What’s the goal of most survival situations? Get yourself rescued or stay alive until you can manage to get yourself back into fighting form.

But what happens when you don’t want to be found? Whether you’re hiding from hunted prey or from dangerous humans, you’ll want to blend in with ease.

1. Avoid Symmetry
Very few things in the wild obey the rules of symmetry. Avoid making one side of your face or clothing looking exactly like the other side.

Our vision tends to expect and enjoy things that line up well, so distracting eyesight with oddly placed and haphazard covering is a great way to confuse the mind of your prey.

2. Match Color Schemes
If you know the area in which you’ll be hiding, research the colors and patterns. Take the time to observe how things like wind, sunshine, and shadows change the appearance of the area.

Whenever possible, use items taken directly from the area in your camouflage. Use the leaves, plants, and soil from your surroundings in your outfit to be sure that colors really blend.

3. Masking Scents
Your scent gives off a surprisingly large amount of information about you. If it’s animals you’re hiding from, they’ll be especially sensitive to what you’re wafting.

Just as you’d use the plants and soil nearby to cover your colors, use them to mask your scent as well. Mud, leaves, and water from nearby ponds or lakes will help to cover any overly human odors.

4. Hiding Guns and other Accessories
You may need to be on the move, or you may end up being stationary for long periods of time. Plan accordingly by wearing clothes that can adapt to a variety of weather types.

Many items you’ll be carrying feature shapes and colors that are not found in the wild. Dull any shiny or eye-catching areas of your equipment and firearms.

Use hair-ties or elastic bands to attach grass, small tree branches, and stems of leaved plants to any surfaces that are symmetrical shapes or otherwise stand out.

Keep these basic rules in mind as you prepare your camouflage. As with any survival skill, it takes work and practice to get right.

The Coast Guard rescued a man this past Sunday from the waters of Lake Michigan. The 33-year old man was kayaking when a severe storm hit. The video below shows the Coast Guard video of his rescue.

His brother, who was with him at the time, was able to paddle to a nearby island for safety. He was able to call 911 and give their last approximate location. The stranded man was rescued after nearly 6 hours in the water without his kayak.

He was wearing his life jacket, and that’s likely the reason why he was able to make it out of the incident with only mild hypothermia. Night began to fall as he was floating and fortunately he was able to flash a light to signal for help.

Search and Rescue teams used his most recent cell phone location to find the empty kayak. Soon after, the helicopter spotted the flashing light.

This incident should serve as a reminder to be aware of the weather forecast before hitting the water for the day, even if you are an experienced boater.

All too frequently, people feel that they don’t need a life jacket in a canoe, kayak, or other recreational water craft. This incident shows that this small inconvenience can end up what saves a person from a ride in a Coast Guard rescue helicopter.

His small flashlight was enough to catch the eye of his rescuers, and that’s proof enough that keeping everyday carry items on you when you’re out can end up having big benefits.

Recreational boaters and kayakers should also consider using a small Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) or Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) when headed out on the water. These are increasingly affordable and come in a range of sizes that can be mounted on board or carried on your person. With a powerful GPS system these can be activated to alert search and rescue operations of the emergency.

The new blockbuster San Andreas hits theaters this weekend. In the movie, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson heroically rescues people from tumbling skyscrapers and monstrous tsunami waves. It will no doubt be packed with amazing special effects and edge of your seat action.

But how realistic is this nightmare scenario? Crowds of people flock to disaster flicks like these, and hopefully they’ll know what’s pure Hollywood entertainment and what’s more plausible in real life.

These types of movies are usually based on some semblance of fact, but take huge liberties with the actual possibility of what could occur. As enthusiastic moviegoers, we pay big money for over-the-top action and dazzling graphic displays. It’s important to remember that, while devastating earthquakes do happen, the scenes in San Andreas are either highly remote or downright impossible.

How real is the action in San Andreas? Can an earthquake really cause that kind of damage?
It’s nearly impossible for seismologists to accurately predict an oncoming earthquake, as they dramatically do in the movie. The best they can do is make educated guesses based on seismic activity over time and events that occur directly after an initial earthquake, such as aftershocks or triggered earthquakes.

The plates that meet at the San Andreas Fault move horizontally, which couldn’t result in the gaping canyons seen in the movie. The fault is located mostly on land, pretty much negating the possibility of any massive tsunami waves being triggered as well.

Although there are numerous faults all around the globe, the San Andreas Fault is most famous because of its close proximity to densely populated areas of California. This makes it an ideal subject for a thrilling movie, given the possible death and destruction that would come as a result of a seismic event.

Some scenes in the movie San Andreas are very accurate. Here’s what you can really expect from an earthquake.
The movie gets some things about earthquakes exactly right. The big scenes in the movie may have been intensified for dramatic effect, but there is no shortage of fear, danger, and intensity during a real earthquake.

