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ASG_1502_COVER1-CX 12/12/14 12:54 AM Page US_C1

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

HEROES ADRIFT:
ADRIFT:THE LOUIS ZAMPERINISTORY

STAY
ALERT
STAY
ALIVE
YOUR SITUATION

VOLUME 4 ISSUE 2

OBSERVE
PREPARE
REACT
|||||||||||||||

WHAT
HANDGUN
IS BEST
FOR YOU?

WEATHERING THE
WAVES WHILE

LOST AT SEA
P.78

BEACH
FOOD:

SEAWEED
&COASTAL
GRASSES

|||||||||||||||

DISTILLING
SALT WATER
SPECIAL SECTIONS

Think Small:
Build a Mini Survival Kit
Keep Your Stuff Dry
With Waterproof Storage
Learn and Use Morse Code
Map to the Stars:
Navigating at Night

|||||||||||||||

QUELL
YOUR
COUGH IN
NATURE
GEAR REVIEWS
FEBRUARY 2015

Kilimanjaros Transport Pack


Benchmades Bushcrafter Knife
The Last Machete Youll Need:
CRKTs HalfaChance

VOLUME 4, ISSUE 2 FEBRUARY 2015 U.S. $8.99


DISPLAY UNTIL: 2/10/2015

Engaged Media By Beckett

ASG_1502_C2 12/9/14 1:27 AM Page C2

FIELDCRAFT BY B.O.B.

BERFIRE

Whether youre Special Forces, Military, SERE


trained, Federal Agency Personnel, a pilot, an
avid outdoorsman, or a hardcore bushcrafter or
survivalist, berfire is the ultimate last-resort
fire option for you.

TOPS is proud to provide the Tumble Finish


Brothers of Bushcraft based on feedback from
many of our friends asking for a version of the
B.O.B. without a powder coat.

S.N.A.P. KIT

TEX CREEK

This kit contains just about everything that you


need to get you through a rough day or two.

The darkened-steel pattern from our famous


Black River Wash is unique on every blade.
This creates that broken in, rustic look.

CROW HAWKE

LONGHORN BOWIE

The CROW HAWKE is a sturdy Neck/EDC


tool with a great design. Its so small and
lightweight, you wont even notice youre
carrying it.

The long flowing design is backed up by a solid


1/4 of hard-core 1095 steel. The Longhorn
Bowie has shown to be a favorite for all field
types.

+ Many more

BUSHCRAFTER KUKURI 7.0

This knife is the product of more than 30 years


of experience in the outdoors. Wilderness
Bushcraft & Survival is not just a hobby for its
designer, but a way of life.

TOPS Multi-fuel Stove


With a weight of only 1 pound 3.2 ounces
(Including the nylon pouch) its the perfect
addition to almost any bug-out-bag, emergency car kit, hiker bag, camp pack, etc. Set
up and collapse is a breeze.

We have so many amazing KNIVES that we cant


possibly fit them all in one ad. You can find our
full production line at www.topsknives.com.
Dont forget to like our facebook page as well
for the latest TOPS News and newest items at
facebook.com/TOPSKnivesofficial.

ASG_1502_3 12/9/14 1:37 AM Page 3

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ASG-1502-TOC 12/10/14 3:58 AM Page 4

50
COVER

ON GUARD

How Situational
Awareness Can Save
Your Life
Story by Scott Fisher

THE COVER:
Sometimes, survival
depends on your ability to
be acutely aware of your
environment and to react
appropriately. It helps to
have an AR15 handy, like
the one Casey carries on
the front of this months
issue.
Photography:
GUY SPANGENBERG
Design:
JESSE CAO

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE (ISSN 2331-8937) Volume 4, Number 2 is published 12 times a year January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September/October, November, December by Engaged Media by
Beckett, LLC, 22840 Savi Ranch Pkwy., Suite 200, Yorba Linda, CA 92887. POSTMASTER: send address changes to American Survival Guide c/o Engaged Media by Beckett, 4635 McEwen Road, Dallas, TX 75244. 2015
by Beckett Media, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material from this issue in whole or in part is strictly prohibited. GST #855050365RT001 Canada Post: Publications Mail Agreement #40612608. Return
undeliverable Canadian addresses to: PITNEY BOWES, INC. P.O. Box 25542 London, ON N6C 6B2.

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

ASG-1502-TOC 12/10/14 3:58 AM Page 5

VOLUME 4, ISSUE 2 | FEBRUARY 2015

FEATURES
34 STORIES OF SURVIVAL: LOUIS
ZAMPERINI

BACKCOUNTRY

47 Days on the Open Ocean


Story by Bryan Dumas

30 KELP KEEPING YOU ALIVE

42 NAVIGATING BY THE STARS


Look to the Heavens My Son
Story By Larry Schwartz

60 EMERGENCY RESCUE BEACONS


Helping Take the Search Out of Search and
Rescue
Story by Larry Schwartz

78 NEVER GIVE UP
Surviving at Sea
Story By Adam Jones

104 THE SPIRIT OF ASG


A Brief History of American Survival Guide
Magazine
Story by Ryan Lee Price

108 ANATOMY OF A DITCH BAG


What Goes into a Ditch Bag Before it Goes
into the Sea
Story by Larry Schwartz

URBAN
20 THE LONG ARM OF SURVIVAL
The Pros and Cons of Different Caliber
Handguns For Survival
Story by Paul Hantke

86 THE E STAFF
Peace of Mind in the Palm of your Hand
Story by Tim Ralston

88 PACK MENTALITY
Nitro-Paks 72-Hour Getaway Kit
Story by Ryan Lee Price

102 THE BLUE DOT

PHOTO BY GUY SPANGENBERG

Brite-Strikes Tactical Touch Flashlights


Story by Gary Kimball

GEAR
GUIDES

Seaweed as a Survival Food


Story and Photography by Christopher
Nyerges

SURVIVAL
BEACONS 65

40 MACHETAZO

PERSONAL
FLOATATION
DEVICES 112

CRKTs HalfaChance Parang


Story by Andrew Philips

46 NATURES MEDICINE CHEST

WATERPROOF
STORAGE 122

How to Treat a Sore Throat and Coughing


Story by Christopher Nyerges

58 TACTICAL CARRY-ALL
Kilimanjaros Transport Modular Outdoor
Pack
Story by Phil Tobin

65

70 THE BUSHCRAFTER
Benchmades Answer to the Survivors
Question
Story by Simon Meyers

98 SAND AND SALAD


Wild Foods Found at the Beach
Story by Christopher Nyerges

112

118 SIMPLE STAINLESS STOVE


STAND
Esbits Compact Stove and Pot Stand
Story by Thomas Sanchez

HOW-TO
26 A SOLAR STILL IN THE SAND
How To Make Fresh Water in Coastal
Regions
Story by Christopher Nyerges

122

72 DOTS & DASHES


Communicating the Old Fashioned Way with
Morse Code
Story by Matthew Lee

94 TINY SURVIVOR
Build Your Own Mini Survival Kit
Story by William Billy Boggs

COLUMNS

120 QUICK SNACK


How to Bake Nutritious and Energy Packed
Survival Bars
Story by Nikki Grey

FIRST WORDS 6
NEW PRODUCTS 10
PREPPING WITH RALSTON 14
NEWS & NOTES 16
DEAD END 130

FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

ASG-1502-EDIT 12/11/14 2:30 PM Page 6

FIRSTWORDS
VOLUME 4, ISSUE 2 / FEBRUARY 2015
Ryan Lee Price

rprice@EngagedMediaInc.com

EDITORIAL
Editor-in-Chief: Ryan Lee Price
Managing Editor: Ian Hamilton
Senior Creative Director: Eric Knagg
Art Director: Jesse Cao

CONTRIBUTORS

Water World
DESCRIBED BY PLANETARY EXPLORERS as a Goldilocks planet, our solitary
blue dot is just the right distance away from the sunnot too far and not too
closeso that water is present in liquid form on its surface. No other planet in the
Solar System has the traits necessary to hold water in liquid form; most are way too
cold, like Neptune and Uranus, while the inner planets, like Mercury and Venus,
are much too hot. The Earth does this in a big way, as 70 percent of its surface is
covered in liquid water, trillions and trillions of gallons of it. Without it, life on this
planet would not be possible, as human beings are composed mostly of water and
we need it daily to live comfortably.
The big problem with the vast majority of the water on the planet is that it is not
potable; only three percent of the water found in liquid form on this planet is drinkable. And most of that is inaccessible to humans. The rest is salt water, which might
as well be poison if you were to drink it. It is a terrible irony the majority of people
stranded in the great expanse of the worlds oceans after a plane crash or a boat catastrophe usually die from lack of water not drowning or exhaustion or starvation.
Water in the worlds oceans is a complex solution of minerals, decayed biological matter, and the dissolved igneous rocks that have eroded into the sea over millions of years. At least 72 chemical elements are found in an average cup of sea
water, the most being chloride (19.3 parts per thousand), followed by sodium (10.7
parts per thousand) and sulfate (2.7 parts per thousand).
Desperation and clouded judgment have provoked many a man stuck in what he
has concluded as a dire situation to drink salt water. Usually, the human body does
well at normalizing small amounts of sodium, but high concentrations are a challenge. When too much salt is in your system, water is leached from individual cells
to compensate for the difference and to correct the imbalance. This causes the cells
to shrink, which is a very bad thing. The body fights this by urinating to remove the
salt, but the kidneys can only produce urine that is slightly less salty than salt water,
so in order to remove the salt, we urinate more water than we drink. The result is
dehydration, the very thing you drank salt water to combat in the first place.
The body compensates for the fluid loss by increasing the heart rate and constricting blood vessels to maintain blood pressure and flow to vital organs. Eventually, youll feel nausea, weakness and delirium. As you become more dehydrated,
the brain and other organs receive less blood, which leads to coma, organ failure
and eventually death.
In this issue, we discuss the survival techniques used when stranded at sea. On
Page 26, Christopher Nyerges explains the proper method for converting salt water
into drinkable water. To some seasoned readers, Nygeres may be a familiar name.
He is not only an accomplished survivalist writer with more than 14 books and
countless articles to his credit, but he originally wrote for American Survival Guide in
the 1990s. We are proud to have him back in the magazine, and we are sure his
expertise in many areas of survival will be of great value to the readers.

Bryan Dumas, Scott Fisher, Nikki Grey, Paul Hantke,


Adam Jones, Christopher Nyerges, Tim Ralston, Larry
Schwartz, Tori Tellem

ADVERTISING
Gabe Frimmel - Ad Sales Director
(714) 200-1930 - GFrimmel@engagedmediainc.com
Casey Clifford - Senior Account Executive
(714) 312-6275
Mark Pack - Senior Account Executive
(714) 200-1939
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DIRECT MARKETING GROUP


John Bartulin
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(866) 866-5146 ext. 2746


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OPERATIONS
Gus Alonzo: Newsstand Sales Manager
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Mohit Patel: Newsstand and Production Analyst
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John Cabral: Creative Graphic Designer

EDITORIAL, PRODUCTION & SALES OFFICE


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AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE (ISSN 2331-8937)
Volume 4, Number 2 is published 12 times a year
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August,
September/October, November, December. Engaged Media
by Beckett, 22840 Savi Ranch Pkwy., Suite 200, Yorba Linda,
CA 92887. POSTMASTER: send address changes to
American Survival Guide c/o Engaged Media by Beckett, 4635
McEwen Road, Dallas, TX 75244. 2015 by Beckett Media,
LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material from this
issue in whole or in part is strictly prohibited. GST
#855050365RT001 Canada Post: Publications Mail Agreement
#40612608. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to:
PITNEY BOWES, INC. P.O. Box 25542 London, ON N6C 6B2.

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ENGAGED MEDIA BY BECKETT


Nick Singh: Executive Director
Vikas Malhotra: Vice President
Erin Masercola: Editorial Director
This magazine is purchased by the buyer with the
understanding that information presented is from
various sources from which there can be no warranty or
responsibility by Engaged Media by Beckett as to the legality,
completeness or technical accuracy.

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

ASG_1502_7 12/9/14 1:40 AM Page 7

ASG_1502_8 12/9/14 1:44 AM Page 8

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ASG_1502_9 12/9/14 1:45 AM Page 9

THE RENEGADE
SURVIVAL KIT
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ASG-1502-PRODUCTS 12/9/14 1:17 AM Page 10

NEWPRODUCTS

C U T T I N G - E D G E I N N OVAT I O N

1. SAFE POD
Capsule

Magnesium fire starter


Polyester sheath
Stainless steel blade

Manufacturer: Survival Capsule


Contact: survival-capsule.com
MSRP: n/a

3. MINI GUARDIAN

Product: Tsunami Survival

The Survival Capsule is a personal


safety system designed as a
spherical ball to protect against
tsunami events, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and storm
surges. It not only provides
warmth, safety, and shelter during
the initial post-disaster period
before rescue crews and relief
workers have arrived on the scene
but, since it floats, it will never be
inundated by flood waters. Built
by aerospace engineers, the capsules come in various sizes ranging
from two- to 10-person capacity.
Specifications:
Safety seating with four-point
harness Straps
Storage space (sufficient for five
days supply per person)
Water storage (bladder or tank)
Basic internal light
GPS
Air ventilation vents
Air supply tanks (one for each
occupant)

Product: Guardian Survival Mini


Manufacturer: Survival Way
Contact: emergencyway.com
MSRP: $22.49

This compact survival kit is


packed neatly into a durable
travel size bag. The food and
water in this kit (water pouch and
400-calorie food bar) will provide
you with adequate nutrition for
72-hours without access to additional supplies. These products
have a five year shelf life. It comes
with a 12-hour emergency glow
stick, 5-in-1 survival whistle,
waterproof matches and
rechargeable squeeze flashlight.
There is also sewing kit and a
multi-function pocket knife.
Specifications
Small and compact
Fully stocked
Water pouch
400-calorie cherry food bar
Emergency poncho with hood
Emergency survival blanket
Full body warmer

2. ZOMBIE KNIFE
Product: Zombie Paracord Knife
Manufacturer: Rothco
Contact: rothco.com
MSRP: $18.99

Rothcos Zombie Paracord Knife is


an ideal yet inexpensive survival
tool for your bug-out bag. The
knife features a magnesium fire
starter with pouch, a 3.5-inch
blade with bio-hazard symbol
and a handle wrapped in neon
green paracord. The knife also
features a neon green polyester
sheath with hook and loop handle strap. The total length is 7.75
inches.
Specifications
Color: neon green
Total Length: 7.75 inches
Blade Length: 3.5 inches

10

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

1
2
3

ASG-1502-PRODUCTS 12/9/14 1:17 AM Page 11

5
4. CLEAN WATER
Product: Aquamira Water Treat-

ment Drops
Manufacturer: Aquamira
Contact: aquamira.com
MSRP: $14.95

The Aquamira Water Treatment


Drops treat drinking water using
chlorine dioxide; it is effective in
clear, muddy, warm and cold
water. Small size, portability and
a long shelf life allows this
method to be easily carried and
used by individuals anywhere in
the world. Each kit contains
everything you need to treat up to
30 gallons of water. Great for hiking, camping, hunting, fishing,
boating, white water, RVs, travel,
home water storage, and emergency kits.
Specifications:
Small package
Easily carried
Treats up to 30 gallons of water

5. SHARP CARDS
Product: Cardsharp4
Manufacturer: Carclo Plc
Contact: iainsinclair.com
MSRP: $86.00

CNC machined from a thin strip of


ultralight aluminum with a hard
anodized finish, the Cardsharp4
can be folded into a tough, heavyduty tool suitable for most types
of cutting tasks. Just three ingenious folding operations turn the
card into an elegant pocket utility
tool. It is less bulky than a pocket
knife and as sharp as a scalpel.
Cardsharp was originally designed
as a lightweight surgical knife

that can be easily transported


and safely disposed of by hospitals and medical centers together
with paramedics and aid workers
throughout the world.
Specifications:
85.6 x 54 x 2.2 mm
24 grams
6082T6 aluminum and 420series surgical stainless steel
Black electro-ferritic coating

6. DEEP WATER
Product: Imperial Immersion Sur-

vival Suit
Manufacturer: Imperial Interna-

tional
Contact: starmarinedepot.com
MSRP: $246.95

The Imperial 1409 Universal USCG


Immersion Survival Suit has been
on the U.S. Marine market longer
than any other suit. It was
invented in 1969 by Gunnar Guddal, and is in fact the first suit ever
of its kind. Imperial legacy continues today as the lives of countless
owners of Imperial suits continue
to be saved. The contribution of
this suit to maritime safety and
survival is truly unprecedented.
Specifications:
Three-fingered mitt to keep your
fingers warmer
Snug-fitting face seal is flexible
and comfortable
Retro-reflective tape for extra
visibility
Suits made of 5mm neoprene
One-piece, sealed construction
Comes with whistle
Weighs only 14 lbs.

FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

11

ASG-1502-PRODUCTS 12/9/14 1:17 AM Page 12

NEWPRODUCTS

C U T T I N G - E D G E I N N OVAT I O N

7. RANGE BAG
Product: Rangemaster Gear Bag

Explorer
Manufacturer: Rangemaster
Contact: sears.com
MSRP: $49.95

The internal dividers are soft and


will keep your gear from getting
mixed and is adjustable to fit your
needs. The main inside pouch is
plenty large to fit the wide variety
of gear and guns your tactical
range bag may run into. The outside pockets feature multiple
internal magazine pouches big
enough to hold any standard pistol magazines. A neat feature is
the two outside compartments
have the ability to zip all the way
down, giving you an area to place
your weapons or material you
want to keep clean.
Specifications:
Adjustable to your needs
600 D heavy-duty ballistic nylon
Rugged self-healing zippers
Seven compartments
Two gun pouches along with
magazine holders

8. HEIRLOOM
SEEDS
Product: Premium Heirloom

Specifications:
Lots of assortments
Accommodates all hardiness
zones
Detailed planting and grown
information
Nutritional information

9. HAWK
TOMAHAWK
Product: M48 Hawk Tactical
Tomahawk
Manufacturer: United Cutlery
Contact: knifecenter.com
MSRP: $39.95

This United Cutlery M48 Hawk is


lightweight so it can be carried all
day without muscle fatigue, while
the blade offers a wide, upswept
axe blade for competent chopping,
slashing, and cutting potential.
The secondary edge on the back
side of the head is specially sharpened on both edges for cutting and
hooking. When combined, the
spike and axe head make for an
efficient personal defense and/or
breaching tool. It comes complete
with a nylon snap button sheath.
8 blade, 15 overall.
Specifications:
Blade length: 8 inches
Overall length: 15 inches

Seeds
Manufacturer: Survival Essentials
Contact: survival-essentials.com
MSRP: $79.99

An expertly gathered collection of


seeds assembled under the
expertise of Suzanne Ashworth, a
world-renowned horticulturist
and author of Seed to Seed, the
Premium Heirloom Seeds are
grown and harvested specifically
for this product in mind. It comes
with over 100 different types of
plants, herbs, and vegetables,
with instructions on how to plant
and harvest them, as well as
long-term storage solutions for
the seeds.

12

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

8
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ASG ? WHEN YOU'RE
NOT OFF THE GRID,
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americansurvivalguidemagazine

ASG-1502-PRODUCTS 12/9/14 1:17 AM Page 13

10

12

10. SURVIVAL
HANDBOOK
Book: SAS Survival Handbook,

Revised Edition
Author: John Lofty Wiseman
Contact: thepreppersvault.com
MSRP: $19.99

11

Inside the SAS Survival Handbook, Revised Edition: For Any Climate, in Any Situation, is the
knowledge and know-how gained
by the British SAS over the years.
From great, easy-to-understand
info on making shelter, finding
food, first aid, disaster survival
and how to prepare for it, this
manual helps you not only with
setting up your bug-out bag, but
also how to put it into use.
Specifications:
576 pages (paperback)
William Morrow Publishing
Pocket sized for travel and packs

11. TOSS HIM A


ROPE
Product: Mustang Rescue Throw

Bag
Manufacturer: Mustang Survival
Contact: mustangsurvival.com
MSRP: $35.95

The Mustang 75-foot Rescue


Throw Bag is an essential part of
our water rescue kit and a valuable tool for those first responders who have arrived to a water
emergency. The Throw Bag is

used after the victim has been


stabilized with a flotation device.
It is compact, lightweight, durable
and easy to use.
Specifications:
75 feet of 9 mm multifilament
polypropylene rope
Mesh top for quick drying
Retro-reflective tape
Light stick holder
Quick release buckles

12. DITCH IT
Product: Rapid Ditch Express
Manufacturer: ACR
Contact: gandermountain.com
MSRP: $59.99

Store all of your important personal items and survival gear in


this ACR RapidDitch Express
abandon ship bag. This compact
and buoyant bag conveniently
keeps all your essential safety
gear organized and together
allowing for quick access in an
emergency situation. The RapidDitch will float up to 15 lbs. of gear
and the new reflective material
can assist in being spotted. The
shoulder straps transforms into
two four-foot leashes to tether
together survivors in the water.
Specifications:
Weight 1.5 lbs.
Material 600 Denier Polyester
Size 21 x 6 x 14.5 inches
Float Load: 15 lbs.

FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

13

PHOTO COURTESY OF TIM RALSTON

ASG-1502-RALSTON 12/9/14 1:24 AM Page 14

PREPPING RALSTON
WITH

BY TIM RALSTON

Timothy Bryan Ralston is an American inventor, veteran, adventurer, author and movie consultant for his expertise in the field of
survival and preparedness education. He is best known for his appearance in the powerful motivational film, The Compass, and
for being the international spokesperson in the launch of NatGeos No. 1-rated program, Doomsday Preppers.

Preparing for the Winter

As we have seen throughout the


country in the last couple of months,
the cold season has a way of sometimes sneaking up on people. The
worst thing they can do is not
be prepared.

Why Prepare?
During the cold season, many
regions across our nation experience disastrous weather. From violent snow storms to below freezing
temperatures, it can get quite brutal
outside, sometimes even deadly.
A winter storm can create dangerous road conditions, power outages

14

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

and harmful debris. All of these can


be extremely devastating for those
who have not taken precautions and
prepared alternative resources.
In order to ensure your family
stays safe, it is important you are
proactive. Use these tips to guide
you through home and vehicle preparedness. By doing so, you will be
able to survive all that winter throws
at you.

Prepare Your Home


Make mandatory home repairs. Its
time to give your home a little TLC.
With the harsh elements that accom-

pany winter, your structure needs to


be capable of holding up to them.
Make all necessary improvements to
your roof, windows, and insulation so
that your home runs efficiently.
Cut back dangerous trees. Many
of these storms can bring excessive
wind and snowfall that can cause the
downfall of tree branches, or even the
entire tree. Assess your property for
these hazards. Remove any limbs that
may damage your vehicle or home.
Purchase the right tools. Make
sure you have items on hand such as
a good snow shovel, ice scraper and
kitty litter for de-icing.

ASG-1502-RALSTON 12/9/14 1:24 AM Page 15

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Practice safety first. During a time


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be sure to take safety precautions.
Have your fireplace cleaned, keep fire
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addition, it is crucial that you always
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> Alternative Energy Sources candles, flashlights and batteries, solar
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> Alternative Heating Sources
kerosene space heater, portable
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> Food Supplies Prepare at least
one-week supply of non-perishable
foods that do not require heating.
> Water Storage Store at least a
one-week supply of water (one gallon per day per person).

way to avoid this is to stay informed


about road and weather conditions.
DO NOT drive if there are warnings
regarding dangerous weather! Not
only can it lead to fatal accidents, but
being stuck out in freezing temperatures can be life threatening as well.
If you are forced to survive in your
car, be sure to have these essential
provisions.
> high calorie protein bars
> water/ juice boxes

EVERY YEAR THERE ARE COUNTLESS STORIES OF MOTORISTS BEING


STRANDED IN THEIR VEHICLES. THE MOST IMPORTANT WAY TO AVOID THIS
IS TO STAY INFORMED ABOUT ROAD AND WEATHER CONDITIONS.
> Communication Cellphone, solar
charger, windup crank radio
> First Aid Kit
> Extra Medications Request an
extra one-week supply to keep for
emergencies.
> Personal Hygiene Products Stock
up on toiletries and baby supplies.

Practice Car Preparedness


Every year there are countless stories of motorists being stranded in
their vehicles. The most important

> blankets
> cell phone with lighter adapter
> warm hat, mittens, and scarf (wool)
> flashlight and batteries
> multi-tool
> first-aid kit
> medications/baby supplies
> childrens comfort toys/entertainment
> Car Supplies jumper cables, spare
tire, ice scraper, shovel, sand or
kitty litter for traction, writing
material
Before the winter begins, check
that your vehicle is in tip top shape.
The last thing you would want is to
experience car troubles during the
season of frigid temps. Bring it in to
have a check-up, and make any
needed repairs. Request routine
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wipers replaced, your fluids topped
off, your tires rotated, etc

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FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

15

PHOTO COURTESY OF GM

ASG-1502-NEWS 12/9/14 1:26 AM Page 16

Next-Generation 911
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW about the next-generation 911
systemcalled NG 911is that it will utilize text-to-911.
Right now, that feature is available only in certain places
where 911 call centers have elected to accept emergency
text messages from the public, according to the Federal
Trade Commission. Companies providing text messaging
services will have begun the support of text-to-911 by the
end of 2014.

PHOTO BY MARSHALL THOMPSON

How Malibu Deals With


EmergenciesWithout Police
or Fire Departments

16

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

MALIBU, CALIF. HAS A REPUTATION for a few things, like the


ocean, expensive homes, and fire season. But curiously, the city
doesnt even have its own police or fire departments. However, it
does utilize a Community Emergency Response Team, Emergency
Services Coordinator Brad David explained. There are about 50
team members, who get trained to respond to disasters when
regular emergency services cant provide immediate help, such as
an incident with a high number of victims or road closures.
Malibu also has Volunteers on Patrol, allowing civilian volunteers
to report suspicious activities or dangerous situation to the Los
Angeles County Sheriffs Department.

ASG-1502-NEWS 12/9/14 1:27 AM Page 17

Our first step in


planning for these
challenges is to
identify the effects of
climate change on
the Department with
tangible and specific
metrics, using the
best available
science. We are
almost done with a
baseline survey to
assess the
vulnerability of our
militarys more than
7,000 bases,
installations, and
other facilities. In
places like the
Hampton Roads
region in Virginia,
which houses the
largest concentration
of U.S. military sites
in the world, we see
recurrent flooding
today, and we are
beginning work to
address a projected
sea-level rise of 1.5
feet over the next 20
to 50 years.
Department of Defense
2014 Climate Change
Adaptation Roadmap report
and how its going to start
dealing with issues related
to that topic

What Birds Can Teach Us About Survival


A STUDY PUBLISHED in
the Royal Society
journal Open Science
revealed that the shape
of bird eggs might be
how one particular
lineage of birds
survived the asteroid
that killed off the
dinosaurs. In very few
cases, however,
separate evidence
suggests that some
Mesozoic birds at least
differed from extant
birds. For instance, the

eggshells of Gobipipus
are more porous than
expected from their
predicted size,
suggesting a mode of
incubation similar to
that of crocodiles,
explained the authors of
the study. An
interesting implication
of our results is that
extinct Cenozoic bird
eggs fit squarely within
the range of shape
variation of extant
crown-group bird eggs,

suggesting that this


shape variation had
been attained in the
Cenozoic. The study
added, As a
concluding remark, it is
unclear why egg
asymmetry evolved in
theropods. In some
extant birds, however,
this asymmetry may be
related to the need for
adults to incubate
clutches. (Clutches are
eggs.) Further research
is underway.

Whats Grey Water?


CALIFORNIA IS FACING a serious water
drought, and one solution increasing in
popularity is called grey water. Its about the
use of recycled household water, such as from
laundry or a bath. It can be used to water
lawns and indoor plants. Installing some of the
systems could require an electrical and/or
plumbing permits. And since the water isnt
treated, it shouldnt be used for anything edible.

FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

17

ASG-1502-NEWS 12/9/14 1:27 AM Page 18

Federal Aid Available


for Lava Flow
PRESIDENT OBAMA SIGNED a Disaster
Declaration for Public Assistance due to lava
flow emanating from the Kilauea volcano in
Hawaii. This allows federal aid to be
available to help communities seeing the
lava flow moving their way, such as the
Pahoa village. The volcano has erupted from
its Puu Oo vent consistently since 1983.

PHOTO BY THINKSTOCK

Robots Take on Ebola

18

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

XENEX DISINFECTION SERVICES has created


germ-zapping robots for the fight against the
Ebola virus. The protocols include disinfection of
areas where an infected patient was as well as
protection for hospital staff and any personal
protection equipment that might have become
contaminated. In fact, the U.S. Air Force Langley
Hospital is already using a robot it nicknamed
Saul. Its the first U.S. Air Force hospital to use
one. Patient rooms get cleaned by high-intensity
UV rays (25,000 times brighter than fluorescent
lights) to split open bacterial cell walls and kill
dangerous pathogens commonly found in
hospitals, according to Xenex.

ASG-1502-NEWS 12/9/14 1:27 AM Page 19

Facebook Debuts
Safety Check
FACEBOOK HAS CREATED the Safety
Check tool, which will send you a
notification asking whether youre safe if
it believes theres been a natural disaster
in your vicinity. You can click on Im
safe to let your friends/followers know,
plus youll be able to find out whether
theyve checked in as safe as well.

Earthquake Warning System Due in 2016

PHOTO BY THINKSTOCK

PHOTO BY THINKSTOCK

CALIFORNIA IS EYEBALLING 2016 to roll out is early-warning system for Earthquakes.


A bill passed that mandated the creation of the system in 2014. A prototype system is
currently being tested, with favorable reviews. It would give 10 secondsor possibly a
minuteof warning that an earthquake was coming.

FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

19

ASG-1502-CONCEAL 12/9/14 1:30 AM Page 20

the

LONG ARM
OF SURVIVAL
THE PROS AND CONS OF DIFFERENT CALIBER HANDGUNS FOR SURVIVAL
Story and Photography by Paul Hantke
here is no doubt that a big part of most every survival situation is defense, protection and security against not only the
elements that threaten you a hurricane, earthquake or
man-made disaster but from the people who tend to be
less prepared than you are.
You have supplies, food, water and equipment that will need protection, and your very life and the lives of your family and friends depend on
it. A handgun is a perfect solution. Its small and compact, easy to use,
and most of all concealable. In certain situations, advertising your intentions and abilities with a rifle or a shotgun might attract more attention
and trouble than you need or want. Your best bet is to have a handgun
that can be kept under wraps.
However, any conversation about concealable handguns for survival
needs a few qualifiers. We need to first establish exactly how concealable
the gun needs to be, and then we need to determine if the gun is primarily
for self-defense or foraging for food. Finally, a decision needs to be made
about whether our goals can be accomplished with a single gun or if there
is room in the formula for two or more handguns to achieve our goals.

20

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

IN CERTAIN SITUATIONS,
ADVERTISING YOUR
INTENTIONS AND ABILITIES
WITH A RIFLE OR A SHOTGUN
MIGHT ATTRACT MORE
ATTENTION AND TROUBLE
THAN YOU NEED OR WANT.

