Survival Expert™ NEWS

Survival Expert™ NEWS

Added new article:

July 2019

Crossing a river or fast–moving stream

River and streams can be shallow or deep, slow or fast moving, narrow or wide. It is essential to plan the best approach to crossing, especially if you are not a strong swimmer or have to get equipment over to the other side. First, make a reconnaissance and see if there is an easy crossing place. If possible, view the water from high ground or climb a tree to get a clearer view of what you are up against…

Re–written article:

June 2019

April 2019 Survive a nuclear attack or accident

Additional content on how to increase one's chances of surviving a nuclear attack that comes with little or no warning…

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May 2019

Decontamination after a chemical warfare attack or accident

The aim of decontamination is to rapidly and effectively render harmless, or remove, poisonous substances on both personnel and equipment. The capacity to decontaminate both equipment and personnel is one of the factors that may reduce the effectiveness of an attack with CW agents. In this way, it may act as a deterrent …

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April 2019

Survive a nuclear attack or accident

The effects of nuclear weapons are classified as either initial or residual. Initial effects occur in the immediate area of the explosion and are hazardous in the first minute after the explosion. Residual effects can last for days or years and cause death mainly from cancers. The principal initial effects are blast and radiation…

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March 2019

Survive a biological attack or accident

Ideal characteristics of biological weapons targeting humans are high infectivity, high potency, non–availability of vaccines and delivery as an aerosol…

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February 2019

Survive a chemical attack or accident

The use of chemical agents is a real threat in modern warfare and it is possibly only a matter of time before terrorists acquire and use chemical weapons against civilian populations…

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December 2018

Brexit: Should we stockpile food?

No-deal Brexit – will the UK be able to feed itself?
We cannot escape the fact that the UK grows only 61% of the food it eats, according to the National Farming Union (NFU). We buy 40% of our fresh fruit and vegetables from the EU…

September 2018

Fleeing the home: Making a Dash Pack.

Making a Dash Pack is a relatively small investment in time, money and effort but it can make a huge difference if you have to flee your home because of a major emergency or disaster. If you follow these simple suggestions, and also teach your children how to take care of themselves, you will be better able to cope and protect yourself and your family.…

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March 2018

Making Primitive Weapons Part 2: Simple, effective survival weapons.

Making stone weapons, such as arrowheads, is extremely difficult and takes a lot of skill and practice, as indeed so does making an effective bow and arrows. Any weapon that needs to be fixed to a wooden shaft requires binding and glue. If producing binding, for example, animal sinew, or making your own pitch glue is something you have never tried before, look for a simpler solution. It is important not to waste time and effort (or risk injury) in a survival situation. If you have modern material to hand, then have a go a making useful weapons and tools, for example, a stone axe…

Added new article:

February 2018

Making Primitive Weapons Part 1: Flint knapping

Understanding a little about how the chosen stone reacts to hard and softer pressure gives a better chance of success. Arrowheads, spearheads, stone knives, axes and hammers are examples of the sort of weapons and tools that can be successfully made from stone. Of course, you need to be in an area where you can find "glass–like" stones, such as flint chert, obsidian, etc. The best results are from flint…

Added new article:

January 2018

Surviving riots, demonstrations and crowds

Basically, the advice given here is all about surviving in a crowd of people when law and order begins to break down and things escalate into violent confrontation. The first rule of survival is to read the signs around you…

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December 2017

Survival Strategies Part 5: Anxiety.

Some professionals interchange the terms 'anxiety' and 'panic.' When they talk about an anxiety attack or a panic attack, they mean the same thing. However, there is a difference between panic and anxiety. Anxiety can be a permanent state; some people have a high degree of anxiety all the time, others only feel anxious occasionally…

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November 2017

Survival Strategies Part 4: How the Brain Reacts to Disaster.

Part of the human brain has been termed the 'hindbrain' (medulla, pons and reticular formation). One of its functions is to be on the lookout for danger. Incoming stimuli from the environment are checked by this part of the brain for signals that may indicate we are in imminent danger. Danger signals from the hindbrain put the body on alert…

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October 2017

Survival strategies – Dealing with death.

People serving in the military or rescue services are more likely to encounter instances of sudden and violent death than most people are. All bereavements are traumatic but in a survival situation, sudden loss is more traumatic. The loss of colleagues and even those with whom we are not acquainted, hits harder than facing such bereavement in everyday life.…

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September 2017

Survival strategies – Reactions to disaster.

When disaster strikes, in whatever form it takes, it comes as a shock to us. Additional results of the disaster can be trauma…

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July 2017

Survival strategies – Personal coping mechanisms.

One of the best definitions of survival intelligence in my view is the ability to adapt to one's environment. If possible, to adapt the environment to aid survival…

June 2017

Added new article:
General advice on dealing with attacks by wild animals.

