Daily Survival Tips – Vol. 2

The following is a compilation of the survival tips published daily on survivalright.com’s Facebook page.

Starting in late August 2014, survivalright.com began providing practical advice to help readers become more self-sufficient. These tips were then assembled in this easy-to-read format for quick reference.

Survival Tips

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.