Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Camping Tick List

The Sun is out and many people will be heading outdoors for camping trips or other activities but its a good idea to do a little preparation first...

Almost anywhere in the countryside you're liable to be in close proximity to small but nasty little creatures called ticks

These little relatives of spiders are bloodsuckers that like to climb tall grass and other vegetation in order to cling onto any passing mammal that brushes past them for a free meal

And unfortunately they can transmit a bacterial disease called "Lyme" from the bacteria that lives in their stomachs

Symptoms are similar to flu;

  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Pain in muscles and joints
  • Fatigue

Some people have claimed to suffer for many years after being infected if they didn't get early treatment...

Once they find a victim they like climb into a nice warm spot like the groin or armpit where they will not be disturbed as they eat

There are chemical products that can deter ticks and as they only climb up simple steps like tucking trousers into socks can also help prevent bites

A common symptom of a tick bite is the "bullseye" rash shown here of a red swelling surrounded by an outer ring shaped rash sometimes these can take weeks to develop long after the tick has gone so if you have something like this visit your doctor as soon as possible

Many first aid kits will include tweezers which can be used to removed the tick but this is very difficult as their jaws are jagged like a saw blade to give them a strong grip on their victim

Often the body can be crushed leaving the head embedded in the wound prone to infection or even when being gentle run the large risk of squeezing the little beastie causing it to vomit its stomach contents, including the aforementioned bacteria into the wound 

But you can buy very inexpensive little plastic tick removal tool similar to a prybar for pulling nails that fit around the ticks head allowing you to twist and lift it out which greatly reduce this risk

For anyone going outdoors I would recommend having one of these in your first aid kit particularly parents or pet owners like dog walkers, and as I said they like to climb into areas difficult to see a small mirror is also advisable

Not all tick bites will result in bacterial infection but in all cases its advisable to see a medical professional for assessment

Have fun outdoors whatever you're planning, but be prepared for you and your loved ones...

Take care

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Prepper Glossary

Common terms from bushcraft and prepping;


A structure formed by two angled sides that meet at the top, such as a shelter with two walls


Navigational term for the angle of a bearing from a general direction, normally North


Handle on a pot for hanging over a fire


A stick used for beating a blade when splitting wood known as battoning


Direction of travel when navigating with a compass


Alternative British name for a rucksack


Rotating dial divided into degrees to calculate a bearing on a compass

birds nest

Collection of dry material as tinder for firestarting that resembles a birds nest

bivvy or bivi

short term for bivouac to describe a shelter when camping can be a simple bag that can enclose a person to a small tent

bow drill

Firestarting method by generating friction in order to create heat to produce a smouldering ember

bug in

Stay put and ride out any emergency situation

bug out

Evacuate an area, prepacked equipment bags for this are called Bug Out Bags (B.O.B.) Bug Out Location (B.O.L.) Bug Out Vehicle (B.O.V) 


Camping stove that produces a contained flame


The knowledge and skills to use natural surroundings for survival in the wilderness


Hidden emergency stores 


Cotton cloth that has been heated almost to the point of combustion to create a extremely dry tinder


Structure for suspending things, such as pots over an open fire for cooking, made from notched sticks

Dakota fire pit

Two holes in the earth, one used as a fire pit connected by a tunnel to allow airflow to the base of the fire


Dead wood that has fallen to the ground, deadstanding refers to dead wood that has remained standing or fallen against something so that it doesn't lie on the ground

debris shelter

Emergency cover created by layering sticks to form a low enclosed space covered with four to six inches of leaves and twigs for insulation and weatherproofing


Wood with a high resin content which readily takes a spark and burns very strongly

feather stick

Sticks that have been shaved to create several close fitting fine curls to increase the surface area for firestarting


Process to cut down a tree, where possible avoid cutting living trees

ferrocerium, ferro, firesteel

Metal alloy used to generate sparks for firestarting

fire lay

Pattern of layinf down wood to build a campfire

fly or flying tarp

Suspending a over the ground but not touching it, often used to create open sided shleters as cover for hammocks


The cross section of a cutting tools cutting edge


Small bag usually carried by a sholuder strap

I.N.C.H. bag

I'm Not Coming Home bag, a prepacked bag where you do not intend to return home


Knife with a moveable blade that folds into the handle when not in use, often called pocket knife or if it has several folding tools a multi tool


Dry material that easily ignites for campfires


Traditional wooden cup


Single walled angled structure grounded at its base and supported at the head


Meal Ready to Eat


Shape cut into wood to form structures, hangers or handles


Strong multiuse cordage, based on parachute cordage


Place to camp


Abbreviation of preparation, a plan or prepared item for a given situation, to prep is prepping, a person who preps is a prepper  


