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  1. Act now! 3 amazing learning opportunities at Sigma 3 Survival School. Have you ever wanted to know how to establish your own successful survival school? Maybe, you have wanted to know more about wild edible and medicinal plants? Perhaps, you have desired to know more about survival but could not attend a full survival course? Now, the leadership of Sigma 3 Survival School is making available three great learning opportunities for you to improve your survival knowledge and business understanding. 1. The Outdoor Business Mentorship Program The Outdoor Business Mentorship Program is a 6-month long certification program. You will live in the outdoors with the owner of the school and the lead instructor of SIGMA 3 Survival School, Rob Allen, and Josh Hamlin. Moreover, this learning opportunity will teach you everything you need to know about how to build a successful outdoors business and build an online following! Also, you will complete our 45 Day Survival Instructor Program while you are in the program. Additionally, you will help run the day to day operations of SIGMA 3! Consequently, this learning opportunity will show you how to operate a successful outdoors business. Thus, by the time you complete the program, you will have a comprehensive set of business skills that will enable you to start your own successful company or open your own SIGMA 3 Satellite location. What is the reason for the success of SIGMA 3, where others have failed? Here are a few reasons: Vast experience with social media and building an online following. Understanding Search Engine Optimization and how to get found on Google! Making high-quality YouTube® videos, DVD’s, and other video production skills. Understanding how to manipulate search algorithms and get more social media attention. For free! Using Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube® to your advantage to provide cheap traffic to your website. The owner has created numerous successful companies and can give you all the info you need to start your own! 2. Two Weekend Survival Workshops The Edible And Medicinal Plants Walk The Edible and Medicinal Plants Walk is a one-day familiarization course about wild edible and medicinal plants. It is a learning opportunity to increase your knowledge about plants. Moreover, the Edible and Medicinal Plants Walk is a 3-part series. It is taken individually in all the different seasons so that students learn the cycle of plants in their area. As such, the instructors will show you how to identify and harvest these natural resources. Additionally, the instructors of the Sigma 3 Survival School will cover the 50 most common plants in the local area of the school and in North America. Furthermore, the Edible and Medicinal Plants course is a hands-on course. Therefore, you will participate in walks within several different types of ecosystems. Thus, these walks will show you how to find food in almost any environment. Moreover, students will have the opportunity to taste the identified plants. As a result, you will not only learn the edible uses, but also the medicinal, practical and various bushcraft uses of wild plants. Consequently, this learning opportunity will overwhelm you with the amount of information that you will receive. Therefore, you should bring enough writing material to take plenty of notes for later reference. Topics covered include: Learning plant family identification patterns At least 50 different edible/medicinal plants How to prepare plants for edibility Cordage plants and useful bushcraft plants Medicinal Plant applications: treating cuts, anti-diarrheal, making primitive quick clot, stopping bleeding, purgatives, anti-fungal, stimulating the immune system, skin cancers, hygiene/cleansing agents, tannic acid uses, plants with salicin (aka aspirin), laxatives, and much more! What books to buy and how to start wildcrafting This course will cover the basics of identification and procurement. Afterwards, if you want to upgrade your skills, we recommend taking the Herbal Medic course or the Wild Crafter courses. The Weekend Survivor Course The Weekend Survivor Course is for the people who cannot take off time from their employment to attend the more lengthy, multiple week survival classes! We want to be sensitive to respect your time with family and time for vacations. So, Rob Allen and Josh Hamlin came up with a learning opportunity to train you on the standard course skills in a series of weekend classes. As such, these courses will instruct you on the highlights of the more lengthy standard courses. Furthermore, our instructors will teach at a pace so that you can absorb the information. Additionally, Those living within driving distance of the Sigma 3 Survival School, now, can use their free weekends to increase their survival training and experience. While anyone can take the courses, its best suited for people within a 3-hour drive. This series of classes will cover all the highlights of our Standard Courses, in a much shorter time frame. Furthermore, they will ensure you can absorb and replicate all the skills that you are taught. This course is 100% HANDS ON and in the field training. No power point, no classroom, only real dirt time! And you can bring your kids for cheap too! Shelter and Water: Weekend 1 Fire Making: Weekend 2 Wild Plants: Weekend 3 Primitive Trapping & Fishing: Weekend 4 Primitive Tools & Navigation: Weekend 5 Scout Survivor Mini: Weekend 6 Some Final Thoughts There is always room for improving your survival skills and experience. Sigma 3 Survival School is offering some outstanding learning opportunities for you and your family to become more adept in survival techniques. You will not be disappointed by the level of training that you will receive through these learning opportunities. Whether you are looking to start your own survival school or just strengthen some areas in your survival skills, Rob Allen and Josh Hamlin will empower and equip you for success. The post Act Now! 3 Amazing Learning Opportunities At Sigma 3 Survival School appeared first on SIGMA 3 Survival School. View the full article
  2. There are 4 tips to consider for decisions about EDC options. My wife and I, recently, were discussing the topic of Everyday Carry (EDC). That conversation became the motivation to write this article. Prepping and survivalist interest is growing. Consequently, there are many people new to the jargon and concepts they are seeing on the internet. Therefore, it is helpful to keep in mind these four tips when considering what to carry for your EDC loadout. Tip # 1: Assess Your Daily Environment The first tip about EDC options is to assess your daily environment. The environment in which you will function everyday is the foundation for considering your EDC options. The world that we live in is not homogenous. My particular daily situation does not have the same nuances as someone else’s environment. Some people live and work in the suburbs, like Poway, California. Other people live in rural areas away from daily access to the high energy of a big city. Still, others live and commute within a highly urbanized metroplex, like Los Angles, New York, St. Louis, or Dallas-Fort Worth. A particularly challenging daily environment to assess is one in which a person commutes long distances between work and home. I remember hearing about a professional athlete in California, who travels almost two hours, one-way, every day between his home and place of work during the season of his chosen sport. Thus, a person like that will have a unique set of EDC considerations. Therefore, it is essential to assess your daily environment. As you assess your environment, you will want to ask and answer some crucial questions about your situation: What is the level of crime in my area? What is the most common kind of crime in my area? How often will I be away from home? How much and how far will I commute every day? What is the type of transportation that I will use every day; car, bus, subway, train, taxi, carpool, airline? What is the nature of the traffic in my area (easy, hard, frequent traffic jams, etc.)? If you can answer some of these basic questions, then you may find yourself drifting into a discussion about getting home. Thus, you should be very thorough in assessing your daily environment. Tip # 2: Assess Your Level of Readiness The next important EDC tip in your item considerations is to assess your level of readiness. How physically fit are you? Do you have handicaps that require special equipment? Have you included an EDC, prepping, or survival line-item in your yearly budget? How proficient are you in self-defense, handling firearms, or using non-lethal weapons such as pepper spray? The point here is not to imply that you should shore up your weaknesses. Instead, these are influences in determining what items you should be considering for your everyday carry loadout. For example, if you have never handled a firearm, you have no business carrying one until you get properly trained and licensed to carry it. If you have never had martial arts training with knives and weapons, then you have no business carrying a karambit knife because an internet personality demonstrated using one. Furthermore, how often on a daily basis will you be employing the things you desire to carry? Therefore, assessing your level of readiness should determine what you include in your EDC loadout. Tip # 3: Assess The Practicality Of Your EDC Item Considerations A third EDC tip concerns practicality. Now that you have assessed your environment and your readiness, you can now begin to think about what items to consider for your EDC loadout, in essence what are your needs? An important principle to remember is what works for someone else may not work for you. For example, some people carry an EDC backpack. There are many videos on the internet discussing what to pack in an EDC backpack. Remember the keyword in Everyday Carry is everyday. How practical is an EDC backpack to your situation? It might be overkill, especially if you are at your suburban house most of the day. Furthermore, the practicality of your items will be influenced by your level of familiarity with them. Multitools are a favorite everyday carry item that you find as a recommendation on the internet. Yet, how often will you use something like that everyday? I remember in the military the only people carrying multitools every day were our vehicle mechanics. Why? They are fixers in their hearts. Thus, they discover that they need to carry a multitool. They need to be ready to repair, fix, attach, or detach something, even when they are not under a vehicle. Their experience dictates that they carry a multitool. Therefore, assess the practicality of your items along with your needs or requirements. Do not put something in your EDC loadout that you will never use or will hardly use on any given day. Everyday carry items are intended for regular or frequent use. By definition, they are not for an emergency survival SHTF scenario. For example, I saw someone on YouTube recommending an ankle-mounted first aid kit as an EDC item. First aid kits or trauma treatment items, such as tourniquets, are, technically, emergency items. It is crucial for those off-duty medical professionals and first responders to carry emergency medical kits as everyday carry items. However, for the general public, emergency medical items should be part of your individual emergency survival kits. Furthermore, your personal emergency survival kit should be part of your EDC loadout. Tip # 4: Learn The Art Of Modifying Your EDC Items The fourth EDC tip is learning the art of modifying your EDC items. Many people are carrying a multitude of items on any