight. I tried out quite an assortment of them while testing flashlights, and this is a personal favorite, we bought 3 so far. It is a pocket sized, very bright 5 model LED flashlight. The A1s uses an 18650 rechargeable battery.

12 volt Heated Fleece car blanket This 12 volt blanket measures 58 inch by 42 inch and plugs into your cigarette lighter. It'll keep you warm on a cold winter drive.

Never Buy Bread Again Bread Book

Never Buy Bread Again Buy the spiral bound print book and get the ebook as a free bonus! This is Laurie's first print book, and shares our favorite family recipes and the stories that go with them. Learn how to bake over 20 different types of bread, plus the right ways to store your homemade bread, tips and recipes for using leftover bread, and yummy recipes to serve with your bread like garden veggie dip and sloppy Joe ground beef.

Practical Gifts Under $50

Fat Max 2200 Lumen SpotlightFat Max 2200 Lumen Spotlight This is a good handheld rechargeable portable spotlight. It lights up a hill over 300 feet away in our back yard. It is great for a homestead, large yards and outdoor activities.

Superior Reversible Down Alternative ComforterSuperior Reversible Down Alternative Comforter This medium weight bedding is for all season use. It is fluffy, warm, soft and hypoallergenic. It is Full/Queen Sized. Pick this or any SUPER COMFY throw as a gift for a child or adult.

Kaito Solar-Crank Emergency Radio

Kaito Crank/Solar emergency Radio This FM/AM/NWS/Shortwave radio can charge off of A/C, charge in the sun and can be crank charged. It can charge your cellphone,too. (It’s a good price, but its slow shipping so you might not get it by Christmas.)

Practical Gifts Under $100

 Chezmoi Collection 3-piece Micromink Sherpa Reversible Down Alternative Comforter Chezmoi Collection 3-piece Micromink Sherpa Reversible Down Alternative Comforter This is a comfy Queen sized set. Like noted above, comfy bedding is a great gift for children and adults.

Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator 

Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator This unit is smaller and less expensive than the Excalibur dehydrator. It's a great little unit for smaller jobs, especially herb drying. We had our original unit for over 15 years before it gave out. The newer version we replaced our old one with works even better. The heater and fan are now on top, so when food falls off the sheets, it doesn't fall into anything it can damage. Laurie uses the Excalibur for the big jobs and the Snackmaster for lighter duty.

John Boos Prestige Maple Wood Edge Grain Reversible Cutting BoardJohn Boos Prestige Maple Wood Edge Grain Reversible Cutting Board We have this one and really like it. It is 20 x 15 x 1.25 Inches and has a small grip hole and juice groove. John Boos cutting boards are made in the USA. For info see the post 4 Reasons Wooden Cutting Boards Are Best.

LL Bean Men's Slippers LL Bean Slippers My favorite slippers. I've had the same pair for over 20 years, although they are starting to look a little rough. Laurie mended some stitches that gave out, and Duncan patched a tear with duck tape.

Amerex B402, 5lb ABC Dry Chemical Class A B C Fire Extinguisher 
Amerex B402, 5lb ABC Dry Chemical Class A B C Fire Extinguisher with Wall Bracket. This is a bigger unit than the one listed above, and would be a good fit for a garage or utility area.Survival Solutions Travel First aid kitSurvival Solutions Travel First aid kit This is a very good first aid kit. Both the nurses in our extended family picked it as the best kit. We have it in our van all the time. See Best First Aid Kit Recommendations for Home, Car, Office and Travel for more emergency kit ideas.

Leatherman 830039 Wave Multitool with Leather/Nylon Combination Sheath, SilverLeatherman Wave The Leatherman is the classic multi-tool. Whether its in a tool kit, desk draw, fishing tackle box, kitchen drawer, glove compartment, or your back pocket this is good to have around. It is practical and useful.

Practical Gift Under $200

Ambient Weather WS-2902 10-in-1 Wi-Fi Professional Weather Station with Internet Monitoring, Compatible with Alexa

Ambient Weather WS-2902 10-in-1 Wi-Fi Professional Weather Station with Internet Monitoring, Compatible with Alexa – The weather station measures wind speed, wind direction, rainfall, outdoor temperature and humidity, solar radiation and UV. Also included inside the console is temperature, humidity and barometric pressure. The weather station also calculates dew point, wind Chill and heat index.FoodSaver FM2435-ECR Vacuum Sealing System with Bonus Handheld Sealer and Starter Kit, SilverFoodSaver FM2435-ECR Vacuum Sealing System with Bonus Handheld Sealer and Starter Kit – Vacuum sealing can dramatically improve food storage life and quality. This unit keeps the clamshell design, which Laurie prefers, and also includes a bag cutter, roll storage and handheld sealer. See 5 Uses for a Vacuum Sealer Everyone Should Know for ideas on how to use the unit.

