The Importance of Practice and Practical Testing

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The importance of putting your gear to the test and practicing survival skills with it. This was driven home for my wife and I when we decided to use our (at the time) new magnesium firestarter and had extreme difficulty. We turned this setback into a learning experience and messed around with a few methods and now we can comfortably use magnesium, ferro rods, charcloth, charballs, and even duct tape in various combinations to get a fire going.

I test all my gear and try to practice with it whenever I can. This informs you of potential problems before your life is on the line! The onset of starvation is no time to struggle with fire starting. Dehydration headaches make it difficult to figure out how to use a water filter. Making a shelter out of natural materials takes more time and technique than you'd think from seeing it done on TV but it can certainly be done with a little experience.

As with all things in life, practice makes perfect. Survival skills are no exception but going camping or even getting out in the backyard and working on your skills can be satisfying and fun. I BBQ and grill often, and I don't use lighters to start my fires anymore unless I'm in a hurry. Practical and satisfying! To prevent using up my magnesium during practice, I have an extra set. They're not expensive; the 7 dollar Coleman one works very well so it's worth having one to practice with.
 

Uncle Albert

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You're right. Take a look at the military, sports teams and muscians. They do the same things over and over and over until they get it right. It's especially important, as you say, if you are doing something new. You don't want to get educated out in the field.
 

Snowflake

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The importance of putting your gear to the test and practicing survival skills with it. This was driven home for my wife and I when we decided to use our (at the time) new magnesium firestarter and had extreme difficulty. We turned this setback into a learning experience and messed around with a few methods and now we can comfortably use magnesium, ferro rods, charcloth, charballs, and even duct tape in various combinations to get a fire going.

I test all my gear and try to practice with it whenever I can. This informs you of potential problems before your life is on the line! The onset of starvation is no time to struggle with fire starting. Dehydration headaches make it difficult to figure out how to use a water filter. Making a shelter out of natural materials takes more time and technique than you'd think from seeing it done on TV but it can certainly be done with a little experience.

As with all things in life, practice makes perfect. Survival skills are no exception but going camping or even getting out in the backyard and working on your skills can be satisfying and fun. I BBQ and grill often, and I don't use lighters to start my fires anymore unless I'm in a hurry. Practical and satisfying! To prevent using up my magnesium during practice, I have an extra set. They're not expensive; the 7 dollar Coleman one works very well so it's worth having one to practice with.
Dito, it's a joy to get out camping and fire cooking, I do love a jacket potato in the coals.
 

Snowflake

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It's camp fire madness but I haven't tried smore's yet, Think it's 2 biscuits, choc spread and hot mallow, It's not for when the shtf but nice I'm sure.:)
 
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In the states we do it with a bar of chocolate (usual Hershey's but any milk chocolate bar will do,) a marshmallow, and two graham crackers. The funny thing is I'm not the biggest chocolate, graham, or mallow guy but when you put the three together.... Good stuff. Messy but delicious.
 
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while practice is fine...if i have a lighter, i'm using it! to me, alternate methods are for when you run out of easy stuff
Oh I agree completely, and have several "fresh" lighters in my bag; it just really bothered me that I was having so much difficulty using the magnesium. I feel a lot better knowing that if I can make use of all my gear in various combinations in case something runs out, gets lost, etc. To me, prepping means a lot of things but part of it means preparing for your preps to fail.

Rereading, I think you mean when grilling and the like... In non-SHTF times. I guess I've gotten to where I enjoy the firemaking process. It's very satisfying, if a bit time consuming.
 

Snowflake

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Oh I agree completely, and have several "fresh" lighters in my bag; it just really bothered me that I was having so much difficulty using the magnesium. I feel a lot better knowing that if I can make use of all my gear in various combinations in case something runs out, gets lost, etc. To me, prepping means a lot of things but part of it means preparing for your preps to fail.

Rereading, I think you mean when grilling and the like... In non-SHTF times. I guess I've gotten to where I enjoy the firemaking process. It's very satisfying, if a bit time consuming.
A good thing about camping is you can slow life down and take your time...if you want to spend hours staring into a fire you made you can.
 
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That's the best! I could stare at embers for ever, it's like looking at the stars but with more action.

Broke my wire saw using it for some yard work today. It was only 7 dollars or so but still, disappointing. I was warned but I figured it would work on smaller stuff. Not so. Now I have an easy-grip saw on the way, should be much sturdier. Glad that I didn't have to rely on the wire saw as it failed during a very light-use application. This, my friends, is why I cannot recommend enough that you test your gear.
 

Snowflake

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That's the best! I could stare at embers for ever, it's like looking at the stars but with more action.

Broke my wire saw using it for some yard work today. It was only 7 dollars or so but still, disappointing. I was warned but I figured it would work on smaller stuff. Not so. Now I have an easy-grip saw on the way, should be much sturdier. Glad that I didn't have to rely on the wire saw as it failed during a very light-use application. This, my friends, is why I cannot recommend enough that you test your gear.
Yip...It's good to grab your bag and go, That's when you learn whats good and whats not. I used my new multi tool to build some shelves the other day and it was sound. You cant go wrong with a good hunting knife tho.
 

jimLE

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no gazrok,your not..matter of fact.it could prove real good if you took them onto a camping trip,where they only had access to them smartphones at certain times.if at all....to many folks are to dependant on phones.i only use my cell phone when it's neeeded.like if im at the store and my mom wants a certain item.i'll call her to find out what brand and all.and of course,there's the emergincy phone calls.in which i've never had to make so far...
 

Silent Bob

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I think my kids would go insane after about an hour without a smartphone. Am I a bad person for wanting to see this happen (them without the phones, not the sanity bit)?

That is the end of the world! Wait till they go to College Gazrok, your headaches will only start...I've started to screen my calls during the day...daughter called today just to vent...that time of the month, she's pissed off at college boyfriend, I get to say hello, then she say's hey its the weekend, I need a bit of money Dad, can you transfer some from your pitiful allowance account. I sit on my hands and say "Yes dear", she says great...thanks Dad, your the best!..hangs up on me. No goodbye, so yup grid goes down, she's heading to me, with boyfriend in tow, away from salons, manicures, shoe stores and the big Dallas Mall next to Southern Methodist University, not the Galleria, the other expensive one...So much for the free ride to Texas Tech that is costing us 20K and the new SUV she just got for her birthday...and me (do I sound disgruntled...nah!), can't wait to shove her a gourmet meal of Beef Brisket in gravy MRE...so enjoy the moments.

Jim, if your reading this one...have a good laugh!
 

Uncle Albert

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Snowflake, you're right, life will slow down. Clocks which have been the bane of humanity for eons will become obsolete. We will once again look at the sky to judge our commitments. But sometimes I feel guilty for wishing to return to those days. It would mean the loss of so many people if there were a world wide collapse. Maybe I outta' just wander out into the wilderness and take up homesteading. I'm sure I would feel at home. I'm a country boy stuck in the burbs.
 

Snowflake

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Snowflake, you're right, life will slow down. Clocks which have been the bane of humanity for eons will become obsolete. We will once again look at the sky to judge our commitments. But sometimes I feel guilty for wishing to return to those days. It would mean the loss of so many people if there were a world wide collapse. Maybe I outta' just wander out into the wilderness and take up homesteading. I'm sure I would feel at home. I'm a country boy stuck in the burbs.
I'd love to go back to a time when humans gave to the earth and didn't just take/steel from her.
 

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