ASG-1502-CONCEAL 12/9/14 1:30 AM Page 21

A Model 442 S&W


snubbie in .38 Special
or a small auto like this
custom Colt Mustang
from Terry Tussey in
.380 is plenty concealable, but leaves something to be desired in
utility value.

FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

21

ASG-1502-CONCEAL 12/9/14 1:30 AM Page 22

[ABOVE] The classic S&W K-38 (top) is an excellent field gun. The Model 66 below it is
handier due to the four-inch barrel, more durable due to the stainless steel, and can
be more powerful if you load it with the .357 Magnum.

If you wonder about concealability being an


issue, you have to look no further than the
aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when local
authorities took it upon themselves to go house
to house confiscating firearms from law-abiding citizens. This left them easy prey for the burglars who swooped into neighborhoods to loot,
steal and worse.
If you live in any kind of urban setting, you
are almost certainly talking primarily about a
concealable self-defense handgun that will be
the same in day-to-day use today as it would
be in some future kind of disaster scenario.
If you are like most of us and live in a city or
even a suburb outside the city, stop and take a
look around yourself. Your primary food sources
in the city will be pigeons, rats and household
pets. Nearby suburbs may add rabbits and
squirrels to the menu. How long do you think
these protein sources will last when everyone is
on the prowl? Different game animals and fowl
will be available well outside of town depending on what part of the country you live in, but
again, be realistic about the longevity of these
food sources when its every man for himself.

IF YOU COULD HAVE ONLY ONE


CONCEALABLE HANDGUN IN A SURVIVAL
SITUATION WHAT WOULD IT BE?

The long-slide Colt from Tussey Custom and the


long-slide Glock below it from Lone Wolf Distributors
are chambered in the hot shot 9x25mm Dillon, which
will run right along with a .357 Magnum.

[RIGHT] This
Model 317
from S&W is
an excellent
candidate for
a survival
revolver. Its an
eight-shot .22
rimfire with a
three-inch barrel, adjustable
sights, and a
scandium alloy
frame that
makes it lighter
than the holster in which
its carried.

22

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

So, lets presume the question is, If you


could have only one concealable handgun in a
survival situation what would it be?
Lets start with semi-autos of different calibers. Lost or damaged magazines will turn
those handguns into single-shots, but for the
sake of this discussion well assume proper
maintenance and careful handling on your part.
Youll need to experiment beforehand to determine the most reliable and accurate ammunition for your pistol and then you need to get a
good supply of it. I would set a minimum round
count of 1000 to be safe.
This wont be a day at the range or an
extended plinking session, but acquiring more
ammunition in an emergency probably will not
be possible, and ammunition will be one of the
most valuable commodities for trade and barter
under tough circumstances. In a .22 rimfire, the
Ruger semi-auto sets the standard here, with
the Browning Buckmark coming in a somewhat
distant second. Both guns are well-made, reliable, and accurate enough for our purposes
here. They can also be easily concealed.
You can kill just about anything that walks
the Earth with a .22 rimfire if you can get close

ASG-1502-CONCEAL 12/9/14 1:30 AM Page 23

enough and deliver a round to the most vulnerable and effective spot on the animal. I
wouldnt count on that for starters, and as time
wears on after the trigger event that has put
you on this path the animals will get more and
more wary, as you will not be the only one chasing them. Shotshell cartridges increase the versatility of the .22 and other calibers, but they
have to be single-loaded into the chamber from
the magazine as they will not cycle the pistol.
Moving up to the .22 Magnum, we only have
a couple of choices: one from Kel-Tec and the
other from Excel Arms. Both are rather large for
concealment, but it could be done if you dress
around the gun. I have no experience with the
Kel-Tec, but the company has built a reputation
for innovative designs, reliability, accuracy, and
friendly pricing.
When it comes to the Excel Arms Accelerator its a different story. Ive done a lot of shooting with the pistol, and I purchased the test gun
because I was so impressed with it, especially
its superb accuracy. Besides being a real tackdriver in .22 Magnum, the Accelerator also has
an interchangeable barrel in .17 HMR that
shoots as well as the .22 Magnum and makes
the pistol even more versatile.
There are dozens of pistols available in the
.25 ACP, .32 ACP, and .380 ACP, and the good
news is they are all pretty concealable. The bad
news is that its pretty much a something is
better than nothing situation when it comes to
reliability and accuracy. Moving up from there
youll find the 9mm, 9x23mm, .38 Super,
9x25mm Dillon, .40 S&W, 10mm and .45 ACP,
each with its own character and application.
All are available in concealable handguns,
they are all good self-defense rounds and
plenty of medicine for small to medium game,
and the 9x25mm Dillon and 10mm run right on
the heels of the .357 Magnum and .41 Magnum
rounds fired from a revolver. For example, I just
tested some new 10mm ammo from Federal
that launches one of their superb 180-grain
bonded core softpoints at 1237 Feet Per Second (FPS) from the stock five inch barrel of my
Glock, and 1358 FPS from the six-inch match
barrel and long slide from the Glock wizards at
Lone Wolf Distributing.
Those loads are churning up 612 FPE (FootPounds of Energy) from the five inch barrel
and 737 FPE from the six-inch long slide
assembly. Within reasonable handgun hunting
range thats plenty of whack for just about
anything that walks, and if they didnt go down
immediately you can be sure you made them
plenty wobbly!

[ABOVE] The authors custom Glock from Lone Wolf Distributors has six-inch barrels in
10mm and 9x25mm Dillon for the long-slide and five-inch barrels in 10mm, .40S&W,
and .357 SIG to go with the stock top end.

Looking at revolvers and starting with the


.22s its a big world out there. Many folks produce .22 rimfire and .22 Magnum revolvers with
a spectrum of barrel lengths, from two inches
out to eight, and even ten inches. Finding a wellshooting, concealable revolver thatll do the job
for you is just a matter of hunting around until
you hit paydirt, and just about all the offerings
will be reliable and acceptably accurate. There
are lots of different loads in both .22 chambering in addition to shotshells in various calibers
that will function in any revolver.

[ABOVE] The Accelerator pistol from Excel


Industries has interchangeable nine-inch
bull barrels in .22
Magnum and .17 HMR.

FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

23

ASG-1502-CONCEAL 12/9/14 1:30 AM Page 24

Long-Arm

Stepping up in bore size we come to the .32,


which includes the .32 S&W and .32 S&W Long,
a fairly anemic pair dating from early in the last
century. The .32 H&R Magnum from the mid80s is a great improvement, upping the velocities of matching bullet weights in older cartridges by 400 to 500 FPS. Finally, the almost
brand new .327 Federal is just a barn burner,
upping the .32 H&R velocities by another 300
to 400 FPS. There are no factory shotshells for
the .32 calibers, but I used to roll my own as
regular shotshells, shot capped with a round
ball, or two round balls stacked in the front of
the case. Those performed well, and I can only
assume the extra shot or ball load possible in
the longer .327 Federal case would be an
improvement on an already good thing.

[ABOVE] You have to read the barrels of these two stainless steel revolvers to tell
them apart. The S&W J-frame on top is a Model 63 in .22 rimfire, and the one below it
is a Model 651 in .22 Magnum. They both have four-inch barrels.

[ABOVE] The Ruger Single Six with a five-inch


barrel and the stainless
S&W Model 631 with a
four-inch barrel are both
chambered in the .32
H&R Magnum, which is a
good little round.

24

I have stainless steel S&Ws in both .22


chamberings with four-inch barrels that provide the ultimate in durability, reliability, and
concealability while being surprisingly accurate.
The .22 Magnum is a step up from the .22 Long
Rifle and I note that Ruger is chambering their
new snubbie revolver for this cartridge, which is
in some ways mute testimony to its performance in a belly gun.

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

AS SOON AS CLINT EASTWOOD HISSED


THAT THE MAGNUM ROUND IN HIS S&W
MODEL 29 WITH A SIX-INCH BARREL MADE
IT THE MOST POWERFUL HANDGUN ON
EARTH YOU COULDNT FIND ONE OF THOSE
REVOLVERS, ESPECIALLY AT LIST PRICE,
FOR QUITE A WHILE.
Next were looking at one of the old standbys, the .38 Special. This was the cop gun cartridge for several decades until it was surpassed by the .357 Magnum introduced in 1935.
Today you can have both flavors with a dizzying
array of bullets or factory shotshell loads.
The .41 Magnum was an idea that never
really took off even though those who tried it
often became converts. Despite being accurate,
a fairly flat-shooter, and mildly recoiling next to
the .44 Magnum, it just never got traction. Next
we have the old .44-40, the .44 Special, and
finally, its big brother, Dirty Harrys favorite, the
.44 Magnum. The .44-40 was meant to feed
six-guns and rifles alike in the old west so a person only had to carry one type of ammunition.
The .44 Special is a grand old cartridge
capable of some outstanding performance
using modern cases, powders, and guns, but
the .44 Magnum was king of the hill for a long
time after its introduction in 1955. As soon as
Clint Eastwood hissed that the Magnum round
in his S&W Model 29 with a six-inch barrel
made it the most powerful handgun on Earth
you couldnt find one of those revolvers, especially at list price, for quite a while.
However, it turned out that many hapless
buyers werent up to the challenge of full-

ASG-1502-CONCEAL 12/9/14 1:31 AM Page 25

house Magnum loads. In fact, I once bought a


pristine six-inch Model 29 with a 50-round box
of ammo missing only six rounds, if that tells
you anything.
Finally, we come to the .45 Colt cartridge.
There was a shorter version first known as the
.45 Schofield, and later more powerful versions
like the .454 Casull and the .460 S&W, which
are close enough to be called brethren.
Its called the .45 Colt because one of its
first homes was the 1873 Colt Peacemaker and
its closely associated with that revolver. Originally producing around 750 to 800 FPS with a
250-grain bullet in the military loading, the
commercial civilian offering would clock in at
around 900 FPS with the same slug. It first
saw a rebirth with the modern sport of cowboy
shooting, where competitors use guns and cartridges from the old west while donning proper
garb and aliases. Like the .44 Special, the .45
Colt can be juiced up with modern brass, new
powders, and guns made with modern metallurgy. The Casull is essentially a Magnum .45
Colt, and the .460 S&W is an attempt to split
the difference between the old Colt cartridge
and the Casull. I have fired exactly three
rounds of the Casull offering at a SHOT Show
Media Day, and I elected to not finish off the
cylinder-full that I started with in the Freedom
Arms revolver.
My personal handgun in that .45 Colt chambering was a stainless Ruger Bisley with a fiveinch barrel that was a pussycat with the standard loads, but quickly got your attention when
firing some hot stuff from Buffalo Bore Ammunition that would tread on the heels of the
Casull. You can shoot the milder .45 Colt loads
from the Casull chambered revolver, making it
easier to handle and more economical to feed.
Yes, there are factory shotshells available for
the .38/.357, the .44 Special/.44 Magnum, and
the .45 Colt/.454 Casull, and each one is better
than the last as you go up in bore size, and all
three put the .22 LR/.22 Magnum shells to
shame with pellet size and pattern density. Can
you conceal these medium to big bores? For
most of them, depending upon barrel length,
all you need is the right holster and a proper
covering garment. In closing, let me acknowledge the existence of the .50 S&W, but were
not going there today!
I have been asked many times what my
choice would be if I could have only one
sidearm, and my answer is either one of my
four-inch S&W 629s, with the little four-inch
stainless J-frame Model 51 coming in close
second.

The stainless, four-inch barreled


S&W Model 629 is Hantkes go-to
gun when cornered to pick just
one handgun for survival.

The S&W K-22 on top is a safe pick


for a .22 rimfire with a six-inch barrel.
But the rather rare Model 35 J-frame
below it wears the same six-inch barrel and weighs a pound less.

Top to bottom
and left to right you
have shotshells in .22
rimfire, .22 Magnum, .38
Special/.357 Magnum,
9mm, .40 S&W, .44
Special/.44 Magnum, and .45
Colt.

FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

25

HOW-TO

ASG-1502-SOLARSTILL 12/9/14 1:42 AM Page 26

POTABLE WATER

Solar Still
in the Sand

HOW TO MAKE FRESH WATER IN COASTAL REGIONS


Story and Photography by Christopher Nyerges
oure at the ocean.
There is water. There is
water everywhere but
not a drop to drink. Or is
there?
Are there any ways to get potable
water when youre stuck somewhere
near an ocean? Lets explore the many
possibilities, and one of these just
might be the solution that youll need.

STRANDED ON A BOAT
A growing number of anthropologists are of the belief that the oceans
in the past were not barriers to
human travel, but were the actual
highways from which people traveled great distances. The wellcharted currents can take a sail boat
from the Mediterranean to the
Caribbean, just as it did Columbus a
few hundred years ago. And the path
of the trade winds are not devoid of
food, as you might think. Along the
trade paths there are seaweeds,
ocean birds, lots of fish, turtles all
the things that can sustain life on
long voyages.
But what happens when your water
supply runs out? Today, the well-

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AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

equipped sailor can phone or radio for


help. But what if youre out to sea
unexpectedly, without adequate
water. What can you do?
In the reports Ive collected on
sailors who survived when their ship
floated out in the ocean, for 30 days or
more, the survivors all have a few
things in common.
One solution to diminishing fresh
water is to mix your fresh water with
ocean water. Thor Heyerdahl (see box)

discovered his crew was able to mix up


to 40 percent ocean water with 60
percent fresh water to extend their
supplies. They experienced no ill
effects, and noted this blend
quenched the thirst better than
straight water.
Other survivors reported they
would drink ocean water, but only in
little sips, little by little. Salty ocean
water is not inherently poisonous, as is
commonly believed. It contains
sodium chloride, potassium chloride,
and perhaps 20 more suspended minerals. If you were to drink it like regular
water, the result is usually vomiting
and diarrhea, and a net water loss. But
slow sipping, never really enough at
one time to quench the thirst, can be
done if you discipline yourself. It has
been done, and it might stave off
dehydration.
Regular intake of fresh water is
important, of course. But now your
canteens and jugs are totally empty.
What can you do?
If you planned ahead, you could set
out your distillation device, fill it with
ocean water, and suck out some
potable water in a few hours.

ASG-1502-SOLARSTILL 12/9/14 1:42 AM Page 27

A simple still can be made with two


buckets and sheets of plastic. Its not
perfect, and its not highly efficient,
but it will distill out drinkable water.
The simplest version is to place one
bucket into another, and put ocean
water into the space between the
buckets.You may have to put a rock or a
weight into the inner bucket so it stays
put. Then you cover this with a sheet of
clear plastic, secure the plastic with a
cord, and put a weight or rock in the
middle of the plastic to create a coneshape in the middle. As the ocean
water evaporates, pure water condenses on the bottom of the plastic
and drips into the inner bucket. No, this
is not perfect, and if youre in a boat
thats constantly moving and rocking,
you may not capture a lot of pure water
in your inner bucket. Still, its worth trying if you have the supplies.
But lets assume you have no such
device. What now?

DEW
Another possible source of water
could be dew. By stretching and tying
out a sheet of plastic, you could capture dew during the night. The sheet of
plastic would need to be tied out, and
have a slope that leads into a container. As the dew settles and coalesces, it drains into the container.
Since this is wholly dependant on
weather conditions, you might get a
little and you might get a lot. There
tends to be more dew during the
nights when the daytime is clear.

RAIN
It also rains out at sea, and again, if
you stretch out a sheet of plastic, and
slope it so that it drains into a bucket,
you can capture rain water. In the field,
I have collected a gallon in less than 15
minutes during a downpour. How
much you can actually collect is determined by how hard its raining, and the
size of your collection device (that is,
the size of your sheet of plastic).
There are not a lot of options for
your water when you are stranded
unexpectedly at sea. But survivors tell
interesting tales, and though you
might not hear all these options in
your favorite glossy survival manual,

these are some of the less likely ways


to capture some palatable water.

SEAWEED
Some, but not all, seaweeds, have
flotation bubbles, usually at the base

of the leaf. These can be cut open


and the liquid inside is typically less
saline than the ocean. There is not a
lot of water in each of these floats
maybe a half-teaspoon per float but
they could add up.

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ASG-1502-SOLARSTILL 12/9/14 1:42 AM Page 28

Solar Still

BIRDS, FISH, TURTLES


If youve managed to capture any
of the animals who inhabit the sea for
your meals, you might be surprised at
the amount of liquid in their bodies.
You can drain this out, strain it, and
drink it. No, I didnt say this was the
best source of water, and I didnt say
youd necessarily like it. But it is a
source of needed liquid.

URINE?
No, no, no! Urine is your bodys
waste product. You could use urine to
cool down, but why do that since you
have the ocean all around? Urine is
functional to treat chapped skin, but
dont ever drink it!

STRANDED ON THE BEACH


Lets say youve beached up on
some unknown shore. There are no
towns or villages around where you
can get some water or help. Where do
you get your water?
Are you in the South Pacific? Are
there coconuts growing on your beach?
Seriously, you can get a coconut,
remove the outer husk, and using an
awl-like device, cut into one of the
three eyes. If your timing was right,
youll have some sweet and nourishing
water. If not, the coconut could be dry,
or the water could be sour.

NO COCONUTS?
TRY DIGGING FOR WATER
One way to obtain water from the
beach areas is to simply dig a well
above the high tide line. The beach will
likely be very sandy and so it will be
hard to dig a deep hole as the sand
continually falls back into the hole. But
keep at it, and dig deeper than the
water level. Wait awhile for the water
to clarify. This water is significantly
less saline than the ocean water
directly, and you may be able to obtain
your needed water this way.

SAND STILL
If you have a sheet of plastic, you
can build a makeshift water still,
exactly the same as desert travelers
make. You dig a hole, maybe three feet
deep and three feet across. Put a container in the middle. Cover the hole

28

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

ASG-1502-SOLARSTILL 12/9/14 1:42 AM Page 29

with a large sheet of clear plastic, and


put a pebble in the middle so there is a
down-ward pointing cone of plastic.
Assuming it is sunny, the water in
the soil will be constantly evaporating
out into the atmosphere, except your
plastic sheet will capture the condensation, and the cone-shape will cause
the distilled water to drip back into
your inner container. While you may
not get all of your water this way, you
should be able to get at least some of
it through this method.

STREAMS
Dont forget that streams flow into
the ocean. Explore around and look for
springs and streams, whose water will
not have to be distilled.
By the way, distillation is a water
purification method, so if the water
you obtained was from one of the distillation methods, it is safe to drink.
Otherwise, you might have to consider

some method of purification. Just


because you found a stream that
flows into the ocean doesnt mean you
can drink it without reservation.
The simplest method for purifying
water of biological contaminants is
boiling, which necessitates the ability
to make a fire (a subject for a future
article), and some sort of container a
discarded metal can will work fine.

EXPERIMENT
These methods described cover
the possibilities in most situations. But
there may be other options too. The
thing to keep in mind is that water is
just about everywhere, and this is certainly true at the beach. The key is to
find potable water, or find some
method to make the ocean water
drinkable.
Dont panic, stay calm, and dont
be afraid to experiment in your efforts
to find a solution.

SOLAR STILL
Cross Section

1. Sheet of plastic, 5 to 6 ft. diameter. Soil around the edges holds the plastic in place.
Note the condensation on the bottom of plastic.
2. Smooth, egg-sized rock to from cone.
3. Cup to catch water.
4. Drinking tube, 14 diameter, approximately 5 ft. long.
5. Tube to allow urine in regularly without opening still. Note funnel at top.
6. Broken cacti and other vegetation placed in hole.

impure water
pure water

Is Salt Water
Poisonous?
When we refer to ocean water as
salt water, you would think were
talking about water with sodium
chloride. In fact, ocean water
contains 20 or more suspended
minerals. The toxic quality of
ocean water has more to do with
the way people have consumed
it during emergencies, rather
than its inherent quality. Rapid
drinking and gulping in order to
quench ones thirst is often a culprit, since this way of consuming
ocean water can lead to vomiting
and a net loss of water.
On the other hand, virtually
everyone who has survived a
shipwreck or whose ship was
stranded at sea consumes ocean
water. These survivors disciplined themselves to sip never
gulp the ocean water. Some
survivors report mixing a majority of fresh water with some
ocean water worked well to
extend supplies.

FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

29

BACKCOUNTRY

ASG-1502-SEAWEED-CX-p31 12/12/14 12:25 AM Page 30

SEAWEED

KELP
Keeping You Alive
SEAWEED AS A SURVIVAL FOOD

Story and Photography by Christopher Nyerges

oure visiting the beach, walking in the sand, taking in the salty
air as the wind beats the waves. And as the undulating waves lap
at your feet, you notice the familiar fronds in the sand and the
multi-colored leafy structures on the rocks. You pick one up. Its
a bit slimy, sticky, smelly. You give it a more careful sniff. Its
actually a refreshing odor, reminiscent of the sea.

Youve discovered seaweeds.


Most people know seaweeds
when they see them at the beach,
whether they are floating in the surf,
lying on the beach in piles, or growing all over the rocks. They grow in a
large array of colors, sizes and
shapes. The kelps are perhaps the
most conspicuous along the west
coast, with their long stipes and
characteristic fronds. They often lie
in masses on the beach. And the far-

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AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

ther north one goes, the greater the


diversity.
In general, the seaweeds have leaflike fronds, stipes that resemble the
stems of terrestrial plants, and holdfasts that resemble roots. Some seaweeds are very delicate, and others
are very tough and almost leathery.
Many have hollow sections floats
that allow them to float more readily. Others are like thin sheets of wet
plastic, such as the sea lettuce.

The colors of the different seaweeds generally determine their


botanical classification as either
green, brown, or red marine algae.
Although all seaweeds contain
chlorophyll, they are distinctly colored by pigments, and that pigmentation plays an important role in
their classification.

Brown Algae
The color, which ranges from
brown to muddy yellow, comes from
the pigment fucoxanthin. Although
this group includes some small,
almost microscopic members, larger
seaweeds with leathery textures predominate. The variety of shapes
ranges from several-hundred-feet-

ASG-1502-SEAWEED-CX-p31 12/12/14 12:25 AM Page 31

long kelps, to whip-like fronds, to


leaf-like structures of one to three
feet in diameter.
All large brown algae (this
includes several genera of kelp, plus
rockweed, and sargassum) anchor
themselves to rocks. This anchoring
is accomplished by means of holdfasts, which are structures similar in
appearance to roots of land plants.
Their tough outer layer renders
them relatively immune to being
rubbed by fish and to the beating
they receive when theyre broken off
and washed ashore. Theyre held
upright by hundreds of air bladders.
There are approximately 1,000
species of brown algae worldwide.

Red Algae
On the whole, the red algae are
smaller than the browns. Theyre
also more delicately shaped, often
appearing as graceful, branching
ferns in hues ranging from violet, to
red, to purple, to pink. Some are
lance shaped with wrinkly margins;
others have wide elastic fronds, and
look like sheer sheets of plastic with
ruffled margins. Some grow as thin
filaments or leaf-like structures.
The reds include the well-known
Irish moss (Chondrus crispus), laver
(Porphyra spp.), and dulse (Rhodymenia palmata). There are approximately 2,500 species of red algae.

Green Algae
These also grow as filaments or
branching fronds. The most commonly eaten seaweed in this group is
sea lettuce (Ulva lactuca), which actually looks like a thin sheet of lettuce
attached to a rock. Though most
green algae are found in fresh water,
there are approximately 5,000
species of marine green algae.

Eating Seaweed
Seaweeds are not only very tasty
(when prepared properly), but they
are also very nutritious. They are
probably the closest thing you can
come to a fast food when youre in
the wild.
In general, seaweeds can be used
as foods, food seasoning, medicine
and nutritional supplement, and
other utilitarian uses.
When I was originally researching seaweeds in the 1970s as a journalist and student botanist, I interviewed botanists, marine biologists,
and seaweed specialists. Some
believed that all seaweeds all of
the nearly 10,000 macroscopic varieties are a completely nontoxic
group of plants, and most agreed
that these are safe to consume. The
more conservative viewpoint suggested that one should take the time
to learn each individual seaweed you
intend to eat. This viewpoint had to
do with the fact that there are so
many seaweeds, and not all have
been studied enough to make such a
blanket statement.
Nevertheless, seaweeds are
regarded as highly nutritious and
generally edible, and we know of no

toxic seaweed, assuming you follow


our guidelines listed below.

Cautions
Some seaweeds are unpalatable
due to their rubbery texture, and
rigid structure, which can usually be
overcome by drying and powdering
or by various cooking methods.
What works for one seaweed may
not work for another. Where possible, talk to the local people who use
seaweeds. Only by experience will
you be able to learn which seaweeds
are more palatable than others. As
you experiment, dont rely only on
your taste buds first reactiontry
ingenious ways of using seaweeds.
Here are some of the commonsense precautions you should take if
youre going to try eating seaweeds:
Never eat any seaweed that has
been sitting on the beach, rotting
and attracting flies. Seaweed that has
already begun to decompose contains bacteria that will cause sickness
if eaten.
Be sure to thoroughly wash your
seaweed before consumption. This
eliminates any adhering sand and
potentially harmful substances. A
suggested method, especially if the

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ASG-1502-SEAWEED-CX-p31 12/12/14 12:25 AM Page 32

purity of the ocean water is questionable, is to wash the seaweed in


your bathtub or sink. First wash in
hot water with a small amount of
biodegradable soap, then drain.
Repeat the wash and drain process
three times in the hottest tap water
possible. Finally, rinse at least once
in non-soapy water. Then you can
dry the seaweed or cook it into a
variety of recipes.
Any seaweeds growing near a
sewage effluent or by mouths of
rivers, bays, or inlets where pollution
is being dumped readily pick up the
toxins. Such seaweeds should not be
eaten. Unfortunately, much of the
Southern California coastline south
of Malibu should be considered polluted. This means that you have to
use some common sense when collecting seaweed for food, and you
should thoroughly wash any seaweed you intend to eat.

Eating Seaweeds
Seaweeds can be used in a variety
of ways. Somesuch as the sea lettuce, which actually looks like sheets
of sheer lettuce growing right on the
rockscan be washed and added
raw to salads. Others seaweeds are
best dried and crumbled, and used
as a seasoning for other foods. Some
seaweeds can be diced and added to
soups and stews. And nearly all can
be simply dried and powdered and
then used as a salt substitute or flavor enhancer.
If you live near the Atlantic,
Pacific, or other coast and have easy
access to seaweeds, I encourage you
to research the many specific sea-

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AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

weeds used for food. With the many


books written about seaweeds, you
can find recipes for each of the commonly-used seaweeds, and practice
preparing them. And I encourage
you to experiment!
Unless you are lost and havent
the time to experiment or research,
there are many sources of information today with many specific
recipes and methods of preparation
for seaweeds.

One of my favorite recipes from


the kelp seaweed is made from the
floats, which are the swollen hollow
bubble at the base of each frond. I
cut them off, wash them, and then
soak them in jalapeo juice or other
pickling liquids. These floats will
take on the flavor of whatever they
are seasoned with, and they are
served like jalapeo peppers or
other garnishes.
Those seaweeds that can be eaten
raw can be either eaten fresh (from
sea or beach) or dried first and then
chewed like jerky. Boiling is preferred in some cases where the seaweeds are bone-dry. Others become
more palatable after cooking (up to
30 minutes) in water; both the resulting broth and the seaweed will usually be very good. When the broth
cools, it will normally gel, making it
useful in various dessert items.
Dried and powdered/shredded
seaweed is an excellent item to carry
in your survival pack. Placed in a pot
of water with other wild vegetables,
seaweed makes the closest thing to
instant soup thats available from
the wild.

Most of the hollow stalks and air


bladders of the brown algae can be
eaten raw or pickled. Ive tried the
following recipe with the air bladders of the Pacific Coast kelp, and
found it delicious! Pack approximately 100 raw air bladders (alone or
with other pickling vegetables, such
as cauliflower, onion, and sliced carrot) into clean quart jars. Add apple
cider vinegar until the air bladders
are nearly covered, and then add one
to two tablespoons of cold-pressed
olive oil. Sprinkle in your favorite
pickling herbs (such as dill seed, tarragon, and celery powder), and add
approximately 10 freshly sliced garlic
cloves. Cap tightly and shake once or
twice a day for a few days. These air
bladders can then be eaten as is or as
a side to Mexican dishes as a chili
pepper substitute.
Many seaweeds can serve the
same thickening function as okra
does in soups. Tender seaweeds can
be added directly to soups; the less
tender seaweeds are better broken
into bits, blended in an electric
blender to a fine mush, then strained
through a fine mesh or muslin cloth
to remove the solids. Then bottle,
label and refrigerate. This liquid can
then be used as the soup or gravy
base, substituting for flour. The
strained-out pulp also has many
uses it can be cooked into homemade ice cream as a smoother/stabilizer, can be used for compost,
mulch, or earthworm food, or can be
added to animal foods.
Seaweeds have long been used in
clambakes. When heated, they give
off a steam that adds flavor to other
food being cooked near them. Thus,
seaweed is thrown directly into large
fire pits next to meat, seafood, potatoes, corn and so on. Seaweeds can
also flavor and help steam foods at
home if you add a layer of them to
both the bottom and top of any large
pot or roasting pan containing meat
or vegetables.

Medicinal Uses
Most iodine is obtained from two
sources: brown algae and red algae.

Iodine, necessary for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland, has been
used for the treatment of goiter for
over 5,000 years. Goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid gland, visible as a
swelling on the front of the neck.
In his book on nutrition, Are You
Confused?, Paavo Airola lists kelp as 1
of the 10 plants that help the bodys
glands reach their peak of healthy
activity. Many seaweeds most
commonly kelp when powdered
yield potassium chloride, a salt substitute. This is a godsend particularly
for those who must restrict the
amount of sodium chloride in their
diet. By dry weight, kelp is about 30
percent potassium chloride.
The gelatinous material extracted
by boiling seaweeds can also be used
as a remedy for burns and bruises or
as a hand lotion.
One hundred grams of dulse contain 3.2 grams of fat, 296 milligrams
of calcium, 267 milligrams of phosphorus, 2,085 milligrams of sodium,
and 8,060 milligrams of potassium.
One hundred grams of Irish moss
contains 1.8 grams of fat, 2.1 grams
of fiber, 17.6 grams of ash, 885 milligrams of calcium, 157 milligrams of
phosphorus, 8.9 milligrams of iron,
2,892 milligrams of sodium, and
2,844 milligrams of potassium. One
hundred grams of kelp contain 1,093
milligrams of calcium, 240 milligrams of phosphorus, 3,000 milligrams of sodium and 5,273 milligrams of potassium.

Other Uses
The long flat stipes of some seaweeds, if treated with a leather softener, can be used as an interim lashing/binding material (preferably in
places where they wont get wet).
The long hollow stipes of some of
the kelps have been used as fishing
lines for deep-sea fishing by Native
Americans in Alaska. These same
stipes, along with any of the stringy
segments of seaweeds, can, if the
need arises, be woven into moccasins, mats, baskets, and pot holders, and even be used for short-term
furniture and clothing repair.

