There are 215 names in this directory beginning with the letter B.
The degree of compass bearing from a distant landmark to the current position. To calculate back azimuth, add 180° to the azimuth if it is 180° or less; subtract 180° to the azimuth if it is 180° or more.
Turning the raft from a ferry angle to a bow-downstream position. Used in tight places to recover from an extreme ferry angle, this maneuver narrows the passing space of the boat and allows it to slide closely past obstructions.
A broad reversal such as that formed below a dam or ledge. Rafts can be particularly vulnerable to back rollers, because they can quickly fill a raft, pushing it down at the back. If there are snags at the bottom of the river, dumped rafters can be caught and drowned in the aerated and therefore less buoyant water.
When navigating through backcountry, look at the map and decide on a feature that you do not want to cross. That feature becomes the back stop.
Sewing areas subject to stress to reinforce it, particularly areas where pieces of fabric meet.
Turning around and looking at the route one has just traversed is being aware of the back trail. From the opposite perspective things might look very different leading to disorientation.
Remote, uninhabited, underdeveloped or undeveloped area. Often people head into the backcountry for an adventure.
Fire depletes oxygen which is used up by flames. If a door or window is opened, the sudden infusion of fresh oxygen results in a backdraft, restarting and re-igniting the combustion very rapidly.
Reverse flow in water pipes. A difference in water pressures pulls water from sources other than an underground well into a home’s water system, for example waste water or flood water.
Walking, usually in the wilderness, for one or more days, with all gear carried on the back. Mostly associated with budget travel when travel is between cities, countries and continents.
Charged by the primary power supply they provide power to a system when the primary source is unavailable and can range from small single cells to large facilities that power UPS systems for large data centres.
Shallow areas of a river that have been isolated by a sand bar or other obstruction isolating it from the main river.
Bacterial infection of the blood enabling infections to travel to other organs, often resulting from simple cuts and bruises.
Single-celled microorganisms that exist as independent organisms or parasites lacking nuclei. Bacteria can be good or bad and are considered living organisms. Bacterial infections can be cured with antibiotics.
Device used for removing water from within a boat like a container or bucket to fill up with water and empty overboard.
Type of portable, prefabricated, truss bridge that do not require special tools or equipment to assemble and material for construction are small and light to be carried in trucks and placed by hand. They can carry tanks and are extensively used to provide temporary crossings for foot and vehicle traffic.
A cooking utensil comprising a pan of water in which another container of food to be cooked is placed.
Food or other lure placed on a hook or in a trap and used in hunting animals or fishing. Worms are often used as fishing bait.
A woven piece of cloth to cover the head and face from cold keeping only some parts exposed, primarily for sight. It can also be rolled up and worn like a cap if required.
Material that is used to provide stability to and balance a boat. It remains below the water level, to counteract the effects of weight above the water level.
An unspecified time, late at night when it is absurd to be awake and having to do things.
Large, fast-growing tree that can grow up to 100 feet tall. Balsa wood is very lightweight with many uses.
New bamboo culms that sprout from the ground, are edible and is considered a delicacy particularly in South Asia.
A square or triangular piece of cloth worn around the head. A bandana is not so much for protecting from the cold, but to keep dust and grime out and to cover the face in case of dust storms, high winds, etc. It can also be used in multiple ways apart from as a bandana.
Sides of a river that contain the flow within itself. It is a raised ground on two sides between which the water flows.
A cheaper and lighter alternative to paracord, but almost as effective. Knots hold well and are almost impossible to untie. Usually made of tarred nylon and useful for fishing, making shelters, ridge lines, lashing, etc.
A variety of flat bread cooked with flour. The word is of Celtic origin, but has been a staple food for many indigenous people all over the world. It is like a thick Indian roti, but bannock recipes incorporate additional ingredients to add flavour - salt, sugar, raisins, baking powder, maybe dried fruits, and then fried in a bit of rendered fat or oil.
Large mass of sand or earth, formed by the surge of the sea, mostly found at the entrances of great rivers and often render navigation extremely dangerous.
