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 www.SchoolofSelf-Reliance.com, 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 www.ChristopherNyerges.com 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

Bushcraft Water Purification

dudeyuccaTongsDude McLean purifies water in a Yucca Stalk

Water is one of the essentials to life. In a wilderness situation, it’s essential to know how to find water, and to purify that water. Fortunately, every backpacking store – and even most supermarkets – sell products that enable us to purify water.

But how do you purify suspect wilderness water when you’ve not planned ahead? The universal way to purify water of biological contaminants is boiling, which means you need to be able to make a fire, and you need a container for the water.

Dude McLean, a member of the Dirttime team, a former Marine and a life-long adventurer, shared with me how he has practiced some of the primitive … Read More

An Interview with Vine Deloria Jr.



I thought I would post this in view of some of the current forum discussion about the desire (by some) to form a “tribe,” and the pros and cons about it.

Vine Deloria Jr., named by Time magazine one of the greatest religious thinkers of the 20th Century, is a prominent Native American scholar and author of 24 books (such as God is Red, Custer Died for Your Sins, Evolution, Creationism, and Other Modern Myths, etc.). A retired Professor or Political Science at the University of Arizona, and Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Colorado, he has been executive director of the National Congress of American Indians … Read More

Storage Wars TV show


One day I get a call out of the blue.

”Do you know anything about solar ovens?”

”I suppose so,” I responded. “I’ve taught people how to make low-cost solar cookers for 20 or so years, and give the step-by-step process in my “How to Survive Anywhere” book.”

“We’re looking for a solar oven expert. Are you a solar oven expert?” asked the man on the phone. He identified himself as a producer with the Storage Wars show. This is a program where various individuals bid on the contents of storage units that the owners quit paying for. The show tracks each of the bidders to see what they get in the storage units. Sometimes they get junk, and sometimes … Read More

Beyond the Skills

“Alone” celebrated as one of televisions most highest rated new reality show.

In a world where we are glued to the news during a high speed chase, fighting, accidents, etc., It’s no wonder the show had such a high rating. Week after week, we would sit in front of the television and watch as ten participants, one by one, would tap out, due to their mental demons poking and prodding at their souls. Houses in Vegas were placing odds and taking bets, week after week, on who would tap out next and who would stay.

Various online bushcraft sites and forums were a buzz with the show, but for different reasons than the rest of the viewing audience. These folks … Read More

Fire with the hand drill … in TWO SECONDS!

060515NewMktHalcon 153

[Nyerges is the author of “How to Survive Anywhere,” and other books. More details on this method of fire-starting can be found in his book. Books available at

Note to Dirttimers: Most of you are probably already aware of these facts, but some of you might not be aware of the amazing feats of Alan Halcon. Read, enjoy, and share with your children as you put them to bed.]

Today, when we think about what we shouldn’t leave home without, commercial TV has trained us to believe that the travelers checks must not be left behind. Of course, there are also keys, credit cards, cell phone.

But if you were born here 500+ years ago, you’d never leave home … Read More