Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Dress for survival success: The Pashmina.

Chances are you'll have heard of the Pashmina. More a style of cloth than a garment, the material is available in a variety of sizes from various vendors both on the high street and online.
I bought mine from amazon, but I cannot find the exact item I purchased, and so cannot provide a link.

At approximately 70"x20", there are a number of ways to use the Pashmina, as both clothing, shelter, and improvised cordage.

I this article I will be going into the uses as a clothing item only, as the other uses are fairly obvious.

1) Belt/Sash.

This is fairly simple, but in the event that an item of clothing loses it's fasteners, or additional clothing has to be improvised from other materials, then the Pashmina can be improvised as a belt. The cloth is strong enough to be tied tightly, whilst being soft and smooth enough not to rub against the body and cause irritation.

To tie the sash, fold the Pashmina so it is roughly a hand's width. Hold the Pashmina a third of the way along it's length just below your belly button, so that the longer piece is to your left. Wrap the rest around your waist, and fold over and around, pulling tightly. Unless you have a very large waist, there will be a significant length left hanging. This can either be left, or tucked and tied along the length of the belt sash for added security.

2) Turban.

Quick disclaimer; I'm not a Sikh, and this is not a religiously accurate turban. It is only called such because of the physical resemblance. This method works best with cropped or shaved hair.

This is a really warm alternative to a hat, which I've worn both in summer and winter, and found quite pleasant in most weathers. It also protrudes a little forward of the face, which, combined with the remaining cloth tied over the face kept most of the snow out of my eyes.

First, place one of the short edges roughly halfway down the back of your head, with the rest of the material hanging over the face. Loop the corners of the short edge around the head and tie across the forehead. Flip the length back over your head towards the rear. Twist the rest of the material into a "rope". Wrap around the head, and tuck through the start of the "rope". This will leave sufficient material hanging down the neck to wrap across the face shemagh style.

3) Under shirt.

This will cover a similar area of you torso as a vest. It is often seen being sported by women at pools and beaches in the summer to cover their upper body whilst not in the water.

Hold the Pashmina at two corners, so that the long edge follows the line of your arms. Bring the cloth under your arms, so it is tucked under the armpits. Wrap the corners you are holding across your chest, and tie them behind your neck.

4) Underwear.

Looks kind of like Gandhi's lioncloth.

Hold one end of the Pashmina just above the genitals. Loop the remaining length through the legs. Wrap the garment around the waist, ensuring it covers the cloth in front. Tuck and tie the garment at the rear.

5) Skirt.

Nice and simple. Place one corner on your hip, so the short edge hangs down the leg. Wrap the Pashmina around the waist, ensuring it is tight. Tuck the top corner into the waist. For additional security, use a second Pashmian as a belt (see above) or belt with anything you have which will work.

Other uses for the Pashmina are, a standard scarf, a blanket, a flag for signalling, camouflage (if suitable colours are purchased), a sling; either for wounds or carrying young children, a stretcher; if secured to sturdy enough posts, or really anything you can think of.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Things you should stock pile but aren't: #2 Grit/Rocksalt

This should be obvious, given the kind of weather we've had for the last few days. It seems everytime there is the slightest little snow fall, all of England shuts down for a week. It's also rare that we don't have a week or so (and sometimes more) of moderate to heavy snowfall in a year, and people do sometimes end up trapped in their houses.
And yet, whilst I see people with shovels, I rarely see people spreading grit to clear their paths. It's a lot less time and labour intensive, as well as being safer than shovelling alone, which can sometimes leave a thin sheet of ice over your path.

A cursory google search brings up a number of sites which provide salt for de-icing:

As rock salt has an almost infinite shelf life, it will store most places until it is required.
In a pinch, normal white table salt can be used in lieu of the more specialised rocksalt.

