1001 Tips/tricks of the trade to make life easier

Making things, reuse tips and tricks of all sorts.

1001 Tips/tricks of the trade to make life easier

New postby Estela216 on Wed 18 May 2005 13:44

Moderators, please post this in the appropriate forum if this isn't it.

I thought this might be a good place to list some tips/tricks of the trade we all use to make life easier in the woods. Post a tip or trick and by all means, take from here some new know how. I'll post a few and get us started. Lets see if we can hit 1001 useful (note I said useful and not wisea$$) comments.

1. Carry redundant gear (large knife and small knife, Matches and lighter, etc)

2. Flip nalgene bottles upside down in insulated carriers in the winter. The threads won't freeze shut this way.

3. Superglue makes a great treatment for cracked skin if used properly.

4. Carry a small length of cord attached to your water bottle. It can be used to collect water from cracks out of reach.

5. If you carry a flashlight using AAA or AA batteries, switch to lithium camera batteries. They last longer in storage and are not affected by cold.

6. Duct tape can be wrapped around almost anything. Carry it into the field wrapped around something instead of carrying a roll.

7. Circle hooks are great for minimalist fishing gear. They almost always hook the lip and hardly ever deep hook. Great for survival when you can't watch your line at all times.

8. Carry a couple small birthday trick candles with you. They will relight if blown out by the wind.

9. Swap zipper pulls for whistles, small pocket knives, or mini-compasses.

10. Carry a carabiner or two. They have a 101 uses.

Lets keep this list going. Can we hit 1001?

Posts: 0
Joined: Wed 02 Mar 2005 13:31

New postby le.freak on Wed 18 May 2005 14:53

...grease spots last longer if you refresh them with butter from time to time :)

11. a sweater or jacket put into the hull of your sleeping bag makes a good cushion.

12. to clean a pot take baking soda and water and cook it. or salt and water.

13. always have a list of what you packed. and where it is in your pack. always think twice about what you need, first when packing, second when listing your belongings. that way you won´t forget anything plus you might reconsider your previous decisions.

14. always carry some cord. you can´t have enough of it.
Posts: 0
Joined: Thu 29 Jan 2004 19:43

New postby Stew on Wed 18 May 2005 16:23

15. On nalgene bottles with the retention strap for the lid, pull it off completely then turn it upside down and replace it. Makes it easier to drink from as the lid is held out of the way.
Posts: 0
Joined: Tue 20 Apr 2004 13:27

New postby James on Wed 18 May 2005 17:10

16. A piece of thermoplastic can be used to repair a lot of things. (you obviously need a lighter)

17. A small bottle of bush tea tree oil can be used as an extremely efficient local antisceptic, as an antifungus, to fight an infection, or a diarea, or even a bad cold.

18. A pair of gloves is always useful, have you ever tried to collect nettles without?
Posts: 0
Joined: Thu 30 Oct 2003 12:12

New postby Sharpshooter on Wed 18 May 2005 22:05

19. Carry a small container of Cayenne pepper in your kit. Not only does it taste good, but it works as stop leak in the radiator of your car, stops bleeding when applied directly to wounds (coagulant), is an antiseptic, when applied topically works as a counter-irritant relieving pain of arthritis and sprains.

It's also thought to stop heart attacks when taken oraly. In all Cayenne is a terrific emergency medical supply. Learn more about it Here

20. Ranger bands; rings cut from bicycle inner tubes are great for securing small items and can be used as tinder for fire starting.
Posts: 0
Joined: Fri 31 Oct 2003 05:54

New postby kolekojot on Wed 18 May 2005 23:23

21. Carry termoshrinking tybe of different diameters and few peaces of hard steel wire. Both are wery usable in repairing fishing rods, glass frames etc..
Posts: 0
Joined: Mon 01 Mar 2004 06:52

New postby Bob Hurley on Thu 19 May 2005 04:26

22 -If you're cooking something containing grease or oil, clean the pan by adding water and some of the fine light-grey ash from the campfire, then boil for a moment. It works like soap.

23 -For fire without an axe, simply drag small poles and lay across the fire so they'll burn in two. When you start, burn off some shorter pieces and pull them back out of the fire so they'll go out, you can use them to bank the fire for the night.

24 -Carry a small awl and suitable thread. The ones on most Swiss Army Knives are too large to do neat work on packs, sheaths etc.
Bob Hurley
Posts: 0
Joined: Wed 19 Jan 2005 03:34

New postby le.freak on Thu 19 May 2005 05:05

25 . the stings of blackberry twines can be easily removed using a "spyderhole" in a knife to make cordage.
Posts: 0
Joined: Thu 29 Jan 2004 19:43

New postby sencaus on Thu 19 May 2005 11:56

Advise # 26:

During the long and hard trails your organism will by sweating lose a lot of salts and minerals. That can cause a serious health problems to some people.
To prevent that, in such occasions you should always have with you a little bottle with kitchen salt or adequate mineral-pills.

Cheers, ..... Senad
Posts: 0
Joined: Wed 21 Jul 2004 18:54

New postby Estela216 on Fri 20 May 2005 02:28

Here are a few more to push us past 30.

#27 Carry a cheap type II PFD while canoeing to use as padding for your knees. Should you need a spare for some reason, you are kneeling on it.

#28 Boil water and put it in your sleeping bag at night (caution: water is very hot and make sure to secure the lid.) On cold nights, the bottle will keep you warm for part of the night. The rest of the night, your body heat will keep the bottle from freezing.

#29 You can use a cool river or a muddy area to keep food cool. Just make sure the container is very water-resistant and submerge.

#30 Common sense tip: little hooks can catch little or big fish while big hooks can only catch big fish (unless you gaff.)

#31 Common sense tip: Pack your pack in an order of urgency. That is, pack what is used often closest to the pack's opening. And...

#32 Make sure to pack heavy items closest to your body to prevent being thrown off balance.

#33 If you encounter a moose or dangerous animal in the woods and want some added security in case of a charge, make sure to put a large object between the two of you (i.e. a big tree, stump, rock.)

#34 If you are using a stove (an esbit, backpacking, or other) construct a wind deflector for maximum results. It will cut down your cooking time.

#35 Always check yourself for ticks (great reason to carry two mirrors!!) I know the importance of this first hand. Carry two mirrors to see behind you. Catch them before they sink in!

#36 For a good night's sleep, if you sleep on your back, dig a small depression in the ground where you sleep. It is surprisingly supportive and obviously not as flat as a board!

Posts: 0
Joined: Wed 02 Mar 2005 13:31

New postby rifle on Sat 21 May 2005 03:03

#37 Unscented baby wipes (they come in small packages) are great when nature calls. Clean wipe :roll: . Much better than TP.
Posts: 0
Joined: Tue 26 Apr 2005 22:30

New postby bushwacker bob on Sat 21 May 2005 08:36

#38 carry a small piece of 600grit wet and dry paper rolled on the inside of your match case.It works as emercency match striker and emergency knife sharpener.

#39 fill any voids in your match case with cotton wool.It prevents rattling or friction ignition and provides tinder when the matches run out
bushwacker bob
Posts: 0
Joined: Thu 02 Sep 2004 21:10

New postby nomad on Sat 21 May 2005 08:49

A few from me......

38 carry some fish-hooks, a few splitshot and 12lb line wrapped arond an old cotton reel or tin can for fishing, these can also be used for birding or caching small mammals such as marmots in a survival situation.

39 always let someone know where you'll be going and when you intend to be bak, break your leg and you'll wish you had done so.

40 always carry a small pot of pottassium permanganate for dis-infecting wounds, purifying water, starting fires (mix with radiator fluid or sugar) or marking out messages in snow.

41 always carry at least 2 methods of fire-starting with you on your person with your knife, that way if you lose your kit you can feed yourself and keep yourself warm.

43 a fire-steel or doan style firestarter is a reliable firelighter for wet or windy conditions get one.

44 if your feet are cold.....cover your head

45 always carry a few trash bags with you in the bottom of your pack, they're useful for just about anything..from creating shelter tarps, rafts and matresses to using them over a branch to collect trranspired water in arid regions....and they don't weigh much.

46 Always work on the basis of haveing two of the items of kit most important...i.e. knife, firestarter.

47 your compass doesn't necessarily point north ...check your own regions magnetic difference!

48 a 1lb coffee can with a wire bail handle is cheap to construct and will be a valued friend for backwoods living, a cheaper billy can you'll not find.

49 unless you're camping in predominantly dry/arid regions leave the cotton at home!

50 carry a bandanna they can be used for a great rage of purposes from bandaging, slings, as a sponge to collect morning dew from vegetation or as protection from biting insects.


