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Welcome to our website.

November 2019

Added new article:
Surviving Homelessness Part 4

Looking after yourself / keeping safe / minimizing personal risk.
As a marginalized, despised and rejected member of Britain's caring society you have to be smarter than the average bear if you plan to sleep rough even for a short period. Keep your possessions down to the bear minimum and travel as light as possible, be prepared to move at a moment's notice.…

October 2019

Added new article:
Surviving Homelessness Part 3

Because of the lack of social housing most councils in the UK pass the homeless on to private landlords. Most councils have the ability to use the private rented sector to end their duty to a homeless person. The council has a duty to ensure that any private rented accommodation they place a homeless person in is fit for purpose and affordable. The housing officer is not obliged to inform the homeless candidate of this duty. If one does not know about this duty by the council it is most likely that the housing offered will be the first available, suitable and affordable or not. In fact, these two duties are often neglected and are open to wide interpretation by the housing officer in charge…

September 2019

Added new article:
Surviving Homelessness Part 2

Rule one is to learn that no one in Government, Local Government, the churches, or those living in your immediate community could care less about you as a person or your situation; local council officers go by paragraphs of law and they have no in–built flexibility. If they seem to show an initial interest in your case and try to build a rapport with you, this a deliberate ploy to get you to trust them, so don't be fooled by them. They use this tactic to draw out sensitive information from you and to cross check what you have told them as they always work from the start point that you are misleading them…

August 2019

Added new article:
Surviving Homelessness Part 1

This is the first of four articles dealing with surviving homelessness. It is based largely on personal experience and the views express are largely the author's unless credited elsewhere. In this series of articles we look at the increasing problem of homelessness and how one survives, not only living rough, but also dealing with the hellish bureaucracy of the local councils…

July 2019

Added new article:
River crossing

It is essential to plan the best approach to crossing a river or stream, especially if you are not a strong swimmer or have to get equipment over to the other side. First, make a reconnaissance and see if there is an easy crossing place. If possible, view the water from high ground or climb a tree to get a clearer view of what you are up against…

June 2019

Amended article:
Rewrite of April 2019 article

Complete re&ndas;write of the article on surviving a nuclear attack giving more information on how to survive an attack that comes with little warning…

May 2019

Added new article:
Decontamination after a chemical warfare attack or accident.

The aim of decontamination is to rapidly and effectively render harmless, or remove, poisonous substances on both personnel and equipment. The capacity to decontaminate both equipment and personnel is one of the factors that may reduce the effectiveness of an attack with CW agents. In this way, it may act as a deterrent…

April 2019

Added new article:
Surviving a nuclear warfare attack or accident.

The effects of nuclear weapons are classified as either initial or residual. Initial effects occur in the immediate area of the explosion and are hazardous in the first minute after the explosion. Residual effects can last for days or years and cause death mainly from cancers. The principal initial effects are blast and radiation…

March 2019

Added new article:
Surviving a biological attack.

Biological warfare (also known as germ warfare), is the use of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, other disease causing biological agents, or the toxins produced by them as biological weapons (or bioweapons)…

February 2019

Added new article:
Surviving a chemical warfare attack or industrial accident.

Chemical weapons used in a theatre of war have to be delivered using rockets, artillery shells or by aerial bombardment. If any of these munitions explode with a muffled sound, as opposed to the violent explosion of high explosive, it is a fair assumption that chemical payloads are being deployed…

December 2019

Added new article:
Brexit – Should we stockpile processed food?

We cannot escape the fact that the UK grows only 61% of the food it eats, according to the National Farming Union (NFU). We buy 40% of our fresh fruit and vegetables from the EU. The UK is self-sufficient in pre-packed potatoes but imports processed potatoes from the EU. Britain produces 80% of the cheese and beef consumed by the nation. The UK imports around 11% of the wheat it consumes. Of Britain's imported food and drink we import 79% of it from the EU…

September 2018

Added new article:
Making a Dash Pack:

Making a Dash Pack is a relatively small investment in time, money and effort but it can make a huge difference if you have to flee your home because of a major emergency or disaster. If you follow these simple suggestions, and also teach your children how to take care of themselves, you will be better able to cope and protect yourself and your family…

March 2018

Added new article:
Primitive Weapons Part 2:

Making stone weapons, such as arrowheads, is extremely difficult and takes a lot of skill and practice, as indeed so does making an effective bow and arrows. Any weapon that needs to be fixed to a wooden shaft requires binding and glue. If producing binding, for example, animal sinew, or making your own pitch glue is something you have never tried before, look for a simpler solution. It is important not to waste time and effort (or risk injury) in a survival situation. If you have modern material to hand, then have a go a making useful weapons and tools, for example, a stone axe …

February 2018

Added new article:
Primitive Weapons Part 1: Flint Knapping.

