26 February 2015

Winter Shelter Pictures

Quinzee Snow Shelter
Going Winter camping?? Ever, wonder which tent to take?? Do you have snow?? Is it cold enough??

Leave the tent in the truck. Grab a shovel or two and get to it!! Pile the snow into a big pile. Let it settle and bond. Hollow it out.....viola, a quinzee snow shelter.

I am sure there are a hundred blogs or websites that have detailed instructions for building snow shelters. 

I have posted a few pic's of a recent trip. Enjoy.
Construction Access
Sometimes, creating a second access point can speed up construction time. Of course, you will want to have a plan for how to fill that void before you have to live in your shelter.
Harvest Lots of Snow

Interior View - Looking Towards Entrance

When the snow is not too deep a large area must be cleared to create a pile of snow large enough to live in.

Lakes make great building locations, provided the ice is thick enough. 12" seemed like a good thickness.

The area around this shelter was cleared for about 20' in all directions. The toboggan in the picture is my Pelican 45. (Pelican Toboggan Link: Part One & Part Two .)

Points to consider.....the interior wants to be hollowed out, leaving the walls and roof neither too thick nor too thin.

We discovered on this trip that some shelters that had too flat of a roof, began to sag. That shelter was found to be too unstable to sleep in over night.

Ideally, you want to have an arched interior shape to provide space and strength.

Best of all, when getting out for a Winter Camp is the incredible scenery. Wouldn't miss that for anything. 

 Until next time.....get out camping!!!

Awesome Scenery!!

18 February 2015

Scout Survival Kit Considerations

Scouts & Scouters,

Please find below some of the ideas we have had in our area regarding building Scout Survival Kits. (You may use the ideas, just please give credit due to your source. Thanks.) Remember to emphasize that the mind/brain is the most important part of any survival kit. 

Stay safe out there,


Scout Survival Kit List

Rule of 3's – You can survive, without.....for:

Oxygen – 3 minutes
Shelter – 3 hours
Water – 3 days
Food – 3 weeks
Company – 3 months

Survival Priority List:

1) Get away from imminent danger, if safe stay put
2) Treat serious injuries, ensure open airways and prevent shock
3) Construct or seek shelter and build a fire
4) Locate and collect water for drinking
5) Conserve energy, use efficient food gathering techniques, cook the food
6) Setup and maintain signaling devices to help get found/located
7) Keep busy, improve camp and shelter. Gather firewood, water, and food

The kit list will be based on the solid foundation established above. A Scout may need to build more
than one survival kit. Having a survival kit tailored to activities, locations, climates, seasons and/or
terrains; is a wise idea. As the Scout's skill and experience level grows the items needed to survive may
be reduced. The British Special Air Service (SAS) commando's have a saying, “the more knowledge,
the less kit”.

There is no right kit for every Scout. However, every survival kit will have items for each of these
categories: First Aid, Shelter, Water/Hydration, Fire, Food, Knife/Axe & Signals. Suggested items

First Aid – CPR Mask, T – Bandages, Bandaids, Tweezers, Forceps, Blister Dressings, Pain Medicine,
Antihistamines, Anti-diarrhea, Antacids, Antiseptic Towelettes, Splint, Stretcher, Mirror.

Shelter – Super Shelter will require: a tarp, space blanket, 2x large clear leaf & garden bags and paracord.
Tarp, Sleeping bag, Large Garbage Bags or Leaf & Garden Bags, Proper clothing, Proper
footwear, Sleeping Pad, Para-cord or rope.

Water/Hydration – Water container, Water filter, Pot for boiling water, Purification Tablets, Canteen,
Canteen Cup, Life Straw

Fire – At least 3 methods for starting a fire. Wood Matches in a plastic waterproof container, Flint and
steel, Ferro-rod and striker, magnifying lens, Steel wool & 9V battery, Petroleum Jelly & cotton balls,
Magnesium Bar, Fatwood shavings, BIC Lighters, Candle Stubs, Lint, Char-cloth, Tinder Box, Birch
Bark, Cedar sticks, Pine/Fir Pitch (hardened),

Food – Fishing Kit (Line, sinker, lure or hook), Snare Kit (brass wire cut into 2m lengths), Energy
Bars, Hard candies, Nuts, Peanut butter, jerky, Dark chocolate, OXO cubes, Trail mix, GORP, Granola
bars, Protein bars,

Knife/Axe – Each Scout will need at least one quality knife. In a perfect world, two knives or a knife
and a belt axe. For fine work a good quality lock-blade knife, with a blade at least 3” in length. The
second knife should be of a fixed blade type with at least a 4 ½” heavy blade. This knife needs to be
tough enough to survive repeated blows from a baton for splitting kindling, this type of knife does not
need to be expensive, to work well. The alternative to a fixed blade knife would be a belt axe. The belt
axe is well suited for chopping chores around camp, but it is too short and too light for serious lumberjacking.