Posts: 0
Joined: Sat 14 Aug 2004 17:16

New postby Brasilikilt on Sat 21 May 2005 21:11

Here's a quick one

Wear a short length of tube tied to a cord around your neck, (perhaps with your neck knife) use metal, bone or bamboo, something that won't melt or burn easily.
Use this little tube to concentrate the force of your breath to blow fires to life...for me it works much better than blowing with your mouth or even fanning with whatever piece of cardboard or newspaper you have handy.
For me this worked especially well for getting damp twigs and shavings ablaze.........try it and you'll see.
Posts: 0
Joined: Tue 30 Dec 2003 14:08

New postby Ravenn on Tue 24 May 2005 18:32

A packet of Dextros tabs in your first aid kit. in a survival situation, they are an excellent source of energy, and will clear your head if decreasing blood sugar becomes a problem.

Most foods can be eaten with a spoon.

Carry chop stix from a Chinese food take a way.

Wet feet can be dried by application of Purell ( in the U.S) or any alchol based jelled hand cleaner.
Posts: 0
Joined: Tue 04 Jan 2005 13:28

New postby nomad on Wed 25 May 2005 16:03

41 the cord around the lid of your rucksack makes an excellent bowdrill string for friction firelighting

42 a denim or cotton pant-leg rolled over 2 or 3 times makes a makeshift handpad for pressure flaking arrow points in the field, you can also use an alloy tent peg as your pressure flaker.

43 tighten your stabiliser shoulder straps on your rucksack when walking upslope this brings the load more securely to your centre of gravity, if you slip you'll fall forward...useful if it is a steep slope.

44 loosen your stabiliser shoulder straps on your rucksack when walking down slope, if it is steep and you lose your footing the pack will act like a weight and allow you to fall on your back and act as a deadman stopping the slide.

45 when crossing rivers keep your boots on, slip your rucksack onto one shoulder, wade facing upstream and use a pole or branch as a third leg to keep your ballance.

Posts: 0
Joined: Sat 14 Aug 2004 17:16

New postby OhCanada on Wed 25 May 2005 16:42

Been following this thread and cut & pasting it in Word. So far I am at 61 tips.
Posts: 0
Joined: Sun 03 Apr 2005 20:41

New postby Estela216 on Wed 25 May 2005 17:25

62. Dry your hands before lighting matches, a single drop of water can put out the flame.

63. A dunked bic lighter can still work if you let it dry out.

63. A bic lighter that is out of fluid can still be used to spark a fire. Just remove the metal with your knife.

64. You can use warm rocks by a fire to keep you warm at night by burying them under yourself in soft dirt. Just be careful to make sure the ground isn't moist or partly frozen or you will wake up in mud.

65. To make a makeshift minnow trap, cut the top of a two liter bottle off and invert it into the bottle. Poke holes to make it sink. Duct tape the ends shut. Fish swim in and can't swim out. Make sure to bait if of course.

66. Peanut butter is a great trail food for you and for unsuspecting squirrels if you want to trap or snare them.

67. For hunters, consider carrying a sidearm in the winter with a larger trigger housing. With gloved hands, it is easy to accidentally discharge single action 1911 pistols normally carried without gloves on.

68. For hunters again, try out your gun lube/oil in the cold before you use it on your gun in the cold. Some oils become very viscous in cooler weather and may inhibit proper function. Just put some on a cooking sheet and label the various types. See what works best for you.

69. Fisherman, use your chapstick on fishing pole eyelets. It will keep them from freezing over if winter steelhead fishing.

70. Be careful wearing fleece around fires.

71. For parents, consider higher level thinking activities for your kids while in the woods. Instead of memorization, give your kids a tin can and ask them what they could make out of it (i.e. lantern, mess kit, mirror, etc.) Memorization is ok but get them to think and they'll have a hard time forgetting.

72. Tuck in all loose straps while hiking. It is easy to snag a strap on a branch and possibly loose vital gear lashed to your pack.

73. Cheap camp footwear can be found in dollar stores. Buy some cheap foam flip flops and tuck them in your pack. Your feet will love you for it.

74. When wet wood is all around, split it to find some dry stuff.

75. Don't rely on solar stills for emergency water. They require skill in assembling and are not as quick to produce water as a simple bandana wiped across wet plantlife.

76. Seashells can be very very sharp if broken. They make great makeshift knives but are very brittle.

78. For coastal dwellers, learn to love seafood stew. It is not easy to cook hermit crabs but it is easy to make stew rich in nutrients. Drop, plop and eat that yummy (subjective taste) slop.
Posts: 0
Joined: Wed 02 Mar 2005 13:31

New postby fuzzz on Thu 26 May 2005 01:23

79. wire ties and duct tape both of them have a 1001 uses.