PUBLIC DOMAIN IMAGE

ASG-1502-SEAWEED-CX-p31 12/12/14 12:25 AM Page 33

Red Tide
When were speaking of seaweeds here,
were speaking of macroscopic marine
algae, not microscopic algae. There is something called red tide that causes the
ocean to look red, and presents a possible
hazard if youre going to collect seaweeds
for food. The hazard is actually minor, but
you should be aware of this.
According to the U.S. National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration, Harmful
algal blooms, or HABs, occur when colonies
of algae simple plants that live in the sea
and freshwater grow out of control while
producing toxic or harmful effects on people,
fish, shellfish, marine mammals and birds.
The human illnesses caused by HABs, though
rare, can be debilitating or even fatal.
While many people call these blooms
red tides, scientists prefer the term harmful algal bloom. One of the best known
HABs in the nation occurs nearly every summer along Floridas Gulf Coast. This bloom,
like many HABs, is caused by microscopic
algae that produce toxins that kill fish and
make shellfish dangerous to eat. The toxins
may also make the surrounding air difficult
to breathe. As the name suggests, the
bloom of algae often turns the water red.
HABs have been reported in every U.S.
coastal state, and their occurrence may be
on the rise. HABs are a national concern
because they impact not only the health of
people and marine ecosystems, but also
local and regional economies.
But not all algal blooms are harmful.
Most blooms, in fact, are beneficial because
the tiny plants are food for animals in the
ocean. In fact, they are the major source of
energy that fuels the ocean food web.
A small percentage of algae, however,
produce powerful toxins that can kill fish,
shellfish, mammals, and birds, and may
directly or indirectly cause illness in people.
HABs also include blooms of non-toxic
species that have harmful effects on marine
ecosystems. For example, when masses of
algae die and decompose, the decaying
process can deplete oxygen in the water,
causing the water to become so low in oxygen animals either leave the area or die.

FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

33

ASG-1502-ZAMPERINI 12/9/14 1:49 AM Page 34

Stories of Survival:

Louis
Zamperini
O

47 DAYS ON THE OPEN OCEAN

PHOTO COURTESY OF LOUIS ZAMPERINI

Story by Bryan Dumas

WHAT BEGAN AS A SIMPLE


SEARCH AND RESCUE MISSION IN
THE PACIFIC BECAME A 47-DAY
FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL AND
SUBSEQUENT IMPRISONMENT IN
TWO OF JAPANS WORST CAMPS.

34

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

n Thursday September 20th, 1945, the Daily Times-Tribune of Alexandria, Indiana beneath a photo of the
hulking wreckage of the Mitsubishi factory destroyed
by the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki
announced to friends and family that First Lt. Russell
Allen Phillips horrific ordeal had finally ended. What began as a simple search and rescue mission in the Pacific became a 47-day fight for
survival and subsequent imprisonment in two of Japans worst camps.
Like the newspaper article, for Russell Allen Phillips the war
passed quietly into history. Years later, his daughter would remark
that her father was a quiet, modest man who didnt talk much about
his experiences in the war. Others, like Kesling Middle School Social
Studies teacher Robert Burns, had no idea that the man in the science
classroom next door had spent nearly two months adrift in the middle
of the Pacific Ocean with little food and nearly no water. For over a
decade, Mr. Burns desperately tried to make World War II come alive
for his students, and next door was one of the greatest stories of them
all. It wasnt until Mr. Burns started talking with Cecile Phillips, Russells wife, that the remarkable story came out.
Allen, as friends and colleagues knew him in his hometown of La
Porte, Indiana, graduated from La Porte High School in 1934 and
earned a degree in forestry from Purdue University. He joined the
U.S. air corps a month before the attack at Pearl Harbor. After a bombing raid on Nauru, Allen earned special distinction awards for piloting
his crippled B-24 home despite missing one rudder, having the
hydraulic system completely shot away, and nearly 600 bullets holes
tearing through the plane his crew nicknamed Superman.
Allens World War II experiences were detailed in his bombardier
Louis Zamperinis book Devil At My Heels. After the Nauru raid and
with Superman out for repairs, Allens beleaguered crew was settling in
for some rest when news came in of a B-25 going down somewhere in
the Pacific 200 miles north of Palmyra. Allen quickly volunteered his
crew for the rescue mission.
The only plane left at the base was one that the flight crews called a
musher. Mushers were planes that flew tail below nose and couldnt
get off the ground with a bomb load. This one, the Green Hornet, was
used on the daily vegetable runs between the air base and Hawaii. She
also served as a surrogate for parts needed on other B-24s.

Despite her limitations, Allen and his


crew set off for the downed B-25 on May 27,
1943. At 1830, the plane was wheels up and it
would be the last time that Allen would see
land for the next 46 days. When they arrived
at the B-25s last known location, Allen found
the area covered in clouds. He flew to 8000
feet so that Zamperini could get a better
view. Quickly, without warning, the number
one engine (left outboard) sputtered, shook
violently, and died. Aboard was a new engineerSupermans regular engineer was
injured over Nauruwho rushed to the
cockpit and attempted to feather engine
number one, or turn the blades of the dead
engine edges to the wind to help reduce
drag. But, in his excitement, he feathered the
number two engine instead. Now, the Green
Hornet, a plane that could barely get airborne
with all four engines, was flying with two
engines on the right side only. There was little that Allen could do; he increased power
hoping to keep the plane aloft long enough to
restarted engine number two. It was no use.
The Green Hornet rolled to the left and spun
toward the Pacific. He quickly ordered his
crew to their stations and prepare for a crash.
Less than two minutes elapsed and the Green
Hornet tumbled left wing and nose first into
the ocean.
Allen ended up in the Pacific clinging to
an auxiliary gas tank, a triangular gash on his
head, but alive. Beside him was his tail gunner Francis McNamara. In the water, floating
amidst the oil slick flames and debris was
Zamperini. The three men were the only survivors of the crash.
Zamperini quickly gathered one of the
ejected life rafts and got both Allen and
McNamara out of the water. They all knew
that Allens bleeding gash would quickly
attract sharks. What they didnt realize was
that those sharks would be their worst nightmare for the next 47 days. Zamperini dressed
Allens wounds and rowed the small raft
after a second one that was drifting in the
currents nearby. He knew theyd need the
supplies. With the two rafts lashed together,
Mac and Zamperini moved Allen into the
second one to rest. Zamp, Allen said,
Youre the captain now, Zamperini would
later recall in his book.
In the popular television show NCIS, the
lead agent Leroy Gibbs has a series of rules
that he demands his team commit to memory. The rule that is most often cited in the
series is Rule #9: Never go anywhere without

PHOTOS COURTESY OF LOUIS ZAMPERINI

ASG-1502-ZAMPERINI 12/9/14 1:49 AM Page 35

a knife. As Zamperini took inventory of the


supplies he realized they were without a
knife. In its place, there was a pair of pliers.
I swear I almost started to search for the
rafts trademark to see if it was made in Germany or Japan. Some dummkopf had put in
pliers when everyone knows that no matter
where you are, on land or sea or in the air,
you need a knife, he writes in his book.
The three men had two rafts between
them, six bars of chocolate (each meant to
last a week and fortified with vitamins, min-

FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

35

ASG-1502-ZAMPERINI 12/9/14 1:49 AM Page 36

erals and protein), and eight half-pint tins of


water. As darkness settled in, a cold wrapped
itself around the men. They scooped water
from the ocean and let their bodies warm it
so they could find some rest.
The following morning, Zamperini and
Allen found the chocolate was gone. Mac had
eaten all six bars. They had no food.
The next two days the men watched as
planes from their own squadron flew past
them but they didnt spot the flares fired
from the raft. They were alone. Well, not
completely. Theyd acquired a following of
sharks. What was assumed to be a couple
days at sea and then rescue was quietly
accepted as a longer stay at sea.
The eight tins of water would run out
quickly. In order to get water, Zamperini
used the canvas cover for the air pumps to
catch what rainwater would drift over them.
Some days, the clouds would skirt their raft;
they went for seven days without a drop of
rain. Other days a small shower would allow
them to catch some water. They drank their
fill and then used their mouths to transfer
the water from the canvas cover to the empty
tins. They did this because it was nearly
impossible to pour out the precious few
drops of water in a turbulent raft and by
using their mouths they also kept the salt
water from spoiling their scant supply.
With the water supply issue solved, they
had to move on to food. After Macs selfishness with the chocolate, the men turned to
the sea for food. On occasion, the waves
would toss small fish into their raft. Allen
and Zamperini had to stop Mac from eating
the fish. Both men knew that they could use
the tiny fish as bait for a larger reward.
Their survival gear included a can of hooks
in varying sizes and some line. But each
time theyd try to cast for fish, the sharks
tailing them would steal the hooks and bait
leaving them with nothing. However, the
sharks were not always bad. Zamperini figured out a way to catch the pilot fish that
swam side by side with the sharks: He tied
hooks to his thumb, index and little finger
and hung it in the water. When the sharks
swam up for a closer look, Zamperini would
grab one of the pilot fish and they would be
able to eat that day. On the rare occasion
that a small three- to four-foot shark would
swim by, the men worked together to wrestle it into the raft. Zamperini would hang
the bait over the edge of the raft and as the
shark swam past he would yank it out of the

36

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

PHOTOS COURTESY OF LOUIS ZAMPERINI

Louis Zamperini

water by its tail. Allens job was to ram a


spent flare cartridge into its mouth and
Zamperini would drive the screwdriver end
of the pliers through the sharks eye and
into its brain. They knew enough not to eat
raw shark meat, but they were able to enjoy
a bloody meal of shark liver.
But small pilot fish and shark was not the
only source of meat for the men. Gracefully
gliding the thermals high above them the
men watched albatrosses soar in the blue
skies. Despite sailors superstition, the three
of them knew that if the opportunity presented itself, theyd eat one. They used the
albatrosses natural desire to roost after eating to their advantage. Known to perch atop
the masts of sailing ships in the middle
ocean, an albatross will use anything they
can to rest. One afternoon, while the men
slept, an albatross landed near Zamperinis

THEY KNEW
ENOUGH NOT TO EAT
RAW SHARK MEAT,
BUT THEY WERE
ABLE TO ENJOY A
BLOODY MEAL OF
SHARK LIVER.

ASG_1502_37 12/11/14 2:31 PM Page 37

DIY
Some folks just like to do things for themselves.
For those of you who do, Del-Ton has a complete line of
rie kits to t any need or budget.
Del-Ton is a manufacturer of quality AR-15-style
modern sporting ries and your online source for parts,
upgrades, optics, and accessories. All rie and kit
components are made in the U.S.A.

16 M4 Rie Kit (RKT 100) / MSRP: $510

A screen shot from


Universal Studios'
Unbroken, the true
story of Louis
Zamperini, starring
Jack O'Connell as
Zamperini.

THREE FEET BENEATH THEIR RAFT,


SWIMMING WITH SEVEN-FOOT SHARKS,
THE MEN WATCHED AS THEIR RAFT WAS
STRAFED WITH BULLETS.
head. Slowly, cautiously, he moved his hands
up and caught the bird by its feet. The wrestled with the bird, fought against its razor
sharp beak and finally wrung its neck. They
cut the bird up, but found they couldnt eat it.
The smells were too foul. They tossed the
carcass overboard but vowed to eat the next
one they caught.
After a few weeks at sea, the men realized
that they would need to keep their minds
active and sharp in order to survive. Allens
father was a minister and was serving as a
chaplain in France and Allen taught the
other men some of the songs from church.
Allen would lead and the men would sing
along with him. They told stories of their
past: Allen told about life in Indiana about
the Indianapolis 500 and how hed pack a
lunch for the family and spend the entire
day. He told them about life in La Porte and
how he wanted to go back and become a
schoolteacher. After three weeks, Allens
bandages were removed and he did more
around the raft. The men spent days
wrestling the raft in storms and ocean swells
of over 25 feet and they spent days in the
doldrums, drifting on water as smooth as
glass with vibrant sunrises and sunsets and
the colorful albatrosses coloring the sky
above them.
On the 27th day out, the men saw what
they thought was a B-25. They rose from their
seats and waved their shirts and shouted.

38

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

Instead of rescue, they were greeted with


bullets. A Japanese sally bomber had spotted
them and decided to utilize the raft as a target for practice. The men knew that if they
went into the water, the bullets wouldnt get
them. Three feet beneath their raft, swimming with seven-foot sharks, the men
watched as their raft was strafed with bullets.
They spent the next few days repairing their
raft by cannibalizing the raft that Allen had
been convalescing in.
On the 32nd day at sea, Allen and Zamperini noticed that Mac wasnt as active.
Though all three men had lost so much
weightZamperini figured they were all
less than 75 poundsit was Mac that
seemed to be affected the most. A few hours
after midnight on the 33rd day, Mac died
and the two men buried him at sea the following morning.
On the 46th day, Allen and Zamperini saw
land for the first time since theyd left the air
base on the Green Hornet. They were too far
away to be certain and theyd have to survive
a stormy night and hope their raft wasnt
blown away from land. The next morning the
men were greeted with two Japanese zeros in
combat practice overhead and what looked
like an island with two trees. But the island
was moving. It was a Japanese patrol ship.
Allen and Zamperini had survived their
ordeal at sea, only to be captured and sent to
camps. Two years later, Russell Allen Phillips
returned to his hometown and became the
schoolteacher he had told Zamperini and
Mac he would be. He would keep his ordeal
private. First Lt. Russell Allen Phillips passed
away on December 18, 1998, but his heroic
struggle for survival lives on as one of the
greatest triumphs of the human body and
mind today.

PHOTO COURTESY UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

ASG-1502-ZAMPERINI 12/9/14 1:49 AM Page 38

ASG_1502_39 12/9/14 2:30 AM Page 39

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ASG-1502-MACHETTE 12/9/14 1:51 AM Page 40

MACHETE REVIEW

HalfaChance is a
20-inch long drop-point,
flat-grind parang styled after
the traditional Southeast Asian
machetes made popular in political
uprisings as well as agricultural
endeavors around the world for hundreds of years. [BELOW] The nylon
sheath is sturdy and solid, and the
parang fits snugly. However, it
doesnt come with a drainage
hole, which might pose a
problem in wet environments.

Machetazo
CRKTS HALFACHANCE PARANG
Story and Photography by Andrew Philips
or several hundred years,
the machete has been the
favored sidearm of men in
tropical countries, partly
because it symbolizes the
uprising, the revolt and the collective
angst of machete-wielding labors of
the sugarcane fields. For example, the
Puerto Rican terrorist organization
Boricua Popular Army are commonly
referred to as Macheteros the
Machete Wielders. Its also a practical
tool to clear the underbrush of the
encroaching rain forest, slice open
coconuts and hard foods or to crudely
chop wood.
As a weapon, it was used widely by
the Haitian Tonto Macoute and the
Interahamwe militias of the Rwandan
genocides, and played a major role in
the Cuban war of independence
against Spain in 1868 when Carlos
Manuel de Cspedes freed his slaves,

40

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

armed them with machetes and


started the Ten Years War. They have
a Spanish word for the sound of a
machete cleaving human flesh:
machetazo.
A parang is a general term for any
wide utilitarian blade, and this is not a
fancy parang. There should never be a
fancy parang in your hands, as it goes
against the reason for their very existence. Fancy knives stay home in
boxes and in cases on the wall; like a
Jeep, this machete is made to get dirty.
It was made to cut, to slash, to bludgeon. It was made for the harshness
the world has in store for it, the uprisings, the rebellions, and for times
when the trail gets too narrow.
Columbia River Knife and Tool
(CRKT) offers this parang with the
moniker HalfaChance, suggesting that
when all is lost and the outlook for survival seems less than bleak, at least

with the machete you still stand half a


chance. Its nearly 20 inches becomes
an extension of your arm thanks to
designer Ken Onions ergonomic handle and the long sweeping drop-point
blade, a traditional Southeast Asian
blade shape for a machete. The cutting
edge has an upsweep toward the point,
perfectly matching the trajectory of the
swing to the horizontal plane of what is
being struck no mater where on the
blade contact is made. On the first
time taking it from the box, the HalfaChance is a substantial heft but has

ASG-1502-MACHETTE 12/9/14 1:51 AM Page 41

a balance that makes it seem light and


manageable. The 65Mn carbon-steel
blade is bead-blasted smooth with a
powder-coated black finish. It repels
dirt, sap, dust and the sticky liquids
produced by shattered foliage.
After a considerable thrashing, nary
a sign of wear was observed on the
blades finish, nor was there any hand
fatigue thanks in part to the doubleinjected molding of the handle (thermoplastic rubber over polypropylene
with a pigskin texture), which is
designed to fit even the largest hands.
The deep finger divots offer a reassuring grip on the handle to suggest the

1. There are several holes in


which to string additional paracord, but it does come with a
decent length. 2. The blade is a
65Mn carbon steel material with
a flat grind. 3. The deep finger
wells on the thermoplastic rubber over polypropylene handle is
well designed to not only withstand repeated use but to provide an ergonomic grip that
reduces hand fatigue over a long
period. There are five holes in
the handle to allow for a variety
of lanyard placements. 4. The
jimping here seems to be purely
for aesthetics, as they dont
offer enough grip to allow for
smaller cutting but machetes
arent designed for delicacy.
5. If there is a shortcoming with
the sheath, it will come from the
three metal snaps used to
secure the blade. Even though
they are coated black, the
insides of the snaps will probably rust if left unprotected.

only way youre going to let go of this


machete is if youre throwing it. Bored
into the handle are five holes suitable
for a variety of lanyard placements
depending on the employment of the
parang. On top, there is a hint of some
jimping, but lets face it, a machete
wasnt made for detail work; it was
made to strike fear in the face of foe
and fern, not to carve your girlfriends
initials into a tree.
The sheath is nylon-reinforced and
heavy-duty. It has three snaps that
retain the HalfaChance snugly therein,
which is a shortcoming considering
snaps of this quality rust easily. How-

The action of the parang is made better by the upswept angle of the cutting edge, allowing for a
variety of trajectories regardless of the swing.

Specifications
Manufacturer: CRKT
Model: HalfaChance
Overall Length: 19.5 inches
Weight: 1 lb. 4.4 ounces
Blade Length: 14 inches
Blade Thickness: 0.1 inches
Blade Material: 65Mn Carbon Steel
Rockwell Hardness: 52-56
Handle Material: Thermoplastic rubber over
polypropylene
Sheath: Black Nylon
Sheath Weight: 6.1 ounces
Contact: crkt.com
MSRP: $69.99

ever, the nine holes offer paracordwrapping possibilities similar to those


of the handle. It attaches to your belt
in two possible ways: either dangling
from the chromed ring or strapped
snugly to your belt.
Whether youre blazing a trail
toward salvation, clearing some brush
beyond the chicken coup, or joining in
the crusades of the local revolution, if
you dont have HalfaChance at your
side, you dont have half a chance at
success. However, if you dont like
those odds, check out CRKTs similarly
designed parang: ChanceInHell.

FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

41

IMAGE COURTESY OF WIKIPEDIA

ASG-1502-STARS 12/9/14 1:54 AM Page 42

Navigating
by the Stars
LOOK TO THE HEAVENS MY SON
Story By Larry Schwartz

42

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

ASG-1502-STARS 12/9/14 1:54 AM Page 43

HISTORY OF CELESTIAL NAVIGATION

[ABOVE] Latitude, the lines running north


and south, and longitude, the lines running
east and west, are used to determine a
precise location on the Earths surface.
These locations are measured in terms of
degrees, minutes, and seconds.
[BELOW] The Google Sky Map app for an
Android or Apple smartphone is an excellent tool for learning where key stars and
constellations are in the night sky.

IMAGE BY LARRY SCHWARTZ

From the earliest of times, mankind found that some stars stay in the
same spot in the sky every night while others rose and set on the horizon
in the same place each night. With this knowledge they could find their
way at night if they knew how their destination related to that star and tell
cardinal directions based on the movement of the stars. In the Greek poet
Homers epic, The Odyssey, the nymph Calypso used this knowledge
when she cautioned Odysseus to keep the Bear (Ursa Major) on his left
hand side and to monitor the position of other key constellations as he
left her island returning to his home in Ithaca.
Most civilizations started along bodies of water like rivers, lakes, or
coastlines. As a result most growing civilizations also owed their growth
to the economic benefits of seagoing trade, which necessitated learning
how to navigate by the stars.

IMAGE COURTESY OF NASA

rom the first time a Polynesian looked up into a dark night sky
from a log canoe for the star his grandfather taught him would
point the way to a distant island, to Columbus using Polaris to
find a westbound line of latitude to follow to India, to Peter Pan
following the second star to the right to find his way back to
Neverland, mankind has used the stars to help find its way.

FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

43

ASG-1502-STARS 12/9/14 1:54 AM Page 44

The Europeans took the astronomical


knowledge of the Chinese and combined it
with their own skills and mechanical knowledge to create the earliest practical sextants
and seagoing chronographs which allowed
sailors to accurately determine both latitude
and longitude.

USING THE STARS TO TELL


DIRECTION

The Southern Cross, a constellation of four bright stars, looks like a cross. It is used by
navigators to find South because following a line along its long axis for five times its
length will put you at a position over the southern pole. Like the North Star, it is high
enough above the equator that it is always visible in the night sky, regardless of the
time of year.

The North Star, or


Polaris, is located at the
end of the handle in the
Little Dipper. The most
common way of finding
it is to use the two end
stars in the bucket of the
Big Dipper. A line drawn
across these pointer
stars will point to the
North Star.

44

The Polynesians, like most seafaring cultures, made use of maps. Theirs were stick
charts that showed major routes, winds, currents, and islands which were used in concert
with their knowledge of the stars to travel vast
distances across the open ocean in search of
food, trade, and new lands. Their wanderlust
led them from the shores of Asia all the way to
Samoa and the Hawaiian island chain.
Chinese navigators were using latitude and
longitude long before their European cousins to
document where their journeys took them and
the precise locations of new lands and ports.
When European captains reached China they
were amazed at the level of detail the Chinese
mariners had in their maps and took that
knowledge back to Europe.

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

Finding direction at night is very simple if


the stars are out and the sky is clear. In the
northern hemisphere, the easiest way to find
North is to look for the North Star, or Polaris,
which always appears to be over the northern
pole. Since it sits at the top of the sky its
position will not change during the night, nor
will it change with the seasons. In the southern
hemisphere people look for the Southern
Cross. Following the long axis of the cross
five times its length and you will reach a point
that is above the southern pole. Both of these
pole stars are high enough above the equator
that they are always visible in the night sky,
regardless of the time of year.
A second method for determining direction
from the stars is to look at their movement.
Just as you can use two sticks and the movement of the shadow during the day to create
an East-West line, you can do something similar by watching the movement of a bright star
at night. First, find the brightest or most easily
recognizable star in the night sky. Then, push
two sticks into the ground, one longer than the
other, so that you can aim over the top of them
at the star you picked. After waiting approximately 15 minutes the star will appear to have
moved from where it was when you aimed at it
originally. If the star moved up it is in the East.
If it moved down it is in the West. If it moved
left it is in the North. If it moved right it is in the
South. These rules apply for the northern
hemisphere, so reverse them for the southern
hemisphere.

USING THE STARS TO TELL


LOCATION
As time passed and mankind first journeyed
farther and farther from the coastline and then
began crossing major bodies of water for exploration or trade or discovery, the need for more
precise navigational fixes brought the use of
latitude and longitude to describe where things
were located and the creation of tools like the
astrolabe and the sextant and the seagoing
chronometers to determine a ships location.

IMAGES COURTESY OF WIKIHOW

Navigating
by the Stars

ASG-1502-STARS 12/9/14 1:54 AM Page 45

The first half of that positional fix is the


longitude. Longitude is shown by the long
lines that run the length of the globe from
pole to pole and represent degrees east or
west of the Prime Meridian, which runs
through the British Royal Observatory at
Greenwich outside of London, England. Longitude is measured from zero degrees at the
Prime Meridian through to one hundred and
eighty degrees on the opposite side of the
Earth. Since the Earth moved at a constant
rate of fifteen degrees per hour you could multiply the difference in hours between the time
at the Prime Meridian and your local time by
fifteen degrees and know your longitude.
The second half of a precise navigational fix
is the latitude. Latitude is shown by the lateral
lines on the globe north or south of the Equator.
Latitude is measured from zero degrees at the
Equator up through ninety degrees at the North
or South pole. Since the North Star stays above
the northern pole, and the Southern Cross
above the southern pole, the angle between
the horizon at sea and the star is the same as
your latitude; zero degrees on the Equator,
ninety degrees (straight up) at the poles, and
something in between elsewhere on the globe.

IMAGE COURTESY OF WIKIPEDIA

IMAGE COURTESY OF WIKIHOW

IMAGES COURTESY OF WIKIHOW

[LEFT] Sight across the tops of


two sticks of different lengths
at a star. Wait about fifteen
minutes and then see which
direction the star appears to
have moved. Up means the star
is in the East, down means the
West, left means the North, and
right means the South.
[RIGHT] The earliest navigational charts were very likely
the stick charts used by the
Polynesians to travel between
islands and even far past the
horizon. These charts showed
information on winds, currents,
and location of islands.

Electronics break, batteries die and the


things we use to make life easier fail. Learning
how to use the stars and the sun to know where
you are and which way to go are skills we
should all develop and keep in practice. During
the 1950s, a lecturer named Henry Neeley at
the Hayden Planetarium in New York City probably said it best when he noted, the navigational use of the stars will continue to be a
valuable asset for many years to come. In spite
of all the scientific aids that have been developed to do the navigating by robot science, the
ancient stars will still be a must for navigator
or pilot. So, make use of your new skills on a
daily basis, even if it is just looking up at night
and picking out the constellations. Its one of
the pleasures of being one with the outdoors,
so enjoy it.

[BELOW] The sextant in


use here by a U.S. Naval
officer is a simple but
vital tool that gives precise angular measures
that are used to determine latitude. By measuring the height of the
sun or a star above the
horizon you can determine how far you are
from the Equator, which
is your latitude.

A web search on the term celestial navigation training will return a number of online or
classroom courses that will teach you how to
navigate by the sun and stars, as well as their
locations in the night sky. You can also find
star charts that will show you the location of
the major stars and constellations during each
of the seasons of the year. My favorite star
chart is actually an app on my smartphone,
the Google Sky Map. To use it you simply open
the app and hold your phone above your head
at look at the sky. The app shows the stars
that are in the sky above you with their names
and other information.

IMAGE COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA

LEARNING TO FIND THE STARS

FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

45

ASG-1502-COUGH 12/9/14 1:58 AM Page 46

Natures
Medicine Chest
HOW TO TREAT A SORE THROAT AND COUGHING
Story and Photography by Christopher Nyerges

It
46

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

seems sore throats and coughs have afflicted people forever, whether from proximate causes like pollen, dust and
woodsmoke, or from talking too much, yelling, or even catching
something from another person. Fortunately, there are quite a few
natural remedies to help relieve the pain and discomfort of coughs
and sore throats, many of which have been used for centuries.
Each of the plants described are commonly available in the wild,
and typically can be purchased from herb shops in dried form.

ASG-1502-COUGH 12/9/14 1:58 AM Page 47

MALLOW
The various mallows have been used to soothe sore
throats for centuries. In fact, even the ancient Egyptians
used one of the mallows for this purpose.
In the United States, the common mallow (Malva parviflora) is a widespread weed of vacant lots and fields. It is
sometimes referred to as poverty weed or cheeseweed. In
fact, the tender leaves of mallow are tasty in salads and
soups, are high in Vitamin C, and can be cooked with other
vegetables like spinach. We have even rolled cooked rice
within a larger leaf of the mallow, and served them as the
popular Middle Eastern dish grape leaves or dolmas.
In Mexico, mallow leaves (known as malva) have long
been chewed so the slightly mucilaginous quality can
soothe a sore throat. Herbalists consider mallow leaves an
emollient and a demulcent. Whether the leaves are eaten or
made into a tea, this plant helps relieve inflammation, especially in the throat.
A related mallow, the marsh mallow (Althea officinalis), is
also used for coughs and sore throats. This plant has a long
tap root that is boiled, and the resulting liquid is like egg
whites. This is then whipped, mixed with honey, and eaten
as a very pleasant and effective cough medicine. Of course,
marshmallows today are pure junk food, and marshmallow
manufacturers no longer use extract of the marsh mallow
plant. Today gelatin is used to manufacture those fluffy
white non-food objects (you know, marshmallows).

Mallow

FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

47

ASG-1502-COUGH 12/9/14 1:58 AM Page 48

will contain any horehound extract at all.


With very few exceptions, all the horehound
I have found in stores are nothing more than
sugar with artificial flavors added.
Horehound is made into a tea, which is
very bitter and unpleasant. No one would
ever drink it if it werent so effective. Besides
soothing a sore throat and a cough, horehound is an expectorant, which means it can
help clear your throat when it is congested.
To make horehound tea, I collect the
young leaves in the spring. They can be used
fresh or dried. I place about one teaspoon of
the herb into my cup, pour boiling water over
it, cover it, and let it sit until it is cool enough
to drink. The flavor? Terrible! Its bitterness
must be experienced to understand. So add
honey and lemon juice to your horehound
tea to make it more palatable. The honey and
lemon are also good for your sore throat.

MULLEIN

Horehound

HOREHOUND

IF YOU GO TO
THE STORE AND
BUY HOREHOUND
DROPS ITS VERY
UNLIKELY THEY
WILL CONTAIN ANY
HOREHOUND
EXTRACT AT ALL.

48

The horehound (Marrubium vulgare) is a


bitter mint, native to Europe, that has now
naturalized throughout the entire United
States. It is called marrubio in Mexico, where
it also grows in the wild. When you see it in
the wild its obviously a mint, yet it lacks the
strong aroma typical of most mints. However,
youll see the square stem, opposite leaves,
and wrinkled leaves that make the horehound easy to recognize.
Do any of you remember horehound
candy? It was a popular old-fashioned
cough drop made by boiling the horehound
leaves, straining them, and then adding
sugar or honey to the liquid. The liquid was
then cooked until it was thick enough to
harden. Recipes for horehound candy can
still be found in many candy-making books.
Unfortunately, if you go to the store and
buy horehound drops its very unlikely they

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) is another


European native that has now naturalized
throughout the entire United States. It is particularly common in dry waste areas
throughout the Southwest. I can recall looking out my window while driving to the
Grand Canyon and noticing the dominant
roadside plant was mullein.
Mullein leaves feel like flannel or chamois
cloth. The plant produces large basal leaves
the first year and then in the second year it
sends up a seed spike that can reach four to
five feet.
To make a tea, use the first-year leaves of
mullein and infuse them. There is not much
flavor, so I typically add mint to mullein tea.

Mullein

ASG-1502-COUGH 12/9/14 1:58 AM Page 49

Mullein acts like a mild sedative on the lungs


and it helps to relieve the roughness in the
throat common with coughs and some fevers.
Interestingly, mullein leaves have also
been smoked to help relieve coughing and
even mild asthma attacks. I have tried this on
a few occasions, and I felt quick relief.
The large flannel-like leaves of mullein
have other uses as well. Ive used them as
pot-holders, and even toilet paper. A leaf can
be rolled tight, bound with a wire, and used
as a wick in slush lamps. The tall second-year
stalk of the plant has been used as a drill
when making fire with the hand-drill, but I
dont find it to be a particularly ideal plant
for this purpose.

