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Work smart, not hard — this axiom is especially relevant in survival situations, when time, energy, and physical resources are at a minimum. This is why we always enjoy seeing survivalists make the most of what they have in the field, and come up with creative solutions to problems. You won’t always have every tool you need to accomplish your goals, but with a little ingenuity, you can usually find a way.
In the following video, YouTuber NW Primate tasked himself with starting a fire in a snowy forest using only two items: a hatchet and a thin mylar emergency blanket.
The hatchet’s purpose is relatively straightforward, since it serves as the requisite cutting tool to break down fire wood. However, NW Primate came up with some clever ways to make the most of his small but sharp Gerber hatchet. He uses it to cut a flat spot on a log for a workbench, then embeds the blade edge perpendicular to the bench surface. This serves as an improvised woodworking tool, similar in function to a plane or draw knife. The technique makes it easy to create feather sticks and shave off imperfections.
As for the mylar blanket, our first thought was that he might try using its reflective surface to focus sunlight, but he went in a totally different direction. By cutting a strip of the mylar and tightly twisting it, he creates improvised cordage strong enough to make a bow drill. Although this consumes a piece of the blanket, the rest of it would still be usable for its original purpose.
Check out the full video below — you might learn some techniques you’ve never considered before.