Episode #125 of the Stack Overflow podcast is here. We talk Tilde Club and mechanical keyboards. Listen now
29

No, it is not safe to use denatured alcohol for two good reasons: Denatured alcohol refers to a class of ethanol produced for industrial uses that has been "denatured," which essentially means "made undrinkable" by mixing other compounds that are toxic or unpleasant to humans. The thing is, you, as the consumer, have no idea what exactly was mixed in. ...


23

It's possible to do it with ice that has been shaped into a convex lens. The ice needs to be clear and fairly large like 5 inches across. Obviously this won't work in the summer, and the cold temperatures won't help either, but it does look like it can be done. See, How To Start A Fire Using Magnifying Glass Made Of Ice How Do You Start a Fire With Ice? ...


22

I like the native american fish trap (fishing weir). It's relatively easy to build if you have the right access to a stream. The basic idea behind this trap is to create a funnel that the fish follow into a trap that they cannot easily get out of. To build it, you simple stake off an area with small branches pushed down into the mud. The water must be able ...


20

I was once shown a great way to protect the blade on a wood axe or hatchet. I realize that ice axes are a different shape than wood axes, so this may not be a perfect solution, but maybe it will give you an inspiration for something similar. Get an old garden hose. Cut a length of the hose about as long as the axe's blade. Cut an incision down the length ...


16

I've helped a few friends make torches for medieval events they were hosting. As I was the only one who managed to burn themselves during assembly and testing, I feel somewhat informed, if a bit clumsy. Your choice of materials will depend on how long you want your torch to burn for, as well as how brightly. Specifically, your wick material and your fuel. ...


15

Stick hardwood 2 to 3ft long Wick (I guess that's suitable terminology) cotton rags Fuel lamp oil or in the context of a survival situation, animal fat.† Misc nails or fence staples Directions Soak the rags in the fuel Wrap the rags around the stick Fasten the rags to the stick with the nails, staples, or something similar. Apply fire from an open ...


12

First, I always have at least one shoe lace in my first aid kit (I know, not the most usual place, but I never forget it and it only needs a very small space). Also some piece of washing line (e.g. for drying clothes) can be used. If you don't have one of those and the shoe lace has broken on multiple places, you can cut the other shoe lace and use half of ...


12

Wilderness medicine protocols taught by the major Wilderness First Aid / First Responder training companies (and subsequently adopted by most outdoor organizations) are fairly standard and quite clear about wound management in the back-country. The standard accepted practice for treating a wound is: stop the bleeding - usually possible via direct pressure ...


12

For hanging packs, you can use vines. Find a vine you than can bend almost double (the shape of those ribbon campaign ribbons) without it breaking. You can use those as is, until they dry out. If you need more weight, you can braid them. If you can't find vines, you can use new green bark off of smaller plants. If you can peel at least 12" of bark, you ...


11

Flint is your best bet and it sparks much better with steel than with a rock like iron pyrite. The better rocks you find, the less the tinder matters, but you will need something like a cotton ball or similar fine material that is very dry in most cases when you don't have actual steel and pure flint. Any old tinder will do - fungus, grass, wood splinters or ...


11

There's a number of options for dealing with such an issue, each can be appropriate depending on the situation in hand. The wonders of paracord can come to the rescue if you have some on hand (and if not, why not!) It's usually a bit thicker than shoelaces but can squeeze through the holes and do the job surprisingly well. Depending on the length of the ...


11

If you didn't bring rope with you on purpose, you may still have shoelaces. You could use them in a bowdrill to make a fire in an emergency (but you better know how to make and use a bowdrill well beforehand). Two plants that make good cordage here in the Pacific Northwest are Stinging Nettle and Fireweed. You can use it fresh and green, but if you properly ...


11

I would try these options below in order, if you haven't already done so. Repair Contact the manufacturer or a retailer that sells that brand. There is a good chance they might fix them under warranty. I've had many good experiences with getting older equipment that you think might not be covered taken care of, but each brand varies on how far they'll go. ...


11

For the spike, I usually just take a piece of corrugated cardboard, fold it to double the thickness, punch holes through it, and use some thin cord to tie it through the hole in the spike. This is low-tech and works if I lose my protector while traveling, which is what always happens. No matter where I am, it's always pretty easy to get some cardboard. For ...


