What can a picture offer..

Today when driving home from a quick visit with friends, I decided to stop by a favorite walkabout place I know.20171209_132409 Once again it never fails to make my day. As harsh as a Minnesota winter can be, I realized how much it also gives back to me for taking the time to get outdoors and enjoy it. No matter when I go, I see wonderous things. The snow lays a beautiful blanket on the landscape. Providing some very inspiring scenes.

I am not only a Novice Survivalist but a “wannabe” world famous nature photographer. Unfortunately I will never be one. But just getting outdoors and snapping pictures of things nature gives us, can make for a great time spent out there rather than “couch potatoeing”. Sure its cold ( 23deg.) out there and it will get colder. But that should be no deterrent to the determined outdoor lover.

I do not own a special camera and simply carry my trusty Samsung note 5. I love that thing, It has been by my side for the last couple years and has preserved a lot of special memories for me.20171209_132036 Not just of Family and friends but of places I have seen, things I love. The pictures I take are of the things that make me happy. The outdoors is full of them. I just have to go out on a walkabout and there they are. All posed and ready for a selfie, portrait, landscape,close up or macro shot. The opportunities are endless, all it takes is for you to be there.

Next time you are out take the time to snap a pic. Technology today is a great cheat. Samsung provides me with a simple app to “adjust” my pictures and enhance my photo skills. As bad as they are ( My skills that is). I believe with practice I can enhance my what I call “photo eye”. I make a point of really looking about me as I go walkabout. Don’t rush it to get that 10000 step count. You may and I am pretty sure have missed some great personal pleasers. Yes I said PERSONAL pleasers.IMG_20171209_143626_030 You don’t have to please others just yourself. Along the way show them off. I often post a picture I like to Instagram. And am often surprised at the likes I get for it. We are a large assortment of things we love and things that please us. in general people are easily pleased by a visual display of thing’s they love.

What’s your point George. well even if you think others would not like or care about the pictures you take of things you come across that please you. Take the picture for you. Every now and again pull them out and look at them. You will be surprised how much joy you can get from an old memory.

For me it is the outdoors I love.20171209_143027.jpg It may not be for you. But I bet there is something out there that is for you. IMG_20171209_143626_029Try it next time you are doing something you like. You will be pleasantly surprised the joy it holds in the simple memory later on down the road.

Just saying is all.

Remember no matter where or what you doing. be safe and be prepared .

Knowledge is a survival tool.

The Novice Survivalist

Posted in Basic Survival skills, Blog, hiking, Nature, outdoors, Survival | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Camp Stoves

Hello Campers. I have just uploaded another sterling, fascinating and splendiferous Video review of my  compact camp stoves I lug around on my Day walkabouts and overnight camping trips.IMG_20171129_152548_057 These are the normal part of my Camp Kitchen.

The Kitchen consists of  a Pot, Mug and my Stoves, with a couple utensils thrown in. This I find, more than meets my needs. You may or may not know I had some medical issues about 2 years ago. Just a little triple Bypass heart surgery. That changed my mind set on a lot of things from my past, Including eating habits. I now am a vegetable maniac. No, I still get a meat fix about once week. (typically fat free chicken or a small steak.). 98% of meals are vegetarian or fruit snacks.. I am not a true vegetarian or Vegan by any means. Simple eating healthier. So my camping cooking is not for everybody. Camping I eat very plain. typically rice with a small can of mixed veggies and I carry a assortment of spices to change it up. This works for me. breakfast is simple with toast and a cuppa Coffee or tea (hot tea, I haven’t got past the iced tea thing, not my cup of tea, to say.). What is this you say, well It makes my camp kitchen very basic. Snacks are free fruit and yes I have a sweet tooth, so a small candy is added as a treat for a job well done.

20170822_071837However I still need to cook. Making a hot meal will go along way when out there solo camping. Especially in cold weather. Which is my next planned camp.

