Survival Dictionary

# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
There are 140 names in this directory beginning with the letter H.
H-Drive
A system used for heavy off-road vehicles with 6×6 or 8×8 drive to supply power to each wheel station. They do not use axles but individual wheel stations.

Hack
Commonly hacking refers to accessing electronic data surreptitiously. For a prepper hacks are short-cuts, tips and tricks. Multitasking gear and equipment for uses they were not manufactured for can be termed a survival hack.

HACO
Altitude illness is a spectrum of illnesses, from mild to life-threatening. On the life-threatening end is High Altitude Cerebral Oedema when the brain swells and ceases to function properly. HACO has been known to occur as low as 10,000 feet above sea level. The higher the elevation, the more severe it can become.

Hades
God of the underworld in Greek mythology.

HAHO Jump
A freefall military insertion standing for High Altitude High Opening used to airdrop personnel at high altitudes. HAHO jumps allow travelling distances of more than 60km using navigation tools to reach the designated drop zone.

Hail
Hail is known to occur when solid lumps of ice come down with rain. Often confused with sleet, hail occurs more in warmer temperatures while sleet falls generally in cold weather.

Hallucination
Seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, feeling things that do not exist. This can happen due to a mental illness, schizophrenia dementia, brain tumours, epilepsy, etc.

HALO Jump
A freefall military insertion standing for High Altitude Low Opening. Typically, the paratrooper jumps from the aircraft, freefalls at terminal velocity and opens his parachute at a low altitude. This enables a stealthy insertion.

Halyard
A rope used for raising and lowering a sail or flag on a sailing ship.

HAM
Slang for amateur radio operator.

HAM Radio
Or amateur radio, it is a hobby where people use HAM radios to talk to other HAM operators around the world and even in space. The primary difference between HAM radio and other radio is that HAM is not for commercial use. HAM operators have been known to come to the fore during emergencies to transmit and receive critical information when infrastructure has broken down.

Hammock
A swinging sling made out of ropes, fabric, netting, twine, even split bamboo and suspended between two poles at either end, primarily as an off-the-ground sleeping arrangement.

Hand Drill
A method of fire starting by friction using a spindle that is rotated between the palms. The rotation of the spindle heats the hearth on which it rests, creating coal which can then be used to bring tinder to light.

Hand Fish
The process of catching fish by hand, without the use of rod, line, bait, etc.

Hand Rail
While navigating stick to a distinguishing feature like a stream or ridge or track or fence so that you do not get disoriented and lost.

Hand-crank Radio
A radio that does not depend on electricity or batteries to run but is instead powered manually by cranking a handle.

Handgun
A hand held firearm capable of being used using one hand. A handgun is different from other guns like shotguns that require two hands to be operated.

Handi
Deep, wide-mouthed cooking vessel used in north Indian and Pakistani cooking.

Hank
A coil of wool, rope, hair, etc.

HANO
High Altitude No Opening, a parachute jump in which the parachute fails to open, usually with fatal results.

HAPO
A form of acute mountain illness that results from fluid build-up in the lungs which prevents effective oxygen exchange. It is a result of greatly increased blood flow through the lungs, as the body tries to obtain the maximum amount of oxygen from the air. The heart increases the flow by increasing the pressure, causing leakage from the blood vessels into the air sacs of the lungs.

Hard-Easy Effect
A cognitive bias that manifests as a tendency to overestimate the probability of one’s success at a task perceived as hard, and to underestimate the likelihood of one’s success at a task perceived as easy.

Hardtack
A simple type of biscuit made from flour, water (or honey) and sometimes salt. Baked hard, sometimes up to four times, it can stay intact almost indefinitely. if kept dry. Devoid of any moisture, it needs to be dipped in some liquid to make it edible. Can also be ground and made into soup or broth.

Harness
Climbing equipment for activities requiring ropes to provide access or safety. It secures a person to a rope or an anchor.

Harpoon
A long barbed spear used in hunting large fish.

Hatch
Any watertight door on a Naval vessel.

Hatchet
A single handed tool used to cut and split wood. Smaller than an axe and usually have a hammer on the other side of the cutting edge.