Or BBQ is a cooking method. The difference between barbecuing and grilling is cooking duration and the type of heat used. Grilling is generally done quickly over moderate-to-high heat with little smoke, while barbecuing is done slowly over low, indirect heat and the food is flavoured by the smoking process.
Where the vessel’s owner provides no crew or provisions. The people renting the vessel are responsible for crewing and provisioning.
A towed or self-propelled flat-bottomed boat mainly for river, canal and coastal transport of heavy goods.
A type of dam with a series of large gates to control the amount of water that passes through it. A barrage is built primarily for diverting water and not for storage.
Exchanging goods or services without money. In times of SHTF, money ceases to hold value and barter becomes the mode of trade and sustenance.
Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
Amount of energy in calories needed for the body to keep functioning at rest - breathing, circulation, cell growth, brain and nerve function, controlling body temperature, contraction of muscles, etc. BMR accounts for 60 to 75% of the calories burnt every day.
BASE is an acronym for the four categories of fixed objects from which one can jump - Building, Antenna, Span and Earth. Due to the lower altitudes of the jumps, BASE jumping is significantly more dangerous than skydiving.
Clothing worn next to skin. The primary purpose is to remove sweat to prevent becoming cold and from hypothermia setting in. Various natural and synthetic material are used for base layers including cotton, merino wool and synthetics.
Curved edges on groundsheets that keep moisture away from the stitching to make the tent waterproof.
The study of underwater depth of ocean floors; an underwater equivalent of topography. Bathymetric charts are used for navigation and show seafloor relief or terrain as contour lines called depth contours or isobaths and selected depths (soundings).
Historically the term referred to a collection of electrochemical cells connected in series. Today, it refers to a collection of cells packaged in a container with external connections providing power to electrical devices.
Technique to maximise the capacity of a battery pack to make all of its energy available for use and to increase the battery’s longevity.
Set of preferably identical batteries or individual cells configured in a series, parallel or a mixture, to deliver the desired voltage, capacity or power density.
A precursor to PTSD, battle fatigue was a term used to describe the psychological reaction among soldiers exposed to the trauma of war.
Combat uniform, as opposed to dress or formal uniform. Generally camouflaged, either in monochrome such as a shade of green or brown to approximate the background, or in a disruptive pattern.Usually made from cotton cotton blends, in a loose and comfortable cut. British forces in India in the mid 19th century were the first to use drab cotton uniforms for battle where the colour of drab light-brown uniform was called khaki by Indian troops.
Battle Dress Uniform are camouflaged fatigues used by the United States Armed Forces as combat uniform till the mid-2000s.
Width of a vessel at the widest point, or a point alongside the ship at the midpoint of its length.
Deep, wide-bellied, short-necked vessel used to cook bean-based dishes, typically made of ceramic, though pots made of other materials, like cast iron, can also be found.
Angle of degrees shown by a compass from current location to the intended destination and expressed in degrees from 1 to 360.
A piece of wood or shell or some other material to hold down a spindle while creating an ember using the bow drill method.
A measure that relates wind speed to observed conditions at sea or on land. Range from 0 to 12 describing the sea state as Calm (< 1 kn), Light Air (1-3 kn), Light Breeze (4-6 kn), Gentle Breeze (7-10 kn), Moderate Breeze (11-16 kn), Fresh Breeze (17-21 kn), Strong Breeze (22-27 kn), High Wind / Moderate-Near Gale (28-33 kn), Gale / Fresh Gale (34-40 kn), Strong / Severe Gale (41-47 kn), Storm / Whole Gale (48-55 kn), Violent Storm (56-63 kn) and Hurricane Force (≥ 64 kn)
To cut off the wind from a sailing vessel, either by the proximity of land or by another vessel.
A sting from a bee can be very painful and usually they will attack if they feel their nest is threatened. They also release a pheromone prompting other bees to attack. Bee stings can be lethal for people with allergies. Usually a honeybee stings only once in its lifetime.
