You’re not going to believe what I do with this 2-liter bottle.

Just in case you missed the most recent episode of FAT GUYS IN THE WOODS, I had to write this blog post and show you a cool survival skill that I think you’ll really enjoy.  And, it’s a great way to source some awesome cordage in a pinch.  I call it the 2-Liter Bottle Cordage Jig.

2-liter-jig

Years ago I saw a video about how a small factory was recycling 2-liter bottles to make woven baskets.  They had a fancy electric powered piece of equipment that would allow an operator to feed in trash 2-liter bottles and it would strip them into long pieces of plastic that would then be coiled on a spool and used to weave baskets.

2-liter-trash

Trash 2-liter bottles (or similar) can be found all over the world, especially in coastal areas.  During our week filming FAT GUYS IN THE WOODS in the Florida Swamps I decided to create a primitive version of making cordage from 2-liter bottles using just my knife, my folding saw and a sapling stump.

2-liter-jig-knife

 

Below is a link to the YouTube video filmed for the show that I think you will find very educational.  It’s rare to find a survival skill that you’ve never seen before and I’m proud to bring one to you in this post!

!!!VIDEO LINK HERE!!!

Like I always say, survival is about using what you have to get what you need and this skill is a prime example of that philosophy.

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,

creek-stewart-survivalist

Improvised Tarp Boat

Summer is the time to practice summer survival skills.  Here’s a great one I think you’ll enjoy.  This one comes right from the pages of my latest book, Build the Perfect Bug Out Survival Skills.  This is a step-by-step photo series about how to build an improvised boat from a tarp!

Step 1: Lay your tarp flat on the ground.  This is a 9’x12′ tarp.

2-30

Step 2:  Pile pine boughs or leafy branches in a circle about 12″ tall.  This will be the diameter of your boat.  Leave at least 1′-2′ of tarp around the perimeter.

2-31

Step 3: Lay a gridwork of sturdy sticks (1″-2″ in diameter) on top of the circle.

2-32

Step 4: Pile another 12″ of green boughs on top, again in a circular pattern.

2-33

Step 5: Wrap the tarp around the circle and tie it to the gridwork of sticks.

2-34

Step 6:  Cross your fingers.

2-35

 

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,

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Follow me on INSTAGRAM @creekstewart.

Follow me on TWITTER @survivalcreek.

 

FAT GUYS IN THE WOODS: BLOG SKILL SERIES: Make an Improvised Bow Saw

In the first episode of Fat Guys in the Woods, we made an improvised Bow Saw using a bent sapling.  We then used this saw to help build shelters and process wood throughout the week.  This post provides a little more detail about this project.

First, about Bow Saws…

I love a good Bow Saw.  I actually prefer a Bow Saw over an ax.  A good Bow Saw can process an insane amount of wood in a short amount of time.  It’s safer to use than an ax, require less practice and takes far less energy.  It’s also much lighter.  My Bow Saw of choice is the Bahco 36″ model.  Here’s a photo below:

bahco-bow-saw

I’ll be the first to admit that they are bulky, especially the larger ones.  Luckily, the ‘BOW’ part of the Bow Saw can be improvised in the field using a flexible sapling if you just want to carry in the blade portion.  Below is how to do it.

Choosing the BOW.

I typically use either small saplings or branches that are about 3/4″ – 1″ in diameter.  I cut them about 6″ longer than my Bow Saw blade.  That’s typically pinky tip to thumb tip of my open hand with fingers spread.  They must be flexible.  They must also be GREEN wood.  No dead stuff.  I’ll often flex them around a large tree to break them in.  This really helps.

Next, split the end of each sapling in half about 3″ down.  The splits on each end must be aligned with each other.  They can’t be going in opposite directions.  This is necessary in order for the saw blade to be straight.

Key Rings/Wooden Peg Blade Attachment Options

Threading key rings onto each end of the Bow Saw blade in advance of your trip makes attaching an improvised sapling handle pretty easy.  All bow saw blades that I know of have holes in each end.  These holes are perfect attachment points for key rings.  Key rings can be purchased in the key making dept. of virtually any hardware store.

