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15 Places to Practice Your Survival Skills

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Being prepared is about a lot more than acquiring mountains of gear. True preparation is about gaining experience, learning new skills and practicing those skills until you can’t get them wrong when the pressure is really on. When you look at the cross section of skills you’d be advised to learn, it can seem like a monumental task to get truly ready.

woman riding a horse among other livestock

Where will you get the time? Most of us prepare to live, not live to prepare, and if you aren’t involved in a high impact, high risk profession your extracurricular practice time might be very limited indeed between work, family and other obligations.

How are we supposed to call ourselves proponents of personal readiness if we don’t even have the time needed to master the skills?

I will roll out an old cliché here, and remind you that where there is a will, there is a way, and if you are intent on mastering a wide variety of skills you’ll need to take your practice when and where you can get it.

I am happy to report that you’ll have more opportunities to practice than you might be thinking. Today we will be sharing with you 15 places where you can get in practice.

Practice Where You Can Get It!

Getting in meaningful practice is all about doing repetitions, good ones, and not so much about a formalized training class or a specialized setting for the purpose.

Obviously, it depends on the skill being practiced, but I see too many preppers out here fall into the trap of thinking that because they can’t go to the ideal place for practice that they don’t have any chance to practice. This is just not true.

Just because a seasoned boxer couldn’t make it to the gym to get in some sparring doesn’t mean he can’t get any work done. If he has a heavy bag or speed bag in his garage, he can at least work on those skill sets or if worse comes to worst, practice combinations by shadow boxing.

The same can be done for many of the skills we employ as preppers.

Maybe you can get in some hands-down total systems practice or maybe you can only rehearse one or two elements depending on where you are, but no matter where you are and what you plan on doing there is always something you can do.

The list below contains 15 places where most of us go on a regular or semi regular basis, and each and every one of them affords us practice opportunities for a variety of survival centric skills.

Even better, with a little ingenuity it is possible to practice without anyone around you knowing you are practicing “survival skills”. You’ll either look like you are engaged in a pastime activity or otherwise doing something else, your practice being nothing more than a mental exercise. It will make sense as I explain it below.

15 Places to Practice Your Survival Skills

Your Own Home

For most of us, our own home offers abundant practice opportunities for many disciplines. At home we can dry practice with firearms, or even get in some live fire if we live in a remote area work on combatives, perform first-aid and disaster preparedness drills with our family, work on knot tying and so much more.

kalmyk loop free in hand knot step 3

If you have a garage that isn’t full of junk and the weather is amicable enough, you can pull your vehicles out and easily turn it into a multipurpose space suitable for all sorts of practice tasks, from combatives to physical fitness and even bushcrafting if you have the right raw materials close at hand.

Perhaps the only limitation when practicing at your home is what your family or neighbors can put up with and the obvious fact that you really shouldn’t be doing any destructive practice inside your own castle.

Your Backyard

The obvious “annex” to your home, your backyard, affords you tons of practice opportunities if you don’t mind strange looks from the neighbors.

Physical fitness and fire starting skills immediately come to mind, and for the latter skill in particular there is nothing stopping you from working out even with primitive fire starting techniques and various styles of building a camp or cook fire just because you aren’t in the middle of nowhere.

fireplace

If you strictly limit what tools you can use for the job, you can easily refine skills that will save your life in the wilderness.

Other survival skills suitable for backyard practice include archery and even camping skills.

There’s no reason why you should be halted from practicing setting up and taking down your campsite in the backyard, and even sleeping in the backyard under the stars in order to break in or test run the gear you have in your BOB before you actually have to use it when the pressure is on.

You need not look at your backyard as a space only suitable for cookouts, and the occasional bout of lawn care. Look at it instead as a sort of outdoor laboratory for practicing your prepping skills!

On a Running Trail

The running trail is another good place to practice survival skills, and even if you are only running to stay in shape or to enhance your athleticism, that is still a valuable survival skill unto itself!

As it turns out strong, healthy people are more useful all the way around, and more difficult to pick on in general, so you shouldn’t underestimate that when it comes to a survival situation.

But beyond the mundane use of a running trail for its intended purpose, you can implement various running drills or workout programming to further refine your ability to survive.