Hauling Wind
Pointing the ship towards the direction of the wind; generally not the fastest point of travel on a sailing vessel.

Hawaiian Sling
A spearfishing device where the sling operates like a bow and arrow but with the energy stored in rubber tubing rather than in a bow.

Hawsepipe
A strong metal pipe through which an anchor rope passes.

HazMat
Indicates hazardous materials like toxic chemicals, fuels, nuclear waste, biological, chemical, and radiological agents, etc that can pose a risk to health, property or environment.

HBOT
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to stabilise someone suffering from altitude illness. It simulates a lower altitude, stabilises the victim before evacuation to a lower altitude.

HCFCs
Hydrochloric Flourocarbons.

Head
US Navy slang meaning bathroom. Originated from sailing times when the bathroom would be located at the front ... or head ... of the ship so that the smell would be blown away from the crew since the wind would blo from the rear to the front of the ship.

Head Call
The need to use the toilet.

Head Lamp
A torch that is worn around the head and secured with flexible straps to keep hands free.

Head Sea
A sea where waves are directly opposing the motion of the ship.

Headwind
Wind that blows against the direction of travel.

Heart Attack
The heart continually needs oxygenated blood. When the heart muscles get clogged and blocked, the muscles are starved of oxygen and die. This results in a heart attack. Symptoms can include discomfort chest, arms, back, or jaw and can last up to 30 minutes. The quicker medical intervention is available the lesser the damage to the muscles and higher the chances of recovery.

Hearth
The floor of a fireplace. In primitive firemaking, it is the wood that is used to create an ember.

Heat Exhaustion
When the body overheats and cannot cool itself quickly, heat exhaustion occurs. There could be sweating, a pale face, lightheadedness, dizziness, nausea, stumbling when walking, etc. It is not life threatening if treated quickly.

Heat Index
The temperature perceived by the skin as a combination of ambient temperature and humidity. It is like Wind Chill Factor, only for warmer temperatures. Also called Humidex.

Heat Stroke
A life threatening situation that arises when the body’s cooling system stops working and temperature rises to a point where even brain damage can occur. One of the major causes of death in the desert.

Heavy Metals
Metallic elements with high atomic weights, such as mercury, chromium, cadmium, arsenic, and lead. Even at low levels these metals can damage living things. They do not break down or decompose and tend to build up in plants, animals, and people causing health concerns.

HEE
Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Humour intended or laughter”

Hegemone
Goddess of plants making them bloom and bear fruit in Greek mythology.

Heimlich Manoeuvre
The action of providing abdominal thrusts in an attempt to dislodge an obstruction from the throat enabling the victim to start breathing.

Heirloom Seeds
Seeds of plants that are “natural” and open pollinated known for their tolerance to and adaptibility to local environmental factors, including weather, disease and pests. Heirloom seeds are not grafted or hybrid varieties of plants or genetically modified, and are handed down through generations.

Heliograph
A wireless solar telegraph that signals by flashes of sunlight, generally using Morse code, reflected by a mirror. It is effective for instantaneous optical communication over long distances.

Helm
Ship’s steering wheel.

Helo
Term applied to all naval helicopters. Never call it anything else, especially “chopper”.

HELP
Heat Escape Lessening Position is the desired foetal position when submerged in cold water, to reduce the body’s surface area and prevent loss of body heat.

Hemisphere
The Earth is a spherical object, existing in three dimensions. The imaginary line across the centre of the Earth, depicted by the Equator, divides Earth into two halves - the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

Hemophobia
Fear of blood.

Hephaestus
God of blacksmiths and fire in Greek mythology.

Herbacious Plants
Plants that have no persistent woody stem above ground and can be annuals, biennials or perennials.

Herbivore
A herbivore is an animal that gets its energy from eating plants, and only plants.

Herbs
Leafy green parts of a plant used for food, flavouring, medicine or perfume, used either fresh or dried.

Hermes
God of the roadways, travellers, merchants ... and thieves, in Greek mythology.

Herpetophobia
Fear of reptiles.

Hexamine Fuel Tablets
Fuel in tablet form. Very light and highly flammable, they are used for its ultralight weight. They are susceptible to wind and dampness and the fumes can be toxic.

