Archive for August, 2016

5 Unique Survival Uses for Mylar Blankets

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

I am one of those campers that really love to carry items that are multipurpose.  While you may think that a simple Mylar blanket can only be used for one purpose, you would be very mistaken.  Below are the top 5 unique uses I have found for the simple survival blanket.


  1.  Clothing-Believe it or not, Mylar blankets make great clothing.  Consider cutting a hole in the center of the blanket to make a poncho, which can be worn inside a coat or outside.  Also, use the survival blanket as a warming liner for your hat, shoes or boots.  The same principle can be applied to your sleeping bag.  To add an additional layer of warmth, wrap yourself in the survival blanket before climbing inside your sleeping bag.
  2. Fire Reflector-Many people have heard about stacking stones on the backside of your fire to reflect the heat back onto you.  The same principle can be used with a Mylar blanket.  But when using this technique, make sure that it is not too close to the fire and that it is securely attached to a tree or rocks.  If this is not done, the Mylar blanket can easily catch on fire.
  3. Water Collector-There are times when you really do not want to have to pull out the water purifier for a simple drink.  While you do not want to drink water from a stream that is not purified, there is an alternative if you can wait on your drink.  When using this approach, you have several different techniques.  The goal is to collect dew off plant material.  This can be done by either hanging the survival blanket underneath plant material or create a depression in the soil underneath the plant material.  Once that is done, line the depression with the Mylar blanket.  In a few hours, you will find a little water on the Mylar blanket.  There is one cautionary tale though when using this approach.  Be careful where you set up the survival blanket.  Do not place it where animal feces are found or under plant material that is poisonous.    
  4. Clothes Dryer-A Mylar blanket is a great thing to have when you want to speed up the drying process of your clothes.  While this technique is not equal to a dryer, it does work well especially when the weather is cool.  To do this, simply lay out your survival blanket in the sun.  Top the blanket with your damp clothes that have been wrung out as much as possible.  In a few hours, check your clothes for dryness.  If not completely dry, adjust accordingly.                           
  5. Shelter-In an emergency, a survival blanket can easily be turned into a shelter.  This will keep the weather off of you and if needed can signal for help.

Nature’s Fire Starter-Fatwood

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

What do you do when you our out in the backcountry and need a fire starter?  Well, the answer is simple.  You use what Mother Nature has given you and that is fatwood.

Fatwood is the resin soaked wood of the yellow pines, which includes the Ponderosa and Lodgepole pines.  These trees produce an orange to red flesh that is full of resin.  Harvesting this wood may seem a lot of work but believe it or not the fatwood wood will ignite even in rain.


To begin the harvesting process, one must first find these trees.  If you are not good at tree identification, make sure to take a book with you when you enter the forest.  Also, check the area’s regulations on harvesting wood.  Once you have the o.k., you are ready to go out and find your fatwood.

Fatwood can be found on all parts of the tree, including the roots.  The first approach is to search out dead trees.  While the resin will decrease quickly, it is worth the effort to cut into these trees to see if there is any resin left.  Orange or red colors going throughout the wood will indicate that there is resin.  If this does not work, move on to live trees.

Once you find your yellow pines, do not just begin to cut into the tree.  Instead, look for a dead branch near the ground and cut even with the tree.  This will serve two purposes.  One, it will prevent a fire ladder from forming and two; it will give you a window into where you may find fatwood.  In several cases, there is still fatwood in the “dead” branch where it is attached to the tree.  If this is the case, simply cut off the orange or red section of the “dead” branch.  On the other hand, if the branch is completely dead, continue to search other branches for the fatwood.

After you have found your fatwood, remove any bark from the piece of wood.  To keep your fatwood handy, consider making a fatwood necklace.  The steps for this are easy and only require you to have a piece of fatwood that is about as thick as your thumb and as long as you would like.  Next, just drill a hole in the top and run a cord through the hole.

To use your fatwood is easy and starts off with shaving little pieces off and placing them in the location where you want a fire.  Strike the fatwood (tinder) with any fire starting tool you may have, such as matches and away it will burn.  Once that has happened add kindling and continue to add larger pieces of wood as the fire builds.

Camp Fire Recipe: Dutch Oven Chicken Wings

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

What makes a great snack while sitting around the campfire?  Well, Dutch oven chicken wings a course.  The best part of this dish beyond the taste is the fact that it does not take that much time but your friends will think you spent hours over the hot fire.

Camp Fire Recipe:  Dutch Oven Chicken Wings


Liquid or spray oil

4 pounds of chicken wings

3 Tablespoons yellow mustard or variety of your choice

1 to 2 Tablespoons of hot pepper sauce

2 teaspoons of garlic powder



  1. Build the fire to prepare the coals.
  2. Using a 12 inch Dutch oven, grease the inside with liquid or spray oil.
  3. Place chicken wings on paper towels and dry completely.
  4. Put the dried chicken wings into the greased Dutch oven so that they are in a single layer.  If this is not possible, use a larger Dutch oven or two Dutch ovens.
  5. Place the lid on the Dutch oven(s).
  6. Move the Dutch oven(s) to a heat resistant surface.
  7. Using prepared coals first make a circle of 12 hot coals on the heat resistant surface. 
  8. Place the 12 inch Dutch oven on top of this circle and top the lid with 30 prepared briquettes.
  9. Cook for 30 minutes.
  10. While the chicken wings are cooking, prepare the sauce by mixing the yellow mustard, hot pepper sauce, and garlic powder.
  11. After the time in step 9 has passed, lift the lid off the Dutch oven and pour the sauce from step 10 over the chicken wings. 
  12. Using tongs, roll the chicken wings in the sauce to coat.
  13. Place the lid back on the Dutch oven, add more prepared coals, and cook for another 30 minutes.
  14. Once that time period has passed, remove the lid and check the doneness of the wings.  If they are not done, continue to cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  15. After the chicken wings are done, knock off the coals from the lid and remove the Dutch oven from the hot coals on the bottom.
  16. Serve.

If you really want to set these wings off, consider serving them with ranch dressing dipping sauce, crumbled blue cheese, and celery sticks.  Or, to make this dish even more unique, consider mixing up your own barbeque sauce.  Either way, this dish is finger licking good.