FAT GUYS IN THE WOODS: Blog Skill Series – COMING SOON.

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Well, Season 1 of FAT GUYS IN THE WOODS has officially ended.  The last episode aired last night.  However, the survival instruction from these episodes is just beginning.  When 6 days of filming gets edited down to 42 minutes, some of the details are bound to get lost.  Oftentimes, these details involve specific survival skills.

Consequently, I’ll be writing a series of blog posts over the coming months called FAT GUYS IN THE WOODS: BLOG SKILL SERIES where I describe in great detail many of the survival skills I taught these guys over the course of the 8 episodes.  From creative fire starts and tinder selection to traps, snares and shelter materials, there are so many skills from Season 1 that I can’t wait to teach you.

IT ALL STARTS NEXT WEEK!

Subscribe to the blog to be alerted of all new tutorials and news!

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,

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FAT GUYS IN THE WOODS – EPISODE 3 – Don’t miss it!

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For those of you who are following the new survival television series I host on The Weather Channel called FAT GUYS IN THE WOODS, you don’t want to miss this Sunday’s episode.  This will be the 3rd episode aired and is one of my favorites!

This particular episode has a great mix of survival skills that I really think you will enjoy.  We build one of my favorite shelters of the whole season and we also have some pretty crazy wild edible encounters – including one of the largest GRUB worms I’ve ever seen in my life.  You’re not going to want to miss the guys’ reaction to “breakfast”!  Other highlights include net weaving, some primitive fishing, cool fire building skills and also processing wild edibles!

You’re also going to really love the 3 guys I take with me this week.  They are all very genuine and have a sincere interest in positive change.  Zach has battled with ankle issues his entire life and came to prove he can face Mother Nature and come out on top.  Opie is a fellow Eagle Scout who longs be reconnected with the wilderness.  It was great to spend a week in the woods with a fellow scout.  Lastly, Joe is a video gamer that needs a shock to the system.  Trust me, he got it!  Each of them will inspire you as they battle through this crazy week in a damp, cold river valley!

So set a reminder on your phone right now!  This Sunday night (August 24th) at 10pm Eastern ONLY on The Weather Channel!

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,

creek-stewart-survivalist

Don’t Forget – FAT GUYS IN THE WOODS – Sunday, August 10th at 10pm eastern

Wow – I have had one crazy week.  I’ve been in New York City all week promoting FAT GUYS IN THE WOODS and it’s been a blast.  I was on the TODAY SHOW Wednesday with Kathie Lee & Hoda – CRAZY!  Here’s the link to the segment if you missed it: http://www.today.com/video/today/55809202.  Below is a pic of me right before we went LIVE.  I was just trying not to pass out.

creek-today

I’ve also done 20 or so radio interviews and will be on WAKE UP WITH AL (ROKER) tomorrow – FRIDAY – at 6:40 am and then the AMHQ Morning Show with Sam Champion at 9:40 am.  We’ll be talking about the show and also hurricane survival.  Saturday, I’ll be in Tennessee for a series pre-premiere launch and to spend some time with some of the great folks who made this show happen.  Hats off to The Weather Channel, RIVR Media, the amazing production crew and of course the show visionary Evan Goldstein.

I’m writing mainly to remind you that the series premieres THIS SUNDAY August 10th at 10PM eastern ONLY on The Weather Channel.  This is the episode filmed during the POLAR VORTEX last winter.  Below is a pic of me and the guys in our massive wiki!  Those guys are freaking awesome!

inside-wiki

 

Mother Nature has a very unique way of stripping away the clutter and introducing us to a very raw version of ourselves.  You learn a lot about yourself when you’re exhausted, cold, hungry and thirsty.  I’ve long believed the wilderness can change people.  Tune in to learn some survival skills, laugh, sympathize, cheer and be inspired!

series-promo

OH, AND TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,

creek-stewart-survivalist

HANG OUT with Creek tonight, July 29th, at 8:30pm eastern

 

hangout

Hello everyone. JJ over at RealitySurvival will be hosting a LIVE Google Hangout tonight (July 29th) at 8:30pm Eastern with yours truly. He’ll be asking about the upcoming show – FAT GUYS IN THE WOODS – and also discussing survival life in general. If you get a chance stop on in and HANG OUT. You can participate live with your own questions and we’ll be on for about an hour. All you have to do is go to the URL below at about 8:30pm Eastern and you can check it out. Hope to see you there!

https://www.youtube.com/user/RealitySurvival

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,

creek-stewart-logo

APOCABOX: Spend less time finding your gear and more time using it.