Excalibur Dehydrator

Excalibur 3900B 9 Tray Deluxe Dehydrator We have been using this unit for a few years. It is large, reliable and works well. If you do a lot of food drying, this is the unit for you.Pendleton Eco-Wise Wool Washable Queen White BlanketPendleton 100% Eco-Wise Wool blanket 90×96 inch blanket. Wool is a lifetime gift, it will keep you warm even if it's wet.

Practical Gifts Under $300

Mr. Heater MH18B, Portable Propane Heater If you or a loved one is into camping or hunting or just trying to stay warm when the power is out, this safe indoor propane heater is a practical, possibly even life saving gift. Lean more about portable heaters here.

Berkey Water Filter

Big Berkey water filter. This is a gift that will get used every day. The Black Berkey Elements (filters) remove 99.999% of viruses, 99.9999% of pathogenic bacteria, chlorine, volatile organic compounds including pesticides and herbicides, and 95% of most heavy metals. We have the Big Berkey in our kitchen. It is gravity operated and requires no power.

This filter provides safe drinking water , even in emergencies. The Big Berkey on sale! $25 off plus if you sign up with them get an additional 15% off! Don't forget the extra filters. The 2 gallon Big Berkey 99.999% with 6 (3 packs) filters will filter 7 gal per hour with all 4 filters. Note: You need 6 extra filters, to add 2 and still have 4 left as replacements.

Practical Gifts Over $1000

Champion Dual Fuel 9200 Watt GeneratorChampion Power Equipment 9,200-Watt Generator A Dual Fuel (Gas or Propane) generator. Propane stores for years. Gasoline doesn't store well.

Practical gifts that people will actually use, starting at under $20, plus five ways to dress up gifts without spending a ton of money.

5 Tips for Dressing Up Your Gifts Without Spending a Ton of Money

Laurie here, taking over this part of the post from August. I've never liked shelling out big bucks for wrapping paper and then just throwing it away. (Regular wrapping paper doesn't recycle well.) Over the years, I've used a few different ways to dress up gifts without spending a ton of money.

1. Put gifts in reusable baskets or tins instead of wrapping.

This is great for homemade gifts, like cookies, breads, jams or jellies, soaps, lotion bars or bath salts. (Just don't mix soap and food.) You can usually find used baskets and tins at thrift stores. They often have kitchen towels that are inexpensive, too, which you can use to pad your gifts. You can crumple some newspaper under the towel to help stabilize your gifts and hold them nicely for display.

2. Dress up plain wrapping with natural materials.

Pine cones, evergreen boughs, dried flowers or seed heads can add seasonal flavor to gifts. If you're getting a real Christmas tree and need to trim a couple bottom branches, save those trimmings and use them for other decoration. Pairing strips of burlap with plain brown paper adds texture and interest to wrapping.

3. Watch for small items at thrift stores.

Heading into the holiday season, local thrift store shelves are loaded with odds and ends, bit and baubles. You can find old costume jewelry, ornaments, bows, ribbons, pretty mugs and other shiny bits to dress up a gift. Making homemade hot cocoa mix for gifting? Pair it with a seasonal mug and a couple of candy canes.

4. Use pillow cases, sheets and gift bags.

Another thrift store find I like to use for gift wrapping is old pillow cases. Odd shape gift? No problem. You can save them and reuse them for wrapping from year to year, or use them as spare pillow cases. The same goes for gift bags, especially fabric ones. You don't have to use them and toss them. Use them, and use them again. For BIG items, cover it up with a sheet and stick a bow on it. Done.

5. Watch for Boxes with Pretty Patterns.

I'm not much of a shoe person, but many ladies shoes come in boxes that have a lovely pattern on them. (I've seen them in my MIL's closet. She buys cute shoes.) Just use the decorations that are already on the box and tack a gift tag on, and you're ready to go.

Other Gift Ideas

Gift certificates to seed companies and nurseries will be enjoyed by any gardener on your list. You can check out some of our favorite mail order nurseries on the Homestead Resources page. Laurie talks about some of her favorite garden tools (and a few things on the wishlist) in the post Garden Gifts They’ll Love – Practical, Beautiful and Unique.

We also have:

Printable Gift Labels

7 Easy Tips for Greener Gifting – From Homemade to Fair Trade

9 Easy Homemade Citrus Gifts – Great for Little Helpers at Gift Giving Time

Have a wonderful holiday season, from our family to yours.

The post Practical Gifts for Every Budget, Plus 5 Frugal Gift Wrapping Tips appeared first on Common Sense Homesteading.

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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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