Panic and fear
When an earthquake occurs, unprepared people will be scared and helpless. Confusion and surprise lead people to act out of desperation. Keep your distance from crowds and potential looting. Keep supplies that can last up to two weeks prepared at home. Knowing that you’ll be able to eat and have clean water will give you peace of mind in a chaotic time.

Shaking buildings and homes
The most important steps to follow when you feel an earthquake are: Drop, Cover, and Hold On. No matter where you’re located, get into a stable position that protects your head and neck. Take cover under a sturdy object like a desk or table. Flying debris like glass and heavy objects pose the most danger. Since the shaking will make everything unsteady, hold onto something secure. Stay put until the area is safe. If you want to learn more about these steps, and play “Beat the Quake”, an instructional game for kids, visit dropcoverholdon.org

No electrical power
Prepare for power blackouts by keeping flashlights and candles in an accessible location in your home or car. Keep the batteries charged and make sure everyone in your home knows where to find them. A battery powered radio can help you stay informed about the weather and safe places. Stay away from any down power lines or dark areas that may be unsafe.

Damaged and blocked roadways
Aftershocks are a very real element of earthquake activity. Don’t go sprinting off when you think the initial earthquake is over. Stay in a safe area until you’ve been informed that it’s safe to change locations. Roadways may have endured cracks and other damage that make them dangerous for cars. Don’t leave your safe space unless you absolutely must. Flooding, fallen trees, and disabled vehicles can make travel very treacherous.

Heroic First Responders will be on the scene.
In the movie, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson plays a heroic rescuer from the Los Angels Fire Department. There will be many emergency personnel on the scene making sure that everyone is as safe as possible. You can help them by remaining calm and following their directions. Teach your children how to recognize police, firefighters, and emergency medical staff. Children may sometimes be afraid of their equipment or forceful nature in times of danger, but they should know that these people are there to help.

We can’t predict earthquakes. The best we can do is prepare.
Go out and enjoy San Andreas this weekend, but remember that most of what you’ll see on the screen is Hollywood fantasy. Use the film as a gateway to talking with your family and neighbors about how you can prepare for an earthquake or other natural disaster in your area.





A wilderness survival first-aid kit is very different from the kit you keep at home.  Add these five items so that you’re better prepared for wilderness emergencies. The items aren’t expensive and don’t take up much space, so there is no excuse for not having them with you. Being trained and prepared for wilderness injuries is crucial to survival. Continue reading “Build a Wilderness Survival First Aid Kit” »

When Carrie Mattingly lost control of her SUV on an icy road, she and her daughter went headlong into a nearby pond. The Washington state residents crashed through a fence and had precious seconds to get out with their lives. Continue reading “How to Escape a Sinking Car” »

In honor of the snowfall and chilly temperatures, we ranked our top 5 pieces of essential winter gear. We’re in the the holiday spirit, and we want you to stay warm and dry out there. Before you head out into the winter wilderness make sure you have all of the necessary gear.  Surviving the winter temperatures requires a whole different set of equipment. Anyone from backpackers to preppers to weekend warriors should love this stuff!

Item #5  Backpack with an Avalanche Airbag
Unsteady snow and unpredictable weather can cause avalanches. When buried under the snow, every second counts. If you’re spending a lot of time skiing in the snowy mountains, try out a backpack equipped with an avalanche air bag. These backpacks are perfectly functional, but they also inflate to protect the neck and head during an avalanche. The extra room that a deployed air bag can provide in an avalanche can help you survive. These bags can be repacked and refilled after it’s used.

Item #4 Backpacker’s Coffee and Tea Maker
You’ll need it in the backcountry too, not just the office. Anyone in cold temperatures for long periods of time needs warm liquids and a little pick-me-up. A backpacker’s coffee maker is the perfect piece of gear. They are lightweight, compact, and can be re-used over and over again. You can find coffeemakers in drip or press models. A French press style maker is totally portable and delivers are nice strong brew. A drip style maker can hold the coffee grounds perched above your cup and is great at keeping grounds from the hot joe. Many models work just as well for loose-leaf or bagged tea.

Item #3 Battery Powered Heated Gloves
Gloves that are waterproof and heated are going to go a long way for survival. They are also great for winter sports like ice climbing and snowshoeing. You’re going to need them when the temps drop. Different settings are available, so on a low setting these gloves could last up to 8 hours. When you’re purchasing heated gloves make sure they heat the whole hand, not just the fingers. Rechargeable batteries are available and some models offer the option of charging with a USB hook-up.

Item #2 Four Season Tent
Shelter can’t be overlooked when it comes to survival in the winter weather. A four season tent is just that, shelter that has you covered in all four seasons. These tents often have reinforced walls and extra strudy zippers to keep out anything that Old Man Winter can dish out. A four season tent can fit up to four people or more, including their gear. There are a variety of styles available, but all are created to withstand lots of wet and wind and snow. Look for models that will be easy to set up in whipping winds or while wearing gloves.

