Letter Re: Thoughts on Socks

Jim: In a recent contest entry post, Clarence A. wrote: ‘Warm up some round river rocks that are as big as you can fit into a wool sock.  When they are too hot to touch with your fingers put them in the wool sock and use them like you would a hot water bottle.’ No offense at your experience Clarence, but hot river rocks can hold moisture and can and do explode. I’ve had it happen camping as a kid, using a river rock for part of the fire ring, lucky no one was close when it exploded! it sent …




Thoughts on Socks, by Clarence A.

Extra Socks should be in your bug out bag your hunting pack and any other pack or bag you store outdoor gear or survival gear.  Now let me explain.  Your feet are super important to your safety and well-being. You’re healthy and fit. You take good care of yourself for Survival reasons.  But are you prepared to lose the ability to walk, run or move quickly without responding to pain caused by infection.  Soldiers in all recent recorded conflicts complained about their feet.  Cold and fungus cripple them.  OK, so you have a great pair of boots.  I get it …




Guest Article: It is Hard to Know Wild Food Without Also Knowing Some Wild Medicines, by Linda Runyon

As I observe the current concerns about our food supply and our “health” care choices, I think back to the days in the 1970s when my husband, child and I took off to the wilderness of the Adirondacks.  Even though there’s so much turbulence going on now, I know that being in the middle of essentially nowhere with just your three-member family can be scary no matter how, when, or why you do it.  I was fortunate in that I was trained as a nurse in my younger days, and that experience did come in handy in being able to …




Letter Re: Living Off The Land: Delusions and Misconceptions About Hunting and Gathering

Jim, This letter is in response to your link to a post by Ross Gilmore: Living Off The Land: Delusions and Misconceptions About Hunting and Gathering.  It’s a well-written article and I’d like to expand upon it. I’ve been teaching Stone Age skills for 29 years and I’ve spent most of my adult life in the backcountry of Idaho and British Columbia.  I never purchased meat or fish from a store for about 20 years, though I consumed a lot.  I’ve lived Stone Age for short periods of time, living completely off the land using only the skills and tools of …




Letter Re: Desert Stills Don’t Work

Can anyone prove that the long-touted “desert solar still” will maintain life in a emergency desert survival situation? I’m age 70 and tired of hearing the Bravo Sierra.  Prove it to me, please. Sorry , but with more than 35 years experience (15 years at the USN SERE-P.O.W. school in Warner Springs, California plus three years at the USN JEST school and since then 20 years in the business of survival training and digging earth,)  I must call foul on the desert still concept.  People should stop selling the idea. (The USAF has.)     I have tested the solar still idea since 1968 – …




Footgear Considerations, by Dagney T.

If you or your readers are contemplating carrying a rucksack [or backpack] of any type for any distance there are three items this old soldier heartily recommends: 1. Compression type Smart Wool Socks 2. Two Toms brand Sport Shield Liquid Roll On. 3. Insoles: Green Super Feet I am still ruck’in these days (an old LC-1 pack frame with 40lbs of weight plates zip tied to it [I am certain I am quite a sight if anyone is up at 04:30 AM]), so I believe I know what I am talking about. Six to ten miles per day. I wish …




Letter Re: The Value of a Magnifying Glass

JWR, I have been a reader, and sometimes commentator, of your blog for some years. I have read all kinds of ideas on what should be carried for all kinds of bad things happening scenarios. One thing I have rarely seen mentioned is the simplest and cheapest fire starter around: a magnifying glass. No moving parts. No fancy training. Hardly any space required. Less that $10 in any drugstore as a “reading glass.” I have one that is 4” diameter by ½” thick one that I have carried, unprotected, in my coat pocket for over 30 years. It has a …




Prepping for Our New Reality, by D.&M.