given day. As you are assessing your daily environment and item needs, remember to be flexible. As you carry your items, you become used to them to the point of not noticing that they are on you. Then, you find yourself having to travel via airline, bus, or train. Suddenly, you are facing a TSA officer screening you, and you forgot to place your multitool or folder in the checked baggage. Now you lost that $180 Benchmade Griptillian folder or $100 Leatherman Center-Drive multitool even after putting them in the bin to go through the x-ray machine. Limit your “oops” moments by learning to modify your EDC loadout for each situation. A good practice to employ in the art of modification is layering up or down according to the need. In the military, you are trained to modify your clothing as the climate dictates. Layering your clothing is an essential technique for the winter months and in cold weather conditions. This same technique can apply to EDC considerations. You may find yourself not carrying some items on the weekend. They are simply not needed. Similarly, you may find yourself adding items if you go out of town for the weekend with your family. Concluding Comments Everyone carries some kind of an EDC item, such as a wristwatch or wallet. However, as we consider carrying items beyond the obvious, it is essential to be thoughtful, diligent, and practical about what you include in your EDC loadout. There are at least three conventional approaches to EDC philosophy: EDC as items of regular or frequent use, EDC as items for personal defense, or EDC as items for emergency survival. Some advocates blend elements of all of these and call it Everyday Carry. The environment in which you operate and your level of readiness will determine what you carry daily. Remember that there is always room for improvement. So, choose your EDC items wisely and continue to improve your knowledge and experience. As a result, you will modify and enhance the things you carry with you every day The post 4 Tips To Consider For Decisions About EDC Options appeared first on SIGMA 3 Survival School. View the full article
  3. There are three outstanding map protractors to consider for your land navigation needs. Land navigation is an essential part of both emergency survival and enjoying the outdoors. Many people prefer to use GPS devices such as those from Garmin®. Other people prefer to use some kind of GPS and Map application on their smartphone or tablet. However, land navigation with a paper topographic map can be cumbersome without the aid of a map protractor and a compass. Therefore, it is good to know the two basic kinds of map protractors. Map protractors have some essential functions regardless of their calibrated scale. The three primary functions of protractors for map reading are plotting points on a map, measuring distances and determining azimuths (angles). They are helpful tools for navigating on air, land, or sea. There are different types of protractors for each of these applications. This article will focus on those protractors used with land navigation and topographic maps. 1. Military Map Protractor Description The most recognizable map protractor is the one that is in use with the U.S. military. They are scaled to the Military Grid Reference System (MGRS). They use the metric system for measuring distance and feature both compass degrees and mils around the edges. These protractors are for use with the military topographic maps. This style of the protractor is available on the civilian market. However, some are scaled for commercial maps, like a UTM map, rather than military maps. Also, you can find military protractors sometimes being sold in military surplus stores. The significant difference between the genuine military protractors and the civilian copies is labeling. There is a label on the military-issued ones that reads something like this: GTA 05-02-012, June 2008 DEPARTMENT of the ARMY GRAPHIC TRAINING AID Title: COORDINATE SCALE AND PROTRACTOR There are military style map protractors available by civilian vendors online. However, they are prohibited by law from putting the above label on them. Why? Because once a company does that, the product becomes the property of the U. S. government. Since they may not be under contract with the Department of the Army to supply these products, they would be in violation of the law if they put the U. S. Army label on them. Primary Use Moreover, military protractors and maps are for use in training and operations. Thus, genuine military protractors and military topographic maps have to be updated often. The purpose of these updates is to account for the changes in the magnetic declination of the earth. For example, if you have a genuine military protractor with a date from the 1990s, it may not be as accurate as one with a more current date. For civilian use, this factor is not as critical to land navigation. 2. UTM Map Protractor Description A commercial version of the military map protractor is the UTM map protractor. UTM stands for Universal Transverse Mercator. UTM is based on the metric grid square system of measuring distance. It has similarities with the MGRS system. These protractors have two basic styles: the military style and the nautical style. The maritime version of this protractor incorporates both topographic map scales and marine navigation tools. The sailing version looks complicated to read. However, it is not that much different than the military MGRS protractor. Primary Uses The UTM map protractor is most useful with civilian topographic maps, such as the ones that you can purchase from map stores. In some cases, the UTM protractor can be used with non-topographic maps. However, these protractors may not be compatible with your typical road atlas map book. So be careful about how you use one of these protractors on maps purchased at your local store. UTM maps and protractors are mostly used for hiking and backpacking. A common way of reading UTM coordinates is “Northing and Easting.” UTM squares are further divided into kilometers similar to the MGRS system. UTM is similar but different from the MGRS system in the way that it is read and annotated on a map. 3. Corner Rulers Description The third kind of map protractor are the corner ruler protractors. These look similar to the UTM and MGRS military-style protractors. However, some of the features are different. Corner Ruler protractors do not have any compass degree markings around the edges. Next, the grid-square scale is upside down. They are designed to find a coordinate with a known grid quickly. They are not intended to find grid azimuth readings on a map and route plotting. Primary Use The Corner Ruler map protractor has a primary use in two applications: aerial photography and adventure racing. Their use for aerial photos is to quickly find a point on the photo within an identified grid square. Adventure racers operate on predetermined routes. Therefore, they do not need a tool that helps them traverse over open terrain by plotting a course. They just need a protractor to help find where they are on a known grid-square. Some Final Thoughts Map reading and land navigation are vital skills for those who love the outdoors. It is also an essential skill for emergency survival. I have found that some trail maps that are available at a trailhead or ranger station are little more than sketches. They are not to scale and are not very accurate. If this is your only map in your backpack and you get lost, a map like that might be your worst enemy. It is vital to have an up-to-date and accurate topographic map of the area you are operating in. Along with that map, you should also have an excellent manual compass and map protractor. The MGRS and UTM protractors are the two most common kinds of protractors available. Some companies sell map protractors with both MGRS and UTM scales. Therefore, shop around and find the protractor that you are most comfortable. Then, use it regularly with your hard-copy topographic map. The post Three Outstanding Map Protractors appeared first on SIGMA 3 Survival School. View the full article
  4. Emergency signal planning considerations are essential to experiencing a great time outdoors. They are also crucial for ensuring that you will be discovered in an emergency situation. In a previous article, I discussed the PACE method. Initially, the PACE technique was a planning tool for ensuring communications were available to military leaders. A more frequent use of the PACE method is to help someone determine the most critical assets or capabilities required to keep activity or mission going when everything else has failed. Signaling is part of communication capability. When we think of signaling, we think someone flagging down a passing car or a search-and-rescue helicopter. However, emergency signal planning is more involved than a simple wave of a handkerchief in a desperate moment. It involves careful and intentional thought. The same is true for the other aspects of survival. Emergency signal planning is more than having access to multiple signaling devices in your backpack or emergency bag. The following planning techniques should help you better address your signaling requirements. 1. Establish A Communication Plan A communication plan is the starting point for addressing emergency signal requirements. How are you going communicate when out on the trail, hunting in the backcountry, or deep sea fishing several miles offshore? A communication plan should include two things: reporting times and methods. Survival experts advise telling someone when and where you are going. You should also let them know how often you will be contacting them while gone. Another aspect of a good communication plan is developing an emergency plan. For example, what are your friends or family supposed to do if you fail to contact them at the agreed time? This means developing and publishing a communication plan that covers these concerns. 2. Passive and Active Signaling Method The first consideration of emergency signaling is to address passive and active signaling methods. It is vital to have both a passive and an active method of signaling in an emergency. Military pilots around the world usually have passive and active means to signal for rescue. Active signaling methods are those methods that require physical effort to use, such as a flare gun or signal mirror. Passive signal methods are those that you deploy and leave. Then, they will continue to communicate in your absence, such as an arrow made of rocks, trail marking tape, or a personal locator beacon. The most effective emergency signals employ both an active and passive means of communication. The idea is that the more ways that you have to make contact with someone through visual, hearing, and smelling, you increase your chances of being found in an emergency. The survival and emergency planning literature implies that you use these methods by the items that they list for an emergency kit. However, they do not always make it obvious that this is the reason that they recommend and flashlight and a notepad. 3. Day and Night Signaling Method Another signaling method to consider integrating into your emergency plan is day and night signaling methods. These considerations are often overlooked in signal planning. We think that we will only be rescued just before lunchtime. However, many rescues can occur in the evening hours. Thus, it is to your advantage to address both day and night time emergency signaling methods. An example of a daytime signaling technique is a signal mirror. A signal mirror is only useful when the sun is up. An example of a nighttime signaling method is a personal emergency strobe light, engaging the strobe feature on your headlamp, or twirling a chem-light on some 550 parachute cord. Therefore, remember to integrate some kind of day and night signaling method into your next outdoor activity. 