Spring weather has finally resurfaced in many regions of the country. It is time once again to begin working on our outdoor preparedness projects and practicing our survival skills.
After several months cooped up inside, we can now comfortably get back to embarking upon enhancements to our prepper retreat or homestead and preparing for the coming growing and livestock birthing season.
Learning new skills and cross-training other members of your family (or mutual assistance group) should be an integral aspect of your overall prepping arrange. If the only person in the family or group knows how to help birth a calf in distress, or how to reload ammunition, the anticipated survival chances of the clan decrease considerably if that one all-important individual is out of commission, or dead, when their skills are required.
Every single prepper I know looks at their retreat or homestead as a work in progress. There is always some new concept to check, repair to make, project to try, or something to build.
Here’s a round-up of the top four spring prepper projects and skills to include into your survival weekend practice sessions or to figure onto your future projects list!
1. Dakota Fire Hole
A Dakota fire hole is a simple fire-building technique that creates little smoke. There is no need to attract unwanted attention during a survival situation by sending smoke signals to alert potential marauders to your position.
When light, the Dakota fire hole pushes hot air from the fire exit points through the highest of the fire pit. This process creates suction which in turn draws fresh air into the hole. The air then tunnels down through the base until it reaches the flames.
As the Dakota fire hole temperature increases via oxygen combustion, even more air is sucked into the tunnel – increasing the temperature of the fire continuously. The fire holes burns fuel (wood) far more efficiently than a typical fire ring, creating a hotter cooking or warming surface while using a lot less wood in the process.
When stealth is a major concern, the Dakota fire hole is the way to go. Because way less wood is needed to get a substantial impact, the amount of time and distance you would need to go to cut or forage would is drastically decreased. Because such little light is emitted by the flames, your location is far less likely to be detected as well. You can find other fire pit ideas here as well.
2. Perimeter Security On The Cheap
Protecting the prepper retreat, homestead, or campsite will be a high priority after a SHTF situation – but accomplishing the task needn’t be an expensive chore.
For less than $100 and many hours of your Saturday afternoon you can build some durable, reliable, low-tech perimeter security devices. Knowing as quickly as possible when a stranger is approaching could very well save your life during a SHTF scenario. High-tech security systems can be nothing more than useless junk when the power grid fails.
The rat trap and glow stick security “alarms” could be tripped by animals and need reset, but the minor inconvenience of hiking out to the perimeter of your prepper retreat and keeping a stockpile of glow sticks on hand is definitely worth the effort – keeping your family or mutual help group alive is always a high priority!
Rat Trap Security Alarm Supplies
- Rat Traps
- Glow Sticks
- Sturdy string or rope – about six feet of string or rope
- Power Drill
- Green and brown Spray Paint
- Rebar and hammer – optional
- Drill two holes about a ½ apart on both sides of the center top and bottom of the rat trap. Make sure to drill the holes about a pinky finger width from the top to avoid splitting the thin wood the trap is comprised of.
- Spray paint the rat traps brown so they blend in with the tree they will be mounted upon.
- Spray paint the string or rope green so it blends in with the surroundings. You may want to add a few touches of brown paint to the top part of the string which will dangle from the rat trap and hang down close to the tree.
- Lace the twine or rope through the bottom holes, just as you would when starting to put shoe laces in the bottom of a pair of tennis shoes. Tie the ends of the string or rope firmly around the treat and knot it several times to help hold it firmly in place.
- Repeat this step at the top of the rat trap, but BEFORE you pull the lines tight, slide a glue stick through the string – essentially making it the middle of a string and rat trap “sandwich.” Now, pull the string or rope so it fits snugly around the tree and knot it into place.
- Tie another piece of string to the snapping mechanism of the trap. Knot it into place and then pull the string down towards the ground and tie it off on a heavy rock, stick, or piece of rebar you have driven into the ground with a hammer.
- Carefully, set the rat trap as you normally would when hunting varmints.
How It Works
When a personal (or possibly an animal) touches the trip string or rope, the rat trap released – hitting the glow stick. The family or mutual assistance group member on guard duty keeping a watchful eye on the perimeter will notice the glowing stick and initiate established security measures.
3. Signaling System
To create a silent signaling system which doesn’t need batteries, simply tie a piece of string to the glow stick and swing it around in the air to alert someone to you location at night. Not all glow stick comes with a tip with a hole for hanging, make sure to look at the image on the packaging and read details about the product before buying.
Glow sticks come in many colors, particularly if you purchase the ones designed to be created into necklaces and bracelets for kids to wear for fun. Your silent communication signaling system could be devised to be color based so members of your groups could quickly understand what variety of a threat or emergency is being shared.
4. Pop Tab Fishing Hooks
No matter how much gear you are able to purchase and store, the stockpile can eventually run out. Gathering items which would make excellent barter should ALWAYS be a priority on your SHTF plan.
- Pop tabs – that’s soda for all folks who didn’t grow up in Appalachia!
- Permanent marker
- Lay the pop tab on a hard surface.
- Draw a line with the permanent marker about three-fourths of the way from the base of the finger pull opening.
- Using the snipping or cutting implement of the multi-tool, cut along the marker line.
- Use the file on the multi-tool to file the bottom tip of the opening you cut into a sharp point.
- Use the top hole in the pop tab to tie the upcycled emergency fishing hook on the line and start casting!