[Editor’s Introductory Note: I sometimes receive quite lengthy articles that are mix of great practical information and extended political narratives. In such cases I sometimes opt to edit out the particularly ranty sections. Where I have done so, you will see: “[Some deleted, for brevity]“. My apologies, but to make an article of this length readable, editorial discretion is a must. Furthermore, I have to recognize that all politics are local. Since SurvivalBlog is a publication with an international readership, I feel obliged to chop out political discourses that would be of little or no interest to my readers in …




Five Letters Re: Car-Mageddon: Getting Home in a Disaster

Dear JWR: By way of background, I’m a middle aged woman in reasonable shape.  I go jogging, do pushups and take karate.  I have never been in the military.   Around a month ago I tried ruck marching with my 25 or 30 lb bug out bag (BOB), to see how well I could handle it.  I wore wool Army socks and a pair of boots that I thought were reasonably broken in, and walked laps around a park as fast as I could walk.  The ruck was a civilian backpacker’s external frame pack with a belt.  I carried some …




Car-Mageddon: Getting Home in a Disaster, by Becky M.

I live in southern California, which means at any moment one of many earthquake faults could decide to slip, a fire could break out, the economy could finally bottom out, an EMP cleverly directed toward Hollywood would finally fix the bad movie plight, or…you get the point.  We all have to live with the annoying little feeling that at any moment TEOTWAWKI could begin.  Lots of preppers will spend thousands of dollars to adequately prepare their house or bugout location, which is awesome.  Some plan to hunker down and ride out the problem in the comfort of their own home, …




Letter Re: Query on Knife Recommendations

Jim: First let’s start by saying that the proverbial “do all” knife has never been made. Men have worked long and hard only to realize that for every action is an equal and opposite reaction.   You want a knife for chopping down trees? The blade must be very tough. This means though that the blade is not as hard and will not hold an edge very long. You want a knife that will skin a 300 pound animal without need to be sharpened? Then the blade will be very hard and thus somewhat brittle. Consequently more difficult to sharpen …




Deep Winter Prepping, by Ronald in Alberta

I live on a small ranch in Northern Alberta, Canada. I’m approximately a half hour drive to the nearest small town, and the winters here can be tremendous. I’ve always taken a slightly different approach to preps than most of my American counter parts, because most energy, food, shelter, water and defense advice floating around the Internet is not cold weather viable. In this short paper I will attempt to relay to you, the reader, the importance of being ready for winter in all aspects of survival. This is a short collection of some thoughts and experiences I’ve had living …




Letter Re: Query on Knife Recommendations

Mr. Rawles, Could you recommend a style of survival knife? I’ve read several recommendations by various people — everything from a K-Bar to a parang. My wife and I are newcomers to the survival game, but as a hunter and outdoorsman I tend to favor a good, short, fixed-blade (drop point) Buck knife, augmented by a decent folding saw. Are these good choices, or should we really look for a versatile (if not “do-it-all”), long-bladed knife with a partially serrated edge? I’m a bit skeptical of hacking / sawing through things such as tree limbs with a knife, and equally …




Lessons from Hiking the Grand Canyon, by Andy in New England

A successful trek is “won or lost” before it even begins. Having the right quantities of food, water, and first aid, proper gear and adequate physical fitness will determine if a hiker is able to complete a trip as planned, and respond to the unexpected along the way. This past June, my wife and I hiked the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim. Over the course of this four day, thirty-mile hike, we learned many valuable lessons that can be applied to a grid-down scenario where long-range foot travel is needed to bug-out, explore, or patrol large land areas. I’m thankful to have …




The Other Use of Wild Edible Food, by Linda Runyon

I am a wild food author who lived it for years while homesteading in the Adirondacks of upstate New York, and I lived on wild food for many years after that during my teaching days. I still eat wild food today in retirement. YES.  Wild food is abundant, nutritious, healthy, easy-to-use and, best of all, free! This is important to know, and it’s an important cognition to have early on the way to becoming proficient with it. Having your eyes opened to the fact that it is everywhere must, of course, come before starting the journey that ends with being …