Saturday, November 23, 2013

Don't ever pass by these two items !

Often times while we are travelling through the bush enjoying our favourite outdoor passion we forget to pause and take stock of what surrounds us.  Mother nature provides us with everything we could ever need to survive whether it be fire, shelter, water, food, signalling or first aid. 

On a recent hike through the bush I was reminded of the materials I love to use while creating fire through primitive means. However, these same items are also the same items I keep in a ziplock bag in every bag I carry into the bush whether on a Search and Rescue, canoe trip, winter survival course or just a hike with my boys. 

So as I paused to enjoy the natural growth of these life saving materials I realized they deserved a blog post. 

The 1st material is commonly known as Old Mans Beard.  A green moss like material which grows on the branches most often on softwoods such as white pines, red pines and Balsam in Eastern Ontario.  The material when picked is spongy however drys extremely quick and becomes brittle. At the brittle stage this material is extremely flammable and makes amazing tinder on its own or within a tinder bundle. 

The 2nd material is simply dried grasses. Whether its ditch grass or farm grasses. These materials tend to grow on the side of roads and trails and in the fall are 2-3 ft tall and extremely brittle. Collecting a handful and folding it in half provides enough tinder material for two to three tinder bundles. The brittle grasses are extremely flammable even when damp.

A ziplock back filled with these two naturally growing materials coupled with a lighter, match or primitive coal method is an amazingly easy and dependable way to start fire.

Remember that we must be prepared to survive a wilderness survival emergency if we have any chance of actually surviving it.  Gather materials, practice their use and then carry them on your person to give yourself a fighting chance of survival.


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