I’m excited to OFFICIALLY launch the APOCABOX!  Even though I haven’t publicly announced it yet, the response has already been a bit overwhelming so a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who is already on the list for the August 15th Inaugural Shipment!  I can’t wait to see what you think!

apocabox-left-sub1

Sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself…

For those of you who haven’t heard of the APOCABOX, you should definitely watch my launch video linked below.  (Yes, that’s me in the screen capture!  Even more of a reason to watch this video!)

Video URL:  http://youtu.be/9eTRAd5qgmE

The DEADLINE for the next APOCABOX drop is August 1st.

Find out more at http://www.myapocabox.com.

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,

creek-stewart-survivalist

8 Solar Fire Starting Tips You Must Know – AND – a FREE gift from Creek

Using the sun to start a fire is probably my favorite method of fire starting.  It amazes me every time.  The sun is an incredible survival fire starting resource but getting the job done can be frustrating.  I’ve decided to compile 8 TIPS that you MUST KNOW when using the sun to start a fire.  Any one of these can make the difference between getting the job done or suffering the consequences of failure.  For a limited time, I’m also giving away FREE one of my favorite solar fire starting tools – no strings attached, no shipping fees, FREE.  But, I have a limited number so I have to put a time limit on it – only 24 hours.  Details at the end of this post!

SOLAR FIRE STARTING TIP #1: FULL SUN

full-sun

I know this sounds obvious, but you must have FULL SUN when attempting solar fire starts.  It can’t be behind a mountain, building, clouds or even a thin layer of fog.  A powerful (or huge) solar lens may work with partial sun but rarely (if ever) will you have this kind of lens in an improvised survival scenario.  In my experience, the sun has to be completely visible with no obstructions.  It does not, however, matter where it is in the sky.  It works best when it’s at 12 noon in the middle of the summer and the sun it right overhead at it hottest point but isn’t necessary.  I’ve started solar fires when the sun low in the horizon in December with snow on the ground.  The sun DOES need to be completely and entirely visible.

SOLAR FIRE STARTING TIP #2: BONE DRY

Another obvious tip, right?  If I hadn’t seen so many people try to use wet or damp tinder in my courses then I wouldn’t list this tip.  The tinder you select MUST BE BONE DRY – especially when working in less than perfect conditions with less than perfect tools.

SOLAR FIRE STARTING TIP #3: ANGLE OF ATTACK

You must hold your lens (either magnifying or parabolic doesn’t matter) at a perpendicular angle to the sun’s rays.  The 2 lines in the letter ‘T” are perpendicular to each other.  Any angle less or greater than 90 degrees will reduce the amount of heat that you can generate.  The diagram below illustrates this a little better.

lens

When you use a less than perfect magnifying or parabolic lens, the angle of attack is critical.  It’s so important to hold your lens so that it is directly perpendicular to the sun’s rays at the exact point where you are located.  The sweet spot is 90 degrees  and any angle less or greater than 90 degrees will reduce the efficiency of your lens and thus your ability to smolder tinder.

SOLAR FIRE STARTING TIP #4: THE COLOR BLACK IS YOUR FRIEND

Light and heat are different types of energy but very much related when it comes to starting a fire using a solar enhancing lens.  With a solar lens we are trying to convert light energy into heat energy.  Understanding the physics behind why and how this works can absolutely save your life one day.  The color of the fire tinder you are using in conjunction with your solar lens can affect how fast or IF you’re successful getting an ember.  White or light colored tinder will REFLECT all or most wavelengths of light so the light is NOT converted to heat and the temperature of your tinder may not get hot enough to burn and smolder.  However, black or dark colored tinder will ABSORB all or most wavelengths of light, converting them to heat and increasing the temperature of your tinder.