4. Near and Far Signaling Method The next method to consider including in your emergency signaling plan is a near and far method. The near and far signaling method is most often used in tactical environments when stealth needs to be maintained. However, it is still an option to consider integrating into your signal plan. An example of a far-signaling method would be a horn blast from your vehicle, the report from discharging your firearm, or employing an aerial flare. The point of this method is to make your whereabouts known as far away from your position as possible so a rescue team can get to you more quickly. A signal fire is also a type of far signaling technique. A near-signaling method is a little more complicated. The most common near signal method is your voice. Yelling out to those approaching your position will tip them to your exact location, especially at night. However, some near signal methods incorporate infrared light and night vision equipment. A more field expedient method for a near-signal method is hitting on a tree trunk with a stick. Some other near-signal techniques involve hand-held radios and the squelch function on the transmitter button of the microphone. 5. Voice and SMS Communication Methods Finally, the next method to consider in your emergency signaling plan is voice and SMS communications. The most common item that employs both voice and SMS texting is your smartphone. However, some communication devices only use voice or SMS texting. The PACE method is a great tool to determine what you should carry to your outdoor activity. An example of a communication device that uses only voice communications is a handheld radio, ham radio, or citizen’s band (CB) radio. These come in various sizes and qualities. An example of a purely SMS communication device would be a Garmin inReach or SPOT device. The advantages of the SMS devices are that they can send an emergency signal with your geolocation data via satellite to first responders. Therefore, as you develop your emergency signal plan do not overlook voice and SMS emergency communication devices. In Summary Comprehensive emergency signal planning starts with a thorough communication plan. These five areas of consideration for emergency signaling will significantly enhance your outdoor communication efforts. The PACE technique will help you build redundancy into your plan. Thus, combining these five considerations with the PACE planning tool will give you an excellent emergency communication plan that may save your life or the lives of others around you. It is an excellent time of the year to enjoy the outdoors. Avoid becoming a statistic by developing and implementing an emergency signal and communication plan. Be safe, be prepared, and enjoy the outdoors. The post Emergency Signal Planning That Will Save Your Life appeared first on SIGMA 3 Survival School. View the full article
  5. There are 3 excellent water filtration options to keep you hydrated this summer. A recent news story relates how a couple hiking in California got lost for five days. They drank water using a LifeStraw® filtration straw to filter water from natural water sources in their area. The story underscores the importance of having a way to purify water while outdoors. Water is one of the four component elements of survival. It is especially important to stay hydrated during the spring and summer. Our outdoor planning should include addressing the need for obtaining fresh drinking water. A water filtration device is an excellent way to ensure that you can have drinking water when enjoying the outdoors. Here are three of the best water filtration devices to consider including in your packing list. 1. Sawyer® MINI One of the most popular and versatile water filtration items that one can own is the Sawyer® MINI water filter. You cannot survey the many videos on YouTube® on building emergency kits and bags without seeing the Sawyer® MINI as a recommended item on somebody’s packing list. This water filter averages between $20 and $30 at most outdoor stores. As a result, the Sawyer® MINI is a budget-friendly addition to your loadout. I carry one in both my EDC bag and my regular backpack for hiking. There also is one in my vehicle emergency kit. You will not go wrong including a Sawyer® MINI in your water filtration considerations. The Sawyer® MINI is available for purchase at the Sigma 3 Survival Store. Description Sawyer offers the following description of this water filter: The Sawyer MINI weighs just 2 ounces, fits in the palm of your hand, and provides 0.1-micron absolute filtration — removing 99.99999% of all bacteria, such as salmonella, cholera, and E.coli, removing 99.9999% of all protozoa (such as giardia and cryptosporidium), and removing 100% of microplastics. Attach the easy-to-use MINI to the included drinking pouch, use the included straw to drink directly from a water source, connect it to hydration pack tubing, or screw it onto standard disposable water and soda bottles. Rated up to 100,000 filtered gallons of water, the award-winning MINI is perfect for everything from camping with the kids to traveling abroad where tap and bottle water cannot be trusted to kitting out your emergency go bag. The company also offers the MINI in six colors: black, blue, camouflage, green, orange, and pink. Furthermore, the Sawyer® MINI is functional in several ways. The filter can be attached to a standard plastic water bottle, such as a Dasani or Aquafina bottle. It can be utilized as an in-line water filter with your favorite water bladder, like a Camelbak®. It can be used to drink water directly from a stream or lake using the included straw on one end and attaching flexible tubing on the other end. The Sawyer® MINI is a water filter that will keep you hydrated and on the move in an emergency. 2. LifeStraw Another exceptional item that one can consider for a water filtration device is the LifeStraw®. As mentioned earlier, a couple who became lost while hiking survived on rationed food and drinking water from natural sources through a LifeStraw® filter. The LifeStraw® is not as versatile as the Sawyer® MINI. However, it is just as useful for drinking water directly from a stream or collected and filtered through a water container, such as a canteen or Nalgene® bottle. The LifeStraw® averages about $20 at most sporting goods stores. The LifeStraw® is a budget-friendly option to consider as a water filtration item. As with any outdoor gear or tool, everyone has a preference for a particular multitool. The same is true when considering a Sawyer® MINI or a LifeStraw®. LifeStraw® was the first water filtration device that I put in my backpack. I still use them in my family emergency kit. Description: The manufacturer gives the following description: The LifeStraw makes contaminated water safe to drink by removing bacteria and parasites, preventing the majority of waterborne disease. Use it for drinking directly from streams and lakes, or fill up a container and use your LifeStraw to enjoy clean water on the go. The LifeStraw has countless shelf life and once opened can provide an individual with more than 5 years of safe drinking water. Durable and ultralight: weighs only 2 ounces (0.10 lbs.) Long-lasting: filters 1,000 gallons (4,000 liters), enough drinking water for an individual for over 5 years The microbiological, hollow fiber membrane filters to 0.2 microns and removes: 99.999999% of bacteria (including E. coli), 99.999% of parasites (Giardia, Cryptosporidium, etc.), 99.999% of microplastics LifeStraw® is an outstanding water filter or your children’s backpacks. Unlike the Sawyer® MINI, the LifeStraw® is a single item that can be used immediately out of the packaging. They are easy to use. Therefore, they are very child-friendly. LifeStraw® is an excellent water filtration option to consider for your family emergency or hiking considerations. 3. Aquamira® Tactical Frontier Pro Ultralight Filter Aquamira® is an industry leader in the water treatment and filtration market. Their chlorine-dioxide water treatment tablets are a standard for chemically treating water in the field. The company offers a variety of water filtration items from water filters to water filter bottles. However, one of the best things to consider as a water filtration option is the Tactical Frontier Pro Ultralight water straw. It is comparable to the Sawyer® MINI. Yet, it is has a rating to filter only 50 gallons of water versus the 100k gallon of the Sawyer® MINI. The concept for this water filter is as an emergency back up to complement other ways to process water in the field. It is smaller than the Sawyer® MINI. Therefore, it is a great water filter consideration for your EDC bag, ultralight hiking, or day hike on the trail. It is a short-term water filtration solution. By contrast, the Sawyer® MINI or LifeStraw® are solutions intended to be in use for more extended periods in more austere environments. Description: Aquamira® describes the Tactical Frontier Pro in the following way: It has a GRN Line Bacteria Filter with up to 500 ml/minute flow rate with a certified filtration for 50 gallons (over 180 L). It is ultralight and compact 2.5 oz. (71 g) packable protection. The Tactical Frontier Pro comes has a replaceable filter design means highly cost-effective extra capacity capability. Connects to bottles, bags, bladders, and gravity systems via UQC quick connects. Includes three pre-filters to extend filter life and remove twigs and debris. Comes packaged in a zipper pouch which doubles as a water collection and storage unit. Miraguard™ Antimicrobial* Technology suppresses the growth of bacteria, algae, fungus, mold and mildew within the filter media. BPA free, chemical free, and iodine free. Filter made in the USA In Summary Water is an essential part of survival in an outdoor environment. The following water filters: Sawyer® MINI, LifeStraw®, and Frontier Max are the best options on the market from which to choose. As you plan your next outdoor adventure, remember to consider a water filter straw device to include in your packing list. You never know when an emergency situation may arise. Therefore, be prepared, be safe, and enjoy the outdoors. The post 3 Excellent Water Filtration Options To Keep You Hydrated appeared first on SIGMA 3 Survival School. View the full article
