Category Archives: Bite Sized Bushcraft

Bite Size Bushcraft – Signs and Treatment of Hypothermia

Cold Kills

Bite Size Bushcraft – Signs and Treatment of Hypothermia

A summary of symptoms, signs and Treatment of Hypothermia

Hypothermia is one of the most common killers outdoors. Everyone needs to know how to prevent it and treat it. Start explaining to children cold kills and when you send them out make sure they have suitable clothing. I once saw a boy on a Cub Scout camp get slightly wet, it wasn’t cold but there was a strong breeze blowing. The boy didn’t have a suitable coat. The leaders there recognised the symptoms quickly and got the boy warm using the following treatment.

Always plan your actions using the survival priorities.

Bite Size Bushcraft – Survival Priorities

priorities of survival

Bite Size Bushcraft-Priorities Of Survival.

Whether you are going camping on a site, wild camping, or in a survival situation, you need to prioritise your time. It doesn’t matter whether it is to keep you alive or to make your camping experience more pleasurable, it is good to use this simple system, using the priorities of survival. By using this system and practicing it whenever you are outdoors will make it second nature.

The method of prioritising you time and energy is using the “Rule of Three’s”

Survival Priorities – Rule of Three’s

This is a method of prioritising your time and energy when outdoors based on your physical needs.

  1. Die without oxygen 3 minutes.
  2. Die from hypothermia 3 hours.
  3. Die from dehydration 3 days.
  4. Die from starvation 3 weeks.

From that list we can then prioritise our needs

Survival Priority 1, Oxygen – 3 Minutes.

Okay, lets get the first one out of the way, the need for oxygen. In most cases you will know you need to get oxygen into your lungs. Whether it is due to drowning or toxic gases. However there are a couple of areas you need to be aware of.

  • Accidental Suffocation, If we try and make a shelter by wrapping temporarily in a plastic bivi bag and you are cold it is easy to be tempted to put your head in the bag where it is warm. You can fall asleep and suffocate accidentally.
  • Smoke, be aware of smoke collecting in your shelter. Again you can fall asleep and be overcome by fumes. Never burn rubbish which can give off toxic fumes.

These may be rare occurrences, but you are better being aware.

Survival Priority 2, Shelter.

Lessons in build a shelter

Lessons in shelter building

The primary aim of shelter is to protect us from the elements, whether it is hypothermia (Drop in core body temperature), or Hyperthermia (Rise in core body temperature). You don’t need to build a sophisticated shelter often the simplest of shelters are the best. When planning a shelter think about conserving energy, location and fit for purpose. See our other articles on shelter building.

Survival Priority 3, Water.

In a survival situation water is essential from the earliest opportunity. Although you can live three days without water, you can quickly deteriorate and not be able to do routine tasks. It can take time to find water and purify it and the results can be minimal. So, try and find multiple sources if you need to collect water and there is no abundant supply of water from a stream or spring. See our articles on water collection and purification.

Survival Priority 4, Fire.

Fire is not just something that provides many practical uses but can be a great psychological boost. Having a fire can keep you warm, cook, food, purify water and boost morale. If you don’t have matches or a cigarette lighter you may need to use a ferro-rod and steel. You should also try and learn several ways to light a fire using other methods. For example, fire by friction, using a lens, electric current through wire wool etc.

Survival Priority 5, Food.

blackberries-Foraging For Kids

blackberries-Foraging For Kids

Last but not least, food. You can last quite a while without food, but hunger can play tricks on you mind, reducing morale and be uncomfortable if not painful. One of the first symptoms is lack of energy and general tiredness.

We are used to eating at regular intervals several times a day. To suddenly not have that calorie intake can have a dramatic impact on your body. This is often something that fitter people with low body fat struggle with. After a short time, the body starts using protein for energy and can start breaking down muscle. This can cause aching limbs for some, other it causes pain.

Foraging with kids is fun for everyone and no matter how old you are you learn something new.

I was taught to eat and drink when ever possible. Even a few berries can top up dropping energy supplies. However, it is also good to save some food for a meal if you have a camp or stop for a break. Having a meal is also good psychologically, whether alone or in a group. It gives you an opportunity to stop, review plans by yourself or with others. Even just have a bit of time out.

