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Many of our readers have expressed an interest in learning how to keep bugs from biting them and what methods I use to prevent bites. This has always been a subject of great concern to me because I can legitimately say that the area I live in has the worst bug problem of any place that I have ever visited. I’ve seen people come to camp and get a 100 tick bites in only half a day and they didn’t even walk through the woods. Our ticks are literally like invading army ants and the chiggers are extremely bad too! These little ticks actually set ambushes and will wait on objects that you frequent and then attack at the first opportunity. We even have airborne paratrooper ticks that literally wait for you to pass under them and then they launch themselves from trees to get at you. Dealing with this and some of the other problems has made me a bit of an expert in living in the woods with the bugs. So in this article I am going to discuss the methods that have worked best for me and have prevented me from being eaten alive by the hoards of ticks that frequent our survival training grounds!

HERE IS YOUR ANSWER! BE SAFE, BUY THE BEST!
Sawyer Products SP649 Premium Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent Trigger Spray, 12-Ounce

 

Now for some answers on dealing with BUGS!

Clothing, Boots, and Personal Gear-

I CAN’T SAY THIS ENOUGH! In order to prevent bug bites in the woods you must dress properly. Having the correct outfit for your area is liking dawning a suit of armor that makes you invincible to those devil bugs! Here are the rules to follow when dressing for the woods!

  1. Always tuck your pants into your boots! And if you’re not wearing boots then you should pull your socks over the top of your pants. This prevents the bugs from being able to even get in your clothing.
  2. Tuck your shirt into your pants! If you have tucked your pants and your shirt in, then you have pretty much won the battle already. Why? Because the only place they can get in is on your arms and if you wear long sleeves then they can only get in on your hands and neck area.
  3. Wear a long sleeve shirt. Some areas are so hot that this isn’t feasible, but if you can manage it then it is always best to wear a long sleeve shirt. This means the only place the bugs can get in is on your hands and neck area.
  4. Treat your clothing with permethrin. Permethrin is by far the best bug juice that you can get and much better for you than deet. It’s a great feeling to walk into a seed tick nest and have them all over your clothing and within seconds the ticks starting walking in circles and falling off as if they were drunk!
  5. Don’t wear bright colors or use any type of perfumes or things that smell different than the natural environment!

CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO ON TREATING CLOTHING!

Permethrin vs Deet

When I did my wilderness medic training I had the honor to train under Dr. Frank Hubble, who is one of the top wilderness doctors in the world. He has experience in dealing with killer jungle diseases and travels to areas that are full of killer diseases contracted from bugs. So needless to say, I trust his experience when it comes to dealing with bugs.

First he taught me about the effects of permethrin vs deet and after learning the negative effects of deet, I will never go back. When deet is applied to your skin it immediately starts soaking into your skin and quickly finds itself in your bloodstream and then moves to your spinal column.  Permethrin is less of a health risk, can’t be applied to the skin, and is far more effective with none of the risks of deet. Deet is only effective for a few hours before having to re-apply which makes it a no go in my book.

My choice is permethrin for dozens of reasons. The first reason being is that it lasts on your clothing for an extremely long time, as many as 40 washes if applied correctly. The second reason being is that it kills the bugs instead of just repelling them. The bugs will crawl up your clothing a foot or so and then fall off dead. Whereas with deet it will only repel the ticks and I’ve seen from experience that if a tick is determined enough the deet won’t stop them whereas the permethrin will. I could write a whole article just on the advantages of permethrin over deet but we have to move on. You can pick up bottles of permethrin in walmart for about 10 bucks a bottle in the sporting goods department.

Natural Repellants

There are tons of different products out there on the market that will help protect us from bug bites but they come with pros and cons just like everything else. What’s great about natural products is they are better for the environment and we eliminate the chance of having harmful carcinogens soak into our bloodstream like deet does. But how effective are they? In my experience, they are far less effective than using a product like permethrine. But they do work, especially if used in conjunction with proper clothing. Downside is that they are just like deet and wear off in a few hours so you have to keep re-applying.

I’ve had the opportunity to test many of these methods because we have an area I train at that is so overrun with mosquitoes that I have literally had my whole face swell up like an allergic reaction from all the bites. This type of training environment helps you figure out real quick what works and what doesn’t! You can make your own effective natural repellant by lightly simmering noxious herbs like yarrow or American beauty berry in a light olive oil and then adding the oil to a little spray bottle. The oil will allow the herbs to last much longer on the skin and clothing. Apply liberally as needed for your environment.

While I do on occasion use plants for a repellant by rubbing them on my skin, they don’t work for very long. If you wipe a plant like yarrow all over your exposed areas, it will help cut down on the number of bug bites but it won’t prevent all of them. But this method only lasts a short amount of time. This is why we have to mix these plants with oils to spray on our skin and clothing. For survival situations, you can rub mud all over your exposed areas but this method is only marginally effective also.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH A VIDEO on How to Make your own natural repellent!

Smudge Fires and Shelters

Lastly, how do we deal with bugs in our survival shelters and our camping area. The single best way to drive back the hordes is to make a smudge fire that will help ward them off. It’s the same thing as throwing a citronella candle out in your backyard. You can build a smudge fire with any kind of moist woods that will put out a lot of smoke. This can also be done with termite damaged wood as well as toxic tree smokes like pine or cedar. Just add the smudge woods on top of a fire that already has a good bed of coals and let it smolder and the bugs will run away.

How to Smudge Your Shelter? CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO.