Creek, does this mean I can’t use white or light colored tinder to start a solar fire?

No, it doesn’t.  In fact, we use light colored crushed up punky wood to start solar fires all the time in my courses here at Willow Haven Outdoor.  However, in a survival scenario, every detail matters and you may be working in less than perfect conditions with a less than perfect lens on a less than perfect timeline.  Anything you can do to gain a competitive edge and increase your fire starting chances is a good thing.  Choosing and using dark colored tinder is just one strategy that can help.

A few darkening hacks!  Below are some things I’ve done in the field to darken light colored tinders so that they absorb more light and thus get hotter faster.

  • Rub on dry dark dirt.  I’ve rubbed on dark dirt to make light colored punky wood darker before.  Don’t use MUD because your tinder must be dry.  In the photo below I’ve rubbed dirt on a napkin to create a dark spot for smoldering.

dirt-napkin

  • Rub on charcoal from an old fire.  Maybe your old fire has gone out or you’re able to find a charred log.  The charcoal from something already burnt can be used to darken existing dry tinder.  It can also be used as tinder!  Charcoal is a great solar fire starting material for getting an ember.
  • Use a pencil, ink pen or marker.  I’ve actually colored tinder in the field with a Sharpie marker before and it worked awesome!  The graphite led from a pencil works as well.  So does black colored ink.  GET CREATIVE!  In the photo below I’ve colored punky wood with a Sharpie marker for a quick and easy solar ember.

sharpie-punky

 SOLAR FIRE STARTING TIP #5: FOCUS! FOCUS! FOCUS!

When using a solar lens, it’s all about the focal point!  This one is a deal-breaker.  The best way to get the focal point is to start with your lens very close to the tinder (at a 90 degree angle to the sun rays like described above) and slowly draw it back.  You will see the beam of light through your lens (or parabolic mirror) start to get smaller.  Keep pulling the lens away until the beam gets to it’s tightest possible point.  This is the point just before the beam of light starts getting BIGGER again.  This is the FOCAL POINT and it is at this point where you will start to create a fire.  Below is a 3 part photo series using a wallet sized Fresnel lens.

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focus-2

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SOLAR FIRE STARTING TIP #6: GO FOR EMBER, NOT FLAME

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(Like my subtle photo plug for my new show on THE WEATHER CHANNEL called FAT GUYS IN THE WOODS premiering on Sunday August 10th?  Read more about it here: http://www.weather.com/tv/tvshows/fat-guys-in-the-woods/fat-guys-woods-weather-channel-20140708)

I’ve found it much more difficult (often impossible) to go directly to flame using many different types of solar fire starting tools.  Unless you have an extremely powerful lens, you’re just wasting your time trying to go directly to flame.  The best strategy it to create a burning ember using your lens – THEN – place that smoldering ember into a prepared tinder bundle and blow into flame.  However, this is easier said than done.  In order to do this you must know what tinders you can use that will produce a smoldering ember using a solar lens – THIS IS THE REAL TRICK WITH SOLAR FIRE STARTING!

SOLAR FIRE STARTING TIP #7: KNOW YOUR SMOLDERING TINDER OPTIONS

If you only take away ONE TIP from this entire article, remember this one.  Smoldering tinder options are few and far between and must be chosen carefully.  Not all tinder will create a self-sustaining smoldering ember that can be dumped into a tinder bundle.  In fact, there are very few that will.  Below are my favorites.  REMEMBER THESE!

