On the Australian Survival and Bushcraft Basic Course Gordo had us running around collecting TINDER I put this in capitals because it became not only a habit but a compulsion. That many of us are still doing it weeks after the course.
We started off individually starting fires and taking 20 minutes to do so. This eventually became 5 minutes. The idea being not only to increase stress levels to make you know how important starting a fire was in certain situations. Like for signalling or to keep someone warm after becoming wet but also to increase the skill levels of procuring materials faster and more efficiently. By not grabbing a few pieces here and there but to grab as much as possible, if it doesnt break then it isnt dry enough and to procure as much as possible in the smallest amount of time. Clear an area 2 meters, put down a fire lay, sort materials into kindling, pencil sized and then thumb sized pieces.
On top of this have tinder ready in your pockets at all times. Being prepared. At the time this seemed more of a competition than something needed but after 18 people clearing an area tinder became harder to find. Im also staying in an area now where I have found nothing in the way of tinder. You grab it while you can was the lesson.
I was a tree surgeon for many years and when I look at trees i see how they need to be pruned, if they are diseased and need to be cut down, habitat for animals,the type of soil required by certain trees. Now when I look at trees I look for materials to build shelter, tinder, kindling which is all prevalent on the area and plants growing there. Im also looking at natural navigation features of prevailing wind direction to be able to position the shelter in the right direction for shade and rain run off.
I read a book called EMERGENCY by Neil Strauss. which I must have now reread 10 times by now and would recommend it. Everytime I read it I get another idea. A post that came up on the FB news feed (When I was on social media)the other day said something like.”do you want to delete a post after reading it because your not the same person you were 4 minutes ago”. Well everytime I reread that book I wasnt the same person I was 4 months ago and am reading it from a different perspective.
So Im taking something else from that book this time and adopting a training method so I dont loose my skills and keep testing myself and learning. By setting aside an hour a day to do the following;
Shelter Mondays, Water Tuesdays, Wednesdays Bushcraft Cooking, Tracking Thursdays, Primitive Hunting Fridays, Saturdays Edible Plants, and Sundays Cordage.
Its one thing to know how to do something like build a shelter but its quite another thing to have the confidence to do it in various areas, expediently without leaks with different materials. today is cordage Sunday. I have no natural cordage available so Im trying to locate raffia from spotlight to keep practicing my cordage and fish trap building skills.
“The more you carry in your head, the less you carry on your back”
Paraphrased from Mors Kochanski