  6. Is your emergency survival planning on PACE? The spring outdoor season is upon us. The springtime is a great time to spend outdoors. The plans for your next outdoor experience are almost complete. Many survival experts agree that building redundancy in your gear and planning is essential to ensuring getting through an emergency. A simple method for building those layers is one that is from the military. The process for preparing and organizing your activities and gear is the PACE technique. Assessing Your PACE PACE is an acronym for Primary (P), Alternate (A), Contingency (C), and Emergency (E). These are layers of redundancy to ensure essential capabilities are available at all times under any circumstances. The PACE technique applies to the different methods of survival: primitive, bushcraft, military, or blended. However, several questions must be answered before applying this method. First, you need to answer the five W’s of your outdoor activity: who, what, where, when, why, along with how. Assess Experience and Knowledge Next, you need to assess your level of experience and knowledge: beginner, intermediate, or expert. Additionally, you should also evaluate the level of experience of others. This should be done especially if you are accompanying or leading a group. You should know yourself and those in your group. Furthermore, each member of the group needs to be aware of the level of experience of the other members of the group. Also, you and each member of your group should know what everyone else is carrying for gear. Thus, it is wise to share each other’s packing list. Assess Critical Capabilities Third, assess your critical capabilities supporting the activity: first aid, navigation, communication, security? The definition of critical capabilities are those assets that you or your group possess that if lost would jeopardize the survival of yourself or others. Consequently, that means having a good understanding of yourself and your gear and those of the others in your group. If you are in a group, one technique would be to share each other’s packing lists. Assess Local Terrain and Weather Fourth, you need to determine the type of terrain and local weather characteristics. It is crucial to survival planning to know where you are going, what time of the year you are going, and what are the patterns of weather where you are going. Others have found themselves in emergency survival situations due to unexpected weather events, such as flash floods. Consequently, they were underprepared for the scenario. Thus, take the time to really understand the historical, current, and projected weather of the location for your outdoor activity. For example, many people have reported their surprise at how cold the desert can get at night in the spring. Assess Emergency Assistance Availability Finally, you should understand the availability and access to emergency assistance near the planned activity site. One of the quickest ways to resolve an emergency survival situation is having a basic knowledge of the support available at your location and how to access it. There was a recent story of a teenage boy who ran almost six miles to a park ranger station to get help for his injured father. The young man could not do that if he did not know how to get to that ranger station. The key to survival planning is gaining situational awareness to better PACE yourself. PACE Your Critical Capabilities 1. P: Primary For the purposes of this article, the capability that will model the PACE method is communication. However, the PACE method applies to any asset or ability that you assess as critical to the success of your outdoor adventures, such as making a fire, rendering first aid, building a shelter, food procurement, or water processing. Therefore, for this hypothetical outdoor scenario, forms of communication are a critical capability that cannot be lost or activities will cease or lives will be jeopardized. An example of a primary means of communication is a smartphone. Smartphones are becoming more sophisticated every year. They come with a variety of domestic and foreign plans, as well as applications. Many smartphones can function as satellite communication devices in an emergency where there is no commercial wireless coverage. The implied tasks for keeping a smartphone running in the outdoors is to maintain wireless coverage and to charge the battery. Thus, an essential capability for smartphone use in the field is the ability to keep charging the battery with a solar powered charger. 2. A: Alternate An alternate form of communication in the field is a hand-held radio (HHR). A hand-held radio is also known as a walkie-talkie. HHR devices come in many forms. These radios can transmit and receive voice communication over a limited distance. However, for communicating with an HHR over an extended range, the ability to relay signals through a repeating tower come into play. As with the smartphone, keeping the battery charged on an HHR in the field is also essential. 3. C: Contingency The definition of contingency is a provision for an unforeseen event or circumstance. Thus, for survival planning a contingency communication asset may be a Garmin® inReach Mini or a SPOT™ Gen 3 device. These devices are for sending out emergency text messages through a satellite service with geo-location information to help first responders find you. These items are almost a last resort communication device if the smartphone or HHR radio goes down or is lost during an emergency survival situation. 4. E: Emergency An emergency communications capability is an asset that is for when all of the previous devices malfunction, get broken, lose power, or become lost. An example of an emergency communication capability might be a signal fire, signal flares, signal mirror, air horn, or a signal panel (VS-17). Therefore, an emergency signal capability could be any method that you can employ to communicate to others your location or whereabouts. Some Final Thoughts The PACE method is a valuable method to help you think through maintaining essential capabilities while outdoors. There is no right or wrong solution to determining your critical capabilities. Each outdoor activity is different. Therefore, the needs will be different. For example, a day-long fishing trip to a nearby location will be different than a hunting trip to Alaska. The same is true for preparing for emergency disasters. The survival needs for my area and family will be different than for those living in the upper Midwest. Thus, the PACE method helps you to think through the preparedness process and to resource your needs. The post Is Your Survival Planning On PACE? appeared first on SIGMA 3 Survival School. View the full article
  7. There are 5 quality fire starter options to consider for your fire kit. The spring and summer outdoor season is upon us. As we plan to go and enjoy the outdoors, having a good fire kit is an essential part of your packing list. Fire is one of the core elements of survival along with food, shelter, and water. Thus, having a reliable, quality fire starter is an essential part of an effective fire kit to carry on your next adventure. These five fire starters are a great items as your build or improve your fire kit. 1. Bic® Lighter Most outdoor, survival, and preparedness experts agree that a Bic® lighter is quality fire starter. It is an excellent addition to any level of emergency survival kit. The Bic® lighter is a butane fuel lighter and will work well under most conditions. It produces a flame pretty consistently. Therefore, in an emergency situation, you can not go wrong having a Bic lighter as part of your fire kit. Moreover, carrying one of these lighters in your Urban-Suburban EDC bag is a must. There are a couple of limitations with the Bic lighters. First, they contain a limited quantity of butane fuel. The next limitation with this lighter is that the thumb-depressed valve can be pushed open. This can cause the butane vapors to escape. Finally, a third limitation of these lighters is that the butane fuel can leak out over time. However, most of these limitations can be overcome by simple hacks or with an Exotac® FireSLEEVE™. 2. Ferro Rod and Striker The ferro rod and striker another quality fire starter. Ferro rods are a standard item in most bushcraft fire making kits. The ferro (short for ferrocerium) is a metal rod of iron alloy. Ferrum is the Latin word for iron from which the ferrocerium rod gets its name. The ferrocerium rod is a combination of iron (ferrum) and cerium. Cerium is another natural element on the Periodic Table of Elements. Carl Auer von Welsbach discovered the fire making aspects of them when these two metals are combined into the alloy compound, ferrocerium. Ferro rods come in many lengths, widths and configurations, such as having a wood or plastic handle on one end. The Sigma 3 Survival Store offers one of the best ferro rods and strikers on the market. The ferro rod is 6 inches long and a ½ inch in diameter. These dimensions ensure that the rod will last in the field. Moreover, it will give you plenty of fire making capability long after the Bic® lighter has run out of fuel. The only limitation with the ferro rod and striker is it does not produce a flame within itself like the Bic® lighter. To gain a flame with this fire making instrument, you will have to possess or obtain a combustible tinder source. For more information on tinder sources check out the article, Four Optional Tinder Sources. 3. Exotac® NanoSTRIKER XL™ The Exotac® NanoSTRIKER XL is another quality fire starter on the market. It is one of the most popular ferro rods being purchased by outdoorsman. It has a small diameter (.43 in.) and a modest length (4.17 in.). The striker has the dimensions of a tactical ball point pen. As a result, it fits well into an EDC kit or any level of emergency survival kit. Moreover, it is well suited to be carried into the field on a multiday outdoor activity such as a fishing, hunting, or thru-hiking. As with the ferro rod-and-striker above, you must use this in conjunction with a tinder source. Some optional tinder sources can be Birch Bark, Quick Tender, Wet Fire Cubes, Fire Stix, or some other natural or manufactured tinder. 4. UCO Gear® Survival Stormproof Match Kit Another quality fire starter to consider for your fire kit is the UCO Gear® Survival Stormproof Match Kit. UCO produces the best quality stormproof matches and match products on the market. The Survival Stormproof Match Kit is perfect as a redundancy item in your fire-making kit. Furthermore, stormproof matches are part of most military survival kits. Therefore, you can not go wrong with adding this match kit to your field packing list. The kit comes with a clear plastic waterproof container. The container measures approximately 2.25 in. long and 1 in. wide. There are 15 water and waterproof matches inside. There is cotton batting in the lid and a paper match striker on the side. Some have complained about the quality of the matches on venues like Amazon®. However, you can purchase this match kit directly from UCO Gear or the Sigma 3 Survival Store if you want to ensure the quality of the product. 5. UST® Spark Force™ Firestarter The final consideration for a quality fire starter is the UST® Spark Force™ Firestarter. Ultimate Survival Technologies (UST)® makes two versions of this product. The Spark Force™ and the larger Strike Force™. I have owned both products and they are excellent items for your kit. You will not go wrong with either product. The Spark Force ™ is more compact. Consequently, it is more easily stored in EDC packs, your pocket, or your personal survival kit. The Spark Force™ is 3 in. long and ¾ in. wide. It has a lanyard that keeps the striker and rod together. The casing is high impact ABS plastic. The ferro rod is around 2 inches long. The purpose of this striker is for emergency situations as a backup fire making option. It was not designed to be your main fire starting instrument. Moreover, it is small enough that children can use it when they are properly trained on it. Some Final Thoughts A quality fire starter is a crucial item in your survival kit or outdoor adventure loadout. Redundancy items in your fire-making kit will ensure that you can make a fire in an emergency. One of the best fire-making kits on the market is the Sigma 3 Fire Kit. You can read my review of the Sigma 3 Fire Kit if you want more information about it. However, if you choose to build or improve your own fire-making kit, the five fire-starting options listed above will greatly enhance your fire making capability in the field. The post 5 Quality Fire Starter Options appeared first on SIGMA 3 Survival School. View the full article
