Why Do I Need a Credit Card Knife?

What is a credit card knife? As the name infers this knife is small enough to fit inside your wallet exactly like a credit card, in fact it’s intended to fit in a credit card slot… thus the name “Credit Card Knife.” Not to be sexist, this knife also fits nicely into any purse or wallet, giving a female the possibly of an additional weapon for self defense as well as a miniature hardware store nestled among the make-up.

Since everyone has a general knowledge of what a knife is, let’s first say what a credit card knife is not.

It is not intended to be a personal protection weapon. I can not envision even Rambo or Crocodile Dundee pulling this blade out and appearing threatening. “But can’t the knife be used to defend myself?” Of course, but the knife is designed more for use as a utility knife, not a weapon, although it could serve as a slash and run survival weapon in the right situation.

The fantastic thing about this knife is that it goes everywhere with you without a thought. If you have your wallet, you have your knife. There was a time no man would leave home without his trusty pocket knife, but not everyone wants to carry a separate knife or add more weight to an already bulky key chain. This is what’s amazing about this knife, it folds down to the size of a credit card.

It’s a useful, high quality and convenient item that’s always with you. Ultra-Light and ultra thin, at @ 13 grams, (.106 ounces) the 3 inch surgical steel blade is razor sharp and is easily and safely maneuverable with the durable handle.

Always have a knife ready:

Remember your Boy Scout motto: Always be prepared. Thanks to this knife you are one step closer to perpetual preparedness. The locking devise prevents accidental cutting while ensuring the knife remains closed.

Not a pain in the butt: Literally

The folded knife is less than an 1/8 of an inch thick. There is no other pocket knife designed for similar purposes that is not 8 to 10 times thicker and heavier. You won’t remember having it until you need it.

Why would I want such a small knife?

Do you have a utility knife in your tool box? If it’s a well stocked tool box you may have 2 or 3. The thousands of things you’d use the utility knife for, but you don’t have your toolbox with you, you’d use the credit card knife for.

Cut that loose thread from your suit instead of pulling and making the situation worse by unraveling it. Cut that tougher than iron plastic casing your vending machine sandwich is entombed in, or the price tags from the new sweater. Just because you’re not on the job site or in the garage doesn’t mean you don’t need a knife.

It actually gets better:

It’s hard to argue the many benefits a credit card knife offers, but as the old saying goes “Nothing is free.” The quality, the unique design, the ability it allows you to have a knife with you at all times should be expensive. But it’s not! For no more than a normal good quality utility knife you can own this unique tool.

Think about it. How many times have you used your teeth to tear something open, more than likely ripping the chip bag to shreds spilling chips everywhere. By the way this seems to only happen at the most embarrassing times. Protect your image, use the proper tool, a credit card knife. You may look like James Bond.



Me and My Dog Surviving

It’s just a dog.” As I think back I can’t believe I actually said that to a friend whose dog had just died. I feel a deep sense of guilt and remorse and would profusely apologize if I could, but my friend has also passed away. I know you think I’m heartless, any dog lover would, but please allow me explain. Sort of like … guilty with an explanation.

I had a dog for 1 week as a child, Pal was his name. Funny I can remember his name but not what he looked like. My parents would not allow a dog inside the house so he was banished to the back yard, where he found the joy of freedom by causally and easily bounding over the chain-link fence and disappearing. My Pal was gone before we actually had time to bond.


I’m worried about you

Fast forward. I bought my 8 year old son a yellow lab, let me rephrase that, my wife forced me to agree to buy the family a dog. Just like I was raised, the dog was not allowed inside the house, but was allowed to stay in the garage during cold weather. Ironically, 1 week after bringing the dog home, a week of cleaning up dog poop, stuffed animal cotton and finding my hammer with the chewed up handle, a cold spell hit hard. Good to my word I allowed the dog to stay in the garage where he promptly discovered a jug of antifreeze. The vet saved him, at great expense, and the dog became my youngest son’s dog because my eldest could care less. So you see my experiences with a dog were either super brief or expensive and aggravating. A God given shittin’, tool destroying, expensive and destructive machine. It was just an animal.

