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 152 names in this directory beginning with the letter T.
T
Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Zero” (usually an elongated dah)

T rescue
Some rafts are large enough that they need to be overturned with the assistance of another raft or land. Positioning the upturned raft or land at the side of the raft, the rafters can then re-right the raft by lifting up on the perimeter line.

T-grip re-flip
The T-grip on a rafting paddle may be used to re-flip light rafts by inserting the Tee into the self bailing holes around the floor perimeter and re-righting the boat in the same manner as the flip line technique.

TACAMO
Take Charge And Move Out.

Tachycardia
Heart rate that exceeds the normal resting rate.In general, a resting heart rate over 100 beats per minute is accepted as tachycardia in adults.

Tack
In sailing tack has several meanings. It can be the lower corner of the sail’s leading edge. Or how the boat is aligned with the wind. It can also refer to a manoeuvre that turns the boat between starboard and port. If the wind is from starboard, the vessel is on starboard tack, and if from port, on port tack.

Taco (food)
A traditional Mexican dish made of a corn or wheat tortilla, folded or rolled around a filling. Can be made with a variety of fillings.

Taco (rafting)
Rafts are said to have tacoed if the middle of the raft buckles and the front of the raft touches or nearly touches the back of the raft. A reverse taco is when the nose or stern of the raft is pulled down underwater and buckles to touch the middle, back or nose of the raft.

Tactical Pen
A pen made with high grade metal or high impact plastic which doubles as a weapon for close combat situations like assault, robbery, mugging, intended rape, etc. The tip can break glass and injure the assaulter by puncturing skin and breaking bones.

Taiga
Also known as boreal or snow forest, it comprises conifers. It is the world’s largest biome and makes up 29% of the world’s forest cover.

Tailwind
Wind that blows in the direction of travel.

Take Down Bow
A long bow or recurve that can be taken apart for transportation usually in 2 or 3 pieces.

Tampon
A plug that is inserted into the vagina to absorb menstrual blood. This property can be used in the wilderness as a bandage to stop bleeding. Taken apart, the soft fabric inside a tampon also makes for good tinder material.

Tang
The tang of a knife is the portion behind the blade that extends into the handle. A full tang knife, the size of the handle itself, is preferred to provide more integrity to the knife. A half tang also might go the entire length of the handle but is usually half the width.

Tangia
Urn-shaped terracotta cooking vessel.

Tango Mike
NATO phonetic alphabet for “Thanks much”.

Tango Uniform
NATO phonetic alphabet for “Tits Up” to mean killed or destroyed.

Tango Yankee
NATO phonetic alphabet for “Thank You”.

Tantō
One of the traditionally made Japanese swords worn by the samurai class. It dates to the Heian period, when it was mainly used as a weapon but evolved in design over the years to become more ornate. The term has seen a resurgence in the West since the 1980s as a point style of modern tactical knives, designed for piercing or stabbing.

Taphephobia
Fear of being buried alive.

Tarantula
A group of large and often hairy arachnids belonging to the spider family. Most species of tarantulas are not dangerous to humans. Though all tarantulas are venomous and some bites cause serious discomfort that might persist for several days, so far there is no record of a bite causing a human fatality. Sizes range from as small as a fingernail to as large as a dinner plate when the legs are fully extended. Depending on the species, the body length of tarantulas range from 1 to 4 in, with leg spans of 3 to 12 in.

TARFU
Things Are Really Fouled Up.

Tarp
Waterproof canvas or nylon material that can be used in many different ways, including constructing temporary shelter.

Tarp sheet
A tarpaulin, tarp or tarp sheet is a sheet of water-resistant material made of canvas, polyester, polythelene, etc. Small, lightweight and portable, tarp sheets are good for making shelters in the absence of a tent.

Taser
Sold by Taser International, it is an electroshock weapon that delivers electric current to disrupt voluntary control of muscles. Someone struck by a Taser experiences strong involuntary muscle contractions aiding police to use to subdue potentially dangerous people.

Tawa
Large flat, concave or convex disc-shaped frying pan made from metal, usually sheet iron, cast iron, sheet steel or aluminium for cooking a variety of flatbreads and as a frying pan.

Telescope
It is an instrument to look at remote objects. There are small portable telescopes and larger telescopes to study infinite space.

Tell-Tale
A light piece of string, yarn, rope or plastic attached to a stay to indicate wind direction.