One of my favorites is a circuit of wind sprints where I might have to run flat out for 30 seconds to 2 minutes to better simulate the rigors of survival, particularly in a situation where human antagonists might be involved.

If you really want to step up the survival-centric programming, you can start employing mental exercises at the same time.

Perhaps you can challenge yourself with keeping an eye out for people wearing a certain pattern of clothing, or perhaps counting everyone you pass with certain characteristics.

The physical strain will degrade your mental performance unless you are in excellent shape, and you should challenge yourself to see how much you can recall at the end of a tough workout.

In the Woods

Most preppers naturally think of the woods when it comes to bugging out, and when it comes to practicing the skills we will need to survive. Accordingly, anytime you can get out into the woods for any reason you’ll have ample opportunities for practicing all kinds of skills.

A “total systems” practice session can be had with a simple on foot camping expedition as this will put much of your equipment and all of your skills to the test compared to car camping or pulling out in the RV.

Beyond this, you can refine your land navigation and trapping skills as well.

You should make it a point to keep an eye out for animal tracks and trails to hone those skills and your eye, and if you are heading out onto private or public land make sure you file a flight plan with someone you trust and then perhaps go off the beaten track to get to your destination or return to your departure point.

The only way to practice land navigation is to actually do it, but make sure you don’t leave yourself genuinely lost with no one looking for you!

Lastly, consider starting a fire using primitive methods, or with whatever items you keep in your fire starting kit to ensure they work, but challenge yourself by gathering your tinder and fuel from the local environment.

We take for granted having high quality fuel on hand to get a fire going, and using substandard or damp fuel makes the entire affair significantly harder, although it can be done with practice!

At the Mall or Department Store

If you were like me, you probably have to make innumerable trips to the mall or your local department store in order to run errands, pick up gifts and generally complete various shopping tasks assigned by your family members.

Whether you enjoy these trips or hate them, you can still get in some meaningful practice on your consumerist forays.

Especially if it is a retail establishment that you frequent you should be practicing what if scenarios in response to various emergencies.

  • Where is the nearest exit?
  • Where is the nearest piece of hard cover that would protect you from bullets?
  • How will you get there?

You should also make it a point to practice remaining oriented to where your vehicle is in relation to your travels through the mall or other structure.

Also this is a great opportunity to practice breaking habits and patterns. I am very guilty of this one.

If you enter the mall or the store through the same entrance and park generally in the same place, anybody who might have cause to follow you or scoping for easy victims might use that against you.

Make it a point to vary where you park and where you enter, and at the same time practice setting yourself up for a rapid exit to and down neighboring roads.

At the Dojo or Gym

Obviously you can get in good survival skills practice at your local mixed martial arts gym or traditional martial arts dojo.

Chances are you and everyone else is there to do one thing and pretty much one thing only, and that is get better at self-defense. In addition to the obvious benefits to your capability, you’ll also be getting in a good workout.

student and teacher during Krav Maga lesson

If the class allows it, or if your instructor or other students are interested in setting it up, this is a good opportunity to start adding in additional scenario based practice, particularly skills of verbal de-escalation, distance management, and interacting around crowds.

Although it might be challenging to get everyone on the same sheet of music at first, this type of practice is absolutely invaluable to sharpening your self-defense skill set.

It is easy to brush off heading into the gym or dojo when finances get tight or time gets limited, but make it a point to get in there at least once a week and get some work done!

On the Range

The pistol or rifle range is the ideal place, and maybe the only place, to work on your firearms-based survival skills.

Shooting and handling a firearm is a highly frangible skill set that will deteriorate rapidly if not vigorously maintained, and no you don’t have to do every practice repetition on a live fire range there is no substitute for live fire with real ammo.

Just like going to the gym or dojo mentioned above, you should be hitting the range once a week if you are able, even if it is just for a short session, or no less than once a month.

A couple of times a month combined with regular, focused dry fire sessions will do a lot to prevent the degradation of nuanced gun handling skills.

Try not to let yourself get lulled into a false sense of security if all you do is slow fire bullseye practice.

Even though it is an essential drill, you should make it a point to increase speed, time and target discretionary pressure to help ensure your defensive shooting skills don’t atrophy.

If your range allows you to draw from a holster, and in particular draw from concealment, definitely work that into your practice as well.

On a Long Drive

Even doing something as mundane and boring as taking a long drive someplace via the interstate can be put to better use my practicing actively your defensive driving skills.

