Survival Strategies for Safe Summer Camping

Editor’s Note: Camping is a great way to have fun and practice preparedness at the same time. Plus, it gets the whole family involved.

Joe Alton, M.D., aka Dr. Bones, gives helpful advice and survival strategies for safe summer camping in the following article. It originally appeared at and is reproduced here with permission. – John



Camping Safety

The kids are out of school, the weather’s great, and families are planning this summer’s camping trip. Camping is a great way to create bonds and memories that will last a lifetime. A poorly planned outdoor vacation, however, becomes memorable in the worst way, especially if someone gets hurt. A little planning will make sure everyone enjoys themselves safely, and some of these plans are similar to survival strategies.



Bad Idea

Not the best choice for a family camping trip

If you’re not a veteran camper, don’t start by attempting to climb Yosemite’s El Capitan. Start by taking day trips to National Parks or a local lake. Maybe you could start using that firestarter tool, setting up your tent, and making a campfire in your backyard to get through the learning curve. See how things work out when you don’t have to stay in the woods overnight. If the result is a big thumbs-up, start planning those overnighters.

Whatever type of camping you do, you should always be aware of the capabilities and general health of the people in your party. Children and elderly family members will determine the limits of your activities. The more ambitious you are, the more your plans may be beyond the physical ability of the less fit members of your family. This leads to injuries as the end result in normal times or in survival scenarios.



An important first step to a safe camping trip is knowledge about the weather and local terrain you’ll encounter. Talk with park rangers, consult guidebooks, and check out online sources. Some specific issues you’ll need to know:

  • Temperature Ranges
  • Rain or Snowfall
  • Location and Status of Nearby Trails and Campsites
  • Plant, Insect, and Animal Issues
  • Availability of Clean Water
  • How to Get Help in an Emergency



Not Dressed for Success

Probably Not Dressed for Success in the Snow

A very common error campers make is not bringing the right clothing and equipment for the weather and terrain. If you haven’t planned for the environment, you have made it your enemy.

Although Spring and Fall have the most uncertainty with regards to temperatures and weather, storms can occur in any season. Conditions in high elevations lead to wind chill factors that could easily cause hypothermia. Here’s the thing with wind chill: If the temperature is 40 degrees, but the wind chill factor is 20 degrees, you lose heat from your body as if the actual temperature were 20 degrees. Be aware that temperatures at night drop precipitously. Even summer rain can lead to a loss in body temperature if you get soaked.

In cold weather, you’ll want the family clothed in layers. Use clothing made of tightly woven, water-repellent material for protection against the wind. Wool holds body heat better than cotton does. Some synthetic materials work well, also, such as Gore-Tex.

That’s all well and good in cool temperatures, but if you’re at the seashore or lakefront in the summer, your main problem will be heat exhaustion and burns. Have your family members wear sunscreen, as well as hats and light cotton fabrics. Sunscreen should be placed 15 minutes before entering a sunny area and re-applied to skin that gets wet or after, say, a couple of hours.



If you don’t take the environment into account, you have made it your enemy

In hot weather, plan your strenuous activities for mornings, when it’s cooler. In any type of weather, keep everyone well-hydrated; dehydration will cause more rapid deterioration in physical condition in any climate.

The most important item of clothing is, perhaps, your shoes. If you’ve got the wrong shoes for the activity, you will most likely regret it. If you’re in the woods, high tops that you can fit into your pant legs will provide protection against snakebite and tick bites. Tick populations are on the rise in the Northeast and Midwest, so beware of signs and symptoms of Lyme Disease. If you choose to go with a lighter shoe in hot weather, Vibram soles are your best bet.

Special Tips: Choosing the right clothing isn’t just for weather protection. If you have the kids wear bright colors, you’ll have an easier time keeping track of their whereabouts. Long sleeves and pants offer added protection against insect bites and poison ivy.



Real estate agents’ motto is location, location, location and it’s true for survival retreats and camping safety too. Scout prospective campsites by looking for broken glass and other garbage that can pose a hazard.

Look for evidence of animals/insects nearby, such as large droppings or wasp nests/bee hives. If there are berry bushes nearby, you can bet it’s on the menu for bears. Berries that birds and animals can eat are often unsafe for humans to eat. Advise the children to stay away from any animals, even the cute little fuzzy ones. Even some caterpillars are poisonous.



