6 Winter Survival Myths Debunked

In most cases, whatever situation you may be in, survival ultimately comes down to one thing - knowledge. All the fanciest gear in the world could amount to nothing without the proper knowledge of both your body and the environment you're surrounded by. 

1. Rub frostbitten skin
Don’t. Ever. Frostbite occurs when ice crystals form in your skin and other tissues. Rubbing the injury causes more tissue damage as the ice crystals lacerate new cells. Instead, treat the victim with painkillers as you slowly rewarm the tissue—frostbite hurts!

2. Drinking liquor will warm you up
We’ve probably all seen the cartoon depicting a Saint Bernard dog with a cask of brandy around his neck reviving some avalanche victim. But liquor is the last drink you need in a cold-weather survival scenario. Although you may feel warmer, alcohol actually dilates skin-surface blood vessels and capillaries, which will chill your core even faster. Instead, drink hot tea or cocoa.

3. All base layers work equally well

Not true. Cotton kills—or, at least, could lead to hypothermia if you rely on it as your primary base layer in cold weather. It’s a great fabric to wear around the house, and it has great applications in hot, dry climates. But once cotton gets wet, it loses its insulating properties. Before you even break a sweat, normal skin moisture will soak into the cotton fibers and start to cool your body through conduction. These fibers can hold up to 27 times their weight in water and then store that moisture up to eight times longer than synthetics or wool. This doesn’t just leave you feeling clammy—it steals vital heat from your core. If it’s cold enough for long johns, then it’s too cold for cotton.

4. Don’t feed a victim of hypothermia
Normal shock treatment and hypothermia treatment are different—you don’t, for example, want to feed someone who may be going into shock because he can vomit and choke while unconscious. However, in mild to moderate hypothermia cases, high-calorie foods can be given in small, repeated doses to create metabolic heat in the victim and help him restore his own heat-generating ability.

5. Let a hypothermic victim get some sleep
After the shivering, confusion, slurred speech, and clumsiness of hypothermia have manifested, an exposure victim also gets drowsy. This is a serious warning sign because sleep can lead to death. Keep the victim awake as you warm him up.

6. A hot tub will cure hypothermia
Rewarming is the main way to treat someone whose core temperature has dipped far below 98.6 degrees. But dropping somebody in a Jacuzzi will cause excruciating pain and can even trigger a heart attack. Instead, put hot-water bottles in both armpits, or use skin-to-skin rewarming. Never use a high-heat source to treat a hypothermic person.


Read the full article written by Tim Macwelch for OUTDOORLIFE

Photography shot at Elfin Lakes by Hennygraphy

Know The Wilderness; The Importance of Tracking

Whether you're out for a hunt, hike, simple stroll in the woods or (ideally not) in a survival situation, knowing how to read your surroundings is key. There are many tracking guidelines, books and courses out there which all can assist you in learning the skills necessary to become proficient. There is also a growing popularity in tracking field practice, which puts classroom learning on the back burner and allows you to get out in the wilderness and learn hands-on with an experienced tracker (in our opinion, the best way to learn). However, no matter what method you use, the takeaway remains the same; You'll be surprised at how many things you'll see once you know what to look for.

Animal tracking is not only a useful tool for hunting, an association it is most commonly known for. It is a skill that lures us in and forces us to appreciate the strength of seemingly unnoticeable hints shown to us by the natural world. A knowledge of your surroundings encourages you to open all of your senses to the subtle clues hidden everywhere in the wild, making the supposedly chaotic and unpredictable reappear as orderly and familiar. 

Grizzly bear clawed tree. Shot by  B. Atalay

Grizzly bear clawed tree. Shot by B. Atalay

Tracking the rut. Learning to read rubs via  OutdoorLife.  Shot by Lance Krueger.

Tracking the rut. Learning to read rubs via OutdoorLife. Shot by Lance Krueger.

Tracking animals is broken down into an assorted group of techniques and goals. Depending what you're looking to do you may be; tracking animals (animal track identification), trailing (following animal footprints/signs over long stretches), track aging (discovering how long the tracks have been there), gait interpretation (knowing how animals moved through an area without actually having seen them) or all techniques combined. 

The know-how not only includes a thorough knowledge of tracks, trails and sign, but also draws on the natural history, anatomy, and behavioural characteristics of animals and the environment. There is no doubt a primitive aspect to these skills, drawing on basic perceptions with minimal (if any) interference by technology, offering a welcome break from our ever-growing dependence to the online world. Ultimately, tracking is about the uncontaminated relationship between the tracker and the surrounding wilderness.

Some starting tips to keep in mind:

An understanding of basic ecological concepts is important.

Learn to consciously recognize unfamiliar parts of the landscape; create a habit of seeking out unfamiliar aspects of one’s surroundings, or consciously alter the physical vantage point you observe the landscape from.

Focus on the big picture. One of the most effective ways to recognize patterns and relationships is to sit down and just watch the entire landscape without focusing on any one detail in particular. This allows us to recognize macropatterns which are larger than the detailed sphere of one’s normal awareness.

Give time for processing perceptions and information (minutes to hours to days depending on the scale of your goals). It takes time for the senses to wander and truly learn the landscape.