Fast forward. I married my current wife, rephrase … I married my forever wife, who was an adamant pet lover. By this time in my life I could really care if there was an elephant in the backyard. After 18 years the dog was clearly heading to doggie heaven, and witnessing the relationship between my wife and her dying dog broke my heart. Thinking logically, men do that, I convinced the wife into buying a puppy, to replace the dying dog. I know … nothing can replace the dog, but I didn’t understand that then.


Hey, Wake up. Chow time.

The wife bought a try-color Border Collie, smartest dogs in the world. This dog could learn to cook me breakfast if I were smart enough to teach her. But a surprisingly unexpected thing happened. The dog adopted me. She’d sleep on my pillow against the top of my head, follow me to the bathroom, gnaw up the wife’s shoes but never touch mine. I had fallen in love with a four legged critter. Insult my wife … she can take care of herself. Insult my dog … we have a real problem.

I’m a convert, a dog lover, dog protector, dog, dog, dog, who could not have feelings for a dog? Now I’m sure you feel the same about your pet, but in a survival situation the humans in the family come first and Fido is kinda an after thought. Not forgotten .. just delayed.

So while you are preparing your bug-out bag or survival kit, let’s look at what we should bring with us to insure the health and safety of our dogs or other animals.


Neither we or our pets can go more than a few days without water. A standard measuring stick is to have one gallon of water per person per day. For a small dog or cat an extra quart a day should suffice. For those with many pets or a few big ones, a couple of St. Bernard(s), add up the total weight of your animals and add one gallon of water per 100 pounds of pets. Water could be a very scarce commodity so be sure to have a water dish available, reduces waste.

Pet Food

Some people may consider feeding their dog “Human Food” but animals have different nutritional needs than humans and really do require dog food for the majority of their diet. Canned dog food will last the longest, but it’s expensive, heavy and don’t forget a can opener. A good quality dry dog food kept in a 5 gallon Mylar lined bucket, add oxygen absorbents, will last for years.

Pest Control

You have no idea of how long the crisis situation may last or what environment you may be forced to stay in, so it’s a smart idea to keep some flea dip, flea collars, Advantage drops, or some other form of flea and tick control available. Call it self survival because these menacing creatures love to torment humans also.

Pet Medicines

If your dog requires regular doses of medicine, keep some extra on hand so that their treatment can continue uninterrupted, especially if it’s a life saving medication.

Pet Treats

Is a crisis situation stressful on you? Of course it is, and it’s also stressful on your dog. They know when things are not right. A treat and a ball to play with will help it seem a bit more normal and less stressful.

Leashes & Collars & Clothes

You may know your dog is not aggressive, but others do not. Should you be forced into a populated situation you may be required to have your dog on a leash. Having documentation of current shots, an identification tag attached to the collar, a picture of the dog in case you get separated is a good practice. In a cold weather environment doggies boots and/or sweaters can be a life saver, especially if you are traveling by foot.

Pet First Aid Kit
You don’t want to think about it, but pets also run the risk of injury in emergency situations. Therefore, a store bought or homemade first aid kit for your pets is a great idea, plus many of the items are made for use on humans as well. Here’s a basic list to get you started.

Tweezers to remove splinters, ticks or any other foreign object.

Scissors for cutting bandages, fur, etc.

Tape and gauze to hold dressings in place.

Vet Wrap, similar to an Ace bandage.

Toenail trimmer and styptic pencil

Non-stick bandage dressings for wounds

Antiseptic wash or wipes to disinfect wounds or a sore.

Antibiotic cream, like Neosporin, to prevent infection.

Consider asking your Vet for a pain relief medication for dogs. Giving pets human pain relief medication is extremely dangerous, for instance Tylenol is poisonous and fatal to pets.

Diphenhydramine (aka Benadryl) for stings and allergic reactions of any type.

The term “pets” seems cold. These animals are our friends, our protectors, our family. They give unconditional love and expect nothing in return. We can tell them our most

intimate secrets and know it goes no farther. They will gladly sacrifice their well being for yours. They deserve the best care we can provide. They need to survive too.

