Bear Grylls Leaves Discovery and ‘Man vs Wild’

via Reddit

In the realm of Survival TV, Bear Grylls reigns supreme with a full 6 seasons of his wildly popular show ‘Man vs Wild.’  That is, until this week.  Due to an ongoing “contractual dispute,” Discovery is cancelling all current production efforts for the show.  Not much is known at present as to what these disputes actually are. 

Regardless, “Man vs Wild” was one of those show I just loved to watch.  If you pay attention, you can learn a TON of survival techniques from it and it was also entertaining to watch.  I know that Bear didn’t always portray the show honestly (like staying in a hotel some nights), but it still made for good television.  I’ll miss “Man vs Wild,” but I look forward to seeing what new projects Bear Grylls works on in the future.

P.S. – Discovery, if you’re through with Bear Grylls, BRING BACK LES STROUD AND SURVIVORMAN!

Found on the Internet: Zombies, Run! An iOS game.

Most of what I write about here is skills, knowledge, and devices you will need for once Armageddon has occurred, but what about prior to that.  You need to do some prep work to be ready and preparing your body is probably the most important aspect.  The developer Six to Start brings you an iOS game that makes running/jogging/walking fun and puts you in that Zombie Apocalypse state of mind.  Basically, you are a survivor in a world overrun with zombies.  You have to avoid the zombies while collecting vital supplies to support your base.  After you’ve gone out collecting (aka running), you return to base with your supplies and distribute them among the survivors at base in order to help your base prosper.  The more thrivant your base, the more missions you have access to.

One of the things I really like about this game is that it allows you to play your own music while you’re out doing these things.  Also, according to their website, they plan on integrating their data with Runkeeper which is handy for all you Runkeeper users out there.

The app costs $8 from the iTunes store, which is a bit pricey for an iOS app, but what’s $8 when Armageddon strikes?

Zombies, Run! [via Lifehacker]

Found on the Internet: A Water Bottle that Purifies its Contents

If you know me, you know that I’m not much of a gadget guy.  I’ve also professed on this blog on many occasions about my aversion to anything that requires batteries or some other element in a survival situation.  But every once in a while, technology amazes me.  Camelbak, a company I wholeheartedly support, has released a new water bottle which has a UV light built into the cap.  With a 60 second burst, the light claims to kill 99.99% of the nasties in your water and it’s rated to last for 10,000 cycles.  Meaning if you were to use it to purify all your drinking water every day (3 containers = 96 fluid ounces of water) you wouldn’t need to replace the bulb for ~9 years.

The only downside I see to this thing is that the batteries that power the are built-in rechargables, meaning they assume you’ll have a power source to plug the USB cable in to charge.  But I’m sure with some field-expedient ingenuity, somebody would be able to make the cap charge from kinetic or solar energy, making it a sustainable device, which I’m all for.

 

How to Weld

In a post-apocalyptic world, scavenging is the order of the day and you’ll likely be able to find plenty of scrap metal lying around (or still attached to something that nobody is using).  That metal could be useful by itself, but it might be more useful if you could weld smaller pieces together to form one large structure.  Plus, knowing how to weld is a skill you can trade on, unlike that Cisco certification you spent thousands of dollars on.

Fundamentally, welding is a simple process – heat two pieces of metal until they’re nearly liquid and force them together meshing one piece to the other.  Most of the time, a filler material (commonly a more maleable, and thus easier to liquify metal than the one being welded) is used to aid in creating a cohesive bond, or joint, in the metal pieces.  Over the years, industrial welding has evolved into a futuristic world of laser welders and using ultra sonic waves to fuse molecules together, but these types of welders are crippling expensive and rare, and thus you are unlikely to have access to them after The Event.  For our purposes, there are three types of welding: forge, torch, and arc.

Forge welding is the most primitive form of welding.  To forge weld, you heat the two pieces of metal until they are red hot, but not liquified. Place them on an anvil with one piece slightly overlapping the other and hammer them back down to the thickness of either piece of metal and thus forcing a mesh of the two pieces.  Don’t expect this technique to work on steel, it will only work on more maleable metals that approach or cross the liquification point in forge temperatures (think bronze, copper, iron, etc).