Historically, the majority of humans attacked by wild animals in the apex predator category have died a horrible death. There are, however, a select few who have overcome the odds, fought, won and lived to tell the tale. They either killed the animal or injured it enough to escape. How they succeeded is immensely valuable learning for others to try if attacked…

May 2017

Added new article: Dog attacks.

What to do and how to survive.

Note: This section contains information for both civilians and military personnel. You may find some of it distasteful and disturbing, no one likes to hurt an animal but a vicious dog attack is life threatening, crippling or can result in permanent disfigurement. Put squeamishness and sentiment aside — you need to know how to defend yourself. The information given on how police dogs attack is meant for protection only in a survival situation. If challenged by a police dog handler you should not resist arrest and follow the dog handler's instructions or you will be bitten…

April 2017

Added new article: Edible shellfish

Part two of a two–part article.

March 2017

Added new article: Edible shellfish

Part one of a two–part article.

February 2017

Added new article: Making survival bread

Extracting flour and making survival bread.
January 2017

Added new article: Edible seaweeds

Common edible seaweeds to eat in a survival situation.

December 2016

Added new article: Edible seashore plants

Common seashore plants to eat in a survival situation.

November 2016

Added new article: International distress signals

How to attract attention from land, sea and air and how to communicate between survivors and rescuers…

October 2016

Added new article: Navigation using nature's signs

How to find your way around without a compass using the natural signs provided by man and nature…

September 2016

Added new article: Assembling an Abandon Ship Bag

Following the great success of our article on making your own personal survival kit, we have now added an article on making your own abandon ship bag for those interested in survival at sea.

August 2016

Added new article:
We product test four of the best lightweight cooking stoves

Test one: The Trangia Mini Trangia 28-t Stove Kit

Test two: The Esbit 585 ml Cookset

Test three: The Swiss Gel Fuel M1 Stove Kit

Test four: The Bushbox Titanium Outdoor Pocket Stove

We updated the March product review of the Silva Explorer compass as Silva have brought out a newer model…

July 2016

Added new article: Best water filter for survival

June 2016

Added new article: Can I eat this plant?

May 2016

Added new article: Survival on the Street

April 2016

Added new article: Mini Survival Tips

March 2016

Product review

Silva Expedition compass, 2016 model.

Silva expedition compass
Silva Expedition 2016

Manufacturer's description
The Silva Expedition Compass features easy–handling Dryflex™ housing, silicon rubber feet for precision map work, detachable safety–release lanyards, night–enabling luminous markings, magnifying lens, a clinometer for measuring slope angle, map–measuring scales in mm or inches, 1:25,000, 1:50,000 and GPS scales, plus built–in adjusters for magnetic declination (including permanent local adjustment). The Expedition can also map–measure 1:40,000.

What you get
The new Expedition Compass comes with two new innovations for this compass type by Silva, a slope card and a scale lanyard. Both simple but useful additions.

The slope card
The slope card is used for measuring the extra distance of travel up and down a slope, rather than measuring distance on the map "as the crow flies." It also has the facility of determining avalanche risk. By matching the map index contour, or contour lines with the lines on the card, the angle of the slope can be determined. Reading off the scale gives an idea of potential avalanche risk, also the extra distance travelled up and down the slope can be quickly calculated. We found it a useful addition to have.

Silva Expedition slope card

The scale lanyard
The scale lanyard has two scales on it; 1:25, and 1:50, It is soft and flexible and a useful addition to the actual compass as it is part of it. When placed directly on the map (using the appropriate scale) it is easy to measure approximate distances but is not as accurate as a map measurer made specifically for the job. We liked it, however, and thought for such a simple innovation it was a long overdue addition.

Silva Expedition slope card

Description of Baseplate
Silva Expedition slope card

The new graphics contain a more distinct arrow and also a more contemporary font making it clearer and easier to read. We missed a 1:20 k scale card, although there is a limit to what can be printed on the base plate.

  • Detachable safety–release lanyard, flexible with 1:25, and 1:50 scales.
  • Permanent adjustment for local magnetic declination.
  • Magnifying lens.
  • Scales: 1:25 k, 1:40 k, 1:50 k, GPS scales, mm, inch.
  • Additional slope card.
  • Silicon friction feet.
  • Weight: 50 g (1.76 oz).
  • Variants: Magnetic East, Magnetic South, Magnetic North.

How we found it performed overall

Value: Retailing at around £40 ($56 USD, €60), or less if you shop around, this compass is good value for money.