Five Things That Will Save Your Life

Today I hit my wall. I have writers block. I’ve sat here looking at the blank screen, going to the kitchen for more coffee, going to the bathroom to get rid of coffee, and yet the screen was still white and blank when I sat back down. It’s not like I was embarking on a novel, a great piece of literature impersonating Hemingway, or a black horror mocking Stephen King. No … just a simple survival blog.

That’s when it struck me …. There’s nothing simple about surviving. We, and I mean Me, I, Myself, have become so reliant on modern conveniences I have severe doubts of my ability to survive without electricity much alone in the wilderness. I’m an avid deer hunter, in Missouri opening day is nearly a National holiday. I spend an entire week deep in the woods “roughing it” and hunting prey just like my ancestors. Then I really stopped and thought about it.

Yes, I’m in the woods, but in those woods sets a 34 foot camper with a slide out. Electricity is readily available operating the lights, microwave, radio, satellite TV, while the furnace runs on gas for heat, as does the stove and oven for cooking and baking. Water, hot and cold is supplied from a tank under the camper and is of seemingly endless supply.

Hear the old joke “Does a bear shit in the woods?” I don’t unless I get the urge while out hunting. Which is very aggravating because I must secure my 45/70 weapon, careful not to bang the scope against the tree, they didn’t have that problem with muskets. Then I must peel off my $400 super insulated camouflage coveralls, I never take them off because my $250 boots are a problem to put back on with the insulated socks. If I have a disappointing day of hunting I jump on my Honda ATV and ride back to camp, and some of those logging roads are really rough and bumpy.

I’m ashamed to say, but that’s when I really realized my mountain man persona was fake. It was not done on purpose, no fraud intended, just honest role playing I guess. However, I was not alone. Like I said deer hunting in big in Missouri and the highways are lined with campers and motor-homes, $2000 to $150,000, rushing to the woods to rough it.

To these honest, hardworking people, male and female, my wife loves deer hunting, I dedicate this blog post. I’m going to strive to inform, people like myself, how to actually survive a catastrophe, man made or the wrath of mother nature.

The Beginning:

The first step to understanding basic survival skills is to recognize what is considered the greatest threats to your continued survival. Although dangers in the jungle differ from those in the desert, they all fall within categories of threats.

Exposure ….

Dehydration ….

Starvation ….

And in that specific order are your worse enemies, and pose the greatest threats to you and your family. Therefore, you must know these 4 responses in dealing with said dangers in order to survive.

Shelter ….

Fire ….

Water ….

Food ….

Drive these chilling facts deep into your memory if you think you’re playing Cowboy and Indians.

Extreme Weather, especially frigid wet conditions, can kill you in the short time span of 3 minutes.

A lack of water can kill you in 3 days through dehydration as the body shrivels like a prune.

No food will kill you in 3 weeks as the body consumes itself, eating fat, then muscle, then organs

It must be noted before continuing there are disagreements, difference of opinion would be better, within the survival community of which element of danger requires addressing first. Some say water, some say shelter while others maintain without fire you’re just wasting your time. Here is where you’ll have to utilize common sense. Caught in a snow storm … better find shelter. Desert environment … water is priority.

Let’s begin with shelter.

Short definition: “A structure that will protect you from the elements.” That protection can be in the form of an overhanging cliff, a fallen tree or a make-shift stick and leaves structure. Let’s look at 2 of the easiest shelters to build.

The lean-to is one of the simplest primitive shelters to construct, taking about an hour or so, depending on material availability, to build.


Step one: Locate a strong, somewhat straight pole and secure it between two trees. You can lash it, wedge it between low branches, whatever it takes to keep it from moving.

Step two: Lean sticks against the side until completely covered. These can be stripped of leaves or full of leaves as long as they are strong enough. Then heap leaves, grasses, palm leaves, whatever helps block the elements.

The shelter is not perfect. It doesn’t hold heat and if the rain or wind shifts direction it could pose a problem. However, it is quick and easy to build with little or no tools.

The Leaf Hut. This is essentially finishing the lean to structure, but requires more work and time, but offers better weather protection and insulation. Select a sturdy pole at least 9 to 12 feet long.