MORMON TEA
Throughout the Southwestern United
States there is a stick-like plant called Mormon Tea (Ephedra sp.). It is common in the
California high deserts, in the Great Basin
area, throughout Southern Colorado and
down into Texas. It is sometimes found at
herb stores.
The plant is a low shrub with branched
needle-like segments that have scales at the
nodes. There are just a few species of
Ephedra, each with a slightly different look
and color-tone. However, once you can recognize one Mormon tea, youll be able to recognize them all.
In China, a related member of the
Ephedra genus is the source of the drug
ephedrine, which is used as a decongestant
and a bronchial dilator. Though the wild U.S.
species contain much less ephedrine, they
are nevertheless useful in home remedies to
treat breathing problems associated with
coughs and colds. Typically, the stems are
brewed into a tea at low temperatures in a
covered pot. There is a mild but distinctive
flavor and aroma that I like.
I have made an evening tea from Mormon Tea while camping in the desert where
there were no other beverage plants readily
available. It has a pleasant flavor, and it is
improved with just a touch of honey. Even
if you have no breathing problems, youll
find Mormon Tea a great beverage, sweetened or not.
No doubt there are many, many other
remedies for coughs and sore throats.
Included here were just a few of the common
wild plants which are safe and easy to use.
Though there are many good references to
choose from regarding medicinal wild plants,

Mormon Tea

I have found everything by the herbalist


Michael Moore to be top quality. Additionally, I have found Daniel Moermans Native
American Ethnobotany to be an excellent
and comprehensive reference, though there
are no illustrations. Here where I live in the
west, my first choice reference tends to be
Healing with Medicinal Plants of the West
by Cecilia Garcia and Dr. James Adams.
Remember, dont use any wild plant for
food or medicine until you have done sufficient study and field work to identify the
plant with absolute certainty.
Note: None of the above should be construed to take the place of
competent medical advice in a face-to-face setting. Chronic coughing or chronic sore throat may be an indication of a more serious
disorder. Use your common sense and consult a medical authority if
you are experiencing any sort of chronic disorder.

FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

49

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ON
GUARD

HOW SITUATIONAL AWARENESS CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE


Story by Scott Fisher | Photography by Guy Spangenberg | Additional Photography by Scott Fisher

oure walking out to your car in a dark


parking lot, your arms full of shopping
bags. From your right, someone steps out
suddenly from behind a car and confronts
you. Youre a little startled, but you focus
on them without getting too close. Out of nowhere,
hands grab your left shoulder and spin you around,
pushing you down. You lose your balance and your head
smacks off the pavement with a sound like slapping a
watermelon, and a sudden, painful ringing fills your ears.
The unseen assailant tears at your shopping bags, while
the first man shouts at you to stay quiet or get shot.
Youre on the ground in the parking lot now, victim of a
sudden and random crime.

50

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51

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ON GUARD

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AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

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What happened? How could you have prevented it? You were distracted by the first person, while his accomplice came up behind you.
This classic scenario demonstrates what happens if youre not using an important survival
skill: situational awareness. As we will show, it
can save you from injury or worse if you learn a
few techniques and use them relentlessly.
The term situational awareness is perhaps
best known from fighter-pilot training: being
aware of the situation youre in can save your
life, being unaware can kill you. It highlights the
human tendency to focus on the immediate
target in a dogfight, the plane youre chasing
at the expense of the rest of the situation
the MiG at your six, the enemy fighter who has
now slipped in behind you and has fired on you
while you were focused in front.
Situational awareness requires learning
ways to counteract millions of years of evolutionary adaptation, which force us to concentrate on an obvious, single threat to our lives. If
youre a primitive hunter-gatherer who suddenly finds himself in danger of being hunted or
gathered, your natural instinct is to identify the
threat another predator who thinks youd be
a pretty tasty treat, with no horns or claws, just
delicious soft flesh. (And maybe some not-soprimitive hunters, as anyone whos ever stumbled across a bear or mountain lion while hunting for turkeys has ever experienced.)
The natural human response to threats,
called fight or flight, is just that: our bodies
release epinephrine and norepinephrine, two
hormones that bring about a chain of physical
changes. These hormones increase our heart
rate to improve oxygenation, dump glucose into
our blood so our muscles will have fuel for
maximum performance, and in short leave us
ready to fight, or run away and live to fight
another day. The problem is that some of these
mechanisms work against us: yes, concentrating all our attention on the immediate threat
means we know where the bear or lion is at the
moment, but unfortunately a serious cognitive
side effect of the fight-or-flight mechanism is
tunnel vision.
Tunnel vision is just what it sounds like: as
your body begins the fight-or-flight response,
blood is shifted into the muscles and limbs, and
away from areas of the body that are unnecessary to protecting you from the immediate
threat. One of the effects of this is the loss of
peripheral vision you retain the central focus,
but the edges of vision can go dark under
extreme situations. Result: you lose the ability
to observe items outside the center of your field

of vision. Fortunately, stress hormones often


make your hearing more acute, but this works
against you, as the extra acuity sometimes simply adds to the stress.

THREE STAGES OF A SITUATION


While these provide some advantages for
protection against a single threat, they can prevent you from noticing additional threats
whether thats the MiG at your six or the muggers accomplice walking up behind you. So
how can you counteract this? Lets start by
analyzing the most common model of situational awareness, which addresses three
stages of analyzing a situation: perception,
comprehension and projection.
Perception, the first stage, involves noticing all the elements in your situation not
just whats in your tunnel vision, but everything around you: people, objects, their locations, motions, actions, the entire setting or
environment youre in. What do you see? Look
for people, but dont limit yourself to those
you see. Are there hiding places doorways,
driveways, alleyways leading into the route
youre taking? Are there automobiles or other
objects blocking your view? Are any of these

...BEING AWARE
OF THE SITUATION
YOURE IN CAN
SAVE YOUR LIFE,
BEING UNAWARE
CAN KILL YOU.

FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

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ON GUARD

[ABOVE] Ryan Tuttle,


CEO of Threat Dynamics, demonstrates presentation of the firearm
as a tactical advantage:
muzzle down, but ready
to swing up and fire if
necessary.
[OPPOSITE] The author
takes aim at three targets, with one in plain
sight, one taking cover,
and the third moving
across the scene. Moving targets can be hard
to arrange on the livefire range, says Ryan
Tuttle of Threat Dynamics. But how do you
learn where to shoot at a
moving target?

54

people, automobiles or objects moving and


if so, are their movements part of a pattern
(the regular flow of traffic, for example), or do
they change in some way (moving faster,
changing lanes, etc.)?
Comprehension, the second stage, involves
understanding and analyzing what youve seen.
Those rapidly-moving vehicles, for example
are they perhaps moving erratically, coming
towards you in a way that could put you in danger? Are any of the alleys or doorways in your
route potential areas where an attacker could
hide or a potential route to safety for you? In
this stage, you recognize, interpret, and evaluate the situation as you perceive it, from the
position youre in.
Projection, the final stage, involves looking
ahead to the actions that the people and things
in your situation are likely to take. Is the driver

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

of that SUV texting on a cell phone about to run


into you? The person walking behind you on an
unfamiliar street is he closing in on you? If I
cross the street here, am I in an area with fewer
potential threats and therefore less likely to be
a victim? In this final stage, you consider what
youve seen and what you understood, and you
project it forward for yourself and the potential threats so that you have a sense of what
is likely to happen.
In real life, situational awareness affects so
much of what you do, from backing out of a
parking space to walking through an unfamiliar
neighborhood in the dark. And best of all, the
most important piece of advice in learning to
use situational awareness is simple: use it all
the time. Practice not only makes perfect, it
makes it automatic.
One practice for increasing your situational
awareness skills is simply to observe other drivers when youre on the road. My kids used to
chuckle whenever Id say, Im trying to figure
out what that guy in the white truck is doing, so
that at least one of us knows. Traffic gives an
opportunity to notice unexpected actions,
motions, and other breaks from expected patterns. It teaches you to scan (stage 1, perception) and recognize vehicles whose motion differs from the surrounding traffic (stage 2, comprehension). Stage 3, projection, comes when
you take a subtle action to put yourself out of
the way of oncoming danger whether pulling
to the right for an ambulance coming up behind
you with lights and sirens, or taking an exit to
avoid a driver who appears to be drunk or
exhibiting road rage.
Some examples may make things clear: A
college friend of mine, who worked as a waitress in a family restaurant, told me about a

ASG-1502-AWARE 12/9/14 2:04 AM Page 55

night she closed the restaurant, which meant


driving home about 11 PM. On the way, she
noticed that the same set of headlights had
made every turn she did. When the car got
closer to her in traffic, she saw four young
males who made suggestive gestures to her.
She made a few quick turns; the car continued
to follow her right up to the point that she
turned into the parking lot of the police station
that she had been heading for. The car full of
youths left the scene very quickly, considering
they were directly in front of a police station;
my friend waited several minutes, then drove
safely home without further incident.
On foot, you need to follow the same threestep process: identify, observe, and prepare for
potential threats from people or places. It
might mean watching for doorways especially businesses, if youre in a commercial area
as possible avenues of escape or safety, as
well as watching for threats and recognizing
patterns. Another friend tells the story of an
evening that she was shopping in a fairly
upscale neighborhood in Portland, when she
noticed the same man going into every shop
she entered. He just looked out of place, she
said when she told the story later alone, not
shopping with a friend or partner, not dressed
like the other shoppers in the neighborhood.
And he followed me into every store I went
into, even after she crossed several streets.
How she evaded him: after jaywalking (and
being followed a few moments later), my friend
slipped into a vintage shop, near where she had
parked her car, which had a large display near
the front door. She quickly ducked behind the
display, out of sight. The suspicious man came
into the shop and looked around, presumably
trying to find her. My friend hurried back out of

the shop, dashed to her car, and drove away


with the doors locked.
In both of these stories, situational awareness noticing a man who seemed out of
place for the situation, or noticing a pattern of
headlights that made every turn the waitress
made on her way home keyed these two into
the awareness of a potentially dangerous
interaction. Its that reaction itself, sometimes
passed off as gut instinct, the result of thousands of years of survival of the fittest, that
can serve to perceive, then comprehend, and
finally strategically act to neutralize the
threats in a situation.
How can you develop your situational
awareness? I talked with Ryan Tuttle, CEO and
president of Threat Dynamics, an immersive
firearms training facility in Sherwood, Oregon.
Ryans firm trains law enforcement and private

[BOTTOM, LEFT TO RIGHT]


In this series, the author
is placed in a situation
where an armed man
has taken a hostage. The
scenario teaches
whether and if necessary, when to fire: not
while the armed man
has his gun to the
hostages head, but only
after he moves it toward
the student and there
is a time limit after
which the student is
shot in the simulator.
The simulation gets
quite graphic in the third
frame; the fourth shows
where the students
shot hit the armed man.
Feedback is a critical
part of training.

FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

55

ASG-1502-AWARE 12/9/14 2:04 AM Page 56

ON GUARD

YOU HAVE TO RECOGNIZE WHEN YOUVE GOT TUNNEL VISION AND LEARN TO LOOK AROUND FOR ALL KINDS OF THREATS.
citizens in the whole process of situational
awareness, from recognizing and identifying
threats to the most important part of the
process: having the judgment to respond correctly to the specific threat facing you.
We train people to break the tunnel-vision
reflex, said Ryan. You have to recognize when
youve got tunnel vision and learn to look
around for all kinds of threats.
Ryans company has an effective (and exciting) way of teaching you to do just that. They
offer a number of immersive tactical training
classes (including certification for concealed
carry permits), which at the top level include
classroom instruction in the theory of situational awareness plus an understanding of the
legal issues in self-defense. After that come the
fun parts: digital video simulations where you
put theory into practice in real time, using modified Glock pistols that use CO2 cartridges to
make the slides move back as in live fire (if with
less recoil) and laser sights that interact with
the computer to give you feedback after the
training scenarios.
The hardest thing to teach people, Ryan
stressed several times, is NOT to shoot. If
youre carrying a firearm, it should be your last
resort but its often treated as the first resort
if you have this really big hammer, everything
looks like a nail. To that end, much of the
classroom time involves learning when the law
says you can defend yourself; in many
instances, given the legal ramifications, Ryan
says, once you fire, youve lost.
Perhaps the most powerful use of situational awareness is just that: to give you an
edge in a life-threatening situation that can let
you avoid it, defuse it, or otherwise emerge the
clear victor without the awful consequences
(legal and otherwise) that come from use of
deadly force. One of the specific techniques
Ryan teaches is presentation of the firearm,
illustrated here: the pistol is held close to your
chest but in front of you, the muzzle is pointed
down, your finger is off the trigger, and your
support hand is open at the butt of the pistol.
From here you can rapidly raise the gun to firing
position, a simple move that is drilled into you
in the simulation.
If youre in a gunfight and your opponent has
a pistol in his belt and you present your firearm
like this, Ryan says, youve already won, without having to shoot. And its the regular and disciplined application of situational awareness
that gets you to that winning position.

56

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

ASG_1502_57 12/9/14 1:31 AM Page 57

BACKCOUNTRY

ASG-1502-BACKPACK 12/9/14 2:05 AM Page 58

OUTDOOR PACK

Tactical
Carry-All
he ability to survive well and efficiently usually comes down to
an individual having more brains than gear. However, even the
most resourceful individual still needs to rely on quality gear.
More importantly, one needs a place to keep it all accessible,
available and well organized. The grizzly bear wont wait for
you to rummage through your pack for your bear spray. Being able to reach
something quick and easy takes not only the packing skills of a great organizer but the organization provided by a great pack as well.
The Transport Modular Assault Pack is an organizers dream. The accordion-style adjusts to your needs with two compression straps, whether you
need to carry just a little bit or if you have to pack in all 1,086 cubic inches of
this packs space limits. The pack is made from 600-denier, water-repellent
and abrasion-resistant polyester (a denier is a measure of weight; the
higher the denier, the higher the quality). It sits 18 inches tall by 10 inches
deep when fully packed. The 9-inch-wide base fits squarely between the
shoulder blades, allowing for full movement of both arms without the pack
getting in the way. Empty, it tips the scales at 2.1 pounds.

58

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

[LEFT] Kilimanjaro found inspiration for its products from the largest free-standing mountain in
the world and the explorers who set out to climb it.
This relentless spirit is ingrained in the design
and craftsmanship of every Kilimanjaro product.
[ABOVE] The contoured and padded shoulder
straps wrap around the waist to reach the bottom
of the pack instead of merely going straight down.
[BELOW] It fits squarely between the shoulder
blades and can be adjusted to sit higher on the
back. The sternum and waist straps secure the
pack snugly to your back.

KILIMANJAROS
TRANSPORT MODULAR
OUTDOOR PACK
Story by Phil Tobin
Photography by Le Anne Pietrantonio

ASG-1502-BACKPACK 12/9/14 2:05 AM Page 59

The zippers are


doublesided and
protected
from the
weather
by folded
over flaps.

The D-rings on
either side of
the shoulder
straps are
designed to
carry additional
gear that has to
be easily accessible, like a
water bottle if
youre not using
a hydration
bladder.

The pack is literally covered with these modular attachment webbings to accommodate
almost anything.

The hydration bladder ports are protected by


reinforced tabs that will lock out the weather
when not in use.

The sternum and waist straps are secured via


these UTX-Duraflex high-quality buckles.

All exterior seams are box stitched


and the stress points are double
stitched. The two straps and backpad
are moisture-wicking mesh fabric. All
of the zippers are double protected by
a retractable (folded) rain guard. The
sternum and waist straps are made
from high strength nylon and secured
by buckles; both the well-padded
shoulder straps (which are contoured
to better fit the body) and horizontal
straps fit this pack snugly and confidently to your back. It will not shift
even under a heavy run. Two D-rings
can hold readily accessible gear, while
the 10 openings on the packs shoulder
straps can accommodate a variety of
things. Along both sides of the pack
are 10 modular attachment webbings,
and the handle is a double layer of
reinforced nylon fabric. The bottom is
equipped with two straps for affixing
additional equipment such as a
bedroll or rolled tarp, as well as six
more attachment webbings.
The pack is equipped with four distinct and separate storage spaces as
well as a space for a hydration bladder
that can be used to carry other items if
necessary. The bottom pocket is 9 by 7

Inside the
front lower
pocket are
a couple of
smaller
pockets
and this
locking
plastic keychain ring.

inches and contains two smaller pockets for wallets or cell phones and a
dangling plastic locking ring for keys. A
small metal-ringed drainage hole at
the bottom of the pocket will ensure
no water remains trapped. The pocket
above this one is smaller, approximately 6 by 3 inches and has a similar
drainage hole at its bottom. On the
exterior of this pocket is a hook and
loop patch for adding a name tag or
logos. There are also five nylon loops
for additional equipment.
The outermost pocket runs the
height of the pack but is only about 8
inches wide. It contains two pockets,
one polyester and the other mesh. The
zippers of the main pocket in the rear
run the entire length of the pack, which
allows the user to completely open the
flap and access everything inside all at
once. It is wide and deep enough to
handle a 15-inch diagonal laptop, or a
wide range of other objects. There are

Both the outer pockets have grommet-style


drainage holes to keep the compartments dry.

The zippered pocket in the main cargo area


runs the width of the pack. Above it is an
access hole for the hydration bladder area.
The strap hanging down secures the bladder
(sold separately) to the top of the pack.

no drainage holes for the main cargo


area and the walls are made of polyester. There is a zippered pocket
toward the top, a mesh pocket on the
flap side, and an opening that serves to
both expose the top of the hydration
bladder, and to route the tubes through
right- or left-handed ports at the top of
the pack. Those ports are kept closed
with heavy-duty hook and loop tabs.
The hydration bladder area is 15 by 8
inches and comes with a hook and
loop strap so the bladder hangs from
the top instead of slopping around at
the bottom.
This is a versatile pack with unlimited storage options, whether youre
out for the day or stuck behind the
lines for an unlimited amount of time.
If a weakness were to be found, its in
the stiffness of the zipper covers that
fold over the zipper tracks for weather
proofing. They bind up the zipper, but
in fair weather they can be folded back
to keep them out of the way.
The pack is rugged, well-built and
will last a long time even if you dont
properly take care of it. Its also available in black and camouflage.

SOURCE
kilimanjarogear.com

FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

59

PHOTO COURTESY OF NASA

ASG-1502-BEACONS-CX 12/11/14 11:55 PM Page 60

Emergency
Rescue

HELP TAKE THE


SEARCH OUT
OF SEARCH
AND RESCUE

Beacons
By Larry Schwartz | Photos Courtesy of NASA, NOAA, USCG, SafetyDirect, and Lauren Jorgensen
ennis Clements thought he was going to die. A trip to an island off the
coast of Puerto Rico had turned into something you normally see only
in the movies. After surviving four days of gale force winds in the North
Atlantic his 34-foot sailboat capsized, trapping him below his vessel
in the icy waters.
When he made his way to the surface he watched with joy as his boat righted
itself, although it was partially filled with water. Joy quickly turned to horror as he
watched what was left of his mainsail catch the storms wind, causing his boat to
start sailing slowly but steadilyaway from him.

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AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

IMAGE COURTESY OF USCG

ASG-1502-BEACONS 12/9/14 4:16 AM Page 61

The COSPAS-SARSAT network of search and rescue satellites provides the link between you and the people who will come and rescue you. Your
emergency beacon sends a message with your identity and location up to the satellites which then download it to the command and control stations that contact local search and rescue organizations who dispatch a team to your location.

He found himself cold, wet, alone and 250


miles from land in the middle of a dark night
with nothing to help him except his personal
floatation device and its contents.
Although his sailboat was slowly abandoning him to the frigid water it was also saving his
life. The vessel-mounted emergency beacon
onboard had started broadcasting its distress
signal to the search and rescue satellites
(SARSAT) orbiting overhead as soon as the
boat started to go down.

Emergency beacons are the first link in a 5part system that was established in the 1980s
by several nations to provide a way for search
and rescue teams to quickly find and rescue
travelers. Your emergency beacon (1) sends an
emergency message by radio to (2) satellites
that are part of COSPAS-SARSAT search and
rescue network. They then relay the message
with your location to (3) a ground terminal station which then routes it to (4) the mission control center. The mission control center then
alerts (5) the nearest rescue coordination center which dispatches search and rescue
resources to come and get you.
Most beacons today use a powerful 406
MHz signal to send the rescue message to the
satellites containing your location and other
information about you. They also have a shorter
range signaling device that runs on 121.5 MHz

IMAGE COURTESY OF NOAA

HOW BEACONS WORK

that acts as a homing beacon to help rescuers


find your more specific location. Once activated
they continue to send out your distress signal
continuously until the battery dies, which is 2448 hours.
In addition to radio transmitters, most beacons today include a GPS unit. The SARSAT
satellites can get a general location using the
Doppler shift between two or more satellites,
but the GPS provides your rescuers with a
much more precise location fix. So make sure

The COSPAS-SARSAT network of search and rescue


satellites provide the link
between you and the people who will come and rescue you. Your emergency
beacon sends a message
with your identity and location up to the satellites
which then download it to
the command and control
stations that contact local
search and rescue organizations who dispatch a
team to your location.

FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

61

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PHOTO COURTESY OF NASA

EPIRBS AND PLBS ARE A ONE-TIME


PURCHASE, UNLIKE SATELLITE
PHONES OR TEXT MESSAGING
DEVICES WHICH MAY HAVE RENTAL,
SUBSCRIPTION, OR AIRTIME FEES.

the beacon you buy has a GPS, and if you have


an older model you should consider upgrading
it with the GPS capability.
Since emergency beacons are intended to
only be activated as a last resort they are made
with a very strong signal. As a result it can
punch through obstacles like heavy cloud cover
or storms. However, like all satellite communication devices, they do need an unobstructed
view of the sky to be most effective.

personal locator beacon (PLB). Both are battery powered, contain two kinds of beacons
and send their signal to a satellite network,
which then alerts search and rescue of your
plight. But what are the differences between
the beacons and why do you need two kinds?
EPIRBs are designed for installation on a
vessel and are registered with the vessel.
Although they may be connected to the vessels electrical system when they are activated
they run on an internal battery. Since they are
vessel-mounted, EPIRBs are much larger than

DECISIONS, DECISIONS,
DECISIONSEPIRB OR PLB
There are two major types of emergency
beacons that you can use at sea: an emergency
position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or a

62

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

PHOTO BY USCG, BY PETTY OFFICER 2ND CLASS LEVI READ

PLBs, like this one held by a


Coast Guard sailor after a
successful rescue, are manually
activated and broadcast continuously for 24 hours or more.

A manually
activated
EPIRB like this
one saved the
life of this man
and his wife
when their
ship capsized.

PHOTO BY LAUREN JORGENSEN

[ABOVE] A USCG
helicopter-borne rescue
swimmer practices
rescue techniques off
the coast of New Jersey
in tandem with a Coast
Guard surface vessel.

PLBs which means that they can have larger


batteries and stronger signals. The battery is
designed to last at least 48 hours, which is critical if you are far from shore and it will take a
long time for a surface vessel to reach your
location. You dont want your beacon running
out of juice before search and rescue can get to
you. They can be activated manually, by contact with water, or by pressure when it sinks
below the surface with the vessel to which its
attached. Some models have the ability to
detach from their mountings and float back to
the surface which gives them a better chance
of getting their signal up to the satellites.
PLBs are designed to be carried on your person or gear and they are registered to you rather
than your vessel. One benefit of this personal
beacon is that its independent of the vessel
you are on. Another is that you can move from
vessel to vessel and still have a beacon even if
the vessel you are on does not have one. Since
they are small enough to carry in a pocket or on
your personal floatation device they also have a
smaller battery. Instead of the minimum of 48
hours broadcasting time for the EPIRB, the PLB
has a minimum time of only 24 hours. For this
reason they are best used when staying within
a few miles of shore. If you are going farther you
should use an EPIRB. A PLB is activated by
hand rather than going active when under
water. Although you can get them in a very
basic design, to maximize its effectiveness and

PHOTO BY USCG, PETTY OFFICER 2ND CLASS BRANDYN HILL

ASG-1502-BEACONS 12/9/14 5:05 AM Page 63

EPIRBs can be
manually activated,
like this one mounted
on the bulkhead of the
vessel, or automatically activated when
submerged a few
meters below water.
They continuously
broadcast your emergency message for 48
hours or more.

your safety you want to get a beacon that


includes the 406 MHz signal, the 121.5 MHz
homing signal, and GPS to provide a more precise fix on your location.

DONT BE THAT GUY


Emergency beacons are only to be used in
dire straits, if its a life or death situation or a
medical emergency. Every year people trigger
their emergency beacons because they either
run out of fuel while still within range to use their
radio or cell phone to call for help, or they dont
know their location, or their radio breaks down, or
some other non-emergency situation. These are
all situations that can be resolved without dis-

PHOTO COURTESY OF USCG

In an emergency
situation people
can be rescued by
sea vessels, like
this USCG ship,
and receive initial
medical care
before being
returned to shore.

WHAT
INFORMATION
IS REQUIRED
FOR YOUR
REGISTRATION?
Registration of your beacon is
not only important, it is
required. The reason it is
required is that the information you provide with your
registration is vital to the success of the search and rescue
mission. It gives SAR the information they need to ensure
they bring the right people
and equipment with them.
The following list the information needed for each type
of beacon. To complete your
registration go to www.beaconregistration.noaa.gov.
EPIRB:
Owner/operator name and
contact information.
Vessel name, use, method
of power, vessel use and
type, survival vessels on
board, radio equipment,
telephone information, registration number, home
port, length, capacity, additional data and home port.
Emergency contact information, alternate contact
information and telephone
numbers.
EPIRB type, manufacturer
and model information.
PLB:
Owner name, address,
email and phone numbers.
Usage information, specific
usage information, type of
transportation and additional information.
Emergency contact information name, alternate name
and telephone numbers.

FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

63

[TOP RIGHT]
Personal Locator
Beacons should be
kept on your body at
all times while afloat
or stored alongside
other survival gear in
personal floatation
devices like this one.

THE REGISTRATION
GIVES YOU A
UNIQUE IDENTIFIER
NUMBER (UIN)
WHICH IS TRANSMITTED WHEN YOU
TRIGGER THE
BEACON, ALONG
WITH YOUR GPS
LOCATION IF YOUR
BEACON HAS A
BUILT-IN GPS.

64

PHOTO BY NOAA

[TOP LEFT]
This PLB must be
opened to activate it.
Others have buttons
on the outside. The
protective cover
helps prevent accidental activation
while those with
external buttons take
fewer steps to use.

PHOTO COURTESY OF SAFETYDIRECT.COM

ASG-1502-BEACONS 12/9/14 4:16 AM Page 64

patching rescue helicopters and rescue divers or


Coast Guard cutters. So dont be that guy who
wasted those resources that might be needed by
someone in a real emergency.

REGISTRATION IS VITAL AND


MANDATORY
Your beacon will not be of any use to you if
you do not register it before you go on your trip.
The registration gives you a Unique Identifier
Number (UIN) which is transmitted when you
trigger the beacon, along with your GPS location if your beacon has a built-in GPS. As part of
the registration you enter information about
your vessel (for an EPIRB) or yourself (for a
PLB), but you should also update the
Additional Information field of the
beacon registration with details
of your trip, your passengers,
and any medical conditions or
needs they may have. This
will make the job of the
search and rescue team
much easier and take hours
out of the search and rescue
process. You should update
the information in your registration each time you go
out so that SAR can
ensure they are
equipped for the
emergency when
they get to you.
So now that you
know about one of
the most valuable
and important pieces
of gear you can have

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

on your vessel or on your person, go out and get


them. EPIRBs and PLBs are a one-time purchase, unlike satellite phones or text messaging
devices which may have rental, subscription, or
airtime fees. Plus, you can update your registration whenever your trip details change or you
change vessels. If you are the captain of the
vessel you may be required to have an EPIRB
installed onboard, depending on what you do
and how far from shore you go. Even if you are
not, it is incredibly cheap insurance against a
seagoing disaster.
Biography: Larry Schwartz is an experienced outdoorsman who
enjoys passing on his knowledge of the outdoors and how to Be
Prepared through his writing and workshops.

You should inspect your emergency beacons, both EPIRBs and


PLBs, on a regular basis to
ensure they are working properly.
Most versions have test features
which allow you to actually send
a test message to the satellite
and get a return message indicating that it worked properly.

PHOTO BY USCG, PETTY OFFICER 2ND CLASS PAMELA J. BOEHLAND

ASG-1502-GG-BEACONS 12/9/14 2:11 AM Page 65

Gear Guide
SURVIVAL BEACONS
Survival Beacons
Gear for the Open Ocean | Story by Larry Schwartz

PHOTO BY LARRY SCHWARTZ

IN AN EMERGENCY, the ability to signal


your location and need for assistance can
often mean the difference between life
and death for you and those with you.
Whether within sight of land or far off
shore, the best and often only way to
communicate with the outside world is
with an emergency beacon.
Designed as a the first link in a chain
that culminates with a search and rescue
resource being dispatched to your location with the right equipment and personnel, emergency beacons come in two
major flavors, emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRBs) and personal locator beacons (PLBs). EPIRBs are
designed for use affixed to a vessel and
are registered to that vessel, not to a person. They will broadcast an emergency
signal to the search and rescue satellites
(SARSAT) for at least 48 hours. PLBs are
designed or personal use and are registered to an individual person who is carrying it. They will broadcast the same
emergency signal for 24 hours. The difference in broadcasting hours is due to their
intended use. An EPIRB is intended for use on
vessels that are far from shore where it may
take more than a day for rescuers to get to your
location. The PLB is intended to be used when
at sea but not far from shore, thus only a 24
hour broadcast minimum. PLBs are also used
on land in the backcountry to signal for rescue
when in a life or death situation.
Although all modern beacons broadcast on
the 406 MHz band, there is a wide range of
other features that are available and that are
prudent to have on your beacon. Some come
equipped with a 121.5 MHz homing beacon
which provides rescuers a much more precise

location fix than the 460 MHz beacon that


sends the emergency message. A GPS is
another valuable feature that only some models have, but it will give rescuers the most precise positional fix of any of the available features. A fifth feature that not all models have is
a self-test of some form to let you ensure your
beacon is working and transmitting correctly
and successfully. Also, some PLBs are not
waterproof or float, which are qualities that
anyone would want in a seafaring tool. For
these reasons this buyers guide only includes
models with all five features: 460 MHz emergency beacon, 121.5 MHz homing beacon, GPS,
self-test, and waterproof and floating.
FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

65

ASG-1502-GG-BEACONS 12/9/14 2:11 AM Page 66

Gear
Guide

SURVIVAL BEACONS

McMURDO

McMURDO
PRODUCT: SMARTFIND PLUS/G5 GPS EPIRB
WEBSITE: www.mcmurdomarine.com
MSRP: $460.00 (manual activation bracket)
- $550.00 (float free activation bracket)
Key Features:
406/121.5MHz GPS EPIRB
International approval
High performance multi-channel GPS - typical accuracy less than +/- 62 m (Plus version)
High brightness flashing LED light
Minimum 48hr continuous operation
6 year battery storage life
Comprehensive self-test facility with battery
use indicator
Manual release bracket
5 year warranty
Description: The Smartfind Plus/G5 GPS
EPIRB offers all the features of the Smartfind
E5 but with the addition of a high performance, multi-channel GPS which brings the
location accuracy down to typically less than
62m, greatly increasing your chances of rescue in an emergency situation. It is supplied
with a float free housing which automatically
deploys and activates the EPIRB if the boat is
sinking. The Smartfind Plus/G5 features a
comprehensive diagnostic and self-test facility to keep you up to date on remaining battery usage and EPIRB operation.