And the top ranked winter survival gear is…

Item #1  Backcountry Snowshoes
For the money, snowshoes are a practical and safe winter survival item. Anyone can use them and they don’t require any death defying trips down steep mountains. When it comes to winter survival, snowshoes are essential. Anyone can travel multiple miles each day with a good pair of snowshoes no matter what the weather throws at them. There is a huge variety of styles and price levels. For surviving those long trail backcountry trips, look for sturdier types of snowshoes that can support your weight plus a pack.

These pieces of winter survival gear will really be nice to have when the winter winds bring snow and ice. Stay dry, stay warm, and most importantly, have fun out there.

No water. Are you ready? The human body can make it about three days before dying of crippling thirst. Our bodies are mostly made of water, so when we are without it our bodies can no longer function. Read below and you’ll know ways to bring precious water to your body.

Gather Rainwater with a Simple Tarp and Bucket
When rain falls you need to have a trap that has plenty of surface area. A traditional plastic tarp is a great way to gather a maximum amount of water in a short amount of time. The set up takes very little effort but the results can quench a desperate thirst.

  • Find two tree branches 4-5 feet in length. Drive one end of each into the ground so they stand solidly about 3 feet apart. Tie one end of the tarp to the top of each stick using some paracord, long grasses, or bark from a willow tree.
  • A bucket, bowl, or other container will do just fine for a water trap. At the place where the other ends of the tarp lay upon the ground, dig a hole that fits your container. Use your remaining paracord, tall grasses, or tough tree bark to tie the other two ends of the tarp together.
  • As the rain falls, the tarp will gather the water and it will flow downwards into the container.

How to Gather Rainwater from the Roof
The roof of your home or shelter is a natural rainwater trap. Take advantage of this to bring gallons of water every time it rains. Be sure to filter this water, as it will contain whatever nasty particles that may have gathered on your roof tiles.

  • Depending on the style of your gutters, you can extend the spout to divert rainwater into a large container like a barrel or large container.
  • Keep cleanliness in mind. The runoff container should have a lid that is secure and that will keep out leaves, dirt, and animals.
  • Be aware that your container may fill to the top with water. To stop flooding and overflow, divert the path of the water back to the gutter spout or into a second container.

Use an Umbrella to Gather Rain Water
Sure, it’s a stretch. But when things get desperate you need to be ready to take advantage of any materials you find. An umbrella is usually for keeping rainwater away in everyday circumstances. When you’re desperate for a drink, getting soaked by the rain is of little concern.

  • Take an umbrella that is broken or has been discarded and flip it over.
  • Poke a few small holes in the umbrella so that it can drain as it gathers rain.
  • Place the upside down umbrella on a 5-gallon bucket or container to gather the rain the drips through.

Humans cannot make it for long without water. Without food and shelter, your odds are a bit better. Use these tactics to start gathering a supply of rainwater as soon as you can for the best results.

In an emergency situation, every possible route to survival must be considered. A car or truck can play a huge role in protecting you and your loved ones. Prepare for anything by planning ahead. Maps, weapons, and survival tools should all have a place in your ride. Keep survival  in mind when you’re ready to make a vehicle purchase, too.

What to Consider in a Vehicle
If you force the wrong vehicle to perform certain maneuvers you might just make the situation more dangerous. For example, large trucks with very little weight in the back or tall vehicles like Jeeps are not built to take turns and corners quickly. They have a high risk of flipping over. They are best for off-road and bad weather situations.

  • A car that is powerful and easy to handle is the best option for evasive driving. A reliable and well-constructed car can be a friend in desperate circumstances. An automatic transmission can allow the driver to concentrate more on the road, but a manual transmission can give you more power if used properly.
  • Four-wheel drive is great for off-road, snow, or muddy conditions, but really slows down the vehicle’s potential speed out on the open road. For some more complex evasive maneuvers and negotiating tight corners, a rear-wheel drive is the most reliable option.

How to Prepare Your Vehicle for Emergency Driving
It is very important to keep your car in good condition so that, if disaster strikes, you can be sure it will perform. Does your car have all it needs?