We are all guilty of setting the cruise control, and half zoning out with the flow of traffic, but if you make it a point to be more actively engaged with what is happening on the road and the rest of the traffic around you, not only will you be safer but you’ll be actively cultivating skills that might well help you avoid a deadly accident.

Beyond this, you can play games with yourself or with other occupants in the vehicle it can actually help you prepare to survive.

You can practice other road safety and contingency skills. Do you know which mile marker you passed? Do you know what direction you are heading on what road and where your nearest exit is? Where is the next major settlement?

By playing a game like this as practice you will eventually cultivate the mindset of a relaxed but acute awareness of your situation on the road.

Wherever You are Waiting

If there is one thing I don’t do well with, it is waiting. Waiting in line, sitting in a waiting room, anything like that. I suppose I am just not particularly patient.

Mercifully, we have these wondrous smartphones to keep us entertained with a boundless amount of information and content at our fingertips. But instead of scrolling mindlessly on social media or through the archives of your favorite website, put that waiting time to good use by practicing instead.

One great way to do it, and do so completely discreetly, is to quiz yourself on survival mnemonics or other information. You might review the steps and components of MARCH for treating someone who is injured or unconscious.

You might mentally review which plans and fungi are edible in your region. Anything you can rehearse to further engrave it in your gray matter will help you hang on to it.

Alternately, you could perform unobtrusive physical tasks. One of my favorites that is easily done is practicing knot tying using a small length of paracord or accessory cord.

Plenty of people know how to tie knots but only through long practice can you tie one so swiftly and so certainly that it looks like a magic trick! Getting in a few revolutions in the waiting room is a good way to while away the time.

On a Lake

Going out to the lake can certainly be relaxing and you’ll have many activities to choose from why you are there, but you would be wise to choose ones that will allow you to practice vital survival skills.

Probably the most obvious one is fishing, and though it is a greatly beloved pastime bordering on obsession for some anglers, it is nonetheless a critical survival skill, and an excellent way to supplement your food stores in a long-term situation.

While you are there, you might consider practicing swimming or if you are out at the lake with a group you could even put to use your skills in drowning swimmer rescue, handling a boat and other related tasks.

Most lakes have campsites or if they don’t at least locations for barbecuing and picnicking, so this is yet another opportunity to practice building and tending a fire through whatever means.

One of my favorite skills to practice when I’m at the lake is handling any number of oar propelled craft. Kayak, canoe or rowboat, all require considerable practice to maneuver proficiently.

At the Beach

Going to the beach is yet another opportunity for survival practice, even though you might just want to relax in the sun with your toes in the sand while enjoying an adult beverage. Sand is an excellent media for recording foot and paw prints alike, so I always like to brush up on the finer, technical points of tracking while I’m there.

It is also a great opportunity to get in some swim and drown proofing practice and even do a little bit more fishing as with the lake above. Beaches are also superb opportunities for people watching, and though it is slightly macabre I like to scan the tourists and couples who invariably strong beaches to try and pick out the ones with harsh body language or bad vibes and maybe figure out who is having a bad day or on the verge of an eruption.

It is one of the few places where you are genuinely expected to sit and hang out even while surrounded with people going to and fro, and so it presents a rare opportunity to people watch in this way without you sticking out in the least.

At a National Park

National parks can provide you probably the best opportunity for a total systems test of your survival skills while still having a lifeline, at least a nominal one, in the form of well-mapped terrain and Park rangers who are likely to put up the balloon if you are overdue, so long as they are on duty and you check in at the ranger station.

man hiking during winter

Doing a hike in camp or a multi-day hiking expedition is a great way to put everything together and really test your mettle.

Most national parks are so big as you can sort of fine-tune your experience based on your skill level and your comfort, sticking near to more travel routes if you are a “tenderfoot” or really getting out there all by your lonesome if you are a seasoned, hard-bitten prepper.

Depending on the park you were at, you might have other ample opportunities for practicing other survival skills like climbing, hunting, shooting and more.

At a Local Park

A local park near your home might be nearly as good as your own backyard or even a much larger national park depending on what it is that you need to do.

At a local park you will have ample opportunities for people watching, physical fitness opportunities using built-in workout equipment or kids’ monkey bars (and make sure you wait till the kids are off the monkey bars, creep!) and plenty of footpaths for jogging and running.