The next step up is torch welding.  To torch weld, you will need a torch – the most common torch used in welding is an acetylene torch, which is essentially a nozzle that mixes pure acetylene with pure oxygen, which you light as it comes out the end.  An acetylene/oxygen flame burns at over 3000 degrees celsius which is the hottest flame you will get from readily available combustible gases.  If you are making a makeshift torch, you can use any pure combustible gas and you can use compressed are instead of oxygen for your oxidizer, but you won’t achieve the same temperatures as your would with an acetylene/oxygen mix.  Also, you need to make sure you are using some sort of non-return valve in order to ensure that you and your fuel cylinder don’t go up in flames while welding.

To perform a torch weld, place the two pieces of metal firmly together, turn on your acetylene just enough so that you hear gas escaping.  Light the torch and adjust the acetylene until the flame is barely coming out of the nozzle.  Turn on the oxidizer slowly until the flame turns blue.  Point the flame at the joint and move the torch in a circular motion until the metal begins to melt.  If you are using a filler rod, you can insert it slowly into the pool of molten metal to add more to the pool.  Once you have a large enough pool, begin moving the torch slowly down the seam.  If you go too fast, you will run out of molten metal.  If you go too slow you will have too much.  If you are using a filler rod, you will want to keep it in the hot zone of the torch (not close enough to melt it but not far enough that it cools off) to prevent a weaker “cold” weld.  Turn the torch off in the reverse order you turned it on.

The final type of welding you should be familiar with is arc welding.  Arc welding uses electricity to heat metal instead of flame and in this case, you NEED a filler rod.  An arc welder is essentially a placeholder for your filler rod that is attached to a power source.  As electricity passes in an arc from the end of the filler rod to the seam in the metal, it generates a great deal of heat, melting the rod and the metal equally.  There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different types of filler rods available.  Each one has a special purpose it was designed for, and sometimes you’ll need a certain type of rod to do any kind of welding on a certain kind of metal.  We won’t get into that here, just be aware that this is a consideration if you have access to an arc welder post apocalypse.

To perform an arc weld, the first thing you need to do is attach a grounding clamp from your power source to your metal.  This is important because if you don’t do this, the all-important arc will not be generated in order to heat the metal.  To initiate the weld, or “strike the arc,” tap the end of the filler rod against the metal and then hold it at approximately 1/8 inch above the metal.  You will see copious sparks shoot up from the metal – this means you got an arc.  Angle the welder into the direction of movement at approximately 45 degrees and equidistant from each piece of metal (this is important if you aren’t welding two flat pieces of metal together), as if you were dragging the tip of the filler rod along the surface of the metal.  Slowly move the rod across the seam until the joint is complete.

That covers the bare necessities of welding.  These procedures and techniques will get you by in a situation where you need to weld.  There are dozens of advanced techniques on how to weld in different situations, for different types of metal that I haven’t covered here.  Just remember that practice makes perfect, and if you need to weld something intricate “measure twice, weld once.”

Found on the Internet: How to Field Strip a Squirrel

No matter what the situation, a fella’s gotta eat!  And you can only survive on berries and spam for so long before you go crazy.  If you trap or hunt an animal, you need to know how to gut it down to it’s edible goodies.  Squirrels are one of the more prevalent varmints in North America and are easy to set traps for.  Creek Stewart explains step-by-step how to field strip a squirrel in a surprisingly bloodless and efficient way.

How to Field Dress a Squirrel [via The Art of Manliness Blog]

Medicinal Plants

As time goes by, pharmacuticals and over the counter medication will be harder to come by.  Because of this, it would be wise to familiarize yourself with plants that have medicinal properties.  Below I have shared some plants that will help with treatment in emergency situations (bleeding, shortness of breath, weakness, nausea, etc).  When doing research on medicinal plants and herbology, you will come across plenty of plants that fall into the realm of homeopathic remedies.  The only supporting evidence that the plant does what someone claims it does is anecdotal at best.  So without further ado:

Aloe Vera

The leaves of the aloe vera plant are used to heal burns and wounds as well as some other skin ailments.  This jagged green plant grows in arid climates and can be found all over the world.  Aloe vera has been marketed as a “cure all” and is included in products ranging from gels and lotions to yogurt.  However, it hasn’t been shown that aloe helps with anything else.