Wax produced by honeybees. Worker bees collect and use it to form cells for honey storage and larval protection. Beeswax has applications in human food and flavouring. Though edible it has insignificant nutritional value.
Techniques climbers use to exert tension on a climbing rope to ensure a climber does not fall. A partner typically applies tension at the other end of the rope whenever the climber is not moving, and removing the tension from the rope whenever the climber needs more rope.
A circular shelter similar to a tipi but held by a single central pole instead of a tripod.
A device constructed to furnish a strong blast of air. It has many applications, like blowing on a fire to supply it with air for blacksmithing, or filling up tubes of an inflatable raft.
Incapacitated or intoxicated, like a dead fish that goes “belly-up”. Often used to refer to businesses that have gone bankrupt.
Also called Decompression Sicknessi is a condition arising from dissolved gases coming out of solution into bubbles inside the body on depressurisation. Most commonly refers to problems arising from underwater diving decompression.
A configuration of mast and rigging typical for most modern sailboats comprising a triangular sail set aft of the mast with its head raised to the top of the mast. Its luff runs down the mast and is normally attached to it for its entire length and its tack is attached at the base of the mast. Its foot is controlled by a boom and its clew is attached to the aft end of the boom controlled by its sheet.
Between Wind and Water
Part of a ship’s hull that is sometimes submerged and sometimes above water due to the rolling of the vessel.
A bevelled edge refers to the edge of a structure that is not perpendicular to the faces of the piece. Most cutting tools have a bevelled edge.
The moveable ring on a compass is the bezel ring. As you rotate it one way or the other, it clicks into position at the new location. Each click of the bezel ring represents 3°.
The cluster of seven stars in the Northern Hemisphere that looks like a pan with a handle. Joining the two outermost stars of the pan leads straight to Polaris, the North Star.
Lightweight cooking pot in the form of a metal bucket commonly used for boiling water, making tea or cooking over a campfire.
A form of dried, cured meat that originated in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia. Various types of meat are used to produce it, cut into strips following the grain of the muscle, or flat pieces sliced across the grain. The most common ingredients of biltong are meat, black pepper, coriander, salt and vinegar. Modern-day recipes sometimes add sugar, dry ground chili peppers, nutmeg, paprika, lemon juice, garlic, bicarbonate of soda, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, and saltpetre. Biltong differs from jerky in three distinct ways. First, the meat used in biltong can be much thicker due to the slower drying time in dry air conditions. Second, the vinegar, salt and spices in biltong, together with the drying process, cure the meat as well as adding texture and flavour. Jerky is traditionally dried with salt but without vinegar. Finally, jerky is often smoked, while biltong is never smoked.
Knots that either constrict a single object or hold two objects snugly together. In binding knots, the ends of rope are either joined together or tucked under the turns of the knot.
Bag or sack typically used by hobos. It is sometimes portrayed as a stick with cloth or a blanket tied around one end carried over the shoulder. In cartoons, bindles usually have a polka-dotted or bandana design. However, it can take many forms.
An optical device comprising two telescopes fitted side by side, to be used with both eyes simultaneously to magnify distant objects.
It is the process of chemical degradation of material by bacteria, fungi or other micro organisms. It is different from composting or photo degradation. Biodegradable material is essentially nutrients for micro organisms.
The variety and variability of life. The variability within species, between species and between ecosystems, a measure of the variety of organisms present in different ecosystems. Biodiversity is richest in the tropics and tends to cluster in hotspots.
Two-legged attachment to stabilise the camera or weapon. Unlike a tripod, a bipod is not free standing and needs to be supported. However, it offers more stability than a handheld camera or weapon.
Two-pole structure to cross rivers, gorges, chasms, etc. Requires at least two people to make it work - the first person who makes the crossing using the bipod vault and the second pushing the bipod up and over.
Bisphenol A (BPA)
A colorless organic synthetic compound that is soluble in organic solvents, but poorly soluble in water. It is used to make certain plastics like water bottles, sports equipment, CDs and DVDs, line water pipes, coat the insides of many food and beverage cans, and thermal paper. There is growing concern about its safety.
A portable, lightweight, telescopic pole usually made of aluminium that is used in camping. Made of two or more individual pieces that sit inside each other and can be extended to its full length. Bivi poles are usually used to set up shelters thus eliminating the need to find and fashion a branch to perform the desired task.
Any variety of improvised, short terms, temporary camp site or shelter that is usually of a temporary nature. It may be constructed from natural materials like logs, branches, leaves, etc, or may include sleeping in a bivy sack enclosing a sleeping bag.
A small, lightweight, waterproof shelter, usually to wrap around a sleeping bag and then to form a shelter system as an alternative to a conventional tent.
Used by climbers, mountaineers, hikers, backpackers, soldiers, campers, etc and in between a bivy sack and a tent, it is a shelter providing insulation between the person and the outside environment.
The process of heating, hammering, bending and cutting metal to produce things. The person is called a blacksmith.
Refers to the discharge of toilets or fecally contaminated waste water is designated sewage or blackwater to indicate it contains human waste.
Facial expression characterised by neutral positioning of the facial features, implying a lack of emotion. May be caused by a lack of emotion, depression, boredom or confusion.
Bleaching powder or Calcium Hypochlorite is an inorganic compound and is a mixture of lime and calcium chloride. It is used for water treatment and as a bleaching agent.
Injury to skin leading to escape of blood through the surface. Some bleeding wounds can be potentially life threatening.
Accumulation of fluid in the upper layers of skin caused by friction, burning, freezing, chemical contamination, etc. Most blisters are filled with plasma, but can be filled with blood or pus. Make a small puncture to drain the fluid and bandage the blister and prevent causes to aggravate it.
A storm containing large amounts of snow or blowing snow, with winds in excess of 35mph and visibilities of less than 1/4 mile for at least 3 hours. Whiteout conditions ensue resulting in almost zero visibility making travel, particularly by vehicle extremely dangerous and difficult.
A total lunar eclipse has the direct sunlight completely blocked by the earth’s shadow with the only light visible is refracted through the Earth’s shadow. This light looks red due to which a total lunar eclipse is sometimes called a Blood Moon.
The pale straw-coloured liquid component of blood that normally holds blood cells in whole blood in suspension. Mostly water, it makes up about 55% of the body’s total blood volume and contains proteins, glucose, clotting factors, electrolytes, hormones and carbon dioxide.
Pressure exerted by arterial blood on the walls of blood vessels and expressed in terms of the systolic (maximum) pressure over diastolic (minimum) pressure and measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). It is one of the vital signs along with respiratory rate, heart rate, oxygen saturation and temperature. Normal resting blood pressure in an adult is approximately 120/80 mm Hg.
Sausages filled with blood, cooked or dried and mixed with a filler until thick enough to congeal when cooled. Pig, cattle, sheep, duck and goat blood are used.
A simple weapon comprising a hollow pipe for firing projectiles using propulsive force created by breath to give the projectile momentum.
A small double-pronged metal or plastic hair pin or clip. It slides into hair with the flexible prongs open which then close over the hair to hold it in place.
Protective clothing, designed to absorb and/or deflect slashing, bludgeoning and penetrating attacks by weapons, historically used to protect military personnel, today it is also used to protect of police, citizens, private security guards, bodyguards, etc.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
Value derived from the weight and height of an individual and defined as mass (kgs) divided by the square of the height (mtrs). It is an attempt to quantify the amount of tissue mass (muscle, fat and bone) in an individual to categorise as underweight (under 18.5), normal weight (18.5 to 25), overweight (25 to 30) or obese (over 30).
Improvised weapon made by three strings with a knot at one end and three rocks hanging independently at each end. Rotated around the head and then released towards the intended target, it aims at entangling the prey.
A kind of seabird who hunt fish by diving into the water and getting their prey underwater. They used to land on boats where they could be easily caught using a snare. The term booby trap comes from this.
