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A few tips on what to do to avoid getting lost in the wilderness, and how you can enhance your chances of survival if you do.
It doesn’t take a major disaster to erupt for someone to become disoriented and get lost in less-traveled areas. A leisurely hike or even a weekend trip can take an unexpected turn in a blink of an eye if you get distracted (or overly adventurous) and lose your way. Here’s a little gem of wisdom that may save you from getting mired in a survival situation. Whether you’re going on a short walk or are forced to abandon your encampment, it’s a good idea to inform someone where you are going, what route and direction you’ll take and approximately how long you estimate you’ll be gone for. When you travel, make it a practice to be aware of your surroundings and take mental notes of indicators such as major landmarks before and during your trip. If you have a paper map or GPS device, check your landmark observations against them to understand where you are in relation to your objective and starting locations. Like Hansel (Gretel’s, not Zoolander’s), it’s a good idea to leave markers along the way so that you can find your way back to where you started – just don’t leave breadcrumbs. If it’s safe enough, you can make your way back to your starting point by following the trail of markers you already made. Many of us remember that sinking feeling we felt as children when we wandered away from our parents at the supermarket and looked up to find them missing. Understanding proper survival methods and skills, contingency plans and the use of essential tools can empower us so that we can push fear out of our minds and stay focused on the task of survival. You have heard the stories, hikers, snowmobilers or hunters lost and rescue personnel are conducting a search. You have been over the same trail several times thus; you assume it is impossible to become lost, so in your mind there is no point in taking a compass or map, or to carry any more supplies than what is needed for a few hours. Hunters, hikers and others have been found just a few miles from civilization, a distance you could walk in less than an hour if you knew in which direction to walk. Food is not your biggest concern initially; shelter, water and fire are your priorities in the short-term. If you know or suspect no one back home will ever report, you missing you will have to self-rescue. Make your shelter so it adequate for at least three to five days, keep a fire going for signaling, and start collecting and purifying a water source whether you have a supply of water or not. If you are in a heavily wooded area, find the highest point and safely build and maintain a signal fire. Practice shelter building and fire starting in a controlled environment so you can learn from your mistakes.
Native Indians of South America used this root to make a black juice called Cassareep that preserves meat for long periods of time. When we think of the Wild West we often think of the old films with John Wayne or Clint Eastwood. Invented by the natives of North America, pemmican was used by Indian scouts as well as early western explorers.
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When my assistant and I came up with the idea for this article, we didn’t exactly have a goal in mind BUT we knew what we wouldn’t be able to do, Gather all the survival and preparedness knowledge in a single post. That’s just impossible since the knowledge about survival and all its aspects is simply huge. Don’t forget to prepare your pets and farm animals for all the SHTF scenarios. Post-disaster, you’ll need them even more than you do now. Don’t overload your bug-out bag as it’s going to be a pain to carry it on your back for miles on end.
If you’re taken prisoner and they’re trying to tie you in one way or another, contract your muscles as much as possible so the ties are, in fact, loose… allowing you to escape.
Make sure you have a safe room and if possible, a means of escape from it in case you’ve got attackers on the other side of the door, trying to get in. These three old lessons will ensure your children will be well fed when others are rummaging through garbage bins.
Freeze-dried foods have great shelf life and are lightweight but will require water to cook.
White rice has a greater shelf-life than brown, even though brown rice is considered healthier due to the fact that is less processed and has more nutrients. Veggies such as carrots, horseradish, turnips, and cabbage can be left in the ground during winter, as long as you cover them with dry leaves or straw. Keep your stockpile in a cool, dry place, away from sunlight with low humidity and hidden from everyone.
Unconventional places to hide your food and water include in fake air vents, inside trash cans, inside Pringle’s cans, in fake pipes, in PVC pipes buried underground, inside trees, inside barns, inside wells, in abandoned cars, inside pots and pans you don’t use, and in your garage. Frozen food is great as long as you have enough space in your refrigerator or freezer but it becomes a problem in a grid-down situation. Don’t forget to stockpile things to help you open, cook, and consume your food: can openers, cooking pots, stoves, spoons, forks, etc.