One to the main topic George!. My camp stoves. As the opening volley said, they are all compact. I either Kayak (Preferred camping style), walk in, or drive. Either way I use the same camp kitchen. Its familiar to me and I am comfortable with it. I have real trouble packing for camp. I am an over packer. I try to lessen my load after each camp. Going over what I used on the last trip and what I did not. Using this as a guide I am slowly whittling down my over packed camp kit. Well that’s the intention anyway.

When I lived in California I had access to very few places to camp where building a fire in the outdoors was limited. They are stick out there. Looking at the news lately I can see why. Wildfires are the greatest danger in California. Summers are wet and winter very dry. So the making of camp fires is strictly controlled. you must use designated fire rings. Which kinda puts a damper on the whole bushcraft fun of camping.IMG_20171202_202020_205 However in Minnesota, there are a lot more opportunities for wild camping and although the State and local County parks require you use the fire rings, there is a lot of Federal park lands here. which allow open fires. I personally like cooking on my stoves and use the fire for camp feel and warm. After all camping without a fire is like, well having a wedding without champagne. It’s just not the same without a fire.

So the stoves. I possess 2 small compact gas stoves.Both use mixed fuel (performance blend) that come in fairly small containers that are self sealing. ( they it perfectly in my cook pot for packing) So I don’t have to waste fuel getting rid of a partially used can. Both fold up reasonably small and are very light and so far both have been extremely reliable. What’s the difference, why 2 different stoves. Well The first one I ever bought I got at Walmart. The Peak one from Colemen. Priced right, it has been the one I have mostly used. Later I got the MSR Pocket Rocket. It had great reviews and I wanted a back up. The pocket Rocket is slightly smaller than the peak one but I suspect the better stove. Old habits force me to stay with the peak one till the bitter end . Just the way I roll.

The Pocket Rocket was a little more expensive than the Peak one. It comes in a nice small plastic storage case that takes up little room. In fact when both are folded up. On their own, each is small enough to be packed in my coffee mug.

I do own a Bushbox stove maxresdefaultwhich uses small tinder for fuel. For me it’s more of a survival/emergency stove. However I pull it out regularly, just because it’s fun to use. It folds up flat and fits into my Military canteen pouch with the canteen and cup perfectly. big space saver.

There you go. My compact stoves. Love these stoves and all three have their own advantages. If you have never tried one. well you are missing out on the true fun in camping. Check out the video review on my Youtube into video channel and see for yourselves.

Get out into nature and enjoy. Stay warm and safe always.

The novice survivalist

Posted in Blog, BushCraft, Camp equipment, camping, Camping and survival equiptment, Camping tips, hiking, Kayaking, Nature, outdoors, Prepping, Survival, Survival tips | Leave a comment

Yep. another 2 Minute tip, blog,vlog and more

Campers as I said in my previous post, I have been making a point of getting out and about. As most of you are aware I video a lot of my walkabouts, camping and review my equipment. I am hoping to inspire you all to get out there. whether Sun, rain or snow. There is always something to enjoy in the outdoors.

When I started this site and blog its was originally intended as a self help blog for me…and others in being prepared for the outdoors. Basic survival skills and equipment was on my mind. The site has evolved into more of my enjoyment of the outdoors.

I find myself looking for excuses to be outdoors.20170822_074002_001 Just walking about enjoying and exploring nature. Camping, Walkabouts and Kayaking are my favorites.

Here in Minnesota, there are many many opportunities to explore and my intention is to do just that. I have started locally exploring and now look to expand my area of exploration. yes there will be Vlogs on all.

So brace yourself for an influx of Blog posts, Video blogs (Vlogs) and posts on all my social media accounts.20170812_141250 Want to follow my adventures, follow me here, or find me on Instagram under “2nd chance George’, Youtube (2nd Chance George )or the Novice survivalist right here now. I welcome you along. and Maybe I’ll inspire you get play along outdoors. Nature has a lot to offer us for fun, excitement and peace of mind

Before I go here’s another 2 minute tip from my youtube channel you can watch and comment on. Just visit my Channel playlists and watch more tips and things.

