One of my hiking partners (Matt) has been talking about doing a Survival weekend for a while now. His plan is to do survival stuff, but in comfort. That is: we bring our regular backpacking stuff, but set up to learn & practice survival stuff as if we had minimal stuff.
Skills I really need to learn &/or practice:
Fire making, specifically with an actual flint & steel.
Where: My mom has 12 acres pretty far from “civilization” in SW Ohio about 10 miles or so N of Harrison not far from the Indiana border.
We will be able to go anywhere on the “wild” part of her farm, so about 10 acres. There is a large creek & a small creek on the property. The large creek (Dry Fork) has fish (Carp, Bluegill, Catfish, Minnows) SNAPPING turtles, creyfish & snakes (yep, venomous). In season there are Blackberries & Black Raspberries, cattails (sometimes), Multiflora roses, “seaweed” & etc. There may be nettles, not sure, can’t feel them so don’t care.
The area we will be setting up in was where the creek flowed in the past, so MAY flood. But there is ample area above the old creek bed for as many as will, and this means that for the most part the “Dirt” is very sandy or is sand. But there are plenty of rocks too. Yea, plenty of trees to hang from & ample room to spread out.
Matt has some skills, I have minimal, but can get mostly by.
Anyway, No idea as to when this will happen, in fact still have to ask Mom. But as Matt doesn’t stop shivering till it gets above 75 & even then he is wearing a jacket (till about 85), it will likely be well after it gets warmer, but as I don’t stop sweating till it’s below 70, it won’t be too warm out. LOL. Yea, our window for hiking together is very tiny.
If anyone wants to join us I’ll let y’all know when & where. Bring your hammock & comfort gear, and what you consider survival stuff. The hike in is about 500 yards along the creek, but don’t overdo the comfort stuff, this is a survival weekend after all.
I picked mom’s place cause we don’t have to follow the rules of a park and I know there will be water & fish* there. Mom doesn’t allow hunting, but you can practice making & setting traps, primitive weapons & etc. Fishing is OK. I strongly recommend against trapping for real even if mom allowed it, as there are quite a few skunks in the area. Last one I saw was pushing 40 lbs at least so I’m betting he could do some serious spraying. Yea, he was HUGE for a skunk, I followed him for about an hour & 1/2, he looked at me once, decided I knew what he was & then ignored me the rest of the time.
Matt will likely be bringing a few groundlings so there will be entertainment.
It will likely be on a Friday, Saturday & Sunday.
So, do we limit what we can bring for survival?
I'm thinking survival stuff that will fit in a small day pack.
But then, what if you get in a survival situation with your full pack? Is even that enough?
Per Matt: this is to be a FUN weekend, where everyone learns something on what to do "IF".
*We MAY need an Ohio fishing license, not sure of the laws anymore. Used to be able to fish without on private land, I haven’t lived there for 35 years, haven’t fished in nearly that long.
Sounds likke a good time
Yup, that's a great plan you guys got. Having your "comfort" gear handy is like trying out that new quilt/tarp/bug net in the backyard, knowing you have the house a few steps away. If I may suggest and assuming you're talking about using the fire steel (scraping a rod against the back of a knife or steel), instead of scraping downthe rod, practice pulling the rod up the knife/steel. This will keep you from knocking over your tinder but you still get a shower of sparks that will ignite. I learned to do it that way because of knocking over the tinder and still do it that way even though I now use cotton balls mushed up with Vaseline. Hope that made sense.
This is a very safe and sensible way to test one's resolve, one's skills, discover one's skill limitations, and do it all without putting oneself in danger.
I don't think there's anything wrong with bringing along most of your regular gear however, so that you don't have to leave and head indoors if you discover your fire-making, shelter-building and foraging skills are inadequate. You may find that shelter building will take too long and leave you famished and having a tent or hammock as a backup sleeping shelter would serve you well. Or you may find that all is going smoothly in those respects, but fire-building is proving harder than anticipated. A small stove and fire lighting equipment to boil water could permit you to stay out instead of packing up early. You may also want to take into consideration that working out in the bush to build fires, shelters, and forage will burn a lot more calories than you would on a typical camping trip, and if you don't find much to eat, you can find yourself getting cold unless it's very mild at night.
With respect to the use of real flint and steel, it's actually very hard to generate sparks hot enough to ignite natural tinders. It's easy with a ferro-rod, but a ferro rod is not flint and steel. So, I'd recommend you use your real flint and steel in conjunction with charred cloth. As you likely already know, charred cloth with take even a small spark and produce a growing, glowing ember that will ignite natural tinders more reliably.
Best of luck to you and hope this helps,
Not try to take away from Hammock forums but another helpful site is Bushcraft USA
I just re-read my OP, , , , Um, it was supposed to have in it: "Anyone who want's to come is welcome! Will keep you posted on when."
& by that, I mean those wanting to: Learn, practice &/or teach. As you likely know, the best way to learn something is to teach it!
I still need a flint to go with my steel. Which is a actual piece of hardened steel made for me by one of my blacksmith friends. Plus I don't really have a clue how to use it, videos are nice, but not like someone standing there showing you.
I figure we can support about 15 "survivors", maybe more. I will scout before the event to be sure, but I did spend most of my youth in those woods & that stream, so know them pretty well.
Edit: I for one learn something on nearly every hiking trip I do, so a trip Designed for learning should be "a Hoot!"
Let me make a suggestion. I am a scout leader, and we do a merit badge called Wilderness Survival. The BSA publishes a pamphlet with that title. It is organized around seven survival priorities, and goes into detail on how to meet each priority. I would start with this booklet. It is written on the level of a scout aged boy, but it still will give you a framework for this exercise.
I have learned how to use an old fashioned flint and steel, not the modern sparkers they sell as survival equipment. The key to the exercise is having an ample supply of Char Cloth. Learn to make this, and use it properly, and fire is easy.
My brother-in-law and I discussed having the same kind of weekend this spring/summer. He's up in Indy and I'm in E'ville, but depending on when it is, we might want to join you guys. I always learn better when more heads can share ideas and techniques. Keep us posted on date ranges and I will talk with him about joining your weekend. Thanks for the invite.
We do these weekends every year. Before you go decide if you are having a primitive skills training or survival weekend. If you are going to start a fire with a hand or bow drill give yourself two hours. Where I live (what you would call the pacific north west and we call the south west) drills almost never work. I enjoy training in the woods and hope you have a great weekend.
sounds like a great idea. I will keep watching this thread