66

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

McMURDO
PRODUCT: FASTFIND MAX G PLB
WEBSITE: www.mcmurdomarine.com
MSRP: $430.00
Key Features:
406/121.5MHz PLB
International approval
Compact and lightweight
Waterproof and buoyant
Easy to operate
50 channel GNSS receiver uses multiple
satellite positioning systems
Position updates every 20 minutes
Minimum 48hr continuous operation
5 year battery storage life
Self-test facility with battery use indicator
User replaceable battery
5 year warranty (after registering)
Description: The FAST FIND MAX G is an
advanced Personal Locator Beacon which can
be carried on your person at all times. Easy to
use, with a three-stage activation to avoid
accidental operation, the FAST FIND MAX G is
waterproof to a depth of 10m and floats.
When activated, the FAST FIND MAX G
transmits a unique ID and your current GPS
co-ordinates via the COSPAS-SARSAT global
search and rescue satellite network, alerting
the rescue services typically within 3 minutes. The inbuilt GPS pinpoints your location
to within 62m and once within the area, the
search and rescue services can quickly locate
you using the units 121.5 Mhz homing beacon and flashing LED SOS light. The Max-G
can operate continuously for a minimum of
48 hours.

PRODUCT: FAST FIND 220 PLB


WEBSITE: www.mcmurdomarine.com
MSRP: $245.00
Key Features:
406/121.5MHz PLB
Easy to operate
No subscription needed
High brightness LED SOS light
Minimum 24hr continuous operation
6 year battery storage life
Self-test facility with battery use indicator
Supplied with flotation pouch
Description: The FAST FIND 220 is small and
light enough for you to carry on your person at
all times. Using advanced technology, the
FAST FIND 220 transmits a unique ID and your
current GPS co-ordinates via the COSPASSARSAT global search and rescue satellite
network, alerting the rescue services within
minutes. Once within the area, the search and
rescue services can quickly home in on your
location using the units 121.5 Mhz homing
beacon and flashing LED SOS light.
The compact FAST FIND 220 is quick and
easy to activate, with a safe stow antenna
which automatically deploys when the unit is
activated. The battery enables it to operate
continuously for a minimum of 24 hours.
Waterproof to a depth of 10m, the FAST FIND
220 is also supplied with a flotation pouch,
for easy retrieval.

ASG-1502-GG-BEACONS 12/9/14 2:11 AM Page 67

SURVIVAL BEACONS Gear


Guide

GME ELECTRONICS
PRODUCT: MT403G 406 MHz EPIRB with
GPS Water/Manual Activation
WEBSITE: www.gme.net.au
MSRP: $560.00
Key Features:
COSPAS-SARSAT worldwide operation.
Meets AS/NZ 4280.1:2003 standards. C/S
T.001/007.
Zero warm-up Digital Technology.
Antenna deploys automatically when the
unit is removed from the quick-release
mounting bracket.
High visibility solid state strobe.
Automatically activates on immersion in
water (when removed from the bracket) or
can be activated manually if desired.
Non-hazardous batteries for restriction free
transportation.

JOTRON
PRODUCT: TRON 60S / GPS
WEBSITE: www.jotron.com
MSRP: $568 (manual activation bracket)
$698(float free bracket)
Key Features:
Manual activation or from free floating
bracket GPS as an option.
Description: The 406 Emergency Position
Indication Radio Beacon (EPIRB), Tron
60S/GPS, is the latest contribution to Jotrons
already comprehensive product range. Tron
60S/GPS small and compact handheld size
will be a perfect supplement to meet the
growing demand for smaller size EPIRBs, both
in Float-Free and as Manual versions.
Totally sealed and with 5 years warranty
are among some of the unique features
Jotron offer this latest innovated EPIRB. The
new Tron 60S/GPS is designed to meet IMO
SOLAS requirement and can be offered with
the latest GPS-technology, as an option. With
this new handheld size Tron 60S/GPS along
with the existing Tron 40S MK II, Jotron will
be able to meet all segments of sailing vessels, from commercial vessels, fishing vessel
and recreational boaters.

6 Year GME Warranty.


Rugged lightweight easy-to-mount compact
design.
6 Year battery life.
16 Channel parallel GPS receiver with top
mounted Quad helix antenna for better than
100 meter accuracy
Class 2 international accredited specification.
Easy, in-built self-test with audio/visual alert.
Description: GME MT403 series EPIRBs are a
culmination of three years of extensive R & D
by GME engineers. The end result is a radical
new design concept that is not only a significant improvement on existing beacon performance, but dramatically slashes the cost of
406 MHz EPIRB ownership.
The GME MT403G 406 MHz digital EPIRB is
the latest exciting extension of GMEs growing
family of innovative safety products. A key
feature of the MT403 series is the use of nonhazardous battery packs that are IATA compliant and allow for restriction free transportation.
The MT403G also includes a water activation feature. Once it has been removed from
its mounting bracket, the MT403G will activate automatically on immersion in water. Of
course you can also activate it manually if
required.
The MT403G has an additional 16 Channel
parallel GPS receiver with top mounted Quad
helix antenna to improve location accuracy to
better than 100 metres typically.
Advantages of a 406 MHZ EPIRB over the
older analogue EPIRBs include worldwide
coverage, position location accuracy to within
5 kms (100 m for the MT403G GPS model)
and a more stable transmitted signal resulting in faster response time. Most importantly,
the addition of a unique digitally coded message provides Search and Rescue authorities
with vital information including the country
of beacon registration and identification of
the vessel in distress, thus greatly reducing
the incidence of false alerts and unnecessary
deployment of valuable rescue resources.
An auxiliary homing transmitter is included
in the MT403G to enable suitably equipped
Search and Rescue forces to home on the distress beacon.

FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

67

ASG-1502-GG-BEACONS 12/9/14 2:11 AM Page 68

Gear
Guide

SURVIVAL BEACONS

GME ELECTRONICS
PRODUCT: MT410G 406 MHZ PLB with GPS
WEBSITE: www.gme.net.au
MSRP: $320.00
Key Features:
Fitted with NON-HAZMAT long life batteries
Featherweight, compact and robust construction
50 search channel GPS receiver for better
than 100 meter accuracy
Digital 406 MHz, 5 Watt transmission plus
121.5 MHz homing signal
7 year battery life
COSPAS-SARSAT worldwide operation
7 year warranty
National and International approvals
Typical accuracy (with GPS) <100m
Sealed waterproof design (exceeds IP67)
High visibility flashing light
Retention strap and fully buoyant design
reduces risk of loss
Unique patented technology - no warm up
period
Complete with protective carry pouch
Description: GMEs Accusat MT410G
Pocket Pro+ with integrated GPS Personal
Locator Beacon (PLB) has been leading the
worlds PLB market due to its features, and
innovation.
The MT410G Accusat PLB offers a massive
7 year battery replacement life, and a 7 year
warranty, the unit also features a high intensity flashing LED, a Non Hazmat battery
pack for simple and cost effective transportation and a 50 search channel GPS receiver
with top mounted Quad helix antenna to
improve location accuracy to better than 100
metres typically - all contributing to the
unique AccuSat advantage.
Today with cutting edge microprocessor
technology, GMEs engineers have been able
to provide the outdoor adventurer with a 406
MHz PLB solution that is not only affordable,
but provides enhanced peace of mind for
boaters, bush walkers, 4 x 4 enthusiasts and
aviators should they ever require emergency
assistance.
GME has been designing and manufacturing emergency beacons in Australia for over
30 years. In that time literally hundreds of
lives have been saved in Australia and around
the world.

68

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

ACR/ARTEX
PRODUCT: GlobalFix iPRO EPIRB
WEBSITE: www.acrartex.com
MSRP: $540 (manual activation bracket)$650 (float free bracket)
Key Features:
GlobalFix iPRO offers the very latest in
marine electronic life saving technology:
Highly visible LED strobe - Energy efficient
High efficiency electronics - Performance
you can count on
Non-hazardous batteries - No shipping hassles
Professional grade design - Engineered, tested
and built for years of abusive marine use
Ergonomic, compact design; Smallest, feature-rich EPIRB available
If you use it...theyll replace it, free of charge.
Simply submit your story, send them back
your used beacon so they can have it
mounted on their Wall of Fame and theyll
send you a brand new beacon of equal or
greater value.
Description: GlobalFix iPRO sports a digital display that allows you to see all of the
beacons operational activities. The screen
displays GPS LAT/LON, operating instructions,
usage tips, transmission bursts as well as battery power.
iPRO makes self-testing your beacon simple and easy to understand with the digital
display visually walking you through the self
test step by step; no more relying on listening
to beeps and LEDs.
The GlobalFix iPRO is also the first EPIRB
that offers Dual GPS Technology. Interface
your iPRO to your onboard GPS to ensure that
your LAT/LON is stored inside so the coordinates are transmitted in the first data burst.
iPROs internal GPS is optimized for cold
starts and is tested and refined at ACRs GPS
Simulation Center so that it will pinpoint your
exact location faster than standard GPS
enabled EPIRBs.

ASG-1502-GG-BEACONS 12/9/14 2:11 AM Page 69

SURVIVAL BEACONS Gear


Guide

ACR/ARTEX

ACR/ARTEX

PRODUCT: ResQLink+ PLB


WEBSITE: www.acrartex.com
MSRP: $300.00
Key Features:
Buoyant
No Subscription Fees
Super Bright LED Strobe
Onboard 66-Channel GPS
Self-Test and GPS Test Features
Typical Performance 30 Hours
Non-Hazmat Battery
Made in the U.S.A.
If you use it...theyll replace it, free of charge.
Simply submit your story, send them back
your used beacon so they can have it
mounted on their Wall of Fame and theyll
send you a brand new beacon of equal or
greater value.

PRODUCT: AquaLink View PLB


WEBSITE: www.acrartex.com
MSRP: $460.00
Key Features:
No Subscription Fees
Floats
Super Bright LED Strobe
Onboard 66-Channel GPS
Self-Test and GPS Test Features
Typical Performance 30 Hours
Non-Hazmat Battery
Made in the U.S.A
If you use it...theyll replace it, free of charge.
Simply submit your story, send them back
your used beacon so they can have it
mounted on their Wall of Fame and theyll
send you a brand new beacon of equal or
greater value.

Description: At 5.4 oz and topping just 4.5


inches, the ResQLink+ is both a small and
buoyant Personal Locator Beacon. Small
enough to be carried in your pocket, clipped
to a backpack or stored inside an inflatable
life jacket.
With three levels of integrated signal technology - GPS positioning, a powerful 406 MHz
signal, and 121.5 MHz homing capability - the
ResQLink+ quickly and accurately relays
your position to a worldwide network of
search and rescue satellites. A built-in strobe
light provides visibility during night rescues.
PLBs have been proven tried and true in
some of the worlds most remote locations
and treacherous conditions. Just ask the 400
or so pilots, boaters and back country explorers who were saved by a PLB during a rigorous test program in Alaska. Based in large
part on the test results, the federal government approved use of PLBs in the United
States in 2003.
Even in extreme conditions and situations,
the ResQLink+ activates easily. Just deploy
the antenna and press the ON button. With
its powerful 66-channel GPS, the
ResQLink+ guides rescuers to within 100
meters or less of your position. And, in the
continental U.S., search and rescue personnel
are typically alerted of your position in as little as five minutes with a GPS-enabled PLB
such as the ResQLink+.
Two built-in tests allow you to routinely
verify that the ResQLink+ is functioning
and ready for use - with the push of a button,
you can easily test internal electronics and
GPS functionality.

Description: Head offshore with confidence.


With three levels of integrated signal technology - GPS positioning, a powerful 406 MHz
signal and 121.5 MHz homing capability - the
AquaLink View quickly and accurately
relays your position to a worldwide network
of Search and Rescue satellites, reducing
search time and increasing your chances of
survival. Its reliable signaling technology that
has saved more than 28,000 lives since 1982.
The AquaLink View broadcasts a unique
registered distress signal that not only tells
rescuers where you are, but who you are. The
onboard GPS can fix your position to within
100 meters and then utilizes a powerful 406
MHz signal to relay your distress call to orbiting satellites. As local Search and Rescue is
deployed, a separate homing signal and integrated LED strobe light guide rescuers to your
exact location.
The AquaLink View sports a digital display that allows you to see all of the beacons
operational activities. The screen displays
GPS LAT/LON, operating instructions, usage
tips, transmission bursts as well as battery
power. The digital display also makes selftesting your beacon simple and easy to understand by visually walking you through the
self-test step by step. No more relying on listening to beeps and looking for LEDs.
The AquaLink View is small enough to be
easily carried in a pack or pocket or can be
worn on deck, at the helm, in quarters or on a
life vest and will float if accidentally dropped
overboard.
ACR Exclusive: Built-in GPS acquisition test
mode allows you to test GPS functionality up
to 60 times over the life of the battery. Tap
into the same field-tested rescue technology
used by the U.S. Military, U.S. Coast Guard,
NATO Special Forces and Arctic explorers.
FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

69

BACKCOUNTRY

ASG-1502-BENCHMADE 12/9/14 2:43 AM Page 70

KNIFE REVIEW

The

Bushcrafter
BENCHMADES ANSWER TO THE SURVIVORS QUESTION
Story and Photography by Simon Meyers
he Bushcraft trend carving
out a niche for itself in the
survivalist industry is based
on the idea that anyone has
the ability to survive in the
thick of the perilous backcountry. If they
have enough equipment and technology
while stuck among the perils of the
wilderness there is very little to overcome
on the way to salvation. However, only a
few are properly equipped to thrive and
live comfortably in their new environment. These individuals, trained in a variety of survival techniques ranging from
military survival training and modern
wilderness tactics to classic Native
American survival practices, have the
aptitude to live contentedly off of what
Mother Nature throws their way. And
they usually do so with whatever is found
in nature and with tools like an axe, knife,
and/or a mix of simple implements that

70

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

can easily be carried over a variety of terrains. In order to competently achieve the
Bushcraft mentality, one must start with
the proper knife. But which one? Since it
is usually the only knife being carried, it
must be nearly indestructible, ready to
handle any task and stand up to the constant abuse a multi-purpose knife will
undergo in the field.
Benchmade created just such a knife
to meet the challenges of a Bushcraft
lifestyle: the 162 Bushcrafter. It is Benchmades first foray into the Bushcraft
world. Designed by avid outdoorsman
and knife designer, Shane Sibert, this
knife is modeled after his own custommade Bushcraft knife, the Cascadia
Bushcrafter. As a full-tang knife it is
heavy, robust and has the potential to
stand up to years of wear and tear without the worry of damaging it. The green
handle scales (grips) are molded G-10

Benchmades first knife


designed for the Bushcraft
movement is the 162
Bushcrafter, a full-tang
knife able to take whatever
is thrown its way.

Specifications
Manufacturer: Benchmade
Model: 162 Bushcrafter
Overall Length: 9.20 inches
Weight: 7.72 ounces
Blade Length: 4.43 inches
Blade Thickness: 0.164 inches
Handle Thickness: 0.920 inches
Blade Material: S30V Stainless Steel
Blade Hardness: 58-60
Blade Style: High Ground Drop-Point
Sheath Material: Buckskin Leather
Contact: benchmade.com
MSRP: $205.00

ASG-1502-BENCHMADE 12/9/14 2:43 AM Page 71

held in place by three flared titanium


tubes that provide great lashing points
to turn the knife into a spear, a
machete or perhaps a pruning pole to
reach fruits or nuts on high branches.
The hole at the pommel end is perfect
to attach a lanyard. Thumb divots are
added for support when the knife is
turned laterally for slashing. At the
pommel, the handle swells out again,
making it easier to hold onto when
using the knife like a hatchet. The
spine lacks any jimping, which would
increase stability during fine cutting.
The drop-point blade is extremely
tough, easy to sharpen and chip resistant. It is milled from a solid billet of
CPM S30V stainless steel, one of the
best metals for making high quality
knives, which makes this knife strong
enough to handle a variety of survival
tasks from batoning firewood to fine
carving and kindling making. Some
have criticized this knife for not having
the scandi grind found on traditional
Bushcraft knives (scandi grinds are
simple grinds that are easy to
sharpen), but the 4.4-inch cutting
edge is a high grind with a secondary
bevel added. This, according to Sibert,
increases edge strength over a scandi
grind, while still being super sharp.
It arrives with an attractive, brushed
full-grain buckskin leather sheath with
a loop intended to house a firesteel.
The knife itself is held in place with a
matching leather strap and snap,
which is protected from the blade by a
hard plastic insert. The chromed ring
on the back of the sheath can be used
to dangle the knife from your belt, pack
or harness, while the riveted loop can
affix to your belt. Due to the sheaths
design, the Bushcrafter rides high on
the belt, which may get in the way of
more athletic users.
Overall, this is a great knife with
untold abilities. Benchmade set aside
the gimmicks found on many survival
knives especially in the Bushcraft
market and decided to produce a
solid knife using high-quality materials
and a unique and original design. The
clean, smooth lines and well-thoughtout ergonomics display a hint of sexy
mixed with the healthy dose of confidence and self-reliance found in the
Bushcraft mentality. It is also available
as the 162-1 Bushcrafter with a coyote
tan handle and black Kydex sheath.

The Benchmade butterfly is on one side of


the face while knife designer Shane Siberts
logo adorns the other.

The end pommel is flared to allow for a


mixed style of grip, and the small hole is
perfect for a paracord lanyard.

The finger guard is deep and well defined,


but the lack of jimping on the spine reduces
the grip during fine carving.

The handle scales are affixed to the tang via


three titanium sleeves that are flared out at
the ends. This sandwiches the knife together
better and provides lashing points that convert this knife into a variety of tools.

The drop point blade is high ground with a


secondary bevel instead of the more traditional scandi grind. This allows for a stronger
cutting edge.

The sheath
is brushed
buckskin leather
with a loop for
a firesteel.

The strap is also leather and holds the knife


snugly via a simple metal snap.

A flared hole is built into the sheath for a leg


strap, but this knife sits so high on the belt
that any strap here would be uncomfortable
for larger individuals.

Either the chromed ring or riveted belt loop


can be used to keep this knife secure on your
belt or pack.

The sheath itself is protected from the knife


by this plastic liner, and the strap keeps the
knife immobile so the cutting edge wont rub
itself dull on the plastic.

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71

HOW-TO

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MORSE CODE

What Hath God Wrought:

Dots&Dashes
COMMUNICATING THE OLD FASHIONED WAY WITH MORSE CODE
Story by Matthew Lee | Images courtesy of Library of Congress

the
On May 13, 1897,
ssage
first wireless me
ter
was sent over wa
in
from Lavernock
rn
Wales to Flat Ho
lish
island in the Eng
ssage
Channel. The me
dy."
was, "Are you rea

t is more convenient than ever to send and receive messages,


easily and quickly, to and from anywhere in the world
because of todays cell phones, GPS equipment, and satellites, not to mention, email, social media and a vast assortment of high-tech communication systems. Throughout the
centuries, there have been a host of outmoded communication techniques, but the usefulness and availability of Morse code has
remained relatively steady. Though it is fading from the list of
requirements of government programs (as of 2006, the FCC no
longer requires it of ham radio operators), most military branches
still offer a training course. One specifically is at Ft. Hauachuca in
Arizona a 72-day course where the course director, Major Scott
Morrison, likes to say: We use a Civil War invention, combined with
World War I transmission technology, primarily targeted against
Cold War adversaries, in support of todays decision making needs.

I
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Morse code is the worlds first binary system, a simple on-off switch that can control a
light, electric pulse, a tone, or a tap. It is used
to transmit words and phrases in code electronically over great distances to be decoded
on the receiving end.

HISTORY IN DOTS AND DASHES


Like most things, the electrical telegraph
system wasnt invented in a single day.
While artist Samuel F. B. Morse was painting
a portrait of Marquis de Lafayette in 1825, a
messenger delivered a letter that said his
wife was ill, followed by a letter the next day
that said his wife had died. He didnt even
know she was sick, and by the time he had
returned to his home in New Haven, CT, she
had already been buried. Right then and
there, he was inspired to find a way to
quickly communicate over long distances.
Morse began studying electricity and electromagnetism. He met with countless scientists and researched many different options.
Though Morse gets the namesake, he was
helped greatly by physicists Joseph Henry
and Alfred Vail.
In 1836, they created a system of electric
pulses along wires that controlled an electromagnet at the receiving end; those pulses
could be translated into words and phrases.
Other inventors tried their hand at coming

up with a system that would translate messages over distances; some involved wheels
pointing to letters while others printed them
out. These other systems didnt sell well, so
they fell from use.
Morses system made indentations on the
paper when the electric currents were
received. Then the operator would translate
these indentations into numbers which would
then be translated into words. It was Vails
idea to skip the middle decoding and expand
the system to include the whole alphabet, and
it was his idea to use a system of dots and
dashes (the shorter sequences were given to
the letters used more frequently).
In 1843, the United States Congress
appropriated $10,000 to Samuel Morse in
order to build an experimental telegraph line
from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore, MD.
Completed in late May 1844, it was demonstrated before Congress on May 24, with the
worlds first Morse coded message: What
hath God wrought. It was successful, and
soon telegraph systems were being strung all
along the eastern seaboard.
Soon, telegraph operators were so adept
at translating the clicking of the machines
armature, that they no longer needed the
machine to make marks on the paper.
Instead, they could translate the clicks
directly into words by sound alone. They figured out that new operators could learn the
code if it was taught as a heard-only language instead of read as a series of dots and
dashes on a page.
By the 1890s, Morse code was being used
for all communications over radio waves
before it was possible to transmit voice. In
the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, most high-speed international communication used Morse code on telegraph lines,
undersea cables and radio circuits. In aviation, the U.S. Navy was first to transmit
Morse code from an airplane; and during
World War I, Morse code was used to coordinate bombing runs and navigation.
Beginning in the 1930s, both civilian and
military pilots were required to be able to use
Morse code, both for use with early communications systems and identification of navigational beacons which transmitted continuous two- or three-letter identifiers in Morse
code. Aeronautical charts showed the identifier of each navigational aid next to its location on the map. During World War II very
few battles, ships, or armies went into action
without the benefit of Morse code.

This portrait of Samuel


Finley Breese Morse was
taken by famous Civil
War photographer
Mathew Brady in 1866,
six years before Morse's
death. The medals are
awards given by various
countries for his contribution to science and
communications.
[TOP LEFT] A sketch of
the original telegraph
equipment Morse used
to first transmit his code
in 1844.

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Dots&Dashes

The telegraph and Morse


code replaced the short
running Pony Express as
the best method to send
mail to the West.
[OPPOSITE, TOP] Early
versions of printing telegraph sets were phased
out as operators could
translate the code
quicker than the
machines could print it.

Morse code was used as the standard for


maritime distress calls (S.O.S) when it was
replaced by the Global Maritime Distress
Safety System in 1999. The French Navy was
the last military entity that used Morse code
until January 31, 1997, when the final message transmitted was, Calling all. This is our
last cry before our eternal silence. In the
United States the final commercial Morse
code transmission was on July 12, 1999, signing off with Samuel Morses original 1844
message, What hath God wrought.

HOW MORSE CODE WORKS


To understand how Morse code works, it
is helpful to look at the method in which
code is generated. To reflect the sounds of
Morse code receivers, the operators began to
vocalize a dot as dit, and a dash as dah.
Dots which are not the final element of a
character became vocalized as di. For
example, the letter C was then vocalized as
dah-di-dah-dit, but for the purposes of this
article we will use, with a couple exceptions,
dot and dash.
Code dots and dashes and the spaces
between them are sent using a standard fixed
time interval. A dot takes one unit of time, a
dash takes three units of time, the space
between the dots and dashes of the same
character takes one unit of time, while the
space between characters takes three units of
time, and the space between words takes
seven units of time. When sending code at a
given speed, these units of time remain fixed
in duration, and consequently the letters and
words take varying amounts of time to send.
For example, an E (dot) takes one unit of time
to send while a Y (dash-dot-dash-dash) takes

74

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

13 units of time to send. Similarly, words,


even those having the standard number of
characters (five), will take varying amounts of
time to send.
Because characters take different amounts
of time to send, and because words have different numbers of characters (although we
use five-letters as the average word size),
code speed must be based on the sending of
a standard word. Two words, Paris and
Codex are used to represent these two
standards.
Paris: This standard, which takes 50 units
of time to send (including the space between
words) is representative of standard English
text; i.e., it takes about the same amount of
time to send as the average word. Morse code
was purposefully designed so that the more
common characters, such as E and T, take the
shortest amount of time to send, making the
average text flow as quickly as possible.
Codex: This standard, which takes 60
units of time to send (including the space
between words) is representative of words
consisting of random letters; Codex takes the
same amount of time to send as the average
five-letter word of random characters.
Use the (slower) Paris method if you want
to hear each character at the rate it would be
sent in normal English text. Use the (quicker)
Codex method if you want to be writing down
random characters at a given rate. We recommend becoming proficient at a given speed
using the CODEX method, so when you hear
normal English text in a code test, it will
sound slower (but youll be writing the characters down at the rate youre accustomed to).

HOW TO LEARN MORSE CODE


One of the first things beginners want to
do when deciding to learn Morse code is to
turn to a reference book and look at the
unique dot and dash patterns for each character. Some proponents of quick learning
suggest you dont do this, as it only adds
another step in the mental decoding process.
Instead, find a convenient tool (there are
plenty of Morse code simulators) that lets
you learn the patterns by listening to the
unique sound for each character rather than
decoding a sequence of dots and dashes first
and then translating that sequence into
words. Once learned in this manner, you will
immediately recognize the characters by
their sound and not what they look like.
However, if you need a slower method,
find a collection of slow Morse code record-

ASG-1502-MORSECODE 12/9/14 2:46 AM Page 75

Morse
Code
Alphabet

ings (that come with a key) and listen to the


combinations of dots and dashes. As you listen, do your best to picture the letters in
your mind as you jot them down. Refer to a
Morse code alphabet and translate what you
wrote down. Do your dots and dashes make
letters? Words? If not, try it again and
again and again.
Practice translating basic words and sentences into Morse code. In the beginning,
you can write it down, then sound it out, but
eventually youll need to go straight to
sounding it out. Start with simple words.

SPACING
Spacing is just as important as the letters
that come before and after. Each letter needs
to be separated by a space thats the same
duration as a dash (three times the duration
of a dot). The better your spacing, the easier
your code will be to understand.

MEMORIZE, MEMORIZE
Memorize the easiest letters first. The reason a T is a single dash and an E is a single
dot is because they are used most frequently.
Start by memorizing the single-dot/dash first
and move to the double, and then triple letters. Once youve got those down, start memorizing combinations, but leave the more
complex combinations for last, which fortunately includes some less commonly used
letters (Q, Y, X, and V).

begins with a C. A great mnemonic that has


been used for years (picture the opening few
minutes of The Longest Day) is the dot-dotdot-dash sequence used for the letter V. The
sound has the same cadence as the opening
salvo of Beethovens 5th Symphony.

METHODS OF LEARNING IT:


SLOW IT DOWN
Farnsworth Method
The classical way to learn code is to start
slow and then build up to a higher speed.
Using Farnsworth timing (developed by
Donald R. Farnsworth in the late 1950s),
characters are sent at the same speed as at
higher speeds, while extra spacing is inserted
between characters and words to slow the
transmission down. The advantage of this is
that you get used to recognizing characters at
a higher speed, and thus it will be easier to
increase the speed later on, but you have
more time between letters. Starting with a
slow word speed, you have time to think
about the characters, while gradually
increasing the word speed as you improve.

Morse Code Tree


Another method to learn Morse code
without having to memorize the code table is
the Morse Code Tree, developed based on
the number of dots or dashes in each letter

A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
0

MAKE ASSOCIATIONS
When memorizing the various letters,
sometimes it is good to use association, a
mnemonic device used to make sound associations between two seemingly unlike things.
For every letter, think of a memorable sound
that mimics the Morse sequence. For example, C is dah-dit-dah-dit (dash dot dash dot).
Consider catastrophic, which has an
emphasis on the first and third syllable, and

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TEST YOUR CODING SKILLS

related to every other letter. Starting at the


top, listen to a single letter of Morse code. If
you first hear a dot, go to the right; if you first
hear a dash, go to the left. For example, dashdot-dot is sent. Start at the top. When you
hear the dash, move to the left to the T. Then
you hear the dot, so you move to the right to
the N. When you hear the final dot, move to
the right to the letter D. Since there is a
longer pause at the end of the sequence, you
know it is the end of the letter. Move on to
the next.

Koch Method

Get a
Coach and
Practice
Many amateur radio stations transmit Morse
code practice sessions for
the benefit of people
learning how to read
Morse code or those that
want to improve their
speed and/or accuracy.
Best known are the
W1AW radio stations
code practice transmissions and are most
widely used. They are
located at the headquarters of the American
Radio Relay League
(ARRL) headquarters
Newington, CT, and they
offer a very detailed
schedule on their website. They offer sessions
from five words per
minute to 35 and can be
found at arrl.org/learning-morse-code.

76

With the Koch Method, you start with an


initial set of two characters. Practice listening
to random code containing only these two
characters. Listen to the characters at your
target speed. When you can copy this code at
your target speed with 90 percent accuracy,
then add a third character to the set. After
this new character is added your overall
accuracy will go down at first and will then
build back up. When you can copy code containing these three characters with 90 percent
accuracy, then add a fourth characterand
so on.
With this method, you dont start with the
least-frequent letters (E and T) as they will
come much easier, but instead start with
more difficult letters, like K, Q, and M.

CONCLUSION
If you think that theres no way Morse
code will ever be useful in your life, remember the story of Admiral Jerimiah Denton, the
senior-most American POW in Vietnam,
from 1966 to February 12, 1973. Throughout
his captivity at infamous Hanoi Hilton, he
was mercilessly tortured and given threats of
further torture if he didnt respond correctly
to the journalists questions at a televised
interview scheduled to appear on American
channels May 17, 1966. From the beginning
of the interview he feigned sensitivity to the
lighting of the cameras and of those in the
room, but all the while resisting the Viet

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

1:
2:
3:
4:
5:
6:
7:
8:
9:
10:

A: Trail
B: Knife
C: Danger
D: Cat
E: North
F: Dog
G: Gun
H: Camp
I: Help
J: Fire

Now that you might have some skills, translate the


following phrase (the slashes are there to help separate between words):
/ /
/ /
/
/
/

Cong propaganda, he was covertly blinking


his eyes in Morse code: T-O-R-T-U-R-E.
Since the North Vietnamese werent familiar
with Morse code, they were unaware of the
messages, and this was the first confirmation
that Americans were being tortured.
Since the fading of the requirements to
learn Morse code and an increasingly heavy
reliance on electricity-based communication
systems, fewer people have taken the time to
develop this very useful skill. In an age of
rapid communication and texting, Morse
code is going the way of the carrier pigeon
and smoke signals; instead, this antique technology can be used in urgent situations
where communication without advanced
technology would be crucial. Being prepared
by knowing Morse code provides a sense of
security that another communication method
is only a finger tap away.