Practice Makes Permanent

By following these survival priorities, you will put some structure into what you are doing. The says states, “Practice makes perfect.” what is should say is “Practice makes permanent” Keep planning and follow these survival priorities. They will become permanent. Even if you are going for a night or a couple of night camping you should start planning what order you will complete tasks. It will make them become second nature what ever situation you find yourself in. rather than having to start a new routine if you were unfortunate to be in a survival situation.

As you start to make subconscious decisions to plan using this method you will find that is you have developed you observation skills you will notice resources as you follow your plan which will have time and effort for you.

Make It A Game.

Whenyou start taking children camping start making setting up fun, make it and adventure. Teach them the Rule of three’s and the priorites of survival. Ask what they would do next? Set a scenario and they set up camp withing the confines of the scenario. Doing this will make it fun and they will remember. If they are new to camping they will also love it.

Bite Sized Bushcraft – Finding Water

Finch in water

Bite Sized Bushcraft – Finding Water

As I child I would often watch Cowboy and Indian Movies and movies about people surviving in the wilderness. It would amaze me how a character would be in a bad way and suddenly see something that showed them the way to water, food or help. As I got older I would learn more about how we can use nature and what is around us. Whether it was from books, TV or people around me I was hooked from an early age. This Bite Sized Bushcraft Article is about one of the snippets of information I learned, that has stuck with me. It is about  birds helping us finding water.

Birds Finding Water?

Finches are a bird that eats grain. They can eat a lot in a day especially if there is Flock of them. Other birds that are similar are doves and pigeons. Birds that eat a lot of grain also need a lot of water. There is little or no water in the grain. Birds higher up the food chain that eat meat need less water, because they get most of what they need from the flesh that they eat.

The first thing to do is identify any birds you may find locally that eat grain. Then you can start looking. It is easy to

Finch in water

Finches Getting the water they need. Finding water using birds

think well they will eat grain during the day then fly off to get water before they rest up for the night. So you will look for them later in the day. Sadly this isn’t the best method. they could be going backwards and forwards all day long.

So you need to learn to track these birds in some way. You cant track then in the convention way we would track an animal due to a lack of ground sign (Spoor). So you need to know which way they are going, are they going to or from their water source. You needto observe the bird and you will see it doing one of two things.

  1. Flying fast and low in a direct route.
  2. Flying in a general direction but flying from tree to tree.

The grain eating birds that are flying low and fast in a direct route are usually going towards water. The birds flying in a general direction but flying from tree to tree are more likely to be returning from their water source. The reasoning is quite logical when you think about it. After these birds have got a belly full of water they are more sluggish, so they are more vulnerable to other animal hunting them as prey. So it is safer to go the shorter distances from tree to tree trying to remain in some sort of cover. The birds flying towards the water are more agile and can fly faster, keeping themselves safer. So they can fly in a more direct route.

As with all natural sign look for otherinformation to clarify what you have learned. In the meantime when you are

ut if they are going to or from water or doing some other task.

Have fun learning more about the outdoors and how you can work with it. As some martial artists say.”Bend like the willow don’t stand stead fast like the Oak” Work with nature, list and observe what it is showing you, don’t try and fight against it.

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Bite Sized Bushcraft

Bite Size Bushcraft

Bite Sized Bushcraft

You may have heard the question “How do you eat a mountain of ice cream?” Answer “One spoonful at a time.” Learning Bushcraft can be daunting. There is so much to learn, where do you start? How can you learn all this? The answer is “One Spoonful at a time.” That is manageable pieces, Bite Sized Bushcraft are small articles that give information about a topic. These might be something easy to practice or try by yourself or with your child, if you have a few minutes to spare, or it maybe something to lookout for whilst out on a walk. The first post is going to be some information that could help you find water. This is something you can practice any time any where. I find little things like this great to pointout to children when out on a walk. Alternatively you may ak the child or children to look out for a variety of things. Here are a few example of what I often use to keep children interested and enjoying walks.

Bite Size Bushcraft

Bite Size Bushcraft, Making outdoor activities fun and learning at the same time.

  • Indicators of a water source,
  • Something that would assist in natural navigation
  • Finding and identifying plants and trees.
  • Looking for and identifying plants, berries and roots that could be foraged for food or medicine.

By learning from these Bite Sized Bushcraft Posts you will learn More and learn it quicker. I hope you will also find ideas about how to incorporate it into outdoor activities with your children. Most important enjoy yourselves whilst you are outdoors and enjoy quality time with young people outdoors.


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