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

ep-3-group-web

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

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.

focus-1

focus-2

focus-3

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

fat-guys-creek

(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

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.

creek-stewart-bug-out-truck-vehicle

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

Build a Bug Out Kindle: A Digital Survival Library at Your Fingertips

 

book-stacks

If you haven’t already, check out the article I wrote over at ARTOFMANLINESS.COM about putting together a BUG OUT KINDLE.  I list some of my favorite survival books as well as discuss the advantages of packing an entire survival library in your Bug Out Bag.  It’s not for everyone but certainly an idea to consider for some…

how-to-stay-alive

Have you considered an idea like this???

Here’s a link to the article:  http://www.artofmanliness.com/2014/06/17/build-a-bug-out-kindle-a-digital-survival-library-at-your-fingertips/

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,

creek-stewart-survivalist

How To Disappear In The Wilderness: A Natural Camouflage Tutorial

I’ve been wanting to write this post for quite some time now but have been putting it off because it involves a certain level of commitment.  Finally, I decided to take a hit for TEAM WILLOW HAVEN (that’s you) and show you how effective natural ‘full body’ camouflage can be when done right.

creek-stewart-nat-camo

You never know when you might need natural camouflage.  Whether to escape and evade or to hunt and stalk, blending into the wilderness around you might be a necessary part of your survival scenario one day and it’s important that you understand the basics.  Luckily, the process is fool-proof – and – surprisingly fast.

THE BASE LAYER

It all starts with muddin’ up!  It goes without saying that this method of natural camo lends itself to warm weather scenarios.  This process also works much better on BARE SKIN.  I started the whole process by striping down to my skivvys and then scooped some goopy clay-mud mix from the edge of the pond.  There’s really no delicate way to do this – just smear it on!  I had to go Garden of Eden style in these shots with a Burdock leaf for the sake of decency.

creek-stewart-mud-torso

creek-stewart-mud-fce

creek-stewart-mud-full-body

Get it on nice and thick.  A thick, wet base layer is critical.  Once you’re all mudded up, the next step is pretty easy.

 

DUFF AND FOREST DEBRIS

Forest duff, debris and leaf litter cover the floor in every type of forest environment.  What better material to use than the stuff that exists naturally in the area that you’re in.  Just grab handfuls of forest debris and slap it all over your wet gooey base layer.  It will stick and as the mud dries, it will become cemented into place.  You can even roll on the ground.  You’ll be surprised what your fly-paper like body will pick up.

creek-stewart-face

 

creek-stewart-torso

 

creek-stewart-camo-smile

I know what you’re thinking – IT LOOKS ITCHY.  It’s NOT.  The mud layer protects your body from all of the little leaf and twig pricks that you imagine might be happening all over my body.  I am also impressed at how well this keep the mosquitoes at bay.  It’s certainly not 100 % effective but it does help.

NOW, DISAPPEAR

It’s amazing how quickly you can disappear using this simple 2 step natural camo method.  A few years back while giving natural camo a stab while hunting I actually had a squirrel run down the tree I was leaning against and eat a nut while sitting on my leg.  I kid you not.  I could tell he knew something wasn’t quite right but he had no idea he was sitting on a human!  It was an amazing experience and that squirrel was delicious (just kidding, I didn’t kill him).  And, yes, at that distance I could tell it was a ‘him’.

creek-stewart-natural-camo-face

 

creek-stewart-nat-camo-hollo9w-tree

 

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creek-stewart-natural-camo-laying

CONCLUSION

Next time you find yourself being chased by a PREDATOR from another planet, don’t forget what you learned here – GET NAKED, MUD UP & ROLL ON THE GROUND.  In less than 5 minutes you’ll be an unrecognizable fixture in the forest around you.

By the way, my skin feels amazing.  I think I’ll start charging for ‘Natural Camo Full Body Treatments’.

That’s it for now – more great survival tips to come.  Have an awesome week.  MAKE YOUR OWN LUCK!

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,

creek-stewart-survivalist

Baseball Bat Weapon Modifications: 6 Zombie Destroying Baseball Bats

NOTE:  These weapons are flat out dangerous and designed for entertainment purposes only.  Recreate at your own risk.