Label all your food with what’s in it, the date it was canned, and the estimated expiration date.
Well water has benign bacteria in it that will metabolize sulfate minerals once you store it. If water is scarce, avoid sweating, drinking diuretics, too much effort, and get enough sleep to limit your body’s water consumption. Make sure your house number is clearly visible from the street to allow the police to quickly find it in times of emergency. Get light activation systems for your porch and back yard that turn on and off at certain intervals.
Don’t put a sticker on your window that tells the burglar exactly which type of alarm system you have installed. Cooking and burning trash could easily attract unwanted attention. Eat canned food and find alternate ways to get rid of your garbage.
If you’re still stuck in a city when the store shelves are empty, lakes, ponds and other body of waters are the first places to look for food.
Take a secondary route out of the city as fast as you can before they all get clogged or blocked by police or military. Have good tinder when starting a fire: straws, vaseline-soaked cotton balls, even a deck of cards, can make good tinder. If you Bic lighter runs out of fuel, it will still spark so you can use it to light your char cloth. If your Bic lighter doesn’t spark anymore, make sure you salvage the flint to be used as a firestarter. In most cases, it’s better to bug-out, even if that means leaving your home and your valuables behind.
Think about and practice bugging out during the night. It may or may not be the best choice when disaster hits but it’s necessary to be ready and ok with the possibility.
Avoid low-lying areas, river valleys, and keep all your body parts covered when running away from a volcanic eruption.
A continuous roar, whirling dust, and a low cloud or a torrential rain followed by complete calm, bright flashes near the ground, these are all signs of a tornado. To anticipate where a tornado is heading, pick a point really close to it (preferably right in front of) and notice where it’s heading relative to it.
In case of a house fire, as you’re evacuating, close the door behind you to slow down the speed with which it spreads. Never hide near a heavy refrigerator during a tornado, earthquake, or hurricane, it can fall on you and kill you.
Stockpile sunscreens and moisturizer cream if you think you’re going to spend a lot of time in the sun when bugging out.
HAM radios are great for communicating with people across the Globe but you may need a license to own one.
Whenever you find yourself having to do a large task, break it down into smaller ones and do them one by one. The only way to master fear is to understand that it exists and admit that it’s something you can’t fully eradicate. Always carry and know how to make from scratch alternative survival weaponssuch as boomerangs, bows, slings, spears, air guns, paintball guns, axes, machetes, swords, and bayonets. Whatever the attacker demands of you, say “no” and make it difficult for him to get it from you.
When you attack someone for self-defense, always aim for the eye, ears, throat, and cheeks. A lot of everyday items can be used as “part-time weapons” such as your car keys, a coffee mug, a pencil, a stapler, a comb, a bandanna, a scarf, a large vase, and even a lollipop!
Keep a weapon near the door so you can use it when you answer the door and you find yourself face-to-face with someone who’s trying to rob you… or worse! If you have pepper spray in your car, make sure it never gets exposed to temperatures of over 120 degrees to avoid leakage and explosion. Ash is great not only to keep bugs away from your garden but also as a fertilizer if the pH of your soil is over 7. By the way, in 1900s these cigarette packs came with a set of illustrations that depicted the hard life of a cowboy in the Wild West and a few tricks that made their life easier and a lot more enjoyable. The frontiers people who came to the western states looking for a new life, had to be hardy folk, who had the skills to take care of themselves with little resources and scarce food availability. Maybe we can all take advantage of their wisdom, and learn how to cope with a new life after SHTF. The weapon of choice of those old westerners was the Colt .45 six-shooter because they could carry it in their belt and it was easy to use. Life was hard in those days, if you had cattle, you had something other people wanted and you had to be prepared to protect that asset. Another weapon of choice was the Winchester model 73, also known as the gun that ‘Won the Wild West’. The famous American Poet, Robert Frost, in his poem ‘ Mending Wall’, said that,  “good fences, make good neighbors”.
As land rights started to enter the arena, around the latter part of the 19th century, fences started to be erected.
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Homesteaders would go around cutting the barbed wire the ranchers had used to designate their land, to try and push it back into the public pot.
Buffalo ranged the North American plains in their millions before the West became fully settled. Once the settlers arrived they too hunted the buffalo, but they didn’t make use of the animal in the same way.

If the legal system let the ranchers down, then they would resort to forming vigilante gangs.
One account near Fort Griffin in Texas tells of a vigilante group who caught a man ‘in the act’ of stealing horses.
The weapons of choice were the Colt .45 revolver for shorter ranges and easy shooting, but for longer ranges, the Winchester was his preferred piece. The best steeds were those that knew when to keep still, to let their rider take a clear shot.
The cowboy would use a gentle pat on the horses steer, or move his knee into the horse’s side to indicate it was time to keep very still. Antelope are hard to hunt as they have excellent vision and are well camouflaged against the flats that they wander through. Affairs of the heart are an exciting and important part of any young person’s life and cowboys are no exception. Having a wife and partner who can play an active role in the life of the ranch is something that good cowboys seek out at some stage or other. Courtship for cowboys was a mutual affair, if the man wasn’t right, the girl would make sure he knew. And likewise, the woman would need the necessary personality and skills to take up life on the ranch.
Often the girls would have been brought up on the ranch and so would already know the hired hands or ‘cowpunchers’ well and would have a good idea of who would make good husband material. Being a cowboy wasn’t just a job, it was a way of life and anyone entering that lifestyle had to be of the same mind.
The life of a rancher’s wife was remote and often hard, as their husband built up his business and herded cattle across many miles of land. They had to spend many a night sleeping in the outdoors, under the stars; no tents were used – if it rained, the cowpuncher got wet. Cowpunchers were a hardy lot and knew what it was like to go without sleep whilst on the trail. During those two hours they would ride amongst the herd, singing quietly to the cattle to let them know they were being watched over, the songs were gentle to prevent the herd from bolting if startled, but to let them know that the rider was there. Sleep for the cowpuncher was intermittent and short and cowpunchers were known to rub tobacco in their eyes to keep awake.
Cowpunchers would use tricks like driving the herd into a tight grouping, making them feel more secure. The men had to have stamina to do this as it may take them all night to pull the herd together again.
The horse needed to be mature, because of the work it was expected to do, such as carry a rider for days on end.
However, when the first settlers got there they found it was in fact the homeland of Native Americans. Cowboys lived through these violent times and when they rode out with the herd they literally took their life into their own hands. Food during the earlier days of the Wild West, before the railroads opened up trade, could be monotonous.
Provisions such as coffee, sugar and flour were scarce and stocked up on, when the opportunity arose. For fresh vegetables they would have to forage for fresh berries, wild fruit and other green edibles and roots. It meant that the calves, as they grew up, retained this mark (symbol) and could freely move across the range, yet be easily identified when it was time to be taken to market.
The task of rounding up, that is bringing together perhaps thousands of cattle was a mammoth one and needed highly skilled men to do that work. In the early days of the Wild West, early Texan settlers would hire ‘Vaqueros’ who were skilled horseman, used to driving wild cattle to market.
The Vaqueros had strength, agility and they understood how cattle moved and could be controlled. Texas had a large number of cattle after the American Civil War and these cattle were sold at higher prices in places that had a scarcity of meats such as those in eastern and northern states. These women soon learned how to make the most of scraps of food, when the meat ran out, they’d make soup from the bones and left over scraps. The women of the West as well as being the persons who cleaned and cooked, were also doctor and nurse. Lasso is a word of Spanish origin, but the Westerner called it a “rope” and the people in Southwest called it a “reata”. Rawhide was snipped into strips and then half-tanned with the hair. The knot is so easy that once you learn it you’ll never forget it.
Claude Davis is an old-western history expert who most of his life learned and preserved the true values and skills of our great grandfathers.
Survival tips and hacks have been around for centuries, and, in most cases, are mere fragments of information passed down through generations.
And whether we’re solving problems in the home, or problems concerning health, we all want to be prepared at all times, and to have a list of tried-and-true tricks ready in our heads.
The New York Public Library has an incredible digital collection of antique materials and prints, featuring artifacts like photographs, manuscripts, and maps. But below, we share with you one of its most amazing archives— a list of ingenious life hacks that have survived from the 1900s, once supplied in cigarette packs!
These life tips were once printed on “cigarette cards,” which were once found inside cigarette packs. Scroll further to go through the incredible lost survival hacks from the 1900s, and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
You might even find yourself off-course on a day hike in a backwoods forest or even broken down a few miles off an unfamiliar, desolate road. A minor case of going astray can mean as little as getting home for dinner late, but in extreme cases, it can quickly turn into a struggle for survival.
Basic survival tools such as a knife, flashlight, a quick and reliable method of making fire, compass, map, water, food bar, emergency blanket and a warm layer of clothes are good things to have handy. Keep your eyes out for hills, mountains, uncommon features on the skyline and land contours, bodies of water, or even unique trees.
On foot, you should do this about every 10 to 15 minutes, but depending on your method of motivation and speed, you might need to compare your observations more often.
Knowing what you can and must do to survive keeps you on your plan, greatly improving your chances of survival.
By adapting the habits outlined in this article, you’ll give yourself a good chance to stay on track, even off the beaten path. Every pack should have the basics for survival, which are shelter, water, fire and nutrition. Practically speaking you cannot carry anymore than three days’ worth of water and food so you must have the means to collect and purify a water source wherever you might be. You are lost which means you do not know which way to go, so thrashing about will only get you hurt, burn energy and cause you to drink more water. You want the smoke to be seen by rescue personnel or others that are in a watercraft, aircraft or searching on foot along the shoreline. They run from tree to bush thinking the trail or camp is just ahead and soon find themselves exhausted, possibly hurt and even more confused.
Know how water purification tablets work and make sure you follow the directions carefully.
The ideas expressed on this site are solely the opinions of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the opinions of sponsors or firms affiliated with the author(s). Talk to them about small-scale disasters first, preferably about the ones that have already happened in your region or town. Earthquakes have aftershocks, hurricanes bring floods, Martial Law will bring gangs and rioters who will rebel against it.
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This way, when you’re bugging out in a hurry and you can only grab one bucket of food to take with you in your car, you’ll end up having a variety of foods instead of just one. This will make it seem like someone’s at home and they’re better than the ones that just stay on all night. There’s still plenty of it inside the earth and your cellar is going to get flooded a second time. The people outside can either wait until you run out of food and water or they can smoke you out if they discover where the ventilation system ends. They’d sit out under the stars, eating beans from a can and chewing tobacco or smoking a cigar. In the old days of the West, a cowboy needed a handy weapon, one he could carry around easily and that would be multi-purpose, for controlling his cattle and protecting him from ‘ cattle rustlers’. In the early days of the Wild West, keeping your ranch fence intact wasn’t an issue because fences were only used within the context of a coral; the cattle roamed freely across the plains. In 1862, homesteaders were given the right to 65 hectares of land if they agreed to live on it and improve it. Ranchers would have to go around the circumference of their land and fix any broken fences to retain their ownership rights. During this time buffalo were hunted by the Native Americans every part of the animal being used for something.
They were such a popular food source that by the end of the 19th century, they ended up being hunted to almost extinction, with only 300 individuals in the wild by 1900 – something that has happened to many species throughout human history. So if a horse was stolen, this was seen as a massive crime, certainly in the league of murder and could result in certain states in delivery of the death sentence. They hung him, there and then, leaving a shovel underneath the body in case someone wanted to dig a grave. Because of this, cowboys would sometimes wait until they had established their ranch before embarking on courtship, instead bringing their new wife into a more settled ranch. Their camp was basic and they camped wherever they could find a suitable spot, but some would sleep in the saddle.
Each person in the outfit had to guard for two hours through the night, to protect the horses and cattle against rustlers and predators. But they were good-natured folk and would hand out the cigarettes and often sing a song like ‘Little Black Bull’ for entertainment, or tell tales of their lives. More modern horse handing techniques have come into play and the idea of a ‘horse whisperer’ is someone who can teach a horse to handle a rider without any harsh techniques, but by using systematic methods that train the horse to perform certain actions based on simple commands. To try and alleviate the problem, the government formed reservations for the Native Americans.
