Survival Manual


RAFTS If you have two ponchos, you can construct a brush raft or an Australian poncho raft. With either of these rafts, you can safely float your equipment across a slow-moving stream or river.

Brush Raft
The brush raft, if properly constructed, will support about 250 pounds. To construct it, use ponchos, fresh green brush, two small saplings, and rope or vine as follows. Push the hood of each poncho to the inner side and tightly tie off the necks using the drawstrings.

Attach the ropes or vines at the corner and side grommets of each poncho. Make sure they are long enough to cross to and tie with the others attached at the opposite corner or side.

Spread one poncho on the ground with the inner side up. Pile fresh, green brush (no thick branches) on the poncho until the brush stack is about 45 centimeters high. Pull the drawstring up through the center of the brush stack.

Make an X-frame from two small saplings and place it on top of the brush stack. Tie the X-frame securely in place with the poncho drawstring.

Pile another 45 centimeters of brush on top of the X-frame, then compress the brush slightly.

Pull the poncho sides up around the brush and, using the ropes or vines attached to the comer or side grommets, tie them diagonally from comer to corner and from side to side.

Spread the second poncho, inner side up, next to the brush bundle. Roll the brush bundle onto the second poncho so that the tied side is down. Tie the second poncho around the brush bundle in the same manner as you tied the first poncho around the brush. Place it in the water with the tied side of the second poncho facing up.

Log Raft
You can make a raft using logs. A simple method for making a raft is to use lashing/rope to tie the logs together. Remember you only want to cross the river not navigate the Atlantic. Pretty isn't the object. Simply staying connected is the goal.

If the water is warm enough for swimming anything that will float as a floatation devide for you and your equipment.

Pants Knot each pant leg at the bottom and close the fly. Wet the pants. With both hands, grasp the waistband at the sides and swing the trousers in the air to trap air in each leg. Quickly press the sides of the waistband together and hold it underwater so that the air will not escape. You now have a float. Depending on the pants material and how long you are in the water, you may have to reinflate the pants during the crossing.

Empty containers Tie together any empty containers that will hold air. Use this type of flotation device only in a slow-moving river or stream.

Plastic bags and ponchos Fill two or more plastic bags with air and secure them together at the opening. Use your poncho and roll green vegetation tightly inside it so that you have a roll at least 10 inches in diameter. Tie the ends of the roll securely. You can wear it around your waist or across one shoulder and under the opposite arm.

Logs Use a stranded drift log if one is available, or find a log near the water to use as a float. Be sure to test the log before starting to cross. Some tree logs will sink.

Live Cattails Gather stalks of cattails and tie them in a bundle a foot or more in diameter. The air cells in each stalk cause a stalk to float. Test the cattail bundle to be sure it will support your weight before trying to cross a body of water.

Other water obstacles that you may face are bogs or quicksand. Do not try to walk across these. Trying to lift your feet while standing upright will make you sink deeper. Bypass these obstacles. If you are unable to bypass them then lay logs or branches to distribute your weight over a larger area. Crawl on your stomach across these. Use floatation devices just as if it where deep water.

In swamps, the areas that have vegetation are usually firm enough to support your weight. However, vegetation will usually not be present in open mud or water areas. If you are an average swimmer, however, you should have no problem swimming, crawling, or pulling your way through miles of bog or swamp.

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