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Story & pictures Paul Donovan If I were only allowed to pack three items in a survival pack, they would be a knife, paracord, and duct tape. With these, I think you could surmount any catastrophe. It’s likely we know the origins of the knife and paracord (ok, if you don’t, paracord is used for parachute guylines), but what about duct (or duck) tape? What’s the story there? Without a doubt, duct tape has to be one of the greatest products ever invented. I have lost count of the myriad times I have used it to get me out of

A material of many uses Words & pictures Paul Donovan We’ve all cooked a Sunday roast in tin foil (more correctly aluminium foil), but there are of course myriad other uses we can put it to. In my opinion, it is almost up there with the likes of duct tape and zip ties, so a roll is always in my camping and survival kits. Vessel for boiling water Purification of water is obviously important to make it safe to drink. The easiest way of doing this is to boil it. But what happens if you don’t have a suitable container?

Take another look at those garden pests Words & pictures Paul Donovan The French eat them in great numbers but few other people are quite as adventurous. What am I talking about eating? Snails, of course. I have written a few articles extolling the virtues of bush tucker because it’s plentiful and easy to find. But not everyone may be motivated enough to eat crickets, locusts, and other creepy crawlies. However, slugs and snails are a bit different, because they more resemble limpets or whelks. So if you have a liking for seafood, you won’t find them too unpalatable. Slugs

Mind control can save lives One of the greatest killers in a survival situation is often not the situation itself, but what’s going on in your mind. Your psychological state can have a great impact on whether you survive or perish. Often the negative thoughts can be stronger than the rational ones, and these can lead you to do otherwise irrational things. Do not believe that only the strongest will survive. Simply not true. There is an interesting story of a US pilot in World War 2 who crashed his plane on a lake. The lake was surrounded by trees

Words & pictures Paul Donovan The very first article I wrote for SA4x4 was way back in a distant time, and it covered the subject of snake bites. In that article I detailed the technique universally endorsed as the first-aid treatment for snake bikes: the Pressure Immobilisation Technique. I’d like to bring that article up to date, as there have been advances regarding the first aid treatment of snake bites. It has to be done properly The problem with using the Pressure Immobilisation Technique is not only carrying enough compression bandages to apply to the bite but, more importantly, applying

If there is one subject which sparks more heated debate than any other in the survival world, it is, “Should I drink my own urine in a survival situation?” Before I give my views on that question, let’s look at what urine is. Many people believe that urine is simply the body’s way of dumping excess water. While this may be true to some degree, it should be remembered that while 95% of urine is water (which is good for you), the remaining 5% is made up of not so good urea, uric acid, ammonia, hormones, dead blood cells, proteins,

We use knots everyday for a multitude of purposes, and just about everyone knows the granny knot; it must be the most widely used knot throughout the world.

Food is one of the priorities in any survival situation, or when we practise true bush craft by living off the land. The problem, of course, is in knowing which plants you can eat, and which you cannot. Eat the wrong one, and you could be in serious trouble. (I did discuss, in the February 2018 edition of SA4x4, how to determine whether a plant is edible or not by using the edibility test.) In this issue, I thought I’d talk more about a cactus which is easily identifiable, which you can eat, and which is found just about everywhere.

One of the first articles I wrote for SA4x4 was how to treat snakebite. Because I spend so much of my time in the bush, I thought it might be worth sharing my knowledge of how to avoid (or at least lessen) the risk of getting bitten. The good news first, though. Of the 3000 known snake species, only about 250 species are considered to be of medical importance. Unless you are in Australia, which has a higher percentage of venomous snakes than non-venomous snakes, most snakes that you stumble across are likely to be harmless. Detecting humans Snakes pick

Many people believe that sleeping in a tent on the ground is more dangerous than sleeping in a rooftop tent. That, I think, is a bit of a misconception. Whether venturing into the bush in a 4×4 or on my motorbike, I always either ground-camp, or simply sleep beneath a tarp. Apart from being bothered by the odd bug or two, and mosquitoes, I never really feel vulnerable. But, if you do, here are my top tips for ground camping. Location Select a site away from animal activity. If there are footprints, droppings, recently flattened grass, or trees with huge

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