Sit. Rep. #102: Reflections, Ears, and Feet

1-  Do you carry a mirror with you when camping?  Can you make a mirror or reflective surface from your knowledge and supplies at hand?  The reason that I ask the question is to acknowledge that a signal mirror is probably one of the most useful and least used items in a survival situation.

Hand with practice “imaginary” aiming dot

A: My camping mirror is about 2×3″ cut out of a discarded mirror.  It is either plastic or lucite with a reflective backing.  Commercially there are metal mirrors and some have a “sighting hole” in the middle.  Don’t pack a glass mirror.
B: In ideal situations, the reflected sunlight can be seen for dozens of miles.
C: You aim the reflection onto the target by using your spare hand to form a “V” just below your target.
D: Shine the light onto the imaginary dot on your hand and then onto your target.
E: Alternating between your hand and the target; you can flash signals.
Note: The ancient Greeks and Romans used their warrior shields as mirrors to flash signals.
F: What else could you use to signal that is very lightweight and sends a strong signal?  A laser pointer.  BE CAREFUL HOW YOU USE IT!  Do not shine into someone’s eyes or face or anywhere on their body.
G: Now what would you flash?  SOS – 3 short flashes, 3 long flashes, 3 short flashes – then repeat.
Remember that Morse Code is the original digital signal.
H: Additional hints:  Shine the bottom of a pot to make it reflective.  Use the concave/inside lid to a pot.  Put aluminum foil on any flat or concave surface (smooth it out).  Can you think of any other items that can reflect?

G: I wonder what happens to liars when they die?
H: They lie very still.

2- When using an axe or hatchet to cut wood that are a couple of dangerous angles you want to avoid.  Hit the wood at 45 degrees or steeper.

Less than 45 deg. – very dangerous!

BAD angle not steep enough to the log.

Shallow hits can & will bounce the axe head off of the wood.  This is called “deflection” and will hurt a lot when the axe head hits you.  A deflected axe head is uncontrollable!

Good 45 deg. strike

A 45 deg. cut is perfect for removing chips from a log.

About 90 deg. strike. Notice the inner tube & paracord protecting the handle [homemade]

Sometimes a 90 deg. cut helps remove chips that are still attached.



Do not angle the axe towards you.  Do not cut or hit or strike the log with the axe between your feet.


Very UNSAFE! If I miss wood with the hatchet…OUCH!

Sometimes a hatchet is even more dangerous than an axe because the head is so close to your body.  Think about the short radius of the hatchet head to your body vs the radius of the axe head.  If you need to use a hatchet, kneel down on the ground so that if you miss the log, the hatchet will hit the dirt before it hits you.


On one knee. Much safer. If I miss the log, the hatchet goes down into the dirt. Notice the angle of the bit and the log.

I: Who won the race between the cheetah and the gazelle?
J: The gazelle of course.  Because cheetahs never win.

3- Have you ever baked an ear of corn in a campfire?  There are 2 ways.  Both methods leave the corn wrapped in the husk.  Do not remove the tassel also called the silk.
A: Soak the ear of corn in water for a good hour so that the husk can soak as much water as possible.  Roast on top of the fire until done.  Turn often every 2-4 mins.
B: You can use aluminum foil or mud for this one.  Soak the ear in water then wrap and place in the coals to bake.

Both take about 15 mins. to cook.  Garlic or parsley butter makes this a wonderful treat.

Semper Paratus,

K: How do you know that the cook so mean?
L: He beats the eggs and whips the cream!

Scout Cheers by Thomas Mercaldo

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