Types of Bug Bites

Chiggers- Let’s talk first about the chigger, because they are my least favorite to deal with! But I bet some of you northerners are wonderin what the hell a chigger is! Well let me tell you that they are the worst of the bunch when it comes to makin yah itch like crazy. The problem with chiggers is that you can’t see them and once they bite you they leave an itch that usually lasts a couple of weeks. Contrary to popular belief they do not bury themselves in your skin. You can actually wash them off with your hands and a little water. Chiggers are usually around moist areas and I get them the most by walking through grassy areas.

Once the chigger has bitten you, then you the only thing you can do is treat the symptoms. The itch comes from an allergic reaction caused by the chigger ingecting his saliva into your skin. Most bites occur in areas that have thin skin because the chiggers mouth and feeding structure are very delicate. So you usually get bitten behind the knee, waist, ankles, and feet. And putting finger nail polish and other crazy remedies won’t help much other than temporarily relieving the itch. I find that using analgesic remedies that actually numb the skin by far and away work the best. Chigger X is a great product that works great on other types of bites also. But my favorite way to treat these bites is to make a salve from the yarrow plant because it numbs the skin and deals with any infection issue that might occur from the break in your skin. Check out our youtube video on making the perfect wilderness salve for my favorite treatment. CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO!

Ticks- By far we have more ticks in our area then any other type of biting bug and they usually come in droves. So I have a ton of experience in dealing with these little critters. I can’t express enough to you how important it is to prevent tick bites. Ticks carry so many types of debilitating diseases it’s ridiculous. Lyme disease is probably the most well known of the different diseases ticks can cause, because lyme can cause major health problems if not dealt with correctly. I’ve known many friends that have contracted it in our area and have also rid themselves of it. My good friend Michael Patrick (Owner of Maine Primitive Skills School) has healed himself of lyme disease twice using medicinal plants. I won’t get into all the treatments possible for ticks but if you do get lyme disease or some other nasty disease they can be treated using medicinal plants as well as modern medical methods. Just watch out and try not to get bitten.

Mosquitoes- These little flying blood suckers cause the least amount of itching and discomfort but they also cause the greatest disease born threat. Contrary to popular myth, the mosquito is the most deadly bug on the planet and kills millions of people every year! Malaria is the most well known disease but mosquitoes have probably a 100 well known diseases worldwide that can cause massive health problems as well as death! The thing about malaria is that it never ever goes away, you have it for life. So if you travel then I highly recommend treating your clothing and being prepared for the areas you travel to. You don’t want to come home from vacation with a life threatening disease.

 

Conclusion-

Without a doubt in my mind the single best way to deal with bugs in the wilderness if to first dress properly and to treat those clothes with permethrine. If you dress properly, it is the equivalent of dawning bug armor with the highest level of protection. There are dozens of other methods out there to deal with the bugs but they all only last a short amount of time and only maintain a marginal degree of effectiveness against hungry bugs. So my choice is always to where the right kind of clothing treated with a good dose of permethrin. Try these methods on your next outdoor adventure and post your comments back here. We want to hear your feedback!

 

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MISSION 1- Survival Fishing Trip 3 Day

 

This fall 2012 we are starting an all new series of videos and we will attempt to create a completely new sport. Survival Sport! This game will challenge you to get out into the wilderness and test your skills against the wild. With each new episode we will have a new set of challenges for our team as well as our watchers. Each person who decides to take the challenge must also video their adventure and then post your video as a response. The best participant will win a free 5 day survival course!

 

Here’s the rules:

-All tactics and techniques must be legal within your area. If not then you must modify the requirements to fit your area.

-You must video tape all the accomplishments you make on your survival trip.

-To win you must post your video as a response and SIGMA 3’s staff will decide the winner!

-You must be at least 18 years old to participate in the contest.

-You must closely follow the gear requirements.

-The honor system is always in effect and we expect you to not fake your skills or accomplishments. If your suspected of cheating, your entry will be disqualified. No camera tricks!

 

PRIZES: Prizes will include free SIGMA 3 Survival School classes and possibly gear that is contributed by our sponsors!

RESPONSE MUST BE SUBMITTED BY DECEMBER 16, 2012. WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED BEFORE CHRISTMAS!

YOUR MISSION: Survival Fishing Trip

-Survive for 3 days / 2 nights in your local wilderness

-Items Needed: Fishing kit w/ monofilament, trot line, hooks, and 2 yo yo’s (optional); stainless steel canteen; knife w/ flint and steel;  small saw or axe; small backpack

-Collect as many wild edible plants as you can safely identify and procure for eating

-Complete all the survival priorities with an emphasis on food. Anyone can get shelter, water, and fire but food is what separates the men from the boys. That is where skill comes in, so once you have completed the other 3, then focus on your food procurement.

 

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Have you ever wondered why it is that most so called survival schools don’t really post any kind of a real resume about their instructors?

They all seem to be so cookie cutter, saying all the same things or they don’t say anything at all! Here is the most common description, “I grew up in the woods as a boy and learned to love the outdoors from an early age”, blah blah etc. Now, I am not going to knock that experience in life because that is what rooted me in this industry to begin with, but that doesn’t make you an expert survival instructor. So how do you know if someone knows their stuff or is a total fraud? Whether they are an arm chair survivalist expert or the real freaking deal! Because there isn’t any regulating body or set of skill standards that instructors have to pass in order to be able to call themselves legit! You just have to take their word for it. I would say as many as 80% of survival school founders are students that attended The Tracker School owned by Tom Brown, Jr. But does taking a few of his thousand dollar survival courses that are half power point and half watching someone else demonstrate skills make you an expert. I think not!