Even fully armed with their trusty Winchester, a lone cowboy was easy game and the Native Americans armory, included powerful short bows to bring you down, and ball-headed war clubs and tomahawk axes to finish you off. Vegetables, like beans, were often out of a can, the meat variety was limited, squirrel being an alternative to the usual buffalo.

The cowboy and girl would need to use preservation techniques, like salting, pickling or dehydration to keep food over the winter. They could then add some extra pizazz to their meals and keep the rest of the meat using one of the preserving techniques.
As they roamed pretty much freely, the rancher needed a way to recognize their own cattle from another’s. Neighbors would recognize a brand and if they caught a rustler, even if it were neighbor’s cattle being stolen, they would catch the rustler and ‘string him up’.
The cowpunchers would find a mother and calf, separate them form the herd and then lasso the calf. The settlers soon learned the ways of the Vaqueros and became just as skilled in the management and rounding up of large herds of cattle. Between 1865-1880 there were around 10 million cattle herded by cowboys in Texas up to Kansas.
This meant that the horses too, had to be highly trained as the cowboy relied totally on their working to his commands. Cowboys often had several steers that would be used throughout the round up, as the drives were long and arduous and horses needed to rest up. A woman, who accompanied her husband on the long arduous trip to settle land, had to be as hardy as her husband. We’ve all heard of ‘Calamity Jane’ the frontierswoman and scout, but most women of the Wild West led much simpler lives. Women of the Wild West had to learn quickly how to survive and they were taught to ride from being a young girl.
The women would also be the gatherers and occasionally the hunters too, of small animals, like mice and rabbits.
In his video, The Lost Ways, he unravels 3 pioneer forgotten lessons that anyone should learn. Customers could collect and trade these unique and interesting little cards — and now, they’ve been digitized for our enjoyment!
What you do to prepare for such an occurrence can mean the difference between life and death (we’ll always opt for the former). Become accustomed to doing this even if you are in familiar territory and only going out for a short time. An average hiker can move at about two-and-a-half to four miles per hour depending on the terrain and load being carried.
It’s okay, we figured that between narrowly escaping that hungry mountain lion and avoiding a fall into a ravine, you are already ahead of the curve by managing to stay alive. Because you’re always prepared, you should have some survival tools on you, have made a trail of markers to follow back and let someone know when to expect you back home.
If you get too anxious or impatient to find your way back, you might take too many needless risks.
We may have grown up a lot since then, but becoming lost as an adult now may revive many of the same emotions that we felt as children, only on a greater level. But disproportionate amounts of fear can also lead to improper and sometimes dangerous decisions.
Hikers many times set out thinking they are only going to be gone for a few hours and thus had only prepared for a few hours. People literally walk in circles when they become lost and can wander for miles in a circle using up valuable energy and becoming even more dehydrated.
Shelter in place and make sure you have a shelter up and a fire going before dark, regardless of the weather. Always take advantage of all water sources whether you need the water or not at the moment.
If the fire is high enough the flames may be spotted at night but typically rescue operations cease at dark and start again at daylight, but others in the area may spot the flames at night.
The author may or may not have a financial interest in any company or advertiser referenced. To give you a huge collection of some of the most overlooked survival tips that would appeal to the novice as much as to the seasoned prepper. Tricks like breaking off the handle of your toothbrush, making holes in some of the containers inside your BOB, using AAA batteries instead of AAs, carrying freeze-dried foods instead of canned food, and removing non-essential items, are going to reduce the weight of your backpack. Either stop the electricity source or use a wooden stick to push the person away from the current. As well as rustlers, cowboys, especially those who lived in the southwest, also had to protect their ranch, cattle and families from other hostile elements, including Native Americans.
As the land became broken up and given to the new homesteaders, the competition for land increased and existing ownership had to be protected. The bones for knives, arrowheads and even dice, the fat used to make soap and to cook with and even buffalo dung could be used for fuel. It was often believed that the horse rustlers were from ethnic groups like Mexican or Native American. The action of the ranchers in protecting their most valued resource, the horse, was seen as natural justice.