Bilberry

These tiny fruits grow in temperate and sub-arctic climates (such as North America and the U.K.).  They are very similar to the North American blueberry, however they are not the same.  The pulp of a blueberry is a greenish/white color and the pulp of a bilberry is a dark purple color.  On top of being a great food source, it can be used to treat diarrhea and scurvy.

Clove

Clove is a very common ingredient found in many households, but it isn’t an indigenous plant to North America.  It is native to Indonesia and can be found naturally in the surrounding area.  Regardless, if you happen upon some dried cloves they can be used for an upset stomach and as an expectorant.  If you have some clove essential oil, it is an effective topical anesthetic especially for toothaches.

Ginger

The root of the ginger plant is used to relieve nausea.  Ginger can be found throughout Southeast Asia, West Africa, and the Caribbean.

 

 

 

 

Indian Head Ginger

Indian Head Ginger, or costus spicatus, is a plant native to the Caribbean and South America.  If you brew the leaves of this plant into a tea it has been known to help cleanse parasites from the drinkers system.

 

 

Kava

Kava may not have a vital first-aid use, but some of the effects make this plant a good one to have around in the PAW.  When the leaves are chewed they have an anesthetic effect on the mouth and throat (similar to that of chloroseptic spray), and if enough are ingested, it can be used as a sedative.  In small doses, the kava leaf can impart a mild euphoria and increased mental acuity.  Kava is native to Polynesian islands from Hawaii to Micronesia, so unless you are lucky enough to be stranded there when at the end of the world as we know it, you probably won’t come across this plant.

 

Sangre de Grado

This is a tree that is native to northeastern South America.  The sap from the “Dragon’s Blood” tree is a very unique first-aid tool.  Rub this blood red sap in a wound until it turns into a white paste and it will form into a latex bandage.  On top of covering the wound it is also a verd strong antiseptic and hemostatic.

 

Sphagnum

Sphagnum moss is common around the world.  There are around 300 known species that mostly look different (the only characteristic that ties them together is the way the branches cluster).  The thing about all the species of sphagnum moss is that they have an antiseptic quality.  So when you wrap a wound, put some sphagnum moss in between the wound and the wrap.

Yarrow

Yarrow is used to stop bleeding (topically), help wounds heal, and as an anti-inflammatory.  It is commonly found all over the Northern Hemisphere.  It should be noted that yarrow can promote AND staunch blood flow depending on how it’s prepared.  Placing the plant on the wound will cause it to staunch blood flow.

Found on the Internet: Simple Handmade Stove

In the PAW, a working stove of any kind will be hard to come by, and sometimes that’s all you need.  Sometimes you just need a small, simple fire to cook food over for a few minutes and be done with it.  Enter these instructions for a simple handmade stove.  Granted, with these instructions left the way they are, you’re devoting more resources to this “quick” solution than you get out of it.  But if you modify them a little bit, this could be a worthwhile technique when you’re on the move and hungry.

[Simple Handmade Stove via EnglishRussia.com]

Pro Tip: You Can Use Honey to Treat a Wound

When you think of honey, you probably think of that golden fluid drizzling on a warm biscuit.  But did you know that honey can be used as an antiseptic?  There is an enzyme in honey called glucose oxidase that generates a slow release of hydrogen peroxide under very specific conditions.

  1. It must be in contact with oxygen, which is a very necessary part of the reaction.
  2. The acidity of the honey must be neutralized (which it is when it comes into contact with body fluids).

It is also more effective when the honey is diluted in the fluids in the wound.  Because the hydrogen peroxide is released slowly, honey becomes a very effective antiseptic.

