Bamboo for Survival Nov 18,2017

Shelter ( Expedient )

Bamboo for Survival

In this article, as a continuation of my first blog about Pine Trees I want to talk about another ubiquitous tree that is found around the world – Bamboo. Well it turns out that you can eat some Bamboo but not many. There are over a thousand species of Bamboo and unless you’re an expert that can identify edible bamboo 100 out 100 times you probably don’t want to eat it, since only about 10 percent of the species are edible. If you do eat bamboo – the inner membrane – make sure you boil it thoroughly and remove the water and poisons. But there is good news: you can use Bamboo to make hunting tools and weapons to catch something that has to taste better than membranous wood.

Bamboo is a very strong wood and has many uses. You can use bamboo for the construction of shelters because of its strength and linear qualities. In Hong Kong and Indonesia, I am always amazed how the construction workers use bamboo as scaffolding that I have seen reach over twenty stories.

It can also be used for hunting, trapping, and fishing. If you are going to use as a spear, sharpen the point, add a notch to secure the spear into the flesh once it penetrates, and then heat the end in fire, tempering the end. Heat it until it looks to be covered in soot and is dry of moisture and hard. You can use bamboo as a fishing pole like any pole just add fishing line and a hook. I used to use bamboo reeds for trout lines in Guatemala where I would cut two six-foot reeds, and then place them in chest deep water such as a lake or swamp. I would spread the poles approximately six-feet apart (Use your arms – fingertip to fingertip is usually equal to your height – whereas mine is 71 inches) and then tie a string to the tips of the reeds.

After you tie in the horizontal line, attach lines with hooks to the horizontal line and let them dangle at various depths under the surface of the water. Make sure of course that you bait the hooks. Leave the line overnight and check in the morning. Amazingly fish will take the bait and just hang there without fuss waiting for you to pull them out. One note of caution when walking into a lake in Guatemala up to your chest: look for caiman alligators first. I was chest deep playing with my fish when a six-foot caiman cruised by a few feet away and I could have sworn he winked at me. Lawd knows how many were swimming by me under the surface sizing me up for lunch – ala fish-human soufflé. 

You can also use bamboo as water and cooking vessels. Punch a hole in the center of wide piece of bamboo between the ribs and drain the water. Add fresh water and then add a stopper to the hole to prevent leaking. You can also make a larger hole, add rice or whatever food stuff that you want to boil, add fresh water and heat over a fire. You could make an improvised pressure cooker by add a stopper/plug to hold in some of the steam but not all (need to let it steam off or it will explode like a rice bomb ha ha) and you can speed up the cooking time.

So Bamboo is a very sleek and easily used wood that doesn’t require a lot of prepping for use like skinning small branches and leaves. Its less flexible then regular wood which makes ideal for any use that requires maximum rigidity, and it lasts forever and rarely rots unless exposed to a lot of water for long periods of time.


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