American Survival Guide - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - By Mike D'angona

Pro­tect your camp from in­va­sive in­trud­ers.

No mat­ter if you are out­doors with the fam­ily or un­der sur­vival con­di­tions, your camp should be a place where you find safety and se­cu­rity while recharg­ing your mind and body to face any chal­lenges that might lie ahead.

How­ever, Mother Na­ture could have other plans for you. Your haven can be­come a bea­con for a plethora of di­verse an­i­mals, in­sects and the fury of Mother Na­ture, her­self—so much so that your com­fort­able night’s sleep can turn into an ab­so­lute night­mare … but only if you are un­pre­pared.

By tak­ing some com­mon-sense pre­cau­tions, know­ing the gen­eral char­ac­ter­is­tics of your sur­round­ing area and bring­ing key gear and equip­ment, you can pro­tect your tem­po­rary base of op­er­a­tions and get that great night’s sleep you des­per­ately need and de­serve.


Some of the small­est crea­tures on the planet can cause in­cred­i­ble pain, ir­ri­ta­tion and, in some re­mote cases, life-threat­en­ing ill­nesses. “Bugs,” as most peo­ple gener­i­cally la­bel the di­verse col­lec­tion of in­sects, spi­ders, scor­pi­ons and bees, can make a night un­der the stars a tor­tur­ous ex­pe­ri­ence.

Non­stop bites from mos­qui­toes and flies can wreak havoc on your abil­ity to sleep through the night. The con­stant scratch­ing and swat­ting at the con­tin­u­ous bar­rage of fly­ing, bit­ing in­sects can lit­er­ally keep you awake all through the night. As a result, your men­tal and phys­i­cal fac­ul­ties the next day will be se­verely af­fected, caus­ing you to make poor de­ci­sions, be in­creas­ingly ir­ri­ta­ble and de­crease your ba­sic mo­tor skills.

Avoid these prob­lems—and some in­tense itch­ing—by bring­ing with you in­sect re­pel­lent and equip­ping your tent, ham­mock or sleep­ing bag with mos­quito net­ting—two sim­ple, com­mon-sense so­lu­tions to get a com­fort­able night’s sleep.

For those in­sects that choose to at­tack from the ground, you have other op­tions: If con­di­tions al­low, mark off a square por­tion of land where your camp will be and light the ground-level leaves on fire for a con­trolled burn. This will elim­i­nate ticks, mites, spi­ders and other crawl­ing in­sects that are present where you choose to pitch your tent. In fall and win­ter, this will also tem­po­rar­ily warm up the cold ground. Be sure to take cau­tion be­fore start­ing a fire in the woods. “Con­trolled burn” means ex­actly that. Keep the fire small and con­tained.

An­other op­tion for avoid­ing ground-dwelling in­sects is to use an el­e­vated tent or ham­mock. By keep­ing your­self and your be­long­ings far above the ground, you vir­tu­ally elim­i­nate the risk of me­an­der­ing spi­ders or scor­pi­ons mak­ing a bed within your boots or cloth­ing. This also works very well against snakes look­ing for a com­fort­able spot to rest within your gear. Why take the chance of an en­counter when you can sim­ply “rise above” the prob­lem?

As for the threat of bees, be sure to scan the nearby trees for nests. Rustling trees while set­ting up your camp could ag­i­tate the colony, cre­at­ing a po­ten­tially dangerous sit­u­a­tion for you. If a bee swarm tar­gets you, seek shelter im­me­di­ately. If no shelter is nearby, use any­thing around you to cover your body un­til the bees dis­perse and leave the area. Wa­ter is not a haven, so avoid run­ning into lakes or rivers; bees are pa­tient and will often wait for you to sur­face to then ad­min­is­ter their painful stings.


A bear’s sense of smell is so wellde­vel­oped that it can de­tect pos­si­ble food sources for up to 20 miles. Your in­no­cent din­ner could turn into an in­vi­ta­tion for a bear to visit your camp, end­ing in pos­si­bly dis­as­trous re­sults.

Ex­treme cau­tion and pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sures are nec­es­sary to greatly re­duce your chances of a hun­gry and in­quis­i­tive bear from pay­ing you a visit. First, un­der­stand what at­tracts them, and then min­i­mize the tempt­ing treats that en­cour­age bears to visit un­sus­pect­ing camps. Of course, human food is top on the list, but equally at­trac­tive are pet food, the cook­ing ves­sels you used for your din­ner, cos­met­ics,

hand lo­tions, tooth­paste, bird seed and even—be­lieve it or not—un­opened soda or other bev­er­ages.

All items should be stored in a bear-re­sis­tant stor­age box and el­e­vated a min­i­mum of 10 feet (higher is bet­ter) off the ground. Be sure to have at least 5 feet of space be­tween the ver­ti­cal sup­ports. If you have your ve­hi­cle nearby, plac­ing food within the trunk is also an op­tion. Tents, Sty­ro­foam or plas­tic cool­ers, and thin-wal­led campers are not bear-proof and of­fer lit­tle pro­tec­tion from a bear’s pow­er­ful per­sis­tency. In ad­di­tion, never cook near your sleep­ing area, es­pe­cially when deep in the woods. Give your­self at least 50 to 100 yards be­tween your meal prepa­ra­tion area and your sleep­ing quar­ters. Peo­ple often un­der­es­ti­mate the ol­fac­tory sense of bears, and even the most min­i­mal of snacks around your camp can at­tract bears to you.

