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Survival Skills

How To Tape Your Feet To Prevent Blisters

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Runners and hikers know all too well the pain of dreaded foot blisters. These stinging sores can make walking an agonizing process.

sticking duct tape to soles of feet to protect from blisters
sticking duct tape to the soles of feet to protect from blisters

Blisters are the result of friction from your foot rubbing against your boots or shoes. They can also be caused by chemical exposure and extreme heat but usually, foot blisters are from excessive rubbing.

Different footwear companies have tried to combat this with ergonomic boots or socks designed to reduce friction, but the truth is unless you’re diligent about taping your feet you will get them, even if you are a seasoned hiker.

Blistering can be painful and if left untreated, could pose a route to infection. It’s important to be prepared with the right knowledge and proper equipment.

Of course, sometimes the best medicine is a preventative one. This is why a lot of people pre-tape their feet in hopes to mitigate the chance of getting blisters.

If you’re unfamiliar with the topic, this article will teach you the pros and cons of taping your feet to avoid blisters. This issue is very common among hiking enthusiasts.

If you’re experienced in the realm of blistered feet, this could be a great refresher with some new tips.

Why Do Your Feet Get Blisters?

Essentially blisters are pockets of fluid in the uppermost layer of skin, generally caused by excessive rubbing.

Hikers and runners will often see this happen because of the amount of friction taking place in their shoes.

This doesn’t just happen with dry feet, though. Moisture build-up between your feet and your socks is also a prevalent culprit.

Another common cause of friction caused by moisture is when you complete river crossings. As your wet feet keep moving, blisters will start to show up quicker.

This is a bit of a side note, but don’t pop any blisters that have formed anywhere unless you are taping them up or it pops naturally.

Since they are a bubble of liquid they provide an insulating barrier to the damaged skin underneath. This is why they sting so much when you pop one.

Popping a blister also opens an entryway for infection, since the wound is now opened.

How To Tape Your Feet To Prevent Blisters

Pre-taping your feet can help avoid potential blistering if the process is done correctly.

The nice thing about taping your feet (aside from preventing blisters) is that the technique is transferable to use on any foot size or shape.

Of course, the footwear you are using is also a factor in getting blisters as they need to be the right shape and size for your specific foot.

Spot Taping And Area Taping

These are two methods by which you can tape up your foot. Spot taping is more precise and is designed to keep a specific spot from rubbing up against something.

Area taping is more common when you’re not sure what spots will rub. When you tape an area it protects a larger part of your foot but can also make you sweat more because your skin can’t breathe.

Pre-Taping Your Foot

Applying tape to your foot isn’t difficult to do but there are a couple of steps to complete before applying it.

Ensure the area that you’re taping is clean and free of debris (this applies to all parts of the foot). This may mean cleaning your foot or going over it with rubbing alcohol and letting it dry.

If you want to be secure be sure to apply an adhesive promoter product before using the actual tape.

Pre-Taping Your Toes

This process can be done in two ways, one where you wrap the individual toe in tape and another where you apply it between the toes, where rubbing may happen.

If you’re wrapping the toe in tape try not to tape it too tight or you can have circulation problems throughout the day. You’ll want to use low-friction tape so that the neighboring toes don’t rub up against the tape and cause blisters.

Taping The Side Of Your Heel

Another common hotspot for pre-taping is the side of your heel. This part of the foot experiences a lot of friction against your shoes.

Most people will use area taping on this part since it provides a nice layer of protection against friction.

Advantages

Pre-taping your feet is generally done when you are prone to getting blisters, regardless of any efforts you attempt at prevention.

Getting blisters on the trail that are caused by sweat makes it difficult to adhere the tape to the foot. When pre-taping, the skin is a lot drier which makes the tape stick a lot better.

Your taping job will be more secure if you do it ahead of time. The adhesion will become stronger by the next day which gives it less of a chance to come off while you’re being active.

The adhesion will be even greater if you applied an adhesive enhancer to the area before taping the foot.

If you’re a runner or hiker, taping up your feet on the go can take up precious time. Taping up your feet before the activity can spare you the downtime needed to properly tape up your foot.