TEMP
Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Temperature”

Temple Fire
When the ground is wet and/or moist, lighting a campfire becomes difficult. A frame made out of branches with a bed of soil can be used to raise the bed of the fire above the wet ground. This is known as a temple fire.

Tendon
The tissue attaching muscle to bone.

Tendonitis
When tendons (flexible, fibrous bands of tissue connecting muscles to bones) become inflamed, irritated or suffer microscopic tears. It is most common in the shoulder, elbow, knee, wrist and heel.

Tennis Elbow
A condition in which the forearm muscles and tendons become damaged from overuse leading to pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow.

Tensile Strength
The capacity of a material to withstand tension before breaking when being pulled apart.

Tent
Shelter mechanism where fabric is draped on poles or ropes to protect from weather. Tents can be small and portable, to accommodate one or many persons, with a ground sheet or without.

Tent Peg
Also called a tent stake. It has a hook or hole at one end, is made from wood, metal, plastic or composite material, and is driven into the ground for holding a tent, either directly by putting it through the grommets, or by connecting to ropes attached to the tent. A tent peg can be improvised from a small branch.

Tent Pegging
Armies on the move have often used tents for sleeping accommodation. The enemy initiated an attack by riding horse back at speed knocking out the tent pegs, collapsing the tents on the enemy as they slept while a more direct attack took place. This has now developed into an equestrian sport called tent pegging.

TEOTWAWKI
The End Of The World As We Know It, a prepper’s phrase indicating an SHTF scenario.

Tepee Fire
A tepee fire lay is one where the kindling material is laid in a formation that resembles a tepee with the tinder material nesting inside it. This ensures that the heat generated from the tinder accesses and combusts the kindling quickly. This is one of the more common campfire fire lays.

Terminal Velocity
The highest velocity attainable by an object as it falls through air. It occurs when the sum of the drag force and buoyancy equals the force of gravity. With the net force being zero, the object has zero acceleration.

Termite
Or white ants are one of the hardiest and most prolific of insects. Feeding on wood and other organic material they reside in colonies that can house millions. Can be used as fish bait, food and the mounds make good fuel for the campfire.

Terrasailing
Sport similar to windsurfing but performed on land. A four-wheeled deck, similar to a mountainboard or skateboard used along with a mast and sail in order to project the board across land.

Terrine
Glazed terracotta cooking dish with vertical sides and tightly fitting lid, generally rectangular or oval.

Territorial Waters
Defined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, it is the belt of coastal waters extending at most 12 nautical miles from the mean low-water mark of a coastal state. The territorial sea is regarded as the sovereign territory of the state, although foreign ships are allowed innocent passage through it. This sovereignty extends to the airspace over and seabed below.

TFC
Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Traffic”

Thalweg
A line drawn to join the lowest points along the entire length of a stream bed or valley in its downward slope, defining its deepest channel. The thalweg thus marks the profile of a watercourse. The term is also sometimes used to refer to a subterranean stream that percolates under the surface and in the same general direction as the surface stream.

Thalweg Doctrine
If the boundary between two political entities is stated to be a waterway, the boundary follows the thalweg of that watercourse. In particular, the boundary follows the center of the principal navigable channel of the waterway, which is presumably the deepest part. If there are multiple navigable channels in a river, the one principally used for downstream travel, likely to have the strongest current, is used.

Thanatophobia
Fear of death.

Thanatos
Personification of death in Greek mythology.

Thermal
A column of rising air at lower altitudes created by uneven heating of Earth’s surface from solar radiation. Dark earth, urban areas, and roadways are good sources of thermals. They are often indicated by the presence of visible cumulus clouds at the apex of the thermal. With steady wind, thermals and cumulus clouds align in rows oriented to wind direction. Thermals are one of the many sources of lift used by soaring birds and gliders to soar.

Thermal Imaging
Technique of using heat of by an object to produce an image of it.

Thermal Protective Aid (TPA)
An aluminised polyethylene suit with heat sealed seams to reduce convective and evaporative heat loss from the body. They usually protect the wearer in a temperature range betw-30°C and +20°C.

Thermosphere
Layer of atmosphere above the mesopause where temperatures increase with height caused by absorption of UV and X-Ray radiation from the Sun.

Thinsulate
Thinsulate is a thin insulation fabric, thinner than polyester and is used in garments like gloves and jackets. It is considered better than other synthetic insulation fabrics.

Thorn
Many plants have hard, pointed structures growing on their stems and branches with sharp ends. These are called thorns and are a defensive mechanism to prevent animals from eating the plant. Some thorns only inflict a puncture wound while some have poison sacs to inject a poison through the skin.

Thousand Yard Stare
Limp, blank, unfocused gaze of a victim of trauma, reflecting a dissociation from the trauma. Often seen in cases of post-traumatic stress disorder, it does not necessarily indicate PTSD, nor does it appear in persons who will later develop PTSD.

Three Sheets to the Wind
Often a drunk is referred as “three sheets to the wind” derived from a ship whose sheets have come loose, causing the sails to flap uncontrolled with the ship at the mercy of the elements.

Thrival
Used as an opposite to survival, thus turning a potentially negative emotional response to a particular situation to a positive one. It changes one’s outlook to a constructive response with a view to the future instead of wallowing in guilt and frustration.

Throw Bag
Rescue device with a length of rope packed loosely inside a bag that is thrown for a swimmer to hold on to and be pulled to safety.

Throwing Knife
Distinct from ordinary knives, a throwing knife is specially designed and weighted so that it can be thrown effectively. They are used by many cultures around the world, and as such different tactics for throwing them have been developed, as have different shapes and forms.

Thunder
When lightning strikes it creates a channel in the air. After the lightning has passed through, the hole closes and collapses creating a sound wave that we hear as thunder.

Thunderstorm
A storm accompanied by thunder and lightning is an electric storm or a thunderstorm. It is usually associated with cumulonimbus clouds.

Thwart
Structural crosspiece forming a seat for a rower.

Tic
Sudden, repetitive, nonrhythmic motor movement or vocalisation involving discrete muscle groups. They can be invisible, such as abdominal tensing or toe crunching. Common tics are eye blinking and throat clearing.

Tick
Insects that feed on the blood of other animals and are a carrier of many diseases. Ticks are common in the wilderness and hygiene becomes very important. Removal of ticks, particularly from hairy areas of the body, is very important.

Tick Bite
Many ticks carry disease and removal of the tick, particularly the head that is embedded inside the skin, is extremely important.

Tidal Bore
Occurs where a river empties into the sea. It pushes up the river, against the current. A tidal bore is a true tidal wave. Its occurrence is relatively infrequent and requires the river to be fairly shallow with a narrow outlet to the sea, with the estuary being wide and flat. The tidal range must be (usually) at least about 20 feet.

Tidal Drift
The distance a boat floats due to the speed to of the tide, without any additional steeering or paddling.

Tidal Range
The vertical difference between the high tide and the succeeding low tide. This distance changes with the position of the Moon relative to the Sun and the Earth. Tidal ranges are classified as: (1) Micromareal, when the tidal range is lower than 2 metres, (2) Mesomareal, when the tidal range is between 2 metres and 4 metres, and (3) Macromareal, when the tidal range is higher than 4 metres.

Tidal Stream
The periodic movement of water in a horizontal direction due to tides. The tidal stream associated with a rising tide is called the flood stream and that with a falling tide is called the ebb stream. A tidal stream is often described by the direction to which it runs.

Tide
Rise and fall of ocean water caused by the effects of gravitational forces exerted by the Moon, Sun and rotation of the Earth. Some shorelines experience a semi-diurnal tide, two nearly equal high and low tides each day. Other locations experience a diurnal tide, only one high and one low tide each day.

Tide Pool
A rocky pool next to an ocean that filled with seawater.

Tie Down Straps
Webbing outfitted with hardware to hold down cargo during transport allowing the tie down strap to attach to the area surrounding the cargo, loop over it and/or attach to it.

Tightrope Walking
Also called funambulism, it is the skill of walking along a thin wire or rope.

Tiller
Handle or lever for turning a vessel’s rudder.

Timber
Wood processed into beams and planks for use in construction, furniture, etc. Known as lumber in America.

Timberline
The area where the trees are so thick to form a forest with a closed canopy.

Time Zone
Sunrise and sunset is at different times across the world due to the Earth’s rotation and consequently different regions have different time zones corresponding to their distance away from the time at Greenwich, England through where the Prime Meridian passes.

Tincture of Iodine
It is an antibiotic solution to clean open wounds. Its disinfecting properties also allow it to disinfect contaminated water for drinking. Add about four or five drops of 2% Tincture of Iodine solution in a litre of water and let it sit for about half an hour.

Tinder
The basic material used to start a fire. Something that catches a spark easily, combusts into flames allowing the addition of kindling to ultimately build a campfire.

Tine
The prongs of a fork.

Tinnitus
A hearing impairment when a person hears sound when none is present. It can be experienced as ringing, clicking, hissing or roaring, either soft or loud, low or high pitched, from one ear or both. There are no known effective medications apart from therapy.

Tits-Up
Dead, lying on the back with chest facing skyward.

TKS
Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Thanks”

TMW
Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Tomorrow”

TNA
Training Needs Analysis.

TNX
Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Thanks”

Toad
Cold blooded amphibians with a bumpy, warty skin with glands that secrete toxins that are harmful. Hence consumption of toads is highly avoidable.

Tomahawk
A type of axe resembling a hatchet. Unlike an axe, a tomahawk has a straight handle.

Tonitrophobia
Fear of thunder.

Topographical Map
A map that shows geographical features.

Topography
The arrangement of natural and artificial physical features of an area.

Topsail
The second sail up a mast. These may be either square sails or fore-and-aft ones, in which case they often “fill in” between the mast and the gaff of the sail below.

Tornado
A violently twisting column of air connecting the ground with a cumulonimbus cloud. It looks like a funnel and as it travels, with wind speeds of around 180 kmph, it destroys pretty much everything in its path. They usually dissipate within a few kilometres, but some larger more devastating can wreck havoc and destruction over hundreds of kilometres.

Tortilla
A type of soft, thin flatbread made from finely ground wheat flour.

Tourniquet
An extreme measure to control excessive bleeding, a tourniquet cuts off circulation in between the heart and the wound by wrapping material tightly. Long application of the tourniquet controls blood flow but also results in damaging muscles and tissue due to lack of blood and amputation might be required.

Toxicity
Degree to which a substance can damage an organism.

Tracheostomy
An incision in the windpipe to relieve respiratory distress. Also called Tracheotomy.

Track GPS
A track GPS is a global positioning systems specifically designed for use on land.

Trade Winds
Tropical winds that blow from the subtropical high pressure centres towards the equatorial low. They blow northeasterly in the Northern Hemisphere.

Trail Ethics
The etiquette that applies to the use of trails to minimise conflicts that can develop between different types of users.

Trail Running
Sport of running and hiking over trails and not on roads or tracks. It is similar to cross country running. It is not governed by anybody and distances and routes vary from runner to runner.

Trailblazing
It is the practice of marking paths in outdoor recreational areas with markings that follow each other to mark the direction of the trail. The person or person who mark out the trail are called trailblazers.

Tramp
A person who travels from place to place on foot in search of work as a vagrant or beggar.

Tramping
Also called backpacking, hiking, hill walking, bushwalking, it is essentially a trek. The term is widely used in New Zealand.

Transient
Temporary, impermanent, lasting a short time.

Transpiration
The process of extricating fluids from greenery.

Tread Lightly!
A US based nonprofit organisation with the mission “to empower generations to enjoy the outdoors responsibly through stewardship to further the goals of responsible and ethical recreation.” Members support and help spread the Tread Lightly! message.

Tree House
A above-ground, level platform or building constructed around, next to or among the trunk or branches of one or more mature trees.

Tree Line
The edge at which trees are capable of growing, usually at high altitudes and cold environments.

Trekking
A walk through the wilderness, usually over two or more days. Also referred to as hiking.

Trench
Type of excavation or depression in the ground that is generally deeper than it is wide, and narrow compared to its length, primarily for defensive purposes to shelter troops for enemy fire.

Trench Foot
A decaying of the feet when immersed continuously in water and/or mud leading to the death of tissue. In many case, if left untreated, it can lead to amputation.

Tributary
A smaller river that flows into a larger river.

Tricklining
Often done low to the ground but can be done on highlines as well. A great number of tricks can be done on the line, and because the sport is fairly new, there is plenty of room for new tricks. Some of the basic tricks done today are walking forwards and backwards, turns, drop knee, running and jumping onto the slackline to start walking and bounce walking. Some intermediate tricks include: Buddha sit, sitting down, lying down, cross-legged knee drop, surfing forward, surfing sideways, and jump turns. Some of the advanced tricks are jumps, tree plants, jumping from line-to-line, 360s, butt and chest bounces. With advancements in webbing technology and tensioning systems, the limits for what can be done on a slackline are being pushed constantly. It is not uncommon to see expert slackliners incorporating flips and twists into slackline trick combinations.

