Daily Survival Tips – Vol. 3
- on May 14, 2023
Tip of the Day: Butterfly bandage’s unique design works well on clean, deep cuts by pulling skin together in lieu of sutures. You can make a butterfly bandage from a length of tape by cutting out sections in the middle, leaving a thin strip down the center.
Tip of the Day: In an emergency, an often overlooked source of protein is the bone marrow of your kill. Crack the bones between rocks to extract as many calories as possible. (Remember to do this with the brains too.)
Tip of the Day: To save fuel and lower utility costs, plan chores ahead. If you like a cup of tea in the morning, fill up the tea kettle the night before. Instead of having to heat 40 degree water from the tap, you’ll be heating 70 degree, room temperature water. (You’ll get your tea quicker too.) Once you’ve made your tea, pour the left-over water in the sink and do the dishes.
Tip of the Day: Save seeds from store-bought produce. (The success of this will depend on what type of produce you get, organic vs. GMO, etc.) I’ve purchased green peppers from Aldi’s, dried the seeds for a couple weeks in a bowl on my kitchen counter. Planted in the garden, they produced many pounds of large green peppers the following Spring.
Tip of the Day: Purchase some emergency dental cement to temporarily replace a lost filling or crown until you can get to a dentist. Find it in any drug store for about $5. This is a must have when traveling, and especially when overseas.
Tip of the Day: Ticks can be a real pain when camping in the woods. Before you make camp, use a “brush burner” attached to a 20# LP tank to scorch the ground. This will kill off any unwanted pests while you make camp. Of course, be mindful of burn bans.
Tip of the Day: If you don’t have a heater and need to warm up a tent, dig a hole slightly smaller than the rim of an old metal bucket. Place some hot coals in the hole, place the bucket upside down over the hole and pack around it with dirt and clay. This will radiate heat without smoking up your tent.
Tip of the Day: If you need a brush to spread glue, just use the end of a large-diameter rope. When you need to use it again, simply cut off the section of rope dried with glue.
Tip of the Day: Save old metal food cans. The smaller ones are great for cooling grease when browning meat and they make handy containers for nuts, bolts, nails, drill bits, pencils, etc. in the workshop. The larger, No. 10 cans make an excellent improvised camp stove. Tip the opened can upside down, cut a flap at the bottom for kindling, then punch some air holes around the top edge. Set your pan on top and start cooking.
Tip of the Day: Include passports for every member of your household (including children) in your bug-out-bag. While unlikely, if you must exit the country on short notice, or during an emergency, it’s best to have your travel papers ready and easily accessible. Why limit yourself to bug out destinations within the USA? A valid passport gives you more options.
Tip of the Day: Most of us are aware that castor oil is a time-tested and effective natural laxative, but it also has mold inhibiting, anti-fungal properties. Additionally, what many don’t know is castor oil was used as an aircraft lubricant in WWI. In a pinch, castor oil can lubricate mechanical components, but note that it tends to gum fairly quickly, requiring more frequent maintenance.
Tip of the Day: Don’t forget the camping gear when making your bugging out preparations. You don’t know where you’ll end up in an emergency. Remember that crowds are dangerous; being prepared to rough it in the back country could be a life-saver. A tent large enough for your entire household, mess kits, sleeping bags and a portable toilet with paper are the essentials. At the very least, you’ll be prepared for future impromptu camping trips.
Tip of the Day: Stock vitamins. Access to a variety of healthy, nutritious foods may be limited or non-existent following a natural disaster. If you’re subsisting on ramen and rice, a daily multi-vitamin can help keep you healthy until the grocery store restocks their shelves.
Tip of the Day: Keep a supply of eye drops on hand. Because they’re sterile, they’re good for flushing a wound to help prevent infection. The small bottles are perfect for hiking trips.
Tip of the Day: Include rubber bands in your first aid kit. They make excellent tourniquets and are useful for bundling and organizing your other supplies.
Tip of the Day: Paperclips have dozens of uses around camp. They can repair broken zippers and eyeglasses frames. They can be filed into a point and used as a needle, a skewer for cooking, a dart tip for a blow gun, or a fish hook. In an emergency, they just may come in handy.
Quote of the Day: “Those who stay away from the election think that one vote will do no good: ‘Tis but one step more to think one vote will do no harm.” – Emerson
Tip of the Day: Dress in layers. On fishing trips my grandfather always said, “Bring it with you, you can always take it off. But if you don’t have it, you can’t put it on.”
