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  • December 28, 2011

    Top 10 Survival Stories Of 2011-1

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    When the OL Survival editors asked me to rank my Ten Favorite Survival Stories of 2011, I thought it would be a fairly easy set of choices...

    But once I started digging, I actually had a hard time deciding which stories grabbed me the most this year. We saw tales of bravery, faith and endurance this year. We also heard about bad luck, stupidity and hairy run-ins with rogue wildlife.

    In the end, I decided to hit all those targets and give you “My Year In Survival”. Enjoy.

    #10 The Logger Who Cut Off His Toes

    We received a lot of comments on this story, about a gentleman who didn’t waste any time deciding to amputate his own toes to free himself in a semi-remote area. This Colorado logger got his toes pinned between two metal surfaces when his trailer slipped. He only waited thirty minutes before he sent his little piggies to Toe Heaven. The parts of this story that catch my attention are the man’s timing and his choice. How long would any of us wait to be rescued if we were trapped somewhere? And would we be tough enough to chop off our own body parts to free ourselves?

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  • December 27, 2011

    Survival Gear: Build a Vehicle Survival Kit-3

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    ‘Tis the season for roadside survival stories. On the heels of the story about the Nome, Alaska resident who survived off frozen beer for 60 hours while stuck in his truck, we have another winter survival story about a college co-ed who endured being trapped in her snowbound car for 10 days.

    Last week, Lauren Weinberg, a 23-year-old Arizona State University student, was found alive in her vehicle after being stranded in the snow for 10 days on a remote dirt road in northeastern Arizona. How did she make it? She told a Coconino County Sheriff's deputy that she had survived on two candy bars, melted snow water and prayers. Weinberg was quoted saying, “At times I was afraid, but mostly I had faith that I would be found."

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  • December 27, 2011

    Survival Skills: How to Build a Paiute Deadfall-1

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    There are a lot of traps out there, but none of those traps show up in my bag of tricks as often as the Paiute Deadfall.
     
    This very clever trap dates back hundreds (if not thousands) of years to the early Paiute Indian nations. The Paiutes are three closely related groups of Native Americans — the Northern Paiute; the Owens Valley Paiute; and the Southern Paiute, all three groups having ancestors on land that is present day Nevada.

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  • December 21, 2011

    2012 - Will We Still Be Here One Year From Today?-9

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    If you’re familiar with the idea of the 2012 Apocalypse, then you know that there are people who believe that the world is supposed to end at 11:11 am on December 21st, 2012, which is one year from today.

    The widespread phenomenon of 2012 seems to have taken on a life of its own in recent years. So many random and unrelated fears have been rolled up into 2012, that it seems like this supposed date with doom has more followers than any previously predicted “End Time”. Sure, everything has to end sometime, and most global religions have an end of the world section in their writings; Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and most Native American religions all have some form of the “Last Days.” And every couple of years, somebody comes up with a fresh idea that the world is going to end on a certain date or in a certain way. These folks either take it as their personal responsibility to warn everybody they can, or they keep their ideas quiet and only warn a chosen few.

    There were at least 43 publicly advertised predictions that the world would end between 1990 and 1997. The most infamous of these were Harold Camping’s doomsday predictions of 1994 and the Heaven’s Gate suicides in 1997.

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  • December 19, 2011

    Survival Skills: Insulate Your Clothes To Survive The Cold-2

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    What if you get stranded somewhere overnight during very cold weather? And what if your clothing is not good enough to help you survive this scenario?

    Like our story from last week, about the man stuck in his truck in a snow bank, you can’t always build a shelter or make a fire to get warm. Sometimes the clothes on your back are all that you have as shelter from the cold.

    In the event that your clothes do not offer enough insulation, you can use one of the oldest tricks in the book: Stuff your clothing with insulating materials to make the clothing warmer. The goal is to create dead air space around your body so that the elements cannot strip away your body heat so quickly. This can be accomplished by adding materials that can be found in nature, and by creatively using things from modern life.

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  • December 19, 2011

    Survival Gear: The SOG SH03 Fire Starter and Knife Sharpener-2

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    A dull knife in the field can be more of a liability than you might imagine. As you push harder with a dull knife, think about the consequences if you slip and that extra force goes astray. You really need to keep your knives sharp. What if you needed a fire while you’re out there too, and your normal fire-starting equipment is missing or broken? It’s a good thing SOG has you covered with their SH03 Firestarter/Sharpener.

    The SH03 is a multipurpose tool that has a flat pad for sharpening regular blades; a ceramic rod for touching up serrated knives; and a ferrocerium rod for fire starting. I’m all about multi-use gear, and this sounded like a great design. After putting it to task, here’s what I found out.

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  • December 15, 2011

    Survival Skills: Using Fatwood to Start a Fire -3

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    There’s nothing mysterious or strange about fatwood.  But many people seem to know about fatwood only by reputation, and not from actual experience in finding it or using it. 

    Fatwood is known by many names: "fat lighter," "lighter knot," "rich lighter," and "heart pine" are just a few.  Whatever you choose to call it, fatwood comes from the same place, the heartwood of pine trees and a few other resinous conifers.  As a tree stump dies, the pine resin can become concentrated in the heartwood, which then becomes hard and very rot resistant.  Once this happens, the center of the stump and it’s tap root can be great sources of fatwood. You may also get lucky and find fatwood in the joints where pine limbs intersect with the trunk. 

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  • December 12, 2011

    How to Survive When Your Vehicle Gets Stuck in a Snow Drift-3

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    Last week the Newshound blog reported on a Nome, Alaska man who survived being stranded in his truck on a deserted, frigid road for 60 hours. His name was Clifton Vial and his main source of nourishment? Beer.

    Vial's truck slipped off the road and with only jeans, a light jacket and a pair of sneakers the 52-year-old man was able to stay alive in -17 degree temperatures until help arrived. Here's my analysis on what he did right and what he did wrong in this situation.

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  • December 9, 2011

    Survival Skills: How To Build A Tarp Hammock-8

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    With all this knot tying we’ve been looking at in the past couple of weeks, I think it’s high time that we put it into practice. So here’s your crash course in hammock tying.

    What’s so great about hammocks, you ask? Well, the hammock is one of the most under-utilized shelters for survival. They are an ideal shelter for warm, wet climates and they’re also great for places that are loaded with spiders, scorpions and snakes, like swamps, jungles, and deserts. The only place where a hammock becomes a liability is in the cold. If your desert gets cold at night, or you are anywhere else that gets cold, you’ll freeze your butt off as you swing in the wind all night. Trust me.

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  • December 8, 2011

    Survival Skills: More Knots That Work-1

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    We seem to have struck a nerve with our blog post on knots last week. Knots are a critical part of outdoor living, sailing, rescue work and of course, survival. Knot tying can also be a lot of fun. We received comments from many outdoorsmen and even a firefighter mentioning their favorite and most used knots. So we decided to look at a few more helpful knots, focusing this time on “bends.”

    More Useful Knots
    In our previous knot post, I mentioned the sheet bend for joining lines and materials that normally don’t tie together very well. This is my favorite bend, but it’s not the only one that I have in my arsenal.

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