The leaf hut is a two-sided, wedge-shaped lean-to with much better weatherproofing and insulating qualities. To build one, select a long, sturdy pole 9 to12 feet long. Prop it up in the fork of a tree; or set it on a rock, stump, or two forked prop sticks. Then, cover the sides of the pole with tree branches to act as ribs. These are placed at an angle along both sides of the ridge pole. Place the ribs close together so that your hut covering won’t fall through. Next, heap vegetation over the framework (this can be anything that traps air, including grass, ferns, moss, pine needles, brush, or pine boughs). Two to 3 feet of vegetation covering all sides of the shelter is enough to keep you dry inside. Finally, fill the inside of the hut with a thick pile of vegetation for your bedding.


Not to debate evolution, but scientist that do subscribe to that theory maintain man broke away from animals due to the discovery of fire. Not just for warmth, protection, etc, but they maintain cooking the food, instead of consuming it raw, helped build brain cells and … well, the rest is history. Believe the theory or not there is no disputing fire is a vital element in a survival situation.


Don’t lose the ember

There are basic requirements for starting fire, no matter the method you use. You must have very dry flammable material which easily catches fire. Cotton balls, dry leaves, paper, wood shavings, dried moss, Brillo pad, paper money (won’t do you any good if you’re dead) cattails, the list is endless depending on location.

You must have elements (tools) in which to create an ember or spark. This can be two sticks, flint and steel, matches, lighter, magnifying glass, a battery, anything to create heat. Obviously some methods are extremely hard to perform successfully, while others are quite simple. I prefer simple. I highly recommend carrying some sort of fire-starter to insure success. Knives with built in fire-starters are available for instance.

Tip: Starting with an extremely flammable source of kindling is crucial and fabrication of a fire making tool (bow & string) can be trying. The actually physical effort required for starting a fire with primitive methods is exhausting and requires concentration. All this can lead to your forgetting to have an ample amount of small dry sticks to create a sustainable fire once you get your kindling going. Don’t forget fire building material.


Did you know if you make connections across the two poles of a battery with a Brillo pad, you will start a flame?

Water: Unless you are in weather conditions which can lead to imminent death, like minus 20 F, I believe finding water to be the number issue to resolve, and I say that because lack of water leads to the quickest death of all other dangers.

Just because you locate water doesn’t mean problem solved. Salt water will have to be desalinized, debris littered water will have to be strained, all water no matter how clean it appears should be boiled. I realize you can filter water with natural products, charcoal, sand, pebbles, and that may be the route you’re forced to take. But if possible … boil the water.

Even if the stream water is relatively clean and safe to drink, there are still parasites that although not deadly, can still give you a stomach ache or a little worse. You’re in a bad enough situation, why take an unnecessary risk because you decided to get lazy.

Food: Our bodies are used to eating and it’s a natural reflex to feel hungry as the body realizes it’s burning calories and not replacing them. However, unless you are in an expected long term situation, food is the last thing to worry about. But if you have a shelter built, a fire raging and a good supply of water … let’s go get some grub.

There are literally hundreds of types of snares, some easy to build, others not so much. I don’t have the time, energy or space to list a bunch of different types. However, I’ll tell you about one that I bet you’ve never thought of … a rat trap. It’s essentially nothing more than an over sized mouse trap, but can easily capture small game, squirrels, chipmunks, weasels, etc etc. This is a low-cost, low-tech, and easy to transport device and by incorporating simple food-based baits with these traps, you can be sure to have food and fur at camp each night.


Use your eyes to help your chances of eating. Scour the ground for droppings, rubs, foot prints, trails. The first thing you need to know is what kind of animals are in your area and are they a possible target. You may know moose are present, and you may even have a rifle, but a moose will range for miles and miles, an unlikely target.

Generally speaking, small game animals are active in the early morning and early evening. They are wary of being spotted by predators and cling to areas of dense vegetation and cover. They travel along the edges of open ground using fence-rows and waterways as a corridor. They are predictable and habitual; just like us. They tend to travel the same trails and will usually choose the path of least resistance. All of these traits can be exploited to put meat in your belly.