Tip of the Day: If you have a fireplace, install and use a blower. It will heat the room faster and you’ll burn less wood/gas.
Tip of the Day: If it’s cold, put on a jacket. It seems so simple and obvious, but I’m amazed at how many adults – people who should know better – do not dress appropriately for the weather. Wear a hat, gloves and boots too. If your car breaks down, you’ll really wish you hadn’t worn shorts and flip-flops when you’re sitting in the cold waiting for the wrecker.
Tip of the Day: Put your electronic devices on power strips and shut them off (especially at night) to save electricity.
Tip of the Day: Write all important phone numbers (spouse, work, doctor’s office, emergency road side service, etc.) on a piece of paper in your wallet. If you lose your cell phone, it’ll be hard to remember all of the numbers in your speed dial.
Quote of the Day: “To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.” – George Washington
Tip of the Day: Never keep a house key in your wallet. If it gets stolen, you’ll not only have to replace your cash, credit cards and driver’s license, you’ll need to change your locks.
Tip of the Day: Place pillar candles and a book of matches in each room of your house. They look nice and if the power goes out, you’ll be ready. You can do this with flashlights, but you’ll need to check the batteries regularly.
Tip of the Day: Keep a quality portable indoor propane heater for emergencies. They cost around $100 and use disposable propane canisters (which are good for a decade) available at any hardware store or big-box retailer.
Quote of the Day: “A small loan makes a debtor; a great one, an enemy.” – Publilius Syrus
Tip of the Day: Buying garbage bags is literally throwing money away. Get a small trashcan and use plastic shopping bags.
Tip of the Day: When you leave for vacation, shut off your water at the main. That way, if a fixture starts leaking while you’re away, it won’t completely ruin your house or someone else’s. This is especially important for people in condos with units below them.
Tip of the Day: The best commercially-made soap scum cleaner I’ve found is Goo Gone. It works instantly.
Tip of the Day: If you have a garden, don’t throw away used coffee grounds. They’re an excellent fertilizer for plants that like acidic soil.
Tip of the Day: Don’t buy targets for the firing range. Of course, tin can lids, empty beer cans and old plastic jugs filled with water make great plinking targets. But paper plates make great circular bull’s-eye targets for precise sighting-in, and for a fraction of the cost of store-bought targets.
Tip of the Day: If you have kids, ask for a kids’ menu every time you eat at a restaurant. They’ll usually give you a small set of crayons which you should take home. Not only will you never have to buy crayons again, they can be melted down to make candles.
Tip of the Day: Cut a few notches into the edge of an old credit card to make an improvised trowel for spreading mastic, mortar and glue into tight spots.
Tip of the Day: If you have a standard 6-foot wood privacy fence, you can make an unobtrusive clothesline by pounding nails near the top of each 4×4 post and running a small rope in between.
Tip of the Day: Save mesh apple and orange bags. They make a great improvised fish net. Scoop up minnows for quick energy or use them to catch larger prey.
Tip of the Day: Stuff used toilet paper tubes with dry twigs and save for later. They make excellent fire starters on camping trips and are especially useful in damp, rainy conditions.
Tip of the Day: Epsom salts are great for soothing sore muscles, are a natural laxative and make a good garden and tree fertilizer.
Tip of the Day: You can’t eat money. Stock up now on easy-to-prepare, non-perishable meals like ramen and canned soup. During a natural disaster, grocery store shelves will probably be bare. Keep at least 1 week’s (preferably a month’s) worth of food and water on hand for each member of the household.
Tip of the Day: To keep worms in your garden, save cereal dust from the bottom of the bags. Sprinkle it around your plants, and then cover with a layer of dirt. Worms feast on the decomposing cereal and lay castings (poop), keeping the soil aerated and rich in nutrients.
Tip of the Day: Purchase 30-year-shelf-life freeze-dried food directly from manufacturers, like Mountain House, for the best savings.
Tip of the Day: If you have a red dot scope on your AR, invest in some open sights as a backup. (Batteries for the scope are expensive and inevitably will die just when you need them most.) Flip-up sights on a 45 degree bias won’t interfere with your primary scope and cost about $20 from manufacturers like Venom Tactical.
Tip of the Day: In an emergency, cayenne pepper can be used as an effective clotting agent. Also, a pinch placed on the gums can help ease the pain from a toothache.
Tip of the Day: Just like money and clean pairs of underwear, you can never have enough ammunition. Check out gun-deals.com/ammo for user submitted deals around the web. Shipping rates are included and calculated based on your zip code, so you know the real total cost per round. Search by caliber.
