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Survival Skills

Right or Left Helical Fletching: What Should I Choose?



Archery is an ancient practice involving one of mankind’s oldest and best weapons, and one that is still employed and enjoyed by millions of people around the world today.

close-up of arrow fletching in two colors

Whether you are shooting at targets on your land, hunting big game, or competing at a national or international level, there’s always something you can do to take your game a little further.

Science has melded with art and produced bows and arrows of incredible quality and accuracy, but with this comes many variables to keep track of and tinker with if you want maximum performance.

Helical fletching is an option that can produce excellent stabilization of the arrow in flight, but some archers are unsure if they should choose left or right-hand helical fletching. Which should you choose?

Either. Both impart significant rotation to an arrow. Left- or right-turn helical fletching will both improve stability and accuracy compared to straight fletching. However, only right-turn helical fletching may help prevent broadheads from loosening up inside the target.

You’ll commonly hear tales on the internet and in bow shops about somebody tuning their bow to shoot just right by changing the direction of rotation using helical fletching, or reducing or increasing the rate of rotation to the same effect.

I’m not saying these people aren’t telling the truth, as helical fletching does indeed provide benefits and some drawbacks but I can say with some confidence that the direction of rotation plays very little part in the accuracy equation.

Keep reading and I will tell you more about helical fletching and its impact when you shoot a bow.

What is Helical Fletching?

Helical fletching is a special type of fletching applied to the tail-end of an arrow which causes it to spin as it flies through the air.

This spinning action helps stabilize the arrow in flight and makes it much more accurate, especially at distance, by correcting any errant heading or “attitude” in flight.

Helical fletching can be applied to arrows in either a left- or right-hand configuration, and all of the vanes or feathers must be matched for proper performance and accuracy.

Left-hand helical results in counterclockwise rotation and right-hand helical fletching results in clockwise rotation.

The shape, length and turn of the fletching will affect the speed of the rotation, but it’s a subtle operation: it is generally not recommended to adjust any of these parameters by more than a little at any time to test performance.

How Does Helical Fletching Differ from Straight Fletching?

The difference is pretty much in the name: helical fletching imparts a spin (rotation) to the arrow in flight while straight fletching does not, or at least does not impart much of a spin.

Just like putting a spiral on a football when you throw it, the result is that helical fletching helps stabilize the arrow in flight, and makes it much more accurate, especially over longer distances.

Now, straight fletching can still of course be used and is still chosen for some applications. This is because helical fletching, despite its advantages, also has some drawbacks.

We’ll talk about those in a minute, but first let us look at why you’d want helical fletching in the first place.

Which Direction Should You Choose?

So, which should you choose? Traditionally, a right-handed archer is supposed to shoot right-turn fletching, and vice-versa for lefties.

But there is no practical basis for this grounded in performance and I say it does not really matter.

If your bow isn’t shooting just right, then it might be worth experimenting with left- or right-hand helical fletching to try and dial in, but most shooters will find that there are many other more important factors to check and correct first.

Especially if you’re new to archery and shanking shots all over, don’t just automatically assume that helical fletching is the answer to your woes!

Just remember this is only one aspect of the “package”, so don’t forget about other factors that may also be affecting your group size such as arrow rest position, arrow spine and weight selection.

But if your arrows are generally flying true and you want improved stability and accuracy at longer ranges, then helical fletching is probably a great choice.

I go with right-turn/clockwise fletching as a default since it won’t loosen your broadheads, but there are some folks that swear by left-hand for various reasons.

Why Does the Rotation of the Arrow Matter to Me?

You might be thinking that rotation is all fine and good, but it is a trifling concern if you are dropping your shots where you want them to be. And you’d be right!

If your bow, arrows, and technique are all meshing to provide you with adequate accuracy at the ranges you normally shoot at, carry on!

aiming a bow and arrow
aiming a bow and arrow

But, if you are looking to improve performance under certain circumstances, helical fletching might contribute to that.

Right up front, helical fletching that is functioning properly will improve accuracy under all conditions.

It can make the difference between hitting a 10-ring and missing it, or even potentially between hitting the target at all.

The stabilization also allows it to better resist wind and other factors that might otherwise throw off its path.

I resisted switching to helical fletching once upon a time because I was generally happy with my setup, but after I started working toward longer and longer shots, I noticed a steady decline in my own performance.

I told myself that it was I that needed to get better, not blaming the tools and all that, but once I switched to helical fletching and got dialed in with them the improvement was immediately apparent.

But it isn’t just pure accuracy we are talking about here: helical fletching might at times be a necessary upgrade.

Probably the most important benefit of helical fletching for hunters is that the rotation imparted will greatly help stability with large, fixed broadhead points from any given bow.

Shooting broadheads with straight-fletched arrows from a bow that isn’t optimized can lead to lots of wobble and poor attitude.

Finally, one of the more practical applications of helical fletching (in the case of right-turn fletching) is that it helps prevent broadheads from loosening up inside the target, be it animal or something else.

The clockwise rotation of the arrow helps to snug the broadheads tight upon impact, sometimes preventing loss.

Is Helical Fletching Always a Good Thing?

Contrary to popular opinion, helical fletching is not so totally superior to straight and offset fletching that you should only ever use it. It does, indeed, have drawbacks all its own.

Consider these factors before you commit to new arrows or want to re-do the fletching on your older ones.

First, helical fletching imparts more drag because it is imparting more spin. This drag equals reduced velocity, which is noticeable- and especially noticeable with heavier vanes and heads!

If you are doing your own fletching, you’ll find that helical fletching is significantly more sensitive to misalignment. If you make a mistake, the arrow may start to fishtail. For this reason, using a fletching jig is imperative.

Finally, helical fletching can cause problems with some arrow rests due to a lack of clearance.

No, not because it will turn a fletch into the rest: the arrow effectively does not begin to rotate until it has left the bow.

But, because of its shape and size helical fletching can contact certain arrow rests. Make sure you check compatibility before you buy or be prepared to modify!

Caution: Counterclockwise Rotation May Loosen Broadheads

One other thing to be aware of with left-hand helical fletching is that it can cause broadheads to loosen up after impact.

The counterclockwise rotation of the arrow is actually working against you in this case even while it is improving accuracy and stability, so be careful to tightly and securely seat your arrowheads to prevent this.

In conclusion, helical fletching does impart incredible stabilizing benefits for an arrow, and can improve accuracy under certain conditions or when using fixed-blade broadheads.

Source link: by Tom Marlowe at

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Now More Than Ever: You Need a Fallout Shelter




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.


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.


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.


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



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: by Tom Marlowe at

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Unveiling the Versatility of Wool Blankets in Survival Situations




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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