Trike
Weight-shift flex wing hang glider with a fuselage pod suspended under the wings, driven by a propeller, carrying one or two people. Also called ultralights or microlights.

Tripod
Three-legged structure offering stability to objects like cameras. However it also refers to the shape of the structure when used to construct a shelter out of three poles with fabric draped around it.

Tritium
A radioactive isotope of hydrogen and used as a radioactive tracer, in radioluminescent light sources for watches, compasses and other instruments. The advantage of tritium based watches and compasses is that it enables the instrument to be read in the dark because of the glowing quality of tritium. It is usually active for up to 15 years.

TROBA
When ABORT is improbable, but desired.

Tropic of Cancer
Latitude located at 23°30’ north of the Equator. The Sun is directly overhead on the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere (June 20 or 21).

Tropic of Capricorn
Latitude located at 23°30’ south of the Equator. The Sun is directly overhead on the summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere (Dec. 20 or 21).

Tropical Forest
Forested landscapes in areas bounded by the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

Tropical Rainforest
Occur in areas in which there is no dry season, with average monthly rainfall of at least 60 mm. Tropical rainforests are typically found between 10 degrees north and south of the Equator.

Tropics
The area of the globe from latitudes 23.5° North to 23.5° South.

Tropopause
Top of the troposphere. This is lowest at the poles, where it is about 7 to 10km above the Earth’s surface and highest near the equator - about 17 to 18km.

Troposphere
Lowest part of atmosphere containing most of the weather - clouds, rain, snow. Temperature gets colder by about 6.5°C/km as distance above Earth increases. It contains about 75% of all of the air in the atmosphere and almost all of the water vapour.

Trotline
Method of fishing using a central horizontal line on or above the surface of the water supporting branch lines with hooks at the end that fall into the water. They can be left unattended, usually overnight.

Trough
The lowest point on a wave.

Trowel
A tool to scoop out soil. For outdoorsmen, a specific variety is the cathole trowel used for burying personal waste. Lighter than garden trowels. Some fold up into a smaller size for easier storage.

True Azimuth
The measure of degrees from North Pole to the targeted object. This is very often different from Magnetic Azimuth due to declination.

True Bearing
An absolute bearing using true north.

True North
True North or Geographic North is the line that points directly to the North Pole.

Tsetse Fly
Large biting flies inhabiting much of Africa between the Sahara and the Kalahari deserts. They feed on the blood of vertebrates causing sleeping sickness.

Tsunami
Destructive waves more than 40 meters high caused by underwater earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, explosions, landslides, etc. It is like a series of large tidal waves and their destructive power is enormous.

TT
Morse Code abbreviation meaning “That”

TTP
Tactics Techniques and Procedures.

TU
Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Thank you”

Tuber
Enlarged structures in some plants used for the plant’s survival during the winter or dry months to provide energy and nutrients for regrowth during the next growing season, and as a means of asexual reproduction.

Tularemia
Infectious disease of wild rabbits caused by bacteria carrying ticks. Also called rabbit fever.

Tundra
A treeless plain, characteristic of the arctic and subarctic regions where tree growth is hindered by low temperatures and short growing seasons. The vegetation comprises dwarf shrubs, sedges and grasses, mosses and lichens. Scattered trees grow in some tundra regions.

TVI
Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Television interference”

Twilight
The soft glowing light caused by the reflection of the sun’s rays from the atmosphere when the sun is below the horizon.

Twisted Rope
Also called laid rope is the most common form of rope. Common laid rope generally consists of three strands and is normally right-laid, or given a final right-handed twist. The ISO 2 standard uses the uppercase letters S and Z to indicate the two possible directions of twist, as suggested by the direction of slant of the central portions of these two letters.

Twister
Same as a tornado.

TX
Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Transmit or transmitter”

TXRX
Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Transceiver”

TXT
Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Text”

Tyche
Goddess of good luck and fortune in Greek mythology.

Type I Fun
A kind of fun and happiness one experiences at and in the moment when engaged in certain activities.

Type III Fun
An activity that sucks when engaged in it, but is fun to remember after it is over, when the memories are relived.

Type IV Fun
An activity that no one participating in it is having any kind of fun at all and has no chance of completing the activity with the hope of gaining happy memories.

Tyrolean Traverse
Method of crossing a chasm using a horizontal rope. An improvised seat hangs from the rope on which the person sits and pulls himself across by pulling on the horizontal rope.


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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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