HI
Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Humour intended or laughter”

Hibernation
State of inactivity characterised by low body temperature and metabolic rate, slow breathing and heart rate. Traditionally used to refer to deep hibernators like rodents, the term now is used for animals such as bears. The idea is to conserve energy when there is insufficient food. It may last days, weeks or months depending on the species, ambient temperature, time of year and body condition.

High Ground
In the process of estimating the immediate environment when trying to find one’s location in the surrounding area, it is better to move to a high ground like on top of a hill so that the terrain is visible over a larger distance. It also tends to provide a more all round view making it easier to judge the next direction of travel.

High Seas
Deep water far from land. Only larger, self-sufficient ships can operate on these waters. Also called the “blue water”.

High Siding
In order to stop a raft flipping, rafters can climb to the side of the raft furthest downstream, which will also be the side of the raft highest in the air.

High Water Mark
A point representing the maximum rise of a body of water on land. It is common practice to create a physical marker indicating highest water marks. Rising water might leave physical impressions such as staining. Where there are tides, this line is formed by the highest position of the tide indicated by debris composed of rotting seaweed, litter, etc.

Highlining
Slacklining at elevation above the ground or water. Many slackliners consider highlining to be the pinnacle of the sport. Rigging typically entails a mainline of webbing, backup webbing, and either climbing rope or amsteel rope for redundancy. However, many highlines are rigged with a mainline and backup only, especially if the highline is low tension. Most highliners wear a climbing harness.

Highway Hypnosis
A mental state in which a person can drive great distances, responding to external events in the expected and correct manner without any recollection of having done so.

Hiking
Walking in the wilderness is generally called hiking. It is also sometimes called trekking, though the latter would more often involve walking over two or more days.

Hiking Boots
Fairly stiff footwear designed for protecting the feet and ankles. They are one of the most important items of gear, since their quality and durability can determine a hiker’s ability to walk long distances without injury. Most hiking boots are also designed for other outdoor activities such as backpacking, climbing, mountaineering, hunting, etc.

Hill
A raised area or mount of land.

Himalayan Brown Bear
A subspecies of brown bear and seen in northern Afghanistan, northern Pakistan, northern India, Nepal and Tibet. It is the largest mammal in the region, they are omnivorous and hibernate in winter. Loss of habitat and poaching have made them being listed as “critically endangered”.

Hindsight Bias
The inclination, after an event has occurred, to see it as having been predictable, despite there being little or no objective basis for predicting it. Many people suffer from this affliction, also called know-it-all-itis.

HIPS
Hide In Plain Sight. Often refers to urban survival and construction of hiding places.

Hitch
When a rope loops around an object and then back around itself.

Hitchhiker
Travelling by asking people for a ride that is usually for free.

HMFIC
Head Mother Fucker In Charge.

Hobnail
A short nail with a thick head used to increase the durability of boot soles.

Hobo
An American term, it refers to travelling, migratory, homeless vagabonds who travel from place to place for work. Survivalists and adventurers are often called hobos in slang.

Hobo Bag
It is a style of large handbag, usually crescent shaped, worn over the shoulder and floppy. It resembles the bags carried by hobos at the end of a stick and over their shoulders.

Hobo Fishing
Improvising fishing kit from junk, not depending on conventional rod and reel. The line can be made from paracord and wound around a soda can or branch, while the hooks can be made from bone or thorn.

Hobo Pack
Despite the term “pack” a Hobo Pack is not for carrying. It is food that is wrapped in foil and cooked over a campfire.

Hobo Stove
Cooking stove made from trash, usually tin cans. Originally used by homeless, penniless hobos, it is used by minimalist campers when they construct it out of cans they find in trash.

Hodophile
Lover of roads, or love of travel.

Hoe
Agricultural hand tool to shape and clear soil, control weeds, and harvest root crops.

Holster
A device to hold a gun in a manner that it is secure when not in use and easily accessible when required. Usually worn on the belt, they can also be worn on different parts of the body.

Homesteading
A self-sufficient lifestyle, living off-the-land, growing and preserving food and being occupied in minor trades to augment income. Usually homesteaders use renewable energy.

Hone
To sharpen hooks or knives with a stone.