Around Your Neighborhood

Your local neighborhood is itself an excellent setting for survival practice, especially if you are part of a prepping co-op, mutual assistance group or are fortunate enough to be surrounded by like-minded people that you know well, more or less.

Clever preppers can set up exercises covering everything from natural disaster response to contingency plans covering man-made incidents, loss of communications and more. With careful planning and strict control put in place, you can get multiple households involved in intricate scenarios.

At the very least, like-minded neighbors make for great training partners for everything from outdoor survival skills to combatives and more, and you should have plenty of fodder for practice by getting to know them better and seeing what they are good at.

They can very likely teach you a thing or two, and everyone benefits when knowledge is reproduced.

At the “Office”

Believe it or not, you can even get in some survival practice at work. Wherever you work, and whatever you do, with the right mindset you can refine your survival skills.

Maybe it is “wargaming” out where you would go or hide if a crazed killer stormed the building. Maybe you can practice taking different routes to or from work in order to avoid falling into a pattern as mentioned previously, or just to get to know your surrounding area a little better.

Depending on where you work and what you do, you might even be able to get some corporate sponsored survival practice in. An increasing amount of corporations and businesses are putting employees through mandatory first-aid and other training that could come in handy in any survival scenario.

And as distasteful as you might think it is, most workplaces provide ample opportunities for practicing your leadership and verbal jib jab skills on coworkers and superiors alike.

Learning how to be persuasive, well liked and a fixed point of certainty and anxious situations is always beneficial, and if you can pull it off in the environment of office politics you can pull it off in a survival scenario!

Conclusion

You don’t always have to participate in a training class or head to a special environment in order to get in practice for a variety of survival skills.

Most of us will frequent places where we can get in meaningful practice, even if it is just our own home, backyard or a local park. The right attitude and knowing what is important as foundational skills for survival makes all the difference.

practicing survival skills Pinterest image

Source link: https://www.survivalsullivan.com/where-to-practice-survival-skills/ by Tom Marlowe at www.survivalsullivan.com

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Now More Than Ever: You Need a Fallout Shelter

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In today’s increasingly uncertain world, the threat of nuclear war looms larger than it has in decades. Escalating tensions globally, particularly in regions like Israel and Ukraine, have heightened concerns about the potential for catastrophic conflict. As families seek to prepare for worst-case scenarios, building a fallout shelter in your basement can provide a crucial layer of protection. This guide will walk you through the steps to create a safe and effective fallout shelter in your home, ensuring that you and your loved ones are prepared for any eventuality.

Why Build a Fallout Shelter?

The primary purpose of a fallout shelter is to protect you and your family from the immediate dangers of a nuclear explosion and the subsequent radioactive fallout. A well-constructed shelter can significantly reduce your exposure to radiation, provide a safe space for survival, and give you peace of mind during these tumultuous times.

Assessing Your Basement

Before you start building your fallout shelter, you need to evaluate your basement to determine its suitability for conversion. Here are the key factors to consider:

Structural Integrity

Ensure your basement is structurally sound and free of leaks. Cracks in the foundation or walls can compromise the shelter’s integrity and allow radiation to penetrate.

Space Availability

Choose a location within your basement that offers enough space for your family and essential supplies. A minimum of 10 square feet per person is recommended for comfort and survival needs.

Accessibility

Ensure that the chosen area is easily accessible and can be quickly reached in an emergency. The entrance should also be securable to protect against external threats.

Designing Your Shelter

Radiation Shielding

The key to effective fallout protection is adequate shielding. Materials such as concrete, bricks, and earth are excellent for blocking radiation. Aim for walls that are at least 12 inches thick with concrete or 24 inches thick with packed earth.

Ventilation

Proper ventilation is crucial to prevent suffocation and ensure a fresh air supply. Install an air filtration system capable of removing radioactive particles. Consider manual ventilation options in case of power outages.

Water and Food Supply

Stock your shelter with a sufficient supply of water and non-perishable food. Aim for a minimum of one gallon of water per person per day and a two-week supply of food. Include a water filtration system for long-term sustainability.

Sanitation

Prepare for sanitation needs by including portable toilets, waste bags, and sanitation chemicals. Proper waste management is crucial to prevent disease and maintain hygiene.

