Survival situations are difficult enough to face with the proper gear. But what happens if you don’t have the gear you need? Humans have been able to protect and feed themselves with weapons and tools made by hand from natural resources for thousands of years, so why can’t you do the same?
If you ever find yourself stranded in the woods without weapons, the first thing you should do is to be on the lookout for sturdy wood, rocks and animal bones that can serve as the base of your handmade tools.
Here are some of the most useful and reliable weapons you can craft with supplies from the woods without too much difficulty.
Knives are an invaluable tool to have around in a survival situation. Thankfully, they’re relatively simple to fashion out of rock and some lashing material.
To fashion the blade, you'll need to find a large, thin stone with a relatively flat side that will become the blade itself. Then you’ll need a large, smooth rock to chip away and define the blade rock’s edge. Finally, you’ll use an antler tip or rock with a sharp point to refine the blade.
After refining your blade, you will need to create a handle for your rock knife. Dried and twisted animal tendons are the strongest natural rope you can find in the woods, but those might be difficult to find. A simpler option is to use strings of plant fiber from the inner bark of trees as your lashing material. You can wrap cloth around the edge of the rock knife and tie it into place with the fiber from the inner tree bark or newly-formed branches of smaller shrubbery. Or you can just wrap the strings of plant fiber around the unsharpened section of the blade to make the handle.
A weighted club is a useful tool to have. It can help you hammer and bludgeon slow animals like possums, porcupines, and rodents.
To make this tool, you will need a sturdy, straight stick that will serve as the handle and base of your club. Once you find it, carve out a V-shaped notch in the top so that you can place a round rock in that space.
To secure the rock in the notch, use lashing material like the plant fibers mentioned above for creating a rock knife. Remember that a weighted club is only be as strong as the string that is holding it together, so use the strongest material you can find to bind it together as securely you can.
Additionally, a sharper, axe-like weapon can be made by placing a rock knife in between a split stick and tying it in place.
Bow and Arrow
Although a bow and arrow is a more advanced and difficult weapon to attempt to craft yourself, having one will allow you to hunt with more precision from further distances.
The first step in building a bow and arrow is to find a strong but pliable branch around 4 feet long. Try to find hickory, oak, cedar or birch trees if possible because of the flexibility and strength of these types of wood. Once you have your branch, carefully bend it to find its natural curvature. Whittle out a slender arc shape in the branch so that the center becomes its widest point, at about 2 inches in diameter.
The next step is to carve notches on each tip of the bow where the bowstring will attach. Use something like rawhide to create your bowstring. Stretch it taut, and tie it securely at the notches to complete your bow. Rub the wood with animal fat to keep it limber if you can.
The arrows should generally be half the length of the bow. Find the straightest sticks possible and smooth down their surfaces with your knife. For the arrowheads, a sharp bone splinter or stone should do. Cut a notch in one end of the arrow, and insert the arrowhead before tying them together with your lashing material.
Once fashioned, these weapons should make it much easier to survive in the woods by giving you the ability to both hunt for food and to create other tools and weapons.
For more prepping tips and resources like this one, check out Prepper's Base.