80. diagnal cutters(wire cutters), have used them to do any thing from cutting wire to toe nails
Posts: 0
Joined: Tue 01 Mar 2005 14:52

New postby Scavenger on Sun 29 May 2005 21:20

81. To tell how long you have until the sun sets fully extend your arm in front of you with your thumb pointed up, fingers together and your palm facing you. Line things up so that the sun sits in the crook of the "L" formed by your thumb and fingers. Now eyeball the the vertical distance from the sun to where it'll set (remember the sun will angle a bit to the right as it sets). Each finger-width represents about fifteen minutes of daylight, so four fingers give you about an hour before sunset. If the sunset is more than an hour away you'll need to use more hands.

82. Keep your toenails trimmed!!
Posts: 0
Joined: Fri 17 Dec 2004 19:13

New postby SgtMike88Ret on Sun 29 May 2005 22:16

83. Protect your ferrocerium rod from corrosion by cleaning it with an alcohol prep and applying a coat of varnish immediately after it dries.

84. Fingernail ENAMEL doesn not waterproof strike anywhere matches. Use a varnish based nail polish or other varnish.

85. Use a 4" cable tie to secure the actuator on a BIC butane lighter to prevent leakage in storage. The tie will fit under the actuator and above the frame, causing a stoppage of actuator movement. Don't overtighten the cable tie. Properly applied, simple upward thumb pressure will release the cable tie - handy for one hand removal should one hand be incapacitated.

86. Epoxy a button compass to the inside lid of a plastic matchsafe to add some utility to the case. Suunto's Clipper compass is easily removed from its housing for such a project and is a high quality compass in its own right.

87. Measure your ferro rod's diameter and length. Cut a piece of the appropriate diameter plastic tubing to the appropriate length to use as a protective sheath. A light coat of mineral oil or olive oil inside the tubing sheath will allow for easy application and removal of the sheath.

88. Charge a small portion of the inside of your pants belt with some stropping compound for a field expedient blade strop.

89. Waxed dental floss is invalueable. It can be used for its intended purpose, as a sewing thread, as a gear repair thread, as fishing line, and as cordage for shelter building. Also, a length of dental floss rolled in sand becomes a makeshift hacksaw.

Posts: 0
Joined: Fri 23 Jan 2004 21:39

New postby SgtMike88Ret on Mon 30 May 2005 12:18

90. Where not symetrical, your nation's flag flown upside down, is a ground to air emergency signal. Comes in handy when you consider many bandanas come in national flag patterns.

91. A brightly colored bandana makes an effective signal flag.

92. Soap the bottom of your cookware prior to exposing it to campfire flames. It makes it very easy to clean off soot and other cooking stains.

93. Olive oil makes an effective knife lubricant and protector and is edible - you don't get subjected to potential toxins from other petroleum based oils when you use the knife for food prep.

94. Don't wear hiking or hunting boots when pumping gas into your vehicle. Inadvertently stepping in spilled fuel or leaked oils are scents alarming to game and can be detected by game many yards away.

95. In cold weather, warm the inside of hunting or hiking boots with a hair dryer, or if at camp, with a rock pre-warmed in your fire.

Posts: 0
Joined: Fri 23 Jan 2004 21:39

New postby SgtMike88Ret on Mon 30 May 2005 12:38

96. Mini Tabasco bottles from USGI MREs, once emptied and cleaned, make excellent containers for an emergency Zippo lighter refill or containers for PSK sized bottles of salt or other spices.

97. Several lengths of electrical tape applied to the clean inside of your PSK container take up nearly zero space, yet can come in handy for field expedient electrical system repairs on your vehicle when away from civilized areas.

98. Use electrical shrink tubing around the lip piece of metal whistles to protect your lips in extreme cold conditions.

99. Stuff voids in matchcases with dry easily igniteable tinder like cotton balls or SparkLight TinderQuik tabs.

100. In cold conditions, carry your butane lighter in a pocket inside your jacket or vest. Body heat will keep the lighter working properly.

Posts: 0
Joined: Fri 23 Jan 2004 21:39

New postby Brasilikilt on Mon 30 May 2005 18:00

And I thought I was soooooooo clever until I saw this picture in a camping book

# 101 This is a great way to field sharpen your axe!

# 102 Save the pockets, waistbands and pantlegs from your worn-out field trousers and recycle them into gear bags. Sew several pockets end to end to make a cheap carrier roll for small items. Use the salvaged belt loops for ready made attachment or tie-down points

#103 Don't clean the black off of your cooking gear, black absorbs heat very well and causes your food to heat faster. you also don't have the mess to deal with like you would if you were to coat the outside of your pots with soap.
Store your blackened cooking pot in a sack (made out of an old pantleg for example)

#104 Sew a hood onto your favorite wool blanket, also attach some loops at the other end to allow for a draw string closure which creates a kind of primitive, low-tech mummy bag.