Lastly, Butchering & Preparing Food:

The only reason I mention this skill, because every animal is butchered differently, is because you can totally destroy the kill if you don’t take care. Number one, a sharp knife is the Most critical tool you need. Ever hear the saying “You won’t cut yourself with a sharp knife.”? A razor sharp knife allows you the control to carefully cut whatever it is you’re butchering, while a dull knife will require undue pressure and a sawing motion. Ingredients for an accident.

Pretend you are undressing a doll. Sounds dumb but it’s the best I could come up with. Slice through the fur and skin, not too deep as you don’t want to contaminate the meat with bile from the organs, around the legs, the head and down the belly. Begin at the head and begin peeling the fur and skin off. This is not an easy task and some animals are damn stubborn about giving up their coat even dead.

It will look better cooked

Remove all the internal organs, known as gutting, and discard, leaving only the meat to cook. Be sure to discard the guts far from your camp. You don’t want to eat it, but there are a lot of forest creatures, some you don’t want to meet, who will and they can smell it from miles away.

Survival is not just one thing. It’s a combination of education, experience, common sense, preparation and a host of other variables. Having all the fancy tools in the world won’t matter if you don’t know how to use them. Experiment, practice, read, observe. One day your life may depend on it.

The One Most Important Survival Tool?


Good luck trying to get three (3) or more people in today’s environment to agree on anything. A beautiful sunny day … no, we need rain. Don’t even start on politics. Therefore, I’ll assume you will grant me some slack on the issue of creating shelters from a tarp.

That blue, comes in various colors, tarp that we use to throw over our firewood in order to keep it dry, or drape over our prized antique auto to keep the leaves from staining it, that very tarp could prove essential in helping insure you stay alive in a survival situation. Let’s look at some variations of shelter building with a tarp.

Wedge Tarp Tent


This type of shelter is very good for windy conditions, specifically when the wind is blowing constantly from the same direction. The wedge design provides an aerodynamic shape which disperses the wind and rain away from the main opening. The installation will require at least 5 tie down pegs, of course the more the merrier.


Stop Wasting Money

To build the wedge tarp shelter, simply stake down two corners of the tarp into the wind (not opposing corners). Then tie up a line to the center of the opposite side of the tarp. Tie the remaining two corners down toward the ground. Use more cord and of a less steep angle for open wings and better ventilation. Tie the last corners down sharply for the best weatherproofing.

Tarp Wing


This design is great for keeping rain off you and the campfire, as well as offering shade from a blistering hot sun. Obviously the size of the tarp dictates the area size to be protected, but the rope tie downs can be as long as necessary. To hang the wing tarp tie up opposing corners of a tarp, two up high and two in lower positions. Be sure the tie downs are secure as a sudden gust of wind will make the tarp react like a ship’s sail, billowing and breaking loose if not secured taunt.

The Tarp Burrito


Let me begin by saying this is not only one of my least favorite shelter, but I’d say use as a last resort. Why? Because you will be relatively tightly wrapped inside the tarp there will be little to no ventilation, which causes moisture to form. And as we all know moisture permeating a sleeping bag is not good. However, there will be situations which require you to use this type of protection so let’s learn how to build it.

It looks easy, just roll up in it, but that’s a sure fire method to insure discomfort. Lay the tarp out in the area you are going to sleep in. Fold one side over @ 1/3 of the way, straighten, then fold again, in the same direction. This will form a loosely rolled tarp where the seam is on the bottom. Tuck one end of the tarp underneath itself, closing the end, then carefully shove your sleeping bag into the center of the roll.

Depending on the length of the tarp, if there is quite a bit of excess length, you can place rocks on the folded under portion to insure it stays closed. The configuration is complete, all seams are under you which keeps them pinned down by your body weight and you have a flap for an opening which you can close or leave open depending on conditions.

Tarp Tepee


Chances are you probably built a primitive tee pee as a child. It’s the original American home built by Native Americans, originally covered with animal hides, then replaced by canvas.

