Poisonous Mushrooms

A common pastime of outdoor enthusiasts is collecting edible mushrooms. This endeavor must be pursued with great caution since mistaking a poisonous mushroom for one that is edible can cost you your life. There are many old wives tales that would have you believe that there are easy ways to avoid poisonous mushrooms through blanket […]

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Primitive Living as a Metaphor

Here in Montana I practice and teach classes on primitive (or stone-age) skills – which is to say, camping with little or no gear. We build shelters that are warm and comfortable without a sleeping bag or blanket. We start fires by rubbing sticks together. We harvest and use edible wild plants, make baskets, and […]

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friction fire by bow drill

Notch Construction: Secrets of the Bow Drill

In real estate, they say there are only three important factors; location, location, and location. When making fire by friction, there are also three important factors; materials (type), materials (condition), and materials (preparation). As a child, I once used my dad’s electric drill to make fire by friction with a pine dowel rod and a […]

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How to Make a Survival Water Filter

Is it safe to drink this water? I ask myself that question often and most of the time the answer is no. There often is the risk that bacteria, chemicals, and pathogens, specifically Giardia, are in the water. Rainwater or dew that is resting on non-poisonous plants such as moss is safe to drink as […]

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How to Purify Water

“Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.” as the old saying goes. A more apt statement for these times might be, “water, water everywhere, but is it safe to drink?” And if it’s not, what is a reliable water purification process? Sadly, in this day and age there are few, if any, places […]

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giardia

Giardia Treatment and Prevention

It felt like my gut was an industrial washing machine set on “agitate,” churning furiously and steadily. It felt like I had two weasels in my midsection, their claws braced into the walls, trying to tear each other apart. It even reminded me of the classic sci-fi B-movie “The Hidden,” in which an intelligent but […]

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coracle

How to Build a Coracle

Once humans developed a need to travel on water in order to fish, trade, and explore, cultures worldwide created lightweight boats consisting of the skin of an animal stretched over a light frame of wooden poles or strips. One such boat is the coracle. This is a boat of the British Isles and is varied […]

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How to Build a Survival Shelter

Sleeping outside in a primitive survival shelter with no tent and no sleeping bag?! In the rain? Are you crazy? This idea may indeed seem crazy and a bit daunting to many of us. However, with a couple of hours, proper materials, and the right mindset, constructing and sleeping in a primitive survival shelter can […]

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brown recluse spider

How to Identify Venomous (not Poisonous) Spiders

Venomous Spider: The Black Widow When considering venomous spiders and spider identification, the first one that comes to mind is the Black Widow. In North America, there are around five species of the Black Widow spider. You can easily identify the black widow, especially the female, because of it’s round, bulbous belly. The female Black […]

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Finding the North Star

The North Star Points True North Knowing how to find the North Star in the northern hemisphere is one of the most basic survival skills. Those of us in the north are fortunate to have the North Star as a handy survival tool for determining direction without a compass. Visible from the surface of the […]

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