The compass has a long, transparent plastic base–plate for sighting and calibrated straight edges for measuring and ruling points on a map. One end is rounded so you cannot inadvertently hold it the wrong way round. Friction feet keep it stable even on a plastic coated map. Strongly made with a good magnifier and a lanyard hole. Good selection of scales, better than most comparable compasses, but lacking a 1:20 k scale. All markings are clear with direction of travel clearly marked.

The bezel has a serrated edge and is easy to turn when wearing gloves. We did not think the degree markings were clear enough in comparison to the Silva Expedition 4, for example, (Expedition 4 photo below left) and the lower position was not ideal. The Expedition 4 bezel can be turned without obscuring the markings but when turning the Expedition bezel (photo below right) the markings were easily obscured, especially when wearing gloves.

Silva Expedition 4 compass dial
But it is a matter of personal taste whether or not one prefers the markings at the top of the bezel or at the bottom.

For a full base–plate compass the weight of 50 g (1.76 oz) is good.

Magnetic declination:
Having built–in adjusters for magnetic declination (including permanent local adjustment) this compass meets the needs of advanced users.

Reaction time and dampening of the needle was marginally better than earlier, similar compasses in this range by Silva. The needle is not globally balanced. You need to buy the correct variant for your geographic zone. Not so useful if you travel between zones.
  • Zone 1 covers most of the north hemisphere (North America, Europe and Russia);
  • Zone 2 includes Mexico and northern South America, North Africa, India;
  • Zone 3 – Brazil, Middle Africa;
  • Zone 4 – southern South America, Southern Africa and Malaysia;
  • Zone 5 – Australia and New Zealand.
Night use: We found the luminous points lacked visibility in comparison to similar compasses but worked OK for three minutes after recharging with a photon light.


It does what it claims as a compass sold in Silva's walking / mountaineering range. Is this the only compass you would ever have to own? Probably, if you use it only in your Zone as a hiking / mountaineering compass it probably would last for many years as the quality is as good as all Silva compasses and we haven't found a really bad one yet. It couldn't double, for example as an orienteering compass as the needle reaction / dampening speed is not in the league of the Silva Jet orienteering range, but it settles quickly enough not to be an issue for most people if using the compass whilst on the move. It is definitely value for money as it has all the features needed for both the amateur and advanced user. We scored the compass 8/10 for usability and value for money.

February 2016

Added new article: Organizing an Expedition Part 3 — Expeditions in Savannah (veldt and the bush)

If you would like to see which articles are following soon in this section, see Expedition Articles coming soon.

December 2015

Welcome to our website.

Many people have written to us over the past two years asking if we can expand on our article on organizing an expedition. In response to this, we intent to try and add a new expedition article each month starting December 2015 with a rewrite of the initial article and adding a new feature on expedition leadership Expedition Leadership.

November 2015

November saw the launch of our new style layout featuring more free survival articles and a revision of some of our popular pages. The most important changes included making the website a responsive design and the addition of a new mobile–friendly website. A warm thank you to the many who frequent our pages, we hope you enjoy the new browsing experience.
Webmaster at Survival Expert ™

Product test

The Ken Onion Edition Knife & Tool Sharpener

Worksharp Ken Onion Edition Electric Knife SharpenerWorksharp, Oregon, USA contacted us and asked us to trial the Ken Onion Edition Knife & Tool Sharpener from the standpoint of the users in the "survivalist market".

The sharpening guide is fully adjustable from 15° to 30° angles, it has a variable speed motor and takes 1.9 cm (¾ in) x 30.5 cm (12 in) flexible abrasive belts.

What we particularly liked is that it grinds giving a convex edge. This method of grinding leaves more steel behind the edge to support it, so the edge stays sharper longer than a flat ground edge.

We found it an excellent product, which produced a razor–sharp polished edge on pocket knives, survival knives, tactical knives and serrated knives. It will also sharpen kitchen knives and scissors.

The sharpener comes with a selection of belts: Extra Coarse for repairing a damaged blade, course for shaping the blade, medium for sharpening, fine for honing and extra–fine for serrations. The sharpening guide can be removed to allow grinding of axes, etc.

An excellent electric knife sharpener, cleverly designed and easy to use. Essential you read the instructions and take note of the safety warnings. Idea for a club or group of survival enthusiast, or for the individual with a lot of knives to sharpen.

To see the Worksharp Guided Field Sharpener, go to article on sharpening knivessharpening systems.

New free survival articles
  • sharpening knives Making survival shelters — The essentials on finding and making survival shelters

  • survival shelters Sharpening knives — This article has been updated and largely re–written to include sharpening serrated knives and gut hooks.

  • New basic survival quiz — our very popular quiz page has been expanded to include a new quiz for survival beginners. This is not available on this mobile site because it is made using Adobe Flash.
To try our quizzes go to our non–mobile site

About Survival Expert James Mandeville