If a bear does en­ter your camp, there are ways to re­duce in­ter­ac­tion and help send it run­ning away: Bear spray, sim­i­lar to pep­per spray used for self-de­fense pur­poses, is often highly ef­fec­tive at stop­ping a charg­ing or at­tack­ing bear. Al­ways have it nearby. A firearm, pow­er­ful flash­light and air horn can all help drive away a cu­ri­ous bear, as well.

The raccoon, an­other for­est an­i­mal that is at­tracted to camp foods, poses the pos­si­ble threat of ra­bies, so the far­ther away from them you are, the bet­ter. They dis­like the scent of chili pep­pers, so sprin­kling cayenne pep­per around your camp­site can help keep these crit­ters, as well as squir­rels and some other small mam­mals, at bay. Reap­ply ev­ery cou­ple of days and after rain. Loud noises can also de­ter small an­i­mals from your out­door liv­ing area. Air horns, hand claps or a short, pow­er­ful yell can be used as a last re­sort when the an­i­mals are very close by.


Not all visi­tors to your camp­site ar­rive via four (or more) legs. Un­for­tu­nately, de­pend­ing upon your par­tic­u­lar sur­vival sit­u­a­tion, man can be the great­est threat to both los­ing your pre­cious gear and pos­si­bly your life.

Bear in mind that the fol­low­ing sug­ges­tions for pro­tec­tion are pri­mar­ily nec­es­sary in emer­gency sit­u­a­tions that may be pre­cip­i­tated as a result of so­cial or economic col­lapse or dur­ing the af­ter­math of a nat­u­ral or man-made dis­as­ter . They do not nec­es­sar­ily ap­ply to an ev­ery­day, run-of-the-mill out­door camp­ing trip.

In these sur­vival sit­u­a­tions, ba­sic sup­plies, food and clean drink­ing wa­ter are scarce, and the des­per­a­tion of peo­ple lack­ing these resources will be ex­tremely high. This is purely human na­ture, as well as an in­nate trait of self-preser­va­tion. Be­ing a good or bad per­son is blurred when star­va­tion or de­hy­dra­tion is a loom­ing threat. How­ever, even though peo­ple have some­what of a log­i­cal justification to pil­fer an­other’s camp, it doesn’t mean you need to let it hap­pen or be a sit­ting duck to those out to take your gear.

There are def­i­nitely pre­cau­tions you can take to pre­vent this from hap­pen­ing. Choos­ing the cor­rect lo­ca­tion of your camp is your first line of de­fense. Don’t set up along a much-trav­eled trail. Move off the pre­ferred path to “un­charted” ter­ri­tory. Yes, the jour­ney to reach your des­ti­na­tion could be more rig­or­ous and longer, but the pay­off of seclu­sion will be worth it.

Next, be sure to blend into your sur­round­ing en­vi­ron­ment. If you are in the woods, use cam­ou­flage tarps or tents or a camo cover that can be thrown over your brightly col­ored tent to al­low it to blend into the nat­u­ral sur­round­ings.

Fi­nally, arm­ing your­self with a firearm, knife or blunt weapon is a ne­ces­sity if/when oth­ers in­vade your camp. If your life or the life of a loved one is at stake, de­fend your­self by any means pos­si­ble.


Na­ture’s wrath is also an out­door con­tender you will need to face and over­come. This in­tru­sive in­vader packs a pow­er­ful punch and can, even at its weak­est, make your night sleep­less and very un­com­fort­able; at its worst, it can de­stroy your en­tire camp. De­pend­ing upon your en­vi­ron­ment, you might face end­less rain that cul­mi­nates in flash floods. Also pos­si­ble are sleet or snow, as well as in­tense, roar­ing winds.

You need to pre­pare for such nat­u­ral threats with the proper sup­plies, as well as the knowl­edge that na­ture is never to be un­der­es­ti­mated. Set­ting up camp too close to a river’s edge can be dis­as­trous in ar­eas hit with heavy rain storms. Flash flood­ing can cre­ate fast-mov­ing rivers over ar­eas you thought were well above the wa­ter­line. Your mis­cal­cu­la­tion can result in your sup­plies and tent be­ing car­ried away, leav­ing you empty-handed in the harsh out­doors … that is, if you’re lucky enough to have es­caped the on­slaught.


When camp­ing, you be­come part of the en­vi­ron­ment around you. Con­se­quently, you will en­counter many of na­ture’s crea­tures dur­ing your out­door stay. Whether they are driven by hunger, cu­rios­ity or other mo­ti­va­tions, you should al­ways have a plan to counter what­ever in­ter­ac­tion comes your way. In do­ing so, you not only give your­self peace of mind, but also the abil­ity to sur­vive—and suc­cess­fully thrive—while in Mother Na­ture’s back­yard.

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