For families who spend a lot of time in the outdoors, having a child wander off and get lost is pretty unlikely.
This is perhaps the hardest and most important wilderness survival skill to develop, especially if you’re a kid. Talk to your child about how easy it will be to have a meltdown when they realize they’re lost. Water is the most important survival item you can have, it’s also a hard one for little kids, which is why I always stock my kid’s packs with plenty of water and tell them to ration it if they become lost.
The problem is, unless you find yourself lost next to a water source you shouldn’t exactly wander off looking for water and get even more lost. Next to having enough water, finding a shelter to protect you from the elements (either cold or hot weather) should be top priority.
If you hear a plane or helicopter get into an opening and run around and yell like a crazy person. I would image that the #1 concern for a lost child is the prospect of being eaten by a wild animal. I have a large garbage bag in my kids backpacks because it provides extra warmth and can prevent the core from getting wet which can cause hypothermia. Fortunately there are a few simple things you can do to help protect your family from the dangers of fire.
It’s never too early to teach children how to responsibly contact emergency services.
Identify the quickest, safest way to get out of the house from every room, including upper floors. If your clothes catch fire – stop, drop, cover your face with your hands and roll to smother the flames. In a fire, the safest area for breathing is near the floor where the air is cooler and cleaner, so remember to crawl low in smoke. Call the fire brigade from a neighbour’s house, public or mobile phone and wait for them to arrive. Friction fire starting techniques are some of the most primitive and difficult ways to start a fire. Step 1 – Cut a v-shaped notch into your fireboard then place a small notch next to for your spindle to rest in.
Step 2 –   Place your spindle in the notch on the fire board and begin to roll the spindle in between your palms working your hands down the spindle while keeping a light pressure. The two man friction drill is a little easier than the hand drill as two people are able to generate more friction. Step 1 – You will use the same materials as a hand drill but you will also need a rope, shoe lace or even a thin flexible branch from a small tree can work. Step 2 – Once again, when you see smoke remove the drill and knock the ember from the fire board into your tinder bundle and blow to life.
The fire plow is another primitive fire starting method that uses a fire board and spindle. Step 1 – Notch your fire board and place an indentation next to the notch to place the spindle, sames as a hand drill.
Step 3 – As you begin to see smoke tap your fire board until all of you embers are on your piece of bark. Step 1 – Gather up a tinder pile and begin to focus the magnifying glass by tilting it until you direct the suns light into the smallest beam possible. This method is not nearly as effective as using a magnifying glass but in a true survival situation it does work. Step 1 – Strike your piece of steal against your flint to generate a spark directly into your tinder bundle. Using a magnesium stick is hands down the most effective way to start a fire in the wilderness. Step 1 – Use your knife to shave off a few small pieces of magnesium into your tinder bundle.
All the ways to start a fire without a match I taught in this class will work with a little practice and the right tools. Here are some actual Survival Shelters to give you a good idea of what’s possible in a wilderness setting. Here is a great example of an easy Aframe shelter, covered with leaves and debris for added insulation and waterproofing. Here’s a quick and easy swamp bed that can help get you off the ground in cold, wet, or damp environments.
Here is a good example of a Lean To Shelter with a Reflector wall for bouncing heat back into the shelter. A survival shelter doesn’t have to be fancy to work, and it can often be improvised with existing structures and random materials sourced from the area.

Here is another example of a Lean to with a Bed that’s integrated into the shelter’s structure. A basic tenant in survival is making fire, without it humans are at a great disadvantage to nature. If you’re looking for an introduction to the methods of food preservation, then you’re in luck. Once I started gardening, I knew that the next step in my SHTF prepping agenda is learning the methods of food preservation. Freezing is one of the most popular and easiest amongst the methods of food preservation because it can be done without the use of specialized equipment. Freezing Tip: For freezing produce, just blanch them first in boiling water to ensure best quality. Lactofermentation Fact: Foods change their flavor profile and texture when undergoing lactofermentation. Cool storage is the storage of foods in a cool and dry storage area like a cellar, basement, crawl space and the like. Cool Storage Tip: Root crops as well as beans, squash and pumpkins benefit the most from cool storage.
A highly acidic environment kills microbes so if you’re not a fan of canning and heating, vinegar pickling may quickly become your favorite among the methods of food preservation. A favorite technique of preserving foods in many parts of Europe, this technique is not one which I would recommend to those who are new to this area of SHTF prepping and homesteading. Drying is a great way to extend the life of foods when storage space is an issue, as drying significantly reduces the size and weight of food items. Drying Tip: Use commercial dehydrators like the American Harvest Dehydrator or the Excalibur or use a DIY solar dehydrator to dry food up.
The preferred technique of preserving foods before drying, freezing and canning were available, packing foods in sugar or salt takes out the liquid in food items, thereby drying it out and preventing bacterial growth.
Immersing food in alcohol is not just for extracting flavor, it is to impart flavor and preserve the food too. Immersion in Alcohol Tip: Make your own flavorings at home by using vodka as an extracting and preserving liquid.
When it comes to picking out the best amongst the methods of food preservation, you need to remember that it is not a one size fits all kind of thing.
But for young kids you really can only pack what they know how and are developmentally able to use.
Attach a whistle to your kids backpack, as soon as they realize they have become separated from the group tell them to start blowing that whistle like crazy. Your body can still function with little or no food for weeks, but it can only last a few days without water.
However, if it has been a day or two and you’re still lost and out of water, it’s going to be worth it to wander off and try to find some.
Take a look, pick out the animals that live in your area and go over basic information with your kids. Maybe also if they have to venture out in search of water, that they know how to mark their trail to show where they left and which way they went. A faulty electrical appliance or washing left too close to a heater could have disastrous consequences, causing major structural damage and exposing family members to harm. Few people understand how quickly a fire takes hold in a house and how destructive it can be. I can still remember the first time we went camping and our father amazed us with his ability to start a fire without matches. The type of wood you use and tinder when using this process will determine a warm night by the fire or shivering in the cold.
Some good examples include: dry tall grass, cotton tails, cedar tree shavings or dried leaves. Wrap the rope around your drill and have one person apply downward pressure on the drill with a rock or another piece of wood. A socket is simply a piece of wood with an indentation for the top of the spindle to rotate in.
You will need a sunny day, so you must plan appropriately and start your fire when you may not need it. This works best if you have a piece of char cloth but if you don’t you will need some very dry and fine tinder. You will have to repeat this several times until you get a large enough spark to create an ember in your tinder pile. Take your knife or a rock and strke it down the side of the fire steel to create a spark into your tinder pile. It’s also a great way to get you up off the ground in areas where poisonous critters might be poking around at night.