Start by inserting the end of the bow saw blade into one of the splits on the end of your sapling.  Fold the key ring over and around the sapling like shown below.  If your sapling is larger in diameter than the key ring then simple taper down the end with your knife so that it will fit.

key-ring-up-close

If you don’t have key rings, an appropriately sized wooden peg will also work.

peg-in-saw

Next, carefully bend the sapling and attach the blade in the same way to the other end.  Flexing the sapling around a tree really helps to ready the sapling for this step in the build.

bow-saw-profile

I’ll often tie some paracord around the blade and key ring for peace of mind but it isn’t necessary.  The entire build typically only takes 5-10 minutes and is a really fun bushcraft project.

bow-saw-in-log

CONCLUSION

Although not as robust as the metal store-bought versions, these improvised bow saws may surprise you.  I’ve been using one around Willow Haven for a couple years and it still works like a charm.  Besides, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of improvising and making tools in the field.

creek-stewart-bug-out-book

 

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,

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FAT GUYS IN THE WOODS: BLOG SKILL SERIES: Jam Knot

Remember these cool shelters that Joe, Opie, Zach and I built in the river valley?

shelter-circle

One very important part of building this shelter is the bed frame similar to what I’ve shown below. 3-4″ diameter logs are stacked log cabin style to build a frame that can contain bedding materials (leaves/boughs/branches/grass,etc) and help brace the arch-style roof.  The logs are lashed together using the JAM KNOT.  I love this knot and it’s one of the most useful outdoor knots I know and I’d like to use this opportunity to teach it to you.

bed-frame

I’ve never been a big fan of teaching knots with the written word or photos so I’ve filmed a short video where I describe how to tie it step-by-step.  Below is the embedded video and here is the link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQxPvWTT3PM

It’s such a simple knot to use and works perfect for bed frames to contain loose natural insulation.

creek-stewart-bug-out-book

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,

creek-stewart-survivalist

FAT GUYS IN THE WOODS: BLOG SKILL SERIES: Paracord Survival Net

survival-fish-net-close

One of my favorite skills of the entire 1st Season of FAT GUYS IN THE WOODS was when Zach, Opie, Joe and I made a paracord survival net and used it in conjunction with a hand built rock weir to catch fish in a Tennessee river valley.

Methods of catching fish similar to this have been around for centuries so I take no credit for the concept.  In fact, remnants of stone fishing weirs still exist all over the world today.  A “WEIR” is simply a word that mean an obstruction in the water to help guide the fish where you want them.

Below is a well preserved ancient stone weir in China (more info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-Heart_of_Stacked_Stones)  Pretty awesome, right?

ancient-w

photo credit: http://thescuttlefish.com/category/art/page/6/

Below is a less extravagant Native American stone weir in Wabash County, IN.  Stone weirs were literally used across the globe to funnel fish moving down stream into basket or nets, much like we did in the episode of FAT GUYS IN THE WOODS.

s-w-i

photo credit: http://americanindianshistory.blogspot.com/2013/05/native-american-fish-weirs.html

The Choke Point

Opie, Zach, Joe and I were able to find a perfect choke point in the river upstream from where we were camped to give this ancient time-tested method of catching fish an honest shot.  The river formed a natural choke point that allowed us to build a double layer stone weir with only a few hours of hard labor.  Stones were plentiful and readily available so it seemed like the perfect plan.

The Net

The plan was to funnel fish through the weir into a net – EXCEPT WE DIDN’T HAVE A NET.  The most time consuming part of this process was hand weaving our own net from scratch.  We did this using paracord.  Paracord is awesome stuff.  It has 7 inner stands that are perfect for net weaving.  These inner strands can be effortlessly pulled from the outer sheath – called GUTTING paracord.

paracord-7-strand

gutted-paracord

Once we ‘gutted’ some paracord, it was now time to start weaving the net.  It’s not difficult, but it is time-consuming!  We decided to make a circular shaped net that we could fit into the funnel portion of our weir.  I made the frame by wrapping a stout and flexible vine around itself in a circular shape.  I’ve made nets that are circular in shape and also ones that are long and flat.  The long and flat ones are gill-net style nets that are meant to be stretched across a stream or river.  These are much larger and more time consuming.