Remember though and never forget, “Knowledge is a survival Skill”.

20170822_071837 The holidays are coming so be safe out there.

Just saying….

The Novice Survivalist/2nd Chance George

Posted in Blog, camping, Camping and survival equiptment, Camping tips, hiking, Kayaking, Nature, outdoors, Survival, Survival tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prepping for my first Minnesota winter Camp

Winter is coming hard to Minnesota. Since moving I have been thinking about the up coming winter. My first one as a resident. I have spent time here with friends during the winter months, but never for a whole winter experience.

Honestly I feel quite unprepared for this, but I am in the process of learning. I am a watcher by nature and find myself watching the locals go about their business as they  do their normal winter preparations. From this, asking questions and believe me I have questions, I prepare. Not only to survive the winter without any mishaps but also to prepare to do a winter camping trip. This for me will be my biggest challenge yet in the outdoors. Something I look forward to with some trepidation. Can I do this, am I prepared, what to take, where and when.

I am in two minds on this challenge.

  1. Do I do a “Test run in a fail safe enviroment”. Well with in a safe haven range with out to much risk if I find myself in a unprepared or difficult situation.
  2. Just do it. With planing of course.

Why in 2 minds. With age, and I am no longer the young easy going, take a risk man I was 20 years ago. Ok 30 years ago. I have matured (I hope) enough to understand the risks involved and my own reduced tolerance and physical capabilities.

Which ever path I choose, it makes no difference. I need to be properly prepared. I am an avid you tube watcher. I learn a lot watching the channels that cater to my outdoor tastes. 99% of my camping I am alone. I weather was not my greatest concern. In California the weather is generally predictable and nowhere near the winter temperatures here in Minnesota. The weather here is harsh to say the least when outdoors. To expose yourself as I plan (Yes its just a camping trip). I have never dealt with the weather I will be in. Temperatures in the low 10’s to below zero are for me personally daunting to say the least. I need to be prepared so that I feel comfortable in my own mind. In other words, practically in physical preparation, clothes camp equipment etc. Prepared. In such away that I will mentally be prepared. Knowing I have equipment to sustain me on a snow camp will go along way to preparing me mentally. I have no real life experience camping in cold conditions, and must use all my resources available to me to get prepared.

Below is my current concerns and current thinking on solutions. It’s a start to settling my mental concerns.

Not necessarily in order but I hope I’ll have all areas covered.