True skill can only come from true grit and passion for what they do. If they don’t truly love every aspect of survival then they will never truly be great at it. Greatness can only be accomplished  with great determination and passion for what you do. And I think you will quickly find that the best instructors in the industry are the ones that give their knowledge away for free through blogs, youtube videos, and other forms of social media. According to Cody Lundin in a recent article, youtube videos don’t give a person any credibility whatsoever. But I would disagree and say that it is one of the only true ways to be able to really demonstrate what you are capable of doing to your customers to provide credibility for what you say your capable of. My advice is simply this, “Don’t take their word for it, and make sure in your mind that they are proving their skills through demonstration”. Survival instructors should have something that proves they can do what they do well and know their stuff, since we have no regulating body for this sort of thing. There is no government body or private institution saying, “hey this guy’s a badass, he can survive anywhere”. So here is some stuff you need to think about when picking a survival school for your personal preference because there is a ton of different styles of thought in this industry. Bush hippie and military mindsets pretty much dominate the industry so you will most likely have to pick between one of the two perspectives. (Or you can find one that blends the two, like SIGMA 3. We take the best from both worlds; shameless self promotion, lol) Okay so here it is:

 

Do your homework:

  1. LOOK OUT FOR SHORT NON DESCRIPTIVE RESUMES THAT DON’T LIST THEIR ACHIEVEMENTS! If they only say a few words about their past, then I wouldn’t trust them with your future survival.
  2. Look for people who do it full time and don’t have a second job. It should be there specialty!
  3. Do they own their own property or are they doing their courses in the national forest or somewhere else? If they don’t own property for their school, then they’re probably a fly by night company and might even get you in trouble with the forestry department practicing these skills on public lands. There are rules in the national forest about cutting trees, harvesting wild plants, etc. So Caveat Emptor! Buyer Beware!
  4. Check their resumes! If they only list a short paragraph of un-verifiable accomplishments then I would be leary. But honestly, you will find that most schools are exactly this way. I can’t say it enough, compare resumes and look for legitimate survival experience.
  5. Do they have lower prices but expect you to bring tons of different survival equipment? It’s a common hook in the industry to require students to purchase expensive gear for their courses. Because most students don’t show up prepared for these courses (and they know it), they are happy to provide you with the required equipment for the course and make exorbitant amounts of money off equipment you may not need. (SIGMA 3 requires almost no equipment and has some of the lowest prices in the industry)
  6. Do they have any unique survival stories that they actually had to employ their skills to save their life? Have they ever actually been in a survival situation?
  7. Is the school local or would you have extensive travel costs in attending their courses?
  8. How long has the school been around and do they employ top instructors in their specialties? Because no one has mastered every skill in the survival community. Instructors are usually great at a certain set of skills and lacking in others. So look to see if the school employs a diversity of instructors with varying backgrounds. If they don’t then move on!
  9. Do they only teach primitive survival or do they teach a mix of things that will appeal to the average person? It can take a lifetime to master primitive survival skills. So unless you want to spend forever learning this stuff, you should pick a school that teaches a wide range of modern and primitive skill sets.
  10. Do they offer certifications for their courses?
  11. Do they have any medical training in case someone gets hurt?
  12. Are they a bush hippie or military style school? Or both?

 

 

What to look out for:

  1. Ex military doesn’t mean they know survival! The military doesn’t emphasis high level survival training in almost any mainstream program they offer. Primarily only high level SOF and recon units get any kind of real survival training. And there is a huge difference between combat or tactical survival and true wilderness survival. Everything with tactical survival is always short term in nature and they don’t train longer term aspects of survival.
  2. SERE Instructors/ most SERE guys usually don’t have any more skills than a basic survival student. So look for other training outside of that!
  3. Look Out for Ridiculous prices! Don’t think you’re getting more because you’re paying more. This is a common misconception and many schools monopolize on it. Many guys in the construction industry use to say to me, “Bid all your jobs high, so that if you only get 1 in 10 jobs you make so much more off the one job, than you would off doing all ten jobs at marginal profits”. They were literally betting on the fact that a sucker is born every day! Don’t be a sucker. You shouldn’t be paying more than $100-200/day for normal survival instruction, even if they are the best in the world. Compare our resumes to the competition and see if you’re getting more experience for the money!
  4. Do they incorporate religious beliefs into their teachings? Surprisingly some of the biggest schools in the country do this heavily without the student knowing it upfront. Whether it is Christian or more pagan centered beliefs, all kinds of schools exist and they do try to preach their beliefs. The Tracker School is probably the best example of this style of school and they have a heavy emphasis on spiritual things in their teachings. The more advanced the course the greater the amount of spiritual teachings. So if getting a lesson in the spiritual aspects of life isn’t your bag, then make sure you do research on the core principles behind the school’s teachings.
  5. Look for legitimate reviews and see what people say about the reputation of the school and its individual instructors.

 

This article is not to promote what we do, but just to make buyers aware of the mindset and what to look out for when choosing a school for your preferences. Every school is different and has a different philosophy, so it’s pivotal that you decide what skill sets primarily interest you. I wrote this article not to promote our own business, but to bring up some important points about what you should look for in a legitimate survival school. Because many people struggle with finding a school that fits their personal needs. Thanks for your support and if you have any questions about us, other schools, or things relating to this article I would be happy to help. I’m not going to say bad things about my competitors but it is my business to know what they teach, how their courses run, and what they specialize in. And you may or may not be able to attend our school because of travel issue or philosophy differences but either way I can point you in the direction of a good school. So if you want my two cents then, Just Contact Us!