In trained hands a belt axe (that is well balanced, with a 10” - 14” handle) can be used very
effectively for building a survival camp. If you cannot afford a quality belt axe, it is better to buy a
cheap fixed blade knife than a cheap hatchet. The poor quality steel in a cheap hatchet will not hold an
edge, nor will it be balanced. The most likely result will be an injured Scout. Ensure your fixed blade
knife &/or your belt axe have a sheath or scabbard to protect the edge when not in use. Have
sharpening stone or small file to keep these tools sharp. Dull edges are deadly.

Signals – To speed up rescue time, you need to get found ASAP. Have at least 2 signal methods.
Whistles (Fox40) that are not metal and do not use a pea are the better designs. Remember it is easier to
use your whistle than it is to yell. Signal Mirror, like the Coghlan's 2”x3” is okay but it is heavy. A
better choice is the StarFlash by UST (Ultimate Survival Technologies). The StarFlash is 2”x3” but it is
not made of glass, it will float and is unbreakable and lightweight, only 20 grams. All signal mirrors
should be protected in a case, like one made from a scrap of polar fleece. This will keep the mirror
from getting scratched and thus keeping a maximum reflective surface. For nighttime signals consider a
LED headlamp that can be set on flash mode – this will draw attention and use less battery power.
Crank-up LED flashlights could work as the batteries do not die on you, just crank to recharge. Chem
light sticks can work, just remember to rotate out units out of your kit every couple of years. Remember
that signal fires should be prepared and built in threes – a big triangle with fires at each point. A
Ground to Air (G2A) signal card will help to communicate with aircraft that fly over your camp. Make
the symbols big (at least 10M long), out in the open and contrast with the surrounding area. Remove
the signal after message has been received by an aircraft.

Most important item in your survival kit.....is your mind. Train it well and even if you have nothing,
you can improvise something. Training and experience are more important than gear. Gear in trained
hands just makes surviving more enjoyable and usually a bit quicker. Gear in untrained hands, just
makes for souvenirs for the rescuers.

Keep your head, banish fear & panic, and avoid the 7 enemies of survival: Pain, Cold, Thirst, Hunger,
Fatigue, Boredom & Loneliness. And you will always come home.

Now for some thinking outside the box......(I will try to make a couple sample kit lists.) We will also
explore some other methods of having a survival kit, just not having it in a little box or pouch, we will
call this, everyday carry (EDC) items. These are the things you keep in your pockets or pack EVERY
time you leave home. Now, if you have a jacket or vest that has an extra pocket or two, these EDC
items can simply be left in the pockets.

EDC – Everyday Carry Items:

● Lock-blade knife. Preferably, with a pocket clip. Like the Gerber Para-frame.
● BIC lighter or mini-lighter, even a Zippo would work for EDC.
● Whistle. Like the Fox40 on a lanyard or a loop of para-cord.
● Mirror. StarFlash with a lanyard or loop of para-cord in a fleece pouch.
● Folding water bottle. Like those 500mL give away items at outdoor trade shows. Fold flat like a
piece of cardboard, but will fit a cargo pocket.
● Bandaid pack. For treating daily oops'.
● Hard candies, for energy.

If you always left home with just those items, you have increased your chance of survival 700%,
compared to not having them. (Never believe statistics in articles.)

Compact Survival Kit

Altoid or Sucrets Tin – Metal
Gerber Mini – Para-Frame lock-blade knife or similar compact knife
Matches – Strike Anywhere
Fishing Line – 4lbs test x 50'
Fish Hooks x4 barbed
Lead Sinker – split shot x2
Snare Wire – 2m
BIC mini lighter
Alcohol Wipes x2
OXO cube
Cotton balls & Petroleum jelly x2
Tinfoil – Heavy Duty folded to fit inside
Kerr's Hard Candies x3
Wrap Altoid Tin in para-cord
Put inside a medium zip-loc freezer bag

Even with just an Altoid tin filled with the bare minimum of items, survival would be more comfortable
than without those items. The Altoid tin + EDC and survival is almost guaranteed, in all but the worst