  1. TENT. The tent I plan on using is my French army surplus 2 man pup tent. This is my latest tent. I have never used it to camp. I have set it up and checked it out. It is a typical military type tent and has a lot of space.20171003_170643 I will be keeping all my camp equipment inside. Clothes, kitchen etc. If necessary even fire wood. So space is important. It has a built in floor and I will have a tarp underneath to hold out any damp or wet coming up from the ground. Inside I will have a foam pad under my blow up mattress to help insulate me from the cold ground.
  2. SLEEP SYSTEM. This is a work in progress. My thoughts here are on the sleep equipment I currently have. Here is my current thinking. Besides my clothes I plan on sleeping in, I have 2 sleeping bags. Both rated at 40deg. On their own they are not enough, however one is a Snug Pak. It is slightly smaller than my other one which is bulkier p. I plan on using the snug pack bag as a inside liner in the bigger bag. The snug pack is designed to reflect your body heat back on to you. I also have 2 Snug pack jungle blankets that have the same properties as the sleeping bag. One will be underneath the sleeping bag, the other over the top. This I hope will be enough to keep me warm. Along with the sleeping outfit I’ll be in. I am considering a wool blanket. It seems the item of choice amongst the camping community. Maybe, just not sure yet.
  3. CLOTHING. This seems obvious. For a person who grew up in cold weather. For me it’s a new game. Having grown up in a warm climate. A cold weather jacket was typically a wind breaker. Having read and watched all I can on this subject, here is my conclusion. Dress in layers. That way buy adding or removing, you can fairly reasonably control your own comfort.20170204_115700 I have thermal underwear, 3 or 4 warm jackets and some woolen shirts and socks. I have waterproof boots, gloves and woolen head gear. My sleeping outfit is for sleeping only. Changing into clean clothes to sleep in is good advice. When you dress warm you will sweat into your clothes. Especially after preparing camp and fire wood etc. Changing into clean sleep wear feels good and will make your sleep more comfortable. Ill be sleeping in thermals and some warm pants and top. There is a fine line between warm and comfort. If you over bundle you will be uncomfortable and not rest well. However under bundling can lead to disaster. Plan ahead and test your sleep outfit for comfort. You can always remove clothing if you over heat. But under dressed cannot end well.
  4. CAMP EQUIPMENT. I plan on cooking by fire wood. However I will have my single gas burner as a back up. I will be carrying at least tinder prepared in advance. Fire wood depends on where I camp. If I can scavenge for wood or not. Or else carry in. Which will limit how much I have. I will have my usual kitchen equipment. It’s minimal and all I need. I’ll have a pad to sit on. I will also have my usual goodies with me. My possible’s pouch, first aid kit etc. That is part if my normal camp equipment.
  5. MEALS AND WATER. I plan on my first camp being just a overnighter,20160909_185346 Really 1 1/2 day camp. I will be taking food for 2 hot meals and some energy/comfort snacks, And as odd as it sounds lots of water, From what I have read and seen, snow melting is a second option as a water source. It takes a lot to prepare.

I have yet to decide where I will be camping.this will take some time to decide. First the choice of safe test or just go. I have been looking at my choices and probably it will be a return to a previous camp location. Being comfortable and familiar in your location will go along way to settling my concerns.

Ill up date to this post as I decide where and when. Then Ill post a post thought on the trip

Stay tuned …

Remember Knowledge is a survival skill


The Novice Survivalist


Posted in Basic Survival skills, Blog, BushCraft, Camp equipment, camping, Camping and survival equiptment, Camping tips, cold weather camp, Making fire, Prepping, Survival, Survival tips, Tents, Winter camping | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Another 2 minute tip

Hi Campers .

Just an update to my reference page to add another 2 minute tip video for those of you who enjoy the outdoors.

I found this easy tip a great help when breaking camp.002 Getting those tent, guy line and other pegs out of the ground is a pesky business.001 I normally hurt a finger or hand when doing it. This tip put a stop to those shenanigan’s.

Check it out on the reference  page along with the other videos . Or visit my You Tube channel and check them all. Of course please feel free to like them, subscribe to them and share them with friends.

As always be safe and prepared

The Novice survivalist

Posted in Basic Survival skills, Blog, BushCraft, Camp equipment, camping, Camping and survival equiptment, Camping tips, Prepping, Survival, survival skills, Survival tips, Tents | Leave a comment

French Army F1 2 man pup tent.

Hi Campers,

I recently purchased a new camp tent. Why you ask. My old tent was a Ozark trails 2 man tent I purchased at Walmart. Great little tent, however I recently managed to put a hole in it. Repairing it would just need to use some Duct tape. (Cut a piece for both, inside and out.) Not sure if this would keep the wet out, or for how long.

Fortunately I recently watched a review on YouTube from one of my favorite channels. The Prepared Wanderer. Excellent channel that I have used as a reference for equipment and tips regularly. He reviewed a tent that really could my attention. It had some great extras associated with it, and so I looked a bit more into it and found one that met my budget. (Amazon). $55.00 I felt was a worth while investment for what I believed to be a great addition to my camping equipment. So dusted of my bank card and splurged. I purchased the French Army, F1 2 man Pup tent. (Military Surplus).

A week later it arrived and I dived into check it out. Well Money very well spent. Here’s the why and why not’s of the tent.

Why not’s first.