  • TINDER FUNGUS (CHAGA):  This is a fungus that grows exclusively on the BIRCH TREE.  It actually looks like black charcoal on the outside.  The inside is orange and very porous.  This stuff is the SHIZNIT when dealing with solar survival fire starts.  It smolders like no body’s business and has a very low ignition point.

tinder-fungus

charcloth

  • PUNKY WOOD:  Punky wood is one of my personal favorites because you can find it in almost any environment on the planet.  It’s basically dry rotting wood.  You’ve probably stepped on this stuff a hundred times in your yard or on a hike.  Fallen trees dead branches all go through a stage of decay know as punky wood.  It’s easy to crush, powder and pulverize (see next TIP).  This stuff smolders very well and will produce a self sustaining ember.  You can grow a punky wood ember to be the size of a basket ball if you wanted by just adding more crushed punky wood.

punky-wood

  • POOP:  Yes, that’s right – POOP!  Not yours, though.  My favorites are rabbit, deer, goat and moose.  These particular animals produce some amazing solar fire starting poop.  They are like little processed balls of solar gold.  They are dark in color, made of tiny particles of dry grass and leaves and smolder incredibly well.  They must be DRY!  Fresh poo just will not work.

poop-tinder

  • MILKWEED OVUM:  Now this is a jewel of knowledge that FEW people know.  Consider yourself one of the solar elite!  Milkweed ovum is the thin papery sheath that the fully milkweed seeds are attached to INSIDE of the milkweed pod.  This stuff is like nature’s tissue paper.  It has a very low ignition point and SMOLDERS!  Very few things in nature smolder and this is one of them!

milkweed-ovum

  • TEA & COFFEE:  Yes, you can generate a smoldering solar ember on tea and coffee.  Finely ground coffee can make a suitable solar ember and so can the pulverized tea leaves inside of tea bags.  You never know when this urban survival tip can come in handy.

coffee

SOLAR FIRE STARTING TIP #8: POUND, POWDER & PULVERIZE

Many tinders work much better for creating a solar smoldering ember when they are pounded, powdered and pulverized.  These include but are not limited to punky wood and poops (ha!).  I’m not sure of the physics behind why but I’ve had better success of getting a self sustaining smoldering ember on some tinders when they are powdered into a little pile.  This is just a tip to keep in mind if all else fails.

CREEK’S FREE GIFT

I’ve been asking a lot from you guys lately – to review my books, watch my new show, share things with your friends -so I wanted to give something back.  It’s not much but it’s a solar fire starting Fresnel Lens (shown in the photos above) that I keep in my wallet.  It takes up hardly any space and is the size of a business card.  I’ve started hundreds of fires with this thing over the years and it works really well.  It’s also one of the few fire starting tools that the TSA won’t hassle you for when you board an airplane.  It’s also a great lens to get started with when learning about solar fire starts.

I’M SORRY – THE FREE GIFT TIME DEADLINE HAS ENDED – THIS OFFER NO LONGER AVAILABLE.

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,

creek-stewart-logo

Show me your BOVS!

To celebrate the launch of my my new book BUILD THE PERFECT BUG OUT VEHICLE, I’m holding a BOV photo contest on INSTAGRAM.  Well, it’s not really a contest because the 2 winners will be chosen by random but you get the gist.  Below are the details!

show-me-your-bovs

Not familiar with INSTAGRAM?  Download the app to your smartphone.  It’s FREE.  Then, search using “#buildtheperfectbugoutvehicle” under TAGS to find all of the uploaded photos who have used that hash-tag.  Be sure to follow @creekstewart while you’re at it.

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,

creek-stewart-survivalist

Psssst… I’ve got a BIG announcement!

Hello friends. Today is a pretty cool day for me.

I get to tell you something that I’ve been wanting to share for a long time.  It’s in part because of your support that it all came about in the first place.

I’m excited to announce a project I’ve been working on for literally the past two years of my life.  The word ‘project’ doesn’t really do it justice.  I’ve been chomping at the bit to tell you guys about it but have had to keep it under wraps… until now.

It all starts with WHY I GOT INTO THIS CRAZY BUSINESS IN THE FIRST PLACE.

As most of you know, I have a passion for the outdoors and self reliant skills.  I also have a passion for teaching.  I believe with all of my heart that the survival skills I teach and share matter.  I believe that they can and will save someone’s life one day.  I think that’s pretty cool.