I’ve just finished a several week writing project that required way too much cerebral effort.  Quite frankly, my brain hurts.  After being trapped in front of a computer that long I normally feel like just going outside and blowing something up or burning through 1000 rounds of ammo as fast as humanly possible into my burning barrel.  Not this time though.  This time I fought the urge to be destructive and instead decided to do something constructive with my time, skills and energy.  Something that would make the world a better place.  Something, I decided, that would make my Mom and Dad proud.

So…I modified 6 baseball bats into Zombie killing death weapons.

If you’re the type of person that takes survival articles a little too seriously then you may want to skip this one because I’ll be the first to admit that it is absolutely ridiculous.  Sadly, though, I think I had more fun writing (and making) this post than about any other I’ve ever done – yes even more than the Ultimate Survival Shot Gun and The Swiss Army Survival Tampon.  Not sure what that says about me but it’s the truth.

So you wanna turn your Louisville Slugger into a weapon against the walking dead?  Below are 6 ideas to get you started.

Bat-chete

batchete-studio

I really wanted to make a version of the rusty spiked bat that everyone thinks of when they allow themselves to wonder about such things.  However, I wanted it to be different than anything I’d ever seen before.  What better way to make it different than to mount a machete to the end?  So that’s what I did.  A 12″ machete blade is bolted right into the end of the bat.  But that’s not it.  Just in case the machete blade doesn’t do the trick, eight massive steel spikes shroud the base for some extra collateral damage.  I topped it off with a cobra weave wrist lanyard because I don’t want an aggressive zombie running off with my bat just in case it gets stuck.  Batter up!

batchete-creek-stewart

batchete-2x4

batchete-peering

 

‘Tina

tina-studio

I call this one Tina for short.  Concertina wire, or popularly called razor wire, is some nasty stuff.  It’s like barbed wire except instead of barbs it’s lined with razors.  Typically reserved for warfare and to line the perimeter of maximum security prisons, I figured a nice nest of this stuff fence stapled around a baseball bat would be a pretty formidable zombie face smasher.  Geez, I cut my hands up wearing leather welding gloves just wrapping this ‘death wire’ around the bat.  I understand first hand why this stuff has such a bad reputation.  I remember watching prison break movies thinking, “I bet I could crawl over that razor wire.”  Well let me tell you, there ain’t no freakin’ way you’re crawling over this stuff.  Concertina wire was birthed in warfare and it gives off that eerie feeling when you look at and handle it.  If plants grow in hell I imagine they look like this stuff.  “Hey, zombie, I want you to meet someone.  Her name’s ‘Tina.”

tina-window

tina-creek-stewart-wilderness

The Flail

flail-studio

Oooouch!  With it’s roots in the Middle Ages, the Flail is absolutely barbaric.  I cut the last 6″ off a normal bat, connected it to a steel chain and then studded it with archery field target points.  This thing hurts just holding it in your hand.  These target points actually screw into studs that I mounted into the wood.  You could theoretically replace all of these field points with razor broad-heads if you wanted a spiked razor bat but the idea is to be able to replace damaged spikes ‘on-the-fly’ with a pocket full of extra points.  The spiral wrap paracord handle gives plenty of grip when the G’s from spinning try to rip it out of your hand.  The amount of momentum generated with just a couple rotations of the 5 pound spiked head is terrifying.  I think this weapon could actually elicit FEAR in ZOMBIES.  That’s how scary this thing is once it gets-a-spinnin’.  Home Run every time – guaranteed!

flail-spikes

flail-waist

flail-handle

Shard

glass-bat-studio

Look what you can do with a few busted bottles, some Liquid Nails adhesive, a L-ville Slugger and some demented creativity!  I should call this bat THE SHREDDER because that is what it would do to a zombie’s head, neck, face and chest with just one whack.  It’s a beautiful bat actually.  When the sun flickers through the colored glass it almost looks artistic and maybe a little magical.  I think the real magic of this bat, though, is it’s ability to make a zombie’s head completely disappear!