Honey
The sweet liquid made by bees using nectar from flowers. It has a virtually infinite shelf life and is a good source of food in the wilderness, but collection can be dangerous due to stings.

Honing Steel
Also called sharpening steel or rod, it is a rod made of steel, ceramic or diamond used to sharpen edges of cutting tools like knives.

Hooch
Slang for a thatched hut or other improvised shelter space. More common though it is slang for alcohol.

Hoodie
It is essentially a sweatshirt with a hood, often including a muff sewn onto the lower front, and usually a drawstring to adjust the hood opening.

Horizontal Fracture
If the bone is broken horizontally then the fracture is called a horizontal fracture.

Horsepacking
Backpacking with horses and mules who are used to carry gear and equipment that cannot be carried on one’s back. Horsepacking enables more gear to be carried and generally allows for extended adventurers.

Horseshoe Fungus
Horseshoe fungus or Amadou is a spongy, flammable substance prepared from bracket fungi. It is traditionally used as tinder, and also, when smouldering, as a portable firelighter.

Hot Air Balloon
Balloon powered by heat and capable of carrying humans into flight. For survivalists, they can be improvised from plastic bags and space blankets with a fire providing lift, with coordinates painted on the balloon.

Hot Tent
A tent that incorporates a stove for heating and cooking.

Household Bleach
Household bleach or Calcium Hypochlorite (+/- 5% chlorine content) can be used to disinfect contaminate water by adding two drops of bleach to one litre of water, stirring it well and letting it sit for half an hour.

HR
Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Here, hear”

Huaraches
A type of Mexican sandal, pre-Columbian in origin. The name is derived from the Purépecha language term kwarachi, and directly translates into English as sandal. Originally of all-leather construction, the thong structure around the main foot is still traditionally made with hand-woven braided leather straps. Traditional designs vary but are always very simple. The modern huarache developed from the adoption in the 1930s of rubber soles developed from used rubber car-tires. Modern designs vary in style from a simplistic sandal to a more complex shoe, using both traditional leather as well as more modern synthetic materials.

Hull
The watertight body of a floating vessel, above which is the superstructure. The line where the hull meets the water surface is the waterline.

Human waste
Byproducts of digestion, such as faeces and urine. There are many different ways in which human waste can be collected, treated, disposed, or reused, depending on the sanitation system that is in place. Increasingly, human waste is being termed human resource due to the fact that it can be converted into compost.

Human Waste Disposal
Human waste carries a lot of germs and needs to be disposed off hygienically to prevent contaminating water sources. Ideally it should be disposed off in a sunken pit and covered with sawdust or lime to help it degrade into fertiliser. Never dispose human waster contained within plastic bags since the plastic will not biodegrade and the waste will remain.

Humanure
Or human manure is human fecal material and urine recycled for agricultural purposes via thermophilic composting. Humanure contains valuable soil nutrients that enhance plant growth. Human excrement could be a major source of soil fertility if properly recycled. When discarded into the environment as a waste material, it creates pollution and threatens public health. When recycled by composting, the pollution and health threats can be eliminated.

Humidex
The temperature perceived by the skin as a combination of ambient temperature and humidity. It is like Wind Chill Factor, only for warmer temperatures.

Humidity
The mass of water vapour in the atmosphere per unit of volume of space.

Humus
The black material on top of the soil resulting from the decay of dead material.

Hunker Down
To squat down, stay in one place. In survival terms it means to put up camp for the night.

Hunter-Gatherer
Through human history people have searched for and found food to eat from plants and animals. It is only in the last 10,000 or so years agriculture has replaced the hunter-gatherer lifestyle through planting of crops and domestication of animals.

Hunting
The deliberate effort of pursuing an animal with the intent of killing it, for sport or for food.

Hurricane
Same as cyclone.

Hurricane Lamp
Also called a kerosene lamp or paraffin lamp, it is a type of lighting device that uses kerosene as fuel. It has a wick protected by a glass chimney.

Husk
The outer shell of a seed. For adventurers, husk often points to coconut husk for its properties of insulation and as tinder.

HV
Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Have”

HW
Morse Code abbreviation meaning “How”

Hydration
The restoration of water to bodily tissue. Dehydration is a frequent cause of fatality.

Hydroacoustics
The study of underwater sound.

Hydrofoil
A boat with wing-like foils mounted on struts below the hull, lifting the hull entirely out of the water at speed and allowing water resistance to be greatly reduced.

Hydrophobia
Fear of water.

Hydroponics
The method of growing plants in mineral rich water without the use of soil.

Hygiene
The process of maintaining cleanliness to keep good physical health.

Hylophobia
Fear of forests.

Hyperalgesia
An increased sensitivity to pain that ca be caused by peripheral nerve damage.

Hyperbaric Chamber
A pressurised medical intervention method which simulates atmospheric pressure. Used to treat people suffering from altitude illness, pending evacuation to a lower altitude since the atmospheric pressure of a lower altitude can be simulated inside a hyperbaric chamber.

Hyperglycemia
It is a condition in which an excessive amount of glucose circulates in the blood plasma. This is generally a blood sugar level higher than 200 mg/dl, but symptoms may not start to become noticeable until even higher values such as ~250–300 mg/dl. A person with a consistent range between ~5.6 and 100–126 mg/dl is considered hyperglycemic, while above 126 mg/dl is generally held to have diabetes. Chronic levels exceeding 125 mg/dl can produce organ damage.

Hyperpyrexia
Fever equal to or greater than 41.5°C (106.7°F). It is a medical emergency and immediate aggressive cooling to less than 38.9°C (102.0°F) is required to improve survival.

Hypertension
Or high blood pressure, it is a long term medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is persistently high. It is a major risk factor for coronary artery disease, stroke, heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, vision loss and chronic kidney disease.

Hyperthermia
Occurs when the body absorbs too much heat and cannot regulate it efficiently, leading to a rapid climb in body temperature requiring immediate medical attention.

Hyperventilation
Occurs when the rate and quantity of alveolar ventilation of carbon dioxide exceeds its production in the body.

Hypnos
God of sleep in Greek mythology.

Hypoadrenia
Also adrenal exhaustion or adrenal fatigue. Responsible for the short-term stress response known as “fight or flight,” the adrenal glands can function improperly when overstressed, leading to fatigue, mood disorders and depression.

Hypoalgesia
A decreased sensitivity to pain by interrupting the path between the stimulus of pain and the feeling of pain. Examples can be taking a pill to relieve a headache.

Hypoglycemia
Also known as low blood sugar, is when blood sugar decreases below normal levels resulting in symptoms like clumsiness, trouble talking, confusion, loss of consciousness, seizures or death. A feeling of hunger, sweating, shakiness and weakness may also be present. Symptoms typically come on quickly.

Hyponatremia
Condition when blood sodium level is abnormally low. Sodium helps regulate the amount of water that’s in and around the cells causing them to begin to swell leading to many health problems, from mild to life-threatening. Symptoms may include nausea and vomiting, headache, confusion, loss of energy, fatigue, restlessness, irritability, muscle weakness, spasms or cramps, seizures, coma, etc. Treatment is aimed at resolving the underlying condition. Depending on the cause, cut back on how much you drink. One may need intravenous fluids and medications.

Hypotension
Low blood pressure if systolic blood pressure is less than 90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or diastolic pressure is less than 60 mm Hg.

Hypothermia
A condition where the body loses more heat than it produces and cannot regulate body temperature efficiently anymore leading to lowering of core body temperature.

Hypoxaemia
Abnormally low level of oxygen in blood, particularly arterial blood. Sometime incorrectly called hypoxia.

Hypoxia
Deficiency in the amount of oxygen reaching the tissues. It can occur in healthy people when they ascend to high altitude, where it causes altitude sickness leading to potentially fatal complications.

Hypsiphobia
Fear of height.


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  1. wilderness survival kit canada

    The term “survival kit” may also refer to the larger, transportable survival kits ready by survivalists , known as “bug-out bags” (BOBs), “Individual Emergency Relocation Kits” (PERKs) or “get out of Dodge” (Good) kits, which are packed into backpacks, or even duffel bags. These kits are developed especially to be more simply carried by the person in case alternate forms of transportation are unavailable or impossible to use.

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