 

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So most of us have seen all the survival shows on TV that show would be survival experts eating all kinds of crazy things for the attention of it’s audience. Well I am here to tell you that these guys are idiots and I wouldn’t recommend following their instructions on things pertaining to what to eat and how to prepare it. Plain and simple, they do it for the ratings and not the educational value of the techniques prescribed. Now you can eat bugs raw and will probably get away without any harm from it, but there are always risks when doing it. Many bugs carry nasty parasites and diseases and by ingesting them we have rolled the dice that our immune system will be able to take care of them. Most of the time your immune system will  handle it but when in a survival situation your immune system is already on the edge from all the increased stress put on it. Stress decreases immune system functions and I can assure that most all survival situations are high stress ones! So don’t take the risk of eating something because it’s convenient and then paying greatly for your laziness later. Remember that some insects may contain toxins or venom and these bugs are usually brightly colored. If you have a question about the edibility of a certain bug, observe whether or not wild animals eat the insect or check a field guide to back you up. But honestly there are very few grasshoppers or similar species that will cause you any harm, they are definitely in the minority of the available bugs to eat out there!

But don’t let my harsh tone persuade you from trying these protein rich sources of calories, because bugs truly are the easiest and most nutrient dense resource available to gather in most areas. Most of the world consumes bugs in their diet and it is a much needed source of healthy stuff for our body when other more desirable sources aren’t available. Grasshoppers for instance, contain more protein than beef and chicken. But large spiders contain 3 times the protein that grasshoppers do, so these small treats add up to big calories real quick! Check out these two articles on the nutrition and how to cook up different types of bugs, you’ll be shocked! Eating Fried Tarantula’s or Bug Nutrition Table

There are many ways to gather these types of foods but all the methods require you to get out and go explore. Whether your walking through a field catching hoppers, lifting rocks to find tasty treats, or raiding an ant hill for its larvae it doesn’t matter.  Some ants are quite excellent and have a surprisingly sour taste that keeps you coming back for more. All these methods will produce calories for you time and time again should you have to resort to these more dire methods. Americans consider these emergency methods but many cultures consider them delicacies, so alter your perception and try something different for once. So look up some recipes for these items and do something crazy like adding a few bugs to your next stir fry. Hope this helps and if you like this information then please share these videos and blog. Thanks for your continued support!

For so long we have all watched the media’s demonization of American citizen’s that enjoy a lifestyle of preparedness and self reliance. What is so radical about prepping? Why does the media choose to spin this in the light that they do? It makes no sense to demonize people that want to be responsible for not only themselves but their family and community.

Lets just take a minute to exam what prepping is and where the mindset came from. Many people wrongly label preppers as Doomsday preppers, but the real fact of the matter is that they just want to be self reliant. It has nothing to do with preparing for the end of the world, but the constant barrage of disparaging news has only fueled many normal everyday people to return to the ways of our ancestors and regain that sense of security by providing for their family. Most preppers don’t have years worth of food stockpiled but they do have the skills necessary to preserve the food they have access to for long periods should they need them. They are gardeners, canners, trappers, hunters, fisherman, and much more.

 

Prepping is just a modern adjective for what was common place in almost every household in America less than half a century ago. It was the way of life for most and not something sensationalized by our perverse media. It is common knowledge that the media has mainly consisted of city dwellers that live on the east or west coast and they have no real common connection with backwoods people who still carry on these self reliant traditions today. This is one of the many reason prepping is now considered something radical, when in the past it was just good ol self reliant living. People fear what they don’t understand and since our media is largely run by un-prepared idiots with no understanding of a self reliant lifestyle, they choose to demonize what they don’t understand by labeling it fear mongering. Let me ask you this, “Are you the ant or the grasshopper”. Will you be the one mocking people for others attitudes of preparing and then ask them to come in their home when the metaphorical winter arrives? Or will you be the ant and make preparations for your households future?

Plain and simple, you are a fool to not have some kind of preparations and some type of training in survival should you ever need these skills. It should be the foundation of all other training types, and a person should have the training to be able to survive before anything else because it takes precedent to all other skill sets in my humble opinion. Many people have the mindset that they will learn these skills when the need arises, but what they don’t realize is when that day comes it will be too late. Your neighbors and the ones you thought you might depend on if the stuff ever did hit the proverbial fan will take care of themselves and say the hell with you. Regardless of whether you ever have a true need for these skills they are essential to have because they help us to understand where our resources come from and the hard work involved in leading the American lifestyle we live. Connection with the foundations of our society is essential to its unity and prosperity, if we ever have hopes as succeeding as a fruitful nation.

Even if you feel no need whatsoever to be prepared for hard times, you should realize that this type of mindset isn’t about being prepared for the doomsday. It’s about cultivating a mindset of independence and self reliance that will foster feelings of joy that can’t truly be matched by other endeavors. There is no greater feeling than to know you can grow, cultivate, harvest, hunt and gather all the things you need. It’s a sense of accomplishment that will inspire feelings of great joy to know that you are independent and have no needs from anyone or anything. Regardless of whether the world crashes down or not, it’s just good to know that you have created something great with nothing more than the work of your hands and the use of God’s great bounty that he has left here on earth for us to be good stewards over!