There are many traditional ways to build a tee-pee, remember it housed entire families, but for a quick field shelter we’ll stay simple. Use rope or twine to bundle a few (3 or 4) straight poles together, lacking twine, use forked sticks to lock together. Place other poles in a circle around the main supports. Pull the tarp or other covering into place, and tie down well. Try to size the framework so that you tarp covers it completely.

Practical tip: Make the tarp come together so that you have a door flap, which can be closed in cold or wet weather; or opened for ventilation and easy egress.

A-Frame Tarp Shelter


The A-frame is designed to offer the greatest protection against rain and wind when secured close to the ground, or still protect against rain but allow ventilation when constructed higher off the ground.

An A-frame goes up fast. Simply secure cordage, rope, twine, or a long straight stick between two trees. Throw the tarp over the support, center, secure to the ground and bingo. You’re done.

Desert Tarp


This type of shelter originated with desert cultures, particularly in Northern Africa and the Middle East, dating back 100’s of years. Due to the recent warfare in these areas American military includes it in their survival training.

To get started with this shelter, you’ll need two tarps and several dozen feet of rope. Locate a natural indention in the ground or dig your own low spot. Lay one of your tarps out over the low spot and drive stakes at each corner of the tarp.

Secure the second tarp tightly to tie down stakes, leaving one foot or two of air space between the two tarps. The idea is to keep you insulated from the heat radiating from the ground and shaded from the direct sunlight overhead. The temperature differences between under and outside the tent could be 20 – 30 degrees F. An incredible difference.

Tarp Hammock


This is an excellent and comfortable survival tool, but I only mention it in case you want to tinker with constructing one. I say that because it requires you to tie knots that the normal person lacks the knowledge to perform.


This is a quick way to improvise a hammock to get off the ground in wet or bug-infested environments. Use an 8 x 10 tarp and some ¼ inch braided nylon rope. Start out with one of the long sides of the tarp and roll it up halfway across the entire tarp. Then roll up the other long side to meet the first, so that the whole thing looks like a 10-foot long, two roll bundle. Now, tie a sheet bend securely to each end of the tarp, leaving 15 feet or so of rope on each end to tie to your trees. Select leg-thick or thicker trees about 10 feet apart, and securely tie the end of each rope to a tree, as high as you can reach.


Wrap around the tree twice for good grip on the bark, and then use two half hitches, with an extra hitch for added security. Tie to the trees high up to compensate for the settling of the hammock as the knots cinch down. You can tie up another tarp as an “A” frame between the two trees that the hammock hangs from to give yourself a roof.

Survival Tip: To help minimize critters from walking down your tie lines to you, spray each cord with bug repellent. To insure snakes are discouraged soak rags in kerosene and tie to the lines, which will also ward off bugs. The smell may not be pleasant, but snakes in the hammock are worse. (In my opinion anyway)

**** Be sure to not sleep too close to an open flame if using this method. Obviously kerosene is highly flammable.

Is the plastic tarp the most important tool in your survival kit? No. But it plays its part in the overall strategy of surviving in a crisis situation.

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Am I Freezing To Death?


There doesn’t have to be a Zombie apocalypse to find yourself confronted with a life threatening situation of possibly freezing to death. We are so accustomed to feeling a chill and turning the thermostat up for more heat, that the thought of that not being possible doesn’t cross our mind. A failing antiquated power grid structure is more prone to failure than the governments or power companies are willing to admit. Terrorists, hackers, natural disasters, etc, etc are realistic issues.

And it doesn’t have to only be at home. Stranded on a snow closed road, weather suddenly turning deadly while on a short hike for your health. The possibilities are endless, but the main issue is “How do you survive such a situation?” Let’s begin with learning methods on how to protect our families from the elements.

How do you die from just being cold? The physical effects on the human body from cold temperatures is known as Hypothermia, which is the lowering of the body’s core temperature. The first symptom begins with shivering, which we all have encountered, as the body begins to address the situation by producing heat. With no relief the body will continue to shiver, which also includes shivering of the teeth, to the point you will not be able to control it.