In the P.A.W., honey may not be a readily available resource.  In fact, it could be very scarce.  A prepared mind, might learn how to keep bees so that they can have honey available for food and for first aid in that scenario.

 

Found on the Internet: How to Choose the Perfect Survival Knife

If you’ve ever browsed knives, you’ll know there are more features to consider than you would expect.  Which ones are serious considerations? Which ones are superfluous?  Which ones are marketing ploys, just trying to snag the uninformed?

On The Art of Manliness blog, Creek Stewart outlines the six most important criteria for selecting a survival knife:

  • Size
  • Fixed Blade
  • Full Tang
  • Sharp Pointed Tip
  • Single-Edged Blade with Flat Ground Spine
  • Solid Pommel

A survival knife is not a magic wand nor does it have inherent magical saving powers. The true value is in the skill of the one who wields it. Skill only comes from practice and repetition. You don’t buy a survival knife to decorate your man cave–it is a tool that’s meant to be used. Since the beginning of mankind, the cutting blade helped to shape how our ancestors hunted, fought, built, and survived. From cavemen with sharp rocks to a soldier in modern warfare, there will never be a relationship quite like that between a man and his blade. Choose yours wisely.

How to Choose the Perfect Survival Knife via [The Art of Manliness]

How to Cross a Rope Bridge

Just being able to make a rope bridge doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily be able to cross it.  The less crossing ropes to your rope bridge, the more complicated the crossing will be.  For suspension bridges and any other bridge where you can plant your feet firmly and walk forward, that’s exactly how you cross.  Just be cautious of your footing.

For either a one or two rope bridge you will want to attach yourself to one of the ropes via a safety harness.  There are safety harnesses commercially available, but here at The Armageddon Blog, we like to assume the worst.  You can tie a Swiss Seat using a 6-10 foot length of rope.  This will prevent you from falling while crossing.

Postman’s Bridge (Two Ropes)

For a Postman’s Bridge you will need to devise a safety rope to tie your safety harness to the top rope of the bridge. I would suggest tying a bowline knot to a carabiner attached to the top rope, and another bowline knot tied to the carabiner attached to your harness.

Once you are attached, you will use the following system of movements in order to cross the bridge.

  1. Shift all your weight to your back hand and leg.
  2. Move your lead leg as far forward on the bottom rope as possible.
  3. Shift your weight equally between your legs and move your lead hand above your lead leg on the top rope.
  4. Shift your weight onto your lead hand and leg.
  5. Move your back hand up to your lead hand (move the carabiner for the safety rope up with this step).
  6. Move your back leg up to your lead leg.
  7. Repeat

This seems fairly easy, but there are a few things to be wary of. 

  • No matter how tight the bridge lines are, there will still be some wiggle in the rope.  Move slowly to avoid losing your balance.
  • If you’re crossing a river, it is entirely likely that the rope will absorb some moisture.  If this happens the rope will be slick: Make sure you have solid footing before shifting your weight.

Commando Bridge (One Rope)

There are two ways to go about this.  You can either cross on top of the rope or below the rope, either way will be equally taxing. 

Commando Crawl (On Top of the Rope)

For this, you lay on top of the rope with one leg bent, foot hooked on the rope and as close to the butt as possible.  The other leg dangles to maintain balance.  You move across the rope using the hooked foot and your arms to drag you across.  While it is harder to maintain your balance with this technique, it is a lot easier to stop and rest your muscles should they become fatigued.

Monkey Crawl (Beneath the Rope)

Grab on to the rope with both hands and hook both heels over the rope.  Move by crawling forward.  This is a simpler method to maintain, however it is much more taxing and nearly impossible to stop and recover should you become fatigued.  On the other hand, if you are using a safety rope you can simply let go with your arms or feet (but not both at the same time) to give them a break.

Crossing with Gear

Should you need to cross with any equipment, hopefully it is in bags.  Attach the bags to the line via carabiner and drag it along behind you.  You can attach the equipment carabiner to a rope and attach it to your safety line carabiner to make it easier to keep track of.