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Bamboo is cheap, awesome, and invasive. And… it could save your life in an emergency situation. I would consider planting some before it’s too late! And while you’re waiting for it to grow, let’s look at ways to use bamboo for survival.
Bamboo is one of the greatest finds in a survival situation. It has been used by people for thousands of years to do many useful things. That’s why it’s important that you understand a little more about it and learn some of the things it can do.
Bamboo is a species of grass. It grows no different than your grass on your lawn and is very easy to grow in a container or in the ground. Whether you buy them in a clump from the garden center or grow them from root or seed they are so simple to grow and to take care of.
If you buy bamboo from a garden center in a clump, all you need to do is take the clump out of the container and just like with grass, divide a piece out and either plant the divided bamboo out into another container or just plant directly into your yard.
Bamboo prefers all day, full hot sun… but just like your grass in your garden, they can handle some shade too.
Bamboo likes good soil, but if you have clay soil, just add compost to the top and then plant your bamboo and they will do just fine!
When you plant bamboo make sure you dig about 3 inches. If it’s a root, make sure the soil covers it, but the sprout is out of the ground.
Types of Bamboo
There are 2 types of bamboo:
This is very invasive and if left unchecked it will take over your yard pretty quickly.
They stay together in a clump, hence the name. Basically, they look like a tree coming up and don’t take over your yard.
As a side note … If you plant the running species you will have to make sure not to plant it to near a park, a neighbors backyard, or a waterway. If left unchecked the seeds can end up anywhere. In the city, this may not be a great thing!
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Ways to Use Bamboo for Survival Situations
If you have a fair amount of land, either at home or at your bug out location, I would highly recommend planting bamboo…
I will let you decide which type (running or clumping), but it has so many uses, it’s just pure madness not to utilize it.
If SHTF and you had a fair amount of bamboo planted, you will have an advantage over other preppers that do not grow bamboo. Here’s why!
Bamboo is awesome to use if you want to make a fire. You can make a bamboo fire saw in just a few minutes.
How to Make a Bamboo Fire Saw
To make an effective Bamboo fire saw, split the largest standing dead piece of Bamboo in half and start to scrape off the powdery dead coating.
Once the majority of the powder has been removed, increase the pressure on the Bamboo. You will notice shavings will start to build up on either side of your knife. Keep these shavings and make sure you have 2 bundles about the size of an egg.
Now it is time to prepare the “fireboard” .. Start drilling a hole with your knife on the inside of the bamboo piece to the outside. When you can start to feel your knife on the outside you have gone far enough. Now carefully bore out the hole on the inside and be careful not to go through the other side. Then turn the bamboo over and score a groove or notch over where you drilled the hole.
Place your 2 tinder bundles directly either side of the hole you created. Hold them in place with a bent piece of ripped bamboo skin. Now take the other piece of bamboo and put an edge on one side of it. We are not looking for a razor-sharp edge: just think of a butter knife edge. This is how the magic happens! You’ll want to align the notch you made on the other piece of bamboo with the edge you made and run the bamboo up and down over the edge, this creates friction.
How to Use the Bamboo Fire Saw
For best results lodge the end in the ground and the top of the bamboo to your belly/belt area.
Make sure your movements are long sweeping motions going the whole length as the bamboo. When you have created the right amount of heat, you should have a lot of dust that will ignite and become your ember.
Once you see smoke, go for the gold and increase pressure and speed up a little reducing your stroke. Once the bamboo with the tinder bundle is smoking on its own, aerate it into flame.
2. Water and Food
Bamboo is a great tool to have when you need to boil, carry, or store water. Since bamboo grows in sections, if you cut above these sections, you will have a portion of bamboo that you can either make a hole in the top or side and store your water.
Likewise, in a survival situation, you can make a bamboo cup so you can boil water straight in the fire.
How to Make a Bamboo Cup
To make a bamboo cup, find live bamboo (make sure it’s green) and cut above one notch. This will be the bottom of the cup. Go ahead and chop or saw below the other notch, and you’ll have your bamboo cup.
Place water from wherever you can procure it and place it in the bamboo cup. Note that when the water boils it may boil and spill into your fire and put it out. As a result, don’t place too much water in the cup or try and make the biggest cups you can.
Place the bamboo cup of water directly into the fire. Boil for 5 minutes so you know that if there are any bacteria and nasty parasites they are dead. Now you have clean water to drink.
You can also use this method to cook food. Get a live bamboo, split it in half and use the one half as a cooking vessel.
It can be used to make razor-sharp cutting utensils and spears to hunt too. Bamboo is great to make fall traps, where you dig a hole and have sharp bamboo at the bottom of the hole and you wait for game to walk over and impale themselves on the bamboo.
Be aware that this would only be a great idea in a real survival situation. Knowing your luck, a human will wonder and fall in and die!
This is one of the main reasons why I want to grow bamboo for survival on my bug out location… Bamboo is strong and lasts for years and years, thanks to its cylindrical and reinforced, notched makeup.
I won’t bore you and do another step by step tutorial on how to build a bamboo shelter as there are far better ones out there than I could ever write or make a video on.
The same rules apply to make a shelter with bamboo or sticks. It’s not rocket science but if you are looking for strength and rigidity, bamboo far surpasses sticks.
You can use bamboo to construct a semi-permanent or even a permanent shelter relatively easy. Another great thing about bamboo is that it normally grows pretty tall and thick, and it is far easier to cut down a 9 ft bamboo stalk than a tall tree!
This saves a lot of calories if you were in a survival situation, making you less fatigued. You can save those much-needed calories finding food and or starting a fire or searching for a way out.
Bonus: How to Make Pemmican, the Original Survival Food
Invented by the natives of North America pemmican was used by Indian scouts as well as early western explorers.
Native Americans spent a great deal of time on the go and depended on having portable, high-energy, highly nutritious, and filling foods that would last for long periods of time without refrigeration.
Pemmican is a portable, long-lasting, high-energy food. It's made of lean, dried meat that's crushed into powder and mixed with hot, rendered fat. This makes it one of the ultimate foods to have stockpiled for when SHTF or disaster strikes.
People really should avert their gaze from the modern survival thinking for just a bit and also look at how folks 150 years ago did it.
These guys were the last generation to practice basic things, for a living, that we call "survival skills" now.