  1. When I got it out of the packaging the bag it came in was bigger than I hoped.
  2. It weighed a ton.IMG_20171003_124915_997
  3. On opening the bag The extras bag ( pegs tie downs etc.) was extremely heavy. Probably half the total weight. The pegs were a very large, very strong steel. And there was a lot of them. 16 in total I believe. Extremely heavy.20171002_140758
  4. The tie ropes are made of a thin Strong rope. (Like mini 550 cord). There are 6 in total I believe. These will work fine however  but the color (Army green) made them hard to see. I have bad eye sight and I know Ill trip over them.

After this initial impression I sat down and looked to see if I could fix  these 4 issues.

  1. The Size of the bag turned out to be a quick fix. When it is packed from the manufacturer. The tent is rolled up. In such a way that it was long. I found that stuffing the tent instead of rolling it up, reduced the length about 4 to 5 inches. Taking care of the size problem. It was just too long to attach to the bottom of my Medium Alice Pack. Now it is only slightly wider than Pack.
  2. The weight issue as I said was mainly the very sturdy pegs that were supplied with it.3b33aa36-2fe6-4d69-8a8f-4ccaf8709763_1.33f5d3db6feb0157d13633d10d851005 I replaced these ( most of them 12 to be exact) with the aluminum style tent pegs I used on my old tent.  I got these from Walmart and they cost about a $1 each. The weight saving is magnificent. however they are not perfect for the pegging down of the floor of the tent so I kept 4 of the original steel pegs. to peg the 4 corners of the floor.
  3. See 2…LOL
  4. To minimize the issue of tripping over the well camouflaged tie ropes supplied, I bought some high visibility 550 cordage. It has a reflective strand woven into it and is a safety orange color. Inexpensive and the rating was 150 lbs. . More than enough to tie down the tent.

Viola… it now is perfect for me . Well as perfect as I can get it right now.

Here are some more plus features I found when I rushed out back and put it up for the first time.

  1. Quick and easy to put up. Took about 7 minutes
  2. Made of very sturdy water proof material
  3. Built in fly
  4. Built in floor
  5. Excellent ventilation.
  6. Roomy. Later than I supposed.

So campers am I happy with my new purchase. Very so far although I have not put it to the actual camp test….YET. Winter has arrived in Minnesota. Its getting chilly, but I still would like to test it out. Just have to plan the trip carefully. Don’t want to find myself in a bad situation in the middle of a snow blizzard.20171003_170643

Stay tuned for a follow up post on the French 2 man pup tent. Or if your inkling takes you click on the link to see my YouTube video of the first set up and review I did.

Until next time. Remember Knowledge is a survival skill. Of course modifying things to suit your needs is a must.

Stay warm out there

The Novice Survivalist

Posted in basic Survival tools and skills, Blog, bug out, BushCraft, camping, Camping and survival equiptment, Camping tips, Prepping, Survival, Survival tips, Tents | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Do I really need all these survival “gizmos and tools” and other stuff…..

Hello to all. Well now that I have finally started to get me feet on the ground in the new play ground…..Minnesota. I went on my first Kayak camp. Playing safe I went to a small State park not to far from home. Rice Lake State park. Its more of a walking, hiking , car camping park. Although they do offer 5 kayak/canoe paddle in sites. The lake was very shallow and kept that way to help the wild fowl in the area. Don’t get me wrong I really enjoyed my overnight camp. It was fun, as any camp trip for me is. Anywhere in the out doors makes for fun.

However once again I had issues with the way my Kayak performed when loaded up. Granted a Hobie Outback is really designed as a fishing kayak it can hold a lot of gear. Its naturally  a slow wide stable kayak.


My Hobie Outback 2016

That’s why I bought it. Looking at pictures from the trip I noticed how overloaded I am. This was an over nighter. It was packed to the hilt. I seem to have gone back to over kill again. I need to slim down. No not me, what I carry on my kayak trips. This is also going to affect walk in camping which I plan to start doing, now I am in Minnesota. Minimal is the word. Well not absolute but as minimal as possible. This is my new mantra…”Minimalize as much as is possible while being as safe as possible.”