  • Keep the car’s tires in good condition. Evasive driving requires strong tires for tight turns and ugly road conditions. Keep a tire pressure gauge in your vehicle. You can lower your air pressure a little to increase grip in snowy or heavy dirt environments.
  • Brakes, battery, and headlights should all be in good working order. Oil levels and radiator condition should be checked and maintained. Keep at least half of a tank of gas in the car at all times to cut down on your need to stop and fill up when time is short.
  • Protect yourself from thieves. Add a locking gas cap if possible. Items like gasoline become very precious during emergencies because they are a limited resource.
  • Add a CB Radio or Police Scanner. These items are always in use by law enforcement, so you can use them to either find help or avoid possible dangerous situations. Keep your scanner tuned to stay informed about emergency situations in your area. A call about a nearby house fire or vehicle accident can help you stay on a route clear of traffic.
  • You may need to use a weapon to disable the tires of a threatening car. Shots from a pistol like a .45 will damage the tires but they will deflate slowly. Use a shotgun with slug ammunition or a rifle to totally disable the tires of a car that poses a threat to you.
  • Add an escape tool to your vehicle’s arsenal. These tools are used by professionals and are safe and reliable. They can feature a blade with which to cut seatbelts as well as a pointed steel head that shatters car windows. Tools like this are crucial if you find yourself in vehicle stuck in water or flipped over on the highway.

Your car or truck can be a safe place during an emergency. Make sure that you have it equipped for any situation. The tools and preparations you make don’t have to cost much, but can end up saving your life.

The evening rush hour and the holidays are the times when you’ll see the most drivers on the road. After a long day at the office, many drivers are feeling tired. When a driver is tired or stressed, they might take it out on others using the road.  If there is a local natural disaster or emergency, roads might be filled with desperate people.

Prepare to keep yourself and your loved ones safe while driving. Evasive driving requires lots of practice. Attend a driving school or hire a professional instructor in order to learn advanced techniques. There are, however, simple strategies that can help to save you in desperate times.

Approaching Vehicle Road Blockades

Sharp and evasive turning techniques like the Bootlegger’s Turn and the Moonshiner’s Turn (or J Turn) will take practice and can take a real toll on your tires. A Bootlegger’s Turn requires high speed, a sharp turn of the steering wheel, and a hard pull of the parking break. This will totally turn a forward driving car completely around, allowing you to speed away. A Moonshiner’s Turn is the same, but the driver starts off backing away from the threat in reverse, then using the technique to turn that car around and speed away. Of course, have an experienced evasive driver help you master these techniques in a place where no other cars or people can be harmed if you don’t nail it.

Drivers don’t always need to avoid a threat on the road. A car is a strong weapon if used correctly. The front and rear ends of a vehicle are the most vulnerable. Aiming at either the rear or front of a single car blocking the road will cause it to spin out of the way. If two cars are blocking the road, the place where the two cars meet is the weakest point. Aim for this area to break the cars apart and get through the blockade.

What to do if You’re Being Followed
A driver may notice that someone is following their every move on the road. In this scenario, it is not wise to get out and confront the other driver. Confrontations that take place outside of your car can put you in significant danger. Maintain as much control of the situation as possible by staying in a locked car or truck. There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself in this situation.

  • Keep your speed manageable. Trying to zoom away can cause you to lose control and wreck. That not only makes you more vulnerable, but also puts other innocent drivers in danger. Maintain your current speed and drive responsibly. Making good decisions and staying in one piece is the ultimate goal. Leave the high speed car chases for the movies. If a following car is threatening your safety by ramming or other attacks, keep both hands on the wheel and try to remain calm. In these situations, whoever makes the first serious driving mistake first is the one who takes the impact. An attacker swerving and hitting your car is the most likely to mess up first.
  • Don’t give up. You should stay in your vehicle and keep moving if at all possible. If you must exit your vehicle, drive to a popular location with other people around. Exit your car and find help and cover immediately. If you aren’t in a populated place, drive to the nearest place that provides as much cover as possible. Anything that comes between you and the threat is some kind of protection. Exit your car and try to hide. In either case, exit your vehicle. This forces your pursuer to leave the safety and comfort of their car, too.
  • Turn down small alleyways or streets to see if the other vehicle stays on your tail. If the other vehicle stays with you even through intersections and parking lots, get on the phone with law enforcement if you can to let them know you feel that you are in danger. Let them know as many specifics as possible. Keep track of your approximate location and route so that even when you are feeling stress you can help emergency services locate you.

Get Out of Town Fast
Prepare for evasive driving situations by being familiar with the roads and highways around your location. As with many other survival situations, being prepared ahead of time is the best way to pull off these techniques.

  • If you’re in a new area, take the time to look over a map and learn the location of popular places like large shopping centers, police stations, and hospitals. Drive around to find the quickest route from your home or office to the nearest highway. You can avoid dangerous situations by having a knowledge of the local roads.
  • Keep a road atlas available and have your local areas marked for easy access. Do not rely solely on your cell phone or GPS, they aren’t always reliable in bad weather. Prepare to bug out for emergency evacuations by highlighting the best routes out of town in your atlas ahead of time.

Practice these driving techniques to increase your chances of safety on roadways. Any time a driver feels threatened or desperate, they are a danger to everyone else on the road. Avoid unprepared drivers and other threats by being informed about local roadways and evasive driving techniques.