Sap from trees, multiple uses depending on the tree species


Elevated line for setting up shelters or the observable peaks of hills forming the horizon

Roycroft frame or pack

Load carrying triangular frame made from lashed together sticks


Something 💩 Hits The Fan, an impending or recent bad situation


Abbreviated tarpaulin also used for any sheeting to form a ground sheet or shelter


The End Of The World As We Know It, lifechanging apocalyptic occurance on global scale such as an extinction level asteroid strike  


Fine flammable material in firestarting


Stick loosely connected to something as an attachment or locking point  


Hard stone used to grind the cutting egde of tools to sharpen them


Dead tree temporarily supported but liable to collapse without notice

This list is by no means exhaustive in order to keep it managable but will be periodically updated so if you have any additions you would like to see entered please comment below and explain your reasoning

Take care


Monday, 11 March 2019

Best way to start a campfire with doritos...

So as the weather gets better people will begin to spend more time outdoors camping and grilling on BBQ's and a popular "hack" I've seen online is to burn Doritos as firelighters, but in my opinion they're all doing it wrong...

Yes these little triangular snacks will burn very happily so could get a campfire going, but the packet they're sold in, like many other snack packets, is made from an unrecyclable plastic
So eat your snack, burn the pack!

You can see the video I posted on YouTube about this here;

These packets are a common sight as the wind blows them around our environment from landfill sites or inconsiderate people that simply discard them as litter 

I've always folded them to prevent them doing this, as many animals eat them and get sick and when folded they won't be blown about unless there's a hurricane.

Recently I've began to keep them as little firestarters rather than consigning them to many years in landfill 

In damp conditions where dry tinder is scarce, you'll often see a packet like this trapped in a bush or tall grass that could help you out

By burning it you're also cleaning up the environment win-win 
Take care


Friday, 22 February 2019

Buddy Burners the campfire in your pocket

A "Buddy Burner" is a simple fire in a tin can of some sort usually fueled by wax that has been added to corrugated cardboard

These simple emergency stoves can be used to cook on but could also provide a limited heat source, here it is heating some chicken noodles in my Latinaric Stainless Canteen Set

Please note this is an affiliate link and as an Amazon Associate I may earn from qualifying purchases on this link but you will not be charged any extra, I have not been paid to review this product

All you require is an empty tin, in this case I'm using an altoids tin, this is smaller than many I've seen other people make but it fits nicely in your trouser pocket and as it has a lid makes snuffing out the flame safe and easy whilst keeping things clean and tidy when not in use 👍

I mark the cardboard and cut into strips that are the height of my tin, in the case 2cms wide, then I melt some candle wax and pour over the top

The safest way to do this is to place the wax into a container that is gradually warmed up in a pot full of water, so long as you don't boil the water the wax won't be heated to the point that it can begin burning

You can watch how I made mine here;

The amount of heat your burner will give off and how long it lasts will depend on the size of tin you use but this little pocket campfire easily boils water and heats food

I just pushed four wire tent pegs into the ground to act as a pot stand and you're good to go but of course you can find other means of supporting your pot depending on what your using

Take care


Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Camping Power

Its great to be able to get away from technology when we want to but having the ability to power your phone or other devices could be a lifesaver

I've had a couple of these power banks from Aukey for two years now and they've been great at keeping my devices charged when camping but usually are left in the car glove box for emergencies

Aukey 20000 mAh power bank

Please note this is an affiliate link and as an Amazon Associate I may earn from qualifying purchases on this link but you will not be charged any extra, I have not been paid to review this product


capacity of 20,000 mAh

5V 3.4A dual USB output 

lightweight (388g / 13.7oz)

They were £19.99 when I bought them and are similarly priced on amazon today and there are many sizes and brands of power bank to suit your needs or budget but they are a great addition to any B.O.B. or vehicle

Take care

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Winter is Coming...

As the year draws to an end and temperatures drop keeping warm is a major concern, there are several ways we keep our homes warm in the winter months with some being more efficient than others.

Most homes today use highly efficient central heating systems, usually gas powered connected to the national grid or oil powered from an external tank in more remote locations rather than the open fireplaces of older properties.

Open fires look amazing but are relatively poor in terms of efficiency with the majority of the heat disappearing up the chimney and when not in use they suck warm air out of your home reducing the effectiveness of any insulation you may have in place.

Where a fire and chimney is located also has a great effect on its efficiency, when it was the common way to heat properties the fire place and chimney would be central to the building to get maximum thermal benefit from the heat radiating from the chimney bricks that act as a storage heater when the fire is out for a short period.

This is something you should consider when buying or building a home and if SHTF and you're looking for a location to set up in you should be looking for homes with fireplaces that are centrally placed.

