How One Man Uses the 99 Cent store for his First Aid Needs

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[Nyerges, a member of the Dirttime team, is the author of “How to Survive Anywhere” who has been leading survival classes since 1974. He can be reached at].

Art Lee, a man with an engineering background from Southern California, found that he could make a better first aid kit by purchasing all the components himself – even purchasing many of the items from the 99 cent store!

He has put together two do-it-yourself kits, one for backpacking and one for home use.

“I made my own because I felt I could get it all cheaper with precisely what I want,” stated Lee. “Too many of the pre-packaged first aid … Read More

Automobile Survival Kit

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One Veteran’s choice of items

[Nyerges is the author of “How to Survive Anywhere” and other books. He has been leading survival classes since 1974. To learn about his books and classes, contact School of Self-Reliance, Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041, or]

Everyone has an opinion about what constitutes a “survival kit.” Most backpacking stores provide you with a very specific list of what you should have in your personal survival kit, but that list is based upon what they want to sell you, not necessarily what you need. In fact, there is no “final word” on survival kits. The best ones are custom-made to fit your personal needs, in the situations dictated by the weather and your … Read More

The Year of “No Christmas”

121714Ogam&Mush 139[Nyerges is the author of “How to Survive Anywhere,” “Self-Sufficient Home,” and other books. His blog can be read at He can be contacted via his site, or Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041]

When Christmas rolls around each year, numerous memories flood in – some good, some not good, some different. I suspect this is the way with everyone. Over the years, a lot has happened during this December time. Here’s one memory from my early years.

When I was around 10, my brothers and I were particularly bad, belligerent, and misbehaving one autumn. My mother gave us several warning and threats and a few “beatings” in her ceaseless attempt to get us to obey. I don’t recall … Read More

Christopher’s latest: Foraging North America

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Hey guys, here is my latest book, just released last week. I know some of you may think that this is just another shameless plug from that book fecundator, and well, you might be right. But I think you’ll like the book!

There is an introductory section which includes photos of Dude McLean’s hands cooking a broth in a cut-out yucca bowl, and Pascal Baudar’s hands making a wild mustard, and Gary Gonzales’ hand showing a miner’s lettuce leaf – lots of hands and few heads! Apparently the publisher likes hands and not heads – but there a few heads in the photos.

“Foraging Edible Wild Plants of North America” is a wild food cookbook, fully illustrated with color photos, … Read More

A Solution to a Common Dirttime Problem


[also a solution to all the gas and hot air in Washington]

An aromatic Central American spice, said to prevent gas and indigestion,
believed to have been used by the ancient Maya

[Nyerges is the author of “Guide to Wild Foods,” “How to Survive Anywhere,” “Extreme Simplicity,” and other books on plants and self-reliance. See his book at]

Anyone who uses beans as a significant part of their diet should know about epazote. And anyone who’s had to share a tent with a fellow Dirttimer will really want to share this herb with your tent-made. (You know who you are!). Epazote is also called Nature’s … Read More

On the Practicality of Foraging for Wild Foods

[Nyerges has been teaching ethno-botany since 1974, and has authored several books on the subject including “Guide to Wild Foods,” “Foraging California,” and others. He can be contacted at, or Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041]

First, check out the link to an article that appeared in several Southern California local papers on November 20. A reporter came to a class of mine, and documented a meal that we made from acorns (acorn pancakes), cactus (cactus and eggs), nettle (soup), and a salad made with 4 wild greens. We also had some dried toyon berries as a sweet dessert.

The paper used this wild meal as a way to tell their readers that there are “natural” alternatives to … Read More

Campfire Reflector Wall Doesn’t Work… Part 2

Last week I wrote an article on the science of why a campfire reflector wall, as shown in the original article, doesn’t work to reflect heat the way we have been led to believe for so many years.

I explained how the Inverse Square Law affects the heat radiation, so there would be no noticeable difference in temperature rise.

I must admit, a lot of the responses I read across various discussion boards and forums was absolutely fun to read. I mean I was getting railed left and right. Lets see some of the more fun ones

  • Have they ever camped?
  • If it’s good enough for the SAS, it’s good enough for me
  • Personally I don’t think it matters what
Read More

The Campfire Reflector Wall Does NOT work, Here’s Why

The campfire reflector wall is somewhat the mark of the experienced outdoorsman. But do they actually work they way they are purported, to redirect heat at the back of the fire to someone on the opposite side of the fire all snug in their lean-to? The short answer is NO! It doesn’t, however, stop others from continuously preaching it and can be found in many survival books. In all honesty, I too, many years ago, believed it. But why doesn’t it work? Well, first lets look at what we are discussing, so we are all on the same page.


On the surface, it seems it would work, right? Science, however, tells us that it can’t and a simple experiment you … Read More

Safe Queens

What is a safe queen? a moniker mostly used by collectors of knives and guns that are non users in order to keep them pristine for possible resale in the future. A fine idea in some respects, but not for me. Many years ago, I sold the last of any safe queens I had. For me, it was a waste of space and non use. If I have a knife or a gun it is to be used like any other tool. If it is so good, why not use it? Why keep the so called best in the shadows?

Like any fine tool, the best are a delight to handle and use for the purpose they were intended for. … Read More

The Fungus Among Us (or, How to Be a Really Fun Guy)

sulfur fungus or chicken of the woods, Rich Redman

An excellent tasting — and colorful — wild mushroom

[Nyerges is the author of “How to Survive Anywhere” and “Guide to Wild foods” (and other books). For information about his books, and the wild food field trips he conducts, check out his web site at or at Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041]

It’s that time of year again. It’s cooler, there’s moisture in the air, and mushrooms are starting to appear.

Knowledge of edible wild mushrooms can really enhance your outdoor experience and give you a little bit of self-reliance in the city. Yet, there is this mystique about mushroom hunting. Lots of folks are very wary about venturing into the field of mycology. And this is … Read More