All Threats Survival Kit

Adequate clothing
Sturdy knife in sheath or belt axe & sharpening stone
Pot or Vessel for boiling water
Waterproof case for other kit items
Pouch or bag to carry all items
Canteen or water bottle or water bladder
Water filter or Life Straw
Siltarp or other lightweight, compact tarp 6'x8' but 8'x10' would be better
Mylar space blanket
Garden & Leaf clear plastic bags x2
100' para-cord
Try to select a waterproof container that will fit inside
you pot or boiling vessel.
First Aid Kit – Including a CPR mask, triangular bandages, splint, bandaids, blister dressings, etc
Fire Making Kit – Matches in waterproof container, cotton balls & petroleum jelly, BIC lighter,
Fatwood, Magnesium Bar, Ferro-rod & striker, flint & steel, char-cloth, candle stubs
Whistle & Mirror. Fox40 & StarFlash.
Chaulk – sidewalk type or lumber crayon for marking paths/trails
Flashlight or headlamp and spare batteries. Crank flashlight would also work.
Fishing Kit – Fishing Line 4lbsx100', 4x fish hooks – barbed, 4x split shot sinkers, 1x lure, 1x float
Snare Kit – brass snare wire x2 2m each
Emergency Rations – high energy foods
Duct tape.

Optional items:

Compass – Compact type – like Silva or Brunton
Laminated ground-to-air signal card
Laminated Knot Cards from UST (Ultimate Survival Technologies)
Laminated Cloud Cards from UST
Survival Cards – like those from www.seatoskyphoto.com or USALIVE LLC
Toilet paper in a ziploc bag
Wysi Wipes – multi-purpose wipes
Note pad & pencil

Scouts survival kit making is tentatively scheduled for XXXXXXX at Camp XXXXXX. You are
receiving this information to assist you to assemble the individual items you will want to put in your
survival kit. You may need to improvise some items for now and replace them when you can.
Remember to review the items in your survival kit at least once a year. Replace items that may expire, like batteries or food.

Yours in Scouting,

1st XXXXXX Scouts
Resource Scout & Group Committee

Ground to Air Signal Card

Scout Survival Card - Front

Scout Survival Card - Rear

8 February 2015

Outdoor Survival Kit Items - Part One

UST Pico LED Lantern
Maybe it is time for more gear talk....

Three items today, recently purchased from online sources. First up is the Pico LED Lantern from UST (Ultimate Survival Technology). This little lighthouse is powered by 4x "AA" batteries, I recommend rechargeables, but that is just my suggestion. On the high setting this unit produces 120 lumens of light and will run for 22 hours. On low, you get a 15 lumen glow that lasts for 91 hours. And if needed, the SOS strobe will continue to send your message for 120 hours, before your batteries require a recharge. For more details see my posting here: http://thegoodplanblog.blogspot.ca/2015/01/a-good-area-light.html on my The GOOD Plan Blog.
$10 Compact Canister Stove
Up next is the most affordable stove I have ever found on the internet or anywhere else. At $10 including shipping, this is a good deal. This stove is compact and light. Still have to do some Winter tests, but so far I believe this is a good investment for a bugout bag or just to keep in your vehicle emergency kit. Be sure to keep a canister or two of fuel. The larger 800g canisters should be good  for at least 4 days of normal backpack cooking. The mini 300g canisters will probably get you through a light weekend trip. See more here: http://thegoodplanblog.blogspot.ca/2015/01/a-good-stove-for-your-bob.html
$4 LED Flashlight - Lens
 A most recent arrival is this $4 LED flashlight. This was ordered off of amazon.ca ( http://www.amazon.ca/300lm-Flashlight-Torch-Adjustable-Focus/dp/B006E0QAFY/ref=aag_m_pw_dp?ie=UTF8&m=AMTS6SG366MYX ) The vendor was hotsalecanada via the Amazon Marketplace.

This very compact flashlight runs on a single "AA" battery. It is quite bright. Manufacture says 300 lumens on high. It has a low setting and a defence strobe setting.

It is an all metal design (aluminum??) with the switch on the tail-cap. A pocket clip. And a large glass lens. For less than $4 per unit, you can afford to stock-up and ensure you have light in every BOB or backpack.

I will add survival kit items in the future, using this same catagory. I may even post a short paper on survival kit considerations.
$4 LED Flashlight

Until next time......

Keep your gear ready!!!