The knots I use are very simple.  The first knot, called a Lark’s Head, fastens the paracord strands to the frame.  You can see this knot in the photo below.

survival-dip-net-0

In the case of a circular dip net, these paracord strands are tied all the way around the frame about 1″ apart.  Below is a photo showing 3 strands fastened using a Lark’s Head knot.

survival-net-step-1

The next step is to tie (using a simple granny overhand knot) the inner strand of one hanging pair to the inner strand of the neighboring hanging pair and do this all the way around the frame.

survival-net-step-2

Once an entire circle has been made all the way around the frame you can move to the next row of knots, then the 3rd, etc…

survival-net-step-3

Below are some photos from one of my courses at Willow Haven Outdoor of students making both circular dip nets and flat gill nets.  These photos really help to illustrate the stages of net making.

Below, Lisa is working on her second row of overhand knots.

dip-net-survival-2

Below, Justin starts the 3rd row of a very ambitious gill net project!

flat-1

Kevin just finished his first row on his gill net.

IMG_2196 paracord-survival-fish-net

Lisa, just finishing the 1st step of tying all the strands on with Lark’s Head knots.

paracord-survival-net

Lisa, working her way around with overhand knots.

survival-dip-net-1

Lisa in the photos above made an awesome handled dip net that she left behind at Willow Haven.  (Lisa – I’m still hanging onto it your you !!!!)  Below are a couple photos of her finished dip net.

dip-net-survival-paracord

creek-edge-net

Here’s a shot of me working on our net during FAT GUYS IN THE WOODS.  Patience is NOT my best virtue and this skill is certainly an exercise in PATIENCE and DETAIL work.  Notice how we have suspended the net frame with paracord so that we can work all the way around while it is hanging.

creek-net

Below is a photo of Zach, Opie, Joe and I stacking our double layer stone weir.  Notice how each weir funnels the fish exactly where we want them to go in a DOWNSTREAM direction.

making-survival-weir

Below is a photo of the finished system for you to study.  The first weir is basically an insurance policy.  Only the 2nd weir has a net at the choke point.

double-weir

CONCLUSION

Hopefully these extra detailed photos and descriptions make this skill easier to understand and practice at home.  Like I said earlier, it’s not difficult but it is time consuming.  Expect to spend several hours weaving a dip net like we did on the show.  If you’re like me, you’ll be tempted to rush.  Resist the urge, as the quality of the net will suffer if you do.

 

creek-stewart-bug-out-book

 

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

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

 

creek-stewart-natural-camo-side-tree-2

 

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

nibw-survivalsnapshot-labels-small

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.

 

This belt could save your life! How to make a Paracord Every Day Carry (EDC) belt. by Anthony and Kelly Braun

NOTE:  This is a post written by Anthony and Kelly Braun.

After attending Creek’s Survival 101 course and a talk from him about Every Day Carry (EDC) I began looking at my EDC.  I wasn’t carrying much survival gear as my EDC, so I began investigating mini survival kits. I wanted to find something that I didn’t have to remember to grab every day and something unobtrusive that didn’t take up a lot of bulk in my pocket. The typical mint tin version was out. I wanted to create an EDC mini survival kit that I would easily remember and would not take up too much space. I had been making paracord bracelets for 6 months prior to taking Creek’s courses and found one particularly useful weave called the Ladder Rack or Trilobite. (Here is the video link to making the bracelet that I used.) A nice feature of this weave is that it has approx 2 feet of paracord per inch of bracelet. (The standard Cobra Knot has about 1 foot of cord per inch of bracelet.) Looking at that weave I envisioned trapping items inside the cavity of the weave for safe keeping. In order to accommodate everything I wanted, I realized I would need a longer area than a bracelet, so I thought; why not make it a belt? I wear one daily anyway, it doesn’t take up space in my pockets, and by making it this way no one would suspect I have an EDC survival kit with supplies to do many things.

Initial Thoughts

There are some drawbacks to this project, the first one being the belt sizing. It is not adjustable, so once it’s made significant weight gain or loss will cause you to have to make another belt. Second, it’s not quick-release to access supplies or use the paracord, as it takes some time to unweave the belt. (My first attempt took me 20 minutes to unwind) Third, specific items in the belt cannot be accessed individually, one would have to unweave the belt and get access to all the items. But once the belt is unraveled, it contains quite a few supplies that would greatly aid survival if I had nothing else and was stranded– I would be far ahead of the curve, at least.

If you have not seen the ladder rack weave or made a bracelet with it, I suggest you practice before attempting the belt. Learning the pattern without trying to hold extra items inside will make the construction much easier. I modified the weave a bit by adding an extra turn of cord down the length of the belt.   This added some width (and therefore more holding room for supplies), and added to the amount of paracord per inch of finished belt. Here is how I made my belt:

 

Supply list (and the use I foresee):

  • paracord 100ft (multiple uses including shelter)
  • whistle on buckle (rescue)
  • 3 snack size ziploc bags (water collection/carrying, keeping tinder dry)
  • condom (water carrying)
  • coffee filter (water filtration)
  • cotton PET ball (fire starting)
  • 30 in of jute twine (fire starting tinder)
  • 30in of military trip wire (snare making for food)
  • safety pin (quick repairs, spare fish hook, splinter removal)
  • 3 zip ties (attaching/lashing items, makeshift handcuffs)
  • 4 storm proof matches with striker (fire making)
  • 30 feet of fishing line with fishing hook (food)
  • camping wire saw (cutting wood for fire or shelter)
  • 20in of latex tubing (straw to get hard to reach water, tourniquet, slingshot for hunting)
  • flexible mirror (signaling)
  • 2 water purification tablets, individually wrapped
  • 1 electrolyte replacement tab (dehydration prevention)

full-supplies
There are many ways to modify this list and customize the belt.  Just remember that everything you add needs to be able to be stored in essentially a long thin tube.

The belt making process

I started with 100 feet of paracord, a buckle, and all the survival gear I wanted to include. This changed throughout the process, as some items just didn’t fit and others I had to eliminate when I ran out of space. The list above is my final supply list that actually went into the belt. As I mentioned above it’s a one size belt and not adjustable; so, I started with one of my current belts and used that for measurements. I measured out the 50 ft mark in my paracord and looped a hitch knot in one end of the buckle through it (I used the female end). The other end of the buckle I laid at my belt hole that I use to buckle my regular belt and ran both ends of the paracord through it. Instead of just bringing the ends back to the female end of the buckle and starting the weave like I would for a bracelet, I threaded them through the female end one more time and brought the two ends back up to the male end to start my weave there.

larks-head

 

looping-through

In the picture you can see there are four lines running between the 2 ends of the buckle. Then I brought the 2 loose ends back along the outside to the male end once more and started the knot to begin the weave.

two-buckles

first-knot

weave-beginning

 

Here is the starting knot pulled tight. If you are not careful it is easy for the length of the whole belt to change while tightening the first knot. I had to remeasure it frequently and keep tweaking it to keep the same length. Once you get a few rounds of the weave  down, the length holds tight and its no longer an issue.

weave-start-1

weave-start

Also, at this point I did a few other things to make it easier to do the weave with such a large amount of cord:

First, I baled each length of cord into about 8 inch loops and secured them so I was just weaving with bundle instead of the entire length of cord (which would just knot up). For the majority of the belt there is plenty of slack and it works great. If you get to the end and have a large bale left you will need to undo it and just thread the cord as a single strand.

coil

Then I also took some tape and secured the four inner cords just to keep them lined up so they didn’t become twisted during the weaving process.