Don't forget, if you stockpile rock salt for path clearing, don't clear only your path and leave your neighbours to struggle through, be a good person, help if people need it, especially with elderly neighbours.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

New Years Competition

So, here's the idea; I will be running a non-fiction writing competition during the month of February. Entries must be survival related, and based on personal experience of techniques guaranteed or known to work, but after that it's up to you. Articles could be on food, hunting, construction, or any number of subjects.
Entries will be accepted from now until 1/3/13, with the winners announced on all three feeds Sunday 10th. Entries will be judged on their subject matters legitimacy as survival advice, as well as the quality of their prose (Although articles will probably be edited before posting). Entries should be of suitable length for the site. Images may be included, but sources and references must be sent unless the image is owned by the entrant.
Winning articles will be posted, with full credit (including links to Entrants own site), on consecutive Sundays after the announcement of the winners.
Unfortunately, entry will be restricted to the UK for this contest, due to budget constraints regarding p&p, and my unfamiliarity with shipping regarding things.

Entries must be in Windows Word 97-2003  (.doc) format, and should be sent attached to a facebook message with the name you wish to be credited with as well as any referenced sites and a list of any other references used.

Winners will receive:

1st place - Entry posted on the site with full credit. Monkey fist survival defence device in neon green.

2nd place - Entry posted on the site with full credit. Monkey fist survival defence device in neon green.

3rd place - Entry posted on the site with full credit.


Sorry I've not posted since last year, I had two weeks of 20 hour days, then spent Christmas until about the 9th completely drunk, so I've not been that productive.
Information regarding the non-fiction competition will be going up today.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Things you should stock pile but aren't: #1 Tobacco

There are, by current estimates, approximately 1.1 billion smokers in the world. There has also been no decline in levels of smoking in English speaking countries since the early 90s. As of 2010, 21% of Britons are smokers of some kind.

In America, Tobacco was the original cash-crop, and was the basis for the entire southern economy until the advent of cotton plantations. It is a valuable, often expensive luxury good, in it's refined forms.

In the 1600s Navies and military units began making allowances for tobacco in rationing, and by WW1 governments and tobacco producers were working collaboratively to ensure a steady supply of tobacco to the front. Tobacco was used to keep soldiers alert and calm.

As many preppers own areas of land for planting, or rent allotments or such, it has come to me that such a commodity would be desirable to possess after the crunch. I have recently purchased seeds for three breeds of plant, to produce Kentucky Burley, Havana, and Oriental Samsoun tobaccos. There will be a running update on the condition of the plants on the fb page, and a growers guide at a later date.

For now, though, I will discuss the various forms of tobacco and it's storage.


The main consumed forms of Tobacco are:

Cigarettes - Everyone knows what these are. This includes roll-your-own.
Pipes - These use a slightly fermented rougher cut tobacco, combusted in a bowl. This includes Bongs.
Molasses/Hookah/Shisha - Middle eastern water pipes which use indirect heat to combust a combination of tobacco leaves and honey, syrup or molasses.
Snuff - Finely powdered tobacco which is inhaled through the nose.
Snus/Dip/Chew - various forms of tobacco which are chewed to release nicotine into the linings of the mouth.


- First of, dump the pre-made cigs. They're only stored in foil-lined boxes, which won't preserve them for longer than the time it takes to smoke them. They're also more expensive than their component parts. Second, don't bother with the little cotton filters. It's an unnecessary cost, which takes up space that can be used for more useful items. If filters are required, a card or paper "Roach" is useable. The rolling papers will keep forever in their little boxes as long as they don't get soaked and rot, so I'll say no more on that. The main component is the tobacco. The pouches it's bought in, they'll last for a good couple of years un-opened, but other options are large, air-tight tubs available in Spain and France (I don't know about their availability in the UK, any information is welcome.)

Pipes - This is easy. Buy a few relatively cheap pipes. There's a glut of decent, inexpensive pipes on eBay, just look around. Ignore anything from Asia for less than £10. Buy a decent range of pipes, and lots of corncobs. Processed pipe tobacco comes both in pouches and tins. Buy the tins, they last forever.