Bear Droppings! Camp somewhere else!

Learn to recognize poison ivy, oak, and sumac. Show your kid pictures of the plants so that they can look out for and avoid them. The old adage is ‘leaves of three, let it be’. Fels-Naptha soap is especially effective in removing toxic resin if you suspect exposure. The resin can stick to clothes, so cur chips off and use for laundering.

Build your fire in established fire pits and away from dry brush. In drought conditions, consider using a portable stove instead, like the EcoZoom. In sunny open areas, the Sun Oven will give you a non-fire alternative for cooking. About fires: Children are fascinated by them, so watch them closely or you’ll be dealing with burn injuries. Food (especially cooked food) should be hung in trees in such a way that animals can’t access it. Animals are drawn to food odors, so use re-sealable plastic containers.

If you camp near a water source, realize that even the clearest mountain stream may harbor Giardia, a parasite that causes diarrheal disease and dehydration. Water purification is basic to any outdoor outing. There are iodine tablets that serve this purpose, and portable filters like the Lifestraw and the Mini-Sawyer which are light and effective. Boiling the water first is a good policy in any situation, although time-consuming. Remember to add one minute of boiling for each 1000 feet of elevation above sea level. Water boils at lower temperatures at higher altitudes, and takes longer to kill microbes.



Preppers Survival Navigation

Glen Martin’s Book on Navigation

Few people can look back to their childhood and not remember a time when they lost their bearings. Your kids should always be aware of landmarks near the camp or on trails. A great skill to teach the youngsters is how to use a compass, a skill you can find in Glen Martin’s new book “Prepper’s Survival Navigation“. Besides a compass, make sure children have a loud whistle that they can blow if you get separated. Three consecutive blasts is the universal distress signal. If lost, kids should stay put in a secure spot instead of roaming about. Of course, if you have cell phone service…


Even if you’ve clothed the kids in protective clothing, they can still wind up with insect bites. Carry a supply of antihistamines, sting relief pads, and calamine lotion to deal with allergic reactions. Asking your doctor for a prescription “EpiPen” is a good idea if anyone has ever had a severe reaction to toxins from insect bites or poison ivy. They’re easy to use and effective, and few doctors would refuse to write a script for it.

Citronella-based products are helpful to repel insects; put it on clothing instead of skin (absorbs too easily) whenever possible. Repellents containing DEET also can be used, but not on children less than 2 years old. Don’t forget to inspect daily for ticks or the bulls-eye pattern rash they often cause. If you remove the tick in the first 24 hours, you will rarely contract Lyme disease.



Amys Survival First Aid Supplies

Get a Medical Kit!

Besides appropriate clothes, insect repellants, and a way to sterilize water, you will want to carry a medical kit to deal with common problems. This should contain:

  • Antiseptics to clean wounds (iodine pads are good)
  • Bandages of different types and sizes: butterfly, roller, pads, moleskin, elastic (Ace wraps)
  • Cold packs to reduce swelling
  • Splints (splints and larger conforming ones)
  • Burn gel and non-stick dressings like Telfa pad
  • Nitrile gloves (some people are allergic to latex)
  • Bandannas or triangular bandages with safety pins to serve as slings
  • A bandage scissors
  • tweezers (to remove splinters and ticks)
  • topical antibiotic cream
  • Medications:

Oral antihistamines (such as Bendadryl)

Pain meds (Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, Aspirin, also good for fever)

1% hydrocortisone cream to decrease inflammation

BZK (Benzalkonium Chloride) wipes for animal bites

Your personal kit may require some additional items to handle special problems with members of the family that have chronic medical issues. Take the above-listed items and add more to customize the kit for your specific needs. Maybe adding a tourniquet, hemostatic gauze, and an Israeli dressing for more significant injuries? Perhaps some antibiotics for longer backcountry outings? The more you add, the more it approximates a survival medical kit.


Trauma Kit

Grab and Go Deluxe Trauma Kit, made by Doom and Bloom Medical with quality first aid supplies

One suggestion for a quality, custom designed kit is our Grab and Go Deluxe Trauma Kit, which weighs less than 3 lbs. and is stocked with first aid and trauma supplies. Another smaller kit that weighs less than 1 lb, is our Ultimate Compact First Aid Trauma Kit, newly redesigned and perfect for short trips outdoors.

In an emergency, the most important thing to do is to simply stay calm. If you have the above supplies, you can handle a lot of medical issues in the wilderness. Gain some knowledge to go along with those supplies, and you’ll have the best chance to have a safe and fun outing with your family.

Joe Alton, M.D., aka Dr. Bones

Author Joe

Joe Alton MD


Are you ready to deal with medical issues when the you-know-what hits the fan? You will be, if you get a copy of Joe and Amy Alton’s #1 Amazon Bestseller The Survival Medicine Handbook.

Survival Medicine Handbook, Third Edition

Survival Medicine Handbook, Third Edition


Prepper’s Survival Navigation Will Help You Get There

We’ve become dependent on our cell phones and GPS devices to help us get to our destination. But what if you’re out camping, hunting or hiking and your GPS quits?

Perhaps your batteries have died. Or you don’t have good service where you are. Or maybe “the big one” has happened.

Do you know how to find your way without modern technology? Do you know how to use a compass and a map? Your survival could hinge on these basic skills.

For DestinySurvival Radio I talked about land navigation, and more, with Glen Martin, author of Prepper’s Survival Navigation.

It’s about land navigation without the high tech gadgets. But it covers other basic survival skills as well.

Below I’ll share thoughts about the book and my conversation with Glen Martin.

Who Is He?

Walter Glen Martin is the name of the author given on this book. But most people in the prepper community know him as Glen. He chose to be formal and used his full name as an author.

In case you don’t know who he is, here’s a little background. I’m sure you’ll agree he’s well qualified to write this book.

“Born in California, Walter ‘Glen’ Martin was raised at the base of the Strawberry Mountains and later near the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. He spent his youth as an avid hunter and fisherman. Knowing how to live off the land, it was not uncommon for Glen to head up into the mountains on a hunting or fishing trip with little more than his rifle or fishing pole.

“After earning his degrees in architecture and mechanical drafting, Glen spent the next 30 years as a design consultant in several Western states, including Alaska. Now living in the mountains of northern Idaho with his fiancé, Glen has settled into an off-grid lifestyle. He owns and operates Prepper Broadcasting, a 24/7 Internet radio station devoted to self-reliance and independence. When not at his desk, you’re likely to find Glen somewhere in the mountains.”


Prepper's Survival Navigation


Why Have This Book?

Watching videos and DVD’s about navigation is good, but I’m glad Glen’s instruction is in the form of a hard copy book.

If you plan on traveling, take it with you. Keep it with your compass in your bug out bag or pack. The info on direction finding, maps, making a shelter, getting water and dealing with medical issues makes it indispensable.

Prepper’s Survival Navigation wasn’t written to say using a GPS is all bad. In fact, according to Glen, if you have knowledge about navigation, you’ll better understand how to use your GPS.

But keep in mind that bad weather or low battery power can make it inoperative. Therefore, have along this helpful instructional guide.

Chapters cover…

  • Finding North without a Compass
  • The Topographical Map
  • The Compass
  • Movement and Routes
  • Dead Reckoning
  • Terrain Association
  • Terrain Comparison and Navigation
  • Exposure and Treatment While Navigating
  • When You’re Lost
  • Finding Shelter
  • Obtaining Water
  • Fire Craft
  • Survival Medicine while Navigating

In each chapter Glen relates some of his own experiences. You know he’s not merely theorizing about wilderness survival.

But he told me, for something he didn’t know, or when he didn’t trust memory, he sought out credible information from military manuals and other survival experts.

You’ll find plenty of useful drawings and illustrations. References are mentioned within the text with a few more given at the end of the book. You’ll find the extensive index helpful, too.

How Do You Get There?

As good as Prepper’s Survival Navigation is, you and I need to practice. You need to know what to do if you should ever lose your way.

Land navigation can be fun for children to learn. And there are benefits throughout life to knowing these skills.

Glen told me about an event he’s planning a few weeks after this writing in which he would incorporate navigation into one of the activities.

Did you know you can determine which way is north by looking at the branches of a tree? That’s just one of the direction finding tidbits Glen has written about.

Could you use the sun to find which direction you’re going? Would you know how to tell time by the sun? Glen shows you how in his book. We also touched on it in our conversation.

Finding direction by the sun isn’t as straightforward as it might seem. Changing seasons and weather conditions make a big difference.

Travel at night isn’t recommended, unless you know the stars. Even then, you’d better know what you’re doing. For example, did you know the Big Dipper looks different because it changes position from season to season?

If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, be familiar with the Southern Cross and its appearance throughout the year.

Glen recommends getting well acquainted with topographical maps. They give you a three dimensional view of a given area. He gives us a primer on reading these maps. Much of what he discusses throughout the book calls for their use.

And, of course, a compass is absolutely a must for land navigation. Get to know how yours works.

Your compass is a precious instrument. In the book Glen gives us tips on caring for your compass you might not have thought of.

You’ll also find explanations of important matters like declination, dead reckoning and terrain association.

During our visit he said not to walk and stare down at your compass needle. You won’t get where you want to go by doing that. Instead, find a reference point in the direction you want to go and walk to that point.

To understand declination, remember there is magnetic north and true north. A compass finds magnetic north. A topo map indicates true north. You have to know the difference between the two norths and account for it when plotting a course.

You can use dead reckoning when visibility is low or if you’re in thick woods. It involves traveling from one point to another a number of times. If you’re traveling with others, each person can act as point men.

Terrain association entails recognizing a landmark and plotting your way to it by associating the real landmark with the one on your map.

Glen explains these terms better than I can.

What Else Should You Know?

As noted above, there’s more to Prepper’s Survival Navigation than land navigation instruction. If you’re lost, you’d better know how you’ll survive.

The chapter on exposure points out the importance of having the right clothing. Pay attention to conditions to avoid over heating (heat exhaustion or stroke) or getting too cold )hypothermia).

The chapter on what to do when you get lost warns against being over confident. It can get you into big trouble. When your senses tell you something isn’t right, pay attention.

If you do get lost, stop, think, and observe your surroundings. Above all, stay calm. Don’t be motivated by panic to do something foolish.

You have two options when you’re lost. Stay put or get moving. In the book Glen discusses pros and cons of each option.

If you stay where you are, your first priority is finding or creating shelter.

When it comes to signaling, be creative. If you light a fire, or more than one fire, be careful not to lose control of the fire.

The shelter chapter gives a good survey of natural shelters and those you make yourself. Don’t overlook the simple poncho because it can serve more than one purpose.

But what about water? Glen has drunk from outdoor streams and has lived to tell us about it. But it’s not something he would recommend to the uninitiated. You and I had better know how to filter and purify water outdoors.

You’ll learn from the book how to find sources of water, make a primitive still, filter and purify water.

In our chat Glen reminds us that making a small still is a temporary measure to help you keep alive, hopefully until someone finds you. If you’re dying of thirst, you’d better know how to signal for help, too.

The best way to avoid dehydration is to plan ahead. If you can’t take enough water with you, know where to get it.

As you might expect, the chapter on fire craft tells how to start a fire a number of different ways. Several kinds of igniters are discussed. Find out how to make a Dakota fire hole.

The last chapter is on survival medicine and covers dealing with dehydration, finding food, hygiene, taking care of fractures, bleeding and insect and snake bites, and more.

As for his own wilderness experiences regarding medicine, cuts and scrapes are what Glen is most familiar with. So for the chapter on survival medicine, he went to the experts. Namely, Joe and Amy Alton–Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy.

Is There More?

Glen enjoys living off grid. It’s been a fun, learning experience. I asked him about his biggest adjustment when making that move. Find out his answer by listening to our chat.

Do that by listening to DestinySurvival Radio for May 18, 2017. (Right click to download.)

You shouldn’t have to worry about getting lost. Get Prepper’s Survival Navigation by clicking on its title wherever you see it linked in this post.

Stay safe when you travel, and survive.


Cook Meals, Boil Water and Make Electricity with BioLite’s CampStove 2

I appreciate resourcefulness and creativity, especially when they prove useful for you and me. It’s good to know it’s possible to cook meals, boil water and make electricity with BioLite’s CampStove 2.

There’s a lot going on inside the CampStove 2. Watch the short video below and discover how BioLite burns wood like gas and turns flames into electricity.



Find out more by clicking on the BioLite banner.




Get Ready for Duck Hunting 101

If you’re a hunter, or if you’re thinking about hunting ducks or other small game for the first time,this will be of interest to you.