tape

Then the final thing I did to help identify the lines and keep them straight (but also to secure materials for the kit) was to wrap the jute  around one of the outer cords. I secured this with an overhand knot at each end and wrapped the snare wire around the other side.

jute-wire

Here are the items ready to start weaving the in the belt.  I wrapped each stormproof match in aluminum foil then secured that to the camp saw. I did the same for the fishing line. I did this to keep the small items from moving around and possibly falling out of the belt (or stabbing me in the back) and also to cover the saw so it didn’t wear through the paracord wrapped around it. I stored the condom in one of the ziploc bags rolling it lengthwise. I also folded and secured the coffee filter in another ziploc bag, and the PET cotton ball in a third. I took each one of the  zip ties and rolled one of the ziploc bags around it.

supplies

Basically I just laid the items on top of the 4 strands of the cord through the middle of the belt and wove around it. I had to overlap some of the items  lengthwise so they fit but I tried to even everything out so it didn’t make the belt too stiff in some parts and flimsy in others.

interior

Above is the belt in process. I didn’t worry too much about getting everything tight and even at the beginning. I just wove the belt so everything was trapped in it then afterwards went back through and tightened everything up starting at the far end working down toward the end where the unsecured lines were. I tightened 2 rows at a time so it was easier to keep track of which part I needed to pull on next to tighten.

end

The initially completed belt is seen above. Then below is the belt in process of it being pulled tight. As you can see there was significant slop in the initially completed belt. I only had about one foot of cord left when I first finished.  After tightening the entire belt I ended up with about 9 feet extra on each piece. All that is left is to finish the belt by your preferred finishing method– either by cutting off and melting the ends or using fibs to tuck a length of cord back into a half dozen or so weaves.

tails

 

Here is the finished product.

finished-belt

One final piece I added was the 2 metal key rings that came with the camp saw about 6 inches from either end. That places them right about where my hands fall. I use them for clipping carabiners and carrying additional items.

metal-ring

 

Final thoughts/ Re-evaluation

The belt did end up being a little tight around my waist, as  I forgot to take into account how thick the tubing (along with everything else layered in there) would end up. When I make my next one, I will probably try to add a half inch to the initial length of the belt. The other thing I was considering was using a flat rubber tourniquet in place of the tubing. I would then lose the straw capabilities but would decrease the belt’s bulk significantly. Another thing that could possibly be used would be flat surgical tubing (sometimes called a Penrose drain). This could be used for the straw purpose but would be kind of like sucking the end of a freezer pop. But this  would make a good tourniquet and slingshot. Also, I put all the items on what would be the inside of the belt but some of the aluminum foil shifted and ended up on the front surface, and it is now somewhat visible.   This is not a huge problem but it brings attention to the fact that this is not just a belt but something more. I would like to deaden the reflection somehow. Another area to change might be the buckle itself.  I have seen different belt buckles for sale that have had a small compartment to store items (the water tabs?) or one that has a compass on it. I happened to have whistle buckles around so I used one of them.

So, what do you think? Feel free to comment on ways to improve or other ideas this might spark for you.

Creek’s Additional Comments

First, that is amazing that you guys were able to get those supplies (and paracord) into a compact, nondescript belt.  That is a full blown survival kit!  I love it when people push the limits of creativity when it comes to carrying basic survival supplies on their person.  History reports time and time again (almost every week) that victims of sudden and unexpected survival scenarios could dramatically benefit from very simple survival supplies like the ones you’ve included in this EDC belt.  I wear a belt every single day and it’s the perfect clothing item to modify in such a way.  After reading this post, I’m only left with one question: WHEN CAN I BUY ONE?????

NOTE:  This is a post written by Anthony and Kelly Braun.

6 Trees Every Survivalist Should Know & Why

Now is a good time to go out and flag the following six trees before the leaves drop (except the pine).  Revisit them in the winter and learn how to ID them by the bark alone.  Then again in the Spring with the buds and new leaves.