glass-bat-creek-stewart

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The Scorpion

scorpion-studio

This 4 sectioned bat gets ‘em going and coming.  The middle two sections are studded with razor sharp steel spikes.  These are for gripping and ripping.  I’ve mounted a custom piece of weaponry to the end of the ‘scorpion’s tail’.  I took the pick from an ice ax and mounted it to a custom made steel spike.  This then gets bolted through the bat – a deep penetrating spike on one side and a jagged ice ax head on the other – no venom necessary!  This piece is best used as a whip – similar to how a scorpion whips it’s tail into prey.  The SPIKE and YANK motion is sure to do the trick on any approaching zombie.

scorpion-spikes

scorpion-creek-stewart

scorpion-stinger

Silent Night Sucka’

silent-night-studio

I thought this triple deckered beauty resembled a Christmas tree when I first held it up so I’ve lovingly dubbed it Silent Night.  I thought that was an appropriate name seeing that’s exactly what will happen if you clock a zombie with it.  Silent Night Sucker.  Nothing like a good game of zombie tee-ball.  A spiral wrap paracord handle gives plenty of grip because I imagine this thing would get covered in zombie muck pretty quick.  The three circular saw blades are razor sharp and I can’t even imagine the damage they could inflict if swung with proper form.  Heck, forget form, it wouldn’t matter – just swing it any old way you want.  “Swing away, Merrill.  Merrill, swing away.”

silent-night-duct-tape

silent-night-silhouette

silent-night-handle-wrap

Conclusion

See, I told you I wanted to do something constructive and I’m positive the world is a better place now having seen these zombie death bats.  Whether or not my parents are proud is still to be determined…

What would your zombie death bat look like?  Have a great week!

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,

creek-stewart-survivalist

PS-  Several of these bats required some woodworking cuts, drilling and notches beyond my pay grade and skill level. I’d like to give a special THANK YOU to my Uncle Jerry who helped make the vision for some of these Zombie Death Bats a reality.

 

6 Strategies to Lighten Your Bug Out Bag

Is it time for BOB to go on a diet???

One very popular question I get is about Bug Out Bag weight.  Unfortunately, it’s never that there is TOO MUCH space left over in the pack.  I’m always ask for ideas about how to reduce pack weight and eliminate unnecessary items.  Below are 6 tips I’ve come up with for cutting weight from your BOB.  Hopefully, one will work for you or at least help you brainstorm a creative solution.  I’ve found that when you’re really getting serious about cutting Bug Out Bag weight then you must go through your pack one item at a time.  You can’t just look at your pack from across the room and hope to come up with weight saving ideas.  This needs to be a methodical and strategic process that involves deliberate thought and consideration about every single piece of kit in your BOB.  This is a perfect process for a rainy Sunday afternoon.

TIP #1: Trim the Food Fat

By this, I mean cut out everything that has to do with food except for 6 high calorie energy bars (I pack CLIF bars).  The average human can survive for 3 weeks without food and still have no ill effects to the body.  In fact, I read one time that the record human fast was 1 year.  That makes eating less during a 72 hour Bug Out seem more than possible!  I’m not suggesting not to eat at all during a Bug Out, I’m simply suggesting to cut out all the food related items that you don’t need and only pack high calorie energy bars.  Things to remove include stoves, fuel canisters/tabs, pots, pans, silverware, spices – EVERYTHING related to cooking and eating food.  This stuff is bulky, heavy and at the end of the day, unnecessary for a 72-hour Bug Out.  DATREX Rations are another compact calorie dense food option.

TIP # 2: Sleep System

combo

Let’s face it, sleeping bags are one of the bulkiest and heaviest items in our BOBs.  I’ve long experimented with ways to reduce weight and bulk in the sleeping department.  One solution I’ve discovered is to go with a lighter and smaller higher degree bag.  Some of the new 50 degree rated bags are only $30-$60 and pack down to about the size of a small melon.  This alone isn’t sufficient for cold weather Bug Outs.  A way to add about 20 degrees to a bag like this and drop it to a 30 degree bag is to combine it with a reflective emergency bivvy like the SOL Emergency Bivvy (combo seen above).  It’s certainly not as comfortable as a nice fluffy ZERO degree bag but it sure weighs a lot less and takes up a lot less space if you need to drop weight in your BOB.  You’ll probably notice some condensation in the bivvy but a couple shakes and a few minutes in open air and it dries out quick.

