Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tripod Smoke Generator

Tripod Smoke Generator:
So far we have explored how to build a Tripod (Link HERE) and how to turn it into a Tripod Hammock (Link HERE) or a DIY Water Filter (Link HERE). Today's post explores how to use the same tripod platform to effect rescue via smoke generation. This system utilizes the following materials: Tripod setup, bank line and sufficient sticks to create two platforms within the tripod.

Step 1: Build tripod (Instructions HERE), collect a large pile pine and roughly 35' of wrist sized green limbs.
Step 2: Affix two levels of "shelves" with the first being 3' from the top of the tripod and the next being no more than 1' below the 1st shelf. To affix the limbs to each level simply use an "X" lash. 
Step 3: Cover each level of shelving with the wrist size green limbs cut to overhang each shelf by 1"-2". Then build a fire lay on the lower shelf (I use 1' of finger size sticks loosely thrown into a pile and stacked loosely onto the 2nd shelf leaving room for a birds nest or other fire starter.
Step 4: Pile as much of the pine as you possibly can into the top shelf (More is best as you may only have one shot at a potential rescue). Don't be bashful, feel free to push down on the pine and stuff even more into the tripod.
Step 5: Light your tender bundle or fire starter of choice and then pull your limbs over the fire starter (i.e. get your fire started).
Step 6: Sit back and watch your creation work. 
Step 7: Remember there is a need to setup more than one smoke generator (as one can be mistaken for just being a camp fire), preferably three in varying locations as pictured above. Two notes on the picture: 1) The upper left smoke generator should be moved further from the tree line if possible to prevent a potential wild fire and also to decrease the chances of the smoke being disbursed into the tree line, 2) This photo if from The Survival Handbook and I highly recommend this book as it has excellent graphics and is a great reference material. 

This setup works quite well; however, it does take awhile to get the smoke to rise above the tree line. It is also highly dependent on weather and wind, especially in a heavily wooded area a low pressure system or heavy wind in the wrong direction could leave the smoke undetected. This underscores the need to utilize multiple mediums to signal for a potential rescue and not rely on a single medium when your life depends on it. 

As always please feel free to comment or ask your questions in the comment section. Also thank you to Dave Canterbury and The Pathfinder School for taking time to come to WV each year to teach some 1st responders wilderness survival!

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