Knapping flint involves carefully striking or pushing flakes from the stone being worked. This can be done by simply hitting the piece of flint with another rock (known as hard hammering) or using a "soft hammer" made of antler, wood or similar material (known as soft hammering). In contrast to directly striking the flint with another rock, a chisel made of metal, bone, wood or rock can be used to shape the flint. The final common method of removing flakes is 'pressure flaking'. Pressure flaking involves 'pushing' flakes off the piece being worked by the application of force to a precise point on a flint edge. Pressure flaking is usually done in the final stages to achieve the desired sharp edge, point, or to work the shape of, for example, notches in an arrowhead where it fixes to the shaft of the arrow …

January 2018

Added new article:
Riots, crows and demonstrations.

Basically, the advice given here is all about surviving in a crowd of people when law and order begins to break down and things escalate into violent confrontation. The first rule of survival is to read the signs around you. …

December 2017

Added new article:
Survival Strategies Part 5: Anxiety.

Some professionals interchange the terms 'anxiety' and 'panic.' When they talk about an anxiety attack or a panic attack, they mean the same thing. However, there is a difference between panic and anxiety. Anxiety can be a permanent state; some people have a high degree of anxiety all the time, others only feel anxious occasionally…

November 2017

Added new article:
Survival Strategies Part 4: How the Brain Reacts to Disaster.

Part of the human brain has been termed the 'hindbrain' (medulla, pons and reticular formation). One of its functions is to be on the lookout for danger. Incoming stimuli from the environment are checked by this part of the brain for signals that may indicate we are in imminent danger. Danger signals from the hindbrain put the body on alert…

October 2017

Added new article:
Survival Strategies Part 3: Coping with death.

People serving in the military or rescue services are more likely to encounter instances of sudden and violent death than most people are. All bereavements are traumatic but in a survival situation, sudden loss is more traumatic…

September 2017

Added new article:
Survival Strategies Part 2: How people react to disaster.

When disaster strikes, in whatever form it takes, it comes as a shock to us. Additional results of the disaster can be trauma (we are traumatized)…

August 2017

Next new article will be in September 2017.

One of the best definitions of survival intelligence in my view is the ability to adapt to one's environment. If possible, to adapt the environment to aid survival.

July 2017

Added new article:
Survival Strategies Part 1: Personal Survival Strategies (Coping Mechanisms)

One of the best definitions of survival intelligence in my view is the ability to adapt to one's environment. If possible, to adapt the environment to aid survival.

June 2017

Added new article:
General advice on dealing with attacks by wild animals.

Historically, the majority of humans attacked by wild animals in the apex predator category have died a horrible death. There are, however, a select few who have overcome the odds, fought, won and lived to tell the tale. They either killed the animal or injured it enough to escape. How they succeeded is immensely valuable learning for others to try if attacked.

May 2017

Added new article:
Survive a dog attack.

It is estimated that there are around 200,000 dog bites in the UK each year alone. It is estimated that two per cent of the US population, 4.7 million people, are bitten each year. In the 1980s and 1990s, the US averaged 17 fatalities per year, while in the 2000's this has increased to 26. 77% of dog bites are from the pet of family or friends and 50% of attacks occur on the dog owner's property.
April 2017

Added new article:
Shellfish as survival food: Part Two.

In this month's article we look at preparing and cooking octopus, squid, cuttlefish, sea slugs, crabs, lobsters, prawns, shrimps, crayfish and sea urchins.

March 2017

Added new article:
Shellfish as survival food: Part One.

In this month's article we look at preparing and cooking common bivalve shellfish and univalve shellfish as survival food.

February 2017

Added new article:
Making survival bread.

This article covers extracting flour and making leavened and unleavened bread in a survival situation.

January 2017

Added new article:
Common edible seaweed.

This article covers easily identifiable and common seaweed that can be eaten in a survival situation.

December 2016

Added new article:
Common edible plants found on the seashore.

This article covers easily identifiable and common seashore plants that can be eaten in a survival situation.

November 2016

Added new article:
Distress signals and attracting attention for use when you get into trouble.

This article covers the internationally recognised distress signals for attracting attention on land sea and air, and replying to survivors.

October 2016

Added new article:
Using nature's signs to navigate by

Trees and plants can help in navigation but there are many factors to be taken into account and trees and plants should only be used as a rough guide for determining direction when other, more reliable methods, cannot be used.

September 2016

Added new article:
Assembling an Abandon Ship Bag

Following the great success of our article on making your own personal survival kit, we have now added an article on making your own abandon ship bag for those interested in survival at sea.

August 2016

Added new article: We product test four of the best lightweight cooking stoves

Test one: The Trangia Mini Trangia 28-t Stove Kit

Test two: The Esbit 585 ml Cookset

Test three: The Swiss Gel Fuel M1 Stove Kit

Test four: The Bushbox Titanium Outdoor Pocket Stove

The product review in March of the Silva Explorer Compass has been fully updated because Silva have brought out a new version of this compass.

July 2016

Added new article: Best water filter for survival

June 2016

Added new article: Can I eat this plant?

May 2016

Added new article: Survival on the Street

April 2016

Added new article: Mini Survival Tips

March 2016

Product review

Silva Expedition compass, 2016 model.

Silva expedition compass

Silva Expedition

Manufacturer's description
The Silva Expedition Compass features easy–handling Dryflex™ housing, silicon rubber feet for precision map work, detachable safety–release lanyards, night–enabling luminous markings, magnifying lens, a clinometer for measuring slope angle, map–measuring scales in mm or inches, 1:25,000, 1:50,000 and GPS scales, plus built–in adjusters for magnetic declination (including permanent local adjustment). The Expedition can also map–measure 1:40,000.

What you get
The new Expedition Compass comes with two new innovations for this compass type by Silva, a slope card and a scale lanyard. Both simple but useful additions.

The slope card
The slope card is used for measuring the extra distance of travel up and down a slope, rather than measuring distance on the map "as the crow flies." It also has the facility of determining avalanche risk. By matching the map index contour, or contour lines with the lines on the card, the angle of the slope can be determined. Reading off the scale gives an idea of potential avalanche risk, also the extra distance travelled up and down the slope can be quickly calculated. We found it a useful addition to have.

Silva Expedition slope card

The scale lanyard
The scale lanyard has two scales on it; 1:25, and 1:50, It is soft and flexible and a useful addition to the actual compass as it is part of it. When placed directly on the map (using the appropriate scale) it is easy to measure approximate distances but is not as accurate as a map measurer made specifically for the job. We liked it, however, and thought for such a simple innovation it was a long overdue addition.

Silva Expedition lanyard scale

Description of Baseplate
Silva Expedition Baseplate

The new graphics contain a more distinct arrow and also a more contemporary font making it clearer and easier to read. We missed a 1:20 k scale card, although there is a limit to what can be printed on the base plate.

  • Detachable safety–release lanyard, flexible with 1:25, and 1:50 scales.
  • Permanent adjustment for local magnetic declination.
  • Magnifying lens.
  • Scales: 1:25 k, 1:40 k, 1:50 k, GPS scales, mm, inch.
  • Additional slope card.
  • Silicon friction feet.
  • Weight: 50g (1.76 oz).
  • Variants: Magnetic East, Magnetic South, Magnetic North.

How we found it performed overall

Value: Retailing at around £40 ($56 USD, €60), or less if you shop around, this compass is good value for money.

The compass has a long, transparent plastic base–plate for sighting and calibrated straight edges for measuring and ruling points on a map. One end is rounded so you cannot inadvertently hold it the wrong way round. Friction feet keep it stable even on a plastic coated map. Strongly made with a good magnifier and a lanyard hole. Good selection of scales, better than most comparable compasses, but lacking a 1:20 k scale. All markings are clear with direction of travel clearly marked.

The bezel has a serrated edge and is easy to turn when wearing gloves. We did not think the degree markings were clear enough in comparison to the Silva Expedition 4, for example, (Expedition 4 photo below left) and the lower position was not ideal. The Expedition 4 bezel can be turned without obscuring the markings but when turning the Expedition bezel (photo below right) the markings were easily obscured, especially when wearing gloves.

Silva Expedition 4 compass dial
But it is a matter of personal taste whether or not one prefers the markings at the top of the bezel or at the bottom.

For a full base–plate compass the weight of 50 g (1.76 oz) is good.

Magnetic declination:
Having built–in adjusters for magnetic declination (including permanent local adjustment) this compass meets the needs of advanced users.

Reaction time and dampening of the needle was marginally better than earlier, similar compasses in this range by Silva. The needle is not globally balanced. You need to buy the correct variant for your geographic zone. Not so useful if you travel between zones.
  • Zone 1 covers most of the north hemisphere (North America, Europe and Russia);
  • Zone 2 includes Mexico and northern South America, North Africa, India;
  • Zone 3 – Brazil, Middle Africa;
  • Zone 4 – southern South America, Southern Africa and Malaysia;
  • Zone 5 – Australia and New Zealand.
Night use: We found the luminous points lacked visibility in comparison to similar compasses but worked OK for three minutes after recharging with a photon light.


It does what it claims as a compass sold in Silva's walking / mountaineering range. Is this the only compass you would ever have to own? Probably, if you use it only in your Zone as a hiking / mountaineering compass it probably would last for many years as the quality is as good as all Silva compasses and we haven't found a really bad one yet. It couldn't double, for example as an orienteering compass as the needle reaction / dampening speed is not in the league of the Silva Jet orienteering range, but it settles quickly enough not to be an issue for most people if using the compass whilst on the move. It is definitely value for money as it has all the features needed for both the amateur and advanced user. We scored the compass 8/10 for usability and value for money.

February 2016

Added new article: Organizing an Expedition Part 3 — Expeditions in Savannah (veldt and the bush)

If you would like to see which articles are following soon in this section, see Expedition Articles coming soon.

December 2015

Many people have written to us over the past two years asking if we can expand on our article on organizing an expedition. In response to this, we intent to try and add a new expedition article each month starting December 2015 with a rewrite of the initial article and adding a new feature on Organizing an Expedition Part 2 — Expedition Leadership.

November 2015

November saw the launch of our new style layout featuring more free survival articles and a revision of some of our popular pages. The most important changes included making the website a responsive design and the addition of a new mobile–friendly website. A warm thank you to the many who frequent our pages, we hope you enjoy the new browsing experience.
Webmaster at Survival Expert ™

Product test

The Ken Onion Edition Knife & Tool Sharpener

Worksharp Ken Onion Edition Electric Knife Sharpener Worksharp, Oregon, USA contacted us and asked us to trial the Ken Onion Edition Knife & Tool Sharpener from the standpoint of the users in the "survivalist market".

The sharpening guide is fully adjustable from 15° to 30° angles, it has a variable speed motor and takes 1.9 cm (¾ in) x 30.5 cm (12 in) flexible abrasive belts.

What we particularly liked is that it grinds giving a convex edge. This method of grinding leaves more steel behind the edge to support it, so the edge stays sharper longer than a flat ground edge.

We found it an excellent product, which produced a razor–sharp polished edge on pocket knives, survival knives, tactical knives and serrated knives. It will also sharpen kitchen knives and scissors.

The sharpener comes with a selection of belts: Extra Coarse for repairing a damaged blade, course for shaping the blade, medium for sharpening, fine for honing and extra–fine for serrations. The sharpening guide can be removed to allow grinding of axes, etc.

An excellent electric knife sharpener, cleverly designed and easy to use. Essential you read the instructions and take note of the safety warnings. Idea for a club or group of survival enthusiast, or for the individual with a lot of knives to sharpen.

To see the Worksharp Guided Field Sharpener, go to article on sharpening systems.

New free survival articles
  • Making survival shelters — The essentials on finding and making survival shelters

  • Sharpening knives — This article has been updated and largely re–written to include sharpening serrated knives and gut hooks.

  • New basic survival quiz — Our very popular quiz page has been expanded to include a new quiz for survival beginners.