This debate has been raging since the two ideologies started to become more mainstream more than a decade ago. With increased strife and turmoil in the news, it’s becoming increasingly more important to be well prepared for anything that might happen. It doesn’t matter what you’re prepping for but it does matter how you prep and the way you train. I’ve always said that training trumps gear and I continue to preach that philosophy. The problem with prepping is that you have essentially traded once source of dependence (the grid) for your own source of dependence (your own stockpiles). While I do agree that it is absolutely essential for people to have some basic preps, I also think many people neglected contemplating the fact that what happens if your preps are compromised. The more preps you have the more you have to defend and the less mobile you are. Which makes you an automatic non moving target, i.e. a sitting duck! What if the area you live in must be evacuated because of some disaster or other man made problem. Then what? What does a prepper do when he has to leave his stockpile of preps? And if you don’t have to leave the area, then how do you plan to protect your stockpiles from people who didn’t prepare?

Security is the number one issue in a disaster and by having stockpiles you have now become a target for all the friends and family members that know you’re a prepper. They will be showing up on your doorstep and I promise when they haven’t eaten for a week, you saying “no you can’t eat my food”, will not be an acceptable answer to them. And since most people’s idea of prepping is to buy guns and ammo, you had better believe that people will be taking what they want and not asking for it! And that’s just the first wave of people, next will be the criminals and gangs that have been running surveillance on you.  What are your plans then? And remember, your own guns will only protect you so long because people will figure out how to beat your static defenses should they become hungry enough. Guaranteed!

That is why here a SIGMA 3 Survival School we emphasize that a person, first get themselves some very basic food preps such as 3 months of rice and beans and then begin training their mind instead of hoarding stockpiles of food and ammo. Regardless of what many preppers might believe there is no situation that I can imagine other than the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI), that you wouldn’t be able to survive from the land having some basic training. Yes much of the larger game and many small game species may be wiped out as a viable food source very quickly if thousands of people had to live off the land out of necessity. But there will never be a lack of the less desirable food sources available in the wilderness such as bugs, rats, wild edibles, fish, etc. Regardless of what happens there will be no lack of these calorie sources. Which makes this the most full proof plan for a food source should you be required to live from them. I honestly don’t think the other more desirable food sources would be wiped out simply because most people are ignorant as to how to get them without all their modern implements and the simple fact that animals get wise extremely quickly to humans hunting them. But even if there are a lack of larger game, then survivalism still wins out over prepping as far as being the most full proof plan for an extended to survival scenario in my humble opinion.

For example, one of our primitive survival instructors actually lived off the land for over two years with no modern tools and he did this implementing basket fish traps and foraging techniques. His diet mainly comprised of fish, wild edibles, bugs, and the occasional red meat source. If someone can live off of these techniques for over two years with no modern tools, then surely someone with a full bug out kit as demonstrated in our Diary of Survivalist series can surely live off the land well with a little bit of training. Another bonus to survivalism over prepping is the fact that our survival training brings us closer to the land and helps provide a great sense of appreciation for what we have here on the earth. Through this training it gives you a sense of security that can’t be provided through any other types of training. When you are a well rounded survivalist, you know that no matter what happens that you will always be able to provide for your basic needs of shelter, water, fire, and food. And that personal sense of absolute self reliance with only my greatest tool at my side (my mind), I know that I will be taken care of no matter the circumstances. Prepping just gives me something else to worry about and another way to dump my money down an endless hole of never ending spending. Survivalism costs nearly nothing, whereas most prepping costs a fortune.

This is why I incessantly preach that the mind should always take priority to the tangible items that we buy and even if you do have preps then you should first know how to defend them and next know how to replace them should they become compromised. When prepping fails you have to have survivalism as a backup! So buy your rice, beans, and ammo but don’t neglect the most important factor and that is your training! Training is the end all and be all of preparedness and if you train all aspects of staying alive then it doesn’t matter what situation you are thrown into because you know you will be able to survive. But you will only be able to survive with the right mindset and the best training you can get. All things can be accomplished with the right training, so come join SIGMA 3 Survival School and get prepared!


Diary of a Survivalist- Bugging Out

Let me first define what the Diary of a Survivalist series was intended to do. I’ve been hearing for years from preppers that it really isn’t possible to live off the land long term for survival in a SHTF situation. That has always been a preposterous idea and our goal was to prove just how wrong this idea is. Its not only possible to survive off the land but with some limited training and equipment you can make it easy and comfortable. Now it is difficult to survive completely primitive with no real modern tools, but if you are equipped with a proper bug out bag then life can be very easy. Here is a quick rundown of the minimum essential items that should be in every bag.

Shelter- I prefer to carry a lightweight tarp because of the diverse amount of uses they have. Tents will never match up to a good basha tarp, except for their ability to keep out bugs. But you can’t have a fire with a tent and a mosquito net for your head will negate all the advantages of a tent over a tarp. So get a good tarp.

Water- The one item everyone should have in their bag is a good water filter. My favorite filter is expensive but it will filter 13,000 gallons of water, which means it won’t ever go out on you. The best one on the market is Katadyn Pocket Filter and if you have the money should be something everyone buys. The next most import thing is to make sure you have a stainless steel bottle, because you can boil water in it as well as carry it. I also recommend a bladder of some type and the best one on the market is probably the dromedary bag. Iodine also comes in handy when you are feeling to lazy to filter or boil your water. But should be used in very limited quantities.

Fire-This can be a difficult task if you aren’t well trained in how to get tinder from the land. So I recommend everyone get

some training on primitive and modern fire craft. But a flint and steel and cotton balls will do the trick every time. I also love the fire piston and regard this as one of the best methods to make fire. The bic lighter should also never be forgotten because it is cheap and you can carry several of them.

