Practice Survival with Your Family

by Monty
(Northern California)

Kids love camping and the skills that you learn related to camping. Started at a young age they don't notice the cold or complain about it like an adult would when they experience it for the first time. And camping provides all the opportunities that we need to prepare for survival situations. Kids just approach it so matter of fact and absorb everything. What's more, there is no more quality time that you could spend with your child.

Having experienced camping in a fun way, children will approach a survival situation in an more successful way. They will get excited by the word camping. It will trigger their thought process to go through camp set up like shelter building, fire building, cooking, and hygiene. These skills, if practiced become automatic. They know the tools they need. They will approach all outdoor experiences confidently.

The trick is to take advantage of all the opportunities. For a few examples, you could...

- Purchase packs for everyone for a holiday gift, then start filling them for a 72-hour bag with what you have around the house. Then head out camping for a night close by. This will quickly demonstrate how much more prepping you need to do.

- Get multi-tools to add to the packs and talk about knife safety. Head out for another night or two of camping and focus on using the multi-tool for everything you can.

- Do a surprise disaster drill on a Friday after work. Get your gear loaded and be pulling out of the driveway in 1 hour. Head to your normal camp spot and see what two full days is like.

- Put your kids to work on the internet to learn about primitive fire starting techniques. Head back to camp for a weekend of primitive fire making. Then head home and create all the fire starting tools and tinder that you liked best and add it to the packs.

- Study and build shelters using knives/machetes/axes, camp in the rain/snow/middle of summer, use multi-tool to build a tuna can stove then cook on it, etc.

As you can see. You are constantly teaching/learning by doing, acquiring skills that lead to new skills. It can't be stated enough that reading a book is not going to get you through a survival situation. Let's face it, would any of us recommend someone jump into the deep end after simply reading a book about swimming?

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Family Survival
by: Bruce Williams -

Hey Monty, thanks for writing "Practice Survival with Your Family."

I like to point out a few other things I read in the Family Survival Course by Jason Richards. I've add a short review at:

Jason's offers suggestions for selecting practical, high-quality camping equipment.

CAUTION: Synthetic materials, such as nylon, have limited resistance to the sun's ultraviolet rays.

If you are living in your tent for extended periods, pitch your tent in the shade, or shade your tent with a tarp that you are willing to

Natural fibers, such as cotton and wool, will age much better provided that they are protected from mildew and moths and other critters. A UV-protection product, called UV Tech.

This is just a short tip I read from Jason's Family Survival Course. There's more information in his guide about long term family survival.

-Bruce Williams,

Really great article...
by: Todd Owen - Denver

I'm 40 now but this is so very true to how I became the Wilderness guy I am today. My Dad was very much intune to the great outdoors. He was raised around the mountains of Georgia, learning how to build a fire, basic shelter and seeking out food were an intricate part of my weekend trips. I encourage everyone to grab the kids, leave the headphones at home, along w the so heavily used " creature " comforts. Teach the kids some of lifes real values, an appreciation to nature and a basic level of self reliance. I live in Colorado, we hear so often here where a person or family gets stranded and or loses a life all because they were not prepared for even the most basic of lifes little " bump " in the road.... My Dad always said " you can be the smartest person in the world w a book, but " street " smarts can often save your life when it really matters most ".... Happy Survival to you all.

More family things to do while camping..
by: Winyan Staz Wakien

This is an excellent article..well done..thanks ;)
I would like to suggest a few things for the kids to be in charge of.
Gathering small pieces of wood for kindling is a chore small kids love to do in the wild and makes them feel more a part of camp set up. Even the tiny chips scattered around the campsite can be used and will make the site easier to walk around in.
The older kids can compete on bringing back some larger pieces of wood.
If you teach children that are old enough a bit about several safe plants to forage to add to the meal as they are gathering wood..they will have a blast doing so.
I would suggest young dandylion leaves for a salad additive and young plaintain leaves as well as both of these are found most places. They will be proud of theirselves for contributing.
Be sure all the kids each have a loud whistle to help keep them safe..and to stay within sight if small as well as shouting distance of the camp if they are older as well..
Always be sure to praise good camping skills and their contributions :)

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