 

White birch (paper birch)

birch

White birch is easy to identify with its distinctive, white, papery bark. The sycamore tree also has white bark, but it does not sluff off in thin, paper-like furls like the white birch. The sycamore also has large hand-shaped leaves versus the white birch’s smaller, oval-shaped leaves with a pointed tip. The birch leaf is also irregularly toothed.  These grow almost exclusively in northern climates.

birch-leaf

White birch survival uses:

  • Sweet drinkable sap that does not need purification
  • Containers can be fashioned from the bark (and even canoes – hence the name “canoe birch”)
  • It’s papery bark makes some of the finest fire starting tender on the planet, which will light even when damp because of its resinous quality
  • A fine tea can be made from the small twigs at the end of a branch or by shaving the bark from new growth. Toss a palmful of these elements into boiling water for a fresh, wintergreen-flavored tea
  • The tinder fungus (chaga) grows almost exclusively on the white birch tree. The fungus is one of the only natural materials I know of that will take the spark from flint and steel. A piece of tinder fungus along with flint and pyrite to create sparks were even found on Otzi, the “iceman” who was uncovered in the Austrian Alps several years ago.
  • Pine tar can be extracted from the bark of the white birch by heating it over a fire.  Pine tar makes an excellent natural adhesive which natives used for all kinds of purposes including securing stone points on arrows.

American Basswood

basswood

The American basswood (also called American linden) is a very common tree – especially in the Eastern U.S. It prefers moist soil and is often found by creeks, streams and ponds. It likes to grow several shoots from the base so it’s not uncommon to see the basswood growing in what appears to be clumps. Basswood trees have large, heart-shaped, coarsely toothed leaves and dark red young leaf buds. One of the most distinctive features of the basswood is what I call the “tongue.” A tongue-shaped leaf grows at the base of the regular heart-shaped leaves on mature trees. Hard, little, nut-like fruits dangle from the center of this “tongue” leaf throughout the summer.

basswood-cord

Basswood survival uses:

  • Delicious edible leaves – especially in spring
  • “Bass” comes from the word “bast,” which is an old word for rope. The inner fibers from the Basswood make some of the best natural cordage on the planet.  In my last course, 2 adult men could not break a 1/2″ thick strip of basswood bark.
  • Basswood is my favorite wood to use in fire by friction sets. It is soft and makes a perfect friction fire wood for bow drill spindles and hearthboards and for hand drill hearthboards.
  • Basswood is preferred by most wood carvers and chainsaw carvers because of how easy it is to work and carve
  • Inner bark layer is edible and can be scraped off with the edge of your knife. It has a very sweet flavor.

basswood-cordage

White Pine

pine-tree

The leaves of the White Pine grow in batches of 5 needles. Every fall the white pine loses all of its needles except those that grew that year. Pine is an evergreen. Evergreen trees keep some green leaves year-round, unlike deciduous trees, and have needle-like leaves. They also produce cones (pine cones) instead of flowers.

pine-needle

White pine survival uses:

  • Resin can be used a fire extender when mixed with tinder material
  • Resin can be heated and mixed with crushed charcoal to make a natural epoxy
  • Resin-rich joints and stump pieces make incredible fire kindling
  • Make pine-needle tea from the green pine needles – very rich in Vitamin C
  • Inner bark layers are edible
  • Harvest pine nuts from the pine cones
  • Pine needles make excellent fire tinder
  • Pine needles make excellent natural insulation material for debris huts and survival shelters
  • Green pine boughs are perfect for lean-to shelter roofs
  • Green pine boughs are great for making a ‘pine bough bed’ to protect from the cold ground or snow
  • The lower, dry, dead branches of the pine tree (squaw wood) is often some of the driest fire kindling available. It is exposed to the wind and also protected from the elements by the year-round needle canopy above,  I’ve also used these branches for making bow drill fire friction sets.
  • Very effective candles and lamps can be made from pine resin
  • Pine resin can be used to waterproof seams in clothing or crude containers
  • The very pliable surface layer roots make excellent (and strong) natural cordage. Use as a whole or split into smaller pieces.