Food-If you are going to carry food in you BOB, I like to carry some peanut butter and maybe some honey. This is an

Too Easy!

extremely high calorie and protein food that will give you much needed energy in a small container. It can also be used as bait for almost anything. But my main source of food is going to come from the land. That’s why I carry a trapping kit, fishing kit, and .22 rifle. With these items I can easily procure meat and you don’t need much training to be able to catch food with these items time and time again. Combine these things with wild plants knowledge and you will eat like a king. If you don’t have wild plants training then you better get some! It is the only food that won’t run away from you.

Tools- Your most important items are your tools because they enable you to live off the land easily and effectively. Anything can be done primitively but it takes substantially more time and effort. You absolutely must carry a couple of good knives. Either a large knife/small knife setup or a small knife/small axe setup. I also recommend carrying a lightweight pack saw such as the Bahco Laplander. These little saws make quick work of medium diameter limbs and small cutting chores. You have to carry cordage also. These are must have items if you want to thrive instead of survive.

Take a look at these videos and watch our progress to through this week long experiment and see what it takes to survive in the wild with a well designed bug out kit. We can teach you how to do this with only a few classes and you will be able to survive with minimal equipment for the long term in almost any environment. Please subscribe and comment.


Here is our Video Documentary of surviving off the land

(The video will lay out my complete bug out kit)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOfUzNxr7fQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cu0pc489L6I

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47EkXCATOjo

(This is the story of our Newest Primitive Survival Instructor Josh Hamlin, he has an immense amount of real life survival experience and will be teaching at our wilderness survival classes to pass on his knowledge to SIGMA 3 Survival students)

If you haven’t read part one or two then click below!

Alone in the Wilderness Part 1

Alone in the Wilderness Part 2

 

After this, I found a cure for the loneliness in the woods.  I came across a hiker.  I was excited, because he was a Native American, and so am I.  I walked up and greeted him, and he gave me a hesitant and perplexed “uh, hi”.  Looking back, I can see why he was so startled.  I had a big beard, because I hadn’t shaved in months, and to make matters worse, I was wearing a loin cloth.  His name was Rick, and he was a member of a Native American church.  Many Native American churches have brought old rituals into their practice of Christianity, and Rick performed sweat lodge ceremonies for Native American Christians.  I showed him my camp.  We bonded and became great friends, which was good, because he came to visit me, and he brought others.  Now, I had friends who valued my quest to find the old ways and who could embrace the spiritual aspect as well.

A group of soldiers came across me, too.  They played paintball to practice warfare.  They gave me a challenge to take a 5 minute head start.  They were to track me and shoot me.  I ran over the roughest terrain I could find and hid in a small cave certain that they wouldn’t find me.  I was wrong.  Within a few minutes I found myself being pelted with paintballs.  I don’t’ remember these guys names.  I just called them the “paintballers”.

One of the worst struggles in the wilderness is insects.  When you’re in the wilderness, don’t be afraid of the dark or of Bigfoot…be afraid of mosquitoes.  I tried every plant I knew to keep them off, and they worked…for a few minutes.  Then I would sweat, and here they would come again.  I got so desperate that I actually covered myself in a blanket during the heat of summer just to block the bugs.  I breathed through a small hole left for my mouth.  When I woke up, my lips were swollen like a clown’s.  Those things are relentless.  The only thing I ever did that was significantly effective was sleeping right on the river.  There was a wind on the river, and I think that kept their numbers down.  If you are planning on a time in the wilderness, just plan on enduring mobs of mosquitoes, because it’s a fact of life out there.

I had another encounter with the brutality of predation, and again, it had a profound impact on me.  At one time, there had been a homestead out there.  The structure was long gone and nature had reclaimed the land but evidence was still there….daffodils and yucca grew in a square  around my camp sight and a square hole of concrete went into the ground. The hole was about 2 feet wide 3 feet long and 4 feet deep. it was an eye sore and i wanted it gone so i decided to fill it up…i had thrown lots of sticks into the hole which rested in there like a ramp and i used the whole as a trash can for my fish bones. One evening in the fall around dusk i heard a loud cracking sound and i ran out of my shelter to see that an old coon had tried to climb down into that hole after the fishbones and the sticks had broken and he was trapped. MEAT!  I grabbed my rabbit stick and went after him. I like coons, and i didn’t want to kill him, but he was so fat and I knew I would regret it if i didn’t so i killed him.  He was a fierce warrior and tried hard to jump out and get me but he was just too fat. He didn’t try to jump out of the hole away from me.  He tried to get out of the hole on my side. He didn’t run he fought. I didn’t want to hurt him so when i hit him I did it lightly and said sorry after each blow. but because I wasn’t using enough force I only prolonged his suffering.  I had to hit him probably 60 times before he finally surrendered his spirit. His body shook with convulsions as he died, and I again felt like a murderer.  I pulled him out of the whole and his eyes were open and it felt like he was staring at me hatefully, so i cut off his head and took it away from camp and buried it.  I felt the predator well up inside me, and I howled like a wolf and cried my eyes out as I cleaned the animal.  After my trauma subsided I began to be really interest in the insides of the animal. Did you know that a raccoons penis is a hook shaped bone?  Well i didn’t before then, but I saved it and made a necklace out of it. I also saved his skin, and the amount of fat on his skin was astounding.  There was tons of  fat on the inside of his skin.  I saved the fat and made a lamp from it. The meat i roasted on the fire and ate all in one sitting. it was extremely tough but delicious.