bivvy

 

TIP # 3: Every Ounce Counts

Take a lesson from ultra light weight backpackers who literally account for every ounce of weight in their pack and weigh it on a scale.  Their motto is “Every Ounce Counts” and if there’s a way to cut out an ounce they will find it.  Some strategies I’ve heard of are:

  • Trimming the edges from maps (I’m not kidding)
  • Cutting down the tooth brush handle
  • Using lighter weight ‘tooth powder’ instead of tooth paste
  • Trimming unnecessary pieces from packs such as removing the sternum strap if you don’t use it
  • Cutting tags out of cloths, sleeping bags and sacks
  • If your electronics use AA batteries then find replacements that don’t use batteries at all or that use lighter weight AAA instead
  • Use titanium where possible; pots, pans, mugs, bottles, stoves, utensils, tent stakes.  It’s expensive but it’s as light as it gets.
  • Put pills and medicines in zip-lock bags instead of prescription bottles
  • Drill holes in stuff.  Anything that you can drill a hole in without affecting function will cut weight.

Along these same lines, try to stay true to the Bug Out timeline of 72-hours.  Try to only pack what you need for that specific timeline.  If you’ve tossed in a roll of dental floss, consider measuring out what you need for three days instead.  Same goes for soap, deodorant, etc.  You may be able to cut down the portions for several items in your pack.  This will certainly reduce weight.

TIP # 4: Clothing Items

Extra clothing is a luxury, not a necessity.  From a hygiene standpoint you should only be concerned about an extra set of underwear, socks and t-shirt.  Consider the clothes you’re wearing when you leave the house to be your only set (so dress in weather appropriate clothing BEFORE evacuating).  Then, for the sake of hygiene, pack only one SKIVVY ROLL.  A military friend of mine introduced me to the phrase SKIVVY ROLL.  It’s a way of neatly folding your socks, underwear and t-shirt into a nice compact bundle.  Folded this way, these items are easy to pack and easy to find and pack down into a surprising small little bundle.  Below is a photo tutorial about how to make a SKIVVY ROLL.

skivvy-roll

TIP # 5: Replace Your Tent Shelter with a Tarp Shelter System

bob

I personally pack a lightweight backpacking tent in my BOB – actually strapped to the outside as you can see in the photo.  However, a tent is a luxury.  You can really cut weight if you decide to pack a couple sil-nylon tarps instead.  Of course, constructing a tarp shelter certainly takes more skill than assembling a tent.  This reduction in pack weight does come with sacrifices.  First, tarp shelters are not as good as tents – I don’t care how you set them up.  I’ve slept in both many, many times and I’ll always prefer a tent except for the occasional perfect 40 degree fall night in October.  Tarp shelters always have at least one open wall which allows for the entry of a variety of nuisances – moisture, insects, snow, light, smoke, etc.  Below is one of my favorite tarp configurations that I call THE WEDGE.  A tarp can be erected this way in under 1 minute and provides excellent protection from the elements.  NOTE:  Wind direction comes toward the back!

tarp

TIP # 6: Replace Gear with Knowledge

You’ve all heard it before: Knowledge weighs nothing.  But boy does it takes up time!  Some would rather pack the weight than spend the time.  

Knowledge takes time.  Some would rather pack the weight than spend the time.  -Creek Stewart

 However, the more you learn about shelter, water, fire and food, the less gear you’ll need to pack – period.  I’ve long been a fan of redundancy in the CORE FOUR Survival Needs: SHELTER, WATER, FIRE and FOOD.  I often recommend that people carry a back up fire starter, or a water filter or emergency shelter in addition to their tent but these redundant items become less necessary as your level of practice and experience increases.  Is there an area where you can replace weight with knowledge?

Yo, you gotta tip?

What have you guys done to cut weight in your BOB?  I’m sure there are some really creative ideas out there that others can learn from and implement as well.  Don’t be shy, do tell.

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,

creek-stewart-survivalist