Get ready for Duck Hunting 101.

The survival Summit team believes that prepping doesn’t have to always be about doom and gloom. In fact, astute survivalists will take the opportunities to prepare for the worst, while keeping a positive mindset, then morph those opportunities into team building and family bond-building scenarios.

Just like the experts from this DVD did.

Why not step into the practical (and fun) side of self reliance in Duck Hunting 101 – Hunting and Processing Small Game To Survive The Greater Depression, and Have Fun Doing So.

Here’s what it’s all about…

  • Duck Calling
  • Shotgun Selection
  • Ammo Selection
  • The Right Choke Selection
  • Various Duck Decoy Spreads
  • Methods To Hunt a Variety of Areas
  • How To Make a Duck Call
  • How to Blend In During The Hunt
  • Local Law Awareness
  • Why a Cajun Microwave Is So Useful
  • How to Use a Cajun Microwave to Cook a Raccoon (So it doesn’t taste like road-kill)
  • How to Prepare Ducks For Cooking
  • How to Prepare Squirrel (and other small game) For Human Consumption

You’ll meet wilderness survival coach, Kenneth Blanton from Duck Life, as he walks you through the basics of duck hunting and preparing small game. Strengthen your group’s unity, while having fun, and becoming self reliant through the skills presented on this DVD.

Here are some “expert tips”–just for fun–to whet your appetite.

Join The Survival Summit as they team up with Duck Life and the Bayou Gunners to walk you through their way of life, harvesting ducks from the sky, and surviving off the land by regularly eating squirrel and raccoon.

And, yes, they show you how to have fun during the process, too, so you can be mentally and physically prepared to survive and thrive during The Greater Depression.

If you’re ready for Duck Hunting 101, click on the ad banner below.


Duck Hunting 101 DVD


Starting a Fire in Any Kind of Weather

In “Backwoods Home Magazine” for September/October, 2016 (Issue #161), Charles Sanders offers tips for starting a fire in any kind of weather. Read the entire article by clicking the link below the following exerpt.

Start a fire in any weather

By Charles Sanders

Most of us living in the backwoods are comfortable with utilizing fire as a tool. We use fire to heat our homes, burn brush, power our forges, help clear land, smoke meat, and cook our hotdogs at picnics. My grandma used to use kerosene-soaked corncobs to get the fire going in the kitchen range each morning.

But we also know that we may someday be in a situation where our ability to build a fire might determine whether we live or die.

Read the whole article here:

Excerpt used with permission of Backwoods Home Magazine. (541)247-8900.

Survival in Harsh Environments – Get the Instruction You Need

It’s been said that if you know how to survive the high desert, you can survive just about anywhere. That’s precisely why The Survival Summit teamed up with expert, Kirsten Rechnitz, to produce her 3-Disc Series; Survival HD, How To Survive The Harsh Environments of the High Desert & Low Mountains.

With extreme temperature transitions from “shorts-weather” to blizzards in just a 12 hour time frame, the high deserts and low mountains near Moab, UT proved to be the perfect location for this incredible film.

Step into the shockingly harsh environment of High Desert, Low Mountain, as survival expert Kirsten Rechnitz takes you in depth and behind the scenes of real-world applications of survival. Coming from a woman who lived in the desert for nearly the last decade, she’s not afraid to get her hands a little bloody to passionately teach you the tricks of her trade.

Whether you’re preparing for TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It), SHTF, or just a general emergency, this hilariously entertaining and educational DVD is for you.

If you found yourself in the High Desert, or Low Mountains…

• Could you find water?
• Do you know the top three things to do to get rescued?
• Could you survive the intense heat of the day, followed by snow at night?
• Would you know what plant to use which is better than toilet paper?
• What about that spiked plant with anti fungal properties that can be used for sewing your clothes, cleaning under your nails, and even in more personal areas?

This series goes in depth into the How, What, Why, and What If’s of true survival. This is one of the most comprehensive survival courses ever made available outside of the military.

I’ve seen chapters from this instructional package, and I can tell you, you won’t be disappointed. You don’t have to live in the high desert or low mountain lands to benefit from what you’ll learn.

Click on the image below for more info and to place your order for this essential instruction on survival in harsh environments.


Survival HD DVD