As the body’s temperature lowers the brain becomes affected, thought process becomes sluggish, then turns to irrational as it tells your body you feel warm. This is often the tipping point where people subconsciously decide they are warm and very, very tired falling into sleep and dying. Death comes at approximately 77 degrees Fahrenheit, 25 Celsius, core body temperature.

What does the enemy look like?

Cold temperatures are bad enough, but add wet conditions and you have a double whammy. Water is very efficient in exchanging heat, in other words, it saps the heat from your body very rapidly. That’s why it is imperative to never lay directly on the ground when sleeping. Even if there is no snow cover the ground holds frozen moisture which acts like a sponge absorbing body heat.

Windchill is another culprit. You may have heard weather people talk about wind chill in context of the temperature feels so & so. The windchill will always be below the actual temperature, the critical thing is your body reacts to the windchill condition. In other words you’ll be contending with the physical aspects of -10 degrees windchill, not 18 degrees temperature.

Let’s start with a few basic principles of cold weather survival.


It’s an undisputed fact that your head acts like a fireplace chimney, a direct outlet for your body to lose 40-45% of its heat. Therefore, it goes without saying “always keep your head covered.” The warmer the hat the better, but if nothing else, tie a cloth or handkerchief about your head.

Another point from the reverse angle. If a person is suffering heat exhaustion medical treatment is to rub ice on the neck, wrist and ankles, because blood flow is strong at these points. The same logic should be used for the cold, protect wrists, ankles and your neck.Four keep warm basics.

Keep clothing clean. Your clothing serves as insulation and any soil, such as damp dirt, or any other substance that compromises insulation value is not good.

Wear clothes that are loose and use layers instead of one heavy piece of clothing. There are reasons for this. Wearing layers provides the opportunity to shed or add clothing as the situation dictates. Additionally, there is air trapped between the layer of clothing and this adds insulation.


Military Layers

Do not wear clothes with tight cuffs. Hands and feet are the farthest extremities from the heart and are the last to receive blood flow during normal activity, and the first to be cutoff if the body perceives it must conserve energy and heat. The tight clothing will only compound the problem of restricted blood flow.

Avoid overheating and sweating. That sounds out of place when we’re discussing freezing to death, but …. remember shoveling snow and how sweaty you became despite it being below freezing. Just because you’re in frigid conditions doesn’t mean you can not overheat. How does the body try to cool down … sweating.

Sweating, activating the body’s air conditioning system, is bad enough, as a short term heat loss mechanism. But if your clothing becomes wet your insulation, instead of retaining heat, becomes a conductor which will draw the body’s heat for an extended time. Depending on how wet the clothing becomes, it could lead to your death.

Tip: Remember your head being a chimney for heat loss? If you are in a situation you cannot control and begin to sweat, uncover your head. This vent will help reduce sweating.

Keep clothing dry is kinda self explanatory, but also easier said than done in some conditions. Snow is a strange creature, it can be dry and powdery or wet and heavy depending on weather conditions. Obviously water repellent clothing is the best choice if possible, but depending on the circumstances, they may be hanging in your closet at home.

More than likely you will get wet to some degree. The key is to minimize the degree of moisture and that will require your use of logic, because there are a 100 different variables neither I nor anyone else can anticipate involved in your decisions.

For example, a damp overcoat. You don’t want the clothing to continue holding water, as more water equals less protection. Spread the coat over a tree or bush exposing it to the sun. The sun, although the temperature is frigid, will still dry the coat if its not too saturated. Removing the coat also eliminates it absorbing more sweat. A slight wind is a two edged sword. It’ll help dry the clothing, but is also a possible danger to you.

If you have a shelter hang the clothes inside near the ceiling as heat rises and will speed drying. If you have a shelter you may have a fire, which of course is your best method of drying clothing. There are a few precautions to adhere to in doing this. Resist the urge to hurry the drying process. Placing articles of clothing too close to the fire could result in them catching fire. Now you went from wet clothes to no clothes. Heard of a win-win situation? This is a lose-lose one.