I’ve seen first hand that the wilderness can change people.  There are many parallels between survival skills and life skills.  Things like NEVER GIVING UP, INNOVATION, MENTAL TOUGHNESS, TEAMWORK and HARD WORK are just as important in everyday life as they are in a life or death survival scenario.

WE’VE ALL BEEN AT A PLACE IN OUR LIFE WHEN WE NEED A KICK IN THE PANTS.

I know I have.  Everyone’s been there.  It’s easy to become comfortable in our modern world of convenience.  ‘Comfortable’ is a dangerous place to be.  You can get stuck in a job you don’t like, spend years in a relationship that doesn’t make you happy, develop a lifestyle that’s not rewarding or have a body that’s seen better days.  I think everyone can understand that feeling of needing a mid-life wake up call.

ONE DAY, I GOT A RANDOM CALL

One day I got a phone call from a guy named Evan Goldstein.  Evan’s a young talented television producer in the big city of Los Angeles.  He and I hit it off right away and have since become close friends.  He had this crazy idea to invite guys who’ve become a victim of ‘comfortable’ into the wilderness for a 6 day survival wake up call.  But, he needed someone crazy enough (and skilled enough) to lead them, teach them, challenge them…and keep them ALIVE!

I’M ALWAYS UP FOR A GOOD CHALLENGE

I get contacted a lot about survival television shows – I’d say an average of twice a week.  Evan’s call was different.  His concept and vision embodied everything I love about what I do – survival skills, Mother Nature, challenge, inspiration, teaching and people.

RIVR MEDIA, an amazing production company out of Knoxville, TN, embraced the show concept and before I knew it we were filming a sizzle reel (basically a short version of the concept) to show to television networks.  Who would share this same vision?

OFF THE COUCH, INTO THE WEATHER

We found an amazing partnership with The Weather Channel.  It’s a perfect fit.  After all, the greatest survival adversary of all time is the weather.  Battling the weather is a constant and unrelenting challenge in virtually every survival scenario in every environment.

ON THE FAST TRACK

Before I could even say good-bye to Willow Haven, I was leading 3 guys (all needing a kick in the pants) deep into the Tennessee mountains to prove that if they could survive 6 days in the wilderness with me then they could do anything when they got back home.

SURVIVAL SKILLS TEACHING LIFE SKILLS

Week after week (8 times actually), I led 3 different guys into the craziest days and survival scenarios of my life.  We built awesome shelters, made fire in ways you can’t even imagine, dined on unmentionable wild edibles (you have to see it to believe it) and learned a ton about ourselves and surviving one of the most brutal winters ever seen in the United States.  We laughed, cried, failed, succeeded and yes….spooned.  Trust me, you’d be spooning in a brush wiki up during the Polar Vortex with three total strangers too.

UNLIKE ANY OTHER

I’ve long been a fan of survival television.  From Survivor Man to Dual Survival, I’ve enjoyed watching them all.  I can tell you with certainly that this show is unique and unlike any before it.  One thing I love about this show is that I (the Survival Expert) am not the one doing everything.  I help and teach and encourage but at the end of the day, the 3 guys must get it done themselves.  Anyone can do amazing things in the wilderness and this show proves it.

SO WHAT’S THE NAME OF THE SHOW?

You’re gonna love this – FAT GUYS IN THE WOODS!  Even though pretty much all of the guys are out of shape when we hit the woods, this is not a weight loss show – this is a wake up call!  At the bottom of this email is a link to a 20 second promotional video.  It premiers August 10th only on The Weather Channel.  Trust me – you do not want to miss this one.

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THANK YOU!

I am an incredibly blessed and lucky guy and would like to thank:

  • YOU – for your continued support on my blog, my classes, my books and my survival related projects.  I promise, there is always more to come.
  • Evan Goldstein for his visionary show idea.
  • RIVR Media for being the most amazing production company in the world to work with on this show.
  • The Weather Channel for believing in this idea and taking a risk on me.
  • THE FAT GUYS ;)  24 of the coolest and most inspiring dudes I’ve ever met who trusted their lives with me for 6 of the craziest days of their life.