Answers: 1. cat, 2. dog, 3. gun, 4. help, 5. fire, 6. knife, 7. trail, 8. north, 9.


camp, 10. danger
Phrase: Thank you for reading American Survival Guide magazine

Morse code became an integral part of warfare


communication as shown here during World War I.

The best way to master any new thing is to practice


it over and over, every day, basically for the rest of
your life. In doing so, you will soon master it.
Below, match the code from the left column
with the correct word from the right column.

ASG_1502_77 12/9/14 2:32 AM Page 77

Fire, flood, hurricane, tornado, earthquake, terrorism, nuclear/biological/chemical, destruction, panic.


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ASG-1502-SURVIVESEA 12/9/14 2:54 AM Page 78

Never
Give Up
SURVIVING AT SEA
Story By Adam Jones | Photography Courtesy U.S. Department of Defense

SURVIVAL AT SEA IS ANYTHING BUT A TRIVIAL MATTER.


It is difficult to imagine the fear a shipwreck survivor would experience when
surrounded by nothing but open ocean and watching your boat slowly sink with
little or no resources to support your chances of survival. Lessons can be learned
from successful sailors, adventurers, and explorers who possessed the proper
techniques and tools to stay alive under the most trying of circumstances.
To prepare yourself to be successful, a survivalist must acquire the skills and
knowledge necessary to respond in an ocean borne life and death situation. First
and foremost, a sailor must have a robust knowledge of seamanship, knowledge
of your vessel, weather forecasting and signaling that attracts rescue or pinpoints
your location. These are fundamental requirements simply for reliable sailing,
however to be successful in dire circumstances more knowledge is necessary.
Critically important are methods of procuring water at sea, ways of getting food,
navigational methods and how to get underway if you vessel is capable. During
an incident you may be injured and so you must know how to address traumatic
or environmental injuries, and maintaining an awareness of the wildlife that
could be dangerous to you. Make no mistake, time spent learning these life saving
techniques will appear very well spent in a real-life emergency.

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SURVIVAL CAN BE SUMMED UP IN THREE WORDS NEVER GIVE UP.


THATS THE HEART OF IT REALLY. JUST KEEP TRYING.
BEAR GRYLLS

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tion device. However, if one is not present,


clothing specifically pants - can be a useful
alternative. Tying the legs together, air can then
be scooped, orally delivered, or splashed into
the pants. The legs of the pants should then be
placed over the neck of the swimmer, with the
waist secured to the swimmer via a belt. As
long as the pants or trousers are wet they
should remain airtight, so they must be periodically moistened or refilled with air. To contain
body heat while using a flotation device, use
the Heat Escape Lessening Posture (or H.E.L.P.)
which means crossing the ankles while keeping
knees raised and arms tucked in to the body.

SEA LIFE

HAVE A PLAN

I AM LESS AN
INDIVIDUAL THAN
PART OF A
CONTINUUM, JOINED
TO ALL THINGS AND
DRIVEN BY THEM
MORE THAN I AM IN
CONTROL OF MY
OWN PATH.
STEVEN CALLAHAN, ADRIFT

80

Before any incident occurs, it is critical to


have a survival plan, as it is almost impossible
to think of everything that needs to be accomplished as a craft is sinking. Once the plan is
written down, practice the procedures. The
emergency plan should include information
regarding all of the subject matter in the preceding paragraph, as well as procedures for
free swimming if no craft is available. If a survivalist does not have a life raft or emergency
craft, treading water and staying afloat as long
as possible becomes a critical skill.
The first step to doing this successfully is
careful breathing, as panic and hyperventilation
are dangers. Regular deep breaths with complete exhalation are important. Some Naval
instructors tell their students to make the letter
K in their mouths with their lips closed which
keeps a small amount of air in the nostrils and
can thusly keep water from entering when submerged. It is important to also make certain
everyone at sea has access to a personal flota-

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

If a vessel might sink or is sinking, the scenario changes. Knowing the wildlife you may
encounter in a given part of the world is an
important part of survival. Many people feel
that the most significant danger you might
face is from a carnivorous predator, such as
the many species of shark that live in virtually
every part of the ocean. However, a common
threat to many ocean-going vessels are
whales. Two famous cases of shipwreck survivors, that of Steven Callahan in 1982 and the
instance of Bill and Simone Butler in 1989,
were most likely the cause of whales. Callahan
in the Atlantic Ocean and the Butlers in the
Pacific, both had holes punched in the hull of
their sloops, the Butlers likely by pilot whales.
This demonstrates that it is also important to
know the appropriateness of your sailing vessel for the type of journey you are on. TransAtlantic and Trans-Pacific cruises become that
much more dangerous on a smaller craft
although if you are an adventurer this may in
fact be the point of the trip. Just be aware of
the additional threat.
The greatest danger related to the holing of a
sailing craft generally comes in the evenings or
in bad weather when you are either asleep or
visibility is poor. If possible, it is wise to post a

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Never Give Up

watch, which would allow you to be aware of


both wildlife and human predators. In both of
the above cases, the encounter with the whales
occurred at night and in bad weather, which
may or may not have been prevented by the use
of a watch posting. Callahan was sailing alone.
If your craft does have a hole or leaks for
any reason, you can alert yourself to the problem using a bilge alarm or high-water alarm.
Once their craft began to sink, the Butlers kept
their heads they grabbed the gear they
needed and jumped into an emergency raft. In
their case, they only had time to grab the
absolute essentials fishing rods and a salt
water purifier. In general, the water purifier is
more important, as there are instances of individuals surviving up to eight weeks or more
without food. In some cases, exposure to
extreme heat without replacing fluids can kill a
person in hours. Understandably in this case,
shelter is also important as the elements can
also kill you over time due to hypothermia
(when the bodys temperature drops too low)
or hyperthermia (when the bodys temperature climbs too high).
The Butlers were able to survive by eating
raw fish caught with their fishing poles and
drinking the purified water from the salt water
purifier. Even carefully minding the resources
they were able to produce, they lost a significant amount of weight over the course of their
66 day ordeal. They were rescued by a Costa
Rican Coast Guard vessel. Callahans case is
distinct in that he designed and built the vessel
he sailed in, so when it struck what was most
likely a whale during a night storm it only
swamped but did not sink due to watertight
compartments he engineered into the hull of
the craft. Before rough seas separated him
from his craft, he was able to retrieve a number
of items, including a spear gun he used to hunt
and two solar stills he used to purify the salt
water. Solar stills essentially function on the
greenhouse effect, using sunlight to steam
salty or even brackish water to purify it. Callahan also fetched some items that he was able
to use to collect rain water, such as plastic
sheeting. He had to live on just over a pint of
water a day.
It is possible to also drink the blood of turtles,
birds, or other creatures if no water is available.
Callahan was able to survive for as long as
he did because he very carefully managed his
resources. In order to get enough food to eat, he
developed a kind of ecosystem around his 6foot life raft. Birds would eat the left over elements of the fish, barnacles, and even other

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Never Give Up

birds he was able to catch. In fact, it was ultimately the cloud of birds around his raft that
showed fisherman where to find him off the
coast of Guadeloupe. Hed lost approximately
one-third of his bodyweight.
What was important in Callahans case is
that he had a buoyant and highly visible emergency kit on hand whose contents included
many of the following items that a survivalist
would need: a registered emergency beacon, a
handheld VHF radio, a selection of flares and
smoke signals, a strobe light, a whistle, a signal
This graphic depicts the
approximate location of
a vessel in distress and
the potential search
areas plotted by the
Coast Guard Sector
Honolulu Command
Center, Aug. 12, 2014. A
man was rescued from a
life raft after his 41-foot
sailboat sank seven
miles south of Diamond
Head, Oahu.

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AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

mirror, as much water as possible, emergency


rations, essential medications, a first aid kit, a
solar still or purifier, a patch kit, a knife, a solar
blanket, fishing gear, sunscreen, bailer, paper
and pen in a zip lock bag, spare prescription
glasses or sunglasses and binoculars.

SIGNAL FOR HELP


A key feature of survival is making certain
that when a vessel comes within sight, you can
signal it in some way so it can rescue you. It is
necessary to know the emergency vessels

ASG-1502-SURVIVESEA 12/9/14 2:55 AM Page 83

location as well, and having a map of some


kind that indicates shipping lanes is very helpful. If the vessels current location is such that
traffic will be too low to find the life raft, navigating the craft to the shipping lanes may promote survival.
Consider the case of Dougal Robinson and
his family, who survived at sea for 38 days. The
familys 43-foot wooden schooner was holed by
a pod of killer whales west of the Galapagos
Islands by now it should be clear to view
whales only from a distance. The Robinsons
were able to board their life raft, grab their
emergency kit, and attach a dingy to the raft.
From materials salvaged from the sinking ship,
Robinson built a sail that he used to guide the
family toward nearby shipping lanes. Improvised
sails can be made from materials as simple as
plastic sheeting and string or rope. Dougals wife
a former nurse devised a way to stretch out
the turtle blood and old water that was turning
and becoming poisonous. She devised a system
to give the family members enemas using tubes
from a ladder that permitted a modicum of
hydration. Their life raft eventually failed after 16
days and they were forced to board the dingy.
Using prevailing winds and currents, they were
able to approach the Panama Canal shipping
lanes where they were sighted by a fishing
trawler heading for the canal. Robinson had the
foresight to bring along flares he used to signal
the ship. While remaining a primitive form of signaling, flares can still be used effectively to
achieve the goal of being sighted. Mayday signals can also be broadcast on VHF channel 16 or
via HF frequency 2182. Orange smoke, red flares,
or launching distress rockets are other means of
signaling for help.

A LIFE RAFT IS NOT A SAILING VESSEL, HOWEVER PORTRAYED IN THE


SALES LITERATURE; IT IS MERELY A SET OF RUBBER TUBES WITH THE SOLE
PURPOSE OF KEEPING SURVIVORS OUT OF THE WATER UNTIL RESCUE.
JAMES MANDEVILLE, SURVIVAL AT SEA

As for Steven Callahan, an experienced sailor


and Naval Architect, his Emergency Position
Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) was intended
to signal nearby craft, whether ships or planes,
but he was in such an isolated part of the ocean
no shipping lanes were close enough to support
rescue. Because this wreck occurred in the
1980s the EPIRB was not being monitored by
satellite, and no vessel noticed the many flares
he brought with him. Modern day EPIRB units
communicate via satellite, but also may contain

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a GPS device allowing rescuers to locate you


within 50 feet. For Callahan, his many emergency preparations did not speed his rescue but
they did allow him to stay alive. Even if attempts
to get noticed and rescued fail, maintaining discipline of resources and staying as healthy as
possible for as long as possible are key. Methods
of signaling ships can also take the form of

An Interview
with Lt. Colonel
Robert Bateman
It is said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
While having the skills to survive a
disaster are important, perhaps
more important is the ability to
prevent that disaster in the first
place. Lt. Col. Robert Bateman
(ret.) is a prolific author and a
recently retired military officer.
Bateman won the 2004 Colby
Award for military history for his
book No Gun Ri: A Military History
of the Korean War Incident.
His thoughts on preventing
disasters at sea are below.
1. Lt. Col. Bateman, you are currently sailing across the Eastern Seaboard of the United
States with your wife and child
and various crew members in a
47 foot Beneteau 473. What
prompted your decision to
make this journey?
During my last tour in
Afghanistan, 2011-2012, I realized
that I was getting a little long in
the tooth to be doing what Id
been doing for more than 20
years. That was when I made the

84

decision to retire sometime in the


next couple of years. That made
me wonder, as most career soldiers must at some point, What
am I going to do when I grow up?
After a while I decided that growing up (in other words, wearing a
suit and a tie) was not really my
preferred way of life. From there it
was a short intellectual journey to
what I am doing now, sailing and
writing military history. In this case
I realized that most military historians ignore the sea, and most
maritime/naval historians ignore
the land and the coast. Almost
nobody has written about Americas intimate relationship with
the sea and her own coastal
defenses in any sort of comprehensive manner, and to do that
the right way I would need to see
the coast from the sea myself,
preferably from the deck of a sailboat. So that is what I am doing.
It helps a little that I already had a
little more than 10,000 miles of
sailing experience before I set out.
2. Obviously a person sailing
that distance with their family
has a serious interest in preventing the kinds of at-sea incidents that our readership pre-

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

pares for. How do you go about


preventing these incidents?
You know that old joke,
Youre not being paranoid if
somebody really is trying to kill
you? Well, after 25 years in the
infantry that has become sort of
ingrained in my DNA. So my first
line of defense is information, I am
an obsessive about wind, waves,
barometric pressure readings, and
NOAA data files and forecasts.
The best way to survive a storm is
not to find yourself in a storm in
the first damned place.
After that, aboard the boat it
is all about redundancy. I found in
the last several years as I would be
walking around marinas ogling
OPBs (Other Peoples Boats) that
I had become what I call an
anchor snob. Most boats do not
have serious anchors, or even
appropriate anchors. I would walk
around and judge the owners
based upon the weight and design
of what they were carrying on the
bow. One undersized anchor? Yea,
hes not serious and may be a danger to himself and others. One sufficient or oversized anchor? OK, he
is probably at least competent,
but not really a long-distance guy,
probably just stays local and sails

on the weekends. Two anchors,


oversized, with a heavy-duty
windless to bring them up? My
kind of sailor. As for myself, my
primary anchor is 200% oversized
with an all-chain rode, my secondary is 175% with half chain,
and disassembled in the bilge I
have a third anchor and anchor
chain of an entirely different
design for different conditions or
emergencies.
It is the same way with my
navigation and charts. Of course
on my chart plotter I have all the
most current data chips, but then
in addition to that I purchased
paper charts for the entire US East
Coast, and I have downloaded
every NOAA chart for the Western
Hemisphere onto my phone and
my laptop and I have a second
laptop with those same charts. In
other words, I have five different
sets of the same data. You know,
just in case.
Even I admit, however, that I
might be a little excessive with my
pumps.
The bilge pump is what takes
water out of your hull because,
well, if it does not that is what we
sailors call sinking. I have a primary pump in my center bilge

ASG-1502-SURVIVESEA-CX 12/12/14 12:15 AM Page 85

BEFORE DEPARTING ON ANY TRIP, TAKE THE TIME TO REVIEW YOUR WATERCRAFT AND UNDERSTAND ITS CAPABILITIES
IN RELATION TO THE AREA YOU INTEND TO TRAVEL INTO. CAN IT HANDLE THE TRAFFIC, TIDES, AND WAVES? IF YOU ARE
UNCERTAIN ABOUT YOUR CRAFTS CAPABILITIES, IT MAY BE BEST TO STAY HOME. GREG DAVENPORT, SURVIVING COASTAL AND OPEN WATER
international signal flags showing NC, a square
flag having above it or below it a ball (or anything resembling a ball), or raising or lowering
arms outstretched to each side.
Never give up.
A recurring theme in virtually every story of
survival, these three words indicate the single
most critical factor in surviving an emergency
at sea. Maintaining the discipline to carefully
administer your resources, to keep your head if
you fall in the water, to acquire food and water
by any means necessary, and to work tirelessly
to reach rescuers is not an easy thing. The will
to live and to endlessly power through under
dire conditions is what kept these survivors
alive. Dig down deep, keep your head and never
ever give up. These are the key tenets of ocean
survival.

compartment which is automatic.


Its pretty much like the average
sump pump in your house. Then I
have another, of nearly the same
design, in the aft bilge, which is
also pretty normal and stock. But
then I bought a third electric
pump and wired it with 30 feet of
cable attached to alligator clips
and a 20-foot hose. That one I can
take to any part of the boat and
throw it in where there may be
flooding and it will gush out 1,500
gallons per hour down that hose
and out one of my portholes.
Then, I also have three hand
pumps as well. One is built into
the hull and the other two can be
located wherever they need to be.
So yea, maybe a bit much, but
hey, this is my house and my wife
and daughter are on-board. Can
you blame me if I have replacements for the replacements of the
replacements? After all, there is
always something that will go
wrong, and if it goes too wrong,
my house sinks.
3. Is there any particular type of
gear or equipment you recommend to promote the safety of
your vessel and your crew and
family?

Since I do a lot of offshore sailing, which also means Im sailing


24/7 at times, life preservers are
essential. I carry enough for seven
adults and two children, and at
night anyone topside in the cockpit
must be wearing one. Further, each
evening I rig what are called jack
lines fore to aft along the sides of
my deck. These are about the
equivalent to 10,000 lb nylon towing cables. If anyone leaves the
cockpit to go forward at night they
must clip into these lines with a
tether. The life jackets have an
integrated harness built in.
Finally, there is the life raft
and my ditch bag. Mine is, naturally, rated for the open ocean and
can comfortably hold six people.
It has a double insulated bottom
(helps when the water is cold),
and contains food, water, fishing
gear, and signal gear. In my ditch
bag I keep a supplemental GPS,
plus a sextant, an EPRIB (a satellite communications device which
is registered to my boat and sends
position via satellite for a long
time after it is activated), and a
whole lot more signaling devices
(flares, smoke, sea dye, signal mirror, hand-held VHF, etc.) in addition to some clothing, some food,

and some additional water. As


the saying goes, one always steps
UP into a life raft (meaning you
dont abandon your boat until
your boat abandons you, vertically), and the last thing I grab
before climbing up out of my boat
is that ditch bag.
Movies, Books and Documentaries about Survival at Sea: if
you are interested in further reading on the subject, here are a few
sources that may help you to learn
more technique and methods.
> Survive the Savage Sea (1992)
This film is based on the true story
of a family that fulfills their lifelong
dream of purchasing a yacht only
to have if sink shortly after purchase. The life raft they purchased
was far too small for the number of
people aboard the vessel. This is
the story of their attempt to survive after the sinking.
> Solo: Lost at Sea (2008) This
is the story of Andrew McAuley, an
Australian adventurer who
attempted the crossing from Tasmania to New Zealand in a solo
kayak. He spent a month at sea
before his story ended in tragedy.
His preparations, while quite
extensive, were not quite enough

to keep him alive. His vessel was


recovered but he was not.
> Shackletons Antarctic Adventure
(2001) This documentary details
the true story of Sir Ernest Shackleton, who attempted to conduct
the worlds first Trans-Arctic Expedition. Unfortunately his ship, the
Endurance, became trapped in the
ice and was eventually crushed. A
testament to the will of man, all
28 men survived almost two years
in the absolutely inhospitable climate of the Antarctic.
> Cast Away (2000) This film is
the fictionalized account of a
FedEx employee who boards an
ill-fated flight. After the crash, he
washes up on the shore of a
deserted island and is forced to
use the materials of the plane
that wash up on the beach, as
well as the scant resources that
are available to him on the island,
to survive.
> Adrift by Steve Callahan A
New York Times Bestseller for
more than 36 weeks, this book is
the firsthand account of Steven
Callahan, who survived alone at
sea for 76 days. His small sloop
capsized only six days out; he survived by staying alive in a small
inflatable raft.

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85

URBAN

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E STAFF

The
E Staff
PEACE OF MIND IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND
Story and Photography by Tim Ralston

t is difficult to predict how you would react when faced with a survival
situation. Plan all you might, there is nothing more intense than being
in that moment. Your adrenaline is pumping, heart pounding, knowing
you must instantaneously make your next move. When your primal
fear kicks in, sometimes your body moves faster than your brain can
process. This natural response is referred to as fight-or-flight.
While you may not be able to foresee your fate in a fight-or-flight scenario, there are ways to ensure that you always have a fighting chance. It is
possible to gain this advantage through preparedness. By equipping yourself with the elemental tools of survival, you are provided options. Whether
you are forced to physically defend yourself, or suddenly bug out from a
catastrophethese provisions have the capability of saving your life.

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As an inventor, it is in my nature to discover


solutions to the problems which plague me.
With how important it is to be prepared at all
times, I have been developing a range of multifunctioned survival tools designed to be carried
with ease. This way you always have what you
need at your fingertips at a moments notice.
My latest innovation to add to the Ralston
brand collection is the E Staff. This aluminum
and steel hiking pole gives you peace of mind
all in the palm of your hand. Not only does it
offer you the stability of a walking stick, it has a
secret swivel compartment to be filled with
your most essential gear. There is enough room
to store items such as a multi-tool, first aid kit,
flashlight, fire starter and more. You can customize it to fit your own preparedness needs.
The bottom of the E Staff transforms into a
five-inch spear blade weapon. This feature is
perfect for hunting game or can be used for
your protection. With a turn of the blade a two
pronged spear emerges, ideal for frogs and
fishing. In addition, 30 feet of paracord is
wrapped around the E Staff. Cordage has many
versatile uses in survival such as building shelter, fishing and creating traps.
The E Staffs handle doubles as a drinking
vessel with a carbon filtered water straw. This
vessel can be heated over an open flame for
sterilization purposes. There is also room for
the storage of 8 ounces of liquid in the E Staff.

STAY PREPARED
In the most ideal situation, you would have
as many supplies as possible in order to survive.
Yet for the times when you are forced to move
quickly, and your BOB is inaccessiblethe E
Staff will be your savior. The thin compacted
design makes it easy to store under your bed, in
a vehicle, or at the office. If you were ever in
need of a speedy getaway or a self-defense

E Staff Specs
Material: Aluminum and Steel
Weight (empty): 3 lbs.
Length: 61 inches
Diameter: 1 inches
Storage Compartment: 14 inches x 1 inch
Spear: 5 inches
Drinking Vessel: 5 inches

weapon, just grab your E Staff. With it you


always have a back-up plan to the back-up plan.
The E Staff is also intended to be used as a
tool for hiking treks. There are many times
when a person plans a shorter day trip, believing they do not need to bring extra supplies.
This in fact is a very dangerous risk. Every year
thousands of hikers get lost within our wilderness parks. No matter the size of your excursion, it is imperative to always be prepared with
the essentials.
For this reason, the E Staff is an excellent
piece of gear to accompany any hiker. It provides support and balance to ensure safety out
on the trail. You can also store all of the most
important emergency items within. Some suggestions would be a whistle, fire starter, compass, flashlight and energy bars.

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The double-wrapped
handle on the other end is
great for pulling it from
the corner of the closet or
garage storage space.

The Nitro-Pak 72-hour


emergency kit for four
people is contained in
this well-made and
sturdy bag.

The zippers are strong


and can be locked for
extra protection from
potential pilferers.

Pack
Mentality
NITRO-PAKS 72-HOUR FOUR-PERSON GETAWAY KIT
Story and Photography by Ryan Lee Price
The locking and telescoping handle is
great to help transport
the pack from place to
place. In conjunction
with the wheels, it
moves very easily.

The pack itself has


three wheels on one
end to make it easy to
roll. It weighs 40
pounds and might be
difficult to move from
place to place.

88

he mountain passes have been


snowed in for most of the month
and restricted to local residents
only, as the threats of avalanches
have been on the minds of everyone in town. Your tight-knit neighborhood has
mostly cleared out ahead of another impending
storm that is slated to dump a considerable
amount of snow on an already fragile mountainside. Snow chains are required on the local
roads and four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended. Considering that the supplies at the
general store are dwindling, youve decided
there isnt enough for you and your family to
last in your house for longer than a couple of
days. Its time to leave.
As the black clouds crest the ridge and the
temperatures plummet, there isnt a whole lot
of time to pack up the truck for your journey

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

down the mountain. One essential bag to grab


is Nitro-Paks 72-hour, four-person emergency
kit. You know that a bug-out bag is indispensable to any plan, especially one that involves
the safety of your entire family. The idea of
being snow-bound on a deserted road in the
middle of winter without any supplies is disheartening, but with your whole family, it is
unforgivable. In December 1992, Jim and Jennifer Stolpa and their five-month-old son took
a wrong turn down an unplowed road in a
remote region of Nevada on their way to a family function. A snowstorm stranded them there
for eight days (five of them in an improvised
snow cave) until Jim decided to walk 70 miles
through the storm to rescue. Both Jim and Jennifer suffered from extensive frostbite and had
to have part of their feet amputated. Ultimately, the story had a happy ending but could

ASG-1502-NITROPAK 12/9/14 3:05 AM Page 89

have been better had they equipped themselves with an emergency getaway pack like
this one from Nitro-Pak.

PRE-PACKAGED VS. DIY


There are plenty of ways to build your own
emergency bag, and we have covered some of
them in previous issues (and will do so in future
issues). For some with specific needs or an
already extensive collection of materials that
typically go into an emergency bag, building
one yourself is a viable option, provided you
have the right equipment, the right size bag,
and the right idea of what you think you might
need in the future. Few can satisfy those conditions, as most of the essentials that make up a
well-stocked bag are part of our everyday lives:
food, tents, ponchos, etc., and we have troubles
spiriting them away in a kit that will only see
use in an emergency. Additionally, the idea of a
quality bug-out bag goes beyond the things you
have around the house. The bag usually
requires a host of specialty items that usually
have a singular purpose. Once they go into your
bag, they cannot be used unless it is an emergency situation. Scavenging from the bag is
counter-intuitive to your own safety and goes
against the concept of having an emergency
bag in the first place.
The beauty of having a pre-packaged kit is
several-fold. Starting with the bag itself, it is
strong enough and large enough to perfectly fit
all that the kit includes and theres room for
some personal items also. With a pre-packed
kit theres no thinking involved. Nitro-Pak has
thought of everything when they pieced
together this kit, so you dont have to spend a
small fortune on individual items or wander
around your house looking for a host of items
you probably use and will be tempted to use. A
pre-packed kit has a set it and forget it mentality, meaning that you can bring it home and
hide it away and not give it another thought
until the inevitable arrives and you need it.

EMERGENCY KIT USE AND STORAGE


This isnt a kit you keep in your car or the
locker at the gym, and it isnt one youll ever
take camping or even in the RV. It is large and
well stocked, therefore it should be kept at
home in a central place in your house. Since
many emergencies you might be involved in are
the kind that destroy structures (earthquakes,
hurricanes, tornadoes), find a place in your
house that mostly likely will survive, for
instance, a downstairs closet in the core of your
house, a basement, or under the stairs. If the kit

A. Survival bags, hand warmers, ponchos, tents, and blankets will keep you warm on a
very cold night in unfamiliar territory. B. Toiletries and hygiene items offer a sense of
normalcy while helping rid the body of potential dirt that causes disease. C. The lightweight tube tent is eight feet long and will keep out the weather in a tough situation.
D. Keeping the body clean, especially over a long period of time is important. So is
light and protection against dust and biological elements found in the air. The potassium iodide is used as a thyroid block during radiation emergencies.

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Pack Mentality

E. A tri-fold shovel and


gloves are essential
tools when digging slit
trenches preparing firewood. F. The Voodoo
Tactical multi-tool is a
welcomed surprise, as it
is a high quality tool
with countless uses.
G. A small portable
stove that connects to
the canister of fuel gel
can heat water and cook
meals, is easy to light
and lasts a long time in
most weather. H. The
36-hour candle provides
light and a source of
comfort and a little heat
during the night. It can
also be used to keep a
flame alive.

is destroyed in an emergency, it wont do you


any good, so keep it safe.
This goes without saying, but the kit is for
emergencies only and should be reserved for
this. Cannibalizing from you kit food, water,
tools only hurts the future you in whatever
peril the future you falls into. When you are
knee-deep in snow digging for the hand warmers or stuck in a downpour looking for the ponchos only to remember that you took them to
your kids soccer game last December, youll be
out of luck. Your life could depend on it, so once
you find a secure and out-of-the-way place to
store your kit, the only reason you should go
into it besides at the end of the world is if
you need to replace the MREs and water
pouches when they expire.

THE SURVIVAL KIT


Nitro-Paks 72-hour four-person getaway kit
is a formidable ally in any emergency situation.
The bag itself is a sturdy container large

90

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

enough to easily hold everything included


inside, with enough room to accommodate
additional items (personal needs, medical supplies, additional equipment you might need in
your particular region). The kit itself is 40
pounds, so the robust handles are strong
enough to carry the bag, but it comes with
wheels and an extendable plastic handle on
the other end so it can be rolled easily where it
needs to go. It also has a padded shoulder
strap and two extra pockets on the outside to
keep readily accessible things. Its a great place
to put the equipment list to quickly remind
yourself what is in it. The equipment included
can be broken down into six different categories: warmth/shelter, heat/light,
water/hygiene, first-aid, food, and gear with 275
items total.

WARMTH AND SHELTER


First and foremost, in any survival situation,
shelter is paramount and should be at the top
of your list. Included here are two 8-foot tube
tents, four space blankets and four emergency
ponchos. Theres a yellow emergency blanket
that can be used to carry a victim or as a tarp.
The four survival bags have a host of uses, from
makeshift ponchos to keep out the weather or
to carry a variety of things. Underlying it all is a
thick wool blanket that makes a great pad, pillow or for warmth.

ASG-1502-NITROPAK 12/9/14 3:05 AM Page 91

COOKING, HEATING, AND LIGHT


Flashlight and batteries and a threewick 36-hour candle will provide light
and comfort on the cold dark nights,
as will the two 12-hour light sticks.
Theres a small cooking stove with an
AlcoBrite gel fuel source. Getting it all
started is 48 waterproof matches, and
helping to stay warm will be a little easier with eight 18-hour heat packs. Water
can be heated over the stove with the four
supplied Sierra cups.

WATER AND HYGIENE


Without water, it doesnt matter how much
survival equipment you have with you because
your time is limited. Thanks to 12 4.2-ounce
pouches of drinking water, you can enjoy fresh
clean water for a little while longer. The
pouches have a five-year shelf life and writing
the date on the bags might be helpful. Additionally, there are 10 water purification tablets
to purify water when the pouches run out. To
transport water from its source to your camp, a
two-gallon water carrier is included.

I. The drinking pouches


and emergency food
rations provide a quick
high-calorie snack.
J. Each MRE is individually
sealed and will provide
several hundred calories
of much needed energy.
K. Water can be captured,
stored, and carried in this
two-gallon container and
heated up in these four
Sierra cups.

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Pack Mentality

FOOD
Though the backcountry is literally full of
food choices if you know where to look and
what to do when youve found them, sometimes you wont have access to them. The 18
high-calorie ration bars contain 400 calories
each, are low sodium and high in vitamins. For
additional vitamins there are 12 E-mergen-C
fizzy drink mixes that provide 1,000mgs of
Vitamin C as well as a host of other vitamins,
including zinc and manganese.
One of the biggest aspect of this kit are the
nine complete MREs (Meals Ready to Eat). For
example, one pack includes chicken and noodles with vegetables in sauce, with potato
cheddar soup, crackers, candies, and coffee.