My Hobie loaded for an over nighter…too much


This means taking a look at survival/emergency gear I am carrying. As well as the other “normal camping stuff” I carry. I need to look at my walk in packs and my kayak packs dry bags etc. I currently carry when camping.

So new task coming up.

  1. minimalizing my kayak camp equipment
  2. Minimalize my walk in camp equipment

I will have to pull out each dry bag, pack, stuff bag etc. and go through them one at a time to remove any culprits that’s really don’t need to be there. Size and weight being what I am looking to get rid of. So off to pull out the “Gizmos and tools” I seem to have so much of, and start whittling down. Stay tuned.

Remember knowledge is a survival skill.

The Novice Survivalist


Posted in basic Survival tools and skills, Blog, camping, Camping tips, Emergency Kit, Kayaking, Solo Kayak Camping, Survival, survival skills, Survival tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Watch “VLOG75 Walk about and Scout Carleton college north walking trails Dakota County MN” on YouTube

Lately I have been making a point of getting out and enjoying some outdoor time. I have found a great app. (Actually recommended to me by a subscriber on my youtube channel.) Its call All trails. Its a great app and allows you to search for walking trails near by. The best thing is its free. A great price on my budget….but I digress.

As I said been out walkabout alot lately and really enjoying it. Winter is coming so options will be limited for a couple months. So making the most of it. Check out the video and visit my youtube channel for other videos.

Search youtube for 2nd chance george…enjoy

As always be safe out there and be prepared

The Novice survivalist.

Posted in Basic Survival skills, Camp equipment, camping, Camping tips, hiking, outdoors, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Watch “VLOG74B Walk in Tea time and Review of my Day pack and some Gizmos PART#2” on YouTube

Went walkabout and shared my daypack.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Another 2 minute tip for the Novice survivalist

Campers I have just uploaded a short video (Yes it’s 2 minutes ) on how to get started with making fire using a ferrocerium rod. It’s a simple change in the way you position yourself and the rod and striker. Then by only moving the ROD you are able to better control the shower of sparks onto the tinder you are using. 20170409_185732

When I first attempted to use the ferro rod it was a disaster for me . I constantly landed up knocking the tinder pile over and away from the sparks. This trick I discovered on youtube while doing some research on making fire. What a simple tip with great results.

Click on the short video link to check it out. ( or go to my reference page and see the other 2 minute tips as well…just saying).20170107_130812

Remember Knowledge is a survival skill

The novice Survivalist

Posted in Basic Survival skills, basic Survival tools and skills, Blog, Camp knifes, camping, Camping and survival equiptment, Camping tips, EDC, Emergency Kit, every day carry, Making fire, Prepping, Survival, survival skills, Survival tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reference Page, tips and tricks

Hey Campers, I have been remiss in my blogging. Apologies to all. Life, work and other commitments tend to get in the way. However things are now getting to normal, well almost.

This update is about my reference page. For those of you who have not looked at it my reference page, might find some very useful tips and tricks for the average camper, outdoors person or NOVICE SURVIVALIST.

I have recently added some videos from my YOUTUBE CHANNEL. most recent camping trips and some 2 minute tips for those of you like myself have little time to sit and watch a 10, 30 or 50 minute video. Yes my concentration powers are lacking in that I cannot sit through a long video, no matter how much it interests me. Have to break up my viewing time into multiple times to see a video through that is longer than about 5 to 10 minutes.

So with that in mind I will let you go watch a quick video you my find useful or maybe entertaining.

Keep surviving and remember Knowledge is a survival tool.

Be back soon so sign up for updates to the website or even to my Youtube channel.

The Novice Survivalist

Posted in Basic Survival skills, basic Survival tools and skills, Blog, camping, Camping and survival equiptment, Camping tips, Kayaking, Knots, Solo Kayak Camping, Survival, survival skills, Survival tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment