Wilderness Survival Skills: Camp Alarms

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to be alerted to intruders in your camp, knowing how to make camp alarms is an important addition to your wilderness survival skills.

| December 2014

  • Tent at night
    Adding the knowledge of how to set a camp alarm to your wilderness survival skills can give you greater peace of mind if you are concerned about intruders.
    Photo by Fotolia/Mariusz Blach
  • Trip wire
    For a more effective camp alarm, tie six or eight booby traps instead of just one.
    Illustration courtesy Paladin Press
  • Tin can snare
    If you want a louder camp alarm, try this tin can snare. Make sure the trip line is attached loosely to the trigger, so the cans will drop far enough to make a lot of noise.
    Illustration courtesy Paladin Press
  • The Trapper's Bible
    Dale Martin presents a variety of do-it-yourself traps, snares, camp alarms and pathguards in "The Trapper's Bible," from small wire snares and transplant traps to defensive mechanisms.
    Cover courtesy Paladin Press

  • Tent at night
  • Trip wire
  • Tin can snare
  • The Trapper's Bible

Wilderness survival requires many outdoor survival skills, not least how to find food and defend your camp. The Trapper’s Bible (Paladin Press, 1987) by Dale Martin has instructions for snares, traps, camp alarms and pathguards that range from discouraging to deadly. With a little practice, you can set snares to capture anything from rabbits to deer and moose, build transplant traps for nuisance animals or set up your camp so you will be alerted—or defended—in case of intruders. The following excerpt is from chapter 4, “Camp Alarms.”

At times you can feel more secure if the paths into your camp at night are set with noisemakers to let you know if someone is walking up on you.

A Simple Camp Alarm

The most handy little device I’ve ever run across is in the realm of fireworks. It, most simply, is a firecracker with a string coming out of each end. When either end is pulled, the firecracker explodes. You do not have to light it with a match or a lighter of any kind. These fireworks are cheap. They sell for about a dime a box, and a box contains twelve. I do not see how they are made so cheaply, much less retailed for that price. They are sold under different names, but most people call them booby traps. At Christmas and other holidays, I stock up. You can buy hundreds of them for two or three dollars.

In case the use of these booby traps is not apparent to you by now, this is how they can be used as a primitive alarm system. Run a string across any likely paths into your camp. Tie one end firmly on one side of the path to whatever solid object is available (tree, stake, limb, etc.)

On the other end, tie the string to one of the strings on the booby trap. Tie the string on the other end of the booby trap to something solid on that side of the path. Set the string across the path so that it is about one foot from the ground and fairly taut (see slideshow).

When someone comes down the path during the night, his foot will catch on the string, jerking it and exploding the firecracker. If one of these booby traps is not loud enough, tie six or eight together in the same fashion. The more the merrier!

12/20/2014 10:53:34 AM

I'm not sure using fireworks is a good idea. First, fireworks are illegal in many states. Second, you could start a forest fire when they go off if the conditions are right.

Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019


Next: April, 27-28 2019
Asheville, NC

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know ā€” and then some!


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters

click me