Scram bag : Potasuim permanganate ( KMnO4 )

Potassium permanganate crystals.

A very useful substance.

Also called Condy’s crystals and Permanganate of potash.

Can be used to:

Light fires.

Add to a flammable substance that is a liquid, glycerine, oil,fat, a little water will help the fire start.

Sterilize water.

3 crystals per liter of water will sterilize the water.

Disinfectant for some skin infections.

A stronger solution will make a solution that will attack fungal and bacterial infections.

Keep in a well sealed container

Keep away from eyes

If contact is made with skin wash it off with water, brown stains (MnO2) on the skin are common, but will disappear in a few days without further incident.

can be purchased from pharmacies and often found in survival kits.

Rocketstove: Making one from metal Olive oil container

For the last few months I have have comments turned off. There was a lot to say and I didn’t want distraction. But don’t think that meant I wasn’t listening to you. I pay attention to what people read and what search terms lead them here.

Rocket stoves have been a popular search item so its time to give you even more information.

I’m going to make one. I’m starting with a 13kg Olive oil can and I’ll have photos for all the relevant steps and a boil time test.

13 Kg olive oil can.  31 pounds in weight

The starting material a large Olive oil can. restaurants and other food businesses throw these away quite regularly, so that’s a good place to start looking if you don’t usually buy oil in this size container.

It’s convenient that there is a large round hole in the center of the top so I wont need to cut one there. Somewhere in the purple band is where I will cut a hole for the pipe which will be the elbow bend pipe.

There is a small handle on the front which i will probably keep as it will be useful for carrying the stove if I need to move it. i think the handle will be better at the front rather than the back as it will stop the ashes falling out for the bottom of the elbow.


The next step will be using sand paper to remove the paint from the can. If the paint is left on the can, it will burn and produce unpleasant and possibly toxic fumes.


<more to come>

Scrambag: folding pruning saw

Apart from the obvious intended use of pruning trees, the compact folding pruning saw allows you to collect small branches easily.

A saw is safer to use that a axe or heavy knife in cutting wood. One of the most common sources of dry wood in a forest is dead-fall.

Dead-fall is dead or broken branches fallen to the ground, and are often very dry and difficult to cut will axes as the will act like a spring when hit.

Sometimes dead-fall is a branch upside down and very dry, because of this it makes excellent fire wood or construction material.

The saw can elegantly cut of the exact pieces you want and even help you create items form the wood with precise cut lengths and flat ends of wood.

The saw is also very light compared to a small axe and very small, about the size of a small axe handle.

Folding pruning saw, compact and allows straight cuts in wood with little effort.


Price about $10 for average quality.

Available from hardware stores and gardening supply stores.

Fire: Swedish fire torch

This is a really neat technique of conserving wood and getting a fire going fast and making a stable cooking platform. You will need an axe and a saw to shape the wood block, but it looks worth it.

I just had another thought, all the things are familiar but arranged in a different way and its suddenly so much better, what a concept.

Navigation: Astronomical Southern Hemisphere South

I was reading a gear list someone posted today and I thought it looked quite good, it even included a map and compass.

Then I realized while I have a compass, I don’t consider it essential.

I consider the map (especially if it is topographical ) essential but not the compass.
I can find my direction at night using the stars and during the day with the sun.

South at night with the stars:

For everyone in the northern hemisphere this is possibly redundant but explains an important point.

In the northern hemisphere finding the north pole star Polaris is quite simple, find the little dipper and follow the handle to Polaris that is always grid north.

This works because the pole star is quite bright and the little dipper is quite distinctive.

In the southern hemisphere not only is Polaris not visible, neither is the little dipper.

We don’t have a pole star but we have a bright distinctive crucifix pattern (Crux) called the southern cross which also has a pair of very bright star close to it Alpha and beta Centuri called ‘the pointers’.

Alpha Centuri is the brightest star in the southern hemisphere is its quite distinctive and is almost always visible.

A line imagined between the pointers if extended will intersect with the top star of the cross.

The long arm of the cross always point to the pole star , may be in any orientation in the sky as it rotates around the pole.

Once the cross is found you simple measure the major axis the longest line in the cross and extend this line out in the direction of the major axis 3.1 times and it will be intersecting with the pole star.

The from that point a line that is perpendicular to the horizon will be south.

The pole star may be visible or not depending on how good star viewing is on the night.

The point is this method help you find something you can’t see ( a non existent southern pole star) to find another thing you cant see ( grid south ) in the dark when you can’t see much anyway.

Quality knowledge allows you to do near impossible things.

One again proof of the idiom One picture, One thousand words.

How to find south using the stars in the southern hemisphere.

There is some debate as to whether  you should use 3 axes or 4 or 4.5, the reality is you will most likely be measuring with fingers spans and the width of your arm so its not that precise.  regardless if you are traveling at night you should be more worried about whats on the ground rather than the exact direction or south to the nearest degree.  If you used a compass you would have to convert magnetic south north to grid north and  you would be hoping for no nearby magnetic anomalies.

Update: having further examined this issue the correct number of axes to use is 3.53, but being that you will most likely be measuring with fingers between 3 and 4 is good enough. I will try to get an estimate of how large the cross axis will appear compared to an out stretched finger. From memory it’s about the width of two fingers.

Memes: One picture is worth a thousand words

I try to avoid using idioms and proverbs in writing. But sometimes an idiom is so true it is worth explaining.

One picture is worth a thousand words: means a single picture can convey so much meaning it replaces the need for ( is worth ) a thousand words.

Sometimes a single image or diagram will give the right reader so much information.

I hope this picture is conveys a lot of meaning to you.

A society built on cheap fossil fuel, this is what that society becomes.

This image is a remix of other internet memes, feel free to remix as I have done.

Scram Bag: Cloth tape

Few thing have a greater quick fix potential than cloth tape.

Known by many names in many places, such as gaffa tape, duct tape and 100 mile tape, among others.

Can be use to:

Make something slightly water proof.

repair small holes.

join things together.

Padding in machinery

You’ll notice a large round hole in the center of the tape where the hard cardboard roll is. If needed this cardboard roll can be flattened without affecting the tape itself.

Be sure the tape has cloth in it as otherwise it will stretch and wont create strong joins.

Scram Bag: Protective gloves

Your hands are very important so you must protect them from harm.

You may need to handle sharp or toxic materials so you should have some kind of protective gloves.

Rubber gloves

minimal protection form sharp objects, good protection from many toxic materials.

low durability

Garden gloves

medium protection from sharp objects, low protection from toxic materials.

medium durability

Leather ‘riggers’ gloves

good protection from sharp objects, medium protection from toxic materials.

high durability

When in an outdoors environment your hands a likely to get small cuts. While this may not sound significant small cuts can become infected easily and allow pathogens easy entry to the body. Small band aids may seem to be a solution but preventing the problem is better. band aids may not stick for very long and become in effective quickly.

Gloves a good idea.

Example scenarios for use:

removal of broken glass

moving a rotten log which nay have venomous insects under it.

handling a fish which has one or more spines.

gardening or handling potting mix.


Movie: Threads BBC 1984

Threads is very disturbing movie aired by the BBC in 1984, showing the lead up to and aftermath of a nuclear war.

The into is very apt, our strength and weakness is the threads that connect us.

The premise was the cold war going hot suddenly, but many nuclear weapons remain today and only a dozen or so could cause serious disruption and the very real likelihood the of societal collapse depicted.

Of course several other possible scenarios could produce the apocalyptic collapse described, but surely nuclear war is one of the worst, especially considering the widespread radiation enduring for decades or even centuries.

Extremely disturbing  and quite depressing

<more to come>