  8. There are eight must-have tools to include in your home emergency disaster kit. The change of seasons is upon us. The severe weather that marks the shift from winter to spring will begin soon. Are you prepared for tornados, flooding, or severe thunderstorms? Later, summer and early fall will bring similar weather emergencies to include those from the hurricane season. As the strange weather patterns affect our nation, it is prudent to consider the tools that we have available in our home emergency kits. 1. Chain Saw The chain saw is one of the top tools that emergency preparedness experts recommend that you have in your home emergency disaster kit. The advantage that you have with a chain saw is excellent. It will help you process fallen trees. Additionally, it will help cut through wood framing of fallen homes to recover or rescue someone. Several companies sell reliable chain saws: Poulan, Stihl, Husqvarna, and Black & Decker. Chain saws come in two types: gas and battery. If using a chain saw is not part of your regular routine, then it is advisable to purchase a battery powered one. People have their individual preferences on chain saw brands. So do some research and shop around for the chain saw and brand that fits your knowledge, experience, and budget. 2. Fireman’s Ax Another essential tool to keep in your home emergency disaster kit is an ax. There are many types of axes and brands. Axes tend to come with one of three types of handles: wood, fiberglass, or steel. There are three styles of bit blades for axes: single bit, double bit, and combination bit. The best ax to keep in your emergency kit is the fireman’s ax. The fireman’s ax is the standard tool in use with most fire departments. The fireman’s ax has a distinctive head. The ax head has a single-bit blade on one side and a pick poll opposite the blade. This kind of blade bit is a combination bit. Firefighters use the ax to breach doors and walls to rescue people inside a burning building. A fireman’s ax is excellent for chopping wood when necessary, such as fallen trees. 3. Limb Saw A third tool that emergency preparedness experts recommend keeping in your kit is a reliable limb saw. The advantage of having a limb saw handy after an emergency is the ability to cut smaller pieces of wood. The chain saw helps cut the large diameter tree trunks and limbs. However, a good limb saw can effectively cut the smaller diameter limbs not practical for cutting with a chain saw. There are several styles and brands of limb saws. The most well-known are the folding limb saws in use by outdoorsman. However, the limb saws that will be practical for use in the wake of a weather disaster are the larger bow or pruning saws. The are several types and brands of limb saws. The best brands on the market are Silky, Bahco, and Fiskars. Black & Decker and some other companies make powered limb saws. They look like miniature chain saws on the end of a long pole. Thus, whichever style and brand of limb saw you choose, they are a great tool to keep in your kit. 4. Gas Shut-Off Wrench The gas shut-off wrench is one of the more essential tools to hold in one’s home disaster emergency kit. The wrench is sometimes known as the utility shut-off wrench. These wrenches will shut off both the water main and the main gas valves on your home. Having one of these tools is essential. The wrench will help you turn off water and gas that may be escaping from a fallen house after a storm. There are many styles of these wrenches. Be sure to purchase one that can shut off both water and gas. 5. Crow or Pry Bar A tool that is often recommended by emergency preppers for a home disaster kit is a crow or pry bar. They are different tools with different applications. However, they both give a person the ability to pry and lift debris after a disaster. Most hardware stores sell these tools. The significant difference between these tools is their size and appearance. Typically, a pry bar is no longer than twenty-four inches, has a flat body with a curved end. The crowbar can be longer, has a rounded shape, and has a claw hook at one end, similar to a claw hammer. The crowbar is a tool to give leverage to lift heavy objects. A pry bar is a tool used by carpenters for pulling nails, lifting up sheetrock or wall paneling. Pry bars and crowbars can come in lengths that will fit in most tool boxes. They both have flattened ends with notches for pulling nails at each end of their bodies. 6. Sledge Hammer A sledgehammer is a tool that is often recommended by the experts as an essential item in one’s disaster kit. Sledgehammers come with different handle lengths and hammerhead weights. The most common sledgehammer is one with a eight-pound head and twenty-four-inch handle. Sledgehammers also have handles that come in wood, fiberglass, or steel. Sledgehammers are great for breaking concrete, masonry, and sheetrock. 7. Bolt Cutters A tool that is not often in the discussion of tools for home emergency disaster kits is the bolt cutter. Bolt cutters come in a few sizes. The most common bolt cutters in use are thirty-six inches and twenty-four inches in length. However, bolt cutters can be as small as fourteen inches. Bolt cutters are excellent for cutting through fencing, wire, anchor bolts, and padlock shackles. In the wake of an emergency, using a bolt cutter to free someone may be the difference between a rescue and a recovery. 8. Shovel The final tool that one should have in their home emergency disaster kit is a shovel. There are two kinds of shovels, a squared end, and round end. They also come with either a wood handle or a fiberglass handle. There are a variety of shovels on the market. The rounded end shovel is primary for digging. The squared end shovel is for scooping. Your situation may require keeping both types in your kit. However, a good shovel will make cleaning up your property or helping others do the same much easier. Some Concluding Observations The eight essential tools for one’s disaster emergency kit are important for post-disaster cleanup and recovery. The latest tornado disaster of recent days gives insight into how being prepared helps communities come together and recover. These essential tools will not only help you; they can help your neighbor also after a weather-related disaster. As you think about these tools, keep in mind that your location plays a part in what to include. Thus, you can not go wrong with a well thought out disaster kit containing the proper tools. The post Eight Must-Have Emergency Disaster Kit Tools appeared first on SIGMA 3 Survival School. View the full article
  9. Individual survival gear approaches have two common categories: tactical and non-tactical. The two approaches to personal gear feature some common items. However, they also have some stark differences. Therefore, it is essential to have a working understanding of both approaches. It will help you to discern the kinds of resources to purchase and types of kits to build. In a previous article, we discussed the three popular approaches to survival. The purpose of that article is to familiarize you with the conventional methods of survival in general. In this article, we will close in on the two common approaches people use to purchase and organize their survival gear. There are a few factors to keep in mind when assessing which method to take regarding your survival or prepping loadout. The first factor influencing your survival gear approach is your experience with your equipment. People tend to fall back on what they are comfortable with in general. How a person organizes their survival or prepping gear is no different. The second factor is knowledge about your survival gear. Most people will only put gear in their survival loadout in which they have knowledge and experience. The final factor governing the approach one takes to survival gear loadout is finances. Some people cannot afford the top-of-the-line survival gear regardless of the approach that they prefer to use to build their kits. Consequently, they look for budget-friendly quality gear to develop their loadout. 1. The Tactical Approach Overview The tactical approach centers on finding a military or tactical solution to solving survival and prepping questions. The individual gear that typically identifies this approach is the military surplus items. However, the modern tactical gear designed for the military or law enforcement also falls into this approach. If one prefers the tactical approach to gear and gear organization, then learning how the military or law enforcement personnel use and organize their gear will be of interest. Typically, this approach appeals to those with current or previous military or law enforcement experience. However, there is a growing interest in this approach among those never associated with military or law enforcement. Military packing lists for various situations helps one to understand this approach. The most common packing list of this type is the ALICE rucksack packing list. Military manuals covering survival gives insight into the tactical approach to survival and preparedness. However, as with anything related to military and law enforcement, gear recommendations and techniques for their organization are directly related to military and law enforcement operations. They are never meant to be duplicated by those not employed in those professions. Advantages There are some advantages to the tactical approach. The most significant advantage is the proven reliability and practicality of military gear and its use in the field. Most individual tactical gear in use with the military or law enforcement must meet high standards and pass rigorous testing. Consequently, the tactical gear tends to be of higher quality than its non-military counterparts. Moreover, the way military and law enforcement personnel organize and use their gear also brings some reliability to the tactical approach. For example, many people are interested in how the SOF community approaches survival and prepping. Why? SOF approaches have inherent credibility and reliability. Therefore, desiring to know what gear the SOF community uses and how they organize it is of interest. Disadvantages: The main drawback with the tactical approach to gear and gear organization is it can give a false sense of security. A well-known comic artist published a meme several years ago called, Gear-do, a wordplay on the word, weirdo. It shows a soldier all kitted up to kick in doors, who is in an administrative desk job. In essence, the soldier had too much gear for the situation and his good. Furthermore, possessing tactical gear, in-and-of-itself, does not guarantee you will survive an emergency. You have to be proficient in using it. 2. The Non-Tactical Approach Overview The second most common way people approach gear purchases and organizing that gear is known as the non-tactical approach. The non-tactical approach to gear and gear organization is a favorite method of bushcrafters and homesteaders. The growing interest in being a “gray man” is also fueling the non-tactical approach. This approach emphasizes gear that reflects the frontier, old west, or everyday carry (EDC) in an urban or suburban setting. Leather and non-camouflage gear is a characteristic of this approach. Weapons preferences also tend to be non-tactical, such as revolvers over semi-automatic pistols. Leather and solid color nylon pouches are a preference over camouflage ones. Furthermore, backpacks tend to be solid colors, like black or grey, without much Pouch Attachment Ladder System (PALS) webbing, if any. Advantages: The main advantage of the non-tactical approach to gear and gear organization is that it facilitates stealth. Those looking to blend into their environment and to avoid confrontation should consider a non-tactical approach. Another advantage of this approach is that it tends to simplify backpack organization into dry bags, stuff sacks, or Ziploc bags. Furthermore, the non-tactical approach offers more variety of colors for a piece of gear than the tactical. Kelty, for example, offers various colors for the Redwing 50 non-tactical packs. There is a limited color choice for their tactical line of backpacks, like the Raven 2500. Disadvantages: The non-tactical approach brings some difficulties. The most significant weakness in the non-tactical approach is in the durability and reliability of the gear. Generally, non-tactical backpacks do not feature ballistic Cordura® nylon as the primary construction material. Non-tactical pouches have thin ripstop nylon. Moreover, the non-tactical approach to organizing gear is to put it into dry bags or cinch sacks. Consequently, this approach may cause a waste of time looking for an item inside a backpack. Whereas, that same piece of gear may be stored in an outside pocket of a 5.11 Rush backpack, ALICE rucksack, or Condor Battle Belt Rig. Final Thoughts The approach that one takes to gear and organizing gear will occupy much time and thought. Tactical and non-tactical approaches have advantages and disadvantages. The environment in which you will most likely have to operate during a survival emergency will dictate your preferred strategy. Some people use a hybrid approach. They borrow aspects from both the tactical and non-tactical elements and blend them into a personalized method. However, it is wise also to consider your knowledge and experience with gear and gear organization methods. Therefore, it is helpful to take time to review your approach, the gear you use, and how you will organize it. The post Individual Survival Gear Approaches appeared first on SIGMA 3 Survival School. View the full article