Tip of the Day: Tea tree oil is famous for its anti-fungal properties, but it can be harsh on sensitive skin. Dilute tea tree oil on olive oil to make a more tolerable, yet still effective, antiseptic.
Tip of the Day: Dandelions are a “pest” most people want to kill. However, you can eat the blossoms, steep them in tea or even use them to make dandelion wine. You can also eat the leaves in a salad, but unlike the flowers, dandelion leaves can be bitter. Choose young leaves for the mildest flavor. And it should go without saying – never eat anything you cannot identify or guarantee hasn’t been sprayed with chemicals.
Tip of the Day: In an emergency, this is how to test if a plant is safe to eat: Break the skin of the plant, if it has a milky secretion, it may be poisonous. There are exceptions, dandelion for one, but better safe than sorry. If the plant looks ok, rub a piece of the broken plant on the back of your hand. Wait 20 minutes. If no rash or burning discomfort is experienced, rub the broken plant on your lips. Wait 20 minutes. If there are no ill effects, touch the plant to your tongue. Wait 20 minutes. Next, place the plant in your mouth, chew and spit out. If after 20 minutes you still feel fine, it’s probably safe to eat. Consume a small amount and wait 24 hours. If you’re still feeling well after that, you may make it part of your regular diet.
Tip of the Day: Whenever and wherever possible, carry a knife. At least once a day I need mine for some task. You’ll have to check your state, county and local knife carry laws, but most locales allow you to at least carry a Swiss Army or pen knife. If you’re allowed to carry a larger, lockable folding knife, it can double as personal protection. A good mid-priced folder by Gerber or Spyderco costs around $30. Check out these resources for more info on researching knife laws.
Tip of the Day: Keep extra 5-gallon buckets on hand for convenient water and air-tight storage. Be sure to opt for the white, food-grade buckets with gasketed lids for the most secure fit and versatility.
Tip of the Day: Don’t throw away old lawn mower blades. You can make a sturdy, fixed-blade camp knife suitable for heavy-duty chores like prying or splitting firewood. Cut the mower blade in half lengthwise, then 8 to 9 inches long. (You can get two knives from a single mower blade.) Wrap the handle with paracord, or even tape, for comfort.
Tip of the Day: This one is an oldie but a goodie. If you need to secure a tarp without a grommet, wrap the tarp around a smooth stone and tie a line around it.
Tip of the Day: In an emergency, an old house key makes a great improvised spoon lure for catching larger fish.
Tip of the Day: If your water heater has an anode rod (prevents corrosion of the water heater tank) you may have an emergency source of magnesium for fire starting. Note: some anode rods are made from aluminum. File the anode rod to create ignitable dust and shavings.
Tip of the Day: Garlic is a natural antibiotic. Marinate 3 bulbs of garlic (peeled and crushed) in 2 cups olive oil for 2 weeks, then strain. A couple drops in the ear can help cure infection. Apply directly to a wound as a homemade antibiotic ointment. Can also be taken internally.
Tip of the Day: 100% cranberry juice is very effective at treating and preventing bladder infection.
Tip of the Day: Practice ammo allows you to safely dry-fire your weapon anywhere, without the cost and danger of real ammunition. Each practice round is reusable for thousands of dry fires. This is especially helpful for concealed carry license holders practice drawing and “firing” their pistol between trips to the range.
Tip of the Day: If you encounter a nocturnal animal (like a skunk, possum, or raccoon) out and about during the day, give them a wide berth. This abnormal behavior may be an indication that the animal is suffering from a dangerous disease, like rabies.
Tip of the Day: While the odds of you being attacked by a blood-sucking bat are extremely remote (they’re native to central and south America and typically feed on livestock) their droppings or guano can be very dangerous. If inhaled, the fungus that lives in it can cause histoplasmosis, a breathing disorder with symptoms similar to tuberculosis. If you’re in need of emergency shelter, think twice before bedding down in any cave.
Tip of the Day: If you need drinking water and must melt either snow or ice, choose ice. It melts faster and will yield more water than snow.
Tip of the Day: As kids, most of us have blown on a blade of grass placed between our thumbs to make a high-pitched whistle. Using the same technique, you can produce a low-pitched scratching sound that can attract game animals.
Tip of the Day: We’ve all seen igloos built of chunks of snow. Another variation that is easier to build with most snow types is a quinzhee, which is constructed by packing snow around a rolled sleeping bag, backpack or other bulky items. Once the dome is formed, tunnel in for an entrance and remove the items to hollow out a shelter.