My home has gas central heating and had an open fireplace that I replaced with a modern multifuel burning stove, it all but eliminates the draught of an unused fireplace and gives me a second means to heat our home should the gas system or supply fail.

I have seen online articles claiming its possible to heat a room at very little cost with just a couple of tea light candles and some ceramic pots, this theory isn't just wrong as it ignores the first law of thermodynamics its also very dangerous as I show in this video

There are portable gas heaters and electric heaters of various types that in a grid down situation can be powered by small generators that are effective, and much safer, if your property doesn't have a chimney or ability to add one.

Whatever you do always ensure that you have carbon monoxide (CO) detecting alarm as all combustion releases this toxic gas that is odorless so we cannot sense it before fatal concentrations are built up in an enclosed space.  

Take care


Wednesday, 28 November 2018

First Aid Kits

First off apologies for all the anacronyms to follow, it may seem a bit like alphabet spaghetti but you'll soon come to know these terms as if they were the first words you learned.

I've been training in first aid since I was 12 when I first learned the basics as part of my Duke of Edinburgh award, after school I've maintained this with regular refresher courses on First Aid in the Workplace.

I have several First Aid kits that I maintain, each car we have has a small kit similar to what I pack when hiking or camping, my car is also used for my work so has a larger kit to account for the different risks and the largest is at home that has additional equipment not practical for the other kits.  

So to keep things simple lets discuss what should you have in an individual first aid kit (I.F.A.K.) because let’s be honest, there are many pre packed first aid kits out there to choose from.

The main fault with pre packed I.F.A.K. is they purposefully omit products in order to stay within a certain price point.

My training with St Johns Ambulance has always revolved around the traditional Airway, Breathing, Circulation (A.B.C.) system of casualty prioritisation.

And for 99.9% of injuries this is fine but for my work in construction and time spent outdoors for bushcraft using potentially lethal tools the military medics M.A.R.C.H. system is more relevant as major blood loss is most likely the main risk in an emergency situation;

M. Massive Hemorrhage - most first aid focusses on breathing and circulating air until help arrives but if you're isolated or the casualty has a massive blood loss wound you need to prevent blood loss in order to be able to then circulate it and the vital oxygen it carries.

A. Airway - as with regular first aid ensure the airways are unobstructed. 

R. Respiration - check if the casualty is breathing, if not begin Cardio, Pulmonary, Resuscitation (C.P.R.).

C. Circulation - traditionally cuts and wounds are placed after breathing as they are generally non life threatening, however we've already discussed that a major bleed is our start point so this is for less serious non arterial wounds that are easily bandaged.

H. Hypothermia / Heat Exhaustion - most patients will go into shock and if you're in an isolated location prolonged exposure to the elements can cause the casualty to quickly deteriorate.

Suggested items;

Massive Hemorrhage:

Gauze - at least two large dressings to plug a sizeable massive bleed, it can be bulky but its cheap and could be a life saver, if you can also have a tourniquet to slow most extremity bleeds.


Face Shield - you've cleared the casualty's airway but if it was full of blood and vomit do you want to put your mouth anywhere near it? These are small and cheap and in my opinion everyone should have one. There is more complex but specialist equipment but as I'm not trained in its use I don't want to do more harm than good.


C.P.R. Air Bags can help but I don't pack them generally due to their bulky nature and equipment for dealing with collapsed lungs etc is beyond my level but is something to consider. 


A good selection of bandages, dressings and tape of various sizes for general patch ups.

Hypothermia / Heat exhaustion:

This one is more of an initiative test, try to provide shelter from the elements and mitigate symptoms as best as possible with whatever is available.

Now many pre packed I.F.A.K. will have useful items that you should also consider such as alcohol wipes, antiseptic creams, latex gloves, cotton pads, tweezers, safety pins, scissors etc.

A big risk at my work or when camping for practicing bushcraft is burns so I also pack common clear plastic food wrap, if you wrap the burn area it prevents infection, fluid loss, is non stick unlike traditional bandages and is see through so medical professionals can assess the wound before removing it.

Eyewash is another essential to flush debris or harmful substances from a casualties eyes, little one use bottles are compact and inexpensive.

Whilst tweezers can be used for removing splinters etc, its a good idea to also pack a specialist tick removal tool, takes up very little space and costs pennies, if you're going to be outdoors for a while pack one.

Only medical professionals can legally prescribe and administer medicines, but if you're paddleless up the proverbial creek some common medicines such as paracetamol and ibuprofen for reducing fever and pain relief together with some aspirin and antibiotics could be very handy indeed... 

Hopefully whatever you pack you'll never have to use but its far better to have something and not need it than need something and not have it 

Take care


Camping Tick List

The Sun is out and many people will be heading outdoors for camping trips or other activities but its a good idea to do a little preparation...