1. Deadfall Trap
Why it’s useful: Simple way to catch dinner.
1. Tie the string to the smallest stick and the stick that’ll act as a lever.
2. Balance the rock atop the lever and stand.
3. Wrap smallest stick around the stand so that when the bait stick is knocked out, the pressure on the string pulls it forward and releases the lever… and deadfall upon your prey.
4. And if you don’t have string, the figure-four deadfall uses three sticks to make the stand, lever, and bait stick.
2. Fire Pit
Why it’s useful: Warmth, safety, cooking.
1. Use a camping shovel to clear away the top layer of soil.
2. Make an outer ring out of rocks to keep fire and sparks isolated.
3. Stack logs in a teepee format for a big fire with high heat, or lay them criss-cross for a slow-burning heat perfect for cooking.
4. Bury your spent logs and embers with the top soil to make sure your fire doesn’t start back up once you’ve moved on.
3. Split Logs with a Knife
Why It’s useful: Forgot an ax or a hatchet for assembling shelter and fires. Or just proving your innate skills.
1. Find a log with a diameter less then the length of your knife.
2. Extremely recommended, if not required: protective gloves and glasses.
3. With your nondominant hand on the handle, tap the knife with another log until it’s securely in the stationary log.
4. Start giving the knife end some heavy whacks until the log is split.
4. Cotton Firestarter
Why It’s useful: Long-burning heat to start nearly any fire.
1. Seal one end of straw with a lighter and a flathead screwdriver.
2. Add a light layer of vaseline to the inside of an unrolled cotton ball.
3. Roll up cotton so the vaseline is in the middle and stuff into your straw.
4. Seal the other end of the straw.
5. When ready to ignite, expose cotton to your flint. Enjoy the warmth.
5. Tree Well Camp
Why it’s useful: Amazingly enough, you can use snow to keep yourself warm.
1. Prop up the lowest branches to ensure snow keeps falling around the tree (and not into the tree well near the trunk).
2. Dig out the remaining snow in the tree well.
3. Use branches to create a layer of separation between you and the ground.
6. Cold Weather Camp Bed
Why it’s useful: Lightweight sleeping warmth.
1. Use your camping shovel to dig about four inches down and wide and long enough for you to lie down.
2. Burn logs in the hole for at least an hour.
3. Remove burnt logs and cover remaining ashes with dry dirt.
4. Completely cover yourself in a blanket and rest easy.
7. Coffee Can Toilet Paper Holder
Why It’s useful: Keeps your TP dry outside, while also keeping it from crushing and ripping when it’s in bags and packs.
1. Cut a slot perpendicular to the label wide enough to pull TP through.
2. Cut a small hole in the middle of the lid and another in the bottom of the can.
3. Loop a string through the lid, the TP roll, out the bottom, and knot it.
4. Hang the can wherever necessary and pack the can wherever you like.
8. Paracord-Wrapped Handle
Why It’s useful: Grip texture and eternally tangle-free paracord.
1. Sheathe sharpened objects, then take an initial measurement; axes and walking sticks can take around 100 feet of paracord while knives could be as few as five.
2. Start weaving closest to the blade and weave away from it.
3. Most wraps use either knots or weaves to prevent the paracord from sliding off; lots of different weaving styles can be found here.
4. Tie off the end in a knot that could also be easy to remove in emergencies.
9. Extract Potable Water from Plants
Why It’s useful: If you’re lost and unsure of the nearest freshwater source or surrounded by saltwater.
1. Find a sunlit, non-poisonous bush and shake off debris.
2. Wrap a clear plastic bag over a healthy branch and tie tightly with string.
3. Be careful to hang bags lower than the tie for the water to collect.
4. Repeat the process with a couple other bags and branches for more water.
10. Bamboo Arrows
Why It’s useful: Huntin’, emergency or otherwise.
1. Heat the bamboo and straighten the shaft. Whittle the nodes until smooth.
2. Cut a nock (heating the knife will help).
3. Secure the fletches (feathers) with super glue and floss or similar equivalents.
4. Cut a notch at the front and secure an arrowhead, also with glue and string.
5. Feast. Or make a bow, then feast.
11. Simple Hatchet
Why It’s useful: Chop down small trees to start fires.
1. Find and split only the business end of a thicker stick.
2. Bind the bottom of the split with rope.
3. Slide your sharpened rock between the split branches.
4. Secure the rock using rope laid in an “X” pattern.
5. Be sure the top of the split is also bound tightly enough to keep your sharpened rock from being displaced while swinging and hacking.