I'm finally getting around to writing a review of this DVD I got as a present. It's part of a large collection of prepper DVD's from Panteao Productions generally titled Make Ready To Survive and this particular one is entitled Shelter, Fire and Water. Dave Canterbury, late of Dual Survival, is the host. Overall, it's not too bad for a general introduction to the subject of basic survivor skills aimed at those who are just starting out. The fire section is the longest (9 chapters), followed by how to put up various types of shelter (5 chapters) and a very brief discussion on making water safe by boiling. Overall, I think this is a very good introduction to wilderness survival for those with no skills or knowledge of the subject. The shelter chapters cover basic knots and several types of shelter ranging from a simple lean-to tarp to a complex, long term open hut design. Dave then goes into a fairly detailed lecture on firebuilding starting with the 3 stages of fuel and natural tinder through items to carry, construction of fire lays, fire from one stick, unusual tinders, magnifying glasses and building and using a bowdrill. The water section consisted almost entirely of Dave saying "Boil the water to make it safe." IMO, this is the most serious objection I have to this DVD. A newbie to survival will conclude that biological contaminants are the only danger to be found in wild water. I intend to write Dave through his online survival supply business and remind him that giardia and the other common problem causing microorganisms are in some places the least of a survivor's worries. On Dual Survival, Dave and Cody traveled to some of the most amazing wild places on Earth that I have no hope of ever going to, but I have been to places on this planet whose water is loaded with pesticides, herbicides, chemical factory wastes and dangerous levels of naturally occurring arsenic, cadmium, lead and other heavy metals. Some of those places are right here in the USA. Boiling won't do jack squat to make those waters safe to drink. At the very least, he should have demonstrated how to cut the bottom off a plastic soda bottle, jam a clean rag into it and fill it with pulverized charcoal to make a filter that can absorb most if not all of these contaminants. My only other objection to the material presented here is Dave's double talk concerning sparkable tinders. I had to back it up and listen to it several times. He disparages the use of cotton and Vaseline because "Vaseline is a fuel and not an accelerant" (I'm still not real clear on that). He emphasizes that you need an "accelerant". He then pulls out a product that can only be obtained from his company, Pathfinder Enterprises, which is called Mini-Inferno. I went to his website and discovered that the product consists of six (yes, six. that's not a misprint. Six.) cotton "rounds" commonly used to apply and remove makeup. The pads are 2 1/2 inch across and quite thin. (you can buy 100 of them at Wal-Mart in the make-up dept for $2.00) The "mini-Inferno" pads seem to be impregnated with a proprietary non-greasy substance that burns readily when hit by a ferro rod spark. In other words, it acts exactly like cotton balls and Vaseline except that there is a slight difference in price. I usually spend about a buck and a half on an eight oz jar of store brand Vaseline and a couple of bucks on a 200 count bag of cotton balls. Counting teaching classes and demonstrating skills as well as camping out and starting the wood stove and the old charcoal barbeque, that 200 balls would start a minimum of 200 fires which for me would be somewhere around 2-3 years worth and cost 1.75 cents per fire. Dave sells these "Mini-Infernos" in cans of 6 each for ... $8.00 That's $1.33 per fire not including shipping costs. Depending on how much postage you'll pay, you could end up shelling out $12.00, $14.00, maybe $18.00 or more for 6 cotton makeup removal pads treated to burn like a cotton ball smeared with Vaseline. I'm as big a fan of capitalism as any red blooded American and Dave can charge as much as he likes for six duded up makeup removal pads, but that doesn't mean I have to pay it.
Still, except for these two points, it's not a bad kindergarten level introduction to the skills most useful to a survivor, as the title says, Shelter, Fire and Water. Unfortunately, I don't know what the cost is since I received it as a gift. IMO, there are better DVD's on this subject available online (Amazon is a good source). I recommend 1) Preparing To Survive with Peter Kummerfeldt, former head of the USAF Survival School at Fairchild AFB. Also 2) Prepared To Survive by LifeView Outdoors and 3) Survival: Learn to Be A Survivor in The Wild with Mel Deweese, Jim Meunick and Dr Bill Forgey.