Emergency Supplies

Equip your shelter with essential emergency supplies, including:

  • First aid kits
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Radios (preferably hand-cranked or battery-powered)
  • Blankets and warm clothing
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Tools for emergency repairs
  • Building the Shelter

Wall Construction

Begin by constructing the walls using your chosen materials. Concrete blocks are highly effective and can be reinforced with rebar for added strength. Ensure the walls are thick enough to provide adequate radiation shielding.

Ceiling and Floor

The ceiling should be as heavily shielded as the walls. If your basement ceiling isn’t suitable, add a layer of concrete or earth above it. The floor should be solid and free from cracks; consider adding a layer of protective material if necessary.

Entrance Protection

Install a sturdy, sealed door that can withstand blasts and radiation. Metal doors with rubber gaskets are effective. Ensure the door can be securely locked from the inside.

Ventilation System

Install your ventilation system, ensuring it can filter out radioactive particles. Include manual ventilation options, such as hand-cranked fans, in case of power failure.

Interior Setup

Arrange the interior for maximum comfort and efficiency. Place cots or sleeping mats along the walls, leaving the central area free for movement. Store supplies in an organized manner to make them easily accessible.

Testing and Maintenance

Regular Inspections

Regularly inspect your shelter for any signs of damage or wear. Check the integrity of the walls, ceiling, and floor, and ensure the ventilation system is functioning correctly.

Supply Rotation

Periodically rotate your food and water supplies to ensure they remain fresh and usable. Replace expired items promptly.

Emergency Drills

Conduct regular emergency drills with your family to ensure everyone knows how to quickly and safely access the shelter.

Building a fallout shelter in your basement is a proactive step towards ensuring your family’s safety in the face of nuclear threats. By carefully assessing your space, designing for maximum protection, and maintaining your shelter, you can create a secure environment to weather any storm. In these uncertain times, being prepared is not just a precaution; it’s a necessity.

Do you have any tips on building a fallout shelter in your basement? Leave them in the comments below. 

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Survival Skills

3 Practical Ways To Tie a Shemagh

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One of the most iconic pieces of headwear in the world, and one that is instantly recognizable, is the shemagh. Basically a giant bandana, this staple of Middle Eastern tradition has become a fashionable accessory elsewhere in the world and an indispensable part of a warfighter’s kit in arid, desert climates.

tying a shemag featured

They work wonderfully for keeping the sun off your head, face, and neck and sand out of your mouth, nose, and eyes. But compared to a bandana, it’s a lot more involved in tying on a shemagh, though you can learn easily enough thanks to our step-by-step guide.

Below you’ll find three proven ways for tying a shemagh, each suitable for different purposes and preferences. Let’s get right into it!

Military Style

The first method is the so-called military style, greatly preferred by military forces, as you might imagine, because it’s quicker and easier to don hastily when protection is needed.

This is a great one to start with since it is so similar to tying a bandana on, something you might already be used to…

military-style tied shemagh
wearing a shemag tied military-style

Step 1: Fold the shemagh in half. Holding the shemagh lengthwise, bring one corner to another to make a triangle with the corner hanging down in front of you. Being rectangular, it won’t be perfectly symmetrical, and that’s okay.

shemagh folded in half

Step 2: Place over the head. Pick out a spot that is about 3/4 of the way down the folded edge. Place this point in the middle of your forehead with the corners behind you.

If you are right-handed, the short end should be on the left side of your head. Keep hold of the folded edge the entire time. See picture for reference:

shemagh over head

Step 3: Bring the short end under the chin. Grab the corner at the short end along the folded edge. Wrap snugly directly under your chin, and bring it up along the right side of your face, pointing upward.

bringing shorter end under chin

Step 4: Wrap the long end around the front of the face. Keeping everything taut, take hold of the short end with your right hand now. Hold it in place, then use your left hand to bring the long end around in front of your face, covering your nose.

wrapping long end over face

Step 5: Continue wrapping the long end. Go all the way around behind your head until the corner overlaps the short end you are still holding on to.

Step 6: Tie. Make sure everything is snug enough, then tie both corners together with a pair of overhand knots.

tying shemagh

Step 7: Adjust. Make sure the shemagh is secure over your nose, under your chin, and across the top of your head and forehead. Undo the knot and retie it if necessary to make adjustments.