THE WILDERNESS CAN CHANGE PEOPLE!

You have to watch this promo video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xednvqI2z_o

PLEASE, SHARE RIGHT NOW WITH EVERYONE YOU KNOW!!!!!

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,

creek-stewart-survivalist

Bug Out Vehicle (BOV) Chronicles: The Final Post : Series Post #6

It’s been a few months since my last post about the progress of my new Bug Out Vehicle.  Well… I’m happy to announce that it’s finished and I’m really loving it.  So let’s see a before picture to remind you what it looked like when I first got it. IMG_2423

And now….after my modifications.

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Pictures speak louder than words so below are a few close up shots. creek-stewart-truck-load-out creek-stewart-truck-winch

I’d also like to point out a couple of cool features I added: creek-stewart-truck-camo-tarp

I picked up a camo net from www.camonettingstore.com and it hooks perfectly on the roof rack of the truck cap.  I can rig it up in a variety of ways for shade or for camouflage.

creek-stewart-bug-out-vehicle creek-stewart-bug-out-truck creek-stewart-bov

Using PVC piping I also attached a camo tarp that I can roll out and rig up in just a few minutes. creek-stewart-tarp

I know… I know… this BOV doesn’t blend in with the crowd.

I’ll be the first to admit that I broke the #1 rule of a BOV – BLEND IN WITH THE CROWD.  What I haven’t told you yet, though, is that I outfitted this BOV while writing my new book, BUILD THE PERFECT BUG OUT VEHICLE.

build-the-perfect-bug-out-vehicle

I couldn’t in good conscious write a book about BOVs and not give you some good eye candy.  So, I made a judgement call and tricked it out a bit more than necessary because everyone likes looking at cool pictures, including me.

Like my Mom used to say – it doesn’t matter what she looks like on the outside.  It’s the inside that counts.

creek-bug-out-vehicle-web

This is REALLY true with a BOV.  The outside can look like crap – it’s what’s inside that is important.  It’s critical that the engine and other mechanical parts are reliable and trustworthy.  The survival supplies you pack inside are quantum leaps more important that the paint job or bumpers.  How you outfit your BOV on the inside is what matters most.  Here’s a sneak peak into the back of my BOV.  There way more to discuss about outfitting BOVs than I could ever do in an on-line post.

creek-stewart-inside-bug-out-truck

Build the Perfect Bug Out Vehicle

For those of you who read my first book, Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag, this book is in that same vein.  It is an A-Z manual about choosing and outfitting the perfect BOV.  I leave no stone unturned.  Not only do I discuss different categories and types of BOVs but I walk through everything that you should and shouldn’t consider when outfitting it with maintenance supplies, survival tools, weapons, water, food, etc.  I cover storage ideas and creative ways to work with ‘the vehicle you have right now’.

creek-stewart-ar

If you like reading about survival, bugging out and vehicles…

Then I’m sure you’ll enjoy this book.  It’s been many months in the making and took a ton of effort as you can imagine.  I learned a lot along the way as well and share many of those ups and downs.  It seems learning is more about trial and error than anything.

header-truck   creek-stewart-truck

A short run of Build the Perfect Bug Out Vehicle is now available on Amazon and I have limited signed copies available at our NOT IF BUT WHEN store.  Below are the links if you’re interested in ordering it.

AMAZON: BUILD THE PERFECT BUG OUT VEHICLE

NOT IF BUT WHEN SURVIVAL STORE (Autographed copy): BUILD THE PERFECT BUG OUT VEHICLE

As always – thanks so much for all of your support.

YOUR AMAZON BOOK REVIEW COULD WIN YOU THIS BUG OUT BAG PACKED WITH SURVIVAL SUPPLIES

bug-out-bag-prize

That’s right, just by sharing your AMAZON book review of BUILD THE PERFECT BUG OUT VEHICLE you could win this pack!  Below are the details – GOOD LUCK!

