Apocalypse training in WV

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BigFish
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Apocalypse training in WV

Post by BigFish » Thu Jul 02, 2015 11:03 am

Last weekend, we took a trip to West Virginia to see my wife’s parents. They own about 200 acres out in the middle of nowhere. I figured this would be a good time to get out and test some gear and practice survival techniques.

The Plan:
Phase #1 - Wake up on Saturday morning, grab my bug out bag and hike back to the main road (3.3 miles) and then back to the house again.
Phase #2 - Check in with the family, grab my gun (Glock 23C) and head into the woods for the night.

Main Concerns:
1. Rain
2. Chiggers (I hate chiggers and they are thick in that area.)

I left the house at about 9:00AM on Saturday, after eating a handful of raspberries, with my bag and a full bottle of water. It was supposed to rain/storm throughout the day, but it never really got that bad. It was more like a hard sprinkle every once in a while. I didn’t even have to use my rain gear. The hike went well and took me about 2 hours. I’m not in the best shape so I did get a little sore towards the end. My bag weighs about 35lbs so I’m thinking of ways to lighten my load.

To get into the wooded area, there’s a large grassy field that you have to cross. The grass is tall too. Since I knew this would be an area infested with chiggers, I sprayed my legs with bug spray and tucked my jeans into my socks. I’ve had chigger bites before, on my lower legs, and they suck! The one thing I failed to do was tuck my t-shirt into my pants and that turned out to be lesson number 1 on my adventure.

Once I got past that field and into the woods, I started looking for a good place to setup camp. I found a spot that had three trees in the shape of a triangle. I ran my tarp (DD 3x3) across two of the trees and then tied the back to the other tree. As I said before, it was supposed to rain and storm all day so I wanted a way keep my fire dry and was nervous about having it directly under my tarp. So, I made a teepee at the front of the tarp and covered it with branches. I left a couple of feet open towards the bottom.

Once I was happy with my shelter and fire cover, I moved on to gathering firewood. It had been rainy for a couple days so it was more difficult than normal finding dry wood. I looked for dead trees that had limbs that were sticking up and off the ground. I have a Bahco Laplander folding saw and a CRKT T-Hawk that I wanted to test out while gathering wood. For what I was doing, the folding saw was far superior and saved me hours of time and tons of energy (lesson #2). I’m actually thinking about removing my T-Hawk from my bug out bag.

While gathering firewood, it started to lightly rain again so I had the idea to setup a water catch using my small spare tarp. Overall, it worked well and I was able to collect a few big gulps of fresh water. I used a bandana to filter out the big stuff that ended up in the water (leaves and such). I had also found two turtles that would have been dinner had this been a real situation.

After I had gathered what I thought would be enough firewood and had it under my shelter, I ate a package of mixed nuts and finished the rest of the water that I had brought with me. In order to get more fresh water, I would have to walk back down the hill to get to the creek. This would be the first time that I actually tested my Sawyer water bottle w/ filter because I had filled it with tap water when I started out. On my way down the hill, I realized how sore I really was. I filled up my bottle and headed back up. The water was fairly muddy, since it had been raining for a couple days, but it tasted fine.

Since I had time to kill, I decided that I would try to make a bed to sleep on. If I wouldn’t have had the folding saw, I wouldn’t have attempted it. I started by gathering six “Y” shaped sticks to make the vertical supports. Then I ran two sticks down each side that rested in the “Y” sticks. After that, I laid shorter sticks across the two long support sticks. My thought was that with my weight, it should be fairly stable. However, one of the short sticks that I used was dead and damp. I put that one at the foot end since it wouldn’t need to support much weight. Once the top platform was done, I put the tarp that I had used for my water catch on top and started piling on dead leaves. I folded the tarp in half so I had a makeshift mattress. Then I could just wrap myself up in my sheet when I went to bed. This could also serve as a seat while I sat by the fire.

I could tell that it was starting to get dark so I got ready for a fire. To actually start the fire, I used three cotton balls covered in Vaseline and my fire starter (Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel). Since everything was still slightly damp, I had to baby it for a few minutes until it really got going. During that time, the wind had shifted and the smoke was blowing back into my tarp area. I’m also not sure if the design of my fire cover was one of the problems too. So, since it hadn’t rained in a while, looked clear and the fire was going strong, I knocked the fire cover down away from my tarp. It ended up sprinkling a little that night, but my fire was fine.

As I hung out by the fire on my makeshift bed, I grabbed my bag which was at the foot of the bed. When I brought it up and sat it on the bed, that dead damp stick snapped and the lower half of my bed shifted and collapsed. That sucked. I was able to save all the leaves that I had gathered though. I cleared all the sticks out of the way and just put the tarp full of leaves on the ground. After that, it was time to take my boots off, have a snack and relax by the fire.

Throughout the night, I would get chilly and have to put a few more pieces of wood on the fire, but I slept fairly well. I ran out of wood sometime early morning, maybe 5:00AM and then got up shortly after the sun came up. I took everything down, put it away and headed back to the house.

Lessons Learned:
1. I should have tucked my t-shirt into my pants to prevent chiggers from entering around the waistline. I ended up with about 26 bites on my torso. I’m just glad they didn’t go down once they got in.
2. When it comes to cutting wood, the Bahco Laplander folding saw out-performed the CRKT T-Hawk. It would be useless at killing zombies though.
3. Poor design for the fire cover?
4. I would design the bed differently next time.
5. Setup camp closer to water source if possible. It wasn’t too far away, but it was located down a fairly steep hill.
6. I should have gathered more firewood.

Overall, this was a great learning experience for me and I can’t wait to get out there and do more training.

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BadLands_Shooter
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Re: Apocalypse training in WV

Post by BadLands_Shooter » Sat Jul 04, 2015 3:11 am

Good stuff. Don't stop!
Former Army Infantryman.

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Re: Apocalypse training in WV

Post by procyon » Sat Jul 04, 2015 3:20 am

Nice.
If you haven't put this in as an entry over on the Summer MBO Contest, you should.

And as you figured out, you never have enough wood.
Even if you have some left over when you are done, cache it for the next time you go out.
... I will show you fear in a handful of dust...

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BigFish
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Re: Apocalypse training in WV

Post by BigFish » Sat Jul 04, 2015 6:54 am

procyon wrote:If you haven't put this in as an entry over on the Summer MBO Contest, you should.
Thanks, I just submitted my entry.

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