Having a wife who understood how to help run that ranch was an important part of that dream. They were a band of brothers who relied on each other for protection and entertainment and kinship. Anything can set off a bad reaction in the cattle herd, which could result in the serious injury of a cowpuncher or rancher. Nighttime was a dangerous time, the bark of a coyote, or a sudden thunderclap and the herd could stampede in seconds; anyone in the way of the hooves and horns would become trampled, stabbed, or kicked.
If the herd were to panic, the skill of the herders and their horsemanship meant they were able to ride around the front of the stampeding herd, pushing them into a tight grouping again to calm them. The breaking in had to be done within a week, which meant that the horse needed to be able to be ridden within about four days.
This didn’t work out well and as resources became depleted, including the near extinction of the Buffalo, the staple diet of the Native American, anger spread and the Indian Wars of the late 1800s began with conflicts such as ‘Wounded knee’ and ‘Geronimo’ now ensconced in American history. The best way for a cowboy to protect himself during the Indian Wars was to stay in a group with other men. Some folk would create a smoke house that would be used communally, the people taking advantage of it, leaving some meat or fish for the smoke house owner as payment for use.
The branding iron has a distinctive metal symbol at the end to represent a particular ranch. Many stories are told about the women who blazed the trail to the West along with their husbands, fathers and brothers.
Willow bark was used for infections and headaches; poultices were used to treat wounds, and sulfur and molasses for stomachache. He says: “What was “daily life” for the people who wandered the west we now called survival skills”.
Let’s take a look at a few tips on what you can do to avoid getting lost in the first place, and how you can enhance your chances of survival if you do indeed get lost. That tip may sound obvious, but sometimes it can be challenging to accomplish if you haven’t developed good travel habits, especially when exploring unfamiliar places.
If you don’t have a map or compass, your powers of observation are that much more critical, so don’t start day-dreaming and forget where each feature should be in relation to you and your objective.
If you’re using a faster conveyance such as a bicycle or vehicle, you’ll need to make sure you keep tabs on your position more often. If you do this regularly, you should be able to follow your marker trail back to the start point in no time.
Instead of being stranded between boxes of Frosted Flakes and Cap’n Crunch on aisle eight, you could be in some serious and potentially deadly trouble stuck in the mountains or desert. A few hours can turn into days stranded because of an unexpected weather event, injury or you simply became lost.
You cannot hike out of your predicament in the dark, so you must plan to stay at least one night in the wild.
The safest thing to do at this point is to stay in one place and let rescue personnel track you. Any action taken as a result of information, analysis, or advertisement on this site is ultimately the responsibility of the reader. Only because they were such a useful resource, North American Buffalo was once very close to extinction. Local men within this community would become the focus of the vigilantes who would hunt them down, taking swift action against them, including hanging. The cowboy’s only hope of an antelope kill, is to have a steady quiet pony, a keen eye, and an accurate long shot gun, like a Winchester. And in the mid to late 1800’s serious injury was to be avoided at all costs, as modern medicine and hospitals were not available in the Wild West.
The breakers were often highly skilled and were intuitive with animals and the use of the word ‘break’ in this context is perhaps over harsh at times – although less skilled handlers may have used overly heavy methods of course. The women of the West were an integral part of its development, keeping the menfolk and children fed and healthy. Then pass this knot through one of the loops and tighten the lasso as you can see in image 3.
He is also the editor-in-chief of Ask a Prepper, a website where you can ask him anything about prepping and survival, free of any charge. Keeping track of where you are on a map at regular intervals is a good way to keep from getting lost. The more you move about, the more lost you could potentially get while also expending precious energy and risking injury. Those that have survived days or even longer being lost in a wilderness environment survived because they prepared to become lost. The cowboys of old did make use of the buffalo hide, using it for clothes and bedding against the harsh winters.
The information in the message you left should allow search and rescue crews to come find you.
The West was seen in the 1800s as an undiscovered country, devoid of human habitation and ripe for settlement. The calf, now branded with the ranches own personal mark, would wander freely across the plains, the rancher knowing he could pick out his cattle.

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