  10. The three shelter categories are: hasty, semi-permanent, and permanent. Shelter is one of the core essentials of survival. Thus, it makes sense to have a working knowledge of the categories of shelter. A person can die from environmental exposure in as little as three hours without shelter. Of course, this rule is dependent on environmental and health factors. Furthermore, it is helpful to remember that there are many types of shelters within each category. Therefore, it is beyond the scope of this article to discuss all of the styles of shelter construction. Shelter Category # 1: Hasty or Temporary Shelters The most common type of wilderness or emergency shelter is known as the hasty shelter or temporary shelter. This shelter category has a quick construction. They also give temporary relief from environmental conditions. Debris shelters, wickiups, lean-tos, or one-person tents are examples of this shelter category. The best hasty shelters make good use of available natural resources. Sometimes, they combine both natural and manufactured materials such as leaves, branches, trash bags, and trekking poles. In the military, hasty shelters are nick-named, hootches, and feature the use of the military-issue rain poncho. Advantages The main advantage of this shelter category is the relative ease of construction. They can be constructed within a few minutes to a couple of hours depending on what you are trying to build. Hasty shelters that are made well are effective in keeping precipitation off of you and your gear. They also deflect wind from off of your body. Another advantage of hasty shelters is they are efficient in helping maintain the core temperature of your body. Great shelters, regardless of natural or man-made, will help you stay warm or cool as well as keep you dry. However, the critical point here is knowing how to build a hasty shelter correctly out of natural materials. Disadvantages There are some disadvantages with this shelter category. One problem with hasty shelters is that they have limitations in their ability to protect you from exposure to environmental factors. Wind, rain, heat, and cold can still get to you through a hasty shelter, although not as much as if you were exposed. Moreover, hasty shelters require some skill and experience in building them correctly in various environments. For example, one famous survival television personality failed miserably to make an igloo shelter in the artic with limited knowledge and no experience in building them. Building shelters from natural materials can be problematic for those with little experience. In a survival situation, the inability to put up an adequate shelter with natural resources under adverse conditions could be disastrous. Factors Influencing Use There are some underlying factors to consider when deciding upon the kind of hasty shelter to construct. These factors are time, terrain, and available natural resources. For example, military personnel trained in sophisticated survival, escape, and evasion techniques, are moving most of the time. Therefore, they will not construct very elaborate shelters in the field. They will build a shelter to get them through the night and move on the next day. By contrast, someone on a multiday hike may decide to put up a Snugpak® Ionosphere™ tent in which to spend the night, rather than build a debris hut. Furthermore, it is important to remember that some terrain does not provide enough natural resources to build an adequate shelter for this shelter category. Therefore, it is good to carry a reliable manufactured single-person tent into the field as a backup if possible. Marmot, Kelty, MSR, and Nemo are companies that offer pack-friendly tents. Shelter Category # 2: Semi-Permanent Shelters The next shelter category is semi-permanent. As the name implies, these shelters are more permanent than hasty shelters. The classic example of semi-permanent shelters would be the native-American Tee-pee. Other examples in this shelter category are the Bedouin family tent, or a large military tent, like the U.S. Army DRASH tents. The Tentipi Safir 5 Light Tent is another example of a semi-permanent shelter. However, bamboo, sod homes, or grass hut dwellings could be included in the semi-permanent shelter category. Additionally, log cabins can be semi-permanent or permanent depending on their construction. Therefore, a semi-permanent shelter is one that has no permanent anchor to the ground by attachment to a foundation. Advantages One Advantage of semi-permanent shelters is they offer better protection from the elements of the weather. They also give better protection against the large predatory animals, such as bears, wolves, or cougars. Another advantage of semi-permanent shelters is that they are transportable if necessary. The mobility of semi-permanent shelters is not as easy as a single-person tent. Nevertheless, they are mobile. The sustainment of the Native-American tribes came by following the vast buffalo herds. Consequently, their family shelters had to move with them. Disadvantages A significant disadvantage of this shelter category is that they are susceptible to destruction by high winds. High winds can topple these kinds of shelter because of not having a permanent anchor to the ground. Another disadvantage is that they require more effort to move than a hasty shelter. In the middle east, the Bedouin tribes have to move large carpets and blankets that are their tent covers. Breaking down an enclave of semi-permanent shelters and moving them takes much energy to accomplish. Factors Influencing Use A few factors to consider about building a semi-permanent shelter. First, what is the purpose of the shelter? If you are continually trekking over terrain, constructing a semi-permanent shelter is not the best use of time or resources. However, if you are looking to stake a claim and set up a homestead, then a semi-permanent shelter is wise. Another factor to consider is location. Is there enough area and natural resources to build a semi-permanent shelter? If the place cannot sustain you with adequate food, water, and arable soil, then your semi-permanent shelter may have to be moved. Shelter Category # 3: Permanent Shelters Permanent shelters are the final category of consideration. A person building a permanent shelter signals an intent to stay in one place for a long time. Permanent shelters can sit on a foundation of rock, brick, or concrete. The dwelling is anchored to the foundation in such a manner that the building does not move, even in high winds. Permanent shelters take a considerable amount of time to construct, especially with the use of masonry. Furthermore, it takes a higher level of skill and knowledge to build a permanent shelter. An example of a permanent shelter would be a suburban family residential home. However, caves could be a kind of permanent housing, even though a person does not build a cave, he only occupies it. Advantages A significant advantage of a permanent shelter is that it is considerably more resistant to environmental factors, such as wind, rain, or cold. Permanent shelters also give better protection against predators. Another advantage of permanent shelters is that they offer a one-building solution to shelter a family. Additionally, they provide some social, emotional, and psychological stability to people due to the permanence that they bring. Disadvantages One disadvantage of a permanent shelter is that it is in immobile in all practicality. Permanent shelters require a tremendous amount of time and resources to construct. Typically, survival reasons cause people to abandon their permanent shelters. The Anasazi peoples of the southwest United States abandoned their permanent shelters (see pic). Moreover, the recent flooding from hurricanes and the wildfires in California give a stark reality to leaving permanent shelters for the sake of safety or survival. Factors Influencing Use A consideration of some important factors should influence decisions about building a permanent shelter. The first factor is deciding if living in a particular location is going to be permanent. Arable land, water, game, and other natural resources will dictate if an area is going to sustain a long-term settlement. Another factor is your personal experience and knowledge in building a permanent shelter. You may need to solicit help with making such a shelter. Is there assistance available? Final Thoughts Shelter is one of the core essentials of survival. Every human being needs shelter to enable long-term survival. Our human experience integrates the three categories of shelters to survive in this world. Thus, it is essential to know these categories to help make decisions about what kind of shelter to construct. An outdoor emergency in the wilderness will not facilitate a semi-permanent or permanent shelter. A person’s main task under those circumstances is to make it out alive. Thus, becoming adept at constructing hasty shelters from natural resources is one of those crucial tasks to master before going for a long trek outdoors. The post The Three Shelter Categories appeared first on SIGMA 3 Survival School. View the full article
  11. There are 3 critical factors about footwear to remember. The footwear that you choose will help you or hurt you in a survival situation. Footwear is one of the standard pieces of gear that transcend wilderness or urban survival scenarios. In a previous article, there was a discussion on how to maintain and care for your feet was the focus. However, footwear, itself will be the topic of this article. I will not discuss a particular brand or style. Yet, the following factors for choosing and wearing footwear will help you decide on the other concerns. Let us see what the critical factors are to consider regarding your shoes. Proper Fit Properly fitting footwear is critical for the health of your feet. It is also essential for ensuring your survival in an emergency situation. The purpose of a shoe fluences its design. The fit of the shoe also will reflect how they fit your foot. For example, a running shoe will fit your foot different than a tactical military boot. Therefore, ensuring a proper fit of your footwear should be an essential aspect of what you purchase. There are two keys to remember about finding proper fitting footwear: your foot size and your foot arch. Foot Size The length and width of your feet can be easily measured with a device called a Brannock Device. The Brannock Device is the measuring tool that the salesman uses at your local shoe store. However, these measuring devices are available to the general public for purchase. The Brannock Device Company offers instructions on the proper measurement of your feet and the use of their equipment. Moreover, it is essential to know the length and width of your feet when choosing footwear. Some will advise purchasing outdoor footwear that is ½ to a full foot size larger than your actual foot measurement. You should be careful about this technique. Others may recommend buying an equivalent female shoe if you are a male and cannot find footwear in your size. It could cause your feet to get tore up in a long term wilderness survival situation. Remember that outdoor footwear will feel snug and stiff on your feet when new. However, over time, the shoe material will get wet, dry, hot, cold, and muddy. As a result, the outdoor environment causes the shoe material to stretch and become pliable. Afterward, your feet will begin to move and slip within the footwear. Consequently, your feet will develop blisters, hammer toe, and other foot problems. These are problems you want to reduce or avoid in a field environment. Foot Arch Another aspect of footwear that is essential to a proper fit is your foot arch. The Brannock device will help measure your foot arch using the heal-to-ball of the foot technique. The technique is useful for finding the beginning and end of your arch. However, arch height is critical also to a properly fitting shoe or boot. Is your arch high, flat, or normal? The arch of your foot will influence if you need arch support insert (orthotics). Some footwear companies make orthotic inserts for their shoes or boots. Thus, your feet and ankles will become fatigued very quickly if you have not accounted for your foot arch type, even if the foot or shoe fits properly in length and width. Break Them In Another critical factor about footwear is breaking them in. Hiking shoes or boots will fit snug when you try them on in the store. However, after a few days or weeks in the field, they will become loose on your feet. There are many techniques for breaking in new outdoor footwear. Military or tactical boots that are mostly leather, such as the jungle boots by Altama®, require some effort to break-in. By contrast, commercial hiking shoes or boots made of a combination of materials, just wearing them for a couple of days or weeks as your primary footwear will break them in. Another factor concerning breaking in the hiking boot is whether it has a Gore-Tex® liner. When you try Gore-Tex® boots on, your feet feel very snug in them. However, over time that “padded” feeling tends to lessen with the use of the boot. There are several reasons for this. First, Gore-Tex® does not have an extensively long lifecycle. Second, the principal material in Gore-Tex, latex, will lose its elasticity and other properties over time. Additionally, improper care of Gore-Tex shoes or boots will hasten this process. Proper Maintenance Another thing to be mindful of about footwear is adequate maintenance. All-leather boots require much more diligence in keeping them maintained than Teflon material boots. Gore-Tex lined footwear should be air dried. Cleaning Non-Leather Footwear You do this by removing all of the laces and folding out the tongue to open up the boot to as much air as possible. If you have a 5 to 8-inch tall boot, then you will need to try to fold down the top of the boot if it is flexible enough. Otherwise, just leave it as is. With Teflon or Teflon/Suede combination material, you can use a stiff, but a flexible brush to clean the outside. If your Teflon boots have a Gore-Tex liner, then you can wash them in clean, cold water and let them air dry on your porch or in your washroom. Cleaning Leather Footwear In caring for all-leather boots (not suede), you can wash them in luke-warm water with mild dish soap on the outside. Use a soft brush or toothbrush to clean off any excessive dirt. Let them air dry as described above for the Gore-Tex lined boots. You will notice after a while that your leather boots will have some white, chalky residue appearing on the surface of the boot. Do not be alarmed, this is some of the leather salts coming to the surface after being wet. After the boots have dried, you can take saddle soap and clean off the white chalky stuff. Rub the saddle soap into the leather very thoroughly, this includes the boot tongue and seams. After using the saddle soap, you can wipe the boot down with a damp cloth to get the excess saddle soap off. Let the boot sit for a couple of hours or for a day or two to let the soap work its way into the leather. When this process is complete, you can apply the boot polish or, in some cases, mink oil, as a way of waterproofing the boot. However, I have found if your boot leather is not waterproofed already with oils, like the Matterhorn Boot, then a boot polish is the first layer of defense in keeping the leather in top condition. You do not have to polish the boot to a high sheen, put the boot polish is critical in preventing the boot leather from deteriorating. So do not ignore its importance. Final Observations Footwear is a fun and exciting topic to discuss. Additionally, there two other considerations related to footwear that influence how they fit your feet: socks and lacing. Proper lacing and proper socks are essential to keeping your feet healthy when wearing your footwear. Remember when it comes to boots and the things related to your shoes, what works for you is what is best for you. The post 3 Critical Factors About Footwear appeared first on SIGMA 3 Survival School. View the full article
  12. We want to welcome Michael Lizotte as the newest member of the Sigma 3 Survival School family. He is from Canada and operates the Redbeard Survival School in Quebec. His Background Michael is a French Canadian who formally served with the Royal 22nd Regiment of Canada as a paratrooper. As a result, he completed tours in Afghanistan, Haiti, and Northern Quebec. Afterwards, Michael pursued his love for the outdoors. Later, in 2016, he participated in The Woods Canada Greatest Explorer Competition aiming to win the title of Canada’s Greatest Explorer. Michael’s love for the outdoors and survival training continues to grow. Subsequently, Michael went on to establish the Redbeard Survival School. His Survival Training Michael received his first knife at 4 years old. His grandfather taught him basic woodsmanship along with trapping and fishing. Michael quickly began to become more interested in wilderness living and survival. Later, he realized that teaching wilderness survival was his life’s passion, while serving in the Canadian Army. He quit the army in 2014 after 3 deployments to open his own survival school which became fully operational in 2016. Wanting to push further his instructions quality, he joins the 45 days instructor program with Sigma 3 where he graduated proudly. Now working full-time on his school, he always seeks to push his limits further into the survival culture. He is qualified in winter survival, primitive skills, search-and-rescue, with additional skills in TCCC (Tactical combat casualty care), TIOP (Tactical Intelligence Operator). His Survival School Michael knew he would own a survival school since his childhood. He established the Redbeard Survival School in Quebec, Canada in 2016. The mission of Redbeard Survival is to educate amateurs and professionals in all fields, including police and military bodies, to avoid any situation of survival. The school states that by learning the basics of survival, students will become a key element in an emergency situation, preventing putting your life or that of your loved ones at risk. The approach that Redbeard Survival employs is based on live experiences and adapted to the reality of today. They also look at primitive techniques, while valuing modern techniques, so that students can be ready for any emergency situation. Thus, we welcome Michael to the Sigma 3 Survival family! The post Michael Lizotte-Newest Member Of The Sigma 3 Family appeared first on SIGMA 3 Survival School. View the full article
  13. Sigma 3 Survival School is extending for 60 additional days our $6000 Survival Class Give Away Contest. Why? We are helping our friend and colleague, Justin Sage Williams. Recently, he was diagnosed by his doctors with stage 4 brain cancer. Justin is a former instructor at the Sigma 3 Survival School. He is now the founder and wilderness survival instructor of Axis Off Grid. Axis Off Grid is his outdoor living school. However, if you are not familiar with Justin’s background in bushcraft and outdoor survival, below is a short overview of Justin. Wilderness Survival Training Justin “Sage” Williams, is an avid woodsman. He grew up hiking, fishing, and camping in the Ozark Mountains his entire life. Consequently, Justin developed an interest in bushcraft in 2007. As a result, he then began wilderness survival training. In 2010, He attended the Pathfinder School to gain additional wilderness survival training in 2010. Justin went on to begin training in modern trapping in 2011. Later, He operated a commercial trap line over a three year period. In 2015, Justin successfully completed multiple wilderness survival training certifications. Thus, he holds certifications from the Pathfinder Survival School, First Earth Wilderness School, Outdoor Leadership Skills OLS, Leave No Trace, Advanced Kayaking, and many others. Wilderness Instructing Consequently, Justin immersed himself into full-time wilderness survival instructor training. in 2016. He completed the 45 Day Survival Sigma 3 Instructor Program that Spring. Justin, currently, holds one of the fastest times to complete the Scout Knife Only course. Moreover, he also has been mentored by the legend John McPherson. John McPherson helped Justin to learn more about homesteading, self-reliance, wilderness survival, flint knapping, and starting a survival school. As a result, Justin went on to become the Director of Operations and Lead Instructor for one of the largest wilderness survival schools in the U.S. As a result of his experience, Justin opened his Axis Off Grid wilderness survival school in 2019. How to Help Justin Moreover, if you want more information on Justin’s medical situation and how to help him and his family, check out our previous article, Instructor w/ Brain Cancer; $6000 Class Giveaway. The post EXTENDED 60 Days: $6000 Survival Class Give Away appeared first on SIGMA 3 Survival School. View the full article
