Tier 1 Selection @ The Human Path Survival School

Sam and Suchil Coffman of the Human Path (www.thehumanpath.com) are putting together one of the most badass teams I’ve ever heard of, and I want to be part of it. Basically you need to competent in primitive survival skills, self-defense, land navigation, radio procedures, first aid, primitive engineering, and several other tasks. Then you can qualify to be on their aid work team that goes to remote locations in Nicaragua to set up herbal medicine clinics, water purification systems, and other items useful to the village. (http://herbalmedics.org/portfolio/san-juan-del-rio/) Eventually they want the team to get their skydiving licenses so that they can jump into remote areas to do aid work. When I heard Sam discuss this on the survival podcast about a year ago, I knew I had to go to Texas and meet him.

Sam put out a pretty extensive list of what to expect so that those of us who are interested can prepare. These are some of the practical exercises I’ve been doing to get ready for selection in December 2015.

One of the tasks is to make cordage. Cordage is basically any kind of rope, typically it is made of some plant with long, strong, and flexible fibers. My big disadvantage is that the plants native to my area are not native to the testing site so in order to counter this I practice with different types of material just about everywhere I go. The best ones I’ve used thus far were made of cattail, yucca, (shown respectively below) and some thick round grass near the river where I was hiking in California.

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After a day cordage starts to dry out so I like to soak mine in water before I tie it to something to make it more pliable.

Yucca fibers and cordage
Yucca fibers and cordage

Shelter Building
Debris Hut Shelter

In the Pacific Northwest our biggest survival obstacle is the rain. In this area we need a survival shelter that can keep us out of the rain, and well-insulated. The popular method is a debris hut. The basic concept is to create a low wood frame, then add a layer of ferns, pine boughs, or other materials that will act as a mesh cage over the frame. Then layers of debris are added to the top out of leaves, bark, pine needles, etc. to cover the entire structure. The thickness of the layers should be a few feet thick but will vary depending on the temperature outside. The debris hut shown above I completed down in California. Unfortunately it was illegal for me to sleep there overnight or have a fire due to regulations set forth by the “department of making you sad.” (Quote from Paul Wheaton of permies.com)

Stone Tools
Hand Axe
Obsidian and flint are hard stones to source in my area of the woods. Luckily I was able to find some good flake pieces while on my adventure down to California. This is a “hand axe” made of obsidian for chopping things as they would thousands of years ago. I’m looking forward to honing my flintknapping skills further.

While I feel comfortable making a fire with my bow drill set, I still need to experiment with many different types of wood besides cedar.

Finished net from paracord
I recently created a small fishing net out of the inner strands of paracord. It was too small to be very practical, I mainly just wanted to test out the concept. I ended up converting it into a hammock for my girlfriends daughter’s stuffed animals. They seem to be enjoying their new home.
In the future I will make a bigger net from cordage that I find/make. It is not a difficult concept, it is just very time consuming.

Once I’m well-practiced enough, the end goal is to supplement my income by hosting some survival courses  out at the farm. I’ve read several survival manuals now but really want more practical experience. I have compiled a master list of skills to try in the upcoming months. It is my belief that you don’t truly know a skill until you try it yourself and have had repeated success.

Competence creates confidence.

Thanks for reading my blog! For the latest projects and updates please subscribe to my YouTube channel and follow along as I set up a sustainable homestead with my tiny house 🙂

One Comment Add yours

  1. Raymond says:

    If you decide you need a guinea pig for those survival classes out at farm, hit me up.

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