White Oak (and all oaks in general)

oak

White oaks have rounded leaf lobes instead of pointed ones like red oaks. Contrary to popular belief, acorns are edible. I like white oak acorns better because it seems they are less bitter and it takes less effort to leach out the tannic acid (which causes this bitterness) to become more palatable. An abundance of acorns in mid-summer makes the oak family almost impossible to misidentify. Oaks are some of the largest trees in the forest. I have many white oaks at Willow Haven that are over 100 feet tall and easily 3-4 feet in diameter.

White oak survival uses:

  • Acorns (after leaching out the tannic acid) can be ground and used as flour to make acorn bread
  • Tannic acid (which can be extracted by boiling or leaching acorns and/or inner oak bark and twigs) is anti-bacterial. I’ve used it as an antiseptic wash before and have heard of it being used to quell diarrhea.
  • Acorns can be used a trap bait for squirrel and other small game animals
  • Can tan leather using the tannic acid found in bark, acorns and wood
  • Oak is a very hard wood that is good for ax handles, digging sticks and shelter frameworks
  • When dried, the white oak flowers make suitable tinder bundles and can be found in great abundance certain times of the year

Sugar Maple (and pretty much all maples)

maple

The sugar maple is one of my favorite trees and probably one of the most popular in the Eastern woodlands. Its beauty is on full display when the leaves change each fall into bursts of red, orange and yellow. The leaves usually have five lobes, and the tips are pointed. Young maples have smooth silvery bark. The unmistakable, “winged helicopter” seeds are a tell-tale maple tree indicator. Sugar maple is the source for maple syrup. This tree is preferred because its sap has high sugar content. It takes 40 gallons of sugar maple sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup.

maple-tap-bucket

Sugar maple survival uses:

  • In later winter/early spring when the sap is running, the sugar maple is an excellent source of drinkable water (sap) that needs no purification. Maple Sap is nature’s version of an energy drink – rich in sugar and nutrients. I’ve filled a 1-liter canteen in as few as 15 minutes before.  Maples don’t have fully developed (or any) leaves during this time of year – hence the important of 4 season identification.
  • The seeds inside the little helicopters are edible, just like edamame. I just boil them and lightly salt. They can also be fried or added to stews. Remove the outer helicopter.
  • I almost always use maple branches for wilderness cooking. Whether it’s a spit roast, a hot dog stick or utensils, I can always find a maple branch suitable for the task. Maple branches naturally have a lot of forks, which is great for pot holders and other wilderness kitchen uses.  I also use the leaves to wrap fish or other small game animals when cooling in an earth oven.
  • Young maple leaves are also edible. Toss them into a salad or boil them down with other spring greens. They get bitter and rough as they mature.

Willow Tree

willow

There are tons of different willow varieties. Every willow I’ve seen has a similar leaf shape. The leaves are narrow, lance-shaped and grow in great numbers along the branches. Willows must be in moist areas to survive. If you’ve found a willow, then there is a water source nearby.

willow-up-close

Willow survival uses:

  • Willow bark contains a chemical called salicin, which is similar to aspirin. I can personally attest to its effectiveness in relieving headaches and inflammation. Just chew on a few small green twigs and swallow the juices.
  • In spring and summer, willow bark will peel away from the wood and makes excellent cordage that can be used for a huge variety of tasks.
  • Young willow branches and saplings are very flexible and can be used to weave a variety of different baskets and funnel traps.
  • I’ve used dried willow wood on many occasions for friction fire sets – both hand drill and bow drill
  • Willow saplings make excellent frog and fish gigs. Just split the base into 4 equal sections, press a rock to the bottom of the splits and sharpen the tines.

Feel free to list other uses for these trees that I may have overlooked in the comments below!

Remember, it’s not IF, but WHEN.

Creek's new survival fiction novel, RUGOSA, now available on Amazon.com!