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This is a quick video of 7 (but really 8) primitive survival tools and contraptions that you can make in the wild to ensure long-term survival, essentially, homesteading. Some of these are very environment-specific – meaning that you may not have a use for them where you are, others can be made anywhere.
None of these are my inventions. At best, I put my own little spin on some of them. These have been found in one form or another in the archeological record and I either read about them or was taught them in survival class. Feel free to run with these ideas and make them fit whatever situation and landscape you may find yourself in.
Stone-Age Hoe (Time Index: 00:05)
Here I use it to deepen the trench for my round, rammed-earth hut, but of course it can be used in many other situations which includes agriculture. The most crucial part here, I find, is the lather strap that adds structural strength to the tool while the blade is under load. It’s very simple and also very effective. In the old days, people used a shoulder blade of an animal for the blade.
Wicker Basket from Weeping Willow (Time Index: 1:27)
This is as essential as it gets once you decided to stay in none place for a while. Just as with any other lifestyle, things tend to accumulate. To collect them and store them in some sort of fashion, one must make some kind of a container. It might as well be a basket. While this example is not pretty as I’m not a master basket maker, it does its job. Weeping willow is the go-to material for baskets in this part of the world.
Travois (Time Index: 3:09)
You may have seen some movies where something like this was hitched to a horse (there was one with Terrence Hill in it, I believe). Prior to the arrival of Europeans, Native Americans used smaller ones for their dogs. The point is that the load is way in the back and the two points of contact are minimal, so friction is minimized. It’s in no way as good as having wheels on a cart, but way better than the alternative which is carrying something yourself. It was a huge time and strength saver when I was building my hut.
Primitive Crane (Time Index: 4:28)
The lever used in this fashion is as old as people trying to build stuff. What you see here in the making is a separate work area to go with my current camp (the one with the round hut). I am taking the interlocking-beams idea to the next level with this one. The problem was that beyond a certain size, the structure started to get way too heavy for me to lift. To save my strength and my back, I came up with an easier way to lift it.
Survival Vise (Time Index: 5:55 & 7:34)
There are two versions of this concept in this video. The first one is a double one, and it’s used to hold larger, longer things in place while you use both your hands working on your piece. It’s uses are numerous. For instance, I use this to clamp down on a larger rock which then I use to stretch animal hides on when I’m tanning. The second one, is a hand-held clamp that is helping me not burn my hand. These things are really versatile.
“Deluxe” Digging Stick (Time Index: 8:32)
Normally a digging stick is just a sharp stick. The amount of work I needed to get done was going to be back-breaking, so I needed a more effective way to the work. Just like a more conventional spade, this stick allows you to use the strength of your leg to take a bite out of the effort. It worked like a charm. Next time, I might make the blade sharper and perhaps fire-harden it to make the edge last.
Primitive Rake (Time Index: 9:28)
Again, necessity is the mother of invention. I needed a large amount of forest debris for the roof of my hut. When building a basic debris hut, you can just use your fingers. This is especially the way to go when you have small bushes to work your way around. Here I thought I would create a quickie rake and it totally lived up to expectations.