A device or setup intended to surprise, harm or kill an animal or person who unknowingly triggers the trap. Often the traps have some form of bait to attract the victim towards it.
Practice of staying for free, usually in a car, in parking lots, off the highways, truck stops, etc.
A wide-brim hat, also known as giggle hat. Similar to a bucket hat but with a stiffer brim. Often a fabric tape band of ‘branch loops’ is sewn around the crown of the hat. This foliage ring is meant to hold additional vegetation as camouflage. A strap provides stability. The crown may be vented with eyelets or small mesh panels. Snaps may also be provided with which to fix the brim in the style of an Australian bush hat.
A specific type of shoe. Most boots mainly cover the foot and the ankle, while some cover part of the lower calf, even extending up the leg, sometimes as far as the knee or even the hip. Most boots have a heel that is clearly distinguishable from the rest of the sole, even if the two are made of one piece. Traditionally made of leather or rubber, modern boots are made from a variety of materials. Boots are worn both for their functionality – protecting the foot and leg from water, extreme cold, mud or hazards or providing additional ankle support for strenuous activities with added traction requirements, or may have hobnails on their undersides to protect against wear and to get better grip; and for reasons of style and fashion.
A small fixed-blade knife that is designed to be carried in or on a boot. Typically, such a knife is worn on a belt or under a pant leg. Boot knives generally come with a sheath that includes some form of a clip. Most have double-edged blades that range from 3 to 5 inches.
Emotional state when a person feels that there is nothing in particular to do, is not interested in his or her surroundings, or feels that the day is dull or tedious.
Also called a wineskin, it is a traditional Spanish liquid receptacle. Typically made of leather, it is used to carry wine, although it can be used for any liquid.
A potentially fatal illness caused by a toxin. It begins with weakness, blurred vision, feeling tired, and trouble speaking. This may then be followed by weakness of the arms, chest muscles, and legs. The disease does not usually affect consciousness or cause a fever. Botulism can be spread in several ways. Food borne botulism happens when food containing the toxin is eaten. Death occurs in 5-10% of people.
One part of the weapon system comprising the bow itself and the arrow. The former is used to apply tension to the arrow so that the latter becomes a flying projectile. A bow and arrow is used for hunting.
Bowdrill is a method of generating fire by friction. As opposed to the hand drill method of friction fire, the bow drill uses a bow with a string to generate rotational movement of the spindle as opposed to just hand power.
Water that is mostly fresh, with some salt, yet not good to drink without desalination. Brackish water contains between 5 to 30gm of dissolved solids in every kilogram of water.
Consists of a braided jacket over strands of fibre. Some forms of braided rope with untwisted cores do not impart an additional twisting force when stressed. This is an advantage when rappelling or to suspend an arborist or in rescue applications. Braided ropes are generally made from nylon, polyester, polypropylene or high performance fibers such as high modulus polyethylene (HMPE) and aramid. Nylon is chosen for its strength and elastic stretch properties. However, nylon absorbs water and is 10-15% weaker when wet. Polyester is about 90% as strong as nylon but stretches less under load and is not affected by water. It has somewhat better UV resistance, and is more abrasion resistant. Polypropylene is preferred for low cost and light weight (it floats on water) but it has limited resistance to ultraviolet light, is susceptible to friction and has a poor heat resistance.
Condition when one cannot recall or perform something that would normally be easy or second nature, particularly when under stress.
Structure constructed on a coast to protect an anchorage from the effects of weather and longshore drift.
Practice of trying to achieve an advantageous outcome by pushing dangerous events to the brink of active conflict.
Compressed block of combustible material such as charcoal, sawdust, wood chips, peat or paper for fuel and kindling to start a fire.
A large bear distributed across much of northern Europe, Asia and North America. It is the largest terrestrial carnivore.
Brown Star Cluster
A humorous reference to involuntary defecation during panic. Derived from Red Star Cluster.
A very simple, basic form of a portable dry toilet. Often it is lined with a plastic bag, and sometimes a seat and lid is added for additional comfort. Newspaper, cardboard, straw, sawdust or other absorbent materials are often layered into the bucket toilet to reduce smell and absorb moisture.
Device used to fasten two loose ends, with one end attached to it and the other held by a catch in a secure but adjustable manner. Mostly seen in belts, buckles are used to securely fasten a range of items.
Damage cause to a knife edge due to compressive force, like when pressed into hard objects like bone, ice, rock, etc.
A simple stove that can be made with a roll of tightly wound corrugated sheet placed inside a tin can and filled with some kind of fuel.
Bandaging a damaged finger or toe together with a healthy one. The healthy digit acts as a splint thus not allowing the injured digit to move. Used for sprains, dislocations and other injuries.
Bug Out Bag
Similar to the Get Out of Dodge Bag, a pre-packed Bug Out Bag contains all the items necessary to survive between the time of bugging out of home and arriving at a more permanent bug-in location.
Bug Out Location
It is a predetermined place which acts as Plan B when staying at home does not remain an option. Most bug-out locations are pre-planned and pre-stocked to tide over the crisis. Some stock it for a few days, others for a few months. A bug-out situation is more uncertain and fluid compared to a bug-in situation at home.
Bug Out Vehicle
Vehicle used to bug out of the primary shelter location. Often, vehicles cannot be used due to civil unrest or lack of roads and other infrastructure. However access to a vehicle helps getting out of the crisis area faster.
A chemical insect repellent, usually in aerosol cans, to discourage insects and control diseases such as malaria, Lyme disease, dengue, bubonic plague, etc.
Device constructed of saplings covered with a tarp sheep to provide buoyancy and work as a boat.
Elastic cord made of one or more elastic strands forming a core, covered in a woven cotton or polypropylene sheath. Most often used to secure objects without tying knots and to absorb shock. Inexpensive bungee cords, with metal or plastic hooks on each end, are marketed as a general utility item.
Activity involving jumping from a tall structure while connected to a large elastic cord. When the person jumps, the cord stretches and the jumper flies upwards as the cord recoils continuing to oscillate until all the energy is exhausted.
Widely used nickname for the Extreme Cold Vapor Barrier Boots (Type II) used by the United States armed forces. The linerless bulbous boots retain warmth by sandwiching up to one inch of wool and felt insulation between two layers of rubber and are typically worn with one heavy wool sock. These have become staple cold weather gear both in civilian work and recreational environments.
A floating marker or device tethered to the sea floor to mark an offshore location, warn of danger or to show a navigable channel.
Buoyancy Control Device (BCD)
Inflatable life jacket that can be inflated or deflated by adjusting the amount of air contained in it to achieve neutral buoyancy underwater or positive buoyancy on the surface. This is used primarily by divers.
Also called Burning Lens or Fire Lens, it is a large convex lens that focuses the Sun’s rays onto a small area, heating up and combusting the surface material on which the rays are concentrated.
A type of Mexican food, consisting of a wheat flour tortilla wrapped or folded into a cylindrical shape to completely enclose the filling in contrast to a taco, which is generally formed by simply folding a tortilla in half around a filling.
Low, densely branched shrub or a close thicket of shrubs suggesting a single plant or a large uncleared or sparsely settled area.
Stretcher made from logs, branches, saplings, etc woven together to be able to evacuate a victim. It can also be made using cordage and poles.
Making one’s way through bushes or undergrowth where no trail exists. The term originated in New Zealand and Australia, it encompasses hiking and trekking.
A gas at room temperature, it is highly flammable, colourless and easily liquefied. Used as a fuel gas, alone or mixed with propane. When mixed with propane it is called LPG or liquefied petroleum gas.
A small, single cell battery shaped as a squat cylinder typically 5 to 25mm in diametre and 1 to 6mm high, used to power small portable electronic devices.
Small survival compass, usually with a luminous dial. It is not for accuracy but more for general direction assessment. Often these are woven into survival bracelets or built into other equipment like whistles.
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