  • Prize is shown above
  • To enter, you must copy and paste your amazon book review to one of the following outlets:
  1. THIS BLOG POST – see the comments section below (be sure to follow the comments so you can see who wins)
  2. INSTAGRAM using the hastag #buildtheperfectbugoutvehiclereview
  • All of the comments will be gathered and one random winner will be chosen and contacted via private message to get their mailing address.
  • Winner will be chosen on July 28th, 2014 – CREEK’S BIRTHDAY!

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,

creek-stewart-survivalist

12 Survival Hacks Using Just Leaves

Nature provides an abundance of tools and resources if you just know where to look.  Today, I’m discussing just one of them – LEAVES.  You’re not going to believe all of the survival functions you can do with just LEAVES and a little bit of know-how.  No matter the season, leaves can provide you with some kind of a solution.  Nature is freaking amazing!

LEAF SURVIVAL HACK # 1: ROPE

Yes, you can make usable cordage from leaves!  The leaves you’ll want for this particular task are fibrous ones such as those from Yucca or Cattail.  I’ve found that dead yucca and cattail leaves work best but they’ll work when green in a pinch.  Below is a photo of a Yucca plant and then also a coil of yucca leaf rope that I made.

yucca

yucca-rope

The technique used to fashion usable cordage from fibrous natural materials is called the Reverse Wrap.  It’s an awesome survival skill – so cool that I filmed a short video to show you exactly how to do it.  Watch the video below:

 

LEAF SURVIVAL HACK # 2: NATURE’S TIN FOIL

burdock-tin-foil

Have you ever wrapped food in tin foil and cooked it in the coals of a fire.  When we were kids, Mom would wrap up some ground beef, onions, potatoes and carrots in tin foil and cook them in the coals of a fire.  She called them Hobo Dinners.  I’ve never found a tin-foil tree in the woods but I’ve found a leaf that works just as good – BURDOCK.  Food wrapped in three layers of burdock leaves cooks just as good as any tin foil I’ve ever used.  Look how huge the leaves of burdock can get.

burdock-plant

I’ve cooked fish, quail and rabbit in burdock leaves and it never fails to produce a delicious juicy meal.  Check out this quail and potatoes we cooked in burdock leaves during a SurviVacation II last summer.  We tied it up with Basswood Bark.  Mmmmmm, my mouth’s watering just thinking about it.  That same day I also used a burdock leaf as an improvised container to hold some freshly picked raspberries.cooked-quail

eggs-potatoes

burdock-picking-bucket

 

LEAF SURVIVAL HACK # 3: INSOLES

mullein-on-boots

That’s right – SHOE INSOLES!  Need some extra cushion to help prevent blisters?  How about some extra cushion that is also antibacterial?  Look for a mullein plant.  It’s very distinct, you can’t miss it.  The leaves are thick, durable and fuzzy.

mullein

Not only do they make excellent improvised shoe insoles that will reduce foot odor but they also are your go-to natural source for toilet paper.  They are also an excellent substitute for paper towel and are very absorptive.  I use them as napkins all the time.

mullein-leaf-insoles

 

 LEAF SURVIVAL HACK # 4: INSULATION

leaf-insulation

Whether from the cold ground or the air around you, leaves are nature’s perfect insulative material for creating dead air space below and around you.  One of the most effective cold weather shelters is a Debris Hut and it’s made almost entirely of leaves.  The leaves capture dead air space which acts as a barrier to the cold.  They help keep warm air (body heat) in and cold air out.  As the cool temps come, Mother Nature drops all the insulation you could ever need to the forest floor.  She’s nice that way.

corn-husks

Until his mid-twenties, my Dad slept on what’s called a Shuck Bed.  This is literally a mattress stuffed with dried corn husks.  He recalls it being a little lumpy, but functional.  It hasn’t been that long ago that people used natural vegetation insulation for sleeping purposes.

