There are many pine species throughout the world, and they all have something to offer a survivor in the wilderness. Here are just three of the many things that pine can contribute.
Fire Starter The flammable pitch is the thing that makes so many parts of pine into an excellent fire starter. The dead brown needles of pine are great tinder and the brittle dead twigs are fine kindling, especially when you are making a wet weather fire. If any pitch is present, oozing from wounds on the tree, swab it up with tinder to make an even more flammable fuel source. Even the wood is helpful, particularly when it has aged and become “fatwood”.
Food The inner layer of bark (cambium layer) can be stripped, dried and ground into meal to provide emergency calories – even in the dead of winter. The green needles can be steeped in hot water to make a pleasant tea that contains 4 times your daily allowance of vitamin C.
Shelter Even when there’s snow on the ground, green vegetation is available for shelter building – if you have pine in your locality. Shake the snow off the branches, break them free from the trunk, and pile them up to make a bough bed to insulate you from the frozen ground. You can also use pine boughs to cover improvised shelters like lean-tos and debris huts.
These tips, and many more survival tips, are in MacWelch’s books: Prepare For Anything – the Hunting & Gathering Survival Manual – How To Survive Anything – the Ultimate Winter Survival Handbook – and How To Survive Off The Grid
Follow him on Twitter @timmacwelch
And check out more of MacWelch’s outdoor skills and survival articles in Outdoor Life Magazine.
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