Step 8: Finished! You’re ready to face the wild.

With just a little bit of practice, the military-style shemagh wrap goes on very quickly. It’s my favorite method for getting protection in a hurry.

Bedouin Style

The Bedouin style wrap is slightly more involved, but more compact and very quick to take off when required. It also allows you to uncover your mouth if you want without untying the entire shemagh…

bedouin-style wrap bandana
wearing a shemag tied bedouin-style

Step 1: Fold the shemagh in half. Holding the fabric lengthwise, bring two opposite corners together. Again, it won’t be perfectly symmetrical, and that’s okay.

folding shemagh in half bedouin

Step 2: Lay the shemagh on the head. Place the middle of the fold on your forehead with the corner pointing backwards behind you.

placing shemagh over head

Step 3: Fold the bottom edge up, criscross ends. Fold about two or two and a half inches of material upward, then cross the two loose corners around the back of your head (without tying them):

crossing the two ends

Step 4: Wrap the first side. Gather one side of the material and wrap it around your head, staying above your eyes.

grabbing first end

wrapping first end around forehead

Step 5: Tuck first side. After completing one complete wrap, tuck the end into the fold you made earlier to secure it.

tucking first end behind head

Step 6: Wrap the second side. Now gather the remaining material from the other side:

bringing second end to front

…and bring it around covering your nose and mouth:

wrapping around second end

Step 7. securing second side behind head

After covering the front of your face, bring it back up, pull it snug, and then secure the end into the fold you made previously, as you did with the first wrap.

securing second side

Step 7: Adjust. Take a moment to make sure everything is snug and secure. If you can’t secure the ends of the fabric, simply start over, make the initial fold, and keep everything tight and taut as you wrap. If you keep it tight, it will secure the ends when you tuck them in.

Step 8: Done! You are ready to go. If you want to uncover your mouth, you can simply loosen it up and pull it free where you tucked it, and it can hang down without undoing the entire shemagh.

This method isn’t as intuitive as the military one we looked at first, but again with just a couple of repetitions, you’ll soon be able to put it on in just a couple of seconds, and then you can cover and uncover your mouth and nose as needed.

Traditional Style

The traditional style of tying a shemagh is super quick and easy, though it’s an all-or-nothing proposition.

traditional shemagh wrap
wearing a shemag tied traditional-style

If you don’t get the tension and placement right the first time, you’ll have to undo the whole thing to adjust it, and unlike the Bedouin style, you cannot just uncover your mouth if you want to. Nonetheless, it is a good method to know…

Step 1: Fold the shemagh in half. Holding it lengthwise, bring two opposite corners together. Just a reminder, it won’t be even and perfect, but that’s okay.

folded shemagh

Step 2: Drape the shemagh over the top of your head. The corners hanging down in front of you. See picture:

shemagh over head

Step 3: Bring the left side tightly under the chin. With your left hand, grab the right side hanging down in front of you, bunch it up, and then bring it under your chin tightly and up along the left side of your head.

bring left side under chin

Step 4: Wrap the right side in front. Now with your right hand, grab the left corner, lift it up so it is even with your nose, and then bring it across in front of your face.

Make sure you are still holding the right side you brought under your chin tightly so that everything stays snug; otherwise, it won’t hold.

wrapping right side

Step 5: Bring both ends behind the head. Holding on to both ends still, continue on and bring them both behind your head, tying them off with two overhand knots to secure them.

tie both ends

Step 6: Check and adjust. Make sure the fabric up front covering your nose is secure, but not mashing it flat; otherwise, you won’t be able to stand it for long. If it’s too tight or not tight enough, start over at the point where you have the fabric hanging down in front of you.

Step 7: Done! After you get the tension just right, you’ll be all set.

The traditional method is deceptively simple. You’ve got to get the tension just right for it to be comfortable and also stay secure, and it takes a couple of tries before you nail it.