  14. Update: Sigma 3 Survival School is extending for 60 days the $6000 Class Giveaway to help Justin Sage Williams as he battles brain cancer. You can read below for additional information on Justin’s medical situation and what we are doing to help him. Background We have a major emergency with Justin Sage Williams, our former Director of Operations at Sigma 3 Survival School. If you trained here in the last 2 years, then you know him and were taught by him. He has a reputation in the survival and bushcraft community of being a man of integrity, compassion, with a gift for teaching others. Justin also has dedication to his faith and his family. People describe Justin as a person with compassion, patience, puts others first, a nice guy, caring, loving, a greater guy you will never meet, loves the outdoors, and a person that is passionate about the outdoors. In other words, Justin is a person that loves God, loves people, and loves the outdoors. The Diagnosis Justin was diagnosed recently with stage 4 brain cancer and has had two surgeries already to remove it. He is a young man at 35 years of age and he has a wife and young children and they are not financially capable of supporting this heavy financial burden. The founder and president of Sigma 3, Rob Allen, is working hard on behalf of Justin and his family to help him and his family in their hour of crisis and need. If you have been to SIGMA 3 or spent much time here, you know we are a global family and do our best to take care of our own. So we are calling on the entire Sigma 3 tribe and global instructor family to help spread the word to raise money for him. Sigma 3 Survival School & Systems has donated a $1000 to his fund and will giving away $6000 in training to auction off to raise money. The Request Rob is asking all of us with the Sigma 3 Survival School family to do our part to help Justin and his family by spreading the word and sharing this video. Lets spread the word about the auction and get people involved that may not know Justin. We need to raise as much awareness as we possibly can. Watch the video below for more details on the giveaway. Participate In The Sigma 3 Survival School Fundraiser Sigma 3 Survival School is currently hosting a GoFundMe fundraiser for Justin. The fundraiser will be an auction for survival courses taught at Sigma 3 Survival School. The courses that will be up for auction will be one, 45-day Survival Course and four Standard Survival Courses. You can take the courses yourself or give them to anyone you want. This is a combined value of $6,000. You will be allowed to place as many bids as you would like. The way it works is like this. After 30 days, the highest bidders will be tabulated and among those bidders the top bidder will receive the Instructor Course slot and the following next highest bidders will receive the standard courses. If you pay attention till the end of the auction, you might be able to get the grand prize for way way less than its worth. So if you’re a person that has been wanting to take the instructor program, but can’t afford it, this might be one way to do it. The auction will run for the next 30 days and then the winners will be announced after all the bids have been tabulated. The final deadline for bidders is February 21, 2019. In order to donate and be part of this auction you’ll need to donate via this link below. This is how we keep of the auction, and you should consider the GoFundMe page the actual auction page. Highest donater wins! We are trying to raise $25000 for Justin and his family to cover their living expenses during this tough time. Every single bit helps a lot, even if it’s only a few bucks. GoFundMe Account for Justin Sage Williams brain cancer! Please Help Justins family and lets keep them in our prayers! Thank you so much for your support! https://youtu.be/V9_1qFc4PvI The post EXTENDED 60 DAYS Instructor with Brain Cancer; $6000 Class Giveaway appeared first on SIGMA 3 Survival School. View the full article
  15. You can assess a survival situation in 3 easy steps. This assessment is based on the military understanding of estimating a situation. The definition of the phrase, estimate of the situation, is, “A process of reasoning by which a commander considers all the circumstances affecting the military situation and arrives at a decision as to a course of action to be taken to accomplish the mission.” (Joint Publication 3-0). Thus, a working definition of assessing a survival situation is a process of reasoning by which a person considers all the circumstances affecting survival and arrives at a decision and course of action that will enable survival through emergency or life-threatening conditions. 1. Analyze Your Current Circumstances The critical step to gaining an accurate assessment of your situation is to analyze your current circumstances. This means that you need to get a proper evaluation of yourself, your environment, your resources, and your equipment. Your ability to accurately grasp these critical areas will set the conditions for the other steps of gaining situational awareness. So let’s look at these areas briefly. Assessing Yourself Health The most critical subtask within this step is to analyze yourself. In an emergency survival situation, your age, health or level of physical fitness is vital to making it through the adversity. If you are injured and immobile, you will not go very far. You must assess, at that point, what is the level of injury or immobility? Then, you must determine if you have the means or capability to remedy the injury or the immobility. Thus, those who have an accurate understanding of themselves and their abilities will make decisions within those limitations. Physical Fitness As well, if your physical fitness is weak, you may find yourself reaching an obstacle of terrain that will stop your continued movement towards rescue. An excellent example of this kind of limitation is in the movie, The Grey. A survivor falls to their death while attempting to cross a ravine because they did not have the strength to hold on to a strap strung across the expanse. An ex-Army Ranger from Vietnam gave testimony that those who survived the jungle warfare of Vietnam were those who had the best physical fitness. He went on to say that those that were out of shape were the first to die in combat. Abilities Moreover, analyzing your health needs, experience, and skills also are critical factors in preparing for emergency situations. A simple adage in military leadership manuals is to know yourself and seek self-improvement. Employing this principle means assessing yourself at all times in light of survival or preparing for emergencies. It is as simple as asking what needs to be done, can I do it, and do I have the resources to do it? Assess Your Environment and Its Resources Next, assessing your environment is the second subtask. It is more than just determining what kind of environment you are in. It also has a good understanding of the types of dangers and resources within that environment. For example, if you are lost in a desert, do you understand the environmental threats and available natural resources? Accurately assessing your environment means fully answering the question, “where am I”? A suitable method for understanding your environment is the following checklist: Type of environment? Seasonal weather conditions? Environmental threats? Natural resources available? Assess Your Available Resources Third, assessing your available resources is the next subtask. This subtask is different than evaluating environmental resources. It is assessing the resources that you are carrying into the environment. In essence, it is evaluating what you have on your person or in your pack to address the essential areas of survival. Those critical areas being food, fire, water, shelter, first-aid, land navigation, communications, and security. You are assessing things such as how much water or food you have left in your backpack now that you are in an emergency situation. Assess Your Equipment A final subtask in this step is assessing your equipment. What equipment do you have and is it still functional? The functionality of your equipment determines how much you are going to have to rely on your survival skills and the natural resources of your environment. You must determine if your pack is ripped up or shoulder straps severed. You must evaluate the condition of your pack frame if it is external. Do you have adequate outerwear for the environment? Does your Garmin GPS or baseplate compass function? Is my fixed-blade knife dull or broken? Are the batteries dead in my headlamp? Did I forget to bring my multitool? These are the kinds of questions to answer when assessing your equipment. Therefore, after evaluating your current circumstances, it is time to make a tentative plan. 2. Make A Tentative Plan It is essential to begin to make a tentative or rough plan after analyzing your circumstances. As the name implies, your survival plan is a rough idea based on the information you have from assessing your situation. The best way to plan is to do it as soon as possible in the survival situation. You are at your best health and fitness to make a plan at this point, if not injured or sick. Your mind is not yet clouded by hunger, lack of water, exhaustion, or exposure. Therefore, put down on paper a working idea of how you plan to effect self-recovery from your emergency situation. Develop a Primary Plan The first part of planning is to develop a primary plan. The primary an is the one that you are most likely going to conduct if everything goes well. The primary plan answers the five “W”s: who, what, where, when, why. It also covers “how” you are going to conduct your plan. Although you may not be able to answer every point, it is best to work through them anyway. Develop an Alternate Plan Developing an alternate survival plan is crucial. Soldiers call this your “When Everything Goes To Hell” plan. There are no guarantees in life. It is especially true in the outdoors. You cannot account for every possibility or circumstance. Therefore, having an alternate plan to complement the primary one is prudent. A good example of making an alternate survival plan is in the movie BAT-21, based on the book BAT-21 by William C. Anderson. Furthermore, your alternate plan also should answer the five “W”s as well as how you will conduct it. Assess Your Plans After making a primary and alternate plan, it is essential to assess the viability of your plans. It is helpful to do this step because you may find that you need to make adjustments. The information that you have and can glean from continually assessing your situation bears influence on your planning. For example, you plan to walk at night to avoid the heat of the summer days. However, you modify your plan because of the weather changes. Instead of walking at night, now, your movements will be during the day, at least temporarily. Thus, it is important to continually assess your plans and make adjustments as new information or circumstances arise. 3. Conduct Your Plan Finally, the third step in estimating your situation is conducting your survival plan. An essential aspect of conducting your survival plan is to be flexible. Your plan is a guide not a lock-step answer to your emergency scenario. The longer that you are in the emergency survival situation, you will make more adjustments to your plan as you go. Observing the survival stories of others reveals that critical decisions have to be made at some point. For example, you may have to start a brush fire to attract the attention of search and rescue teams. Some Final Thoughts Situational awareness is an essential aspect of emergency survival in any environment. The three steps are easy to remember: analyze your circumstances, make a plan, conduct your plan. It is helpful to train your mind to think through the subtasks as a kind of checklist. People in an emergency survival situation are under a significant amount of mental and emotional stress, even if they do not panic. It becomes difficult to devote a lot of time to thinking analytically and solve problems in a survival situation. It is recommended that you begin to think through these steps as a practice as a matter of habit before your next outdoor adventure. The more these steps become second nature to you, the less you have to intentionally think through them step-by-step when in a high-stress emergency situation. The post Assess A Survival Situation In 3 Steps appeared first on SIGMA 3 Survival School. View the full article

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