Winter was a dull time.  The leaves had fallen, and most of the birds had left.  The animals that were still awake were less active.  It wasn’t fun.  It was cold.  I had very little clothing because I had gotten robbed.  I didn’t do much of anything but lay in bed in my shelter and feed sticks to the fire.  It never got so cold that the pond froze so my fish trap was still working, but it was slower in the winter and caught fewer fish.  The insects were all dead and i didn’t have much to eat.  I knew where some Solomon’s Seal was when it was alive, so I still gathered the roots of it long after it was gone.  I still had a small but constant supply of fish so between the fish and the Solomon’s Seal roots, I never starved but i did starve for variety.  I didn’t really need that much energy though because I only left my shelter to go get fish, roots and firewood. We had a one big snow while I was out there, and I got snowed into my shelter for about a week (I had no shoes), but it melted off and the winter slowly faded into spring again.  The cycle began again.  Spring beauties reminded me that my year was over.  I packed my stuff and the next time Rick came to visit i left the mountain with him.

I left my mountain and went back into the hustle and bustle totally to meet the hectic pace of it all.  The sounds of the city, the chaos, the buzzes and humming sounds everywhere. The traffic and the crime, the dirty looks from strangers, rape and murder on the news, miserable people drudging on in miserable jobs. There was also happiness and smiles from strangers and contentment from some people, but they were few and far between.  I had fit in here before, or at least I had pretended to, but now it was different.  Now it was unbearable. After two weeks off the mountain I turned around and went home, back to my mountain.  I would still be there now if it weren’t for my mission: to teach as many people that will listen about the wonders of nature and ultimately the wonder of the CREATOR. I ultimately never came home fully from that journey because I ended up staying in the bush over two years. And I still frequently live in the woods for long periods of time in between odd jobs I do occasionally for walking around money. My life is to teach the methods of our ancestors and walk in the path of the old ones that came before us! And it will be my goal to make all the students that cross my path completely self reliant in any wilderness in the world!

(This is the story of our Newest Primitive Survival Instructor Josh Hamlin, he has an immense amount of real life survival experience and will be teaching at our wilderness survival classes to pass on his knowledge to SIGMA 3 Survival students)

If you haven’t read part one then click below!

Alone in the Wilderness Part 1

 

It rained for days, and I had built no shelter.  I took refuge under an old bridge for a while, but the flood water rose, and I found no escape after that.  I sat by the pond again…just sitting in the rain….and waited it out.  I desperately needed a shelter, so I made a lean-to first.  It was not much, but it worked until I could get something better.  I was ready for an upgrade pretty quick, so I made my way up the hill a little to where it leveled out into a flat.  I built a wickiup in only a few hours.  Whenever the weather was nice, I slept by the pond, but when it rained I moved to my wickiup.  The shelter was leaky and far from perfect, but it was better than sleeping in pouring rain, so I counted it a success.  With shelter, food, fire, and water taken care of, I began to enjoy my life in the wild.  Things got easier, I had plenty of fish in my trap consistently, and I had a shelter.  I began to be able to relax and enjoy watching the animals.  There were a few beaver in the pond, and I enjoyed the comedic company of goofy armadillos running around my camping area as well.

My fish trap caught a turtle about that time, and I came to grips with another struggle: the brutality of predation and feeding myself on animal meat.  For some reason rodents and fish didn’t trigger my sympathy, but when I saw that a turtle had drowned in my trap, I actually tried to resuscitate it with CPR.  I was overcome with grief, and actually broke down crying.  Your psychology in survival can really cause you to feel for life much more passionately than in our modern society. You can feel free to laugh a bit, because it’s a bit funny to me now looking back, but you should know that it was a real struggle at that time.  I’m not a cruel person, and this was a healthy struggle to do what I needed to do in nature to feed myself.  I cooked and ate the turtle with all the reverence and respect due our animal brethren. I then altered my fish trap so that it would have air space above the water, so that the turtles would not die in it, but truth be told the turtle meat was so tasty that I cooked and ate every turtle that got in my trap after that.

Not all went smoothly.  Once, when I had been out scouting the landscape, I returned to find my books stolen, along with some baskets I had woven .  I was furious, and I looked for tracks, but I’m not the most talented tracker, and I never found who did it, which was probably a good thing for them.  I decided that I needed a weapon, so I made an axe out of the flint that I had brought with me, and I made a bow out of a small butternut Hickory tree.  Making the bow was laborious, but it brought me a lot of entertainment when I finally completed it.

Having made and an axe, I decided to build a better shelter.  I decided to make a wigwam, and that shelter requires a lot of cordage.  50 feet of cordage doesn’t go very far, so I had to wind some more.  I found myself winding cordage every single night, and there was never enough.  The wigwam frame only took a few days, but the thatching had to be grass, and the grass was a long way off and up a hill.  I was in no hurry, so I didn’t work on it too much, which is why the thatching took several months!

With a fish trap that was consistently productive, plenty of edible plants that I was familiar with, plenty of grasshoppers and crickets, and a shelter, my needs were met, and life was decent.  But in these situations solace turns into isolation which turns into loneliness.  In my case this somewhat challenged my identity and self-image.  I had always considered myself a loner, able to thrive without other people around.  I may have an independent streak, and I may march to the beat of a different drummer, but I found out quickly that I need others.  I was missing them, and I began to talk to the animals…then to the trees…then to the dirt and the sky.

This brings me to a life-changing spiritual experience I had in the wilderness, and my story would be incomplete without relating it.  Over thousands of years, thousands of spiritual seekers have taken to the wilderness for deep spiritual seeking, and I chose that path myself.  It shouldn’t be news to you that spending more time in nature will reveal just how connected everything in the eco-system is.  I began to really commune with the balance of nature and looked on in wonder as I lived in my place in that balance.  What could be more spiritual than that?  Like many people who think this way, I had turned to pagan practices, which placed a high value on nature and our communion with the wild.