If you do it incorrectly the first time you’ll have to spend more time doing it a second time.

Disadvantages

There is always the chance of the tape coming undone during the activity which could cause unwanted friction.

Another problem could be that it’s more difficult to check if there is a blister from the tape without taking it off, this would require you to apply new tape.

Best Tapes For The Job

3M is a tape manufacturing company and they seem to have the best products for a variety of situations. Here is a list of some of the best types of tape to get for your feet.

Tape Dry Skin Adhesion Wet Skin Adhesion Thickness Of Tape Flexibility of Material
3M Micropore Tape Good Poor Thin Inflexible
Leukotape P. Good Poor Thin Semi-Flexible
Elastikon Tape Good (Can fray) Poor Thick Flexible
Duct Tape Good (Can fray at the edges) It will work but may slip off Thick Flexible

If You Know Your Body, You Know Where To Tape

Doing the taping ahead of time allows you to work out all of the hotspots in your foot. A hotspot is where your foot will be rubbing against your show more than other parts.

The way your foot can rub will be different more often than not, which is why it’s good to practice beforehand.

It’s a good idea to duct tape your feet before an activity if you have new footwear.

You can start with the usual spots you have to tape and then adjust as you go for a hike. Bring extra tape with you so that you can patch up your feet on the trail.

As your body adjusts to the level of activity you’ll be doing, your feet are going to swell up. This can cause a circulation problem, which can lead to injury.

Knowing how your feet will act is important before pre-taping as you can adjust the length of the tape to accommodate the swelling in your feet.

Emergency Blister Kits

Most people have a first aid kit that they keep with them and these are filled with a lot of generic items that can treat a wide variety of ailments on the route.

Aside from this, you should have a section inside your medkit or a small separate one that handles blisters.

Commonly, blisters happen on the feet because of walking or running. They can also form on your hands from doing the same motion multiple times.

This occurs in things like chainsawing, firewood processing, and shoveling. Having a blister kit ensures you can handle them quickly, and the items in a blister kit can be used in conjunction with your existing first-aid setup.

Here is a list of items that you should have in your blister kit for emergency use.

  • 1 pair of gloves (nitrile works just fine)
  • Sterile cotton swabs
  • Iodine wipes
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Sterile Cutiplast dressing
  • Oval sterile dressings
  • Toe sleeves
  • Adhesive enhancer
  • Your favorite blister tape

Final Thoughts

Blisters are one of the most painful wounds that you can have, especially if they are constantly rubbing up against something. Preventative measures such as pre-taping your foot can be an important tool in the fight against avoiding blistering feet.

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Source link: https://www.survivalsullivan.com/duct-tape-feet-blister-prevention/ by Perrin Adams at www.survivalsullivan.com

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Wilderness Survival Skills That Can Save Your Kids’ Lives 

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Teaching children wilderness survival skills can be an enriching and empowering experience, fostering their confidence and independence while instilling a deeper connection with nature. However, it’s essential to prioritize safety and age-appropriate learning experiences when introducing children to outdoor skills. 

It’s important for a prepared parent to find age-appropriate wilderness survival skills for children. These skills should emphasize hands-on learning and the importance of supervision.

Shelter Building For Kids

Building a shelter is a fundamental survival skill that children can learn and practice under adult supervision. Start with simple shelter designs using natural materials such as branches, leaves, and tarps. Teach children how to assess their surroundings for suitable shelter locations and how to construct sturdy structures to protect against the elements.

Identifying Edible Plants For Kids

Teaching children to identify edible plants can enhance their foraging skills and knowledge of the natural environment. Begin by introducing them to a few common edible plants in your area, emphasizing safety and the importance of proper identification. Supervise children closely and guide them in harvesting and tasting edible plants responsibly.

Fire Safety and Fire Starting For Kids

While starting a fire may seem like an advanced skill, children can learn basic fire safety principles and techniques under adult supervision. Teach them about fire safety rules, including selecting a safe location, clearing the area of debris, and using proper fire-starting tools such as matches or fire starters. Demonstrate how to build a small fire and maintain it responsibly, emphasizing the importance of fire management and extinguishing techniques.

