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Browsing: Bush Craft

Some time back, I wrote an article on how to respond to an encounter with an animal while in the bush. Of course, not all encounters are on foot, and a good number of accidents are caused by hitting an animal while you are driving – particularly at night. That’s one of the reasons that we fit a bull bar, and fender-protectors over the wheel arches. Even at relatively slow speeds, an impact with an animal can prove costly, or even potentially life-threatening for the vehicle occupants. It is often thought that most accidents are caused either by running head-on

When an accident happens, you need to be prepared. And the first thing you jump for, after making sure that the area is safe, is a first-aid kit. Although these kits are available from outdoor shops, pharmacies and even some supermarkets, it may well be worth putting your own together. In my experience, most of these off-the-shelf kits are jam-packed with plasters, bandages, safety pins and not much else. (I bought one, and on getting it home and opening it up, found that it had six triangular bandages!). They should not be viewed as a cover-all-eventualities-kit, but as something of

Recently I looked at several alternative uses for tampons, and this month I felt it only right to let one those little packets of rubber shine. Yes, the humble condom. Something which causes a lot of young men to go bright red when they go to pay and there’s a young lady at the checkout − but this piece of latex has very many uses in a survival situation. There are some that you may be aware of, but at least one may surprise you. For almost all of the uses I am about to describe, unlubricated condoms work better.

It amazes me how disrespectful some people are. I use the bush for my work, and I can’t believe how many times I come across human waste lying on the surface. Much of this is obviously a result of the ignorant belief that ‘no one will ever come this way’. Yes, we do! Soggy lumps of used toilet paper strewn all over the place are one of the most disgusting sights you can find in the bush or at a wild campsite; I’ve even encountered these in campsites with toilets. They are a mecca for flies, which land on these

In any survival situation, we often have to be creative, and put things to uses for which they were not originally intended. Let’s forget for a few minutes about the personal hygienic properties of a Tampon, and look at it in another light. As a multi-purpose survival aid. The word “tampon” comes from the French word tapon, which loosely translated means “a little plug or stopper”. Rather surprisingly, you can do more things with it than its French name suggests. One of the earliest uses for the tampon as a survival aid (perhaps the more correct term is ‘first-aid device’)

Spending weeks in the bush has become a big part of my life − and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But, of course, not everything is rosy out there, and one thing which can make life hell is the hordes of biting and stinging insects. Having been on the receiving end of many of these over the years, I have come to learn that even the most inoffensive looking creepy-crawly can fight back. Of course, many insects use warning colours or displays to alert you to their objectionable disposition, but despite this, I find that stings are still

Fire-lighting is one of the most essential skills in any camping, wilderness, or survival situation. And, depending on the type of tinder you use, there are many ways in which a fire can be lit. But first let’s get one thing straight; you CAN get a fire going by rubbing two sticks together (fire by friction), but it takes a LOT of practice and elbow grease, and it is time consuming. So, let’s look at the various options available to you if your lighter has run out of fuel and the matches are wet. Lighter Just because the lighter has

Since humans as we know them first roamed the earth, fire has been made by rubbing two sticks together in one of a number of ways. What is interesting is that where these methods (with a few minor differences) are found to be used throughout the world by indigenous people, the techniques are the same. The three techniques I will discuss here are the hand drill, the fire bow, and the fire plough. Just before we start, a brief note on the type of wood to use. Choosing the right wood is the key to fire by friction. The hearth

If you need to find direction, but don’t have a compass or any other means of determining it, there are several ways of doing this that use nothing more than the sun and shadows. What we are describing here are the sun-and-shadows method, and the watch method. Please bear in mind, however, that while these methods may show direction, they show only the general direction in which to travel; they cannot be used to show precise direction.   Using the sun and shadows We all know that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west – but

When I’m out in the bush and a storm is brewing, I am reminded of a friend who was struck by a bolt of lightning, and his eardrums burst. I suppose he was one of the fortunate ones, because he survived. In South Africa, an average of 260 people are killed each year by lightning-strikes, and many more are injured, but survive. So, how do you avoid being hit by a bolt of lightning? Before we start, let’s dispel a myth. Firstly, you need to understand that nothing ‘attracts’ lightning. So, being outdoors and wielding a knife will not necessarily

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