Too Close To Campfire

Footwear is difficult to dry. Tennis shoes, God forbid wearing them, will have to be dried as clothing, but will take a long time to dry, and will be stiff and probably deformed to some degree. This bodes bad for developing blisters. Leather boots can also be saturated with moisture which will require a long drying process to draw all the water out. Trying to rush the process can result in the leather shrinking and distorting.

A sleeping bag, especially a good one, can be a life saver in a cold weather survival situation. However, if it gets wet or even really damp, it can quickly go from an asset to a liability, and drying it out is nearly impossible. Even if you do succeed in drying it, a lot of the insulating factor is reduced. Never place the sleeping bag in direct contact with the ground. Find some protective material, weeds, leaves, sticks, anything to avoid direct contact with the moist ground.

Personal hygiene can become a factor over an extended time period. You saying you want me to wash my naked body in the cold weather? Yep. The very conditions that help keep your body warm, preventing heat loss, can also cause the body harm, such as developing a rash. Washing away harmful bacteria will reduce the chances of developing rashes or other skin infections.

Additional issues to be aware of: Frostbite


Too Late

We’ll delve a little deeper into this issue because it is so severe and common.

Frostbite is an injury caused by freezing of the skin and underlying tissues. First your skin becomes very cold and red, then numb, hard and pale. Frostbite is most common on the fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks and chin. Exposed skin in cold, windy weather is most vulnerable to frostbite. But frostbite can occur on skin covered by gloves or other clothing.


Become Deadly Accurate

The first stage of frostbite, doesn’t cause permanent skin damage. You can treat very mild frostbite with first-aid measures, including rewarming your skin. All other frostbite requires medical attention because it can damage skin, tissues, muscle and bones. Possible complications of severe frostbite include infection and nerve damage.

Signs & symptoms of frostbite include:

Cold skin and a stinging or prickly feeling.

Numbness of the affected area

Red, white or bluish-white or yellow skin coloring

Hard skin, clumsiness due to joint and muscle stiffness

Blistering of affected area after rewarming.

Frost nip is the first stage and does not result in permanent skin damage.

Superficial Frostbite is the second stage where the skin reddens then turns white. The skin may retain a soft feeling, but ice crystals are beginning to form in the tissue. Your skin may begin to feel warm, which is a red flag that serious skin damage is occurring. Rewarming the affected area at this stage will result in the skin appearing blue or purple and you’ll experience stinging, burning and swelling.

Severe frostbite affects all layers of the skin and the underlying tissue. You will experience numbness, then losing all feeling in the affected area. Joints and muscles will most likely not respond and large blisters will form 24-48 hours after rewarming. The area will turn black as the tissue dies and amputation is the only recourse.

I think you can see why I spent a little extra time on this subject.


Trench-foot is another dangerous skin condition. The name is derived from WWI when soldiers in the trenches developed the ailment due to prolonged standing in wet conditions. The skin will appear pruned or shriveled, like your fingers do when swimming for an extended time. If not corrected the skin will turn a bluish or blackish color, the feet will swell making walking very painful. Simple solution is keep feet dry. A soldier will choose an extra pair of socks over almost anything else.

Dehydration can be a sneaky adversary. Water consumption is the first thing you consider in the desert, but rarely think about in cold weather environments, but it’s just as crucial for survival. Always check the color of your urine. The darker the color, the more dehydrated you are even if you don’t feel it. You must stay hydrated, however, don’t pick up a handful of snow and eat it. The cold of the snow will drain body heat. Melt the snow to liquid form before consuming.

Lastly, let’s talk snow blindness, which is caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays reflecting off the snow. Talk to anyone who has welded a lot and they can tell you the effects of ultra-violet rays produced by the arc welding procedure. Same for ultra-violet rays from the sun. You will feel a sandy grittiness in the eyes causing pain and discomfort which increases with eye movement. The eyes will turn red with increased sensitivity to light and you may experience a severe headache.

The only treatment for snow blindness is resting the eyes from any light. Depending on the degree of burn, this may include bandages completely covering the eyes, or bandages with slight slits or holes to allow limited sight, but maximum protection. Unchecked this could result in permanent blindness so take take it lightly.

The intent of my articles is to arm people with the knowledge to help them survive. I hope you learned something new.