SURVIVAL GEAR

L. The first aid kit contains 60 items to patch


up you and your mates,
and it includes a mirror
for signaling as well as a
first aid reference book.
M. A variety of gear set
to keep you secure and
safe as well as help you
overcome whatever
calamity has befallen
you, from a flashlight
and matches to a sewing
kit, signal whistle and
50-foot cord to vitamin
C drinks, paper and
pen/pencil, playing
cards and root beer-flavored candies. N. The
nine MREs have a variety
of entres and side
dishes to provide meal
diversity. Each pack
comes with a pack of
matches, cracker, coffee
or tea, dessert, candies,
wipes, and condiments.

92

Hygiene is a good part of physical health in a


survival situation, but also it benefits morale
when you have fresh breath and a clean body.
Parasites and bugs, dirt and grime can lead to
disease. Packs of tissue, toilet paper, sanitary
bags, dirty clothes bags, soap and towelettes
stave off dirty and disease. The combs, toothbrushes and toothpaste just make you feel
more human in a dire situation.

FIRST AID
Accidents happen, while disasters provide
their own share of injuries that will require
immediate attention. Leaving a wound
untreated will only lead to infection and a bevy
of additional problems. The first aid kit
included here has 60 essential first aid items
including two pairs of exam gloves and a first
aid reference book. Five sanitary napkins can be
used for either feminine needs or first aid use.

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

Personal items aside, this kit contains a host


of survival tools that will make your survival situation slightly easier, more comfortable, and
completely survivable regardless of the situation. Dust masks and iodide tablets will protect
you from outside contaminants. Theres also a
needle and thread for mending, leather gloves
for handling sharp or dangerous items, and a
shovel for digging a latrine or a runoff drain
around your tents.
To keep abreast of the goings on in the world
(if you find yourself far-flung from it) is a Kaito
Voyager Trek AM/FM radio/flashlight that can
be powered by solar, AAA batteries, USB, AC, or
crank, and can be used to power USB-equipped
devices. Fifty feet of nylon cord has untold uses,
as does the Voodoo tactical multi-tool.
Sometimes, sanity is only a game away.
Being stuck in a survival situation can be boring, believe it or not, so its helpful to have a
deck of cards to keep you company, as well as a
pad of paper, a pen, and a pencil for notes.

ASG-1502-NITROPAK 12/9/14 3:06 AM Page 93

Nitro-Pak 72
Hour, Four-Person
Getaway Kit
Includes:

The radio will keep


you in contact with
the outside world, is
powered by a variety of sources and
can even provide
power to any USB
device. On one end is a
five-LED flashlight.

SOURCE
nitro-pak.com | MSRP: $297.49

2 Deluxe 2-Person 8
Tube Tents
1 Wool Emergency
Blanket
4 Survival Bags
1 Emergency Rescue
Blanket (yellow)
4 Emergency SPACE
Brand Blankets
4 Emergency Ponchos
1 36 Hour Emergency
Candle
1 Deluxe AA LED
Flashlight
2 Flashlight Batteries
2 12 Hour Instant Light
Sticks
1 Adjustable Heat/
Cooking Stove
1 AlcoBrite Heat-Gel Fuel
4 Sierra Cups for Drinking & Heating Water
48 Waterproof Matches
8 Emergency 18hr Body
Heat-Packs
12 5yr Shelf-life Drinking

Water Pouches
(4.2 oz. each)
1 2 Gallon Water
Carrier (pre-fill prior
to evacuation)
10 U.S. Military
MICROPUR Water
Purification Tablets
2 Small Roll Tissue
Packet
3 Sanitary Disposable
Toilet Bags
1 Soft Toilet Tissue Roll
4 Clothes Wrap Bags
1 Bar of Soap
4 Toothbrushes
1 Tube of Toothpaste
2 Hair Combs
36 Wet Wipe Towlettes
4 Facial Tissue Packets
1 Deluxe First-Aid Kit
with 60 Essential First
Aid Items
1 First Aid Book
4 Nitrile Exam Gloves
5 Sanitary Napkins
9 MRE Complete Meal
Units
2 3600 Calorie Emergency Food Rations

1 Bag of High Energy


Candy
12 E-mergen-C Energy
Drink Packets
1 Premium Heavy-Duty
Nylon 3-Way Carrying
Storage Bag
1 Solar Dynamo AM/FM
Radio w/ Four Way
Power
1 Quality Tri-Folding
Emergency Shovel
1 50 Nylon Utility Cord
28 Potassium Iodide
Tablets (for Radiation
Emergencies)
1 Emergency NATO
Survival Whistle
1 Deluxe Sewing Kit
with Needle, Thread,
& Buttons
1 Swiss Type 15 Function
Pocket Knife
1 Pair of Leather Gloves
4 Hospital Grade 3M
N95 Folding Dust Masks
1 Notepad
1 Writing Pen
1 Pencil
1 Deck of Playing Cards

WE CARRY A FULL LINE OF TRUSTED SURVIVAL PRODUCTS


INCLUDING:
Eberlestock, Ontario Knife Company, LifeStraw,
Fox Tactical, UST, Mossy Oak, SureFire,
Leatherman, GSI, CRKT, Coghlan's,
Adventure Medical Kits, Dynarex, Outdoor Edge
and many more.

SurvivalBagsInc.com

WARNING THESE SURVIVAL BAGS ARE NOT FILLED WITH TOYS

FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

93

HOW-TO

ASG-1502-MINI 12/9/14 3:10 AM Page 94

MINI SURVIVAL KIT

Tiny

Survivor
BUILD YOUR OWN MINI SURVIVAL KIT
Story and Photograph by William Billy Boggs

igger isnt always better. Sure, a large survival kit packs a punch when you need it
and has a great place in your emergency
supplies collection, but it is just that - large.
Multi-person survival kits are great for stationary situations, like an earthquake, tornado, or some
disaster scenario that prevents you or your family from
leaving and replenishing supplies elsewhere. Theres
usually food, water, sanitation, emergency medical
equipment, and general gear for staying put. But what if
you have to leave in hurry?
What if you find yourself in such a dire situation that
you must leave immediately, no questions asked and
with nothing but the clothes on your back and the stuff
in your pockets? What then? What do you grab on the
way out?
Your bug-out bag is in the back of the upstairs closet
where you keep it out of the way, or maybe theres no
space on whatevers transporting you out of the area.

94

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

[ABOVE]: There are a variety of choices for containers to use, some of


which will provide more space for more things or a different kind of space
for a different kind of thing. The small plastic boxes are partitioned for
better organization, while the travelers wallet can be used for flatter
items, has zippered pockets, and has plastic windows for IDs or other
things. [TOP]: The little mint container is just the perfect size to hold a surprisingly large variety of things, all while keeping a low profile, providing
easy access and extreme portability.

ASG-1502-MINI 12/9/14 3:10 AM Page 95

A. There are dozens of things available and appropriate


that can be included in your mini survival kit, and
depending on the size of your container, include as
much as you see fit to include. B. What we decided was
best for us to include in our kit may differ from your
own priorities. We made sure to include a mini toothbrush (green cap) because dental hygiene is important
to morale, and the mini dice? Youd be surprised how
much sanity can be restored to a bad situation by a
game. C. Laid out, the contents of our kit look impressive, and we were surprised everything fit. However,
that fitment literally came down to the difference
between five pieces of paper or six.

You have your wallet, your wedding ring, and a


mini survival kit you keep near the door for just
such occurrences.
It has what you would need or want inside. It
is tiny enough to fit in any pocket (or to easily
hide), and you know exactly whats in it,
because you made it yourself. And heres how.
There are a host of containers available
around which to base your mini survival kit.
Theres a larger travelers wallet (its even RFID
protected), little plastic storage boxes, a travel
soap container and even a small zippered
pouch used to carry plastic bags for your dog.
The best container, however, is the ubiquitous
Altoids tin. Theyre cheap, sturdy and perfectly
sized to not only fit in your pocket but fit stuff in
them. Once youve emptied out the curiously
strong mints and washed out the container,
you can either give it a coat of paint for personalization or leave it looking like a tin of mints to
give it a more clandestine appearance (if youre
ever in a situation where someone is frisking
you down, they might pass on a simple-looking
mint container).
There are dozens of things you could put
inside literally dozens of things that could
help you in a wide variety of situations. The
prepper in you will want to include them all
because you wont know what trouble you will
fall into, but the practical person in you knows
that a mint tin is only so big and it can only hold
so much. So, sacrifices have to be made: No
toilet paper, no tiny bar of soap, no moist wipes,
no insect repellent wipes, no whistle, one cotton ball instead of two, four matches instead of
a pack, a small knife instead of a multi-tool,
two dollars instead of four.
This mini kit isnt supposed to be inclusive
it cant be and it isnt supposed to include
creature comforts it wont but what it is
supposed to do is give you a big advantage in a
small package.
However, have you got a tiny bit of extra
room in the corner? Throw in a mint. It wont
help you survive, but it will help you feel a little
more human.

FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

95

ASG-1502-MINI 12/9/14 3:10 AM Page 96

Tiny Survivor

J
F
D
G
D. Always include money in your kit, but why
a $2 bill? Inflation. A dollar doesnt go as far
as it used to, and any more than that and
youll be tempted to pilfer from it when
youre craving a taco one day. The pencil and
paper are to keep notes of your adventure or
to leave a message for someone.
E. A mirror, matches, a square foot of tin foil
for cooking are useful. The small emery
board can be used as a striker for the
matches, while the Fresnel lens can be used
to start fires and is the perfect size to fit in
the mint tin.
F. A couple of basic medical things should be
included, like band-aides and an alcohol
wipe. The cotton ball and ear swabs have a
number of uses. If the swabs are too long for
your kit, they can be cut in half.
G. Sewing kits can be used to mend clothing,
sure, but it can also be used to mend you.
Giving yourself stitches doesnt sound like a
whole lot of fun, but neither does bleeding to
death. Also included is a safety pin, paper
clip and a foot of duct tape.
H. Fishing line, dental floss, hooks, and a
sinker are all helpful if you are surviving in a
wilderness environment where the possibility of fishing is available.
I. A small button-battery ashlight is essential (they make them smaller even), a singleblade pocket knife, a razor blade, and a rubber band all have countless applications. The
dice are included to stave off boredom and
can be used to keep the brain active and alert.
J. The biggest trick is to place things into your
container in a combination of two ways: 1)
how it best ts; and 2) the likelihood of use.
Organize your mini survival kit so that the
items t most efficiently, but also so that you
can easily reach what youll need quickly. Put
the pocket knife, ashlight, and band-aides
on top, for instance, while the matches, paper,
and sh hooks can go toward the bottom.
K. A little trick is to cut the corners off of the
paper and packaged things so they better fit
in the rounded corners of the mint tin.
L. The mirror can be glued to the inside lid of
the tin so that it can be available quickly if
used as a signal device.
M. Once completed, make sure it wont fall
open by double wrapping a rubber band
around the tin. Though it does have some
friction closures, if you packed it correctly, it
will be bursting at the seams.
N. If you live in wet environments or theres
the possibility of ending up in water, seal
your mini survival kit in a standard sandwich
bag. Not only will it keep the kit waterproof,
but the bag can be used for a host of things.

96

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

L
H

ASG_1502_97 12/9/14 2:35 AM Page 97

J
A
N
T
Z
knifemaking.com
Pattern 42 Blades

CAT.# STEEL
FINISH
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J4128 D2 Steel
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J4137 CPMS 30V Peened
42.95
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J4138 CPMS 30V
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J4189 Damascus Random
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Pattern 36 Blades

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B.I./Cocobolo Dymondwood
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Red
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Handles Smooth No Texture
CAT.#

Overall Length: 7 3/16, Blade Length:


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Handles for Pattern 31

Overall length 7 5/8, Blade Length 3, Blade Width


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Pattern 44 Blades

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CAT.#
THICK
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BACKCOUNTRY

ASG-1502-BEACH 12/9/14 3:12 AM Page 98

EDIBLE PLANTS

Sand
&Salad

WILD FOODS FOUND AT THE BEACH


Story and Photography by Christopher Nyerges

Along the coast certain edible plants can be found

in abundance. A select few can be found on just about any of the North
American coasts. Lets take a look at some of these beach plants.

98

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

ASG-1502-BEACH 12/9/14 3:13 AM Page 99

Orach

Orach
When most people see the orach plants (Atriplex
spp. there are several species) on the beaches above
the high-tide line they think they are looking at a
lambs quarter plant. The very common lambs quarter is a European native which today can be found in
disturbed soils just about anywhere in the world. It is
one of the first plants a wild food forager learns about
because it is widespread, easy to identify, and quite
useful in a variety of dishes.
Orach is in the same Goosefoot family as lambs
quarter, but in a different genus. Orach is visually
similar to lambs quarter, bearing pale green leaves
coated with a whitish film that is rubbed off easily.
However, orach leaves have a unique shape that
resembles an arrowhead with backward pointing
barbs (a shape botanists refer to as hastate).
Orach is often widely scattered and rarely forms in
dense patches. When you take a single leaf and taste it
there is initially a mild saltiness that may give way to a
hint of bitterness. Once rinsed, young orach leaves
can be added to a salad, but you probably wouldnt
use these leaves as a primary salad ingredient because
they are a bit on the strong side.
I like them best when they are rinsed well and then
cooked with other greens for a green dish or a stew.
They are like spinach or lambs quarter once cooked.
I once took some seed and found the orach plant
grew very well in my urban Southern California backyard. In fact, when grown in my back yard instead of
the beach, the leaves were significantly milder and
actually tasted good in salad. The plant readily
reseeds, so if you like the plant you can have it in your
backyard forever assuming your plants get some
water and shade.

IT IS ONE OF THE
FIRST PLANTS A WILD
FOOD FORAGER
LEARNS ABOUT
BECAUSE IT IS WIDESPREAD, EASY TO
IDENTIFY, AND QUITE
USEFUL IN A VARIETY
OF DISHES.

FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

99

ASG-1502-BEACH 12/9/14 3:13 AM Page 100

Sand
&Salad
Glasswort

Glasswort

Glasswort (Salicornia spp. there are several species) is an interesting and beautiful
low-growing plant appearing in the backbays
and salt flats just slightly inland. The plant
consists of more or less erect succulent stems
of transluscent green that turn red in the fall.
During the fall these plants also produce lots
of seeds that water fowl frequently eat.
Nibble on a few of the stems and its tasty,
mild and a bit salty. It goes well with salads,
and makes a good addition to cooked greens
and vegetables too. Yes, you can cook it by
itself and you really should so you get to
know its flavor. However, glasswort seems to
work best when combined with other foods.
It does make good pickles. Take the tender young stems, rinse them and then pack
them into a jar. I cover with raw apple cider
vinegar, but I have also used the juice from a
can of olives or jalapenos. You could use regular pickle juice as well. I like to refrigerate
for a few weeks before eating them.
When Glasswort starts to turn red in the
fall it gets too tough to eat, so this is a seasonal food.

THE YOUNG SPROUTS ARE TASTY IN SALADS


AND ALSO MAKE A GOOD ADDITION TO SOUPS
AND STEWS.
Sea Rocket

Sea Rocket

100

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

Sea rocket (Cakile edentula and C. maritime)


is very common along the high tide areas of
the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Its a semi-succulent sprawling plant whose beautiful little
four-petaled, white-to-lavendar flowers
betray its membership in the Mustard Family.
Sea rocket leaves and tender portions are
not good in salad because its too much like
eating strong horseradish. However, I have
on a few occasions had the good timing to be
around the plants in the late winter after
rains, when hundreds of tiny sprouts were
coming up under the sprawling plant. The
young sprouts are tasty in salads and also
make a good addition to soups and stews.
The leaves and tender portions can also
be cooked as greens or added to other stews,
as well as clam or fish dishes. I recommend
you do a quick boil, drain the water and then
cook again. This makes them tasty and palatable to most people. Then you can cook them
into whatever recipe you choose.

ASG-1502-BEACH 12/9/14 3:13 AM Page 101

New Zealand Spinach

New Zealand Spinach


New Zealand spinach (Tetragonia tetragonioides) is found primarily along the Pacific
Coast, where it sometimes grows thickly in
mats above the high tide line.
When I realized New Zealand spinach
grew wild all along the west coast beaches, I
collected it for both salad and cooked greens.
Pinch off the tender tips and use the plant
just as youd use ordinary garden spinach.
When you see the plant on the beach, it
does resemble garden spinach. The difference is New Zealand spinach sprawls over a
much larger area, whereas garden spinach is
typically a single erect stalk. Also, New
Zealand spinach is perennial.
More than 30 years ago, I took a few roots
of New Zealand spinach and planted them in
a large hillside experimental garden measuring about 40 by 40 feet. As long as the plant
was given water periodically it spread and
spread, and my regular harvesting resulted
in even more growth. Since this plant
required very little care, and provided yearround food, I have long regarded this as one
of the ideal survival garden plants that
should do well wherever there are no periods
of sustained frost.

Cattail
Cattail (Typha spp.) is a freshwater plant,
but since so many streams flow into the
ocean I have always found cattails not far
from the coast. Cattail consists of long flat
green leaves often up to 6 feet long and a
characteristic flowering spike that looks like a
hotdog on a stick. There are many foods from
the cattail plant, and this is determined by
the season. In spring, before the plant begins
to flower, the tender shoot can be tugged out
of the ground and the green outer layers
peeled away. The white inner core is tender
and has a flavor reminiscent of cucumber.
Another easy source of food from the cattail is the flower spike, but you have to pick it
before the spike turns brown and becomes
inedible. The green spike is not all that great
raw, but if you boil it, and butter it, its very
much like eating corn on the cob!
These are not the only foods youll find on
the beach, but they are some of the most
common edible plants found in many beach
areas.

Cattail

IF YOU BOIL IT,


AND BUTTER IT,
ITS VERY MUCH
LIKE EATING CORN
ON THE COB!

Christopher Nyerges has been leading ethno-botanical classes and


field trips since 1974. To learn more about his classes and books,
contact him at School of Self-Reliance, Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA
90041, or www.SchoolofSelf-Reliance.com.

FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

101

ASG-1502-FLASHLIGHT 12/9/14 3:14 AM Page 102

The
Blue
Dot
BRITE-STRIKES TACTICAL
TOUCH FLASHLIGHTS
Story and Photography by Gary Kimball

ight is life. It is a strong source of


hope, comfort and security. It
can provide a boost in morale or
lead the way to safety and rescue. Human beings have very
poor eyesight at night when compared to
other mammals in the animal kingdom.
Many of those found in the backcountry
have night vision rivaling our daytime
vision, so we need to augment our shortcomings with artificial light. And what better light than from Brite-Strike.
Brite-Strike was founded by two police
officers, Glenn Bushee and Jon Neal, as a
response to the need for higher quality
equipment for not just police officers in
the field but for citizens on the street.
According to the manufacturer, BriteStrike makes a promise to always use the
latest technology, world class components, highest design and manufacturing
standards, so you can rely on your BriteStrike light when you need it.

102

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

One such product is its line of Tactical


Touch Flashlights designed to include the
Tactical Blue Dot switches which, depending on the model, allow the user to toggle
quickly between high, low, and a strobe
function.
These are high quality flashlights,
made of the best materials and specifically designed to do their job without
flaws in construction. And theyre bright.
Very bright. The intensity of the light,
especially when it is as high as these,
should always be considered a formidable
defense weapon. Shining 340 lumens of
light into someones eyes will temporarily
blind them, at least long enough for a person to escape or return force with force as
necessary.
The body is CNC-machined from a single piece of billet aluminum in a unique trisided shape that is easier to grip between
the fingers while operating the on/off button with your thumb. It isnt waterproof

At 5.2 and 3.5 inches, respectively,


the BDRC and DB-180 tactical flashlights by Brite-Strike are high quality
products built to last.

Specifications
Functions: High, Low, and Strobe
Length: 5.2 inches (BDRC); 3.5 inches
(DB-180)
Light Output (BDRC): 340 lumens
on high, 170 lumens on low
Light Output (DB-180): 290 lumens
on high, 170 lumens on low
Run Time (BDRC): 2.5 hours on high,
8 hours on low, 3 hours on strobe
Run Time (DB-180): 1 hour on high,
3 hours on low, 1.5 hours on strobe
Warranty: One Year
Beam Distance: 400 feet (BDRC)

ASG-1502-FLASHLIGHT 12/9/14 3:14 AM Page 103

but can be used in a heavy rain without consequences thanks to a rubber o-ring on the
battery cap end, and it is shock resistant.
The shell of the BDRC-HLS, at just over five
inches, fits perfectly in your hand almost
concealed while the crowns at both ends
have a unique shape that can be used to
break a window or strike a substantial blow.
The BD-180-HLS is even smaller. At 3.5
inches, it completely hides in your hand and
only shows when you want it to.
Both models fall into the HLS category,
which means they have high, low and strobe
settings. The BD-180s 123A lithium battery
will power the Cree-XREWHT-L1-D01-Q5
LED bulb for approximately one hour on
high, three hours on low and 1.5 hours on
strobe. This isnt a long time between battery changes, especially considering how
pricey batteries can be in the long run (a 12pack of name brand batteries can run north
of $20.00though Brite-Strike insists that
only Panasonic or Duracell batteries are
used and never a commercially rechargeable 123A battery). An advisable option is to
upgrade to the BDRC unit, which is not only
brighter (340 lumens compared to the DB180s 290) but comes with a rechargeable
2600-mAh lithium-ion battery and the
recharging unit. However, there are several
more units to choose from, some with a single or two-cell batteries and others that are
rechargeable.
The beams of both flashlights come
through a polycarbonate lens which helps
maintain a bright white light. This allows
for truer colors. The BDRC can throw its
beam approximately 400 feet in a wide
pattern similar to a flood light.

1. The design of the barrel


of the flashlight is such
that it offers a solid grip,
not only from the unique
triangle shape but from the
cross-hatching in the aluminum as well. Machined
from a cylinder of aluminum, these tactical
lights can be used as a formidable weapon if necessary, not only by using the
light itself to blind but the
body of the light as a striking object. 2. The blue dots
are rubberized and easy to
press. The switches are
rated for 10,000 clicks.
Both of these flashlights
can be toggled from high to
low to strobe by a slight
flick of the thumb. Note:
Though the end caps look
identical, they are not
interchangeable. The specially designed crowns on
the front and back of each
flashlight, when used as a
striking weapon, concentrate the force of the blow
onto a small area and
increase the impact. The
crown on the rear, though
similar in design and function as the front, is thicker.
3. The stout pocket clip is
made of steel and is
attached very securely.
4. The recharging unit that
comes with the BDRC
model takes about six
hours to completely
recharge a depleted battery. 5. The single-cell
lithium battery powers the
DB-180, which has a life of
only one hour in high-beam
mode. 6.The rubber o-ring
on the battery pack keeps
out moisture and water
from the interior of the battery, though these batteries are not waterproof.

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The

Spirit
of
ASG

A BRIEF HISTORY OF
AMERICAN SURVIVAL
GUIDE MAGAZINE
By Ryan Lee Price

hen American Survival Guide magazine was resurrected


from its ashes four years ago, the publishers could have only hoped it
would become as popular and widely read as it is today.
One of their objectives was to produce a new magazine that feeds
the core interests of its readers, whatever their personal goals of survival
preparedness happened to be. However, it may be surprising to some
that its roots were firmly planted 37 years ago by an eccentric motorsports enthusiast who wore cowboy boots and white suits and kept a pet
cougar in his office.
A real live cougar. In his office.
To promote his motorcycle parts supply house, AEE Choppers, Tom
McMullen started a magazine for motorcycles in 1969 called Street Chopper, which found a successful niche with enough of a toehold start a publishing empire with his wife. In 1974 they were divorced, and in the settlement she got the parts company and he got the publishing company.
His business practices are the stuff of legend, like the cougar, and a
host of titles poured onto the newsstand in the late 1970s.
One such magazine was Shooters Journal in 1978. It was, according to
its tagline, the complete shooters publication. Produced on a shoestring budget by like-minded editors and writers, they filled the pages of
Shooters Journal with gun reviews, gear guides and advertising. But the
market was crowded and they experimented by changing its title
throughout the early 1980s before settling on American Survival Guide.

ITS ROOTS WERE FIRMLY PLANTED 37 YEARS AGO BY AN ECCENTRIC MOTORSPORTS ENTHUSIAST
WHO WORE COWBOY BOOTS AND WHITE SUITS AND KEPT A PET COUGAR IN HIS OFFICE.

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October 19

80

June 1981

In January 1985, the tagline Self-Defense, Self-Reliance, and Freedom was added under the title, clearly showing not only the major
themes and focus of the magazine, but the patriotic direction as well.
This tagline, however, lasted only 10 months, then it was dropped
from the cover on the October 1985 issue.
In March 1986, the tagline The Magazine For Safer Living was
added under the title as a rather vague replacement of the previous
patriotic assertions. This lasted for three years until the April 1989
issue, when The Magazine for Self Reliance replaced it on the May
1989 cover, somewhat returning it to its former, although more polished and reserved, stance.
In the mid-1980s McMullens publishing company was having
financial troubles and Vice President Ken Yee stepped up to become a
partial owner. New publications came and went, some waxed and
waned in popularity, but American Survival Guide soldiered on. In 1994,
Ken Yee died, followed by Tom McMullen in a plane crash one year
later. Exactly, to the day.
That same year, 1995, McMullen-Yee merged with Argus Publishing to become McMullen-Argus. And through the turmoil of the mid90s, American Survival Guide carried on, informing readers about selfsufficiency and independence.

Augu

st 198

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105

ASG-1502-HISTORY 12/9/14 3:18 AM Page 106

How This
Magazine
Got Its Name
1969 Street Chopper
Tom McMullen started a magazine for
motorcycles in 1969 called Street Chopper. It promoted AEE Choppers with features, race results, and a few articles
sprinkled in to support the sales of new
products. The new magazine found a successful niche with enough toehold to
start his publishing empire, including
titles like Shooters Journal a decade later.
1978 Shooters Journal
Gun reviews, gear guides and advertising.
It was very popular on the newsstand but
was almost in constant flux throughout
the next decade, giving the appearance
of being unsettled and desperately trying
to carve out a position in a well-populated market of gun magazines.
Shooters Journal played on the interests
of gun owners, staunch patriots, rugged
outdoorsmen and Second Amendment
supporters at a time when the Middle
East was rising to prominence and the
Cold War was at its chilliest.
1981 Shooters Survival Guide
The title was modified to Shooters Journal and Survival Guide in 1981 and a slight
change of focus concentrated more on
survival articles and camping stories and
less on guns (though guns played the
central theme for all covers at the time
and would for the next 10 years). By the
summer of that same year the title was
yet again changed, this time to Shooters
Survival Guide.
1982 Survival Guide
In February 1982 Shooter was dropped
from the title, and it became, simply, Survival Guide. There it stayed for the next
three years with Dave Epperson as the
editorial director and Bob Clark as assistant editor (there was no official editor
until Payton Miller became the executive
editor in October 1985).
1985 American Survival Guide
For the first issue of its eighth year in
print, January 1985, American was
added to the title; it had finally settled,
and the publishers wouldnt make any
changes to the title for the next 15 years.
American Survival Guide was emblazoned
at the top of over 180 covers.

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AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

June 1985

Decembe

r 1983

Publishing giant Primedia purchased McMullen-Argus in 2000 and


the last issue of American Survival Guide was published September
2000, replaced by Self Reliance Journal. The American Survival Guide logo
would appear in the upper left cover of the new magazine, but it
wasnt enough to bolster confidence in the readers. Sales plummeted.
May 2001 was the last issue of Self Reliance Journal and subscribers
instead found issues of Backwoods Home Magazine in their mailboxes
that June.
Fast forward 10 years, and during that time the dormant ASG
brand name had been collecting dust in the archives of a company
what would eventually be named Engaged Enthusiast Media, a subsidiary of Beckett Media.
Fueled by an instable economy and renewed unrest in the Middle
East, polarizing political beliefs in the U.S., and the growing popularity of the zombie fad, a resurgence of self-reliance and personal independence was swelling in the United States again and the publishers
felt it was a perfect time to bring back a magazine that brought so
much entertainment and education to survivalists, hunters, backwoodsmen and hikers/campers alike.
American Survival Guide, Volume 1, Issue 1 was born.
And thats the story; well, most of it. In three short years, ASG has
gone from a quarterly to six times a year, then nine, then to a monthly
publication with specials. This year, 2015, will be the first time in 15
years it will see the newsstand all 12 months.
When you look at the pages before you, dont think of it as just a
new magazine, think of it as a survivor.

ASG-1502-HISTORY 12/9/14 3:18 AM Page 107

October 19

85

March 19

Janu
May 1989

ary 2

86

001

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107

URBAN

ASG-1502-DITCHBAG 12/9/14 3:43 AM Page 108

DITCH BAG

ANATOMY OF A

DITCH BAG
WHAT GOES INTO A DITCH BAG BEFORE IT GOES INTO THE SEA
By Larry Schwartz

PHOTO

COUR
TESY O
F

ACR/AR
TEX

Your ditch bag can be designed for that purpose, like this one
from ARC, or you can use an existing bag as long as it is
waterproof, can be made to float, and provides easy access
to your emergency beacons and radios.

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AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

hether you call it your ditch bag, grab bag, survival gear, or abandon ship bag, prudent and
prepared sailors will have a bag or container of
some sort that has the emergency gear
needed should they have to leave their vessel
and get in the water or into a life raft of some size. The contents of
everybodys ditch bag or abandon ship bag is different, and it
should be. Every persons experience level, skill set, needs, location
at sea, and climate conditions are different and these are the
things that affect your decisions on what you want in your ditch
bag. Some may have extensive first aid kits but little food. Some
may have many ways to gather food from the sea but only one way
to signal for help.
All ditch bags should have something to address the following
basic areas of on the water survival: signaling, shelter, water, food,
first aid and medications, and important documents. But first, you
need to pick the right bag to put everything into.

ASG-1502-DITCHBAG 12/9/14 3:43 AM Page 109

ALL DITCH BAGS SHOULD HAVE SOMETHING TO ADDRESS


THE FOLLOWING BASIC AREAS OF ON THE WATER SURVIVAL:
SIGNALING, SHELTER, WATER, FOOD, FIRST AID AND
MEDICATIONS, AND IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS.
tab through which you can run cord or a small
carabineer.
The next question to consider is how big
your ditch bag should be. The answer is dependent upon the vessel it is intended to support.
Just as your EPIRB is registered to your vessel
rather than to you personally, your ditch bag
should reflect what you use your vessel for and
the maximum number of people you could
have on board. It needs to be large enough to
have supplies for everyone who might be on
board or in the life raft. It needs to be large
enough to include any special purpose gear
you need based on the location you are operating in, such as cold weather clothing if you are
in colder regions or enough food to last more
than a day or two if you are far from shore or
rescue may take more than a day or two. It
should also not be so large that it is difficult for
one person to move. If the number of people
on board or the weather conditions make it too
heavy to move you should consider reducing
what you are storing or have two or more bags
with the same contents in each one so that the
people with one bag wont need what is in the
other bag.