#105 A hammock, when not in use for sleeping is handy for securing gear in the back of a pickup or stationwagon. Just tie both ends to tie-down points, door handles or even loop around and secure to the back of driver/passenger seats to keep those loose items from sliding around while going to or from camp.

#106 A regular plastic 5 gallon bucket is great for washing yourself, your dishes, carrying water, carrying or storing gear, keeping food from animals, can be modified to be a trap and with a few heavy rocks at the bottom and a tight lid, you can keep it in a cool river for a bush-fridge.

I'll try to remember more later [/img]
Posts: 0
Joined: Tue 30 Dec 2003 14:08

New postby randjack on Mon 30 May 2005 18:28

# 107 line storage
A) drive two finish nails the desired distance apart, wrap line around them; remove and pull resulting hank through drink straw segments (look for the fat ones at Starbucks)

B) buy either plastic or metal sewing machine bobbins, pick out the screwdriver bit that fits the hole, chuck in your variable spaed drill and wind line quickly. Mine hold about 65' of SpiderLine or #69 nylon thread
Posts: 0
Joined: Mon 30 May 2005 16:48

New postby mcniac on Mon 30 May 2005 18:37

#108 Knife sharpening

carry some small pieces of sand paper, a piece of flat wood (not too big) and a piece of mouse pad, with this kit you can sharpen most of your knifes without much problems or weight.
Posts: 0
Joined: Fri 19 Dec 2003 18:49

New postby Estela216 on Wed 01 Jun 2005 02:02

We broke 100! Awesome, lets keep it up. Here are a couple mindsets or philosophies that are great tips.

109. Think of a pack or fannypack not as what you can carry in but what you can find along your way.

110. Always remember a trip from point A to point B ends back at point A. Don't use up your energy without having any to get back to your car or starting point.

111. A stupid mistake in your backyard can be a great lesson before you go out into the field. Practice what you preach and use your gear before you head out. That same mistake could be dangerous or fatal in the field.

112. Cotton kills, as do most other natural fabrics but remember, wool and silk keep some insulating properties when wet.
Posts: 0
Joined: Wed 02 Mar 2005 13:31

New postby bigbore442001 on Wed 01 Jun 2005 23:26

113 .For muzzleloader hunters, put a piece of electrical tape over the muzzle of the gun. On those rainy, snowy days it will keep undesireable moisture out of the barrel. When you take a shot, the tape will blast harmlessly off the gun with no effect on accuracy.
Posts: 0
Joined: Fri 20 Aug 2004 00:44

New postby Estela216 on Thu 02 Jun 2005 00:55

When nature calls....

114. Make sure to dig cat holes at least 300 feet from a water source.

115. Those handy wipes you get from casinos are great to pack along to compliment T.P.

116. Not my practice (not at all leave no trace ethical) but I've heard if you have to #2 in a river, turn sideways. Facing up river causes the eddy you make to push it back into you and facing down river pushes it on you also. Sideways pushes it away best.

117. If you don't want to go outside in the winter to pee, use an old smelly Nalgene bottle and tape yellow tape around it. Also, make sure to put something on it that will make you feel it is not safe to drink. Holds 32 oz. of your yellow essence, usually more than enough.

118. If you run out of T.P., eat with the right and wipe with the left.

119. Be careful handling plants while going to the bathroom. You don't want to put your hands anywhere near your privates if you've accidentally handled poison ivy or oak.

120. Bring white paracord with you that you can use at night to guide you to and from a latrine. White shows up best at night against foliage.

121. Don't leave your camp without the bare essentials. Many people have been caught off guard while answering the most basic human needs. Gear will do you no good left at camp.

122. If you want your tent to smell fresh after a night of your world famous chilli, bring along car fresheners and hang them in your tent. You can also pick up cologne or perfume samples from magazines/Department stores to mask an odor.

We are 12% to our goal, I know we can hit it. Think of some other tips to use while cooking, sleeping, repairing, hunting, fishing, hiking, etc. Think about one aspect of the outdoors and we'll get there. Let's keep this going!

Posts: 0
Joined: Wed 02 Mar 2005 13:31

New postby ssj on Thu 02 Jun 2005 03:36

118. Lighter and smaller is almost always better than heavier and larger.
Posts: 0
Joined: Fri 31 Oct 2003 00:28


Return to Do it yourself