Think of this: I hear bird alarm calls.  They would go out, and other birds would alarm in circles spreading through the forest.  I could stalk to the quiet spots and find the tracks of predators such as foxes or cats.  The concentric circles of alarms going through the forest, the relationship of predator to prey,  the uses I had for what nature freely handed me…I began to perceive purpose and intention behind the continuity I saw in nature.  It was so fierce, but so beautiful.  I understood it to be a work of art from the hand of a deliberate creator, not the impersonal energy source I had always thought it to be.  That personal creator showed up out there in the wilderness, and confronted all my preconceived notions of who it was.  There was a real challenge and struggle as I came to grips with the reality of God, the God of Abraham, the God I was brought up to believe was my bitterest enemy and the enemy of the wilderness and my people.  I finally just cried out to God, speaking right into the air: “God”, I said, “are you real?” I didn’t expect an audible answer, but I got one: “Yes.  I am the God of Abraham.”  I was filled with fear, and I literally trembled violently like many figures in the bible when they met God.  I asked one more question:  “Are you Jesus?”.  The answer came “Yes, I am Jesus whom you have been attacking.”  He showed me visions of all the people He had sent me in His name.  “I have been calling to you, but you would not listen.”  The conviction grew so strong that I ended up on the ground begging God for His forgiveness.  The voice stopped talking, but God lifted me up and hugged me.  The voice has never spoken again, but I immediately left the mountain and headed to a church where I procured a bible.  I went back to my mountain to study the bible, and I have been an avid student of the bible ever since.  The voice has not spoken to me since, but I have felt the reassuring hand of God on my shoulder during hard times.

 

Alone in the Wilderness Part 3

(This is the story of our Newest Primitive Survival Instructor Josh Hamlin, he has an immense amount of real life survival experience and will be teaching at our wilderness survival classes to pass on his knowledge to SIGMA 3 Survival students)   

 

Hello,

 

My name is Josh Hamlin.  I lived 2 years in the wilderness living off the land.  I was no stranger to the outdoors or to primitive skills by the time I set about the task, but you can only gain so much from practicing the individual skills within the safety net and comfort of civilization.  The time had come, and I had a need to place these skills in their context, physically and spiritually.  It will not surprise you that my deep reverence for nature had led me to practices of pagan spirituality.  I set out with the intention of sharpening my skills as a survivalist and strengthening my spiritual connection to the wild.  Both of these things happened, but not in the way I thought they would.  Then again, if I had known all that before-hand, I would not have needed to undertake the journey, would I?

I had someone drop me off near a place I used to go to get away as a child.  It was a hill near Tulsa, Oklahoma on the Arkansas river. It was a small area about 3 miles long and about a mile wide, but resources were plentiful, so the location was appropriate.  I had a few items with me.  I brought two dried gourds with me for water bottles.  I brought 50 ft. of hand-twisted cordage.  I brought some clothing and a blanket, since I would not be allowed to kill and skin large game.  Lastly, I brought parts I and II of John and Gerry McPherson’s Naked Into the Wilderness.

As the car drove away, all my romantic notions abandoned me, and the reality of the struggle that lay ahead set in.  This was it, and the task seemed insurmountable.  For all my training, I began to feel like a fool for even doing this.  Still, I had committed myself with my boasts, and I was determined not to return a failure.  You can dream all you want about living wild and free, and anyone can call themselves a “survivalist”, but if you’re going to really get at it, there is no way around it.  You will have to come face to face with the fear that I felt as I realized how very alone I was.

I immediately sat down near a small pond and did the most discouraging thing for anyone in this situation.  I sat in despair and waited to die.  Here was the unexpected twist: this was part of the process.  I sat there for 3 days straight having already given up on life.  On that third day, thirst paid me a visit, and the pond did not look so inviting.   There was a creek nearby, and I drank from it until the thirst was quenched.  It was then that I realized how hungry I was, so I set about planning to get food.  Understand this, though: I was still in despair and still welcomed death.  I did not do this with determination to survive, but rather I was lead by primal desire for food and water.  It was very basic and very immediate need that took over my mind and directed my actions.

My need for food led me to make a fish trap.  I had to cut down some saplings to make the trap, and I had no knife.  Cutting saplings with flint is no easy task, and it took me a long time.  In fact, it took me 2 days of work to get enough saplings to make the trap.  I used some of my cordage to lash the trap together, and I threw the trap into the pond.  I checked it the next day and found my trap empty.  Truly, nature did not owe me food.

Still hungry, I wove more cordage through the holes on the trap, the better to stop the fish from escaping, and threw the trap back into the pond.  I left my spot by the pond and returned to the creek, this time for crawdads to eat.  It wasn’t long before I caught several crawdads, but I needed to cook them.  There was an old Sycamore that had been overturned with the roots exposed.  Sycamore is a good wood for a bow drill fire and it had roots that were pointed upward which will help them dry, so I put it to use and made myself a fire.  I put the crawdads on the coals, cooked them, and had a tasty meal of one of my favorites.

I returned to the spot on the pond and checked my fish trap.  Several times I had wound more cordage into the trap to prevent the fish escaping, and my labors bore fruit.  Inside my trap was a blue-gill fish.  I ate it, re-baited the trap with its guts, wound some more cordage into some of the holes in the trap, and threw it back into the pond.  I turned a real corner in my situation with the fish trap.  It wasn’t long before my trap was reliably catching fish, and food was no longer a problem.  That was one need taken care of.  That’s when it began to rain.

Alone in the Wilderness Part 2

 

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