If you're living in the wild for more than three days, little things should be done to improve it. Your prepped food is going to run out, so you'll have to supplement it. Traps will need to be fashioned. Baskets made. Cordage for clothes lines. Fire pits improved. A system for starting fires quickly and efficiently. These kinds of things make your campsite into a home.
Every tool that you can bring with you will save you 20 hours of work time.
As previously discussed, baskets are essential. A super website with excellent pictures is found here: [link to www.wildwoodsurvival.com
You won't believe how important it is to make these. It is very hard to carry something any distance without them. As you harvest, the natural thing to do, is harvest from the closest area to the campsite. In a very short time, like two weeks, you will see a dramatic drop in firewood, field greens, and nuts and berries (in late Fall), rabbits, etc. You'll be making an ever widening circle and circuit to locate these items. You'll discover carrying capacity in a practical way based upon field experience.
If others are doing similarly, then you can imagine how quickly that will happen.
This governs relocating the camp above all else save security.
We're used to camping with pre-made fire pits, grills, and picnic tables, all of which you will not have. The hood of your car, and newspapers may serve as a food prep area. To save your back, you need a raised area to cut up things or prepare them for a meal. The very first thing may be a fashioned work space.
A cheap reed beach mat is light, easily carried since it rolls up, and make a great workspace when covered with something disposable. [link to www.amazon.com
Many times they are available in summer time, in any area with a pool or a beach. I paid $3 for mine, and have used it forever. Discount stores sell them. They are great for spreading out an area to sit on and serve a meal. 100X better than a blanket. You can easily shake them out or clean them.
A bowl or platter is essential. They can easily be burned by using the method I detailed earlier. As they get dirty, they can be tossed, though of course they are washable. A little oil and sunshine extends their life.
[link to www.wildwoodsurvival.com
A back rest is a very fine thing to fashion. [link to graphics8.nytimes.com
You'll be making a lot of tools. Save your back. Make a table for your candle or light. Flat areas can be made with light branches woven together using basket methods, similar to [link to burwashwonderwood.com
] This is more important than you think. The poles will be branches of squaw wood. They are probably less than the thickness of your wrists. They are lashed will all that cordage you're making. See how important these skills are and build on each other.
Campers often buy a camp chair like this. I have had mine forever and it wonderful:
[link to thegoat.backcountry.com
] It insulates your bum, saves your back, you can rock in it, your kids will steal it!
A clothes line can easily be made using the tips on cordage. You'll be washing clothes. Very little soap is needed. You'll be washing less. You'll adjust your personal hygiene concepts. It's no big deal to go a week without bathing, as long as you can wash up every other day, but keeping hands and your face clean. Washing your underwear and socks is pretty important for your health. Fungal infections are common. As mentioned earlier, moist towelettes will get you through the first week, but then, you'll be getting creative.
Simple clothes washing can be done by wringing out the clothes in a pot of hot water and some concentrated but low sudsing soap like good old Dr. Bronners. The peppermint smell is a natural deodorant. Fussy people can use tiny droplets of apple cider vinegar under their arms or in the wash. This supplants the bacteria that naturally makes sweat smell.
Greenhorns try to wash out a muddy piece of laundry. Old hands, wait until it dries in the sun, dust off most of it, dip it in a lake, and then wash the clothing. This will save you hours when washing a lot of clothes. Kids should wash their own clothes and it's a good chore and easy. Yes, you can use a rock, it will get out more dirt. It will also loosen fibers, and weaken the clothing, especially if they are cheap. River pebbles are smooth, don't collect dirt, and if fist sized or larger work well versus trying to clean a rock to wash clothes. Sigh.
It goes without saying that it is far easier to disrobe when harvesting an animal, then to try removing any gore, debris, or blood. Sometimes common sense, when in the wild, is in short supply. I think it's learned not innate.
It makes no sense whatsoever to harvest water from a place where you're doing laundry or bathing. Go downstream a little for that. Have a little care. Children or foolish adults always need to be reminded about urinating close to water or running off into water. I have no idea why I need to explain this, but 1 in 10 will do this.
If you have light and it's late, you'll be very blessed. Most of the time people didn't have light, not that cast any length away from them. Flashlights will last a very short time, even the best LED ones.
Candlemaking is tough. You need special cordage for your wicks (there's that word again), and tallow, which is rendered fat. Not many plant materials generate enough wax to be worth while, but there may be local materials in your area like beeswax. Tallow comes all at once, since it means you're harvest a lot of animals, since refrigeration is not possible, and storing the fat isn't possible. Rendering fat into tallow is an organized community activity. See? Everybody harvests meat, pool their rendered fat, and make candles from the tallow. It is of course ordinarily a late harvest activity.
Candles burn inefficiently. They are hopeless by themselves. You make candle follower, and these are metal, so get them before you need them. [link to www.google.com
] It limits the flow of the wax. Without it, it will drip. Candles without followers are foolish.
Lamp oil is great for lighting, but where will you get it? I have some stockpiled. You don't waste it. I foresee people growing sesame since this is an excellent source of lamp oil or food oil, tastes great, not too tough to grow, eminently marketable.
Note that paraffin oil while excellent and essential for stockpiling, is highly flammable, and if you spilled it, it would burn you horribly. I foresee people accidentally burning down their homes from this.
Most of the time, you will work until sundown, and then by firelight, and then sleep. You will not waste a lot of lighting as it is extremely hard to procure.
Most torches in any instructional video are made by cheating. You will not have most of those materials. [link to www.5min.com
A birchbark and wire torch can easily be made. Naturally you have several of these made up, like ten or more. Paper birches can be found lots of places. You re-use the wire. It burns very quickly.
If you live in the Southeast, or apparently Scotland, you can make a fatwood torch:
[link to www.youtube.com
] It comes from certain resinous parts of the Longleaf pine. It burns longer than paper birch and produces more lumens or candela, a measurement of light cast.
It would be excellent if you knew this craft as it would be extremely marketable post-SHTF.
Old timers added mirrors on the backs of their lamps to case more light on one direction. You can do this with your signal mirror rigging it up with wire.