How Kids Can Signal for Help

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In emergency situations, knowing how to signal for help can be a life-saving skill. Teach children basic signaling methods such as using a whistle, mirror, or brightly colored clothing to attract attention. Practice signaling techniques in a safe outdoor environment, and discuss the importance of staying calm and alert while waiting for rescuers to arrive.

Hands-On Learning Experiences

Encourage hands-on learning experiences to reinforce wilderness survival skills and build confidence in children. Plan outdoor activities such as nature hikes, camping trips, or wilderness outings where children can practice shelter building, plant identification, fire starting, and signaling for help under adult supervision. Provide opportunities for children to apply their skills in real-life scenarios, fostering a sense of self-reliance and problem-solving abilities.

Teaching children wilderness survival skills can be a rewarding and educational experience, fostering their appreciation for nature and their ability to thrive in outdoor environments. By introducing age-appropriate skills such as shelter building, plant identification, fire safety, and signaling for help, children can develop valuable life skills and a deeper connection with the natural world. Remember to prioritize safety and supervision, and encourage hands-on learning experiences to empower children to become confident and capable outdoor adventurers.

How do you teach your children survival and preparedness skills? Share your thoughts on how to teach children in the comments below. 

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Knife Skills for Preppers: Mastering Essential Techniques

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In the realm of survival preparedness, few tools are as fundamental as the trusty survival knife. However, owning a high-quality knife is only half the battle; mastering essential knife skills is equally crucial for any prepper. This tutorial is designed to guide preppers through fundamental knife skills that will enhance their ability to navigate and thrive in diverse survival scenarios. 

From safe-cutting techniques to carving methods and practical tips for shelter building and food preparation, these skills will prove invaluable in the face of the unknown.

Safety First: The Foundation of Knife Skills

Before delving into specific techniques, understanding and prioritizing safety is paramount. Follow these foundational safety tips:

  • Proper Grip: Hold the knife with a firm yet comfortable grip. The index finger should wrap around the handle, ensuring control and preventing accidental slips.
  • Knife Inspection: Regularly inspect your knife for any damage, including chips or rust. A well-maintained blade ensures safer use.
  • Clear Workspace: Create a clean and organized workspace. Clear away debris and ensure good lighting to avoid accidents.
  • Body Positioning: Pay attention to your body positioning. Keep your non-dominant hand and fingers away from the cutting path to prevent injuries.

Basic Cutting Techniques: Building a Foundation

Next, it’s important to learn basic cutting techniques. Without knowing these cutting techniques, you have no chance of performing more advanced techniques with your knife. 

  • The Rocking Motion: Ideal for chopping and slicing, the rocking motion involves moving the knife’s blade back and forth while keeping the tip in contact with the cutting surface.
  • Draw Cutting: Drawing the knife towards you in a controlled manner is effective for precision cutting, especially when creating fine slices or making detailed cuts.
  • Tip Control: Mastering control over the tip of the knife is essential for intricate tasks. Practice guiding the tip with precision for accurate cuts.

Carving Methods: Precision in Action

A man is cutting mushroom with a knife.

Carving is one of the most important skill sets you can have with a knife. The basic carving methods are as follows:

  • Whittling: Whittling involves carving small, controlled cuts to shape wood or other materials. It’s a useful skill for crafting tools or creating tinder for fire starting.
  • Feathering: Feathering is a technique for creating fine curls of wood, often used in fire starting. It requires controlled slicing with the grain of the wood.
  • Notching: Notching involves carving small grooves or notches into materials, a skill useful for creating traps, shelters, or tools in a survival setting.

Practical Tips for Survival Scenarios: Beyond Cutting

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Once you go beyond cutting, there are a number of things that you can use a knife for that will keep you alive in survival scenarios. 

  • Shelter Building: Use your knife to process materials for building shelters. Master techniques such as notching, carving stakes, and shaping branches for a secure and weather-resistant shelter.
  • Food Preparation: From gutting and filleting fish to processing game, a well-honed knife is essential for procuring and preparing food in a survival situation. Practice efficient and safe cutting techniques for various food sources.
  • Fire Starting: In addition to knives with built-in fire starters, use your knife to prepare firewood by splitting or feathering. Mastering these techniques ensures a reliable fire, a crucial element for survival.
  • Tool Crafting: A versatile knife can be used to craft essential tools in the wild. From fashioning cordage to carving simple implements, having a repertoire of tool-making skills broadens your capabilities in the field.

Continuous Improvement: Sharpening and Maintenance

Even the most skilled preppers need to maintain their knives for optimal performance. Regularly sharpen your knife using your preferred technique, whether it’s a whetstone, rod, or sharpening system. Keep the blade clean, dry, and well-oiled to prevent rust and maintain its longevity.

Knife skills are the unsung heroes of the prepper’s toolkit. By mastering essential techniques, preppers enhance their ability to navigate and conquer diverse survival scenarios. From safe-cutting practices to carving methods and practical tips for real-world applications, continuous improvement in knife skills is an investment in preparedness. 

As you embark on your journey to master the edge of survival, remember that the knife is not just a tool; it’s an extension of your capabilities, a versatile ally in the face of the unpredictable challenges that may lie ahead.

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Prepping with Kids: Teaching Your Children Survival Skills

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In the world of prepping, involving the entire family is not just a practical decision—it’s an essential one. Teaching children survival skills not only imparts valuable knowledge but also fosters a sense of resilience and preparedness. Balancing age-appropriate information with practical skills is the key to making prepping a family affair. 

Getting Started Teaching Your Children About Survival Skills

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Start with age-appropriate discussions about preparedness. Tailor the information to the child’s understanding, focusing on the importance of being ready for unexpected situations. Avoid instilling fear but rather emphasize the empowerment that comes with knowledge and preparation.

Conduct family emergency drills to make the learning experience tangible. Practice fire drills, evacuation procedures, and basic first aid. Make it a game by timing each drill and celebrating successful completion, turning what could be a stressful experience into a positive and empowering one.

Teach basic navigation skills through fun activities like treasure hunts or geocaching. Introduce the concept of using a compass or map, turning it into a game that enhances both navigation skills and the ability to communicate effectively in the wild.

Making Survival Skills an Adventure for Children

Plan family camping trips to teach children essential outdoor survival skills in a controlled environment. Teach them how to set up a tent, build a fire safely, and cook simple meals. Use this time to introduce concepts like Leave No Trace ethics and respecting nature.

Involve children in gardening and foraging activities to impart sustainable survival skills. Teach them about edible plants, gardening techniques, and the importance of self-sufficiency. This not only provides practical knowledge but also instills a sense of responsibility toward the environment.

Cooking can be an excellent way to teach children practical survival skills. Demonstrate how to prepare meals using non-perishable or long-lasting ingredients. Discuss food preservation methods like canning or dehydrating and involve them in the process.

Engage in do-it-yourself (DIY) projects that build preparedness tools. Create emergency kits together, incorporating age-appropriate items like a flashlight, whistle, or small first aid supplies. This not only imparts practical knowledge but also instills a sense of ownership over their preparedness.

Use Your Words to Teach Survival Skills to Children

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Incorporate storytelling into the prepping process. Share survival stories, both fictional and real-life, to emphasize the importance of quick thinking, resourcefulness, and preparedness. Discuss the characters’ actions and decisions, encouraging critical thinking in different scenarios.

Create an open environment where children feel comfortable asking questions and expressing curiosity. Encourage them to share their thoughts on preparedness and discuss any concerns they might have. This fosters a preparedness mindset and reinforces the importance of ongoing learning.

Prepping with kids is not just about imparting survival skills; it’s about building resilient families. By balancing age-appropriate discussions with practical activities, families can turn the prepping journey into an engaging and empowering experience for children. 

From outdoor adventures to DIY projects, every activity becomes an opportunity to instill a sense of preparedness, responsibility, and the importance of working together as a family. As you embark on this journey, remember that teaching survival skills to children is not just about preparing for the unknown; it’s about shaping resilient, capable, and confident individuals who can navigate life’s challenges with strength and resourcefulness.

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