Ponchos made from


reflective film are lightweight, easy to pack,
and are excellent ways
to maintain your body
temperature in extreme
environments.

A signal mirror is probably


the most popular signaling
device around but they only
work on a bright day. This
limitation is why flares and
smoke signals should also
be part of yoru signaling
strategy.

PHOTO COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA

There are many manufacturers on the market who make bag designed specifically for this
purpose. There are also some who actually
stock the bags for you with what they think you
will need in an abandon ship scenario. My
advice to you though is to consider buying one
of the bags, but dont bother buying one that is
already stocked for you. Just like pre-stocked
outdoor survival kits the items were selected
because they may be useful (and many of
them will be), but more importantly they wont
address all of the areas mentioned above and
they most likely will not address your skill level
and the environment you will be operating in.
You are far better off assembling your own
equipment to ensure you know how to use it
and that it meets your needs, like protection
from the sun in equatorial regions or extra cold
weather clothing for the North Atlantic or in the
Great Lakes.
The minimum requirements for a ditch bag
are that it is easily seen/brightly colored, it
floats when fully loaded, it is water proof and
not just water resistant, it has appropriate handles to make it easy to move when fully
loaded, and that it has at least one tether to
attach it to you or to your life raft or life boat.
Keep the weight within what the buoyancy will
handle.
Other useful features found on many ditch
bags are reflective tape to make it easier to see
at night or at dusk/dawn, multiple pockets inside
and outside for organization or to provide easy
access to items like your EPIRB, documents, or
VHF transceiver. Many bags have a clear exterior
pocket for storing your important documents.
Speaking of tethers, remember that you will
be floating on water that is anywhere from 25
feet to over 100 feet deep, so anything that gets
dropped will not be recoverable. For that reason, as you identify the items you want to
include in your ditch bag pick the ones that
have an adjustable lanyard or some other way
of securing them to something that wont sink.
If an item does not have a lanyard or tether,
such as a large first aid kit, you can buy or make
lanyards, or some form of retention system, to
keep from losing things that you drop or get
washed out of the raft or ditch bag. Zipper
locked freezer bags are a great way to secure
small items like tools or individual water packets and you can make an attachment point by
making a tab on one side with duct tape an
then using a hole punch to make a hole in the

PHOTO COURTESY OF COGHLANS

PICKING THE RIGHT BAGS

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ASG-1502-DITCHBAG 12/9/14 3:43 AM Page 110

ANATOMY OF A

PHOTO BY LARRY SCHWARTZ

DITCH BAG

[RIGHT] First aid kits


come in a wide range of
sizes and contents. Pick
the one that best fits
your needs and then
augment it as needed.

PHOTO

COURT
ESY O
F AM

ERICAN

MEDIC
AL KITS

[BELOW] Reflective bivy


sacks, like this one from
American Medical Kits,
reflect body heat back
onto your body to help
keep you warm at night
or during cold weather.

The most effective way to build floatation


into the bag is to line it with closed cell foam,
either built into the bag itself or lining the interior. Most of the purpose built ditch bags have
this in place already, but if you want to use a different bag you can get the foam at most home
improvement stores and then cut it to shape.

SIGNALING
Equipment for signaling falls into two general categories; long range and short range. For
long range signaling you should have a hand
held VHF radio for communicating with people
on-shore or with other vessels within range.
Your next level of long range signaling devices
to include in your ditch bag would be an EPIRB
registered to your vessel and possibly a PLB
registered to yourself. In addition to these electronic methods of signaling you should also
stock up on shorter range signaling devices, for
use within visual ranges. These would include
signal mirrors, flashlights, chemical lights, and
pyrotechnic signals like smoke signals, hand
held flares, and parachute flares.

SHELTER
A way to protect yourself from the elements
is vital any time you are on the open sea. The
first item to include in your kit would be tarp
that you can use to provide a canopy over your
raft. An emergency blanket with a dark side and
a reflective side is more useful than a plain tarp
as you can put the reflective side out during the
day to reflect heat away, and in at night to help

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AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

trap your body heat in the raft. New items on


the market are ponchos made from this same
reflective mylar as the popular space blankets.
They can serve the same purpose but for individuals. A final set of tools for shelter are reflec-

PHOTO COURTESY OF KATADYN

ASG-1502-DITCHBAG 12/9/14 3:43 AM Page 111

tive bivy sacks like those manufactured by


American Medical Kits (www.americanmedicalkits.com) and Blizzard Survival (www.blizzardsurvival.com).

one half to one gallon of


water per person per
day, depending on their
weight. In addition to
the prepackaged water
you should consider
including a method for
turning salt water into
drinkable water as part of your kit. This will help
you extend your packaged water should it take
longer than expected for help to arrive. The
SeaPack products from Hydration Technology
Innovations (www.hitwater.com) use a forward
osmosis method to remove the salt from the
water. This method only costs $75 to produce
four half-liters of drinkable water, but it takes
between four and eight hours to work, based on
the temperature of the water. The Survivor
family of desalination pumps from Katadyn
(www.katadyn.com) produces drinkable water
immediately, but it costs $1,000. Also, including
rehydration powders in your ditch bag to add to
your drinkable water will add a nice flavor
which will help you drink more and will help
maintain your electrolyte balance. Choose the
option that fits your needs and budget.

FOOD
Energy and protein bars are a great way to
get your calories in a small package, especially
those that are designed as a meal replacement
bar. High energy candy bars like Snickers are
also good options, although you should avoid
those with a higher level of salt like the Payday
bar. Another approach is to use MREs which
provide on average 1250 calories per meal. The
average person needs approximately 2000
calories per day so one MRE plus some other
food to supplement it should be sufficient per
person per day. In addition to food you pack in
your ditch bag you should also consider a small
spinning rod or a gill net or throw net that you
can use to catch fish to supplement your diet or
extend your food if your food runs out before
rescue arrives.

WATER
Your supply of water should include packaged water, either in emergency rations or just
water in plastic bottles. You will need between

[ABOVE] The Katadyn


Survivor 6 desalination
pump produces 30
ounces of drinkable
water per hour.
[BOTTOM, CENTER]
Smoke signals are
excellent for use during
the day while hand held
and parachute flares are
best used at night.

FIRST AID AND MEDICATIONS


Any emergency kit should include first aid
supplies. In your ditch bag you will need a basic
first aid kit augmented with materials to take
care of severe burns, broken bones, and major
bleeding. Medications in your kit should
address pain relief, infections, diarrhea, allergic
reactions, anxiety and sea sickness. Items like
sunscreen and lip balm should also be included
to prevent exposure to sun related injuries.

IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS
Because you dont know when you might
need to use your ditch bag, where you will be, or
who will come to your rescue, you should
include key documents with you on board and
store them or add them to your ditch bag
before you abandon ship. These would include
your passport, registry for your vessel, banking
information, personal identification, and medical records.

PHOTO COURTESY OF USAF

CONCLUSION
Deciding what you want in your ditch bag
and assembling it is your first step. The next
step, and possibly the most important one long
term, is to practice with the items while on the
water to make sure you know how to use them,
what they can and cant do, and what challenges being on the water creates.

Biography: Larry Schwartz is an


experienced outdoorsman and
hunter who enjoys passing on his
knowledge of the outdoors and
how to Be Prepared through his
writing and workshops.

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ASG-1502-GG-PFD 12/9/14 3:47 AM Page 112

Gear Guide
FLOATATION DEVICES
Stay
Afloat
Personal Flotation Devices
Story by Tori Tellem
STIFFNESS MIGHT BE a feeling
youve long associated with wearing a
personal flotation device (PFD) like
youre walking around with a cardboard box around your torso. And
that often results in people who are
boating or doing other water activities deciding to skip wearing one
rather than be uncomfortable.
Bad idea.
But todays PFDs are all about
contouring to your body, allowing
more flexibility, and nearly seeming
like a second skin, making suiting up
and ensuring safety a more positive
experience. Here are a few of the
interesting options in the PFD market.

Antimicrobial
Infant PFD
What makes this PFD interesting is
that it has an antimicrobial-treated
fabric that resists mold and will
keep smelling fresh. It also has a
large head pad.
Ideal for children under 30 pounds
The design allows for more mobility and flexibility
stearnsflotation.com

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AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

ASG-1502-GG-PFD 12/9/14 3:48 AM Page 113

PERSONAL FLOATATION DEVICES Gear


Guide

Flotation Vest for Dogs


Hey, safety is important for the four-legged
ones as well! The underDOG allows a dogs
head to be higher above the water than some
other types of vests.
There are four adjustment points and an
adjustable mesh bridge between the collar
and body
The vest has reflective trim accents and a
leash attachment point
mtiadventurewear.com

Comfort PFD
Crazy buoyancy is how the
Extrasport Universal HiFloat
PFD is described by its maker.
Whats cool is that there are
two cargo pockets and also
reflective tape.
GlideFit uses two different
thicknesses of foam that
glide on top of each other,
keeping the bulk down
It fits chest sizes from 30 to
56 inches
backcountry.com

Compact PFD
The NRS Ninja is meant to provide oodles
of movement, especially for kayakers and
boaters. It utilizes a stretchy inside fabric
that allows for breathability and flex.
Theres a lash tab to hold a rescue knife
Comfort comes via four size adjustments
and two shoulder adjustments
rei.com

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ASG-1502-GG-PFD 12/9/14 3:48 AM Page 114

Gear
Guide

PERSONAL FLOATATION DEVICES

PFD for Kids


The NRS Youth Vista PFD is
worth checking out if you have
a 50-90-pound child. The
front zipper makes putting it
on and taking it off a quicker
process, which every parent
can probably appreciate.
It has a 420D nylon outer
shell that resists snagging
and tearing
Two pockets are included
with hook-and-loop closures
ems.com

Stretchy PFD

PFD Coat
Think of it as wetsuit meets a
PFD, although the Float Coat is
absolutely certified as a PFD. It is
available in long- and short-sleeve
varieties and has a neoprene collar, cuffs, and waistband.
Theres a stowaway hood and
reflective tape on the shoulders
Hook-and-loop tabs and two
belts with easy-snap closures
are incorporated.
bodyglove.com

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AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

The Liquid Force Melody


Comp Vest has Flex-Span
Neoprene, a fabric that
absorbs less water and
dries fast. It zips tight and
has higher arm openings.
Theres a protective
layer of lightweight
impact flotation foam
Minimal taper and maximum stretch plus
Stretch-Light lining
panels are all about the
movement
wakesports.com

ASG-1502-GG-PFD 12/9/14 3:48 AM Page 115

PERSONAL FLOATATION DEVICES Gear


Guide
Ergonomic PFD
The Trekker has a Wraptureshaped torso; the back has half
flotation and half cool mesh.
Theres a front zipper with a grip
tab, and there are adjustable
shoulders. Front pockets are also
integrated, as is reflective tape.
Theres a cross-chest cinch harness for no ride-up and open sides
for ventilation
There are zippered pockets
stohlquist.com

Child PFD
What we dug about this PFD was
its flowery design, making it a bit
more fun and unique to wear,
when it might otherwise be a
struggle to put a child in it.
There are adjustable chest and
leg straps for a little more safety
Quick-release front buckles act as
the closure.
speedo.com

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Gear
Guide

PERSONAL FLOATATION DEVICES

Floatation Jacket
This offering is parka meets certified PFD; you dont
have to put a PFD on over a heavy jacket. It has a
storm-flapped zipper front and Suisse Aire flotation foam, which is super soft.
Theres a fleece-lined collar with a rollaway hood,
plus fleece-lined handwarmer pockets
There are two large front pockets that snap closed
stearnsflotation.com

Rockstar PFD
The Rockstar Vapor Pullover from Body Glove has a
special panel for flex in any direction, and the uber
low-profile vest has a boardshort connector.
The interior lining is Aqua Stretch, for a plush feel
There are mesh drain panels
wakesports.com

High Flotation PFD


If major water movement is your thing (say, rafting), this is the PFD to consider, since it has been
designed with extra buoyancy and strength.
There are reflective panels and four D-rings to
attach crotch straps
Multiple pockets exist, including with Fleece.
mtiadventurewear.com

116

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

ASG_1502_117 12/9/14 4:59 AM Page 117

Now

American
Survival Guide
American Sur vival Guide is now
available on Apple Newsstand,
Google Play and Kindle.

American Sur viival Guide provides you and your family with the
latest tools and step-by-step instr uctions on how to persevere
when disaster strikes.
Download the FREE APP and get a 1-year subscription (9 issues) for only
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ASG-1502-STOVE 12/9/14 3:54 AM Page 118

Simple Stainless

Stove Stand
ESBITS COMPACT STOVE AND POT STAND
Story and Photography by Thomas Sanchez
ometimes the simplest solution to a situation is the best.
Carrying a stove and fuel even a mini version can be
cumbersome, bulky, and heavy, and the prospects of
starting a fire with a variety of tried-and-true methods is
hampered by wind, rain, snow, or the lack of fuel. Coming
to the rescue is this very lightweight, stainless steel stove stand and
fuel system. Compact, the four machined sections of the stove break
down easily and are stored in a flat vinyl pouch that measures only 4.7 x
4.3 x 0.3 inches. The pouch can also house six of the Esbit solid fuel
tablets, and it is equipped with a belt loop (though we cant see anyone actually carrying this on their belt).
When assembled, it provides a three-sided pot stand 3.5 inches tall
that can handle any-sized pot larger than three inches in diameter. The
tray fits securely in the three slits in each of the sides that gives the
structure rigidity and has a rectangular divot that accommodates the
Esbit solid fuel tablet. Without the tray, the stove can still be used as a
wind break or with Esbits alcohol burner.
A pack of solid fuel tablets come in a box of 12 and lasts approximately 10 minutes, providing a constant smokeless flame advertised at
1400 degrees (it topped out our digital thermometer). They were
slightly difficult to start, however, but once ignited, were able to boil a
cup of water in under five minutes.

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AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

Compact and easy to assemble, the Esbit stove and pot


stand is approximately 3.5 inches tall, and each side is 4.5
inches wide. Broken down, it fits in the pouch that measures
only 4.7 inches square. The pouch can also hold six of the
Esbit solid fuel tablets.

ASG-1502-STOVE 12/9/14 3:54 AM Page 119

One box contains 12 fuel tablets. The packaging is


waterproof and serrated for easy separation.

[RIGHT] Even
though the temperature inside
the stove stand
topped out our
temperature
gauge, the corners of the stand
remained cool. If
you had to, it
could be moved
quickly.
[BELOW] The
sides of the stand
are nearly two
inches higher
than the fuel tray,
so the flame is
well protected
from any wind.

One fuel tablet fits nicely in the slight divot of the tray.
As it burns, it melts, so the divot contains the spreading liquids.

A smokeless flame fills the insides of the stove stand


providing an even flame underneath the entire cup.
[BELOW] One fuel tablet was enough to boil one cup of
water in under five minutes. The outdoor temperature
was 65 degrees with a slight breeze.

[RIGHT] Each fuel


tablet provided a large
flame that lasted
about 10 minutes, even
though it is advertised
as lasting 12 minutes.
Towards the end, there
wasnt enough of the
tablet left to provide a
decent flame.

SOURCE
industrialrev.com
MSRP: $29.95 (stove);
$7.99 (fuel tablets)

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HOW-TO

ASG-1502-BARS 12/9/14 3:56 AM Page 120

SURVIVAL BARS

Quick

Snack
here are many variations of the granola bar, an oatfilled and chewy snack. Store-bought bars tend to
be sugary and tasty not to mention expensive
and not the kind of food you should eat while hiking or in a survival situation. When your body
needs energy and you dont have the option to eat a meal, the
last thing you want to do is load up on empty calories and sugars that can slow you down. Sure, the sugar will give you a
boost of energy, but what goes up must come down.
Homemade survival bars are the perfect solution. They
include minimal ingredients, are lightweight, easy to store and
can be made with fresh ingredients in an inexpensive way.
Granola bars can be as good for you as you choose, given
that many ingredients can be substituted for healthier options.
But that doesnt mean survival bars cant taste great.
Peanut butter and dried fruit and nuts pack in flavor, and
honey sweetens the deal.
You can try different types of nut and fruit toppings so you
dont get bored of the same recipe. Some recipes call for baking, while others are bake-free.
You can eat these survival bars for breakfast, on-the-go or
in the wilderness!

HOW TO BAKE
NUTRITIOUS AND
ENERGY-PACKED
SURVIVAL BARS
Story and Photography by Nikki Grey

120

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

Many of the ingredients needed


for survival bars are likely already
in your refrigerator.

ASG-1502-BARS 12/9/14 3:57 AM Page 121

Peanut
Butter Honey
Survival Bars
123 cups quick rolled oats
1
2 cup granulated sugar
1
3 cup oat flour
1
2 teaspoon salt
1
4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups sliced almonds
1 cup dried cherries
1
3 cup peanut butter
12 tablespoons melted butter
1
2 cup honey
1 tablespoon water

Sweet,
sweet honey
Honey is a natural
sweetener, sure, but it is
also a good source of
carbohydrates17
grams (and 64 calories) per tablespoon.
In a survival situation,
carbs and the energy
they contain are very
helpful. This recipe calls
for honey, and lots of it,
making these bars a
sweet and smart choice.

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Coat 9 x 13 pan with nonstick spray. In a mixing bowl, stir oats, sugar, oat
flour, salt, cinnamon, almonds, cherries and peanut
butter. If you want to mix and match ingredients,
other recipes call for gluten-free oats, wheat germ
or flakes. You can also substitute or add other dried
fruits and nuts, as well as seeds or even coconut. Or
maybe youd prefer vanilla instead of cinnamon.
Have fun with it and choose your own ingredients!
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together melted butter,
honey and water. If you prefer bars that are less
crumbly, try adding 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
and 14 cup honey, rather than 12 cup honey. This
recipe has more honey and no corn syrup in an effort
to create healthier bars. Some recipes call for fat or
oil as well. 3. Mix the wet ingredients with the dry
ingredients. 4. Spread the mix in the prepared pan,
pressing it into the pan, before drizzling with more
honey. 5. Bake the bars for 30 minutes or until
theyre brown around the edges. 6. The bars should
be soft, but will harden once cooled. After cooling,
cut the bars into squares. Bars are best stored in the
refrigerator or frozen.

Double-duty
almonds
Almonds. Full of protein, theyre good for
you and high in calories,
which is perfect for survival situations. One
cup of sliced almonds
contains 529 calories,
and this recipe calls for
two! Almonds add texture to the bars and are
also tasty. Win, win!

FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

121

ASG-1502-GG-STORAGE 12/9/14 3:59 AM Page 122

Gear Guide
WATERPROOF STORAGE

Dry Files
Protecting vital records and collectibles from
water, mildew, or moisture is important. A
simple metal file cabinet wont protect
important papers from a leaky roof, nor will it
keep away a rising tide or overflowing river.
MSRP: $23.95
safefile.com

Water Tight
Keeping the Water Out
Story by Ben Gordon
GIVEN THAT ABOUT 70 percent of the world is covered
with water and human beings are land-based animals with
possessions and equipment that doesnt work well in the
water, some stuff is bound to get wet. Which is always
unfortunate. Since our land-based world is surrounded by
electronics, phones, computers, key fobs and a plethora of
other things that dont respond well when wet, it is a good
122

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

idea to do what you can to keep them dry. Floods, hurricanes, tsunamis, or just heavy rain showers are sometimes
all that stands in the way of an expensive communication
device and an expensive paperweight. You dont want to
be stuck in the backcountry with wet gear.
Storage containers and travel equipment come in a
wide variety of shapes, sizes, and applications, from
object specific cases for weapons or computers to general
bags and backpacks that can accommodate most anything. Having dry clothes just after a storm while on the
trail is paramount to comfort, safety, and health, while
keeping your GPS dry and functioning may be the difference between being rescued or staying stranded.

ASG-1502-GG-STORAGE 12/9/14 3:59 AM Page 123

WATERPROOF STORAGE Gear


Guide

Safe Chest
The fireproof and waterproof safe chest by
SureSeal (SS103) is UL rated for 30 minutes
of fire protection up to 1550-degrees Fahrenheit, which would protect it from a normal
house fire. It is also waterproof for 48 hours in
up to 48 inches of water. Protects Important
Paper Documents & Digital Media like USB
thumb drives, flash memory cards and more.
Features dual compression latches, a locking
handle and a lifetime guarantee.
MSRP: $69.00
safefile.com

Clear Storage
The waterproof polycarbonate storage
box (3600) is see-through and has a continuous o-ring that keeps water out as
well as a rubber lining for protecting valuables. There are three tight-closing camaction latches and a handle. At 11 inches
long and 7.25 inches wide, it can survive
being submerged up to six feet for 30
minutes. It comes in four different sizes.
MSRP: $24.47
planostoragesolutions.com

Lockout Puck
Waterproof up to 120 feet, these small
plastic pucks screw tight and have a rubber o-ring that keeps out the water. With
an external diameter of 2.5 inches, they
are compact, concealable and strong.
Made by S&S Precision in Virginia Beach,
VA, they come in black and coyote tan.
MSRP: $23.48
sandsprecision.com

FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

123

ASG-1502-GG-STORAGE 12/9/14 3:59 AM Page 124

Gear
Guide

WATERPROOF STORAGE

Gamma Seal
Theres a lot you can do with a bucket, but theres so much
more you can do with a waterproof bucket. Gamma Seals
are inexpensive conversion kits that can turn a standard
bucket into a waterproof, airtight, portable storage container. They come in a wide variety of colors and can fit a
standard sized five-gallon bucket.
MSRP: $7.99
sportsmansguide.com

Seal Pack
It doesnt matter what kind of water youre on river, lake,
or ocean theres security in keeping your smaller valuables
safe. Great for boating or travel, this personal pack protects
small valuables like wallets and passports from the elements. It has a waist belt and shoulder strap and is made of
rugged PU-coated 600D polyester. It comes in various colors,
is 8 x 8 inches and can hold approximately 244 cubic inches.
MSRP: $47.95
cascadedesigns.com

Black Canyon
The highly durable and lightweight Black
Canyon Boundary Dry Pack features a
watertight roll-top closure and is made of
a PVC-free, scrim-reinforced urethane for
abrasion resistance. The shoulder straps
are waterproof and ventilated and it is
available in three sizes. The 115-liter and
70-liter sizes close with side-cinch buckles
while the daypack-size 35-liter pack has a
top buckle closure.
MSRP: $139.95
cascadedesigns.com

124

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

ASG-1502-GG-STORAGE 12/9/14 3:59 AM Page 125

WATERPROOF STORAGE Gear


Guide

Urban
Waterproofing
Lightweight and well built, our
RF-welded Urban Backpack
offers seamless protection in an
urban environment. A watertight roll-down closure with
buckle attachments provide
easy access, as well as a weatherproof zip pocket and accessory
clip system. A light clip-loop
helps keep you visible and the
ventilated backing will help
keep you dry while wearing it. It
comes in two sizes, 17 or 37 liters.
MSRP: $149.95
cascadedesigns.com

The DryCase Backpack


The DryCase backpack has a waterproof main compartment capable of
holding 30 liters, an internal zippered waterproof pocket to store smaller
items and a front mesh area to store wet or loose things. The shoulder straps
are nicely padded and extra gear can be attached in a variety of different
ways. Unique to this pack is a valve that allows you to inflate the backpack
for buoyancy or fill it with water and use the valve as a shower.
MSRP: $89.99
drycase.com

Phantom Aquatics Dry Bag


The Phantom is a roll-top, 100-percent waterproof backpack with padded
shoulder straps and lumbar support. It comes in red, blue, black and yellow. Dropped in water, it floats safely. It protects not just against water,
but dust, dirt and sand. With lumbar support and padded shoulder straps,
its as comfortable as it gets. There are reflective patches on both shoulder
straps and the front of the bag and it is equipped with an outer elasticized
mesh side pocket and top carry handle. It holds 25 liters.
MSRP: $49.95
primescuba.com
FEBRUARY 2015 < AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE

125

ASG-1502-GG-STORAGE 12/9/14 3:59 AM Page 126

Gear
Guide

WATERPROOF STORAGE
Waterproof Rifle
Made of lightweight but strong HPX resin and having four padlockable
clasps, this iM3300 rifle case can withstand the weather thanks to the
watertight seal and six press-and-pull latches. The interior measures
50.5 x 14 x 6 inches and can accommodate most rifles and associated
gear. The handle is plastic with a soft grip. MSRP: $179.95
peli.com

Fire Case
Sometimes the smallest of
cases can be the most
valuable, especially ones
containing waterproof
matches like this one. The
case even has a integrated
striker (and spares), and
only weighs just shy of 2
ounces. The matches will
light even after being submerged in water.
MSRP: $6.95
rei.com

The Fishpond
Sized to hold most point-and-shoot cameras, cell phones and
other small accessories, the waterproof, roll-top pouch easily
attaches to wading belts, backpacks and other gear. Removable
padding on the inside protects your valuables. The heavy-duty
420-denier TPU nylon construction makes it durable and long
lasting. Its dimensions are 6 x 4.5 x 2.75 inches.
MSRP: $29.99
cabelas.com

126

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

ASG_1502_127 12/11/14 11:51 PM Page 127

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ASG-1502-GG-STORAGE 12/9/14 3:59 AM Page 128

Gear
Guide

WATERPROOF STORAGE

Perfect Pouches
This three-piece set of clear PVC
waterproof pouches will keep your
documents dry wherever you are.
Ideal for things like your fishing
license, permits, maps, or even your
mobile phone, these pouches feature
a quick access waterproof seal.
Small: 18 x 13cm; Medium: 25 x 18cm;
Large: 33 x 27cm
MSRP: $9.99
thewaterproofstore.com

Safe Computing
Designed specifically to house
a laptop, the interior dimension of this 1099 Hardback
Case are 15.78 x 11.16 x 2.06
inches. It features a watertight gasket creating a very
tight seal when the case is
closed and has an automatic
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and dust out while balancing
air pressure. It includes a
removable shoulder strap.
MSRP: $66.99
peli.com

128

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

HyperGear
With an adjustable shoulder
strap and a D-ring for easy
attachment, this durable dry
bag is robust and certified
waterproof, capable of floating safely should it accidentally be dropped in the
water. It comes in a variety of
colors and sizes, from 5
quarts to 40 liters.
hyper-gear.com

ASG-1502-ADINDEX 12/9/14 4:05 AM Page 129

AD INDEX
FEBRUARY 2015
ADVERTISER

PAGE

Blade-Tech Industries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
Chiappa Firearms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
Del-Ton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Jantz Supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15, 97

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Liberty Log Cabins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7


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Red's Gun Lube . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115


Sport Manufacturing Group . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. . . . . . . . 132
Survival Bags Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93
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129

ASG-1502-END 12/9/14 4:06 AM Page 130

DEADEND

The Effects
of Drowning
It is one of our most primitive but visceral fears;
thrashing in the deep, far
below the waters surface,
lungs burning for oxygen,
arms straining toward the
ever darkening light above.
Human beings are not well
adapted to live in the water.
We are poor swimmers
compared to other mammals, and we lack the body
fat to maintain a proper
temperature. The world
record for holding breath
underwater is an astonishing 22 minutes, held by Stig
Severinsen of Denmark.
However, there is only a
short amount of time an
organ in the human body
can go without oxygen.
Sometimes it can be just a
few seconds before damage
occurs and, usually, the brain
is the first to be affected.
Drowning is the third most
common cause of accidental death worldwide,
accounting for seven percent of all deaths. According
to the World Health Organization more than 350,000
people die every year from
drowning, and those numbers dont include floods or
boat accidents.
When a persons face
touches water the mammalian diving reflex begins,
initiating a series of involuntary physiological
responses. Designed to keep
the body alive in the water,
the airway closes, the heart
rate slows, and the capillaries in the skin and extremities constrict, sending blood
toward the vital organs.

130

Brain and Hypoxia


Though the brain is first affected by the lack of
oxygen, it is usually the last to shut down.
When blood pressure drops to around the 25-30
mmHg range, a person is usually rendered
unconscious. This is called hypoxia, but the
brain can continue to function, depending on
conditions, for some time.

Inhale
When water is inhaled, the
first reaction is to cough,
choke, and/or swallow the
water. This typically leads
to more water being gulped.

Gag Reflex
When water reaches the throat, it tries to seal
off the throat with a series of spasms (like
gulps). Water, with nowhere else to go, ends
up in the stomach, which is quickly filled.

Lungs
If underwater for an extended period of time
the body accumulates the gas carbon dioxide,
which, when present in the lungs, triggers
the desire to breathe. Eventually a drowning
victim will involuntarily draw in a breath.

Bloodstream
After a short
moment without
air, the oxygen
level in the
bloodstream
decreases.

AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE > FEBRUARY 2015

Dry Drowning
Once the drowning victim is
unconscious, the throat relaxes
and water fills the lungs to
capacity. However, in 20 percent
of drowning victims the larynx
remains sealed (this is called a
dry drowning).
Hypotonic/Hypertonic
Fresh water filling the lungs is
hypotonic to the blood, meaning
it seeps into the blood stream,
dilutes the plasma/electrolytes,
and causes the red blood cells
to swell and burst. Saltwater
has the opposite effect, becoming hypertonic to the blood
passing near the lungs. The
plasma gets sucked into the
lungs and fills it. Either way, air
and gas cannot be exchanged.

Heart
Lack of oxygen stops the process
of aerobic metabolism, which is
how your body converts carbohydrates and fat into energy. The
body becomes acidotic, and too
much acid leads to electrical conductivity issues in the heart,
which then ceases to function.

Panic
Once a person realizes that air
is out of reach, panic sets in,
accompanied by a large
amount of thrashing and
movement which expends a
lot of energy and consumes
more oxygen.

> On average, there are around 3,000 fatal unintentional drownings


in the United States each year.
> About one
> Nearly 80

in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger.

percent of people who die from drowning are male.

> Among children 1 to 4 years old who died from an unintentional injury,
more than 30 percent died from drowning.
> Over 72 percent of boating deaths are caused by drowning,
with 88 percent of victims not wearing life jackets.
> About 90

percent of drowning cases occur in fresh water.

ASG_1502_C3 12/11/14 11:52 PM Page C3

ASG_1502_C4 12/9/14 2:39 AM Page C4

RUGER SR-SERIES PISTOLS

RUGER 9 E CENTERFIRE PISTOL

SR9

SR9c

SR40

SR40c

SR45

Ruger SR-Series pistols are perfectly sized to be comfortable and controllable. A slim, ergonomic grip, narrow slide
and short reach from the backstrap to the trigger create a comfort level that will challenge any standard-sized,
striker-red pistol available today. A structurally rigid, recoil-reducing, glass-lled nylon frame and alloy or stainless
steel slide combine to create a low-maintenance, rugged and reliable line of handguns.

Dovetailed, High-Visibility
3-Dot Sight System

Ambidextrous Manual Safety and


D-Shaped Magazine Release

RUGER.COM/SR-SERIES
2014 Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc.

070214

Unique Reversible Backstrap


is Adjustable for a Flat or Arched Fit

Integral Accessory
Mounting Rail