Survival Skills: Critical secrets to shelter, water, fire & food – DVD Review

Reviewed by Craig Soderberg

This long-awaited helpful resource is a set of two DVDs in one package. The first DVD has the following chapter titles:

  1. EDC
  2. knife sharpening
  3. cold shelter
  4. warm shelter
  5. tarp shelter
  6. plow point
  7. sip well
  8. carbon filter
  9. tipi fire
  10. bow drill

The second DVD has the following chapters:

  1. student drill
  2. diamond blow
  3. ferro rod
  4. 24 hour fire
  5. paiute trap
  6. snare
  7. body hold
  8. meat prep
  9. smoking meat

Survival Skill DVD Review

EDC aka “Everyday Carry”
The section explained what we need to carry daily for shelter, water, fire and food and why we need it. One of these items include: knives. Although it would have been helpful if there were printed subtitles which provided the names and spelling of the various recommended knives along with the prices, the presenter did verbally mention the names of the knives he considered to be most helpful. Some custom made knives can have a fire starter, saber grind, micarta handles, and a bow drill divit all contained on the knife. A folding saw helps process firewood. A poncho helps prevents hypothermia. Oversized ponchos are good for shelters and for waterproofing your wood and other things. Stainless steel water containers are important for water procurement. An EDC should have a fire kit which could include: bic lighters, a ferro rod, and back up (dry) tinder. Various options of flashlights and headlamps were discussed. Trapping wire is helpful as are fishing kits. Finally luxury items would include a small ax, YOYO fishing setups, sharpening stones, and navigation equipment. The presenter discussed which compasses are solar powered and which compasses glow in the dark.


Knife Sharpening
This section discussed methods of knife sharpening. I was surprised to know that blades actually cut through wood better when they are not extremely sharp.


Building Shelters
The first shelter illustrated was the lean to shelter. The video discussed where to build it, how to build it, how to keep warm at night, and how to protect yourself from bugs. The example was a lean to for one person.  It would have been helpful to also see a demonstration of how to build a survival shelter for a family with kids.

The second shelter illustrated was called a jungle hooch. This is an A-frame that can be built in one to two hours. It is water resistant, especially if you use a tarp or poncho.

The third type of shelter was called a tarp lean to. The video recommended using a cordura tarp which is somewhat fire resistant, and puts out heat from a fire. It is tougher and cheaper than canvas.


Getting Drinkable Water
The video showed two ways of creating drinkable water. The first was called a sip well.  To create a sip well, one needs to build a fire close by and put extremely hot rocks from the fire into the sip well. The hot rocks will heat up the water in the sip well. The water doesn’t need to actually boil; it just needs to be over 175 degrees for 15 minutes.

The second way of creating drinkable water is by making a carbon water filter. The video showed how to easily create a filter from charcoal (from our fire) and pine needles.


Making a Fire
A large percentage of the DVD series was devoted to making a bow drill which would then be used for making a fire. One needs four things in order to make a bow drill:

  1. bow
  2. hand hold
  3. Fireboard
  4. Drill or spindel.

The DVD discussed which types of wood are the best to use for creating a fire-board and where to find these wood types.

Here is a diagram of a typical bow drill:

How to Make a Bow Drill

The technique for starting a fire is to slowly move the bow back and forth until the spindle creates friction on the fire board. Once there is friction, smoke will appear. When this happens, build up speed and increase the downward pressure onto the fire board. Once you get coal, move it to your tipi set up and then use diamond blowing technique because this helps us funnel the air toward the fire.

DVD #2 covered some of the problems with bow drill creation and usage.

Other fire options include the use of a ferro rod and/or bic lighters.


The next section of the DVD covered how to create an all night fire (up to 60 hours). The presenter showed how to saw the log sections and how to layer them on top of each other (with some dirt between each log to slow the burn rate). The more layers you have the longer the fire will last.


The following sections of the DVD covered different ways of trapping animals. The first trap was a paiute deadfall trap which is used to catch mice and rats. Other traps included a snare trap, body hold trap, and conibear-style trap for larger animals. The presenter felt that the conibear-style trap was the most effective for trapping and he actually trapped a beaver using this trap.


The next section of the video was devoted to how to butcher and clean the beaver. It is important to butcher and clean all of our captured game at least 500 yards from our camp and DOWNWIND from our camp so you don’t have to worry about bears or other wild animals coming to our camp.


Finally the presenter showed how to smoke the beaver meat in order to preserve it for several months. One of my questions, however, was “How many hours of smoke does it take to thoroughly smoke the meat?”


In conclusion, I recommend this DVD series for any backpacker, hiker, or camper who wants to have a few extra survival skills and for hardcore preppers who are preparing for the future economic collapse.