But once you do, it’ll be just like tying your shoes: you’ll be able to do it without thinking about it and get it perfect every time.

tying a shemagh pinterest

Source link: https://www.survivalsullivan.com/how-to-tie-a-shemagh/ by Tom Marlowe at www.survivalsullivan.com

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Unveiling the Versatility of Wool Blankets in Survival Situations

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In the realm of survivalism, preparedness is paramount. The ability to adapt and thrive in challenging environments hinges on the possession of essential tools, among which wool blankets stand out as indispensable. Renowned for their warmth-retaining properties and multifunctionality, wool blankets are not just for keeping cozy; they serve as versatile assets in various survival scenarios. This guide delves into the history, composition, and myriad applications of wool blankets, shedding light on their enduring relevance in the wilderness.

A Brief History of the Wool Blanket

The lineage of wool blankets traces back through centuries of human history, evolving from rudimentary coverings fashioned from animal skins and woven reeds to the finely crafted blankets we know today. Originating in the 14th century, the modern wool blanket owes its name not to serendipity but to the Flemish weaver Thomas Blanket, whose innovation revolutionized bedding. 

Embraced by cultures worldwide, wool blankets found favor in the North American fur trade, where they became essential attire for enduring harsh winters. From military campaigns to civilian households, wool blankets became synonymous with warmth, durability, and utility, earning their place as quintessential survival gear.

What Is a Wool Blanket Made From?

At the heart of every wool blanket lies a testament to nature’s ingenuity: wool, harvested from a diverse array of animals including sheep, goats, and alpacas. The process begins with shearing, wherein wool-bearing animals undergo gentle grooming to procure their fleece. Subsequent steps involve cleaning, sorting, carding, spinning, and weaving, culminating in the production of resilient woolen textiles. Boasting microbial, moisture-wicking, and temperature-regulating properties, wool blankets epitomize the marriage of functionality and sustainability. With variations such as merino, cashmere, and alpaca wool, each blanket offers a unique blend of comfort and performance tailored to diverse needs.

Why Choose Wool Blankets for Survival?

Wool blankets emerge as quintessential companions for survivalists seeking reliable protection against the elements. Their inherent qualities render them indispensable in adverse conditions:

  • Temperature Regulation: Wool’s natural insulating properties, bolstered by a layer of keratin, facilitate optimal thermoregulation, keeping users warm in cold climates without causing overheating.
  • Water and Fire Resistance: Highly absorbent yet flame-retardant, wool blankets offer unparalleled protection against moisture and fire hazards, making them invaluable assets in unpredictable environments.
  • Environmental Friendliness: Sourced from renewable materials and biodegradable in nature, wool blankets epitomize eco-consciousness, ensuring minimal environmental impact throughout their lifecycle.

Best Survival Uses for a Wool Blanket

The versatility of wool blankets transcends mere warmth, extending to a myriad of survival applications:

  • Sleeping Bag: Folded and secured, a wool blanket transforms into an improvised sleeping bag, providing essential insulation and comfort during cold nights.
  • Poncho or Coat: Fashioned into a poncho or coat, a wool blanket offers on-the-go warmth and protection, guarding against hypothermia and inclement weather.
  • Insulated Seat or Pillow: Folded or rolled, a wool blanket serves as a cushioned seat or pillow, enhancing comfort and warmth during outdoor activities and rest breaks.
  • Traveling Pack: Wrapped around gear, a wool blanket doubles as a makeshift pack, safeguarding belongings and optimizing portability in transit.
  • Shielded Temporary Shelter: Deployed as a windbreak or overhead shelter, a wool blanket fortifies makeshift shelters, enhancing thermal insulation and weather resistance.
  • Emergency Signal Panel: With its conspicuous coloration, a wool blanket can serve as a signaling device, enhancing visibility and facilitating rescue efforts in emergency situations.
  • Protection for Firewood: Enveloping firewood bundles, a wool blanket shields against moisture, ensuring dry, readily combustible fuel for maintaining fires in adverse conditions.

In the tapestry of survival gear, wool blankets stand as enduring symbols of resilience and resourcefulness. From their humble origins to their modern-day applications, wool blankets epitomize the marriage of tradition and innovation, offering unparalleled warmth, durability, and versatility in the wilderness. 

As stalwart companions on the path to self-reliance, wool blankets empower adventurers to brave the elements, adapt to adversity, and emerge triumphant in the face of uncertainty. With their timeless appeal and unmatched utility, wool blankets remain steadfast allies in the pursuit of survival, beckoning explorers to embrace their warmth and embrace the wild with confidence.

Will you be stocking up on wool blankets? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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