10

Roll top dry bags are fairly common. They are usually combined with either a pack cover or a pack liner. The pack liner is commonly an over-sized roll top dry bag placed inside your backpack. A cheaper option is to use a trash compactor bag as a pack liner. They are usually cheap and easy to find in the USA. Usually, the trash bag is put inside your bag ...


10

The method by which carabiners in any color are coated (either gate or body) is anodizing, which is going to be nearly impossible to sufficiently replicate with anything practical and cost-effective at home. With anodizing, the coating essentially becomes part of the aluminum itself. So anything you put on the gate will wear off relatively quickly and ...


10

Contact Tent Pole Technologies. They make custom tent poles and can do so based off of the pole specs you have already listed. Many in the outdoor industry (EMS, REI, etc) use them for repairs and warranty work when they run out of the extra pole sets they have ordered for production tents.


10

A cast is meant to promote long-term healing of a broken bone, and getting a cast typically requires a doctor in a definitive care environment. A splint is the preferred treatment for fractures and sprains in the field. The purpose of a splint is to immobilize the limb around the injury. A good splint should be well padded, comfortable for the patient, and ...


10

With just the right equipment in a laboratory setting, you can use the energy in a key fob battery to cause a spark. You can then use that to start a fire under the right conditions. However, that's not going to happen in any realistic back country conditions. The voltage and current capability of a key fob battery are just too low. The reason you can ...


10

The technical answer is simply: yes. But that answer would be deceiving, so... Can it be done? Yes. It throws out some decent sparks. The device works by scraping a tiny piece of flint over steel. In that regard, this should be no different than any other flint & steel fire lighting, with the exception of the awkward cup. See later section for the ...


9

You can actually reach in to the water and grab the fish. No running or chasing. You just quietly get in position, and then when it's time, you quickly grab the fish. Thomas Elpel describes the process in his wonderful book, Participating in Nature: Wilderness Survival and Primitive Living Skills. The nice thing is that it requires no equipment. He says ...


9

(First of all: I'm not used to the english words here.) I think tillering trees refere to the contraptiosn you do mount on walls / something standing upright, using a string and a pulley. But you can easily do the same with just a tillering stick which is quite easy to fabricate, I think following images say more than I can say in words. All you need is a ...


9

Back when I learned to build my own bows a guy in the club I belonged to used just a ledge and a baggie of lead weights (tire balancing stuff). I suppose you could reproduce it "in the wild" hanging from a branch and a bag of stones. However that guy was an expert that forgot more than I'll ever know about bow building and didn't need to fiddle much with it ...


9

A clean sock will protect them from scratches with no need for fasteners and it takes a fair bit of pressure or impact to actually damage glasses (bending them slightly is another matter). Once wrapped they can go in the top of your pack or any pocket.


9

(Taking into account that we do have an "ice" answer already) The one magnifying lens that is fast and easy to get and that does have an optical quality that actually helps vision as a magnifying glass are in fact drops of water. But that's for the "home-made field microscope" application of a magnifying glass. If you consider starting fire by sunlight, ...


8

I'm a physician. High proof alcohol – be it ethanol or rubbing – causes osmotic bursting of cells – like distilled water – and hurts like Hell. It is only suitable for surfaces, or intact skin. Even peroxide is harsh, if you use over 3% strength.


8

Yes you will need a special kind of rock. The spark is a tiny bit of burning iron struck off the source of iron by a really hard rock. So if you are only using rocks then you will need 1 iron rich rock and one harder rock. Iron Pyrite (fools gold) and quartz would be one combination. Common practice is use steel as the iron source (high carbon knife or ...


8

You can use a fine sandstone with a little water on it. Sandstone works the best because of its fine grain and good abrasive quality. Using water smooths the sandstone surface. Drag the stone slightly diagonal away from the edge on one side Change the side with each stroke Check the sharpness with your thumbnail once a while Repeat If you can't find ...


8

I recommend reflective lines for at night, and standard flagging tape for during the day. Both are lightweight and the triptease line really jumps out at night when hit with a light.


8

I can think of the following two ways to cover the blade: You can use something like a Bike Handle cover, the one that has a cap on the other end. You can get it of the size that your axe-blade fits in. I assume that the main blade will be a bit hard to fit in, but then you can always give a try towards getting the handle cover which is a bit flexible(...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible