*Coach Helder may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post
I’m fortunate to be able to spend an ample amount of time in the field. I setup my business as well as my lifestyle so that i could take advantage of being out in nature on a daily basis. Choosing this route isn’t always an easy task but I wouldn’t want it any other way. Every day is a new learning opportunity and a chance to put new and old skills to the test. I bring NTC Members with me whenever their schedules allow. Unfortunately, the opportunities for most are far and few between.
I understand that it is difficult for people to find the time to get out into the woods. Work schedules, family obligations and other factors are all obstacles that are difficult to navigate. All of us want to refine our outdoor skills and develop new ones. In order to achieve proficiency in any skill set we need to practice and practice often. For the purpose of this article, I would like to use the skill of fire building as an example. We all know that it is a must have skill for anyone focused on preparedness but if you cannot get out into the field…
How will you get your fire building practice time in?
Some of my NTC Members are able to easily build open fires in their backyards. But for the vast majority of us city dwellers, that just isn’t an option. Regulations, lack of space and nosy neighbors are all contributors to our fire building limitations. But luckily for us, there is another option that can accommodate our needs and fill the void. My advice is to add a fire pit to your backyard.
Fire pits can be made or purchased, that decision completely depends on you. There are some great, online resources, that will show you how to build a fire pit that will fit your budget and even your local law concerns. The same goes for fire pits that can be purchased from stores; There are countless configurations depending on your budget and needs. Having access to a fire pit opens up a plethora of options for not only skill building, but also some much needed fun and R&R.
Even though I am able to get out into the bush and build my open fires, I still have a couple of fire pits in my home. There are many reasons why I keep a fire pit in my backyard and I would like to share a few of those reasons with you.
Let’s Get Started
We already delved into fire building as a reason for having a fire pit in your home. But I wanted to stress the importance of not only being able to start a fire, but to also be able to maintain it. I see plenty of survivalists practicing their fire starting and truly owning that skill. Unfortunately, from there on out, the practice stops. Fire starting is a mandatory skill to possess but we also to develop the knowledge to keep it going.
Having access to a fire pit allows you to practice all facets of fire building. You can practice various methods of fire starting: bow and drill, ferro rod, matches, etc. You will also learn how to feed and maintain your fire which is learned through plenty of experience. I also challenge my NTC Members to build fires in inclement weather such as heavy rain and snow. I explain to them that even a 1st year cub scout can start a fire in ideal conditions. 😉
Another great feature of this type of practice is that you can take your time. There will not be people breathing down your neck and feeding you their “opinions” on what to do next with your fire. You can start over as many times as you would like, with minimal distractions, which would only deter you from your mission.
Practice Cooking Skills:
A fire pit in your backyard makes an ideal cooking station. Not only will you get that awesome taste that only an open fire can give but you also get to practice your outdoor culinary skills. During an emergency, you may have to hunker down at home. Utilities such as gas and electricity will most likely be off. Having the ability to cook a nutritious and morale building meal can have a huge bearing on how you and your family will fair in an emergency situation.
One of my favorite pieces of cooking gear is the Dutch oven. I have been using them for decades and nothing beats its taste and simplicity. I was always limited by location when it came to using my Dutch oven. If I wasn’t in the field, with the ability to build a campfire, my Dutch oven would remain in its case. Considering how much my family and I enjoy Dutch oven cooking, it was certainly something that I needed to address.
Luckily, with the addition of the fire pit to my home, I am able to whip up my Dutch oven meals in the privacy of my backyard. I make stews, seafood dishes and even some amazing dark chocolate cakes. Not only does this bring the family and group together for a tasty meal but it also gives us continual skill building practice in order to be prepared when a crisis arises.
Dispose Of Organic Trash:
When SHTF, the DPW (Department of Public Works) will not be around a few times per month to pick up your trash. One way to address your organic waste is to burn it. It is not the ideal way to compost but compared to the health hazards that can incur during an emergency… It may be your only option. Space concerns, insects and even foul smells came make an already difficult situation much worse.
Disposing of your trash this way also keeps animals from loitering around your home. Safety and health issues are a vast concern, especially when getting access to health care may be impossible. You may also have other, 2 legged animals, visiting you and seeing how well stocked you are. They will go through your trash and if they like with they say, they may try to take it by force. Burning your organic trash will go a long way in deterring these unwanted scenarios from happening.
One of the big concerns when SHTF is to be able to have access to potable water. By having a fire pit in your backyard, you have the ability to boil water in order to utilize it for cooking and drinking needs. Bacteria and other waterborne viruses can wreak havoc on your nervous system. Having access to clean water, that you just purified, will go a long way in ensuring both you and your family’s health.
Many of those focussed on preparedness rely on a personal water filter in order to make their water safe to consume. This is certainly a better option than doing nothing at all. However, a simple water filter will remove particles, dirt and certain chemicals from the water. But it is certainly recommended, especially when you have the resources, to boil the actual water after filtering it. This will ensure that all viruses and bacteria are killed before you consume the water.
On a side note, I get sent water filters to review on a continual basis. Most of these filters are horrible and can get you sick or worse. Be careful what you purchase and keep in mind that we certainly need to devote a bigger part of our preparedness budget to the things that truly matter. Purifying water for consumption… I would certainly consider the ability to do so a priority!
Keep Animals At Bay:
When the SHTF, all hell will break loose. Both wild as well as domesticated animals will come looking for food. There are plenty of studies that have shown how domesticated animals can easily become wild, once again, after uniting with other wild animals. Being able to keep a fire going, outside your home, can be a great deterrent to would be, uninvited visitors.
When the grid is down, your neighborhood will look completely different than it does now. It will be extremely dark and quite eerie at times. The light and heat produced by your fire pit will give a bit of security and illumination to your home. Keep in mind that this will also make others aware of your presence, so… Prepare accordingly!
Smoke Meat & Fish:
A great way to extend the life of food is to smoke it over an open fire. During an emergency, we may only have a few days when it comes to the “expiration date” of the food in our refrigerator. During successful hunting and fishing trips, we will need to prepare the bounty so that it can last indefinitely. By having a fire pit, you can easily fashion a drying and smoking station in order to conserve your food in the hopes of riding out the emergency, with an ample supply of food.
Extra Measure Of Safety:
A fire pit is designed so that the fire is contained inside of it. Most fire pits also incorporate a cover which keeps the embers from flying away during a gust of wind. These integrated safety features are what allows many homes, that are prohibited from building a conventional campfire, to still build an open fire in their backyard. In addition, these safety measures give you a bit of assurance when, more precedent factors, will be occupying your mind.
In addition, you may not be the only member of your group to be utilizing the fire pit. You may be well versed in all things fire building… But the other members of your group may not be. Until you have the time to catch them up to speed, It’s good to know that you have a self-contained fire that will not spread and cause further mayhem in an already tough situation.
Many items that we purchase or build, to aid our preparedness, get seldomly used. They are crucial in aiding us in any crisis, but they are only utilized a few times per year in a training environment. When it comes to the minimal investment of adding a fire pit to your gear… You can literally utilize it on a daily basis. This makes the investment, whether it’s time, money or both, well worth the expenditure.