 

LEAF SURVIVAL HACK # 5: SHINGLES

skunk-cabbage-shingles

 

grass-roof

Yes, leaves are not only insulation but shingles as well.  Large leaves from plants like burdock and skunk cabbage can be used to shingle a lean-to in a matter of minutes.  Leafy branches can be used the same way.  Remember to start from the bottom and work your way up, just like you would shingle a house.  This overlapping pattern prevents rain from seeping through.  Below I used a full burdock plant to protect jerky on a drying rack from a light drizzle.

burdock-shingles

LEAF SURVIVAL HACK # 6: HARVESTING WATER

burdock-water-collection

With a little creativity, you can use leaves to direct and harvest water.  Rain water is the easiest form of fresh drinking water in the wild if you can get enough of it.  Arranging leaves to harvest rain can gather exponentially more if you do it right.  Look at them as nature’s little mini-tarps.

 

LEAF SURVIVAL HACK # 7: KITCHEN WARE

From plates to bowls, leaves can be repurposed in all types of different functional ways.  I use basswood leaves for plates and napkins all the time.  They’re edible, durable and environmentally safe!  Below is a shot of a basswood leaf for reference:

basswood

 

I cooked some biscuits in orange peels the other day and used basswood leaves as a plate on the ground.

basswood-leaf-plate

The burdock leaf below is lining a hole in the ground and makes an excellent quickie bowl.  I’ve even eaten cereal out of this exact set up before.

burdock-vessel

 

LEAF SURVIVAL HACK # 8: MEDICATED BANDAGES

plantain

You’ve probably got plantain growing in your back yard right now.  Did you know it has built in antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and is the perfect remedy for minor cuts, bee stings, stinging nettle and scrapes?  Just chew up a leaf, place it on the wound and use another plantain leave to hold it in place.  Plantain has earned the nickname “BANDAID PLANT”  for a reason.  The fibers in the leaves make durable bandages.

plantain-medicine

plantain-bandage

 

LEAF SURVIVAL HACK # 9: DISTILLED WATER

Leaves transpire water all day long – called transpiration.  It is possible to magnify and capture that water transpiration using clear plastic.  Nonpoisonous vegetation placed in a ground pit solar still or live leaves tied off in a clear plastic bag can put out a surprising amount of water in full sun.  It’s not the fastest and most efficient way of getting water but it’s an option nonetheless.

solar-still

transpiration-bag

transpiration

 

LEAF SURVIVAL HACK # 10: FIRE TINDER

Dry leaves make excellent fire tinder and have constituted many a tinder bundle for me over the years.  Some dried leaves, such as from the sage plant(shown below), smolder very well and can be used to carry an ember across long distances.

s-tinder

 

LEAF SURVIVAL HACK # 11: MATS, WALLS, BASKETS, DOORS and ROOFING

cattail

Leaves from a variety of plants can be woven into about anything you can image, from baskets to shelter walls.  Cattail leaves were used extensively by Native American Indians as a universal weaving material.  This blog (http://sustainablelivingproject.blogspot.com/2012/09/woven-cattail-mats.html) has a great cattail weaving tutorial and used a woven cattail mat to dry summer fruits and berries.  What an awesome idea!

cattail-mat

Cattail leaves were also used to weave hats, shoes, clothing, chair seats, fishing nets, duck decoys and children’s toys.  It is an amazingly durable weaving material.

 

LEAF SURVIVAL HACK # 12: FOOD

I can’t even list all of the wild plant leaves that are edible.  I’ve eaten leaves raw, baked, roasted, dried and often use them as wraps instead of tortillas.  One of the my favorite wild meals is shredded bluegill mixed with yellow wood sorrel and wrapped in basswood leaves.  I also love young basswood leaves, dandelion greens and wood sorrel mixed in a salad with a little olive oil and vinegar.  Below is dandelion and yellow wood sorrel – both of which you probably have in your back yard.

dandelion

 

wood-sorrel

I also regularly enjoy a variety of bush teas, including pine needle tea, staghorn sumac tea and stinging nettle tea.  There’s tea around every corner in the wilderness!

pine-needle-tea

What other survival uses for LEAVES can YOU think of????

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,

creek-stewart-logo