Shisha - The combination of tobacco and honey or mollases should, if kept in an air-tight jar, keep almost forever. Honey has no expiry date, and the tobacco will be protected from the elements. Buy a couple of hookah pipes, you can find a nice 8" one on eBay for approx. £10.

- Comes in tins. Will probably not go off ever.


My favourite scene in JWR's "Patriots" is the market scene a couple of years after the crunch. All those people, all the life gathered in one area. I have therefore had the idea of some kind of Tobacco Bar set up, similar to the hookah bars present in some areas (There's one in Camden's horse market if you don't know what I mean), as well as selling the tobacco and various devices stockpiled. A trade which would be useful to learn is that of pipe manufacture, be it from wood or clay.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Product Review: Mora Knives

Length: 25cm (13cm Blade)

I got this knife because, frankly, it was dirt-cheap on bladesandbows and I do not have very much
money. It’s regular retail price is £25-£30, but I managed to purchase it as an over-run item (where
the production level exceeds the order quantity) for only £5.99.
This is a really nice, basic knife to add to your collection if you can get it for a similar price. It is made
in Sweden from 12C27 Scandvik Stainless Steel, a Swedish Steel used for it’s high hardness and wear-
The blade is of a fairly normal shape with a slight up-sweep, with the tip ending slightly above the
handle. The material of the blade is strong, and able to cut easily through wood and meat. The back
of the blade is flat for the first third (from the tip towards the handle) with the rest having “smooth”
serrations, with a U shape, as opposed to others with sharper, more defined serrations. This allows
the hand to be used to manipulate the blade without the risk of serious injury, however this comes
with the trade-off of the serrations being slightly less effective.
The handle is synthetic, made of textured plastic, and is contoured to provide an ergonomic grip
which fits nicely into the palm. This means that it avoids many of the problems often shown with
natural handles, which can swell in water, or get clogged up with blood or sap. There is no ‘proper’
guard on the handle, but the index finger is allowed it’s own groove, with a slight over hang which
should prevent the hand slipping and therefore prevent injury.
The knife also comes with a leather sheath with a belt loop. This is also lined with plastic to
prevent the blade catching and damaging the sheath. The sheath is slightly tapered, and tapered
asymmetrically, however the blade sits nicely in it either way around. I personally prefer to sheath
the blade the wrong way around, as this causes it to ride slightly higher in the sheath which, due to
my preferred position under my left armpit, allows it to be drawn under or over hand, as it presents
more of the handle.
As well as being a practical tool, this knife is also beautifully designed, and incredibly pleasing to look
at and hold.
There are, however, 3 points with which I take issue. The first is the RRP. At £25, it’s quite expensive
for something which is a basic knife, and is more expensive than comparable knives from companies
such as Gerber and MTech. The second is that the sheath has a sealed belt loop, which means that
it is difficult to attach to, and detach from, a belt, strap or set of webbing. I spent several minutes
wriggling and forcing it over a clip to get it onto my rucksack, which wouldn’t be very useful in an
emergency flight situation. Finally the butt of the knife is not flat and level, meaning it is not really suitable for hammering things.
However, as an everyday knife, work knife, or, if you want a fancy primary knife from one of the
better known of flasher companies, a back-up, this knife excels. I currently use it as my primary
knife, and can imagine it being useful as a levering device, in lieu of a pry-bar due to it’s sturdy
construction, as well as suitable for more subtle tasks such as skinning game, due to it’s sharp point
and blade.

BLADE:  4/5

PRICE: 2/5


Thursday, 8 November 2012

Rules For Survival: Rule #2

Constant Vigilance

You, your partner (or member of your team), or guard animals must be alert and attentitve at all times. A constant watch must be maintained. In a permanent BOL a rolling sleep schedule can be implemented so that half of the groups normal "Day" is during the night. On the move, shifts of no more than 2 hours will be best suited.