A small fire can be built in between the wall and the Lean To, which allows heat to be reflected back into the shelter. This Debris shelter uses natural trees and debris that was already in the area to construct a quick and warm place to lay down for the night. I’ve been posting some food preservation articles these past few weeks at SHTF Dad and it is obvious that its one of the SHTF prepping and homesteading topics which I am passionate about, but why? As a dad, I also wanted to teach my children basic life skills, and food preservation is definitely one of them. Using vacuum seal bags also prevents ice crystals from forming and improves the quality and freezing duration of crops.
They are also called live-culture food and is a well-used technique of preserving foods because it improve the digestibility of most food items. Immersing food in olive oil works by preventing any contact between the food and air, thereby preserving the food. The negative side might be that drying can damage some of the nutrients in the food, so it is not as efficient as canning when it comes to preserving nutrients. They work better and produces more consistent results plus prevents insect problems as compared to hang drying.
The heat is usually applied with a water bath and is best for high acid foods like pickles and tomato sauce as well as high sugar foods like jellies and jams. There would always be some nutrients which food preservation can’t preserve and that the rate of nutrient lost depends on the methods of food preservation which were used and how long the food has been in storage.
It’s a fun skill to learn whether you may be an SHTF dad or mom or even if you’re not into SHTF prepping it all.
While unlikely, I think your child would be a little more at ease if they knew what to do when they encountered a wild animal.
The point is not to make them even more freaked out, just to give them some confidence in their skills should they spend a night in the woods alone. The outdoors is infused into everything we do; which explains why I'm better at mud pies than home decorating. You need to plan and prepare so that if a fire does start, everyone knows how to escape quickly and safely.
When you see smoke take your fire board and tap it on to the bark and transfer the ember to the tinder bundle while gently blow into a flame.
Just like the magnifying glass, use the bottom of the can to create the smallest beam of light possible directing the suns energy onto your tinder. As always, when you have a large enough ember blow it into a flame and apply to your kindling. Some of the sparks will hit the magnesium igniting a 5000 degree inferno which will get your tinder lit.
As advanced as we are in the modern day, sometimes basic skills like this bewilder the iPhone toting individual. Aside from SHTF prepping, knowing the methods of food preservation can save your family big bucks. This is why it is best to start preserving foods at the peak of harvest so that even if they lose some of their nutrients over time, the fact that you begun preserving them at their peak means they would retain the most nutritional value as well. Give it a try and make sure to like our Facebook Page to get updates about more homesteading skills just like this. As they get older you can add more and more items (like fire starting supplies) and teach them how to use them.
Help save our forests and use responsibility and make sure to never leave a fire until its fully extinguished.
Join Dave Canterbury as he shows you the proper basics of making fire with flint, steel, and char cloth. Food prices are increasing yearly, and knowing how to grow your own food only becomes really valuable if you know the right methods of food preservation you can use to extend their life.
So I’ve been thinking about what skills would be appropriate to start learning for the average 6-11 year old, before they are of age for hardcore Boy Scout techniques.
Plan.) is a great place to start, and is a helpful tool for kids when it comes time to remembering what they should do. If your child is old enough to make one, it might be fun to practice out on the trail, or in your backyard. The friction of a spindle into a fireboard will produce a coal when the surface temperature reaches 800 degrees fahrenheit. The thicker the spindle the less speed you will be able to spin it at which means not enough friction and a cold night.

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