Thursday, February 20, 2014

Survival Skills: 3 Great Fire Starters You Can Make At Home

We all know how critical fire starting can be, especially in cold conditions. Fail to get a fire lit when you need it the most, and that could be the end of you. If you head outdoors in cold conditions, make sure you take gear that can perform. By carrying one or more of the following homemade fire starters, you can rest assured you’ll be able to kindle a blaze in no time.

Paper Towels and Wax

This fire aid is the easiest one to make. Fold a one-foot length of paper towel in half (either way), then roll it into a rod. Tie some thread, candle wick material, jute, or cord around the rod in three evenly-spaced spots. Cut the rolled-up paper towel rod between each string tie, and you’re left with three neat little rolls. Dip each roll in melted wax (any kind), and allow them to cool. These paper-and-wax tinder rolls are now waterproof, and will light easily with an open flame, especially if torn open a little or lit by the tie like a candle. Expect a burn time of eight minutes or more from a roll as fat as a cigar about three inches long.

Lint-and-Wax Egg Cup

Save a cardboard egg carton after your next big Sunday breakfast. Rip the lid off, reserving the 12-compartment base. Fill each of these compartments with drier lint (or sawdust, cotton balls, or any other quality tinder). Next, drizzle in melted wax to saturate the tinder material and soak into the cardboard cup. When the wax has hardened, cut the 12 cups apart. Each will burn for 12 minutes or more once lit with an open flame.

Sawed-Off Road Flare

Although it’s an ignition source rather than just tinder, the striker end of a standard road flare makes a hellacious fire starter. Using a hand saw or sharp knife, cut the flare slowly three inches from the ignition end. Dobb some melted wax over the cut end to seal it off, and you are now the proud owner of a sawed-off flare. Place the striker cap back in place for storage and transport. Rather than wasting the rest of the flare, you can cut it into several pieces and wax-coat the ends to make fire boosters. Toss one of these into your fire pit to invigorate slow burning kindling and damp fire materials. It’s an ignition source and fuel, all in one.

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Finding a Knife That Meets Your Expectations

When it comes to picking out a knife that is right for you it all comes down your personal preferences.  Here are some questions to ask yourself when you are looking to finally spend money on a quality knife.

The first question and perhaps the most important; how will the knife be used?  There are knives designed for all purposes from backpacking and hunting to opening boxes and cutting twine.  They also have knives that are for collecting and some for saving lives.  Obviously the knife you choose will depend on what you are using it for.  It is important to define what you are looking for as far as the use of the knife.

Significance is also found in the features that matter to you in a knife.  One feature to look into is the type of blade that you prefer.  Fixed blades are superior in strength, dependable and always ready to use. However, folding knives are compact and easy to carry.  With today’s technology and locking blade options, folding blades are becoming more desirable than ever before. Other features to think about with the blade include tolls such as gutting, skinning, thickness, sharpness, double blade or saw blade edged.  The blade features are considerable.  One knife may not have everything you are looking for.  That’s when you buy two or three!

The handle is another area to consider when choosing the right knife. A solid knife handle is important.  The more durable the material of the handle, the more you can plan to spend on the piece.  You will want to test the handle in your hand to make sure the fit is correct and that the construction of the piece is what you would expect from the price.   You will find several materials and styles to choose from when it comes to the knives handle.  All weather knives will come textured or with rubber to help with the grip.

Craftsmanship and quality are important as well.  A knife is something that you need to be able to rely on. Check to make sure the knives design fits the intend purpose of the knife.  A small fixed blade knife is not going to be suitable for survival purposes.  Also check to ensure the materials will hold up to the demands that you will put on the knife.  A plastic handle on a gutting or skinning knife will not withstand the stress.  

If you have chosen a folding knife is it durable as well as being easy to open and close?  If the knife is a folding lock back knife does it lock properly?  Does the knife seem to collapse and open seamlessly?  Check out the edge of the knife blade and make sure it is able to be sharpened to the original quality.  A characteristic that should come with all superior knives is a lifetime warranty against any defects and craftsmanship.  When you are spending money on a quality knife you will want a guarantee to back what they are advertisers are marketing. 

Selecting A Proper Camping Knife

What does a knife represent to you?  As a sportsman and avid outdoorsman a solid knife can mean the difference between life and death.  A quality camping knife can not only save you from a zombie attack but also can assist in building a shelter, creating a fire, killing food, digging holes and so much more.  If you dream it your knife can help you accomplish it.  It is essential for all hunters, backpackers, mountaineers and fisherman to carry a knife meant to be of assistance and aid in surviving the outdoors.  

When choosing a survival, hunting or camping knife you should consider the blades size.   In the case of knives size matters especially when it comes to the blade.  There is not an ideal or perfect size blade for everyone.  The size blade that you decide upon will depend upon how you are going to use the knife.  If the knife is to be used for a bunch of different purposes consider purchasing more than one knife.  

A large sturdy blade is essential in a camping knife that is intended to cut through limbs and larger wood pieces to build fire and shelter.  A large knife blade is also useful when it comes to spearing food and for clearing pathways; all crucial when it comes to your survival in the elements.

A small knife blade is better suited to help you with skinning fish and dressing small game.  A delicate knife blade works to carve tools that assist in survival as well as creating animal snares.  Large knife blades would be too bulky and cumbersome for more delicate purposes.

Whether the knife blade is foldable or fixed is also important when it comes to a knives strength and dependability.  A fixed blade knife is by far more durable than a folding knife.  Folding knife mechanisms tend to create weakness; tools with joints that bend they are more likely to rupture.  If you will be using the knife to cut, pound or pry it is important that the blade is stable and unwavering.  This can be found in a fixed blade knife.

When choosing a fixed blade knife, only consider a full tang knife blade.  A full tang blade creates the best bond available in a knife.  A full tang knife blade is all made form one piece of steel from the handle to the blade.  It is nearly impossible for a full tang blade to split where as a fixed blade knife that is created from two pieces can come apart easily. 

Think about dagger style knives verse single edge knife blades.  A dagger style appears to be tough, powerful and mighty however a traditional style blade with one sharp edge and one dull edge is better for the outdoors.  In the wilderness a knife needs to be able to crush, pressure needs to be applied to the blunt edge to create enough force to cut through the desired object.  If the knife is dagger style this is not possible.  

Finding a knife that matches your wants and needs is the most important goal in choosing an ideal camping and survival knife.   Using the tips above should leave you finding a perfect camping knife in no time at all.