Have some familiarity with the landscape. Gain experience of the area by means of trial or accompaniment of an elder tracker with a profound knowledge of the area/s.

Though in written form it may sound farfetched, an awareness of one’s instinctual feelings about the landscape and perceptions can help bring attention to things which you may be aware of on a subconscious level.

Understanding in a relational sense involves making connections, rather than just making recognitions. Being able to compare one observation to another or to theoretical knowledge is vital.


Hunting Lodge in Sognefjorden, Norway

A hunting lodge designed in Sognefjorden on the west coast of Norway. The site is surrounded by some of Norway's most spectacular natural environments and has some of the countries most exceptional terrain for a spectacular deer hunting destination. A welcome break from the city to encounter deer, sea eagles and even dolphins with breathtaking views of the Fjords. 

Inspired by the traditional Norwegian Tun, the Mountain Lodge on Sognefjorden is formed by a collection of five buildings gathered around a central space. Each building houses its own function and is arranged to address particular views, from a dramatic panorama of the Fjord to a sampled view of the surrounding mountain landscape.

The central space acts as the primary gathering point and accommodates some of the key day-to-day activities. The reception and bar is located here, with a good overview of each living space; lounge, dining room, breakfast room, upper kitchen, library and meeting room. At the lower floor, partially cut into the landscape, are further guest facilities; spa and treatment rooms, swimming pool, gymnasium, cinema and games room. The lower floor also facilitates the back-of-house operations with kitchen, storage, wine cellar and plant. 

This floor can be accessed separately from the valley floor whilst providing access to the forest walkways that leads on to the cabins. Eight individual cabins form the private areas and are carefully sited in the hillside. Traversing down the mountain towards the Fjord, these routes create a sense of remoteness, with each cabin placed discreetly amongst the forest and maximizing the spectacular views. Each L-shaped cabin is designed to be flexible, with two bedrooms and a central living space that can be used as one or two units with a maximum capacity of 32 guests. 

A simple and natural palette of materials is proposed to harmonize with the stunning setting, where the forest meets the Fjord. The lodge buildings, clad externally and internally in timber, provide inherent warmth and character to each space.

Photos courtesy of Haptic Architects

Mobile Ice Fishing Hut With Walls Of Ice

Called “Unavailability” and designed in Norway by Gartnerfuglen, the shack is completely portable and can be erected in just 30 seconds by one or two people. It has a timber frame and chicken wire cladding that is filled up with lake water to create ice walls, which provide shelter for a single inhabitant while they fish.

The Norwegian design firm called their project Unavailability because the shack is designed to give a single person some much-needed isolation from the wired world – even if just for a brief sojourn. The tiny structure can be outfitted with bare essentials and Gartnerfuglen hopes that climbing plants will creep up the sides of it during the summer months.

This by nature for nature project is just one in a long stream of minuscular buildings that offer busy people a moment of peace and solitude.

Photography by Gartnerfuglen 

Scandinavian Mindset: Track and Trace Shed Antlers

Hunting shed antlers: A cure for your cabin fever, and a way to enjoy the fall hunt without, well… hunting. For hunters, shed antler hunting is a great off-season activity - it keeps up your fitness level and keeps your tracking skills sharp. For others, it's a great way to get outdoors with kids and family. The use of antlers is endless; decorative, can be great for dogs or as a raw material for a variety of handmade projects. 


Before you put on your boots, pour yourself a cup of coffee (or beer) and do a virtual scout of the area. Certain animals live in certain territories; looking over a map and identifying where the animals are most likely to be will increase your chance of finding antlers.

Once you've targeted your location, start off. Every 50 yards or s stop and do a 360 check behind you. Often, antlers are so well blended that when walking forward they will seem hidden, yet when you turn around and give your terrain a better look, they will literally 'pop' out at you. 

Look down, not only forward. Figuratively speaking, you may catch yourself tripping over antlers while scouting the land in front of you. 

Follow travel routes. If you are searching on fresh snow or wet ground, you may be able to follow the tracks a well way. Since you are walking directly in the path of the animals you are much more likely to come across a shed. 

Crossing areas. Areas where the deer may have to leap or jump (fences or steep banks) may cause the antlers to shake loose due to the change of momentum. Thick bush can also pull antlers loose. 

Binoculars. These can be effective at identifying objects you spot at far distances. 

Slow down. Be methodical, and patient. 

Who We Are: A Hunter's Perspective

"Don't confuse me with being anything else other than proud. Proud to be a hunter. It's time we stop apologizing for how we get our protein. This is who we are. Unless you’re a small time rancher, small time farmer, a hunter or fishermen... you really have no idea where your food comes from. Most people don’t even think about it. Well, we think about it. ” - Donnie Vincent. 


Defender of Freedom

Case of the Monday (or Tuesday) blues. Take a moment and let your mind free. By now, you would be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't know a bit about this truck and what it stands for. This short isn't about the truck itself per se but more about your wants and desires allow you to do when you give in to them. This is just one person's dream, but it may get your mind jogging about your own. Although, with fall well on its way, we wouldn't deny a trip to the sun and the dunes right about now.